1 Tuesday, 14 June 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone, Madam Registrar, would you
6 please call the case?
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is the case
8 number IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar. Perhaps before we resume
10 the examination of Witness 636, we should first pay attention to
11 scheduling issues.
12 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour. I had asked if we could begin by
13 having Mr. Davidovic brought back in so we could advise him of what had
14 happened with Ms. Loukas and why it's necessary to have a break in his
15 cross-examination. And with the Court's permission, I did speak with him
16 last night about scheduling and when he might be able to return. It
17 appears a good date for him would be a week from Monday, that is, he could
18 be here on the 27th of June, and we hope that we could complete his
19 cross-examination -- his entire testimony on that day.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I therefore do understand that Ms. Loukas will
21 return only somewhere on Wednesday, that's what I understand.
22 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, yes. May I briefly say, first of all,
23 I hope -- first of all, My Lord -- Your Honour, I come a little bit hybrid
24 dressed which I hope that nobody will be offended with that. There was a
25 last-minute sartorial emergency which I solved in this way.
1 Your Honour, so far as yesterday was concerned, I hope the Court
2 is not troubled by the fact that I did myself -- I took it upon myself to
3 make an immediate decision that, yes, Ms. Loukas should go and represent
4 her family, and then I spoke to the Prosecution, then immediately had a
5 word with the Trial Chamber, and I'm very grateful for all the support and
6 cooperation there.
7 Your Honour is absolutely right that Ms. Loukas in fact is coming
8 back on Thursday but apart from this very cooperative arrangement in
9 relation to Mr. Davidovic, otherwise it has no impact, as it happens, this
10 week. It will have no impact on scheduling or indeed on Defence work. I
11 shan't be making any application based on that absence.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I also did understand Mr. Hannis, that
13 Mr. Davidovic has to return. I mean, there is no way of having him wait
14 for a couple of days.
15 MR. HANNIS: I think because there were uncertainties about
16 whether we would be able to get to him Thursday or Friday, it would be
17 better if he were able to return.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then we'll see whether we can explain this to
19 Mr. Davidovic.
20 Madam Usher, could you escort Mr. Davidovic into the courtroom.
21 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, on the point of information while the
22 witness is coming in, Your Honour asked yesterday, and I've checked,
23 having looking at the transcript, I believe that the first that we knew
24 that Mr. Davidovic was scheduled for the particular date was on Monday,
25 the 30th of May when the Prosecution gave us a schedule for the few weeks
1 ahead. I think it's possible that we had some notification immediately
2 prior to that as the precise date but I think that was the day.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, the unfortunate circumstances have
4 resolved more or less that --
5 MR. STEWART: Of course, Your Honour, yes. I just wanted to fill
6 in that piece of information which I know the Court was asking for.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Davidovic.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Davidovic, you have noticed that the Chamber took
11 great effort in scheduling the continuation of your cross-examination
12 tomorrow, which would have allowed you most likely to return to your home
13 country Wednesday, in the afternoon, which as far as the Chamber
14 understood could just be fit into your own personal schedule. Due to
15 unfortunate circumstances, that is, the decease of a close relative of one
16 of Defence counsel, Defence counsel had to leave, and unfortunately we
17 cannot resume this week. And I hope you understand that cross-examination
18 takes a lot of preparation, and therefore it cannot just be taken over by
19 another Defence counsel.
20 Under those circumstances, the Chamber is very much inclined to
21 stop for the week, give you the opportunity to return home, but to ask you
22 to come back even if it would only be for a short session. Most likely,
23 that would be on the 27th of June.
24 First of all, I hope that you do understand that the unfortunate
25 circumstances brought the Chamber and you in this position, but of course
1 the first of our thoughts are rather with Defence counsel than with the
2 inconveniences that the situation caused us.
3 So we hope you do understand, and apart from that I'd like to find
4 out whether you would be available to come back most likely on the 27th of
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much for this cooperative attitude.
8 You'll hear from the victims and witness section if scheduling has become
9 final, what arrangements are made for you. Although it's -- might be a
10 bit hard, I nevertheless have to instruct you not to speak with anyone
11 about your testimony until we have finished it on the 27th of June. And I
12 hope you will take this instruction very seriously.
13 Then you are excused until your return later this month.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Davidovic
16 out of the courtroom.
17 [The witness stands down]
18 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I mention one other matter while we
19 are still in open court? Your Honour, I realise and note that I am under
20 a direction from the Trial Chamber to notify three days ahead of
21 Mr. Bjelobrk's reappearance on Friday documents on which I might wish to
22 or which I might wish to put to him in cross-examination. Your Honour,
23 it's to say this: That I am doing and will do my best to do that in the
24 course of today. But, Your Honour, I hope Your Honour realises that among
25 other things, I also have to fit in that -- one of the meeting which Your
1 Honours indicated last week, the important meeting with Mr. Harhoff and
2 the Registry. I hope, Your Honour, if I were to take overnight to produce
3 that, that Your Honour and the Prosecution would understand.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you have already a part of it please deliver
5 it so we can have a look at it. Of course the issue is to what extent
6 these documents would assist the Chamber, and even if you could not
7 deliver the whole lot of them, then perhaps the part that is ready and
8 prepared already you could provide that to the Chamber.
