1 Wednesday, 16 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone. Mr. Registrar, would you
6 please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 The Chamber announced yesterday that it would give a brief
11 statement on the scheduling issue. The Chamber has discussed the matter
12 thoroughly and has found that it needs a bit more time to formulate such a
13 statement. Therefore, the parties will have to wait a little bit longer.
14 That means that we could now continue with the next witness to be
15 called by the Defence.
16 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, the only observation I've got so far as
17 that's concerned is the logistical one. We've begun this morning making
18 some efforts to obtain witnesses for the week after next. We will
19 continue doing that. I don't know how fruitful that's proved. I've been
20 involved in other activities. We will continue doing that, Your Honour,
21 but I can only urge the Court, with respect, to inform the parties as soon
22 as possible.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll certainly take care of that and not to
24 allow a situation to happen where you're surprised and that by the silence
25 of the Chamber you'd run into difficulties.
1 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Then are you ready to call your next witness?
3 MR. JOSSE: I am.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And that would be Mr. Kasagic?
5 MR. JOSSE: That's right, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Kasagic, I take it.
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Kasagic. Do you understand -- do
9 you hear me in a language you understand?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. [In English] Very
12 JUDGE ORIE: Before you give evidence in this Court, Mr. Kasagic,
13 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
14 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
15 the truth. May I invite you to make that declaration, of which the text
16 is now handed out to you by Madam Usher.
17 WITNESS: RAJKO KASAGIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
20 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Kasagic. Please be seated.
22 You'll first be examined by Mr. Josse, counsel for the Defence.
23 Mr. Josse, you may proceed.
24 Examined by Mr. Josse:
25 Q. Mr. Kasagic, I'd like to begin, if I may, with a short resume of
1 your career up until this point in time.
2 It's right, isn't it, that you spent most of your career in
3 business, and your last job prior to the political events that you're
4 primarily here to describe was as director of a company called Jelingrad
5 in Banja Luka?
6 A. Jelsingrad.
7 Q. Thank you. You had been a member of the League of Communists;
8 however, you were not involved in any particular activity within the
9 League; is that correct?
10 A. [In English] Yes, of course.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Kasagic, in fact, you answered that in English. Your
12 English is not terribly good, is it?
13 A. [In English] No.
14 Q. It would be essential for someone in your position, even if their
15 English was good, to answer questions in B/C/S, but I having had the
16 advantage of spoken to you for some time, I'm informing you that you
17 really must answer in B/C/S. Your English isn't anywhere near good
18 enough, with respect.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kasagic, I think, in order to appreciate every
20 detail of the words you're speaking, you better express yourself in your
21 own language, although it's also appreciated that you took the effort to
22 say a few words in English. But I think that's far better, and the
23 Chamber would prefer you to speak your own language.
24 Please proceed.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much.
1 MR. JOSSE:
2 Q. You were also a member of an inspection committee within
3 Banja Luka, and also a judge of the labour court there; is that right?
4 A. Of Bosnia-Herzegovina, yes.
5 Q. Thank you. And that really takes us to November 1990, when you
6 were elected in the first multi-party elections to the Assembly, or the
7 Parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
8 A. Yes, that's correct.
9 Q. I'll come back to that in a moment. You were an SDS candidate.
10 In 1992, the early part of that year, you became the president of
11 the Executive Committee within Banja Luka and you combined that job with
12 being a member of what was then the Serb Assembly within the
13 Republika Srpska?
14 A. Yes. However, I believe that the elections for the Municipal
15 Assembly of Banja Luka were held in February 1991, where I was president
16 of the Executive Committee.
17 Q. Thank you. That's my fault. You remained president of the
18 Executive Committee until December of 1995, when you --
19 A. Until the 20th of December, 1995, when I became prime minister of
20 Republika Srpska -- was appointed prime minister of Republika Srpska.
21 Q. Thank you. And you held that post for just under five months?
22 A. Yes. Four days short of five months.
23 Q. Having been dismissed from that job, you were then in fact
24 unemployed for a number of years; is that right?
25 A. I was unemployed for four years; however, I was working on my
1 doctoral studies and involved in scientific research. That's correct.
2 Q. You got your doctorate in what subject, please?
3 A. Settlement of international commercial disputes through
5 Q. And having got that doctorate, you got a job as a university
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And what is your present employment?
9 A. Professor at the faculty of economics in Banja Luka and Brcko. I
10 teach business law.
11 Q. I want to ask you about an experience that you had in the
12 springtime of 1990 in Croatia, at about the time of the Eurovision Song
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. You were in Croatia at that time; is that correct?
16 A. Yes, in Pula.
17 Q. And what did you hear on the radio or the television there that
18 caused you concern?
19 A. I was listening to Tudjman commenting on why the competition was
20 said to be in Yugoslavia and not in Croatia. All those present were
21 Croats, and I said that when a competition is held in France, then one
22 would say that it is held in France and Paris. However, one never
23 mentions the republic wherein it is held; rather, one mentions the state
25 Q. And could you describe how you saw tensions rising as a result of
1 decisions of the constitutional court within Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 A. The constitutional court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the president of
3 which was Mr. Kasim Trnka, examined the applications by parties, or
4 rather, I believe it was by the SDA. It was a proposal by the Muslim side
5 to assess the constitutionality of the establishment of political parties.
6 The constitutional court accepted that the establishment of political --
7 national political parties was constitutional, and therefore, their
8 establishment was thus confirmed.
9 Q. And so which party was formed first as a result of that?
10 A. At the time, the Croatian Democratic Community already existed in
11 Croatia. Subsequently, the SDA was established, in Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, as a Bosniak party; and the last one to be established was
13 the Serb Democratic Party.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, may I just ask a few clarifying questions
15 on the issue which is the decision.
16 You told us that the president of the constitutional court was
17 Mr. Kasim Trnka. From his name, what was his ethnicity?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A Muslim, a Bosniak. At the time,
19 he was a Muslim. Now he's a Bosniak.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What was the composition of the constitutional
21 court at that time?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know that. But the
23 composition was mixed.
24 JUDGE ORIE: It was mixed. No majority for Bosniaks or Muslims?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know who constituted the
1 majority, but I know that all the organs had to be mixed in terms of
3 JUDGE ORIE: Would the vote of the president have any special
4 significance in the constitutional court?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
7 MR. JOSSE:
8 Q. When did you join the SDS?
9 A. I believe it was in September 1990. The SDS was formed in July
11 Q. Why did you join the SDS?
12 A. The main objective was to get involved in the multi-party system,
13 because all my life I had lived in a single-party system and I wanted to
14 stand once and for all against the communists. And it was only these
15 parties that -- newly established that could stand ground against the
17 Q. Were there any other viable parties for you to join?
18 A. There was the Socialist Party. I talked to some people about
19 this. However, one of the members of the -- or rather, some of the
20 members of the Socialist Party stated that I wasn't suitable to be a
21 member. One of them was a Croat who said so. I myself thought at the
22 time that there was really no difference between the Socialist Party and
23 the League of Communists.
24 Q. And how was it, as far as you're concerned, that you were selected
25 as an SDS candidate for the November 1990 election?
1 A. There were few intellectuals in the Serb Democratic Party. The
2 ones who were intellectuals were nominated for MPs. As far as I remember,
3 all of them had university degrees, masters degrees.
4 Q. And having been selected, as you've already told us, you were
5 elected in November 1990. And it's right, isn't it, that being a member
6 of the Assembly was not a full-time job? Is that right?
7 A. It was on a voluntary basis. I was still employed with
8 Jelsingrad, until I was elected the president of the Executive Committee
9 of the municipality of Banja Luka.
10 Q. How would you describe initial cooperation between the three main
11 ethnic parties in the Assembly?
