1 Wednesday, 26 October 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 8.03 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: At this time of the day, a very good morning to
7 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik. Thank you.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Madam Usher, would you please escort Mr. Vasic into the courtroom.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Vasic. Please be seated. I'd like
14 to remind you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration that you
15 would speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at the
16 beginning of your testimony.
17 Mr. Josse.
18 WITNESS: NEMANJA VASIC [Resumed]
19 [Witness answered through interpreter]
20 Re-examined by Mr. Josse: [Continued]
21 Q. When the Court rose yesterday, Mr. Vasic, I wanted to take you
22 back to 19 in the Prosecution bundle. Would you have document 19 in front
23 of you, which is the letter from Bishop Komarica.
24 Now, when you were giving your evidence, you were shown this
25 document and you began to say that after receiving this letter you had a
1 meeting with the bishop; is that right?
2 A. I did have a meeting with the bishop, yes, that's correct.
3 MR. JOSSE: It would help if I was on the right channel.
4 Q. What passed between you and the bishop at that meeting?
5 A. The meeting took place at the bishop's office in Banja Luka, and I
6 got a very nice reception and we met for about an hour. We talked about
7 general matters, and more specifically, we discussed the need for the
8 protection of religious buildings. And the bishop was giving advice and
9 he also asked me to protect minorities in Prnjavor. So basically it was a
10 rather general conversation, and there was just this specific reference to
11 the need to protect the minorities in Prnjavor who had lived there for
12 hundreds of years.
13 Q. Who was present at the meeting?
14 A. I was present, and the bishop, and one of the people working for
15 the bishop; I don't know his name.
16 Q. How long after the receipt of this letter did the meeting take
18 A. I can't remember exactly, but not much later. We spoke on the
19 phone and we agreed to meet.
20 Q. What, if anything, did you say to the bishop about the allegations
21 that he made in that letter of the 3rd of August?
22 A. There was no reference to any specific events as such. It was
23 just a general discussion on the need to protect national minorities
24 amongst the others, Croats, who were living in Prnjavor and there were
25 just two per cent of them. Before the war, there were just two per cent
1 Croats in Prnjavor, and there still are today. We discussed the
2 destruction, I believe, the destruction of the Ukrainian church, and I
3 can't remember whether we talked about this attempt to destroy the Croat
4 church, but it was prevented by our police force. And I told the bishop
5 that the people who tried to destroy the Croat church had been dealt with
6 and actually they were handed over to the military authorities, because
7 they were military staff.
8 Q. And I think you told us about that both in your evidence in chief
9 and also cross-examination. And what about this allegation in the letter
10 that involves the Greek Catholic church in Prnjavor? What was said about
12 A. There was nothing much to say, because the Ukrainian church had
13 been destroyed. There are two Ukrainian churches in the municipality of
14 Prnjavor. One, as we call it, is Roman Catholic, and the other Greek
15 Catholic. But basically, sometimes the second one is also referred to as
16 an Orthodox Ukrainian church, and the other one Unionist Ukrainian church.
17 A hundred years ago, the Ukrainians came to the municipality of
18 Prnjavor. Some of them embraced Catholicism and there were the Unionists,
19 and the others didn't, so they remained Orthodox. And that's why it's
20 called Greek Catholic. The Greek Catholic was destroyed and the Roman
21 Catholic was not destroyed. And I said earlier that one woman recognised
22 one of the perpetrators when we started investigating the attempt to
23 destroy the second Ukrainian church. And the perpetrators were not
24 originally from Prnjavor.
25 Q. Did you meet the bishop on any other occasion, other than the
1 one -- or after the one that you have just told us about?
2 A. I think we met at a larger meeting, and perhaps we talked briefly
3 for five minutes after the war. There was a reception, I think, with the
4 president of the Republic.
5 Q. I'd now like to move on to tab 8, please. Now, Mr. Vasic, so far
6 as this report is concerned, had you ever seen it before yesterday?
7 A. No. These reports were never submitted to the official bodies or
9 Q. Had you seen reports like this, in other words, intelligence-based
10 reports by people with pseudonyms, did they ever get to your level, so to
12 A. No, never. Those were unknown individuals.
13 Q. By looking at this report, are you able to help us at all as to
14 which branch of government, police force, municipality, whatever, in the
15 former Yugoslavia would have produced this?
16 A. This sort of report can only be drafted by some security service,
17 either a military service or a police service. There were special
18 services within the army and the police who did these things. Back then,
19 those were secret services, in fact, and I have no idea who they were
20 accountable to. And today, these kinds of services are accountable to the
21 Assembly of the Republic, of course, of the Republic of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina, I mean.
23 Q. Now, looking at the page that is headed "2," on the third line
24 down, the second line of the paragraph, we see two different typefaces.
25 The second typeface begins with the word "Je." Perhaps you'd read those
1 two words with the different typeface, please, and no doubt they'll be
2 translated when you do that.
3 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness read it again, please, a bit
4 more than one word.
5 MR. JOSSE:
6 Q. Those are -- I don't know whether you get -- you probably don't
7 hear what the interpreter says. The interpreter has just said, Mr. Vasic,
8 that those two words aren't enough, but what I'm saying is they are the
9 only two words in that typeface, aren't they? That's a question to you,
10 Mr. Vasic. They are the only two words with that particular typeface; is
11 that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So could you read them again, and I can only ask the interpreter
14 to do their best. If it's really not possible, with the learned Judges'
15 leave, because you'd just say.
16 Read them again, please.
17 A. "Is thoughtless" or "thoughtlessness."
18 Q. Are you able to give any explanation, Mr. Vasic, as to why they
19 are a different typeface?
20 A. I don't know. I suppose something else must have been written
21 here and then deleted, and something was typed over the original text.
22 Perhaps it could be easier to understand within context of a whole
23 sentence, that is. But why this bit has been deleted, I have no idea.
24 Q. I think, in fairness, perhaps you would read the whole sentence.
25 A. "SDS got the majority power and it is led by the most extremist
1 streak of the Serb people, and its thoughtlessness led to grief for most
2 management posts held by people of Serb nationalities, and they were
3 blamed for having belonged to the League of Communists and other leftist
5 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I had a conversation of sorts, but not in
6 these terms, with Mr. Tieger yesterday, but I would invite the Prosecution
7 to consider whether it is possible for the original of this document to be
8 produced, because I wish to pursue this line of questioning, particularly
9 bearing in mind exactly the point that -- the typeface that has been
10 changed, in other words, the pointed in the document that has been
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
13 MR. TIEGER: Well, that's certainly not going to be possible at
14 the moment, Your Honour, given the hour, but we'll make every attempt to
15 produce the document or the original document that was seized, whether or
16 not that's the -- an original is another story, as soon as possible, which
17 I presume will be shortly after 9.00.
18 MR. JOSSE: That's fine, Your Honour, and I'm not sure I would
19 need to pursue it with the witness, bearing in mind --
20 JUDGE ORIE: We'll see whether there's any issue of authenticity
21 or changes in the document at a later stage.
22 MR. JOSSE:
23 Q. There's one passage I'd like to take you to, and that is the top
24 of page 3, which deals with the SDA.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Would you read out the first sentence only, to begin with.
2 A. "SDA, the leadership of this party is under the powerful influence
3 of Islamic fundamentalism. Its cadres are Fuad Klokic, a political
4 scientist, a Marxist, one-time member of Maspok, it's highly
5 unpredictable, and his nickname is Fuad Lagara, the liar. Husein Vukovic,
6 four years of school."
7 Q. Stop there. Particularly, I'd like you to go to the beginning of
8 the second paragraph that relates to the SDA, that begins with the
9 word "rukovodstva."
10 A. "Leadership of this party is very close to Odobasic Jasmin, legal
11 officer from SDP, Muharem Halilovic, until recently chief of SUP, Zehra
12 Halilovic, until recently President of the Prnjavor Municipal Assembly,
13 and Muhamed Klokic, agronomist and the agricultural cooperative director."
14 Q. Now, you talked about Mr. Odobasic in the course of your evidence,
15 at least in chief. He was in the SDP rather than the SDA; is that right?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Do you have any understanding of what Clara means when he or she
18 says that Mr. Odobasic was close, I think very close, to the leadership of
19 the party, clearly referring to the SDA?
20 A. Probably what is meant is that he was one of the more extreme
21 Muslims, especially at the time when the SDA party was being set up. All
22 those who came from Sarajevo first came to see him. And I know of a
23 number of people from that leadership who went to Lisnja, to the founding
24 assembly of the SDA together with him.
25 Afterwards, he became president of the exchange committee and he
1 showed his true face because more than a hundred people killed by
2 Mujahedin in Prnjavor he didn't want to help them be exchanged. Only
3 about 15 people who had already been put on the list by the International
4 Red Cross, even though back then we did get in touch with him and we asked
5 him to help us out. But all those who were exchanged were exchanged dead.
6 And two were never exchanged and we got two bodies with heads missing.
7 And he was the president of this committee which has supposed to help out
8 in these exchanges, and I suppose he's the only person who is still afraid
9 to come back to Prnjavor today, because he's afraid of the families of the
11 MR. JOSSE: Could Your Honour give me one moment?
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please take your time.
13 [Defence counsel confer]
14 MR. JOSSE: I have no more questions. Thank you.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
16 MR. TIEGER: No, Your Honour. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau has one or more questions for you.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like us to come back
20 to the actions of this armed group, the ones we have called the Wolves.
21 Let's talk about their commander. It was Mr. Veljko Milankovic, wasn't
23 A. Yes.
24 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I understood that this man was
25 from the same local commune, from the same area.
1 A. From the municipality of Prnjavor, from a village there.
2 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And at some point it was said
3 that he was an entrepreneur, a businessman.
4 A. I said that he was a criminal before the war, but he was a hero
5 during the war and he was killed in the war in 1993.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, but before the war, before
7 he created that group of men, of armed men, what was he doing?
8 A. He had never been any sort of businessman.
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] My question is the following:
10 You stated that at some point these men and this man we just mentioned,
11 were walking around in town carrying weapons and that they were
12 threatening the population, both the Muslim and the other population.
13 A. Yes. As the other 2.000 soldiers as well who were walking around
14 fully armed, what I meant was that anyone would be afraid of a person
15 bearing arms. But they were more disciplined than other soldiers. It was
16 a rather disciplined unit.
17 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, but you stated that these
18 men were drunk at night, they were carrying weapons, and people were
19 afraid of them.
20 Please, can you explain the following to me: Why did the civilian
21 authorities of the municipality, and you were the president of the said
22 municipality, why didn't you react? Why didn't you make sure that these
23 people were arrested?
24 A. The army was a much more powerful force than the police or the
25 civilian authorities. Everything we could do was to kindly asked them not
1 to carry arms. There were some arrests on the part of the military
2 police, some requests for certain arrests. There have been quite a few of
3 such individual incidents.
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] But you yourself, what measures
5 did you implement in order to protect the civilian population against the
6 acts committed by these men?
7 A. Everything we could do. I mean, we asked the military to deal
8 with these people when such incidents happened. These were individual,
9 isolated incidents. It wasn't a constant practice. There was an order in
10 one of the decisions that I had read out whereby General Talic issued an
11 order according to which military police was no longer allowed to operate
12 in town, but only on the front lines, and that it was up to the civilian
13 police force to deal with the situation in town. So it was just one of
14 the measures I had managed to negotiate with the military authorities,
15 because there had been quite a few complaints about the military police
16 breaking into people's flats, and so that was when the decision was made
17 on the part of the general to ban them from doing that.
18 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Why could the civilian police not
19 do anything? Why couldn't they intervene?
20 A. There were attempts, and that's why there was once a conflict
21 between the army and the police force that we had talked about earlier on,
22 when the chief of police was replaced. We asked them to do so, but they
23 had no actual power, because they had only 50 active police officers and
24 then maybe about -- between 50 and 100 reserve officers. And there were
25 at least 2.000 soldiers on leave, fully armed, at any given time. Quite a
1 few of them, of course, were scattered around the villages. They were not
2 all of them in town, but they used to come into town all the time and it
3 was common practice for them to always walk around fully armed.
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So you stated very clearly that
5 you disagreed with these acts, but did you write any reports? Did you
6 send any reports to the civilian authorities? I don't know what
7 authorities. Maybe the regional authorities or at the state level. Did
8 you write to anyone to tell them what was going on? Did you write reports
9 to the command of the military in order to say that what these men were
10 doing was completely intolerable for you, as the mayor of this commune, of
11 this community?
12 A. Yes. Complaints were made, both in writing and orally. And one
13 of the things that they said that we were against was one of the decisions
14 on the part of the Crisis Staff, whereby we wrote a letter to the Crisis
15 Staff of Krajina and we said that we had information that some people
16 within the Crisis Staff of Krajina were working on the formation of the
17 armed forces outside the scope of the regular army and that we wanted an
18 investigation into that. So we wanted to put a stop to the creation of
19 these paramilitary forces and that is referred to in one of the decisions
20 of the Crisis Staff which is in this set of documents. And it was in fact
21 delivered to the Crisis Staff of the Krajina, where there was the
22 headquarters of the police force and the 1st Corps. And I had many other
23 contacts and phone conversations, et cetera. And also, the phone call to
24 President Karadzic asking him to intervene with the army and asked them to
25 tell their soldiers not to carry weapons around when they were on leave.
1 And there were quite a few requests made to the chief of police
2 or -- and the police force in general or the military to intervene with
3 regard to individual incidents. The basic practice was, for example, if
4 there was a problem being created by soldiers in town, we would normally
5 know what unit they came from and then we would call the commander to send
6 the military police from that unit to deal with these men.
7 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, on that
8 particular point.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Second point I'd like to discuss
11 with you, I'd like you to clarify, has to do with a topic we dealt with
12 yesterday, the fact that a number of managers were forced to resign. Do
13 you remember that point? And the Prosecutors produced a number of
14 documents where we could see the decisions, the decisions pertaining to
15 these resignations were signed by yourself. And you stated, and I hope
16 that I'm not mistaken in that, you stated that of course a number of
17 people were forced to resign, but what you said is that most people were
18 given other jobs, in other functions, functions that existed at the time
19 of war. So, in other words, these were just formal movements within the
20 employment structure. These people were not deprived of their employment,
21 but they were appointed to other positions, positions that existed only
22 during the war. Have I understood you correctly?