9 MR. STEWART: I won't do it holus-bolus, Your Honour, but I will
10 do did in good chunks if I get an opportunity.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Not one by one.
12 MR. STEWART: No, exactly, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Then I think we'll return back into closed session to
14 continue the examination-in-chief of Witness 636.
15 [Closed session]
11 Pages 14439-14495 redacted. Closed session.
15 [Open session]
16 --- Break taken at 11.57 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 12.03 p.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, are you ready to call --
19 [French interpretation on English channel]
20 JUDGE ORIE: On channel 4 we now receive French translation.
21 Yes, so I understood that you are ready to call your next
22 witness,. There are no protective measures. It will be Mr. Prstojevic?
23 MR. TIEGER: That's correct. I would remind the Court, if I may,
24 that this is another witness who as the court is aware from the
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm aware of that.
2 MR. STEWART: Sorry, Your Honour, that last comment from
3 Mr. Tieger does not mean anything to me from the transcript. I'm not sure
4 what it means.
5 MR. TIEGER: I curtailed my remarks because the Court seemed to be
6 aware of what I was about to say.
7 MR. STEWART: Some awareness I haven't got.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I take it becomes clear soon anyhow.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Prstojevic.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Before you -- before you give evidence in this Court,
13 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
14 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
15 the truth. I would like to invite to you make that solemn declaration of
16 which the text will be handed out to you now by Madam Usher.
17 WITNESS: NEDJELJKO PRSTOJEVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much. Please be seated,
20 Mr. Prstojevic.
21 Mr. Prstojevic, before I allow Mr. Tieger to start to examine you
22 as a witness, I'd like to draw your attention to Rule 90(E). This rule
23 says that if answering a question in accordance with the truth might tend
24 to incriminate yourself, you may address the Chamber and object to
25 answering such a question. If you do so, however, the Chamber may compel
1 you to nevertheless answer that question, but that testimony compelled in
2 this way shall not be used as evidence in any subsequent prosecution
3 against you for any offence. So if you're afraid that you would
4 incriminate yourself, please address us and you may object to answering
5 the question, but we could compel you to do so, in which case your
6 testimony could not be used against you.
7 Mr. Tieger, please proceed.
8 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Examined by Mr. Tieger:
10 Q. Good afternoon to you, Mr. Prstojevic.
11 A. Good afternoon.
12 Q. I'd like to proceed first by providing the Court with a quick
13 summary of your background, at least as I understood it through your
14 previous interviews. So if I've misunderstood any aspect of your
15 background that's significant, please feel free to correct me, otherwise
16 I'll move through it as quickly as I can.
17 First of all, I understand that you grew up in the area of
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And that you went to the railway technical school and that during
21 the course of your work, graduated from Sarajevo university?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Then you were an attendant for 11 years at Knin, and from 1986 you
24 were the director of the internal department, and from 1988 the chief of
25 the service for transport of goods?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And I understand also that you served in the JNA and finished with
3 the rank of lance corporal?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Now, you were also a member of the Communist Party from 1967 to
6 1990 and were in fact the last president of the Socialist Federation of
7 Working People in the local community of Kasindol; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And is it also correct that you became the president of the
10 municipal board of the SDS on 28 June 1991?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And subsequently, in January of 1992, became president of the
13 Crisis Staff of the Serbian municipality in Ilidza?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, the Court has already heard considerable evidence about the
16 general structure of the SDS, so I'll limit my questions on that subject
17 but I do have a few.
18 First of all, can you explain to the Court, briefly, the SDS
19 bodies and their hierarchy?
20 A. I think that it is quite clear. This is common knowledge. The
21 structure of SDS, if we take the highest level first, looks like this.
22 The highest level is the Assembly of the Serb Democratic Party followed by
23 the Main Board. The Main Board furthermore had an Executive Committee.
24 In the area of the city of Sarajevo, we had city council of the SDS and
25 then every municipality had a municipal one, and the local communities had
1 local boards of the Serb Democratic Party. So these were the basic bodies
2 through which the Serb Democratic Party worked.
3 Q. And of course, the Assembly of the Serb Democratic -- I'm sorry,
4 excuse me.
5 Let me ask you, then, some questions about communications between
6 these various bodies. First of all, did municipal boards, such as your
7 own, receive instructions or directives from the higher bodies, such as
8 the Main Board or Assembly?