12 A. We were fully united against the League of Communists, and it was
13 for the first time that we went along, under a multi-party system. We
14 even cast unanimous votes. However, a rift emerged with the rising of
15 ethnic tensions. The Serbs were against the abolition of Yugoslavia. The
16 Bosniaks and Croats were in favour of Bosnia-Herzegovina's separation from
17 Yugoslavia. We knew that it was anti-constitutional and that only the
18 Parliament of Yugoslavia could decide on such a matter, and not a
19 Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is where the conflict emerged.
20 Q. I'd like you to describe, if you can, in a bit more detail, some
21 of the points of conflict, particularly those that stick out in your mind
22 as being further concern and reasons for the ultimate breakup of the
24 A. The president of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina was
25 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. He said that he -- that Bosnia-Herzegovina was
1 going to remain in Yugoslavia only if Croatia also agreed to do so, while
2 Slovenia would be free to go. There were attempts to keep Bosnia within
3 Yugoslavia along with Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. There were some
4 successful negotiations. Even Muhamed Cengic put it forward as a motion
5 at an Assembly session.
6 However, shortly afterwards, this position was refuted by
7 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. Serb MPs asked for the establishment of a council
8 for the protection of ethnic interests, in accordance with the
9 constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was supposed to take a view on
10 this matter. This motion was denied, and the Serb Democratic Party
11 withdrew, or rather, its MPs withdrew, because they did not wish to
12 participate in a referendum for the secession of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 The parliament continued operating without the SDS MPs, and a referendum
14 was held in favour of Bosnia and Herzegovina leaving Yugoslavia in March
15 1991. The voting during the referendum was not held under control, but it
16 was concluded that 63 per cent of citizens were in favour of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina leaving Yugoslavia. That was the official information.
18 Q. Now, I'd like, whilst we're on this part of the evidence, to ask
19 you about Mr. Krajisnik and his role as Speaker of the Assembly. Firstly,
20 did you know Mr. Krajisnik prior to your both being elected as members of
21 that Assembly?
22 A. No, I didn't know him. The first time I saw him was when he was
23 proposed as a candidate for the president of the Assembly of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina. That was in Djuro Djakovic [phoen] Street in Sarajevo at the
25 caucus of SDS party members.
1 Q. What is your recollection as to how he came to be selected for
2 that job at that meeting?
3 A. He became candidate -- actually, it was Milan Trbojevic who was
4 proposed as the candidate for president, but he was not adopted because we
5 thought that nobody from Krajina held any high positions in
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We wanted somebody from Krajina to be in that high
7 position, and everybody who is resident of Krajina is Krajisnik, and
8 somebody called Krajisnik at home, he was not at that session. He came,
9 and that's when I saw him for the first time. The then president of the
10 SDS said: Members from Krajina want Krajisnik. That's why we propose
11 Krajisnik as the president of the BiH Assembly. Everybody accepted
12 Krajisnik as the candidate who would later on be selected as the president
13 of the BiH Assembly.
14 He hails from Krajina, and hence his family name, Krajisnik.
15 Q. Having been duly appointed president of the Assembly, how did you
16 assess his handling of the job?
17 A. After the mono-party system, when the parliament took all of its
18 decisions in advance, without a public debate, he was really doing well at
19 the multi-party Assembly. He gave the floor to everybody who wanted to
20 take it. I perceived him as a legalist, as a person who did not deny
21 anybody's right as MP. All the MPs wanted to say something. This was
22 their first opportunity to say something freely and openly.
23 The Assembly lasted quite a long time, and he was also praised on
24 the ground as the person who chaired the assembly sessions really well.
25 Q. What, if anything, was Mr. Krajisnik's influence within the SDS
1 Deputies Club?
2 A. He was the first among the equals. He was just one among the MPs.
3 The other MPs did not allow anybody to influence their opinion. I even
4 said once: Nobody's going to deny me the right to my intellectual
5 thought. And the rest of us were the same.
6 Q. What would you say to the proposition that Mr. Krajisnik had his
7 own clique of deputies, in effect, his own Deputies Club within the
9 A. He couldn't have this. As MPs, we were given some rights and
10 freedoms and we worked as brothers. We were all very good friends. There
11 were no need for anybody to stand out in this club.
12 Q. I think you've already described the breakup of the Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina parliament and the formation of the Serb parliament. Do you
14 remember when that took place?
15 A. Before the war, in early 1992. The HDZ MPs wanted to have a
16 referendum on secession of Bosnia, and they did not want to adopt our
17 proposal that we should have a Council for National Security established
18 in order to review that desire. This council would have been composed of
19 members of the three peoples and members of other nationalities.
20 Q. Now, you've told us that by early 1991, you had become the
21 president of the Executive Committee in Banja Luka, which was a full-time
22 job. You're nodding, so that's obviously right. Perhaps you could go on,
23 give us some approximation --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- as to how much of your time thereafter was spent on Banja Luka
1 municipal affairs as against republican affairs in your capacity as a
2 member of the Assembly.
3 A. As president of the Municipal Board, I didn't have working hours.
4 I worked all the time. I gave this job over a hundred per cent. However,
5 if we said that the working hours were a hundred per cent of the time, I
6 could then say that my work in the parliament accounted for 5 per cent of
7 my working hours and my work in the municipality for 95 per cent.
8 Q. Perhaps I should ask you one other thing before we turn to
9 Banja Luka. As time went on, before the war I'm talking about, how did
10 your relationship with Mr. Krajisnik develop? In other words, how did you
11 get on with him on a personal level?
12 A. There was no difference between me and Mr. Krajisnik as opposed to
13 other MPs. We had a business relationship and a friendly relationship.
14 There were no particular arrangements between the two of us as regards any
15 matter that we had to deal with. We were not even family friends. I know
16 that he has three children. At that time, his wife was alive. And he
17 knows that I have a wife and two children. However, our families never
19 Q. Did Mr. Krajisnik show respect to Muslim members of the
21 A. As the president of the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he
22 respected everybody the same, across the board. Two or three days ago, as
23 I was leaving to come here, a Bosniak from Brcko asked me to give him his
24 regards because he has a high opinion of Mr. Krajisnik.
25 Q. Did Mr. Krajisnik allow members of other ethnic groups to, for
1 example, practice their religions; and if so, how did he show that?
2 A. Mr. Krajisnik is a religious person himself, and he respects his
3 own religion as much as he respects other people's religion, because he
4 believes that you cannot be a religious person without respecting other
5 people's religion. He allowed Muslim members of the Assembly to have a
6 break during the Ramadan, during their biggest religious holiday, and
7 whenever they asked for a break in order to participate in their religious
8 services, he would allow them that. He did not even want to hear anybody
9 else's opinion as to whether they are entitled to that or not. He would
10 just break and give them time to participate in their religious services.
11 Q. What is your recollection of SDA demands for dual citizenship of
12 ex-Yugoslav citizens who had gone to live in Turkey sometime during the
13 course of the twentieth century?
14 A. They said that the second and third generation of Bosniaks,
15 including about two or three million of them living in Turkey, and they
16 wanted dual citizenship in order to allow those people to be members of
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina, although they had even moved out from different
18 republics of ex-Yugoslavia. A law on dual citizenship should have been
19 adopted by the Assembly, and if that had taken place, they would have had
20 three million votes more, or even more than that, depending on how many
21 people of age fell under that condition at the time.
22 Q. And to your recollection, how seriously was this being advocated
23 by the SDA?
24 A. Only the SDA asked for the law on dual citizenship, and this was
25 put on the agenda of the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, in
1 the meantime, a referendum on the secession of Bosnia took place. The
2 other parties never asked for such a law to be passed. The SDA was the
3 only party that wanted that to happen.
4 Q. That doesn't quite answer my question, Mr. Kasagic. To your mind,
5 at the time, how seriously do you think the SDA were advocating this?
6 A. That law would have been passed, and dual citizenship could have
7 been granted to the Serbs who had moved out from Bosnia-Herzegovina, to
8 the Croats who had moved out to Croatia. However, they were a minority
9 with regard to those who had moved out to Turkey. We didn't oppose that,
10 although we were clear that we would have become a minority and that the
11 SDA would have been able to rule based on those votes.
12 Q. The Banja Luka municipality was --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could I just ask one question to clarify
14 the last answer. As a matter of fact, two smaller questions.