23 A. I think that you've understood a part of what I've said. All the
24 people were fired because such was the order that was received, and in
25 case of the immediate danger of war, then all the, for example, managers
1 stopped being managers of a particular business, but they became managers
2 in a war situation. And the SDA, that was part of the coalition, then
3 protested because some part of their managers were simply fired or
4 replaced by some other people, and three of them were not Serbs. But I
5 believe that there were two or three managers that came from the SDA, and
6 their replacements were not found for them.
7 Some people who were officers were sent to the front. They were
8 mostly Serbs. They were mobilised. And some other people were appointed
9 in the interim period to perform those duties. For example, the commander
10 of a particular unit was sent to the war, in the military, and then
11 somebody else took his place, and when that person came back from the war,
12 he became director of a technical school.
13 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] In other words, practically
14 speaking, all these people were appointed to other functions, functions
15 that existed because it was the war. That's what you are telling me.
16 Except for three people who, according to you, were members of the SDA and
17 were Muslims.
18 A. They were candidates from the SDA in order to become managers.
19 One of them was the chairman of the SDA.
20 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Please answer my question.
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Were all these people given
23 another job except for three people, who were SDA candidates?
24 A. Yes. Except for those that went to the army, because they
25 accepted to go to the army. But most of the people that went were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 officers, because what we tried to do, ordinary soldiers who -- or rather,
2 the managers who were just soldiers, we thought they should not go to the
3 war because we needed those people. We only sent those people who were
4 officers, and those who were not were kept on their original post, because
5 they were more needed there.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I'm going to force you to do
7 something that might be a bit tedious, but what I would like us to do is
8 to go back to this document that -- with all the decisions. What is the
9 number of the document?
10 JUDGE ORIE: I think it's 33. We could provide that to you.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Of course, we are not going to run through all the decisions. I
13 don't want to ask too much. But without going through all the decisions,
14 I would like you to point out the cases of people who were forced to
15 resign but who were also given another position, that you described as a
16 wartime position. You were the one who signed all these decisions, so I'm
17 sure you are perfectly aware of what happened to these people later on, so
18 it should be very easy for you to give us some examples of what I've just
20 A. I did not sign any of these decisions. It was the Executive
21 Committee of the Municipal Assembly who took those decisions. These
22 decisions were taken by the Executive Committee of the Municipal Assembly,
23 and I didn't sign any one of them, but I knew of them.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Vasic, perhaps I just consulted with Judge
25 Hanoteau. Perhaps we could take a few examples. If you would look at
1 decision number 72, where Mr. Kostresevic seems to be relieved of his
2 duties. That is Mr. Luka Kostresevic. And in decision 123, it seems that
3 he is appointed, whereas in 72 he is relieved from his duties as the
4 director of the public utility company Park Prnjavor [phoen]. In 123, he
5 is appointed director of the public utility company Park Prnjavor. So is
6 that one of the examples of what you had in mind?
7 A. Yes. This was the first manager, my first manager, and he was
8 later appointed the manager of the public -- yes, it's correct.
9 JUDGE ORIE: What was his ethnicity, of Mr. Kostresevic?
10 A. He was a Serb.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Now let's move on to 74, Mr. Krivinskij.
12 Mr. Krivinskij is relieved from his duties as the director of the mixed
13 company Vetprodukt in Prnjavor. And then in 124, we see him reappear as
14 the director of the mixed company Vetprodukt Prnjavor. That's another
15 example, I take it?
16 A. Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: What's the ethnicity of Mr. Krivinskij?
18 A. I think that he came from a mixed marriage, from a Croat and a
19 Ukrainian, or maybe he's purely a Croat, but certainly he's not a Serb.
20 None of his parents were Serbs and he wasn't a Serb either.
21 JUDGE ORIE: If we would look at decisions 76 and 126, Vrhovac.
22 Could you tell us what the ethnicity of Mr. Vrhovac was?
23 A. He was a Serb.
24 JUDGE ORIE: If we look at 77 and 127, Brkovic, what's the
25 ethnicity of Mr. Brkovic?
1 A. Could you please read out his first name as well, because there
2 are two Brkovics. One is Pero.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just check whether I did not mix them up. But
4 in 77 it's Milenko Brkovic who is --
5 A. Pero Brkovic was a Serb.
6 JUDGE ORIE: And Milenko Vrhovac is?
7 A. A Serb.
8 JUDGE ORIE: A Serb. Let me just have a look at 126, whether I
9 did not mix up any first names. No, it's both Milenko.
10 Then 78, Ignjatic, 128, one relieving Mr. Ignjatic from his duties
11 and 128 appointing Mr. Ignjatic. What was the ethnicity of Mr. Ignjatic?
12 A. He was a Serb.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I'd like you to give me any example of a Muslim
14 being relieved from his duties and reappointed in a similar way. Because
15 we see that decisions to relieve persons from their duties range from
16 decision 68 until 108. That's 40 decisions, apart from some numbering
17 problems, but approximately 40. And then we see that other people are
18 appointed again, and I'm just limiting myself at this moment to the --
19 well, let's say the economic functions. Then we find from 109 until 152
20 the appointments, some 43. So that is a number, more or less, balanced.
21 Could you give me an example of a Muslim being relieved from his
22 duties and then being reappointed. And perhaps I've written down at least
23 the first 12 names, so if that would assist you, either Mr. Debeljak,
24 Jevtic, Planicic, Mr. Rupa, Mr. Miljencic [phoen], Mr. Sljivic,
25 Mr. Klokic. So any of these persons being Muslim and being reappointed
1 immediately after relieved from their duties, as we saw it with some Serbs
2 and some people from mixed marriages.
3 A. It functioned with Serbs and Croats, and I think that before the
4 war there were only three managers who were of Muslim ethnicity.
5 Otherwise, they were less represented between the managers. I think that
6 Softic Edhem was appointed later on.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's take them. The three Muslim managers,
8 who were they? Could you give us their names? I think you gave one.
10 A. Fuad Klokic was a manager of the restoration company, and the
11 chairman of the SDA. He was later on replaced by somebody else when he --
12 when they went after the coalition and he was not reappointed later on.
13 And Softic Edhem, who was the manager of the veterinary station, he was
14 relieved of his duties and later on reappointed. And he was one of the
15 members of the local parliament.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Was he reappointed? Was this in this series of
17 decisions? Because these decisions very much concentrate on late
18 May/early June 1992. Could you tell us about Mr. Klokic. So he left. He
19 was not reappointed. Then Mr. Edhem, he was relieved from his duties,
20 when is there a decision? Is it in this range?
21 A. I know that he was reappointed, but I don't know whether it is
22 written down here. And there is to a Pavle as well, he was not
23 reappointed, although he was a Serb. I've just come across that line
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So from the few --
1 A. Aleksandar Krivinskij, Pavle Stula, they were both reappointed,
2 although they were not Serbs. Let me just look it up for a minute here.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not generally talking about non-Serbs. You could
4 deal with that, but at this moment I'm looking for Muslims. And I'm
5 trying to -- you say Mr. Klokic was one, he was not reappointed.
6 A. Yes. I have just found it. This is the decision on appointment
7 of a manager in the war conditions, Softic Edhem.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What number? Could you give me the number, so
9 that we ...
10 A. It's on page 112 in the Serbian language. It's number 142, 142.
11 JUDGE ORIE: 142. Okay. Edhem Softic, the veterinarian, was
12 appointed again. And he was Muslim, you said? Is that a correct
14 A. Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So that's one of the examples where we have
16 reappointments. And that's now clear to me that -- do you have any
17 recollection of any other Muslim being relieved of his duties and not
18 being reappointed? I see Mr. Edhem was reappointed approximately --
19 Mr. Edhem Softic was appointed at approximately the same time when he was
20 relieved from his duties.
21 A. Yes, that was the case with all of them.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes. I see that the decisions are very much
23 concentrated in the same period of time, so this certainly is a clear
24 example of --
25 A. I thought that there were only three managers even before the war.
1 Before the war, there were very few managers who were Muslims, because
2 most of them were not qualified enough.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That clarifies the issue of reappointments of
4 those who were relieved of their duties, at least to some extent.
5 I have a few other questions in this respect as well. I did see
6 in this list of -- could you have a look at decision 61. Yes, that's the
7 relief of a magistrate. Was it within the competence of the Municipal
8 Assembly or the War Presidency to, well, to say it in plain words, to
9 relieve judges from their duties?
10 A. She was a municipal court magistrate, and that was under special
11 authorities, because those type of courts are apart in what they do, apart
12 from the ordinary courts, general courts. And that is something that
13 changes very often. Sometimes they are within the competence of the
14 Municipal Assembly, and that was the case in that particular point in
15 time. And I have already explained before why she was relieved, because
16 she didn't want to deal with certain cases. She would simply put them in
17 the drawer.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And what was her ethnicity?
19 A. She was a Muslim.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Are there any examples --
21 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, could we briefly go into private session,
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we will.
24 [Private session]
11 Page 17724 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
16 Mr. Vasic, were there any other examples of judges being relieved
17 from their duties, the same kind of judges, and what was their ethnicity?
18 A. Judges at the courts for misdemeanours, I think we only had one or
19 two. I'm not 100 per cent sure. Because it was a small municipality and
20 judges at the municipal courts for misdemeanours were not very many. And
21 so the decision here is not really explained. But we had no other similar
22 cases at this particular court, and the other court was not within my area
23 of competence.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You said one or two, not many. Is your recollection
25 anything --
1 A. I think we only had one. I'm not sure.
2 JUDGE ORIE: That's the one we just referred to in decision 61?
3 A. I think there was just this one judge.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that information.
5 I would like to draw your attention to another decision and ask
6 some explanation, and that's a document which appears under number 33, but
7 I think it's also already in evidence. That is decision number 44, which
8 says that the citizens of Prnjavor municipality in possession of movable
9 and immovable property - and I'm certain that it is already in evidence,
10 but it's now in this bundle under number 33, in evidence again - that
11 these citizens are called upon to report to the municipal secretariat for
12 economy, and if they do not report within, well, let's say approximately
13 two and a half weeks, that they shall be treated in accordance with the
14 decision of the Crisis Staff of the ARK and that the property of such
15 citizens shall be declared the property of the state and placed at the
16 disposal of the municipality of Prnjavor.
17 This is, well, a type of --
18 A. According to previous legislation and on the basis of a decision
19 made by the ARK Krajina, if a property was deserted, it had to be placed
20 on record and placed under the administration of the state. Because we
21 had some cases where citizens had left and then people were breaking into
22 their homes and stealing stuff. So it all had to be documented. And
23 we've got all the relevant documents about the property being returned. I
24 think about a dozens of tractors had been taken and then they were given
25 back to their rightful owners. Because we placed all the movable
1 property, such as vehicles, tractors, or whatever, from the abandoned
2 homes in a warehouse there at the factory, and we just had to keep these
3 abandoned property under control, and that was in line with the
4 legislation which was in force before the war.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. As a matter of fact, Mr. Vasic, your testimony
6 now, the language you use in your testimony, is not exactly the same as we
7 find in this decision. Because the decision doesn't say that it should be
8 registered, so in order that the municipality could take care of this
9 property in order to return it. But it says: "The property of such
10 citizens shall be declared the property of the state," which means that
11 it's not the property of the citizen anymore, "and placed at the disposal
12 by the municipality of Prnjavor."
13 So the decision clearly says that it's now property of the state,
14 which is a bit different from what you just said.
15 Now, I'd like to know --
16 A. It says state property, or rather, that the municipality would be
17 able to dispose of that property. That was in line with pre-war
18 legislation. If this property could not be kept safe, it would be sold on
19 the basis of those regulations and the funds would benefit the
20 municipality. And then after the war people would be compensated; they
21 would get some kind of financial recompense. And this refers to the
22 decision in question.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give me any document in which it clearly
24 says that any money obtained by selling this property would be kept safely
25 for those who owned that property? I mean, not what happened after the
1 war, but during the war, that there was a regulation saying if a house or
2 an apartment or a tractor is sold which belonged to Mr. X or Y, then the
3 money should be kept from Mr. X and Y for compensation. Could you point
4 us at any clear decision in this respect during the war, not after the
6 A. It was regulated by law, and I'm referring to both pre- and
7 postwar legislation here, both the legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 and the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I don't know exactly
9 what specific law and what article of that law. But at any rate, on the
10 basis of that very legislation, everybody was compensated afterwards.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes, well, whether someone was compensated or
12 whether it was -- or whether such compensation was provided for before the
13 war ended are two different matters.
14 Could I ask you: As far as immovable property is concerned, has
15 it been registered who did not report and who, therefore, lost the
16 property of these immovables? Is there a register on what property became
17 state property?
18 A. This terminology, the right to dispose of, to be placed at the
19 disposal, was basically meant to indicate that tractors and any other
20 larger objects would be kept at that factory warehouse or else there would
21 be an auction and they would be sold off and then those funds would be
22 paid back to the previous owners after the war. And as to houses --
23 JUDGE ORIE: As far as tractors are concerned, that's not what the
24 decision says. So I invited you to point us at any decision, and you said
25 there must have been some legislation, because money was put apart in
1 order for the --
2 A. There is a law regulating the code of conduct in those cases, and
3 it was complied with.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an example of a property, of some
5 value - I'm not talking about a spare wheel of a tractor, but I'm talking
6 about real property of some major value, belonging to a non-Serb - where
7 the money was kept for the previous am owner and that he was compensated
8 after the war, spontaneously, so not after difficult proceedings, but --
9 because you say "we kept that money apart." So could you give us an
10 example of some, again, not minor things, but of some substantial property
11 owned by a non-Serb where the money was kept for him and, well, let's say
12 after 1995, that he didn't have to go to court to get it all back, but
13 just receive it back from the municipality who has kept the money for such
14 a long time for him? Could you give us an example?