9 A. For the most part, the Assembly is the body which appoints the
10 Main Board and the Executive Board. But in terms of hierarchy, the work
11 of the municipal boards was orchestrated by the Main Board, and the
12 conclusions reached at the Main Board meetings and any other views or
13 attitudes would be forwarded to the municipal and city boards, and
14 everything would be implemented in line with the guidance provided by the
15 Main Board and the Executive Board of the SDS party.
16 I don't think it is arguable at all, as in all the other
17 parliamentary parties in Europe. I mean it is quite clear, that the
18 information went from the top down, and the other way around. There was
19 this exchange of information. There was constant flow of information both
20 ways. In 1990 and 1991 and even today.
21 Q. In your answer you mentioned conclusions, views or attitudes
22 reached at the Main Board that would be forwarded to the municipal and
23 city boards. Did conclusions or directives issued by the main boards and
24 transmitted to the municipal and city boards have to be implemented by the
25 local boards, or by the municipal and city boards?
1 A. Absolutely. It is clear that it had to be implemented. There
2 might have been minor discrepancies, but in that case, it would mean that
3 the local leadership would be disobeying the top leadership, and that
4 would not have been tolerated on any occasion.
5 Q. Can you tell the Court some of the ways by which the Main Board
6 communicated its decisions or conclusions to the municipal boards? Just
7 the means of communication.
8 A. Well, first and foremost, in writing, in other words the
9 conclusions, the decisions, the directives or guidelines coming from the
10 Main Board and approved at a meeting.
11 Secondly, through the Executive Board, which was the executive
12 body of the Main Board, or through people who were members of the Main
13 Board and they were representing a certain local area, well, they were in
14 charge of implementing and providing oral explanations at municipal and
15 city boards, what the attitude and viewpoints of the Main Board were and
16 to make sure that those were implemented.
17 And very often presidents of municipal and city boards would be
18 present at the Main Board meetings and so they would have heard all that.
19 They would have witnessed all those discussions. So apart from having
20 written instructions, they could relay to people back home what had been
21 said in the course of those meetings. And also there were telephone
22 communications as well. If there was a lack of clarity on an issue, they
23 would even call on the same issue five times, if they needed to.
24 Q. Thank you. Let me direct your attention, then, to a document that
25 I believe you had the opportunity to see during one of your interviews,
1 and that is the instructions of December 19th, 1991.
2 Mr. Prstojevic, when did you first see this document?
3 A. This is a document that I probably referred to on the second or
4 the third day of my interview in 2004, I believe.
5 This document was given to us at a meeting of the Main Board which
6 was held at Holiday Inn, probably at some point by the end of December,
7 and it would have been given either to the president of the municipal
8 board or the Executive Board or the President of the Assembly of any given
9 municipality, as well all members of the Main Board. So we got this
10 document on the occasion of that meeting and I participated in that
11 meeting myself, and then this is a copy which apparently went to some
12 municipal board.
13 Q. Who attended that meeting?
14 A. At this meeting, and I said it was a meeting of the Main Board but
15 I actually think at the Holiday Inn there was an assembly meeting. It was
16 not just the members of the Main Board but it was an assembly, a general
17 assembly meeting where all members of the Main Board were present, and
18 there were the presidents of the municipal boards from the area of
19 Sarajevo, the president of the city board, and other prominent political
20 figures from the Serb Democratic Party. It was a well-attended assembly
21 at the Holiday Inn in 1991.
22 Q. And were members of the Bosnian Serb leadership present?
23 A. Absolutely.
24 Q. And which members of the leadership were present at that meeting?
25 A. I can't remember in any great detail, and I can't give you a full
1 list of people who were present at that assembly session. But it was
2 quite clear that our president at the time, Karadzic, and President
3 Krajisnik, and Mr. Rajko Djukic, and Mr. Velibor Ostojic and so on were
4 there. Probably there were more than a hundred people there, and there
5 were all at some -- within that hierarchy.
6 I was there. Then Ljubo Bosiljcic was there and the municipal
7 secretary, Momcilo Ceklic, and the president of the Executive Board
8 Radomir Kezunovic. And I can't remember all the other people, but there
9 were maybe some other people from Ilidza.
10 Q. And what as explained to the assembled people at the meeting about
11 the document?
12 A. I can't remember in any great detail because it was a long time
13 ago. But as far as I can remember, that was the -- partly an assembly
14 where there were involved in some elections. They were electing some
15 officials, and so we -- one of us who was there was given this set of
16 instructions. It is rather difficult to remember what exactly took place
17 in the course of that assembly because it went on for several hours.
18 Q. Did the representatives from Ilidza implement the document?
19 A. Yes, they did. They did, not fully. We did not -- we had not
20 managed to implement some parts properly.