15 You said dual citizenship could have been granted to the Serbs who
16 had moved out from Bosnia and Herzegovina. And you continued by
17 saying, "to the Croats who had moved out to Croatia." May I take it from
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Bosnia-Herzegovina to Croatia,
21 JUDGE ORIE: Then the last part of your answer reads: "We didn't
22 oppose that, although we were clear that we would have become a minority
23 and that the SDA would have been able to rule based on those votes."
24 You say you didn't oppose it. Was that the SDS? Because from
25 what I understand, SDA and SDS, if they would have shared their view on
1 that, this was not something to oppose to, why was it then not adopted?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] SDS MPs did not oppose that.
3 However, the programme of the work of the Assembly contained the proposal
4 to adopt this law. This programme was never carried through because of
5 the referendum on the secession of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia,
6 and as a result of that, the establishment of a new Assembly, the Assembly
7 of Republika Srpska. In other words, the war started and prevented that
8 law from being adopted.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, then I might have had some difficulties in
10 understanding your question and what you're trying to establish. I do
11 understand from the witness that the SDS did not oppose, and you asked how
12 serious they were. Well, they may have been very serious, but the SDS did
13 not oppose. I mean, what do I have to understand the point to be?
14 MR. JOSSE: It would be a comment, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
16 MR. JOSSE: I'll -- that's the answer.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If it's not -- yes. I'm not inviting for your
18 comments. But if I had some misunderstanding, if it would have become
19 clear to you that I misunderstood either the question or the answer, then
20 of course I'd like you to assist me. But if not, then we'll continue.
21 MR. JOSSE: Perhaps I will deal with it like this with the
23 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
24 MR. JOSSE:
25 Q. Did this proposition from the SDA add in any way to the ethnic
1 tensions that you've described?
2 A. A lot of things before that contributed to the tensions, and the
3 media played a big role in that. But the politicians also. Izetbegovic
4 wanted to separate Bosnia and Herzegovina from the rest of Yugoslavia at
5 any cost. At the parliament he even stated that he would sacrifice
6 freedom for a sovereign Bosnia.
7 There were a lot of minor things that contributed to the rise of
9 JUDGE ORIE: Just try to find out -- we have heard this quote
10 several times, but then it was always sacrifice peace for sovereignty. Is
11 this -- are we talking about the same -- perhaps I should ask the witness.
12 We heard this quote several times, but then it was "peace for
13 sovereignty" rather than "freedom for sovereignty."
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was peace, yes, peace.
15 MR. JOSSE:
16 Q. Let me go back to this issue of the individuals in Turkey who were
17 potentially being offered dual citizenship. You've told us that the SDS
18 were not actually opposing the plan, but my question was: Did the plan of
19 the SDA in relation to these citizens in any way affect ethnic tensions?
20 MR. TIEGER: Excuse me, Your Honour, but if I've been following
21 the questions and answers accurately, we're not -- I think the question
22 slightly mischaracterises the nature of the parliamentary proposal and the
23 evidence given by the witness. I don't understand it to be a plan
24 directed toward people in Turkey. It's a proposal for dual citizenship,
25 as the witness related. And I don't think a question should transform
1 that parliamentary proposal into something which it was not and then ask
2 the witness to answer a question about a proposal that was not in fact
3 before the Assembly.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I just briefly say a few words about that. Of
5 course, what was a project of -- that's at least how I understood the
6 testimony of the witness, which was a project on legislation on dual
7 citizenship, became an issue of dual citizenship for what the witness
8 called a majority, because he was talking about that those who left for
9 Turkey were in a majority compared to the ones who left to Croatia and the
10 ones -- and the Serbs who had left. So to that extent, the issue was a
11 double one: Project for legislation; at the same time, a realistic
12 problem that seemed to arise from that.
13 But there's another matter. The question has been answered to the
14 extent that the witness explained to us that what happened before that
15 added to the tensions. But let's see.
16 When you answered the question by Mr. Josse whether it added to
17 the ethnic tension, you told us what added to the tension before. Would
18 you tell us in what way this, as far as I understand, not at the level of
19 MPs contested issue further added to the ethnic tensions.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't think this had a significant
21 contribution, because this was not made public. The general public was
22 not aware of this proposal. Among the people, there were other things,
23 like projects of settling Muslims in some parts of Krajina, some other
24 projects according to which they would rule Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That answer is clear. The first part of the
1 answer is most relevant to the question.
2 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
3 MR. JOSSE: That does clarify the matter, and I'm certainly not
4 going to return to that subject.
5 Q. But you were beginning to tell the Chamber about matters that were
6 of more concern to the public and matters that the public viewed as
7 perhaps causing tensions, and you were telling us about the settling of
8 Muslims in some parts of Krajina. Go on, please, with any other examples
9 that you can give.
10 A. That was not settling as such. It was a project. I don't know
11 whether it was a rumour or not. It was said that they would settle around
12 Banja Luka, in one part of Krajina. Throughout the existence of
13 Yugoslavia, they settled in Sandzak and mostly in Sarajevo, and to a
14 lesser extent in Banja Luka. But that was part of normal movement of
15 people in the former Yugoslavia. Most of the Serbs settled in Belgrade
16 and a majority of Croats settled in Zagreb. That was only normal.
17 Q. Yes. Thank you. Well, I'm now going to ask you a number of
18 questions about the Banja Luka municipality. You lived there throughout
19 the whole of this period; is that correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. It was controlled by the SDS after the elections there?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was there any form of inter-ethnic agreements within Banja Luka,
24 notwithstanding the fact that the SDS were the largest party?
25 A. The government was established based on the agreement between the
1 national parties, the SDS, the SDA, and the HDZ. That's how people were
2 selected to the Executive Board. The vice-president of the Municipal
3 Assembly was a Muslim and the deputy chief of police of the region of
4 Banja Luka was also a Muslim.
5 After that inter-party agreement, we managed to establish our
6 municipal government. In the Executive Board, there were two Croats, and
7 as far as I can remember, one Bosniak. I'm sure that there was one.
8 There may have been even more. But I can't remember. The rest were
9 Serbs. One Croat moved out to Rijeka, in Croatia, and the other Croat
10 stayed in the Executive Board throughout the war. The Bosniak also moved
11 out from Banja Luka when the war started.
12 Q. You have said you became president of the Executive Committee in
13 early 1991. How come there was a change of president at that time?
14 A. There were elections for MPs in the Municipal Assembly on the same
15 day when the elections for the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina took
16 place. That was in November of the previous year. The parties negotiated
17 power-sharing in the municipality and that had taken some time.
18 After the agreement was reached, the first multi-party government
19 in the municipality of Banja Luka was established on the 8th of February,
21 Q. Who was president of the Municipal Assembly?
22 A. Predrag Radic, a member of the SDS. One of the deputies was
23 either a Serb or a Montenegrin. I don't know how he declared himself.
24 And the other was a Bosniak.
25 Q. When you say "one of the deputies," do you mean deputies to the
1 Republican Assembly?
2 A. No. I'm referring to the deputies of the president of the
3 Municipal Assembly. One was a Bosniak and the other was either a Serb or
4 a Montenegrin, which means that he may have hailed from Montenegro.
5 Q. Yes. You mean the vice-president?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I'd like you to describe some of the ethnic tensions that had
8 begun to emerge in 1991 within Banja Luka itself. First, perhaps, you
9 could deal with any geographical influence of being near Croatia, or the
10 fact that the municipality was near Croatia, perhaps I should say.
11 A. The war broke out in Croatia before that, and it was waged by the
12 Yugoslav People's Army for the preservation of Yugoslavia. Many residents
13 of Krajina were mobilised to go into the war in Croatia. Many of them
14 returned dead, and there were many -- certificates everywhere to be seen.