15 A. I can quote one example. I mean, there were very few such
16 examples. For the most part, the property was kept safe and then
17 returned. In the entire municipality, only 400.000 Deutschmarks, 200.000
18 euros' worth of that property had to be paid back. So there were not very
19 many of such cases. One particular building had been destroyed and the
20 money was given to the damaged party. That is to say, they didn't
21 actually want any money. They wanted to be given an apartment in lieu of
22 the house that had been destroyed. And so they reached an agreement in
23 that way. But there were very few such cases.
24 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not talking about destruction and compensation
25 from destruction; I'm talking about compensation for appropriation by the
1 state of property left by their owners. And I take it that if a building
2 is --
3 A. 200.000 euros is the total worth of that property and all that was
4 paid back very swiftly.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, is there any registration of those
6 properties that were left and where people did not report? I mean, am I
7 talking in terms of tens of people, hundreds of people? Could you give us
8 an idea of what we're talking about?
9 A. Perhaps it's 70, up to 80 cases, tops. And we've got complete
10 records, and there was a special committee selected by the Executive
11 Committee, and they were in charge of all that. And they recorded all
12 that property. And on the basis of those records, the property was
13 returned afterwards.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an idea on what was the percentage
15 of Serbs not reporting and thus losing their property, and Muslims not
16 reporting and thus losing their property? I mean, what was the percentage
17 of property that became state-owned property because of the -- and I'm
18 especially interested in immovable property.
19 A. For the most part, those people were Muslims.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you're talking about 70 to 80 people,
21 would that include immovable property? I mean, would that be 70, 80
22 families leaving their property and thus losing their property?
23 A. Just so as for there not to be any misunderstandings, we're
24 talking about people who left and didn't entrust anyone with safekeeping.
25 Because if there was anyone else in charge of a house, say, the house
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 would not have been considered as abandoned. We're talking about the
2 people who simply left and never said anything.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Now from this 70 to 80 people who left their
4 immovable property behind, how many of them have returned by now,
5 approximately? I mean, how many are now occupying what is or was their
7 A. All property was returned. As to whether anyone sold that
8 property afterwards, I don't know. But the law was properly implemented.
9 And I think that more than 90 per cent of them actually had come back.
10 There was no census recently, but I think about 90 per cent of those
11 people came back.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Now, when you're talking about the law, what law are
13 you referring to, and when was it enacted?
14 A. As I said, it was regulated on the basis of both pre- and postwar
15 legislation, and the constitution of the Serb Republic that provides
16 relevant guarantees as well. I can't remember the exact reference, but it
17 can certainly be found. There is a law and the relevant article, but I
18 can't remember what it is. I think I must have a CD listing all the laws
19 passed by the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as
20 well as the constitution provisions. I can leave the CD to the Court, if
21 you'd like me to.
22 JUDGE ORIE: If the parties are interested to have a look at it.
23 I'm looking at ...
24 Now, another matter. The legal basis for appropriation by the
25 state of that property, what would that be? Because if you do not report
1 within two weeks -- and the decision was taken in times where people might
2 not immediately verify all the decisions taken by the municipality. What
3 was the legal basis for appropriation of this property, apart from this
5 Let me say the following: I would be surprised if I went on a
6 holiday for four weeks and upon my return I would -- of course, I do
7 understand that the situation is different, but I would like to know what
8 is the legal basis for this decision?
9 A. The legal basis is enshrined in law, and I'm quite certain that
10 the secretary who spelt it out in this way actually complied with the law.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But you couldn't identify the law. Most legal
12 systems have an extensive protection for the free enjoyment of property,
13 so therefore, I'm interested to know what kind of law that is. If you
14 don't know, please tell us.
15 A. I think that there is a law on abandoned property. I think that's
16 the title. But I'm not a legal expert myself, so all this is slightly
17 alien to me. But it is certainly possible to find it on the CD. And
18 those things were put under the protection of the state, as it were, for
19 the sake of protecting that property, and in line with the relevant
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You have said that a couple of times.
22 Therefore, I'd like to invite the interpreters to look at, if you have got
23 the bundle, at decision 45 and read to me the -- or at least we'll ask the
24 witness to read the last portion, and I do see that in the translation
25 until now -- let me see. No. It's 44, as a matter of fact. Oh, yes.
1 It's one of the examples where the numbering -- 44. It also means that
2 the translation, the original has a 44, a 45, a 46. However, the
3 translation has a 44 and then jumps to 46.
4 So I'd like you to look at 44, and I invite the Prosecution to
5 come up with a complete translation.
6 I'd like you, Mr. Vasic, perhaps you could assist us to read the
7 portion where it says: "Any failure to report by the above date." That's
8 the second part of the first article. Could you slowly read that, so that
9 it could be translated by the interpreters.
10 A. "Citizens who by this date do not report will be treated in
11 accordance with a decision of the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region,
12 their property shall be declared the property of the state and placed at
13 the disposal of the municipality of Prnjavor. This decision shall not
14 apply to the citizens ..."
15 I think the next sentence is essential as well.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Well, I do understand that those who were working
17 abroad were not subject to this -- well, of course I read that. I'm
18 mainly interested in those cases where this decision did apply.
19 Again, you have stressed again and again that the property was
20 kept safe by the state, whereas the decision - and that's the reason why I
21 asked the interpreters to again translate it - doesn't say we'll keep it
22 for you, but it says it's now property owned by the state.
23 Could you tell me: When was the compensation and the return of
24 this 70 to 80 left properties which became state property, when was it
1 A. I can't tell you exactly. We had individual cases and they were
2 dealt with separately. But all property and ownership legislation was in
3 line with this and it had to do with the return of the citizens as well,
4 those who wished to return, that is. But as we received the requests, as
5 people came along, the cases were dealt with. But the entire procedure
6 was very short. There were no court cases, because nobody complained or
7 appealed any of these decisions. There was just a single case on the part
8 of a Serb whose property had been destroyed and he felt that he had not
9 been given enough money for that, and that was dealt with at a higher
10 level. But everything else was resolved very quickly.
11 JUDGE ORIE: And that was not, or was it, the case you referred to
12 earlier about the destroyed building and compensation for that?
13 A. No. That case was settled out of court with the parties involved,
14 so that was not the one I was referring to.
15 JUDGE ORIE: You didn't give any clear answer. The correspondence
16 we had a look at earlier, as part of the documents you provided to the
17 Defence team of the OSCE, was it in relation to this? Because there was a
18 letter about completing the -- successfully completing the procedures of -
19 what was it exactly? - was that related to -- "fulfilled its obligations
20 under the property laws as outlined in the - I can't read it - substantial
21 completion guidelines."
22 That letter, sent by the deputy representative of the High
23 Representative, is that about completion of this, well, giving back ...
24 A. This referred to everything, generally. This plan for the
25 implementation of property laws arranged by the international community,
1 or the plan for the application of property laws put together by
2 international organisations was implemented according to relevant rules
3 and regulations, and there is a reference to that here. And according to
4 that plan, everything that was encompassed by the plan was processed and
5 then these three organisations checked the documents from the municipality
6 of Prnjavor, and the conclusion was reached that it had essentially been
8 JUDGE ORIE: Now, could you give us an indication, because this
9 letter is 2005, so that's at least a long period of time. But could you
10 give us an impression on the first ten immovable property returned and put
11 at the disposal of Muslims? Because you said most of the 70 to 80 were
12 Muslim properties. When was that completed? Could you tell us? 1998, 15
13 families re-installed in an ownership? Or could you give us an idea on
14 how that happened?
15 A. I can say that, as people came along bearing these requests, the
16 requests were processed speedily. Some cases were resolved as early as
17 1996. I'm quite certain that at least 200 cases were dealt with as early
18 as 1996, and probably more than that.
19 JUDGE ORIE: You said 200 cases. Earlier, about immovable
20 property --
21 A. I didn't say 200. Maybe it was a mistake.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What --
23 A. I said the biggest number of cases.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Okay. Then that's corrected.
25 You said as early as 1996. Is there any register kept of --
1 because I'm confronted at this moment with the situation in which during
2 the wartime there is a decision which clearly states it's state property
3 now. You tell us that that was not the case because it was just the
4 property kept in safekeeping by the municipality in order to return it
5 after the war. I asked you about any documentation on this, and you have
6 until now not been able to provide it. And therefore, I'm interested to
7 know exactly what happened with this 70 to 80 cases, mainly Muslims, as
8 you told us, how long it took, whether it was immediately returned.
9 Because I now do understand that upon application, people would get it,
10 and it was a quick procedure. How quick? Two months, six months, one
11 year and a half, three years?
12 A. The time needed depended on how busy the courts were. I think it
13 was done very quickly. I'm not familiar with all the details, but I'm
14 quite certain that as people came along -- I mean, Your Honour, some
15 people came back in 1998. Some people didn't come back immediately. But
16 when they did come back and lodged their application, they could be
17 entitled to all these things. I mean, we have full records on these
18 returns. I don't have them here, because I didn't think it was necessary.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand that people had to go to court to
20 file an application to be re-installed in their ownership? Is that what I
21 can ...
22 A. I think that the applications were lodged with the municipal
23 secretariat, so not actually the courts, except for this one case of
24 dispute where this one Serb citizen asked for more funds. But they didn't
25 actually have to go to court.
1 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, you tell us that the speed depended
2 on how busy the courts were. That's what you said one minute ago.
3 A. Right. I'm not an expert in that area. You have to understand
4 that. I probably misspoke. What I meant was the authorities in charge of
5 that. I was no longer the president of the municipality, so I'm not
6 familiar with all that. And I'm not a legal expert, so I don't know who
7 was in charge of all that. I think the relevant body was the municipal
8 secretariat, and it was probably their job. I think I must have made a
9 mistake when I referred to courts. It was only -- of course, if anyone
10 contacted the courts, the courts would contact the municipal secretariat
11 as to all these things and how they were dealt with and the procedure, I'm
12 not too familiar with it, but I do know that it was all done according to
13 the procedure enshrined in law. I'm certain of that. And I can also
14 provide the relevant documents as to each individual return, because those
15 documents do exist.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Now, you said it depended on how busy, well, let's
17 say the municipal secretariat was, how long it took. Could you give us an
18 average time? Because I suggested to you whether it was two months or two
19 years. On average.
20 A. Two months, perhaps. Certainly no longer than two months.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 A. Starting on the day on which the relevant party lodged their
24 JUDGE ORIE: Is there anyone who lost his property who did not
25 report at this moment? Is there any one of this 70 or 80 who never
1 claimed their property back?
2 A. Whoever claimed their property had the right to do so.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's not an answer to my question. My
4 question was whether anyone did not claim their property back who lost it
5 on the basis of the decision we just discussed. I didn't ask whether they
6 had a right. I asked whether there was anyone who, for whatever reason,
7 refrained from such a claim.
8 A. I'm not aware of any such cases.
9 JUDGE ORIE: If it's all registered first, the loss of property,
10 then it should be possible to verify whether all that property which was
11 kept safely for the owners, or the previous owners -- are there registers?
12 Do you know where we could find that?
13 A. Yes. At the municipality of Prnjavor.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE ORIE: I have no further questions for you, but Judge
16 Hanoteau has one.
17 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. Tieger, I was wondering if
18 you could help me, because I didn't write this down. Could you tell me
19 where one can find the report which you mentioned pertaining to the
20 expulsion of the people, inhabitants of Lisnja. During the
21 cross-examination, you said there was the military report which was
22 confidential, and this report mentioned the expulsion of the inhabitants
23 of Lisnja, and I didn't write this down. I was wondering if you could
24 help me out here.
25 MR. TIEGER: I'd be happy to, Your Honour, if you'd just give me a
2 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps meanwhile, Mr. Josse, I could ask you
3 whether, apart from this last question still to come, whether there would
4 be any need to put further questions to the witness.
5 MR. JOSSE: I do have a number which arise from Your Honours'
6 questions, yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: We do understand that. And I didn't hear any sign of
8 Mr. Krajisnik with additional questions. May I take it that he has none
9 or -- we should have asked earlier.
10 MR. JOSSE: We'll check.
11 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, that's found at tab 12. It's previous
12 Exhibit P892, tab 87 -- tab 12 of the materials presented in Court. It's
13 a report that's headed, after it says "strictly confidential," "1st
14 Krajina Command, with the confidential number 2 June 1992. And I think
15 the reference in Court was to the paragraph enumerated as number 2.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] You, Mr. Tieger, also referred to
17 the following: The Muslim population of the [Previous translation
18 continues]... [In English] Expelled.
19 MR. TIEGER: That was a reference to the last sentence of
20 paragraph 2 of that report.
21 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Could you show this document to
22 the witness, please.
23 Witness, when you were shown this report, you answered by saying
24 that this was a lie. I remember your answer. This is right, isn't it?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] When the Prosecutor, during his
2 cross-examination, showed you a document dated on the 3rd of June, 1992,
3 signed by General Talic, where cleansing is mentioned, cleansing of this
4 community, you also said that this was not true. You said that this was a
6 I would like to understand why you claim outright that this is a
7 lie. When you say that it is a lie, you have to be able to prove it.
8 These are official documents. I don't know in which country you were
9 living. Report dated the 2nd of June, 1992. Then there is a document
10 that has been certified by General Talic. So a while ago we mentioned a
11 report drafted by the intelligence services. You said these are people
12 who don't like us. I'm sorry. I think I heard you saying this. You said
13 these were Communists. You can't believe these people, people who have a
14 grudge against us.
15 I'm prepared to believe that these are unidentified intelligence
16 services and these people will not be writing things which are
17 particularly favourable to you, but where we are talking about reports
18 which have been drafted by the military or by a general, and these reports
19 state that there were expulsions, the other report states that there has
20 been ethnic cleansing, and you say that this is a lie. Why do you say
21 that this is a lie? This, I don't think -- I'm sorry, but when you say
22 that this is a lie, I don't think that that is an appropriate answer.