21 Q. What steps did Ilidza take in response to the document?
22 A. Well, we did what was indicated in the document. What I mean is
23 we had not quite implemented the part referring to certain economic
24 activities. Due to rather complicated political and security situation,
25 we had not managed to do that. And as per this document, we set up the
1 Crisis Staff straight away, we set up the Assembly of the Serb People of
2 Ilidza, and the first president, the secretary, were appointed and they
3 even reached some conclusions. I mean the Assembly did. And as far as I
4 know, these documents exist here.
5 Q. Did Ilidza introduce a duty service?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And was it also in furtherance of the instructions?
8 A. Yes. With regard to this duty service, there were also telephone
9 contacts and instructions and this had been done on a number of occasions,
10 depending on the security and political situation. But as to any
11 operational tasks, minor operational tasks, such as this duty service,
12 et cetera, these things that were easy to implement, we absolutely did
14 Q. Did the Ilidza SDS representatives inform any member or body of
15 the hierarchy that it had implemented the instructions?
16 A. According to what we did, in the beginning of 1992, straight away,
17 I mean in the beginning of January, we straight away organised the press
18 conference and we organised it to inform the general public, so whatever
19 we did was done in broad daylight. It was done publicly. And secondly,
20 the documents from the First Assembly of the Serb People of Ilidza were
21 submitted to higher bodies and that is apparent from the documents. And
22 one of them was submitted to the President of the Assembly of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina, Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik.
24 And as far as I can remember, I myself saw those documents and I
25 could see that there was a copy for the Speaker of the Assembly, the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 President of the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina..
2 Q. Who was the secretary of the Ilidza Municipal Board or the Crisis
4 A. The newly set up assembly had a president and a secretary, and on
5 top of that, I myself wasn't the president there. It was Mr. Kezunovic
6 and the secretary was Ceklic, and I was elected on the 5th of April, 1992
7 as the president at a new somewhat what enlarged assembly.
8 The Crisis Staff was also set up straight away, in the beginning
9 of 1992. I was the president of that Crisis Staff. And there is the
10 entire documentation coming from the Crisis Staff, at least all the
11 members of the Crisis Staff. The secretary, as far as I can remember, was
12 the secretary of the municipal board of SDS, because the -- there was no
13 special emphasis on the role of the secretary of the Crisis Staff, in
14 terms of that being a post for kind of civil servant or something. So
15 perhaps we did not even have such a position, but the secretary of the
16 municipal board carried out all the administrative duties on behalf of the
17 Crisis Staff.
18 Q. Just to clarify, you referred to the newly set up assembly and to
19 your election as in April as president of the new somewhat enlarged
20 assembly. Is that a reference to the Serbian Assembly in Ilidza?
21 A. Yes. Look, according to these instructions, I think on the 1st
22 and 2nd and 3rd of January, 1992 we set up the Assembly of the Serb People
23 of Ilidza, and a number of decisions were reached and this would have
24 encompassed the municipality of Ilidza where there was majority Serb
25 population, or else it would cover the territory of the municipality of
2 However, the political and security situation changed swiftly, and
3 upon request from some members in March 1992, and those requests came from
4 the municipalities of Novi Grad, parts of Trnovo and parts of Kiseljak. A
5 new assembly was set up, and the territorial organisation was thus amended
6 because, quite simply, some parts where we had about 50.000 people, such
7 as Dobrinja and Nedzarici were basically not included anywhere. And
8 because of that, we organised the new assembly, and by then there were
9 some shootouts, and there was some combat activity as well, and that
10 assembly was held on the 5th of April 1992, and upon insistence of
11 members, I was elected as the president of that assembly because nobody
12 was really in the running for that job, nobody was too keen at the time
13 but I was asked to accept, I was ordered to accept and so I did. And so I
14 became President of the Assembly until the end of the war.
15 Q. Mr. Prstojevic, at the time the Serbian Assembly of Ilidza and the
16 Crisis Staff in Ilidza, the SDS Crisis Staff, were established, the
17 Assembly of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian Serb
18 Assembly, had already been established as well; is that correct?
19 A. I can't remember exactly. I can't recall exactly now when the
20 Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia-Herzegovina was established. But I
21 know that some municipalities, after us or at the same time as us, in the
22 area of Sarajevo, started setting up assemblies of the Serbian people.
23 Q. Was there a hierarchical relationship between the republic level
24 Bosnian Serb Assembly and the Serbian Assembly of Ilidza?
25 A. The first founding session, January, February, March, we didn't do
1 anything at this session apart from organising ourselves, holding a press
2 conference and making it public. And we submitted to the competent
3 authorities, the Main Board, the Executive Board, and the President of the
4 National Assembly, a document saying that we did this. After that, we
5 practically put this work on hold and we didn't do anything further.