15 And when a truce was signed with the Croats, this was really a great cause
16 of joy.
17 However, the division along the ethnic lines had already started.
18 The Bosniaks had already formed then their own Municipal Assembly of
19 Banja Luka. Members of these parties who had already formed their own
20 assembly went out into the streets, protesting, entering the Municipal
21 Assembly building, and taking the names of those members of the Executive
22 Board who were of Serb ethnicity off the notice boards there. This
23 included my own name, which was taken off -- that is, the plaque was taken
24 off from the door to my office. This was something that was reported by
25 the media. The public at large was aware of this. And this put a stop to
1 these demonstrations or protests.
2 The Municipal Assembly of the Bosniak people never really started
3 functioning. Although no criticism was levelled at their establishment of
4 the Bosniak Municipal Assembly, nor did it cause any conflicts. However,
5 the situation was such that two municipal assemblies were in fact formed
6 in Banja Luka, one of them legal and the other one illegal.
7 Q. Do you know why there was an attempt to form a Bosniak Municipal
9 A. There were such attempts throughout Bosnia, and there were
10 differences of opinions along these ethnic-related matters, tensions
11 heightened, and differences increased. However, I cannot really name a
12 specific cause or reason for that. I don't recall any such reason.
13 Q. And you say that there were two municipal assemblies, one of them
14 legal, one of them illegal. Why do you say that?
15 A. The elections were held on either the 13th or the 15th of
16 November, 1991, for the members of the Municipal Assembly. This was the
17 legal authority.
18 Later on, the Bosniak Municipal Assembly was established in an
19 illegal fashion, without any elections whatsoever. There was one meeting
20 for citizens in general in a sports gymnasium where a decision to this
21 effect was taken.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau has a question for you.
23 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you. I'd like to
24 know how many members were in that Municipal Assembly, in the legal
25 Municipal Assembly. How many members were they?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean how many deputies, members?
2 Around 70. I don't know the exact number, whether it was 67 or 70
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] What was the ethnic make-up of
5 this assembly, the ethnic make-up in proportion?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot give you any percentages.
7 All the three ethnicities were represented, but Serbs were in the
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And the majority, do you have an
10 idea, I'm sure, about the majority. Please, you know, do your best.
11 Recollect, please.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe that the Serb members were
13 able to reach absolute majority, which means that they had over 50
14 per cent of the votes, or at least around 50 per cent.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] When Mr. Josse asked you why
16 suddenly there were tensions that had appeared, you answered something
17 like there were tensions everywhere in Bosnia. But I would like you to
18 focus on this municipality that we're interested in, and I'd like you to
19 tell us how these tensions appeared, how, in what shape. Were there
20 special incidents that occurred? Could you please answer us.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were no incidents. Tensions
22 were on the increase, and they were coming from outside, as well as
23 locally. There were women protesting in Banja Luka in front of the JNA
24 building against their sons being members of the JNA and exposed to
25 danger. They protested against them waging a war in Croatia. Then women
1 of Serb ethnicity organised counter-demonstrations, chasing away those
2 other women in front of the JNA building, and that was the only open
3 conflict that ever took place.
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Could you say, then, that the
5 Banja Luka Assembly, as it was made up, respected the expression of each
6 ethnic group, or was there a trend, like sometimes happens, you know, a
7 trend that the Serbian majority would sort of smother those who didn't
8 have the majority?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There was the tendency for the
10 establishment of the Association of Municipalities of Banja Luka and other
11 surrounding municipalities, an idea which the other ethnicities opposed. I
12 was the one who presented this idea at the Municipal Assembly session,
13 showing that everything had been done in line with the constitution of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, there was general distrust and the
15 others opposed the idea. They were outvoted, however.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Two small clarifying questions as well. On the one
18 hand, you say there were new municipal assemblies, and at the same time
19 you say that -- well, should I say the Muslim -- or the SDA-invented
20 illegal assembly never really came into existence. Did they ever meet,
21 that assembly?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The only thing I saw was that there
23 was this large rally of people in a sports gymnasium, and I saw it on TV.
24 I don't know whether there were any sessions held. I was not aware of
1 JUDGE ORIE: My next question is: You said, I don't know why they
2 established that.
3 Did it ever come into your mind that where the Municipal Assembly,
4 the legal one, as you said, had an absolute majority of Serbs, that people
5 might fear that their voice was insufficiently heard and that therefore
6 they considered to establish their own platform or their own assembly?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. One could come to that
8 conclusion. But this was true for all the parts of Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina. As a legalist, I simply did not consider anything that was
10 illegal to be serious.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you -- from your answer now, I take it that
12 you understood why they did it, but that for legal reasons you considered
13 it not to be taken seriously?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course.
15 JUDGE ORIE: You said you're a legalist. Does this mean to say
16 that any assembly that has been created which does not find its proper
17 basis in legislation enacted within the Republic, well, to say more or
18 less a shadow assembly, you'd consider that to be an illegal act?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unless one opposes unlawfulness,
20 unlawfulness will reign. If there is an illegal assembly that wants to
21 counter another illegal assembly that what we have is simply a general
22 unlawful situation, heightening of tensions, and a situation as it indeed
23 existed at the time in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do I have to take this as a yes or as a no? I
25 tend to understand your answer to be that you consider that to be an
1 illegal act, because otherwise these unlawfully created assemblies would
2 challenge the authority or the legal standing of what you consider to be
3 the legal assemblies. Is that a correct understanding?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Banja Luka Municipal Assembly
5 acted in full compliance of the law, and I don't believe that there was
6 any need for another assembly to be established illegally. And we should
7 not confuse this with the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which wanted
8 unlawfully to hold a referendum, an idea which was opposed by the SDS MPs.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So it depends on the need and on your judgement of
10 the activities of the legal assembly, whether it is legal or not, to
11 create a counter-assembly; is that a correct understanding?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was telling you about Banja Luka.
13 However, on the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there I was an MP, and I
14 struggled for legality as far as I could, with one vote that I had.
15 Nobody ever opposed the establishment and the operation of the SDA
16 Assembly in Banja Luka. However, it never really operated. I don't know
17 why. Probably they did not have conditions in place for that. Because
18 everything had been done according to law.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I'm a bit confused. Your last part says: "Because
20 everything had been done according to the law." Everything done by the
21 legal Municipal Assembly, or what did you have in mind when you
22 said "everything"?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, the legal Assembly, yes. By
24 the legal Assembly.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Still I have to establish that you've not
1 unequivocally answered my question on whether you consider the creation of
2 a body which is not provided for by law an illegal act; yes or no? Such a
3 body with the same name but then related to a certain ethnicity only.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If there is a rule of law, then this
5 is the case. If there is no rule of law, then everything is possible.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Let me ask you the question in a different way. If
7 there would be a municipality in which the Croats would have an absolute
8 majority and where the Serbs would very much feel outvoted, without proper
9 consideration, be taken of their interests. If they would then create a
10 Serb assembly instead of staying within the Assembly established by the
11 law, which had an absolute Croat majority, would you consider that to be
12 an illegal act or not?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would consider it illegal, just as
14 was the case in Banja Luka. There were no elections held, no MPs were
15 elected, no bodies were elected. It had all been done at this one
17 JUDGE ORIE: I didn't include that in my question, as a matter of
18 fact. If, well, let's say --
19 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, excuse me. I'm going to interrupt for
20 this reason. As a result of these questions, at the moment I'm going to
21 explore the basis for this witness being a legalist, but Your Honour is
22 asking him hypothetical questions. He's based, as far as I can gather,
23 his two assessments on the two bodies hitherto on the actual
24 constitutional framework, one within the municipality, the other within
25 the Republican government. In short, my submission is one can't
1 hypothesise about such things. It's simply not possible.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Well, you can, as a matter of fact. If you consider
3 an existing situation as one on which you could apply legal rules to come
4 to a conclusion whether it's legal or not, then that can be done on a
5 situation which might not actually exist.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber feels no need to further argue whether
8 one could or not, and leaves the matter as it is.