23 A. I claim that on the basis of my presence and on the basis of the
24 fact that I saw everything with my own eyes. This report by General Talic
25 was also drafted on the basis of the reports coming from these Claras or
1 whatever they called themselves, these intelligence officers submitting
2 these reports. And what kind of cleansing they had in mind here, I do not
3 know, but I can state upon my full responsibility that I saw with my own
4 eyes, and I said myself that about 30 vehicles involved in this shooting
5 drove in the direction of the main road. And I myself told them and
6 invited them to go back home, and that's what I did. And they all turned
7 back. And that was an activity engaged in by the army and the police.
8 As to my own area of competence, it referred to hunting rifles
9 only, and that is the decision that I myself wrote and signed and handed
10 over to the police.
11 As to all the other reports and the police and army and what sort
12 of reporting this is, I still stand by what I said about those people and
13 their morality and trustworthiness of their documents. They bear no name,
14 no stamp, no nothing.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, that's all very well, as far
16 as a confidential report is concerned, but of the ARK, but in this case,
17 these are proper, official documents. They bear reference numbers. These
18 come from the command of a particular military corps. These documents
19 bear a date. So are you saying that the military authorities were so
20 unaware that they were prepared to draft reports based on hearsay or
21 anonymous intelligence reports? Do you really believe that a general or a
22 commander in charge of an army can just draft or write anything? Because
23 some intelligence service or more or less clearly identified intelligence
24 service provided some kind of information? Is that what you're saying?
25 Can you go as far as that? Can you actually say that?
1 A. Reading this, I just do not understand. It is not clear to me.
2 Because it doesn't say "ethnic cleansing," so this term "cleansing," I
3 don't know what they had in mind. Maybe some environmental operation or
4 what. Or I don't know what the general meant, or the person drawing up
5 this report. I can only talk about the events that I myself witnessed.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] In this military report, the --
7 they quite clearly talk about the expulsion of Muslims. So please answer
8 this question: Will you go as far as saying that the military in that
9 level of command would draft a report based on the mere information
10 provided by some kind of intelligence service? Is that what you're
11 saying, and are you prepared to go as far as that?
12 A. Yes. The reports were drafted only and exclusively on the basis
13 of the information provided by their intelligence officers in the field.
14 It was not the general who would have visited the place.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, Witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Having a look at the clock and knowing that we have
17 little time available, Mr. Josse, how much time do you think you would
19 MR. JOSSE: Ten minutes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ten minutes.
21 Mr. Tieger, would there be any need, apart from unexpected
22 developments in re-examination, would you need --
23 MR. TIEGER: I need approximately the same. I'll try to make it
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So that would take altogether some 20 minutes.
1 We also need a break.
2 Mr. Registrar, could you inform us as to how far the tape would
3 allow us? Because if we could continue, but I'm also looking at the
4 interpreters --
5 MR. JOSSE: Mr. Krajisnik has told me previously he would rather
6 confer with me. And that's not an unreasonable request.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Meanwhile, I'll hear about the tape.
8 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Meanwhile, I'm addressing the interpreters. 26
10 minutes left on the tape. That means that either we take a break now of
11 20, 25 minutes and change the tapes and then continue for another 20
12 minutes or that we would say that within the next 25 minutes we have to
13 finish. I do see from some hand signs that the interpreters would be
14 willing to continue. Thank you very much for your cooperation.
15 Mr. Josse.
16 Further Examination by Mr. Josse:
17 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour is going to continue? Because I was
18 hoping to --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you wanted to -- yes, I'd prefer to continue. If
20 there's any way of resolving that. Because we know that the witness
21 already returned once and we want him to catch his plane.
22 MR. JOSSE: Just give me one moment, please.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I decided that it would be 14 minutes for
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the Defence and 12 minutes from the remaining 26, but you're now equal at
2 12 and 12, because the tape is ...
3 MR. JOSSE:
4 Q. Mr. Vasic, you've been asked at some length about population
5 movement back into Prnjavor after the war. That's something you say there
6 are records in existence about; is that correct?
7 A. There is no census of the population, but there are records in the
8 adequate institutions where they have to report once they come back. But
9 this is something regular, when people have to report, when they come or
10 go from -- or cease to be residents in a certain municipality.
11 Q. You said that records could be provided, if required. Where are
12 these records?
13 A. According to the law, in the police stations, people have to
14 report as residents or when they cease to be residents in the municipality
15 of Prnjavor.
16 Q. Could you provide these records to this Court?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. How would you go about doing that?
19 A. I would ask the people who work at the municipalities who make
20 photocopies of that for the requirements of this Tribunal, and then I
21 would hand it in to you.
22 Q. You've been referred by the learned Judge to the letter that you
23 brought here from the Office of the High Representative. That letter
24 talks about property law implementation. What do you understand by the
25 expression "property law implementation"?
1 A. Property law implementation, to my mind, is that all those who
2 lodged an application, who asked to get, whether they had a right to get,
3 they got it, and that that process has been completed, according to the
4 standards determined by the international community after the war.
5 Q. Could you have that document in front of you from the Office of
6 the High Representative, and also the one from the OSCE.
7 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, in my submission, these are now, clearly,
8 should be exhibited.
9 JUDGE ORIE: The changed role from -- yes.
10 MR. JOSSE: Yes. Unfortunately --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you -- we have two documents,
12 then. The first one being a letter of the 4th of January, 2005, from
13 Ambassador Wnendt to Subotic and Zivkovic, although not one of the
14 clearest -- well, the problem is that we have different versions of it,
15 but the content seems the same. And the second one is the --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, please. Upon my
17 request, I asked for it to -- I asked it to the municipality, and this
18 gentleman wrote an accompanying letter. This one from 2005. He simply
19 informs that he is sending what was requested. Because I did not ask it
20 from the municipality; I asked it from the Office of the OSCE.
21 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine. I mean, the letter is there, and the
22 other one -- that would have the letter of the 4th of January. We'll
23 later find out which version exactly, because different headings over it.
24 That, Mr. Registrar, would be?
25 THE REGISTRAR: D71, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: D71. And then the other one is a document, in the
2 heading it says "organisation for security and cooperation in Europe," and
3 it seems to be addressed to Mr. Zivkovic. There's no translation yet, and
4 signed by Igor Licina. Please proceed. That would be --
5 THE REGISTRAR: D72.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
7 MR. JOSSE:
8 Q. So let me simplify matters. Why did you bring the letter from
9 Mr. -- why did you organise for the letter from Mr. Wnendt to be sent to
10 this Court? What were you hoping to show by bringing it here?
11 A. I was hoping to show by this letter that property was not taken
12 away from the citizens but that it was dealt with according to the law,
13 and that we were trying to get back the property to their owners and that
14 we were the first municipality in Prnjavor to proceed like that, and to
15 prove also that there was rule of law in the municipality of Prnjavor when
16 all that was put under control. I thought that this letter would simply
17 corroborate that. And indirectly, it would help to show that people did
18 return to Prnjavor.
19 Q. My final matter goes back to the issue of Lisnja and what happened
20 to the Muslim population there after the operation. Did all Muslims at
21 that point leave Lisnja or did any return immediately after the military
23 A. I already said on three occasions that there was a group of some
24 30 vehicles to whom I told to go back, and they all did go back. I do not
25 know whether some people left, those people whose houses had been set on
1 fire. That might have been individual cases that might have happened. But
2 during this particular operation, it did not occur. That is what I saw
3 with my own eyes, and that is what I told those people, and I did see that
4 they did go back.
5 Q. Let's jump forward to today, Mr. Vasic. Lisnja, is the village in
6 existence today?
7 A. Yes, it is.
8 Q. What is the ethnicity of the village today, please?
9 A. In the Muslim Lisnja, where only the Muslims live.
10 Q. And what about the mosque that was destroyed? What's happened to
12 A. All mosques were rebuilt.
13 Q. Yes.
14 MR. JOSSE: Again, one moment, please, Your Honour.
15 Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is only one thing that I would
17 like to add. According to the rules, they had a right to rebuild the
18 mosques, just as they used to be. And in Prnjavor, they wanted to build a
19 higher mosque, some 13 metres higher. They asked me to ask the head of
20 our municipality to -- and I intervened, and they built a minaret that is
21 23 metres high.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
23 Further cross-examination by Mr. Tieger:
24 Q. Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Mr. Vasic, I'd just like to be clear on what you're trying to tell
1 the Court about the nature of the reports prepared by General Talic and
2 submitted to the VRS Main Staff. So it's your position that, if I
3 understand it correctly, that General Talic's subordinates in the field
4 had no obligation to inform him about what was happening in their area of
5 responsibility, but all of that was left to unnamed operatives like Clara,
6 to unnamed intelligence operatives, and the subordinates didn't provide
7 any information to their superiors. Is that your position?
8 A. General Talic appointed a group, a smaller group, that took part
9 in that particular operation, and probably they did not submit any report,
10 but otherwise, General Talic did make some kind of bizarre decisions which
11 are not quite general-like, where he says, "I approve that Zeljko
12 Milanovic can, with his identity papers, only take wherever he wants and
13 whenever he wants armament and rockets." It is simply ridiculous to see
14 something like that. And you can see the general's signature there.
15 Q. I have limited time. You've taken a position about how reports
16 like this are prepared as if you were either present when those happened
17 or part of that process. And now when I ask you about it, instead of
18 clarifying your position, you return to your criticism of General Talic
19 for the same thing you criticised him for on about three or four occasions
20 during this testimony.
21 Now, I ask you again: Is it your position that General Talic's
22 subordinates had no responsibility to inform him, through reports or
23 otherwise, about what was happening in their area of responsibility, and
24 he was just relying upon information provided by some unnamed intelligence
25 operatives, like Clara?
1 A. Taking into account that this is untrue, then I am claiming that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, it seems that the witness has no clear
3 knowledge but draws conclusions from what is in the report and what is in
4 his recollection, and I have not heard one word of real knowledge on how
5 these reports were created. So, therefore, I think --
6 MR. TIEGER: I understand, Your Honour.
7 Q. Let me return to the issue of dismissals and appointments very
8 quickly. I'm afraid we can't go through it as systematically as I might
9 choose, but I want to ask you about some names that I've had an
10 opportunity to look at and try to check quickly about the terminations and
11 about any appointments. So let me ask you about some names --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Document 33, Madam Usher.
13 MR. TIEGER: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Muhamed Klokic, what ethnicity?
15 A. A Muslim.
16 Q. He was dismissed on May 29th, as far as I can tell. Was he
17 reappointed or not? I don't see any reappointment.
18 A. If there is no evidence of reappointment, then it means that he
19 was not reappointed.
20 Q. Dervo Jugo, what ethnicity?
21 A. Muslim.
22 Q. I see that he was terminated or dismissed on May 29th. I don't
23 see any reappointment. Was he reappointed or not?
24 A. No. But that was a particular company that -- an agriculture
25 company that had various branch offices in various villages. And Jugo
1 Dervo worked there, and the manager was a gentleman by the name of Klokic,
2 who was the brother of the president of the SDA.
3 Q. Suad Klokic, ethnicity?
4 A. He was a Muslim. And he was the brother of the chairman of the
6 Q. I see a termination on June 26th, and I see no evidence of a
7 reappointment. Was he reappointed?
8 A. Could you please tell me where that was? Because I was not aware
9 that he had been a manager of anything. What number is it here?
10 Q. 99.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Which reads "Suad Klokic, a lawyer from Prnjavor, is
12 hereby relieved from the duties as director of the Automobile and
13 Motorcycle Club, Stanko Vukasinovic, Prnjavor."
14 A. Yes, I have found it. I do note whether that company was really
15 operational. I am not aware of that particular case. Because it was a
16 company where only three people worked, so I do not know whether the
17 company was actually operational. But the four Klokic cases, Klokic was
18 chairman of the SDA, who appointed them for the sake of the coalition with
19 us, and when the coalition split up, that was when they were dismissed.
20 And that's the same thing today, when a coalition fails through [as
21 interpreted], then they appoint other people.
22 MR. TIEGER:
23 Q. I'll just ask you about a couple of other people quickly and then
24 I want to move on to some more general questions. Dzuko Huremovic.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us the number, perhaps, for the
2 MR. TIEGER: I don't have the number handy, but it was on the 29th
3 of May.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Most of them are.
5 MR. TIEGER:
6 Q. My only question, Mr. Vasic, is: What is Djuka Huremovic's
8 A. I did not quite get the name. I'm sorry.
9 Q. Djuka Huremovic.
10 A. She is a Serb.
11 Q. Was she married to a Muslim?
12 A. Huremovic.
13 Q. Was she married to a Muslim?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Jozo Barukcic, was he a Croat?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Slavko Kalinic, was he also a Croat?
18 A. I don't know. I'm not aware whether he was a Croat or a Serb.
19 Q. Vera Halilovic Vera or Zehra Halilovic, ethnicity?
20 A. Zehra Halilovic was a member of the central committee in the
21 municipality of Prnjavor before the war. She was a Muslim. She was a
22 very extreme wing of the SDA.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Wasn't she the manager of the regional health
24 insurance fund Banja Luka, Prnjavor branch office? I find her in 93.
25 Well, we could continue for some time. Mr. Tieger, I do know that at
1 least we found more than three managers of Muslim ethnicity.
2 Mr. Vasic, I take it that you're aware, or your testimony was
3 clear that there were no more --
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Was not a manager --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it may have -- at least in the decision
6 relieved from her duties as -- well, we can read the documents, and
7 Mr. Tieger, you may proceed.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
9 JUDGE ORIE: You may now proceed.
10 MR. TIEGER:
11 Q. Mr. Vasic, were Serbs who were members of SDP or otherwise not
12 members of SDS, dismissed but given an opportunity to offer an oath of
13 allegiance to SDS, and were those who declined to do so dismissed and not
15 A. Let me just say that you are mentioning here not only the
16 managers, because many of the names that you read out are not managers.