6 Q. Mr. Prstojevic, excuse me, perhaps my question wasn't as clear as
7 it could have been. I wasn't asking you to direct your attention to at
8 that -- to the specific tasks undertaken by the Serbian Assembly of Ilidza
9 at that time but rather a question about the nature of the organisational
10 relationship among these bodies. So I wanted to know what the
11 relationship was between the republic level Bosnian Serb Assembly and the
12 Serbian Assembly of Ilidza.
13 A. Well, that is quite clear. The relationship was hierarchical, and
14 you can see that from the fact that we submitted the document from our
15 Assembly to the President of the National Assembly, which was also the
16 president of Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
17 Another thing: The period January, February and March was very
18 short, and combat activities had already started. It was a time of
19 confusion, lack of clarity, and round-the-clock work.
20 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, at this point I would be moving on to a
21 different subject. It might be the appropriate time to take a break.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it is, Mr. Tieger. We will adjourn until five
23 minutes to 1.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.36 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Tieger.
2 MR. TIEGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Your Honours, first for the record the document that was placed
4 before the witness earlier and about which he commented the December 19th,
5 1991 instructions, are Exhibit P63 and P64A and -- actually, P43 and P64A
6 and P529B.1 -- tab 22, binder 1 tab 22, and D10.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I even wondered whether it would have been
8 necessary to reproduce it all. It takes a lot of paper and takes a lot of
9 ink where I couldn't say that the Chamber knows the document by heart but
10 it comes close to it. So perhaps we could have worked with it on the
11 ELMO. This is not criticism but just concern about endless reproduction
12 of documents.
13 MR. TIEGER: And we appreciate that guidance, Your Honour, thank
14 you. And speaking of the document, if it could be briefly placed back
15 before the witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, he doesn't know it by heart, perhaps.
17 MR. TIEGER:
18 Q. Mr. Prstojevic, the instructions of December 19th, 1991 about
19 which you've been speaking identify a Variant A and Variant B, that is
20 municipalities where the Serbian people constitute a majority and
21 municipalities where the Serbian people do not constitute a majority.
22 Which of those two variants did the Crisis Staff from Ilidza consider
23 itself or consider Ilidza to be?
24 A. To Ilidza we applied Variant B. For the following reasons: Our
25 president of the Executive Board of the Municipal Assembly, or rather
1 prime minister, decided so and because we thought that during the last
2 census the Muslims faked so that it turned out that there were 25.000
3 Muslims, 22.000 Serbs, 10.000 Croats, 8.000 Yugoslavs, and I don't know
4 how many others, but still we applied Variant B.
5 Q. Just trying to clarify that last answer. Did you consider that
6 Serbs were the -- constituted a majority of the population in Ilidza or a
7 minority, based on your view of the census?
8 A. Our view was that the Serbs were in the majority. However, Ilidza
9 was such a place that a majority of Muslims is concentrated in several
10 communities, such as Hrasnica I, Hrasnica II, Sokolovic Kolonija and
11 Butmir. In all the other local communes, Serbs and Croats, with whom we
12 were not at war during this war - on the contrary, we had very good
13 relations - constituted a majority.
14 Q. And given the view you've just expressed that Serbs were in the
15 majority, did you apply the variant applicable to municipalities where
16 Serbs were in the majority or where Serbs were in the minority?
17 A. As far as I can remember, we applied the second variant, and I
18 cannot recall at the moment which situation it applies to. I think it
19 applies to Serbs who are holding the government, that is the position of
20 the prime minister, or the Speaker of the Assembly.
21 Q. The document also refers to two levels. As it indicates on page 2
22 of the English, in order to ensure their consistent and timely
23 implementation, tasks, measures and other activities shall be set forth in
24 two variants, A and B, and at two levels. Were the efforts undertaken in
25 Ilidza that you described before, the establishment of the Crisis Staff,
1 the establishment of the Serbian Assembly of Ilidza, the setting up of a
2 duty service, in fulfilment of the first level of the document?
3 A. We had fulfilled that first degree.
4 Q. At some point, did you become aware of a meeting or any other way
5 in which the second level of the December 19th instructions were
6 activated -- or was activated?
7 A. I have already said we did not execute these instructions to the
8 very end. We stopped at setting up the Crisis Staff, the Assembly of the
9 Serbian People of Ilidza, the election of the President of the Assembly,
10 the secretary of the Assembly, and the adoption of two or three decisions
11 without much importance that are already in possession of the Office of
12 the Prosecutor, I believe.
13 Q. My question, Mr. Prstojevic was slightly different, and I was
14 asking you to focus for a moment on the two levels reflected in the
15 document, the first level or first phase and the second level or second
16 phase. And what I wanted to know was whether at some point you became
17 aware that there had been instructions to activate the second level of the
18 December 19th, 1991 instructions?
19 A. As far as the second level is concerned, I can't remember that
20 there were any separate instructions because the document itself
21 stipulated the execution of both the first and the second level, and in
22 the second level we did those things that had to do with the security and
23 safety of the population, and to that effect, there were certain meetings
24 at lower levels.