9 You may proceed.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. I would like to ask you, Mr. Kasagic, on what basis -- and I don't
12 mean this rudely, but I think we should explore it -- you call yourself a
14 A. I have a degree in law, I received my doctoral degree, and I teach
15 law, and I believe that the rule of law is the basis of societal order. If
16 there is no rule of law, then we will have the situation as we had in
17 Yugoslavia. Six months before the outbreak of the war, I said that there
18 was no state in place -- there was no state in the world with such a legal
19 system as had existed in Yugoslavia, which was so fragile. A state in the
20 absence of the rule of law ends up in a war.
21 Q. You've dealt at some length with why you believed the Banja Luka
22 Bosniak Municipal Assembly was illegal. You've only touched on the issue
23 of the Assembly of the Serb People within the Republika Srpska. You've
24 said that you did not believe that to be illegal. Perhaps you'd explain
25 why that is.
1 A. It would not have existed in a country which had a rule of law,
2 because there will only be the Municipal Assembly elected by the people.
3 However, this was in violation of the constitution. The establishment of
4 the council for the protection of ethnic interests was opposed to. They
5 were in favour of holding a referendum, and the Serb MPs established their
6 own assembly in order to protect the constitution of Yugoslavia. Under
7 the Yugoslav constitution, treason was the gravest crime, and the
8 referendum could only be called by Yugoslavia. We were adhering to the
9 Yugoslav constitution, whereas the Bosniak side went even as far as to
10 violate the BiH constitution.
11 Q. Speaking for yourself, as a Serb and indeed SDS member of the BiH
12 Assembly, why did you feel it necessary to create a Serbian Assembly and
13 thereby, effectively, leave the Assembly to which you had been elected
14 originally? So my question is: Why did you feel it necessary rather than
16 A. The only reason was to preserve the state of Yugoslavia and to
17 preserve the constitution. If something had to be changed, then it had to
18 be changed in accordance with the constitution. The breakup of such a
19 state can also have great adverse consequences for the country's economy,
20 which in fact it did. I would never have been opposed had the Yugoslav
21 parliament called the referendum, because this would have been in
22 accordance with the constitution. However, I will always be opposed to
23 anyone who chooses to violate a constitution, including the constitution
24 of our own republic.
25 Q. Was it possible to change the constitution?
1 A. The constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina was frequently amended.
2 Everything was open to amendments. However, I believe that the Serbs were
3 afraid of the possibility that they would be taken out of Yugoslavia.
4 They wanted to remain within that state because it had ensured the quality
5 of all citizens, of all ethnicities.
6 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to move back, Your Honour, to Banja Luka and
7 some of the ethnic tensions, if I may.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do so.
9 MR. JOSSE:
10 Q. I want to ask you, in particular, about 1992 and the tensions
11 immediately before the war. Firstly, you've already mentioned how the
12 Croatian war had affected things a year earlier. Were they affecting
13 things in 1992; and if so, how?
14 A. One could feel the tensions in Bosnia-Herzegovina already at the
15 time of the war in Croatia, because the Bosniaks and Croats in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina agreed with the Croatia secession from Yugoslavia,
17 whereas the Serbs opposed it. When the Yugoslav People's Army moved from
18 one place to another, or when it was withdrawing from Slovenia and
19 Croatia, then the women of Bosniak or Croat ethnicities went out into the
20 streets to block the passage of these military convoys. In this way, the
21 army was trapped. The Serbs could not comprehend this, that someone could
22 stop the army, and this caused the tensions.
23 Then, at a session of the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we saw
24 women of other ethnicities, I mean of Bosniak and Croat ethnicity,
25 entering the Assembly building and lamenting their sons who were
1 participating in the war in Croatia. Some of them said that their sons
2 had been killed. They were opposed to the Yugoslav People's Army, as
3 such. One of the MPs then spoke out and said that a woman there did not
4 even have a son, and she pretended to be mourning the death of her son.
5 These are just some of the things that I remember.
6 Q. Specifically, was any -- were there any concerns as a result of a
7 decision by Mr. Tudjman to change -- to make a new appointment in relation
8 to a policeman in the southern part of Croatia?
9 A. There were national tensions in place. Mr. Tudjman believed that
10 all the policemen were Serbs. There was a football game in 1992 between
11 Dinamo and Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade. There were Serbian supporters from
12 Belgrade. There was fighting between the supporters of Dinamo and the
13 supporters of Crvena Zvezda.
14 The Croatian police officers tried to prevent the fully blown
15 fight between these two groups. They even used force against the Dinamo
16 supporters who were charging against the Serbian supporters. Mr. Tudjman
17 removed those police officers from their positions and he appointed new
18 sets of policemen of Croatian ethnicity. And this was another cause of
19 tensions among the people.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I'm looking at the clock. I don't know
21 whether this would be a suitable moment.
22 MR. JOSSE: It would.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll adjourn until ten minutes past 4.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 3.47 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 4.15 p.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I did understand that you wanted to
2 address the Chamber.
3 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm making very good progress
4 with this witness. The position is that I actually suspect I will only be
5 about half an hour longer. However, at that point, I would appreciate a
6 short break, which effectively would be the last -- partly to speak to
7 Mr. Krajisnik, partly -- there is one other issue. This man was
8 interviewed some years ago by the Office of the Prosecutor, and the
9 Prosecution have been very cooperative, and the interview, in part I have
10 seen but not in whole, it's been looked at by someone on my behalf. I
11 would like the results of that inquiry before I complete my
13 So perhaps I could ask for a break whenever I get to the end of my
14 present set of questions.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Sounds very sensible. So you'll be allowed to
16 have a break at that moment for those purposes.
17 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Madam Usher, would you please escort the
19 witness into the courtroom.
20 Mr. Kasagic, Mr. Josse will continue his examination.
21 You may proceed, Mr. Josse.
22 MR. JOSSE:
23 Q. I next want to ask you, Mr. Kasagic, about some of the work of the
24 Executive Committee, both before and during the war. First the finances,
25 please. How did the municipality manage to stay financially afloat?
1 A. This was provided for by the law. Some of the funds obtained from
2 the taxes was paid into the budget of the Municipal Assembly. During the
3 war, the rate of inflation was 65 per cent a day. The Executive Board of
4 the Municipal Assembly of Banja Luka adopted German marks as the means of
5 payment of taxes only. The German marks were valid. The rest were just
6 paper. That's how we stopped the inflation, and Banja Luka had enough
7 funds. All the citizens voluntarily paid their taxes and other
8 contributions in German marks, because the German mark was the only valid
9 means of payment at the time.
10 Q. What sort of services did the municipality fund?
11 A. Communal activities were funded from the municipality. The
12 education was at the level of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska;
13 the judiciary as well. During the war, since this was all interrupted,
14 the funds that we had were used to help financing elementary and secondary
15 education. Also, we had problems with heating and we therefore purchased
16 wood, although there was some oil for some of the facilities in the
17 municipality, namely, the hospital, the Municipal Assembly building, and
18 several schools.
19 Q. What about sports facilities?
20 A. They were also funded from the Municipal Assembly budget. A lot
21 more was allocated for the sports than was in Republika Srpska as a whole.
22 And during the war, the sports were well developed. We funded the
23 maintenance of sports facilities and the sports teams. There were a lot
24 of competitions. There was an international chess competition. There was
25 an international competition in swimming. The teams came to play against
1 our teams. They came from Serbia, from Yugoslavia, and the sports
2 activities were rather well developed during the war.
3 Q. Funds from the Yugoslav National Bank, how were they channelled to
4 your municipality? Or to put it another way, were they channelled via
5 Sarajevo to your municipality?
6 A. The Central Bank, the National Bank, was in Belgrade. The money
7 that it issued was transferred to the municipalities via the Bank of
8 Bosnia. Before the war started, the National Bank of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 interrupted cash flows with Banja Luka. I don't know whether it was
10 interrupted with other parts as well. And the cash flows of Yugoslavia
11 were also interrupted, so we were left without any means of financing.