17 Zehra was not a manager.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Would you please answer the question. I said
19 Mr. Tieger could put the next question to you. You want to add something,
20 we'll see whether there's time for that. Please answer the question of
21 Mr. Tieger whether an oath of allegiance was required from --
22 MR. TIEGER: I'll ask it again.
23 Q. There were Serbs who were dismissed but reappointed when they
24 offered an oath or pledge of allegiance, and there were Serbs who were
25 dismissed and not reappointed when they declined to do so; isn't that
2 A. No. That was an agreement between parties about the appointment
3 of a higher manager, and so the parties have got the right, that used to
4 be the case and it is the case, to appoint managerial staff. So Softic
5 Edhem was appointed in the veterinary station, and he was not a member of
6 the SDA. He is a Muslim. But everything was done according to the party
8 JUDGE ORIE: It seems that the witness for one reason or another
9 does not want to answer your question. We have one and a half minute left
10 on the tape.
11 Mr. Tieger, I don't know whether there's any --
12 MR. TIEGER: I have one more question, but I would defer to the
13 Court, if the Court has additional questions.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I think we should finish the examination of the
16 Mr. Vasic, this concludes your testimony in this Court. I'd like
17 to thank you for having come to The Hague, not only once, but even twice,
18 and I apologise for the inconvenience it may have brought to you. I wish
19 you a safe trip home again and I hope you'll catch your plane.
20 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I'm afraid there's something that needs
21 to be dealt with in private session in the presence of the witness.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but we're running out of the tape in the
23 presence of the witness.
24 MR. JOSSE: I know that. It is quite important.
25 JUDGE ORIE: We turn into private session. Is it about asking the
1 witness. Let's just first turn into private session.
2 It's over.
3 There is no reporting anymore at this moment.
4 MR. JOSSE: For my part, that doesn't matter. It's a formal
6 JUDGE ORIE: If the Prosecution would agree, we --
7 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
8 JUDGE ORIE: No, it's not being recorded on tape, but we still
9 have the transcribers. You get one minute to explain what you'd like to
10 do. Private session might not be needed because there's no recording
11 anyhow. But --
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 JUDGE ORIE: We go into private session, but that's rather a paper
14 matter at this moment.
15 MR. JOSSE: That's fine, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And if you'd just wait.
17 [Private session]
19 [Open session]
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There is only one thing that I would
21 like to do. I would like to thank you for your understanding. Because
22 this is the first time round in my life that I'm a witness in the court
23 proceedings. So if ever I made a mistake, it was unintentional.
24 Thank you for being so correct and thank you for your
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Vasic.
2 We'll adjourn. Let's take a little bit of a longer break. Are
3 you ready to call your next witness after the break?
4 MR. JOSSE: Yes. I want to speak to him briefly, and I mean
5 briefly, but I will do that during the break.
6 JUDGE ORIE: What about a break of 40 minutes --
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE ORIE: -- exceptionally.
9 MR. TIEGER: I have no objection to that, Your Honour. I merely
10 wanted to note that we have the original of the document that -- the
11 document that is in the evidence vault requested by counsel.
12 MR. JOSSE: Thank you. I'll look at that as well during the
13 break. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Registrar. We'll adjourn until -- yes,
15 until 11.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.12 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: For the sake of the transcript, I'd like to explain
19 so that that's on tape now as well, that we failed to have the last few
20 minutes of the previous session on tape; that we dealt with a matter in
21 private session which could have no impact, I would say, on any
22 determination this Chamber will have to make. It was a procedural matter
23 which stands fully alone. Therefore, everything is on the written
24 transcript, but there's a small portion missing on the tape. We decided
25 to continue only because of the urgency of the witness to leave The Hague.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 This being on the record, we started early this morning. I
2 suggest to the parties that we have today one more one-and-a-half-hour
3 session and not have any further breaks, and even if it would be one hour
4 and 35, so that we would finish at approximately close to 1.00 and not
5 resume anymore today.
6 Mr. Josse, that would not disturb any --
7 MR. JOSSE: Agreeable from my point of view.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I also do it because it's a hard task for the
9 interpreters and we -- I take that they would also prefer not to have two
10 short sessions but one longer one and then finish for the day. Yes. Both
11 counsel standing.
12 MR. TIEGER: I stood because I thought that Mr. Josse was standing
13 in anticipation of calling the next witness, and I wanted to wrap up some
14 short but lingering procedural matters before we move to the next witness.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, unless there's any objection against that.
16 I'd rather not at this moment deal already with the exhibits from
17 Mr. Vasic, because I want to have it organised for myself, and it will
18 give an opportunity to the registrar to be well-organised so we can go
19 through it quickly.
20 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, that's fine. If I can just say for the
21 registrar's benefit that we need numbers for tabs 36 through 39 and for
22 the video.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The registrar will prepare that on his list so
24 that we can deal with it quickly tomorrow.
25 Any other matter?
1 MR. TIEGER: And we were just about to return the document that
2 had been retrieved from the evidence vault. Mr. Josse has had an
3 opportunity to review it and he does not require it any further. I only
4 bring that to the Court's attention before we replace it.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If these were the procedural issues. Mr. Josse,
6 are you ready to call your next witness?
7 MR. JOSSE: I am.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Which was Mr. Divcic, as far as I understand.
9 MR. JOSSE: Correct.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, you're invited to escort Mr. Divcic into
11 the courtroom.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. I take it that you're Mr. Divcic.
14 Yes. Mr. Divcic, before you give evidence in this Court, the Rules of
15 Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn declaration that
16 you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The
17 text will now be handed out to you by Madam Usher. May I invite you to
18 make that solemn declaration.
19 WITNESS: ALEKSANDAR DIVCIC
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Divcic. Please be seated. You'll
24 first be examined by Mr. Josse, who is counsel for Mr. Krajisnik.
25 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
1 Examined by Mr. Josse:
2 Q. Your name, please.
3 A. My name is Aleksandar Divcic.
4 Q. Mr. Divcic, I want to begin by asking you a little bit about your
5 own past. When and where were you a student?
6 A. I was born in Sarajevo and my entire family had lived in Sarajevo
7 for several hundreds of years. As to my active life, my education,
8 et cetera, all that happened in Sarajevo. I'm a telecommunications
9 engineer, and I had a job in Sarajevo up until the 11th of April, 1992,
10 when I was dismissed because I was a Serb and because of my political
12 Q. We'll come to that a little later, if we may.
13 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you, Mr. Tieger, would you oppose if
14 Mr. Josse would just lead the witness through his past, which usually
15 saves some time? And I take it that you have at least some idea --
16 MR. JOSSE: I do, Your Honour. In fact, it's really not going to
17 take very long.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Just for --
19 MR. JOSSE:
20 Q. It's your involvement in the Communist Party that I would like you
21 to tell the Chamber about, please, Mr. Divcic.
22 A. I was a member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, and I
23 joined the League of Communists when I was 17 and I was at secondary
24 school. That was the procedure that was put in place in order to attract
25 as many members as possible. So let's say several students would be
1 selected in every class, their names would be put forward, and then they
2 would be invited to join the League of Communists. It was a great honour
3 at the time, and I myself joined the League of Communists because of my
4 deep-seated convictions. I felt that it was a praiseworthy political
5 organisation, so at the age of 17 I joined the Communist League.
6 Q. And when you were at university and your early days of working,
7 were you involved in Communist politics at all?
8 A. For those of you who are not familiar with the environment in the
9 former Yugoslavia, it might be difficult to explain this, but it's a kind
10 of inertia which develops, and then you continue as a member, first of all
11 in secondary school, then at university, in the army, at your place of
12 work. But throughout that time it wasn't an involvement in politics as
13 such, along the lines in which it's done in the West or in the way in
14 which it's being done in my country at the moment. When we had meetings,
15 those were meetings dealing with the practical analysis of the situation
16 at the place where you happen to be, in the army or at your place of work.
17 But it wasn't a political involvement as such, in the true sense of the
18 word. I do apologise. May I just add something?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. I was never a high-ranking party official. I was just a simple
21 member, a grass-root member.
22 Q. As the communist system collapsed, did you have further
23 involvement in politics?
24 A. There was a kind of political vacuum between the obvious downfall
25 of that sort of system and what was to follow. It was quite obvious that,
1 considering developments in the world as a whole, certain changes would
2 come about in our country and, in Yugoslavia, that there would be a
3 multi-party system, the so-called multi-party system.
4 Q. How did your political involvement at that time - and we'll deal
5 with the specific dates in a few moments - but at the time of the collapse
6 of Communism manifest itself?
7 A. Nominally and formally, like everyone else, I was still a member
8 of the Communist League, but there were no meetings and nobody was taking
9 things seriously, as it were. And we were holding our breath, so to say,
10 to see what was going to happen next.
11 Q. Did there come a time when you became involved in informal
12 discussions relating to a different sort of political creed?
13 A. I socialised with some other people of my age, my friends, that
14 is, and we all felt the need for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo, the
15 city in which I lived and worked, to have the same kind of development
16 that was taking place in Belgrade, in Slovenia, and to a certain extent in
17 Zagreb as well. In a way, we always looked upon them as somewhat more
18 advanced areas and places than Sarajevo itself.
19 I don't know if this is an answer to your question. However, more
20 specifically, it was obvious that the communist system was coming down,
21 and us Serbs were afraid of what was to come. We were afraid because we
22 could look back on extremely negative experiences in World War I and
23 World War II, when there were mass killings of Serbs perpetrated by
24 Muslims and Croats, who were organised in Ustasha organisations, that is
25 to say, Nazi formations from Germany. So there was still caution. We
1 feared that history might repeat itself.
2 There were references in the press to the effect that the Muslims
3 were going to get organised, and I'm referring to the early 1990s, the
4 beginning of 1990. There were references to the fact that the Muslims
5 were going to get organised within their own political party and they were
6 asking for that, and the same for Croats. And it was quite obvious what
7 was going on in Croatia in 1990. The Ustasha emigrants were coming back
8 to Croatia, a country that they fled after World War II. So it was a
9 rather tense and unpleasant atmosphere.
10 Q. In 1989, did you attend some informal political meetings?
11 A. Yes. Those were informal gatherings of some of us young people
12 who were feeling the need for Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to set up
13 their own party. Because as Serbs, we felt threatened. And at that time,
14 we had several informal meetings. A friend of mine, a personal friend and
15 myself, were fully aware of the need for setting up such an organisation,
16 but it was quite clear to us that we were not the ones who were likely to
17 be the leaders. We were not all that well known. This friend of mine
18 graduated at the faculty of philosophy. At that time, the faculty of
19 philosophy in Sarajevo was considered to be the breeding ground for those
20 who had different opinions. And he got in touch with a professor who, a
21 couple of years earlier, was one of his lecturers, Professor Dr. Aleksa
22 Buha, and he consulted with him, and he came to me and he said to me with
23 a great deal of caution, the professor indicated to him that there was
24 already a like-minded gentleman and that it would be a good idea to go and
25 speak to him. And this man was -- may I?
1 Q. Can I ask the name of this man, the name you referred to, and then
2 we'll go back to the name of the friend who put you in touch with him. So
3 the person you were referred to was whom, please?
4 A. Dr. Radovan Karadzic.
5 Q. And the name of your friend who, via Professor Buha, put you in
6 touch with Radovan Karadzic, is what, please?
7 A. Vojislav "Bato" Kecman. Bato was his nickname, in fact.
8 Q. So when did you first meet Dr. Karadzic?
9 A. Mr. Kecman was the first to go and see Mr. Karadzic. And then he
10 said to me that it would be a good idea for me to go as well. And I was a
11 bit busy, so we couldn't manage it on the same day. I think I went a
12 couple of days later, and I think it must have been February 1990. I
13 visited Dr. Karadzic at his flat. I was given a phone number, and I
14 announced my visit and then I visited the first time. I met the doctor's
15 wife, the then doctor's daughter, and some other people.
16 Q. This was in Sarajevo?
17 A. Yes. It was all in Sarajevo. I think it was in February 1990.
18 Q. I'd like some detail, please, to tell us about this initial
19 meeting with Dr. Karadzic. What was discussed? What happened as a result
20 of it?
21 A. I had already found some other people. It was a fairly varied
22 group of people, and I'm quite certain that Mr. Vladimir Srebrov was one
23 of them, as well as Mr. Tomo Sipovac. A couple of young men from
24 different faculties and universities. I can't remember their names at the
25 moment, because I never saw them again. And later on, I can't remember
1 whether all that happened in the course of that first visit. But I did
2 visit with him very often. But at any rate, I met Professor Dr. Savo
3 Ceklic, Velibor Ostojic, Ilija Guzina, Professor Aleksa Buha, Rajko Dukic.
4 Q. Right, but that doesn't quite answer my question. I was going to
5 come to ask you about some of these other names. The first meeting with
6 Dr. Karadzic, what was discussed?
7 A. Well, quite frankly, those were dangerous times. According to the
8 legislation which was still in place, all of us could have been accused of
9 undermining the constitutional order of the state. And we could have been
10 sent to court. And to a considerable extent, I was listening in to all
11 these conversations in order to assess whether Dr. Karadzic was a serious
12 man, whether all the rest of them were serious and whether they had a
13 serious intention to engage in a very serious task, such as the
14 organisation of a party and the work of a party.
15 My initial impressions in relation to Dr. Karadzic were very
16 positive indeed. And as to some other of the people I've mentioned
17 before, not quite so much. I spent three to four hours there on that
18 first occasion, and then I waited for all the rest of them to leave, and I
19 think Dr. Karadzic and his wife and myself remained alone and we had a
20 serious conversation about everything. I think his wife was simply there
21 in order to make us coffee, et cetera. She didn't take part in this
22 conversation between Dr. Karadzic and myself. And we agreed in our
23 assessment that Serbs had to get politically organised.
24 Q. So the people you had named in the answer a minute or two ago,
25 were they all at the first meeting?
1 A. No, not at the first meeting. I'm absolutely certain that, apart
2 from Dr. Karadzic, Vladimir Srebrov was present at that first meeting with
3 those young lads, then Tomo Sipovac, and I think I must have met the
4 others on subsequent occasions. And these people are people that I still
5 know today, and that's why their names were etched in my memory.