25 Q. Do you recall being present at or hearing about any meeting at
1 which the second level was discussed?
2 A. I attended, for instance, the sessions of the city board, the town
3 board, or some smaller operative bodies that were in charge of the
4 situation in some specific area, because the security situation and
5 circumstances were rather bad. The entire population was very anxious
6 about their safety. Various meetings were held to discuss this, both
7 within the SDS but also within the HDZ and the SDA.
8 Moreover, the Patriotic League, which was trying to sell itself as
9 a pro-Yugoslav party in favour of preserving peace, was another body that
10 I had meetings with. But we can see, looking back, that this Patriotic
11 League was the exponent of the extreme wing of the SDA, that is to say
12 Islamic fundamentalists.
13 Q. Mr. Prstojevic, my question was about the second level of the
14 December 19th, 1991 instructions and whether you recall being present at
15 or hearing about any meeting discussing that.
16 Let me direct your attention to a portion of your previous
17 interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor found at page 106 of the
18 sequential translation. And during that interview, sir, you were asked:
19 "How did you receive the information in relation to the policies that you
20 were meant to apply in Ilidza?" And you responded: "Mostly there were
21 certain meetings and that one meeting, if you don't remember well, you
22 also ask me when the second phase of local phase was to be activated.
23 It's a little foggy in my memory but maybe some people from Ilidza were
24 present at that meeting but I was not."
25 And then you went on to describe some of the people who might have
1 been there.
2 And then you said: "Because from that meeting, information was
3 passed on to me with which they were not satisfied. They considered, they
4 thought their approach should be easier and elastic and smoother in the
5 sense of solving problems, in the sense of solving problems with Muslims
6 and Croats. It's rather then what was being said at that meeting. I do
7 not even know where was that meeting but it was sometime before
8 1st April."
9 Mr. Prstojevic, does that refresh your recollection about any
10 meetings about which you heard -- that concerned the second level of the
11 December 19th instructions?
12 A. I fully stand by the statements that I made in the previous five
13 days at different times. My statement tells exactly how it was. There
14 was a meeting of military security nature before the 1st of April. I
15 don't know exactly where it was held but I know that Radomir Kezunovic was
16 there, as well as Mr. Dragan Markovic. The latter was killed during the
17 war. Kezunovic, who was the official prime minister of the Ilidza
18 government at the time, and Dragan Markovic who was commander of the staff
19 of the Territorial Defence of all the three ethnic communities, Serbs,
20 Croats and Muslims. I don't know why I was not invited to that meeting.
21 It would have been normal for me to attend. But I simply didn't get the
22 invitation. But when I talked to the people who did attend, I was
23 informed in very rough terms that the meeting discussed issues of the
24 Territorial Defence that was led by Dragan Markovic. And TO units, you
25 must know, existed for a number of years prior to 1992. It functioned
1 based on the principles of all people's defence and civilian defence and
2 armed civilian population that defended itself like a hedgehog from a
3 local enemy. And they told me that some people from the leadership of the
4 party, they told me the names, but I don't remember them now, they told me
5 that some people were either militant or excessively optimistic, saying
6 that we will find it very easy to defend ourselves from the Muslims and
7 that if any armed conflict should break out, we will defeat them without
8 any problem, which according to our assessment and their assessment, was
9 not true, and they were dissatisfied, and as I said in my statement, going
10 into conflict with such ideas we could get very deep into bloodshed, and
11 it was completely uncertain which side would win.
12 Q. Now, Mr. Prstojevic, I need to clarify one thing first. In your
13 response you referred to a meeting of military security nature before the
14 1st of April, and of course I had asked about a meeting at which the
15 second level or second phase of the December 19th instructions was
16 activated. Is the meeting of a military security nature the same meeting
17 at which the second level was activated? Or are you referring to two
18 different meetings?
19 A. In my mind, that's the last meeting before armed operations began.
20 [No interpretation].
21 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, we are not getting any English. I
22 don't know about Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We do not get any English either.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the English channel?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Restart your answer, Mr. Prstojevic, where you
1 started saying: "In my mind, that's the last meeting before armed
2 operations began." You were asked about whether the meeting you referred
3 to was the meeting on which, as Mr. Tieger said, the second phase was
4 activated. You started your answer by saying: "In my mind that's the
5 last meeting before armed operations began.
6 Could you please resume from there?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't hear a thing in B/C/S. I
8 can't hear the interpreter.
9 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, I noted that when the translation
10 ceased, my channels reverted to zero and that might have happened to the
11 witness as well.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the same to me. I just put it now on 4 again.