12 From the municipality of Banja Luka, we took a helicopter and flew to
13 Belgrade, to the National Bank of Yugoslavia, and we established cash
14 flows with Gradiska. There was the SDK of Gradiska, that had a connection
15 with the National Bank of Yugoslavia, and through the SDK branch office in
16 Nova Gradiska, we were able to establish cash flows again.
17 Q. Do you know why the cash flow from the National Bank of
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina was interrupted?
19 A. I don't know. Well, there was just a financial blockade of some
20 parts. The financial cash flows were just interrupted.
21 Q. Do you know who was responsible for that financial blockade?
22 A. Rumours had it that it was Mr. Izetbegovic who had ordered that,
23 but it was just rumours. I don't have any proof for that. I can't
24 confirm that this was indeed the case.
25 Q. The rumours came to you via what source, please?
1 A. I can't remember. It was a long time ago. It was almost 15 years
2 ago. Those were just stories, rumours. There was nothing in writing.
3 Q. And do you remember how it was that the municipality discovered
4 that these funds had in fact been interrupted, the funds via the National
5 Bank of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. There was no cash flow from the National Bank of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nothing was coming our way. And we were left without
8 any financing. That's how we noticed. There was no money.
9 Q. It's an obvious question, and to some extent you've just answered
10 it, but perhaps I should just ask it all the same. What effect did it
11 have on the municipality being left without any money?
12 A. Nothing special. We managed to resolve that whole situation with
13 the National Bank in Belgrade. We couldn't do anything about the funds in
14 Zagreb, but we established contacts with the National Bank in Belgrade
15 rather quickly. And we were only lucky that the National Bank was not in
16 Zagreb but in Belgrade.
17 Q. The next topic I'd like to ask you about is refugees, please.
18 Firstly, when did refugees start arriving within your municipality?
19 A. The first refugees came in 1990. The first refugee was a Serb
20 from Dalmatia, with nine children. I knew his name, but I have forgotten
21 it in the meantime. We provided him with some temporary accommodation.
22 He spent quite a lot of time in Banja Luka, and I don't know where he went
23 next. And then there was a mass exodus of the Serbs from Slavonia, and
24 there were quite a lot of them in the sports hall, Borik, in the sports
25 hall of all the schools. Everything was full of refugees. Some stayed
1 longer, some stayed shorter. Some went to Serbia. The sports halls were
2 gradually becoming empty, but at one moment all the sports halls were full
3 of refugees.
4 Q. When was that? When was the sports hall full of refugees? In
5 other words, when was the high point of your refugee problem?
6 A. The war in Croatia started in 1990. All the Serbs moved out from
7 Slavonia and moved into Banja Luka, and from Banja Luka they went to other
8 places. I believe that this was in December. I know that it was very
9 cold. If not December, then November. They came on tractors.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, may I?
11 You were asked: When was the high point? Then you described when
12 the war started in Croatia and how people moved. Do I have to understand
13 this: That in 1990, you experienced the high point of the refugee
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. That's when the war started in
16 Croatia. I don't know whether it was in 1990 or 1991, but this was the
17 first in a series of peaks.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But the question was not when it started but
19 when it was the high point. So would you please very much concentrate on
20 the questions and try to answer them.
21 So when was the high point? When was it worst?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When Serbian Krajina and the western
23 part of Republika Srpska fell was the time of mass exodus, and I believe
24 that there were some 200 to 300.000 refugees in a column that started at
25 Drvar or Knin and went all the way to Bijeljina. People died and were
1 born by the road. That was the most difficult situation. The roads were
2 absolutely full of people moving.
3 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues]... date that in
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1995, I believe, the first half of
6 1995. It was in July, when Krajina fell in Croatia, and sometime after
7 that, the western part of Republika Srpska fell. I apologise. Yes, yes,
8 it was in 1995, yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. I just want to be clear about this, Mr. Kasagic: When was it, if
12 you can remember, that the sports hall was full?
13 A. It was full either in 1990 or 1991, when there was the war going
14 on in Croatia. I don't know which year it was, but I know it was cold.
15 It was either late autumn or the beginning of winter of that year. It was
16 very cold.
17 Q. Did the municipality have any problems with refugees from any
18 other ethnic group?
19 A. At that time, it only had about 70.000 Serb refugees in
20 Banja Luka. We provided them with accommodation in the sports halls.
21 There were no other refugees at the time. Throughout all the time, most,
22 if not all, the refugees in Banja Luka were Serbs.
23 Q. I'd now like to ask you about population movements in 1992.
24 Firstly, did Muslims leave their homes in Banja Luka in 1992?
25 A. When the war in Croatia started, there were no problems in
1 Banja Luka. And when the war started in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there was
2 gradual movement of people. People started moving out, and I don't know
3 how many of them left their homes. I only know that at one point in time
4 the Executive Board decided to give the temporary abandoned houses to
5 other people. That's how these houses and apartments were protected and
6 saved. Whatever was not given for temporary accommodation ended up being
7 completely destroyed.
8 Q. I'll come to the subject of temporary abandoned houses in a
9 moment, if I may. But so far as people actually leaving their homes is
10 concerned, was that something which was clearly happening within your
12 A. Yes. When the war started, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims alike were
13 fleeing the war. Some of the Serbs left, and they mostly moved to Serbia.
14 Bosniaks moved to Sweden and the States and Croats moved to Croatia.
15 Q. Let's deal with each of the three groups in turn. Are you able to
16 say why Serbs left Banja Luka?
17 A. Those who did not want to participate in the war, the deserters,
18 or at least that's how people treated them, those who did not want to
19 defend their states were considered deserters. But in any case, they were
20 afraid of the war, and that's why they left. One Montenegrin was so
21 afraid of the war that he left for Montenegro and he left his apartment,
22 never to go back to it.
23 The only reason is that they didn't want to participate in the
24 war, they were afraid of the war. They went where it was safe. In
25 Banja Luka, there were periods of when we didn't have electricity for 42
1 days. It's very difficult to live without electricity. You couldn't
2 clean your apartment, you couldn't do the laundry. If you wanted to have
3 a wash, you had to heat water on the stove. And there was not enough fuel
4 wood for that.
5 Q. Were any of these Serbs forced from their homes, as far as you
7 A. No, they were not forced. They were simply fleeing the war. It
8 was a force majeure. That's a situation in which reason prevailed. They
9 were afraid of the war.
10 Q. I'll next turn, if I may, to Croats. Why did they leave
11 Banja Luka, as far as you were concerned?
12 A. They lost their jobs. The level of production went down. The
13 rate of employment went down. I don't know whether there were any
14 telephone threats or not, although during the war there were some groups
15 which evicted other ethnic groups from their flats. Those were armed
16 people and directors of companies sought protection from those people. I
17 personally called the director of Jelsingrad, the director of Incel, I
18 called a member of the SDS, asking them to protect the helpless people
19 from those armed groups. There was no protection against them. In any
20 case, they should have been under the jurisdiction of the enforcement
21 agencies and the judiciary. In any case, I called the directors of the
22 companies that owned those apartments, asking them to try and protect
23 their tenants from the armed groups.
24 JUDGE ORIE: May I just seek one clarification, Mr. Josse.
25 You said: "Although during the war there were some groups which
1 evicted other ethnic groups from their flats."
2 Do I have to understand that there were Croatian groups who would
3 evict Serbs and Muslims, and Muslim groups that would evict Serbs and
4 Croats, or could you be a bit more specific on that?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Serbs evicted Croats and
6 Muslims. I know that a colleague of mine, the president of the Executive
7 Board, sent her husband to protect her colleague and to live with her in
8 her flat.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. Well, I was going to break down the answer that the witness has
12 just given, because clearly it contains a lot of information.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. JOSSE:
15 Q. Perhaps before I do that, continue with what you were just saying,
16 Mr. Kasagic, that you know that a colleague of yours, the president of the
17 Executive Board, sent her husband to protect her colleague. Is there
18 anything more you can say about that?