6 Q. Now, after that first meeting, other meetings followed; that's
7 right, isn't it?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Where did those other meetings take place?
10 A. All those meetings at that period of time were held at
11 Dr. Karadzic's flat.
12 Q. And how many meetings do you think you attended at Dr. Karadzic's
14 A. About ten. And it went on up until March, the end of March. I
15 know that because for health reasons I had to -- no, maybe the beginning
16 of April. At any rate, I had to go to the coast for health reasons at
17 that stage.
18 Q. This is 1990, is it, Mr. Divcic?
19 A. Yes, yes, 1990.
20 Q. At what point in time did these discussions develop into an
21 agreement to form a political party?
22 A. Well, we were actually meeting in order to discuss that. We were
23 all aware of the need, and I think it kind of happened. We simply talked
24 about who was going to be the president of the party and who was going to
25 lead the party. And my impression, if I may -- and basically, my
1 initiative was looking for and spotting somebody who would be dignified,
2 responsible, skilful, capable, a person who would be fit to take over the
3 leadership of this new Serb party, and I myself spotted Dr. Radovan
4 Karadzic. On the occasion of that first visit, when we remained alone, I
5 told him what my impressions were, and on that occasion, I wasn't quite
6 convinced that he liked the idea. I just didn't know for what reason he
7 was telling me that he was not really inclined to take on the leadership.
8 And afterwards, I realised what the reasons were. The events actually
9 indicated why he said what he did, and perhaps I can comment on this a
10 little bit later.
11 But at that stage, he was not in the mood to take on the
12 leadership of the Serb Democratic Party, as it was called afterwards.
13 Q. Well, that leads me to my next question, the name of the party.
14 How was the name of the party chosen or how did it emerge?
15 A. In fact, the party had to be democratic, and it had to be a party.
16 By the nature of things, it should have been a democratic party. And what
17 we wanted was for the Serb people to recognise it straight away and to
18 name it, to give it in its title the name "Serb." It was at that time a
19 moment when parties were created which, in their name, had the name of a
20 particular nation. But on the other hand, it was also forbidden at that
21 time, and I can't remember exactly according to what articles of the law,
22 but I know we were walking on a very slippery slope then, and we were
23 deciding on maybe a different name, like the Independent Democratic Party,
24 [B/C/S spoken], and then saying that maybe if the law would change, we
25 would change the name into the Serb Democratic Party. But anyway, we had
1 to abide by the then -- by the laws that were in existence then.
2 Q. Let's move back to the issue of the leadership. When was the
3 inaugural meeting of the party?
4 A. The inaugural meeting of the party, you are actually asking for
5 the date when the Serb Democratic Party was founded, if I understood you
7 Q. Well, give that answer, and it may not have been what I was
8 intending to ask you, but give that answer and we'll go from there.
9 A. On the 12th of July, which is St. Peter's Day, which is a Serb
10 Orthodox festival, so it was in Sarajevo, in the hall called Skenderija
11 and I was one of the organisers, which Mr. Karadzic asked me actually to
13 Q. At that -- prior to the meeting, had a decision been made as to
14 who the leader of the party was going to be?
15 A. There was a certain rivalry that existed. I know Mr. Vladimir
16 Srebrov; he was a poet. I think that he also graduated from the faculty
17 of philosophy. Aleksa Buha knew him. Because later on, when they met at
18 one of the meetings in the flat, they greeted one another and they had a
19 discussion and they were slowly antagonistic in their words.
20 Anyway, Mr. Srebrov as far as I know, wanted to become the leader
21 of the Serb Democratic Party, a party which at that time did not have a
22 name. To my mind, it was somebody who would not have been able to do that
23 particular job. And I think that I wouldn't have taken part in that
24 political party under the leadership of that particular man.
25 What I'm aware of, and it is something that I did verify later on,
1 and what I'm telling you is exact, namely, that the leadership of the
2 party was offered to Professor Dr. Nenad Kecmanovic, and that Dr. Karadzic
3 saw himself as the vice chairman. But Dr. Kecmanovic refused to do that,
4 and we forced, quote/unquote, Professor Karadzic to take that particular
5 task upon himself, so he had to do it. We all thought that he was very
6 capable of doing -- of having such a role.
7 And many people amongst us said: If you will not take that role,
8 we will not be a part of it. Certainly, I was one of those people who
9 said that. At that meeting, where I was and Dr. Karadzic was, Aleksa Buha
10 said to Srebrov, and I'm going to say more or less what he said, "Vlado,
11 this is not a job for you. You are very hot-headed." It is a term that
12 is used when you want to describe a person who can't control his nerves
13 and his temperament. And he added, "We have to count down the tensions
14 with the Muslims and the Croats, the tensions of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So
15 that is not a job for you."
16 Q. So how far in advance of the meeting, the 12th of July, 1990, had
17 the inner core of the new party decided that Dr. Karadzic was going to be
18 its leader?
19 A. Well, I was there in February. I was there in March, as I said.
20 Then part of the month of April and May, I spent at the seaside, for
21 health reasons.
22 When I came back, there was a general consensus of the people whom
23 I came across there, and especially a consensus of those people that I
24 respected and appreciated. So we came to the conclusion that at this
25 inaugural conference planned for St. Peter's Day, on the 12th of July,
1 well, that we came to the conclusion that Radovan Karadzic had to be
2 proposed as the chairman of the party.
3 At that time, the SDA, the Muslim party, had already been founded,
4 and the HDZ, the Croat party, had already been founded as well. So the
5 Muslims and the Croats had already founded their own parties.
6 Q. How many people, approximately, attended this meeting on the 12th
7 of July, 1990?
8 A. There were some six to 7.000 people. The hall was -- in
9 Skenderija was full, really full. Many respectable guests were there. I
10 was one of the organisers, so I know who was invited and who was there. I
11 know everything that happened on St. Peter's Day.
12 Q. Who -- Dr. Karadzic became the leader; is that right?
13 A. Yes. By acclamation he was elected, as well as all the other
14 members of the leadership. So he was elected the chairman of the party.
15 Q. Were there any members of other ethnic groups who were present at
16 the meeting?
17 A. You mean representatives of the parties, political parties, or you
18 mean those people who were there in the audience?
19 Q. Well, I appreciate that among an audience of several thousand
20 people, you can have no idea what the ethnic background of those people
21 were. I understand that. But prominent members of other ethnic groups
22 who were in attendance, please.
23 A. Well, they were there because they were invited to come to that
24 meeting. As for your remark that it is very difficult to assess out of so
25 many thousands of people predominantly Serbs, how many Muslims and Croats
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 were there, I can say that some of my friends came out of curiosity, to
2 see what the Serbs were doing.
3 But as far as your first question is concerned, the chairman of
4 the Party of Democratic Action, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, accompanied by one
5 person, and by chance I know the name of that person, because it is
6 someone I grew up with. Then again, Mr. Zulfikar - I can't remember his
7 last name now - who was the president of the Muslim Bosniak organisation,
8 was there. There was also Mr. Muhamed Filipovic, who was a member of the
9 Muslim Bosniak organisation. Mr. Micunovic was there, who was the
10 chairman of the Serb Democratic Party from Serbia. He was one of the
11 guests. Oh, yes, I remember. The person I spoke about was Adil
13 Q. Mr. Izetbegovic was invited to make a speech; is that right?
14 A. Yes. Yes, he made a speech.
15 Q. You were there, you heard the speech?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. What do you remember him to say?
18 A. I know exactly what he said, because I remember it well, simply
19 because myself and a great number of other people present were very happy
20 to hear that.
21 Mr. Izetbegovic started to speak by saying that he was not born in
22 Sarajevo, that he arrived to Sarajevo when he was about four or five years
23 old and that he lived very near the town hall. He said that he was very
24 happy to see that what used to be an empty political space of the Serb
25 national entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina is finally being occupied. And
1 he said that he was very happy that people like Radovan Karadzic were the
2 leaders of that party, that he was hoping that it would be a political
3 partner of great quality and wished the party to get many votes during the
5 He also said that Muslims in Yugoslavia became fully nationally
6 affirmed that their national identity was fulfilled in Yugoslavia and they
7 would at no cost accept that somebody takes them out of Yugoslavia. He
8 added that Yugoslavia was their home country and that he was happy that
9 the Serbs saw things in more or less the same way, and together with the
10 Serbs, they wanted to make Bosnia and Herzegovina a prosperous country
11 within Yugoslavia.
12 His speech lasted for some ten minutes, and it was interrupted on
13 four or five occasions with huge applause of the Serbs that were present
14 in the hall.
15 He also mentioned a detail, that is, that in 1914, when Gavrilo
16 Princip killed Ferdinand in Sarajevo, that his grandfather, who was from
17 Bosanski Samac, the town where Mr. Izetbegovic was born, when they started
18 to, in 1914, to arrest some Serbs, that he came in front of the policeman
19 and said, "Take me together with my Serb brothers." And then there was a
20 standing ovation which was almost as much as the one received by Jovan
21 Raskovic, who was the SDS president for the Krajina, and he was really
22 liked by the Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 After that speech, in case you think it's relevant information, a
24 young man who was accompanying Izetbegovic, and I knew him, because we
25 grew up together, he said, "Can you please accompany us through this
1 enormous mass of people. There are so many Serbs we have to go through,
2 because I am afraid for Mr. Izetbegovic's security." So I was leading the
3 way, and then Mr. Izetbegovic came after me, and then after them, that
4 young man. And the Serbs were split in two roads and allowed
5 Mr. Izetbegovic to go to his car.
6 That was a pro-Yugoslav - I wouldn't dare say that it was a
7 pro-Serb - speech that he did at this inaugural convention of the party.
8 Q. And I think it's common knowledge that the party then established
9 various organs and a way to run itself, and in particular, decided to have
10 a Main Board and an Executive Committee.
11 A. Yes. At that meeting, the Main Board was founded, and I was also
12 elected to it, the same way as the chairman was elected by applause.
13 Because at that time, the party was not ready for a secret ballot. We
14 were not organisationally ready to proceed in such a way. We needed an
15 initial period of time in order to see who was able to do what, and then
16 to give particular tasks to different persons. So at that particular
17 meeting, I was elected a member of the Main Board of the Serb Democratic
18 Party. I think that some 50 to 60 people were members of the Main Board,
19 and they came from all parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Q. A few months later, there were the first multi-party elections.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You were not a candidate in those elections, were you?
23 A. No. No, I wasn't.
24 Q. Were you involved in political campaigning?
25 A. Very little, because I had some family obligations, and also
1 because of my work. I mostly organised things in the offices of the Serb
2 Democratic Party.
3 If you ask me whether I went to rallies and conventions, yes, I
4 did go on only one occasion, but that was all before St. Peter's Day. I
5 went to Doboj, where the initial committee had to be founded. And then
6 they had to -- after that, there was a procedure. They had to found a
7 municipal board and then they sent a representative to the conventions. I
8 wasn't somebody who would go in the field and organise things in such a
10 But on the election day - and again, it was Mr. Karadzic who asked
11 me to do so - I was in the offices of the Serb Democratic Party. There we
12 analysed the results. We had technical services. They were collecting
13 information coming from the ground and I was the person who presented
14 those results to Dr. Karadzic. Dr. Nikola Koljevic was present as well.
15 Q. The Main Board, from the 12th of July, 1990 to the 12th of July,
16 1991, can you remember how many times it met?
17 A. I couldn't say that with certainty, but what I remember is that in
18 fact it wasn't really necessary. First of all, it was very expensive, and
19 the party simply didn't have any money, any funds, to try and ask people
20 from various parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina to come there at their own cost,
21 spend for petrol and leave their jobs for a day or two. Well, you
22 understand what I mean.
23 There must have been meetings, but I can't remember any particular
24 decisions, any dramatic decisions that were taken at those meetings,
25 because I had so many things to do with my work. But I know that between
1 the elections and the month of September, I started doing other tasks.
2 The meetings of the Board were more informative. Dr. Karadzic wanted to
3 feel how the people were breathing, what they were thinking. He would
4 tell them what he meant and then people from various regions would give
5 him their opinions and their feelings, so that he could get a full
6 impression of the party in the period that preceded the election and that
7 prepared for the elections.
8 Q. You were still in regular contact with Dr. Karadzic in the year
9 that you were on the Main Board; is that right?
10 A. Yes. But once again, not because of things concerning the
11 Main Board but for other reasons. We would meet more or less every day
12 and we would meet, for example, at the Holiday Inn hotel. Between July
13 and the elections, the political council of the Serb Democratic Party was
14 founded, and that was also one of the reasons why I would see him.
15 Q. I'm going to come to that in one moment's time.
16 Was Dr. Karadzic a well-organised person?
17 A. Well, not really. He was a psychiatrist who wanted to hear
18 everybody's opinion, and he lost too much time needlessly, to my mind,
19 especially at those times, when quick action was needed. He spent a lot
20 of time and lost a lot of time in discussions and assessments, and he was
21 talking to people who delegated their problems to Dr. Karadzic. And they
22 should have dealt with their problems in a different way. But you know,
23 at that time, Serbs had -- felt that they needed to explain how things
24 were going in their village to the chairman of the party.
25 And in fact, he lost much of his time and energy in that. But he
1 was not a type of man who was able to say, "Well, solve these things in a
2 different way. Deal with them differently or with different people." And
3 I think that needlessly he lost quite a lot of time in such conversation.
4 Q. You mentioned the political council of the party. Why was that
5 body formed?
6 A. Well, what I wanted to do in the first place was to get really top
7 intellectuals. They wanted to include them in the political work. They
8 wanted to have professors and doctors from various sciences. There must
9 have been initiative of somebody from the Serb Democratic Party. What I
10 wanted to do was to establish a body where top intellectual Serbs, Croats,
11 and Muslims would be members, and they wanted that particular body to meet
12 from time to time. They wanted them to be able to discuss things at that
13 forum and meet occasionally and be able to get the impression of what the
14 situation was like in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And the original name was
15 to be the Council for Inter-Democratic Cooperation. And the goal was to
16 bridge the gaps between the SDA, the HDZ, and the SDS, so the topmost --
17 or representatives or the more respected people from the three
18 nationalities in Bosnia-Herzegovina had to form that body.