13 There seems to be one --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Okay. I can hear now.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you can hear me now again?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can hear you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Has everyone restored the -- we could give it a try.
18 I invited you to resume your answer from where you said: "In my
19 mind, that's the last meeting before armed operations began."
20 As you may remember, Mr. Tieger asked you about whether the
21 meeting you referred to was the same meeting as a meeting where the second
22 phase would have been activated. Could you please resume from there?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, that's just what I was saying.
24 After that meeting, there was no other meeting. And I believe that
25 following that meeting, the people in the MUP and in the Territorial
1 Defence started undertaking certain activities according to what was said
2 at the meeting. Sometime around the 20th of March, there was also a
3 session of the town board that was convened in great haste. This meeting
4 discussed the security situation but in a very confused way. I did not go
5 to that meeting because I thought it was of no consequence. It was more
6 by way of informing people. I thought it was of no consequence because
7 combat had already begun and there was shooting.
8 MR. TIEGER:
9 Q. With reference to the discussion about the activation of the
10 second level that took place during your interview, you were asked: "What
11 did they understand that they were being ordered to do at that meeting?"
12 And you said: "I will say only one sentence about it. I
13 understood that at that meeting there was a lot of -- at that meeting
14 there was a lot of threatening rhetoric. Like if we cannot agree and we
15 cannot find an agreement, we will do this, this and this, and I'm sorry to
16 use this word but we will fuck their mother. And this last word in
17 particular I mentioned because I heard it and I remembered it very well.
18 And the relations or balance were 50/50 and who will be destroyed, it was
19 not known. It was relative."
20 Is that what you learned from others who had attended that
22 A. Yes. And I fully stick to this statement. I did find that out
23 but I did not want to use such foul language before the Trial Chamber but
24 that was exactly what they said.
25 Q. And when you referred earlier to some people from the leadership
1 who were making militant statements, were those the nature of the
2 statements to which you were referring?
3 A. What I had in mind was that meeting and people who attended the
4 meeting, precisely.
5 Q. Now, when you heard that at the meeting there had been comments
6 about if we cannot agree, if we cannot find an agreement, we'll do this
7 and this, what did you understand that to mean? What kind of agreement
8 was being sought and what would happen if that agreement couldn't be
10 A. Look, political activity was going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina
11 aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the situation in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. That's what our leadership was involved in. And the
13 Ilidza leadership went along with that idea at all levels. At the local
14 level, together with people from the other parties, HDZ and SDA, we had
15 talks in order to ensure peace in the area of Ilidza and no matter what
16 sort of agreement could be reached by our leaders, we would have accepted
17 it. And throughout the war, the Croats and the Serbs stuck to that
18 agreement, but due to an order of the Staff Commander of the Territorial
19 Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I think his name -- I did mention his name
20 but I think the order was dated the 14th of April 1992, and the order was
21 given to carry out an attack, and it was meant to be carried out by the
22 Green Berets and the Patriotic League, that is to say the Muslim forces,
23 and they were ordered to attack Ilidza, and they did attack on the 22nd of
24 April. We had 11 people killed and 56 were injured.
25 Let me come back to what these people said. We were going to do
1 such and such. They meant -- I mean those people who were forwarding
2 certain guidelines to the lower ranks, as it were, they felt that
3 considering the morale and the characteristics of the Serb soldiers from
4 previous wars, and all that was quite well known, with regard to their
5 attitude to Muslims, they thought that in case armed conflict broke out,
6 it would have been easy for us to defeat them, that it would have been
7 easy for us to defend ourselves. And actually in the field, in many
8 places, it had not been the case because Muslims basically when we talk
9 about the Ilidza, area and I've got proof of that because Muslims were
10 better armed than we were, and they took over all the weapons of certain
11 structures from the former TO and special units of MUP at Krklje [phoen].
12 They had mechanised, armed -- armoured vehicles and other equipment.
13 Q. Mr. Prstojevic, let's return to the question I had asked earlier
14 and let me return to your comments about that during your previous
15 interview, again at page 107.
16 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, before Mr. Tieger does ask this
17 question, I would like to raise a point, but may I ask first of all
18 whether the witness understands English?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we could ask him.
20 Mr. Prstojevic, do you understand any English?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't.
22 JUDGE ORIE: May I then invite you to take your earphones off for
23 a second? Yes.
24 MR. STEWART: Sorry, Your Honour, I was nodding to the witness
25 just to confirm that he was thinking should he take his headphones off. I
1 didn't wish to intrude.
2 Your Honour, it's quite obvious that there is only one bit of
3 page 107 left that Mr. Tieger hasn't referred to, so it's very clear where
4 he's going.