19 A. The two of them were both members of the handball team Borac and
20 they were very good friends, and the first one wanted to help the Bosniak
21 colleague. So she sent her husband to share the flat with a colleague for
22 a few nights. However, at the end of that day she left and she lived
23 abroad for a few years. She returned to Banja Luka after the war and now
24 she works at the school of economics. She is my colleague.
25 Q. The answer you gave a few moments ago was in response to a
1 question that I had asked you about -- specifically about Croats. But the
2 answer where you begun that they lost their jobs and you went on to say
3 that you sought help from directors of companies, including Jelsingrad,
4 presumably referred to Bosniaks as well as Croats; is that correct?
5 A. I was referring to Bosniaks and Croats, so seeking protection for
6 them against eviction. I called the director of Incel Lazo Tomic. I also
7 called Dragan Batar, a member of the SDS, asking them to protect those
8 people from eviction. Banjac told me that this was done by armed people
9 and that this could not be prevented. It took strong police force to
10 stand up against those people and also it took judiciary and the
11 prosecutor's office to bring charges against those people.
12 Q. You were president of the Executive Committee. Why were you
13 unable to control the situation?
14 A. The president of the Executive Committee has executive power. He
15 does not have a judiciary power. There were also some secretaries of
16 secretariats who were in charge of communal jobs in the town. There was
17 nobody to look after the security. It was the police's job. And the
18 judiciary was also independent in their dealings. None of these bodies
19 were under the authority of the Executive Board.
20 Q. Did the Executive Committee have any control over the police
22 A. No.
23 Q. What about the --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness come closer to the microphone,
1 MR. JOSSE:
2 Q. Mr. Kasagic, if you could come a little closer to the microphone
3 when you're answering your questions. The interpreters are having a
4 little difficulty hearing you.
5 What about the judiciary? You told us earlier that the
6 municipality funded the judiciary. Bearing that in mind, why didn't the
7 municipality have some control over the judiciary?
8 A. The municipality did not fund the judiciary. It just helped with
9 the provision of fuel. It did not fund education. It only contributed to
10 the funding of education during the war. All of that should have been
11 funded from the Republican budget.
12 The judiciary is separated from the executive power. I had
13 executive power within the municipality, and the municipality is tasked
14 with the running of the town, with utility services. We funded sports
15 because we believed that it helped in the development of the young people
16 of our town.
17 Q. In terms of the things that you were describing, perhaps I could
18 ask you this: Were you aware of forced evictions?
19 A. No, I didn't see it with my two eyes, but I heard, and a group of
20 Croats came to me, asking protection. This was beyond the scope of my
21 authority, and I couldn't do anything. This was within the authority and
22 of the judiciary. They should have lodged a complaint for trespassing
23 within a month. All those who had been evicted should have done that.
24 Q. In terms of, for example, these forced evictions, in your
25 estimation, was there a difference in the treatment meted out by Serbs to
1 Croats and Muslims? In other words, was there any difference between
2 Croats and Muslims in this regard?
3 A. In Banja Luka, you mean?
4 Q. Absolutely.
5 A. It's hard for me to say with any precision, but I believe that it
6 was mostly Muslims and Croats who were evicted. The Serbs were not
7 evicted because they were all on the front line. However, some fighters
8 from the villages wanted to move into town. They even settled the widows
9 of fallen soldiers in the town, and when they moved in, when they settled,
10 they became the subject of social benefits. Dragan Batar, who was a
11 famous boxer before the war, told me that the same thing happened to the
12 Serbs at the hands of Croats and Muslims. I told him that this was not my
13 concern, that I wanted the situation to be resolved.
14 Q. So far as these forced evictions were concerned, who on the Serb
15 side, as far as you know, was responsible for these activities? In other
16 words, who was carrying out these activities?
17 A. I don't know. I was told that it was a group of armed people, but
18 nobody ever named any names.
19 Q. So far as the politics of the region is concerned, did you hold
20 anyone responsible for what was going on?
21 A. I was not able to know anything at all about it, because I was not
22 given any names, ever. Those were armed people from companies. Now, who
23 evicted people from flats owned by the municipality, I don't know.
24 Q. What happened to the properties that became vacant?
25 A. People would be put up into flats against the law. The Executive
1 Committee would assign some people to flats under a regular procedure and
2 make sure that these people are not evicted.
3 As far as private property is concerned, refugees were temporarily
4 assigned to these properties and they protected them from being damaged
5 and looted.
6 I know that there was a man who referred to my name when he wanted
7 to evict a lady, a Muslim lady, who was a lawyer, and she lived in a flat
8 in the centre of town. Luckily, she was an intelligent woman. She came
9 to me, asking me what it was all about. This man had apparently told her
10 that it had all been agreed with me. I told him that a vacant property is
11 private property and it cannot belong to the state or the municipality,
12 but the municipality would take care of it. However, the lady then went
13 to bring a lawsuit, and this was all settled through court proceedings.
14 Then there were Serbs who came to Banja Luka and evicted a Croat
15 family and took them all the way over to Slavonia, to Okucani, in Croatia.
16 I didn't know anything about this. Only at the point when he realised in
17 Gradiska that he was unable to get them across the border, he brought them
18 back and then asked me what he was going to do about them. I told him:
19 You should take them back to their homes.
20 He told me that they were unable to return home because Serbs from
21 Okucani had been accommodated in their properties. I called the manager
22 of the Bosna Hotel to put up these people in the hotel and that the
23 Executive Committee was to cover the costs for lodging and board. They
24 stayed there some five to seven days, I'm not sure exactly how long, until
25 I heard on Croatian TV that Rajko Kasagic had turned Bosna Hotel into a
2 I called the manager of Bosna Hotel, that he should immediately
3 dissolve the camp, because I had no right to establish or put anyone in
4 any sort of camps. However, in the meantime, the tensions settled down,
5 and I mean the tensions caused by the Serbs who had been driven away from
6 Slavonia into Bosnia. The people who evicted residents from their homes
7 and sent them over to Okucani apparently, so I heard, referred to my name
8 in doing so.
9 I was appointed to a commission which was to assist these Serbs.
10 When I heard them invoking my name whilst evicting people from their
11 homes, I called -- placed a call to the president of Republika Srpska,
12 asking that the commission be abolished because I would no longer do the
13 job as various people were basically ruining my repute. And that night,
14 on TV, I learnt that the commission was indeed dissolved.
15 Q. You mentioned at the start of the answer that you've just given
16 that refugees were temporarily assigned to vacant properties, as this
17 protected them from being damaged and looted.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. How might these properties be damaged and looted?
20 A. Most of the police force was away on the front, and there was no
21 way of protecting properties from looting. If you read Sven Hassel's
22 novels you'll see there was a lot of looting going on in the Balkans
23 during wars. Nobody protected vacant properties. They were looted. Even
24 the windows complete with the frames were taken off.
25 The Yugoslav People's Army, or rather, the air force, asked to be
1 assigned vacant properties in the neighbourhood of Vrbanja, in Banja Luka.
2 They toured all these properties and listed them. The Executive Committee
3 was unable to settle the matter in three or four days, because many
4 properties were involved. In the meantime, all of these properties were
5 damaged and looted.
6 Q. Are you able to help the Chamber at all with restoration of these
7 properties back to their rightful owners after the war?
8 A. I was already removed from the position of prime minister, but the
9 ministry for the displaced and refugees was established, which worked
10 along those lines, and the properties were returned, including flats. The
11 community in general, and the international community, participated in
12 funding the reconstructions of properties that were damaged. While those
13 properties that were occupied by residents were in fact quite
14 well-preserved and protected by those who occupied them.