19 Q. Why did the Council for Inter-Party Cooperation fail?
20 A. Well, simply because the Croats and the Muslims refused to take
21 part in such a Bosnia-Herzegovina. So that council and the Serbs
22 continued to think that such a body, an advisory body, wasn't necessary.
23 But as the Croats and the Muslims did not want to take part in that body,
24 the council was formed of members of only one nationality. So at the
25 beginning, some 15 members, or the majority of these members, were not at
1 all members of the SDS.
2 Some kind of independent opinion of top intellectuals was what
3 they looked for.
4 Q. What was your role within the council?
5 A. I was invited by the party secretariat to come on that particular
6 day, and I believe it was the 13th of September, 1990. So I was invited
7 to go there, once again, with the friend that I had already mentioned,
8 Bato Kecman. So I was invited to go to that meeting, which took place at
9 the Holiday Inn. There I saw some people for the first time. Some of
10 those people I heard of and I knew what they did, but I never had the
11 occasion to meet them before.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, there's one thing that is not entirely
13 clear to me, which I would like the witness to clarify.
14 That is, you told us that the parties started with the name not
15 being the SDS because a reference to ethnicity or nationality was not
16 allowed under the law at that time. We slowly moved now to the party
17 being established and the political council of the party being, as far as
18 I understand, an organ of that party. Is that a correct understanding?
19 And when, then, did the party get the name SDS?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not quite sure which party was
21 set up first, the SDA or the HDZ. One of the two, anyway. But I'm quite
22 certain that both of them were founded before the SDS. And immediately
23 before naming the party as the Serb Democratic Party, I think that
24 particular paragraph, that particular article in the existing legislation,
25 was amended, and as of then, it was allowed for political parties to
1 include ethnic or national indications. And I can't give you an exact
2 date or an exact paragraph of the legal text, but I think that was the
3 reason why we decided to call the party the Serb Democratic Party.
4 And as to September, with regard to the political council, I
5 mean --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'd like to know whether the political council
7 was an organ of the SDS.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By inertia. Initially it had been
9 planned as an inter-party body, and it was meant to have multi-ethnic
10 membership. But due to inertia, as it were, it was turned into some kind
11 of advisory body and then it was for the Serb Democratic Party, and
12 afterwards it was made up of Serb intellectuals and academics only,
13 doctors of science, professors, whatever.
14 JUDGE ORIE: If I understand you well, the initiative was to
15 establish an inter-party meeting place for intellectuals, and it later
16 then became a place where only Serb intellectuals would meet, because the
17 others were not participating. And then it slowly moved to the direction
18 of a close relationship with the SDS. Is that a correct understanding?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely.
20 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I do apologise. Why did the
21 others not want to participate?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. I'm not sure you in fact told us the job that you were given
25 within the council. What was your role within it?
1 A. At that first meeting on the 13th of September, that is, that was
2 the first time I met Professor Dr. Nikola Koljevic, who was elected as
3 president of that council, and then Mr. Miroslav Toholj, who was a writer
4 and poet, was his deputy. And I was elected secretary of that council.
5 It was a job that was an unpaid position, and I didn't have the right to
6 vote on any decisions, but I was in charge of organising meetings, booking
7 meeting rooms, keeping records of the phone numbers, the names of members,
8 and I was in charge of letting them know when the meetings would take
9 place and so on. It was a clerical job.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, it's still not entirely clear to me.
11 On that 13th of September, when you met for the first time, was
12 that the old initiative, getting people together from all nationalities,
13 ethnicities, or was that the stage after coming together from different
14 backgrounds had shown to be a failure?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not quite sure I understand the
17 JUDGE ORIE: You said at the 13th of September, that is when
18 the -- the first time you met, when Mr. Koljevic was elected as president
19 of that council. You told us that the council developed from an
20 inter-party, well, meeting place for intellectuals, into a party organ,
21 more or less, at least closely related to the SDS.
22 Now, at the 13th of September, was that the stage where you're
23 still aiming for getting people from all backgrounds together, or was that
24 at the stage where, as you said, due to inertia, this had failed and it
25 had become a party organ rather than an inter-party organ?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My answer would be more in line with
2 your second hypothesis. I myself was aware of the initiative, but all of
3 us, until the last moment, were hoping -- at least I myself was hoping
4 that when I entered the meeting room I would find the representatives of
5 other ethnic groups there. I had not received the information that they
6 had refused to come as yet. So when I arrived there, I only found the
7 Serb representatives there, and later on I was told that they had actually
8 rejected the idea of taking part. And so on the basis of inertia, it
9 became a mono-ethnic body and became linked to the political structure of
10 the Serb Democratic Party.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I also now do understand that the initiative to make
12 it a multi-ethnic, that you're still hopeful on the morning of the 13th of
13 September that by the end of the day the switch had been made. Is that a
14 correct understanding?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. How often did the council meet?
19 A. In the beginning it was according to needs. Dr. Karadzic would
20 let me know when the meeting was to take place and then I had to tell
21 members where to meet and when. However, since it was a rather
22 complicated way of proceeding, I think it was following an initiative from
23 Dr. Koljevic -- no. Rather, let me correct what I've said before.
24 It was Dr. Koljevic who was the president, who had informed me of
25 the time and place for meetings, and he would arrange that with
1 Dr. Karadzic in his free time, because Dr. Karadzic wanted to be present
2 at those meetings in order to provide his point of view and in order to
3 get some suggestions from members as well. But it turned out to be rather
4 complicated from an organisational point of view only, and I think after
5 the elections it all became properly defined. The meetings of the council
6 would be held every Monday at 1800 hours at the premises that we were
7 allocated after the multi-party elections. And that's the building of the
8 American Embassy in Sarajevo today.
9 Q. And can you give us some general idea of the topics of
10 conversation that were held within the council?
11 A. Yes, of course. The topic was always current political affairs
12 during the week, from Monday to Monday. Everybody would tell about their
13 point of view. They would suggest some solutions. And Dr. Karadzic, for
14 the most part, tried to attend these meetings, unless he was held up
15 elsewhere or had other duties to attend to.
16 According to needs, we sometimes had other people attending
17 meetings, following an invitation from the president of the council and
18 following initiatives from members of the council. And they were invited
19 to tell us about their work and about problems or incidents that they
21 And if I may add: After the first multi-party elections, there
22 was a shift in the work of the council. So Dr. Koljevic, in the period of
23 time between September and the end of November, when the elections
24 actually took place, and on that occasion, he was elected to the
25 Presidency together with Mrs. Biljana Plavsic, who was also a member of
1 the council. So since they were elected to the Presidency of Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, and then we held another set of elections within the council.
3 So the president was an academic, Professor Dr. Slavko Leovac. The new
4 secretary was Dr. Sava Ceklic. And upon insistence, or following a
5 proposal, rather, put forward by Mr. Leovac and Professor Koljevic, I
6 became a fully-fledged member of that political council.
7 Q. And what practical effect did that have for you, the fact that you
8 had become a fully-fledged member of the council?
9 A. It was a huge ego booster, you know. Whoever mixed with top
10 intellectuals was respected. So it added to my feeling of self-worth, to
11 be quite honest. But on a personal level, I had no benefit of any kind.
12 I was very interested to hear about all the events taking place in Bosnia
13 and Herzegovina, and it was quite interesting to get those opinions
15 Q. I want to now move on to --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, if you wouldn't mind, I have still some
17 matters which -- it's just a matter of clarification.
18 MR. JOSSE: Worthwhile dealing with now, Your Honour, absolutely.
19 JUDGE ORIE: This initiative to create this body, first meeting
20 scheduled for the 13th of September, was the invitation sent by all
21 ethnicities or did you form a working group or was it an initiative which
22 was with the signature of members of the SDS only?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were no invitations in that
24 sense, I mean not a written invite. Immediately before that, I had heard
25 of the initiative. I can't actually even remember whose idea it was, but
1 I'm deeply convinced that it came from the Serb side. And I wasn't
2 involved in the actual organisation of that first meeting. And then I've
3 already told you what took place at that meeting.
4 So I'm not in a position to answer. You are probably interested
5 to find out why the Muslim and the Croat representatives did not attend.
6 I don't know.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I'm trying to find out how it could happen that there
8 was such an initiative that already at its first meeting it turned into a
9 body which was quite a different body what, as I understand, was in the
10 minds of those who organised the meeting. So you couldn't give us any
11 further information on how people were invited, whether there was any
12 mixed group of supporting the initiative or that it was purely Serb?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No interpretation].
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
15 MR. JOSSE:
16 Q. The annual conference, so to speak, of the SDS took place on the
17 12th of July, 1991, at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You were present at that meeting?
20 A. I was invited. I was invited as member of the Main Board at that
21 time. And so I was duty-bound to attend.
22 Q. Well, did you stand again for election to the Main Board?
23 A. Yes, I did. But there was a secret ballot and I wasn't elected.
24 So as of that day, the 12th of July, 1991, I was no longer a member of the
25 Main Board. I wasn't re-elected. And by virtue of that, I was no longer
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 a member of the Main Board of the Serb Democratic Party.
2 Q. What is your theory as to why you failed to be re-elected to the
3 Main Board?
4 A. It was a secret ballot when we elected both the president and the
5 members of the Main Board. And I think that, according to the rules of
6 procedure which were in place at the time, the president had the right to
7 put forward a certain number of names of people who felt were worthy, on
8 the basis of their activities so far, and also because of the need to get
9 these people involved within the party. So it was at their discretion, as
10 it were. They could put forward the names of certain people, in writing,
11 and their names were included on the ballots. And I was on that list, and
12 I feel -- I think that my lack of activity in the field, that I didn't go
13 around, travel around Bosnia, et cetera, meant that people didn't know me,
14 and they didn't feel like voting for people they had never heard of. And
15 so they elected other people that they did know. And so it was all fully
16 legal, properly done, et cetera. So it is in line with democratic
17 traditions. I didn't get the sufficient number of votes, and so I was
18 struck off the list.
19 Q. So far as your place on the political council was concerned, was
20 that affected by your failure to be re-elected to the Main Board?
21 A. No, not at all. These two things didn't overlap in any way, in
22 the sense that I think you're asking me about. Not at all. My commitment
23 and my work within the political council was totally separate from the
24 Main Board of the Serb Democratic Party.
25 This advisory council was an advisory body, as the name said, and
1 they sometimes thought along different lines and voiced their opinions in
2 different ways. And Mr. Karadzic and Mrs. Plavsic would listen to all
3 that, and Mr. Nikola Koljevic as well.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau would like to ask an additional
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I would just like to ask about
7 these elections on the 12th of July, 1991. How many people took part in
8 that ballot? I mean, how many active members made up the party?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were many more members of the
10 party than members of the Main Board. It is about the rules of procedure.
11 Not all members had the right to vote. But I can't give you the exact
13 I can tell you roughly speaking what it was all about. I was
14 entitled to vote as a member of the Main Board, and according to their
15 positions, members of the Executive Board had the same right, the
16 delegates from their local communities, local constituencies. I can't
17 give you the exact number, but about a hundred people, perhaps a little
18 bit more than that.
19 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And the second question: Was the
20 party already very well structured at that stage? In other words, did you
21 have membership cards, membership fees? Was it a well and fully organised
22 party? And in your view, how many people had joined the party? How many
23 people were card-holders and had the possibly to actively engage in party
24 activities at that stage? And we're talking about July 1991.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We did have cards. As to how many
1 members we had, to be honest, I can't really tell. In my view -- well, I
2 had never been very happy with the way in which the party was organised.
3 Because it had never been a proper party, in the true sense of the word.
4 Not a party, but rather a movement. They never managed to get it
5 together, to get organised in order to have a good-quality technical
6 service. Maybe it was due to the lack of funds. Because basically, it
7 was a fairly poor party. I don't know how many members there were. But I
8 do know what results were achieved at the elections. About 95 per cent of
9 the Serb population saw that party as representing their interests, and
10 they voted for them. So there was a broad-based support in the country.
11 And as to party cards and membership, I really can't assess. And
12 to be quite honest, I didn't even know at the time.
13 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you, sir.
14 MR. JOSSE: The learned Judge, Judge Hanoteau, also asked about
15 membership fees. Can you help about that at all, Mr. Divcic? Were there
16 any membership fees, how much, so on and so forth?
17 A. I really can't say much about that. I don't think there were any
18 membership fees, and I think it was all based on voluntary contributions,
19 but I'm not sure.
20 Q. I want to move on now, please, to a different topic. You became
21 involved in 1991 with an organisation called Dobrotvor; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Perhaps -- I think for the benefit of the note, because this is a
24 word we're going to use a lot, perhaps I'll spell that.
25 D-o-b-r-o-t-o-v-o-r [sic].
1 A. Perhaps we should give the full name, and it is the Serb charity
2 association, Dobrotvor. And it was a purely humanitarian organisation.
3 Dobrotvor means charity. An initiative for the renewal of work. Why do I
4 call it renewal? Because it was a very old organisation. It was first
5 founded in 1917 only and exclusively as a charity, as a humanitarian
6 organisation. And it worked until 1941, when the Second World War broke
7 out. And in 1945, because of the system of government which was in place
8 at the time, it ceased to operate. It was not banned, but it stopped
9 functioning; it stopped operating.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I don't know whether it's on the basis of
11 your spelling, but what I have on paper is Dobrotvor, and that's how I
12 hear it pronounced again and again. At the same time it's transcribed as
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Without the second O.
15 MR. JOSSE: I was wrong. I'm very, very sorry.
16 JUDGE ORIE: No, no. It's just for the record that we have the
17 right spelling from now on.