5 There are two different situations. Well, there are others in the
6 world but there are two here. One is where you have what in summary
7 terminology would call a hostile witness, you've got a previous interview
8 and counsel who has called that witness is coming to the position where
9 the witness is deliberately saying something different and then there is
10 an application to treat him as a hostile witness. There is the different
11 situation which is what we have here where the witness is, again in
12 English terminology, not coming up to proof, in a sense. He's not giving
13 the answers that Mr. Tieger would like him to give as per the interview,
14 and Mr. Tieger now wishes, because it's the only bit left on page 107 that
15 we haven't looked at, essentially to lead him into that, to feed him that
17 That's not appropriate, Your Honour. That is -- that constitutes
18 a very thinly disguised, extremely leading question, and our submission is
19 that when Mr. Tieger has explored such an area with his questions, he's
20 stuck with the answers and that's where it should be left and he should
21 move on.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
23 MR. TIEGER: Well, Your Honour, I think we have been through this
24 in various permutations but let me respond.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. TIEGER: I think the fundamental premise of Mr. Stewart's
2 objection is misplaced. It's not a case of the witness -- of a -- of one
3 party's "witness" not coming up to proof. In fact, the witness was not
4 proofed. This is a matter of a witness with whom there were interviews
5 pursuant to the Rules. There is the -- I explored this area with him.
6 There is other information available. The witness is still in a position
7 to clarify, confirm or deny. He's not being led into an answer by a party
8 with whom he's affiliated in any way. Quite the contrary.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I think, Mr. Stewart, that you certainly reflected
10 what is very much, I would say, the classical English common law approach
11 whereas in some other jurisdictions these rules are applied a bit
12 differently. At the same time, the witness has said, I think one or two
13 times that he certainly wants to stick to his statement, whereas it seems
14 that -- so he in general terms has acknowledged and has confirmed that he
15 gave his statements to the best of his abilities and as accurate as
16 possible, at least that's how I understood his reference. Then the issue
17 is whether Mr. Tieger may take him back to his statement or whether he is
18 not allowed to do so.
19 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I make in response to the
20 suggestion it's simply a classical observation. It is perhaps I should
21 qualify it. I thought that was the substance of it. It is in effect not
22 coming up to proof. What we have -- and the danger here is that of
23 course, Your Honour, we accept this is a hybrid system but we shouldn't,
24 with respect, forget that a very important element of this hybrid system
25 is that this Tribunal does adopt a basically adversarial structure in
1 terms of calling witnesses and examining witnesses and this -- for
2 Mr. Tieger to say this witness is not affiliated to a party is simply
3 unreal. He is a Prosecution witness. He has been interviewed extensively
4 by the Prosecution, and the other significant feature of many of these
5 interviews is that any protection in relation to leading questions is
6 simply not there. And we do very often see in these interviews questions
7 which if they had been asked in court would in whatever hybrid tribunal or
8 whatever inquisitorial element of search for the truth is involved, would
9 almost certainly be ruled out, in our submission, by the Tribunal as being
10 blatantly leading. And, therefore, to then pull in the statement in that
11 way is objectionable.
12 May I simply also add, Your Honour, I was slightly -- I noted the
13 very answer that Your Honour noted where the witness said "I wish to stick
14 to my statement." If that sentence is going to be operated as some
15 compendious incorporation of the whole of his interview into his evidence
16 by verification, then --
17 JUDGE ORIE: That's not what I suggested.
18 MR. STEWART: I wanted to clarify that, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But of course, it could create a bit more room
20 for not confronting the witness but taking the witness back to his
21 statement and to seek confirmation or verification of what he said there.
22 Before we give a more general ruling on it, I'd like to consult my
23 fellow judges. Perhaps it's not good to take the two or three minutes at
24 this very moment for it and then rather to take a bit more time this
1 Mr. Tieger, if you would have any further questions at this moment
2 which do not consist in reading the statement to the witness and then ask
3 whether he would agree with it, then we have still five minutes to go.
4 MR. TIEGER: Well, not without moving off the topic completely,
5 Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then yes, if you'd find something suitable for
7 the next five minutes, fine. If not, then --
8 MR. STEWART: Could I say we have a 1.45 meeting on an important
9 topic, so this five minutes would be quite welcome anyway, if Your Honours
10 felt that there really wasn't anything else that could be easily dealt
11 with right now.
12 MR. TIEGER: Well, certainly not anything that could be dealt with
13 in its entirety, so it would be truncated.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Let's then have an early break today, and the
15 Chamber will consider the matter of how to proceed with this witness.
16 Could the witness --
17 Mr. Prstojevic, we will finish for the day. We would like to see
18 you back tomorrow morning at 9.00, and I instruct you not to speak with
19 anyone about the testimony you have given until now and the testimony
20 you're still about to give during the days to come.
21 We will adjourn, unless there is any urgent matter at this moment.
22 MR. TIEGER: No, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: We will adjourn until tomorrow morning at 9.00, same
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 15th of June,
2 2005, at 9.00 a.m.