18 Please proceed.
19 MR. JOSSE: Though the witness was giving the history without my
20 actually asking him, I was going to ask him the history of the
22 Q. So go on, please, Mr. Divcic. I think you were up to the fact
23 that in 1945, it became obsolete, although it wasn't actually banned. Is
24 that right?
25 A. Yes. Yes, it is.
1 Q. Go on, then, with its resurrection.
2 A. This is why I used the word "renewing" or bringing it back to
3 life, rather than starting to operate or to work. This initiative to
4 bring the organisation back to life came from a gentleman who is in the
5 clergy. But throughout its existence, it had strong links to the church.
6 It was not the church organisation. It was not under the control of the
7 Serb Orthodox Church. But many members were active clergymen. I heard of
8 it for the first time from a clergyman in the Serb Orthodox Church,
9 Vojislav Carkic. He worked at the Preobrazenska church at the centre of
10 Sarajevo. After a religious service that we all attended, we gathered in
11 the churchyard to talk a little bit, and I knew him personally through his
12 brother as well, Mr. Tihomir, Professor Dr. Tihomir Carkic, who was also a
13 member of the council. And we put forward this idea to Professor
14 Dr. Nikola Koljevic. And he gave us his support in this respect. He felt
15 that that would be a very useful idea, because he was familiar with the
16 history of that organisation. And the Muslim Merhamet charity was already
17 in existence, as well as Caritas, which was a Catholic charity.
18 So once again, there was a void, in as far as the Serbs were
19 concerned. So it was a Serb renewal, bringing this Serb charity back to
20 life. And we had a founding convention. We were very active on that.
21 Once again, we were in a quandary. We didn't know who to choose to lead
22 the organisation. Because it was a big job, and we all had other duties.
23 So all these were honorary duties, free of -- the work had to be done free
24 of charge. And the first president, the proposal -- the first proposal
25 was for Professor Dr. Slavko Leovac, but due to ill health, he couldn't
1 accept. And so at that first convention at the end of November, and it
2 took place at the Holiday Inn hotel once again, and so we elected a
3 president and it was Dr. Andreja Gvozdzenovic, who was also president of
4 the council, and I was his deputy, and I believe Mrs. Milica Koljevic,
5 Professor Koljevic's wife. I think -- well, she had some organisational
6 skills and she was interested in humanitarian work.
7 Q. And briefly at this point, because it's not terribly important:
8 What was the role of the organisation in its infancy, that is, during its
9 first six months or so?
10 A. Assistance to all those in need, no matter what their religion or
11 ethnicity was.
12 Q. We'll come back to Dobrotvor a little later.
13 Perhaps I didn't ask you, just before we leave Dobrotvor: When
14 was it that it was started up again? Date, please.
15 A. You mean when the convention took place?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. It was the end of 1991, November or December. I can't tell you
18 exactly. The end of 1991, at any rate.
19 Q. We all know that the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 got rapidly worse in the early part of 1992. That's right, isn't it?
21 A. Yes. I would say in 1991 already, maybe not rapidly, but at least
22 serious indications that a big difference is going to start for the SDA,
23 and Mr. Izetbegovic, as the chairman of that party. Whereas with the
24 Croats, the situation was really clear right from the start. If I may say
25 so, in western Herzegovina, which is ethnically very compact, there are
1 Croats there, it -- that there were discussions where they would join the
2 motherland. And I know that Mr. Karadzic, at a meeting, those meetings
3 mostly took part on Thursdays, so I was there, and what he said about it
4 once was that, "I'm sorry that the Croats from Bosnia want to secede. We
5 are against a split-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but we are not going to
6 fight about it if they want to secede." That I really remember him
8 Q. Now, I want to deal with your state of knowledge end of 1991/early
9 1992, so far as politics is concerned. You were still working full time
10 as a telecommunications engineer; is that right?
11 A. Yes. Up until April 1992.
12 Q. This is my fault, in fact. I'm going to interrupt the flow of
13 your evidence. I should have dealt with this before. I hadn't realised.
14 You have in front of you a notebook full of notes that you've prepared for
15 your testimony; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. It's right, isn't it, that at my request, those notes have been
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And I can tell Your Honour that they've been provided by me to the
21 Prosecution yesterday. I should have asked before the witness had begun.
22 I completely forgot. They are trigger notes. He can describe to the
23 Court how and when he prepared them. But perhaps I can just ask this one
25 You prepared them for the purpose of your testimony here shortly
1 before you were asked to come and testify; is that correct?
2 A. I was informed last Wednesday that if I would agree to it, on the
3 following Saturday, I would have to come to The Hague to --
4 Q. I am going to stop you. I think you -- the leading question I
5 deliberately asked you and I think you can answer it yes or no. It's
6 right you prepared those notes for the purpose of this testimony?
7 A. Yes.
8 MR. JOSSE: The application is for him to be allowed to use them.
9 As I say, a copy has been provided already, Your Honour.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To what I remember.
11 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues]... witness consults
12 any written documents if the content is available to the Prosecution. If
13 there's no objection against it, then the Court, who can't even see what
14 the witness has in front of him, will not interfere.
15 MR. JOSSE: I've got a copy for the Court, if --
16 JUDGE ORIE: We'd like to hear the oral testimony. So as long as
17 I do not hear from the Prosecution, I appreciate your sincere wish to be
18 as open as possible, Mr. Josse, and let's continue.
19 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
20 Q. I think you were -- what I wanted to ask you was your state of
21 knowledge of events in late 1991/early 1992. You've told us a few moments
22 ago that you were a telecommunications engineers up until April 1992.
23 That's correct, isn't it? Did the political council continue to function
24 up until the time that you left Sarajevo?
25 A. I think that the last meeting of the political council took place
1 somewhere towards the end of March 1992. After that, the conflict broke
2 out and that body never met again.
3 Q. The meetings of the political council presumably provided you with
4 quite a lot of political information as to what was going on at a high
5 level within Bosnia.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Obviously, you had other sources of information, media, for
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. What about your contact in that time, end of 1991/early 1992,
11 with, firstly, Dr. Karadzic? How regularly were you speaking to him,
12 seeing him, so on and so forth?
13 A. Excuse me. Could you just repeat what period of time you mean,
14 the year or ...
15 Q. Late 1991/early 1992, before -- six months before you left
17 A. Mostly at the meetings of the political council.
18 Q. Let's move on to your departure from Sarajevo. You mentioned this
19 at the very beginning of your evidence, but I think it's worth your
20 repeating it. Why did you leave Sarajevo?
21 A. Simply because I was scared. Serbs were really terribly scared
22 that what had happened in the previous wars would not happen to them
23 again. They were afraid of, if I use the term St. Bartholomew's Night,
24 what would happen to them in such a case. We were aware of the fact that
25 the Muslims and the Croats, and especially the Muslims, I have to say,
1 that they had special units that were part of their political parties,
2 namely, the Patriotic League and the Green Berets. It was only after the
3 war that we actually realised how dangerous that was. We know that at
4 certain points in time they celebrated various kinds of commemorations,
5 and at those occasions we saw that tens of thousands of armed units, or
6 armed men, were present in units.
7 So after the party was founded and before the elections, there was
8 one of the reasons of the conflict between Mr. Srebrov and Mr. Karadzic.
9 Mr. Srebrov insisted that the Serbs too need to have some kind of a
10 militia. In his words, I quote him, he said, "We need to protect
12 So the conflict was dramatic, and Mr. Karadzic categorically
13 refused that something like that be done within the Serb Democratic Party.
14 We were of the opinion that, apart from the fact that it was illegal, that
15 our political enemies would use it against us in order to arm themselves
16 even better.
17 We were really confident in the institutions of the system. We
18 were confident that there was the JNA, and according to the constitution
19 and to the law, it had to protect the sovereignty and the territorial
20 integrity. We were also confident that the Ministry of the Interior would
21 do its task.
22 As time went by, the way I understood it, and I also discussed it
23 with other people, I thought that that kind of protection might not be too
24 strong and maybe we should not take it for granted. And that is why, on
25 the 3rd of April, I believe, it was on the Friday, anyway, I sent my
1 father -- we had a country-house slightly beyond Pale. It's some 25
2 kilometres away from Sarajevo. It's really a very small house, five
3 metres by five metres, that I constructed in 1984. So my father left on
4 the 3rd of April, with the children, and my mother and myself, we left
5 after that, and we were not able to come back. All the roads were
6 blocked. We were not able to go through. And by inertia, I stayed there
7 and that's where I live today, and I work there as well. That is how I
8 left Sarajevo.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could I just seek clarification.
10 You said your father left on the 3rd of April with the children.
11 Is that with your children or with his children?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was a misunderstanding. What
13 I said, he went by himself to prepare the house, to switch the heating on,
14 because nobody had lived there for a long time, and I went with my mother
15 and my two children.
16 MR. JOSSE: I was about to assist. Your Honour, perhaps I could
17 ask one more question. I was about to deal with Mr. Divcic's family
18 situation, which might clarify matters.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But I'd like to very much know when exactly he
20 also left.
21 MR. JOSSE: Of course.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. Just before we turn to when you actually left, it's right that you
25 were divorced from the mother of the two children at this time, in 1992?
1 That's right?
2 A. No. We divorced in 1988. And the children, by the decision of
3 the court, or rather, on the basis of an agreement between myself and
4 their children [as interpreted] were in my custody. And so I was raising
5 them, and I had the custody of my two-and-a-half-year-old son and
6 four-and-a-half-year-old daughter. So I was a single father, so to say.
7 I suppose that's the expression you use.
8 Q. That's exactly the point that I was trying to establish from you.
9 And firstly, when was it that you left Sarajevo? What day?
10 A. On the 4th of April, at around 11.00, in 1992.
11 Q. And were the children with you?
12 A. Yes. And my mother was with me as well.
13 Q. Now, your job, what happened about that, the job in Sarajevo, of
15 A. I found out about that only when I was supposed to get another job
16 at the electricity board at Pale, and so I had to compile my CV and show
17 them where I'd worked before. And I got some friends to go and pick up my
18 documents at my former place of work. And then I discovered that the
19 paper said that my job contract at the electricity board in Sarajevo,
20 which is my first job, and my father used to work there and he retired
21 from that organisation, so the first day I worked there was the 1st of
22 January, 1979, and apparently the last one was the 11th of April, 1992.
23 There's no explanation on that document, but it was quite clear that I was
24 dismissed because of my political convictions. But of course the formal
25 reasons might also exist. For a few days, I didn't show up at work, for
1 reasons that they were not told about. And I think that was the law at
2 the time. If you didn't show up for work for a number of days and you
3 never reported to anyone, you would automatically be fired. And I was
4 prevented from going to work, and so my last day of work at the Sarajevo
5 electricity board was the 11th of April, 1992.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I'm looking at the clock. I said that we
7 would stop today shortly after close to 1.00. Could you find a suitable
8 moment within the next few minutes to finish for the day.
9 MR. JOSSE: Next few minutes or the next 15 minutes, Your Honour?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Well, we started at -- I think it's 7 minutes past
11 11.00, so we are now in the second session a little bit more than one hour
12 and a half. But not to stop the examination, but just for the day, within
13 the next five minutes.
14 MR. JOSSE:
15 Q. Well, the home that you lived in in the village outside Pale was
16 or is how far from Pale, in terms of kilometres, please?
17 A. The house is three kilometres away from Pale.
18 Q. When you moved to this house, and we will call it Pale, had the
19 Bosnian Serb leadership moved to Pale?
20 A. No. As I told you, I wanted that my young children and my elderly
21 parents be in security, much more security than in Sarajevo. I didn't
22 want that anything would happen to them, and also I didn't want them to
23 interfere if I needed to avoid some kind of problems.
24 My intention was to go back to my flat in Sarajevo, but all the
25 roads had been cut. In 30 years, I never heard of a road of which I heard
1 at that time. It was a path leading through the woods. It was only some
2 special machinery for work in the woods that was able to go through there.
3 And the four-wheel drives as well.
4 So at some stage I received information saying that Radovan
5 Karadzic had arrived to Pale. So I went to see him. I greeted him and
6 asked him, "What are we going to do now? Are we going back? How are we
7 going to do things now?"
8 He said, "To start with, we are going to stay here and get
9 ourselves organised here."
10 Later on, they started and dressed in a completely inappropriate
11 way. It was early April, at an altitude between 800 and 1.000 metres. It
12 was very cold then. And I saw that the people I knew, the doctors and
13 professors, were coming in inappropriate clothes, those that they were
14 wearing at the time. So I decided to offer help.
15 Q. All right. I'm going to stop you there for a moment. Could I
16 just ask you: The conversation with Dr. Karadzic, are you able to date
17 that, please? In other words, his arrival in Pale.
18 A. The 7th, the 8th, and the 9th of April. I can't tell you exactly.
19 It was, anyway, about two, three, or four days after I had arrived there.
20 That's my bearing.
21 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I'm quite content to stop there, because
22 I'm going to go on and deal in some detail with the arrival of the Bosnian
23 Serb leadership.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I'd like to instruct you not to speak with
25 anyone about the testimony you've given until now and you're still about
1 to give, so no communication with anyone about your testimony, and we'd
2 like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.00, in this same courtroom.
3 Madam Usher, would you please escort the witness out of the
5 [The witness stands down]
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could you give us an impression on -- it's
7 not clearly in my mind for how much time this witness was scheduled, to
8 give me an impression.
9 MR. JOSSE: Sorry, Your Honour. The question is how much longer
10 I'm going to be with him.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MR. JOSSE: I would say about two hours.
13 JUDGE ORIE: About two hours. Thank you very much.
14 We'll resume tomorrow morning and -- yes, Mr. Josse. Is there
15 anything you'd like to --
16 MR. JOSSE: No, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: You're just on your feet to be prepared to leave the
19 MR. JOSSE: It's more that Your Honour looked at me, and when a
20 judge looks at me, I like to jump to my feet to attention.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes, yes. I'll be more careful not to look at
22 everyone, because it ...
23 We'll resume tomorrow morning, 9.00, same courtroom.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.52 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 27th day of
1 October, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.