15 Q. Religious sites in Banja Luka --
16 JUDGE ORIE: May I perhaps first ask a few clarifying questions on
17 parts of the testimony which I might not fully understand.
18 You said that there were Serbs who came to Banja Luka and evicted
19 a Croat family and took them all the way over to Slavonia, to Okucani, in
20 Croatia. You said you didn't know anything about this. "Only at the
21 point when he realised in Gradiska that he was unable to get them across
22 the border." Who is "he"?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It wasn't just one family that was
24 evicted. Several families were evicted, several homes, and he took them
25 over by bus. He was a Serb from Okucani, but I don't know his name.
1 JUDGE ORIE: So if you say when he realised in Gradiska that he
2 was unable to get them across the border, do I have to understand that the
3 expedition failed to continue at the border?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. He was stopped in Gradiska, at
5 the border, and then all of them were taken back to Banja Luka.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And that's how many kilometres from Banja Luka,
7 the border at Gradiska?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe 58 kilometres.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Now, did this happen in one day, then, or ...
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it happened in one day.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And nevertheless, they could not be returned to
12 their homes because already Serbs from Okucani had been accommodated. So
13 just for my understanding, that all happened in one day: They were
14 evicted, and you said these were quite a number of families, and on that
15 same day, Serbs were accommodated there in those flats?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was my understanding. That's
17 how I understood the person who told me so.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And then you said you called the manager of the Bosna
19 Hotel in order to accommodate the evicted Banja Luka citizens. Have you
20 ever considered to call the Bosna Hotel manager to say that the Serbs
21 should be accommodated in the Bosna Hotel rather than those who were
22 evicted from their apartments?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, because there were too many
24 Serbs. There were about 70.000 Serb refugees in Banja Luka. And this was
25 a smaller group of citizens who were evicted from their homes. And when I
1 called the manager, he told me that he was able to accommodate them there.
2 JUDGE ORIE: It seems that you did not understand my question.
3 Let's take it that five or ten families were evicted from their
4 flats. You said it was a bus full of people. Now, they returned to
5 Banja Luka and find that on the same day their apartments had been
6 occupied or were accommodating Serbs. Why didn't you call the Bosna Hotel
7 manager and ask him to accommodate the persons who were occupying the
8 apartments of those who were now returning from Gradiska to Banja Luka?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From Gradiska, yes, yes. Well, yes,
10 those were the Croats from Banja Luka who were taken back from Gradiska
11 because they were unable to cross the border. They were visited by the
12 Red Cross and by the citizens of Banja Luka. It was them I was referring
14 JUDGE ORIE: It seems that you still have not understood my
16 Why did you not instruct this person who asked for your advice?
17 Why didn't you say: Bring them back to their own apartments, and I'll
18 call the Bosna manager to see whether the Serbs, who meanwhile occupy
19 their apartments, that they were accommodated in the Bosna Hotel? Which
20 would re-establish, I would say, the natural situation, that is, the
21 Croats in their own apartments again and those who were in need of
22 accommodation to be accommodated in the Bosna Hotel.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were private homes, not
24 apartment buildings that were involved --
25 JUDGE ORIE: The place where they lived, where these are
1 apartments or private homes is not essential.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Very well. I asked that they be
3 taken back to their homes. But he told me that they do not dare to. And
4 I wanted to have them stop being afraid, and I thought that they would
5 stop being afraid after several days staying at the hotel. However, I
6 felt that I should not insist, that if I were to insist on this, while on
7 the other hand I had several other thousand people who were driven away,
8 Serbs driven from Slavonia, I felt that this was discrimination. The
9 other Serbs would be opposed to this idea. And I would simply cause
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you learned from the media that someone
12 considered this very humanitarian gesture of yours as creating a camp in
13 Hotel Bosna, which, from what I understand from your testimony, certainly
14 was not the case, that you wanted to accommodate people against their will
15 in Hotel Bosna. Is that a correct understanding?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes, that's correct.
17 JUDGE ORIE: And then your testimony says that where the Executive
18 Committee was willing to cover the cost for lodging and board, that you
19 then, on the basis of this Croatian TV blaming you for turning Bosna Hotel
20 into a camp, that you called the manager of the Bosna Hotel that he should
21 immediately dissolve the camp. May I take it that the Croats couldn't
22 stay any longer in the hotel?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They could. They could have. But
24 at their own expense.
25 JUDGE ORIE: How long did they stay there at the expense of the
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not sure whether it was five or
3 seven days, but it was a four-star hotel. We didn't have any other
4 accommodation, because people did not want to go into collective
5 accommodation if they had their own homes there.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Why didn't you say: It's a pure lie, what Croatian
7 television tells us, so therefore, my decision that they should rather
8 stay in the Bosna Hotel in order to get a safe feeling, rather than the --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Later on, we didn't have any
10 difficulties bringing them back to their homes, because the tensions
11 settled down. And it was of course too expensive for the municipality to
12 cover these costs. We were able to do so, but only for that limited
13 period of time.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you said later on. What do I have to
15 understand, later on? When did they return to their homes?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right after the municipality stopped
17 covering their expenses at the hotel; Hotel Bosna, I mean.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Now, how did you get rid of those who were occupying
19 these private homes, which were the reason why they could not return to
20 their homes? I mean, how -- where did they go?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Most of the Serbs who had come from
22 Slavonia moved out to Serbia. So the majority were no longer in
23 Banja Luka.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But I'm talking about the specific group that
25 occupied these five or ten homes.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know about that.
2 JUDGE ORIE: So just to try to better understand, and to
3 summarise, and please correct me if I'm wrong: You said you were informed
4 about an event which took place, as far as you're aware of, on the same
5 day, that people were -- Croats were evicted from a number of homes in
6 Banja Luka, taken to the border at Gradiska; upon return, could not go
7 into their own homes again; then stayed in Hotel Bosna for a couple of
8 days; and then, once you decided, on the basis of an untruthful television
9 broadcast in Croatia, you decided not to pay any longer for the
10 accommodation in the Hotel Bosna; and they all went home to their own
11 homes again. Is that where the Serbs occupying these homes had, for
12 reasons unknown, left again after one week? Is that a correct
13 understanding of what happened?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. However, I do not know what
15 happened to the Serbs. I know that the HDZ representative in the
16 Executive Committee kept visiting these Croats and took care of them, and
17 he never gave me any indication that there had been any difficulties in
18 them returning to their homes.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us when this happened, approximately?
20 Month, year.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was the period of the fall of
22 Slavonia, perhaps in May 1995 or 1994. But I believe it was in 1995.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 Mr. Josse, it was not right from the beginning clear to me that we
25 were hearing testimony on the 1995 events in this respect. But I may have
1 overlooked something. I'm quite willing to accept that I have
2 misinterpreted the testimony where I thought that it had -- that it took
3 place in a time frame which we usually concentrate on.
4 MR. JOSSE: It may well be my fault for not having asked the
5 witness that more specifically at an earlier stage. He gave that answer
6 in relation to a fairly general question from me, it's fair to say, and he
7 gave really the longest answer he'd given in the course of his testimony.
8 JUDGE ORIE: As a matter of fact, Mr. Josse, I think what happened
9 is in the beginning of -- when you asked about the refugee problem, the
10 witness started to tell us when it approximately started and then asked
11 about when was the real summit of these refugee problems, he answered that
12 it was in 1995. And then I think you took him back to the beginning. And
13 it may have been a lack of concentration on my side that I did not notice
14 when we moved back again to 1995. And I understood your questions taking
15 the witness back from 1995 as being the most important -- well, where it
16 was the high point of the refugee problem, taking him back, to take us
17 back to -- well, of course, the period of time which is most relevant for
18 this case, without saying that 1995 could never be relevant. And then we
19 had a long story which was rather unclear to me, but now turns out to be
20 somewhere in 1995.
21 Well, it's at least good that matters have been clarified.
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
24 Q. I'd like to ask you about an organisation called the SOS, please.
25 What do you understand by those initials?
1 A. This stands for Serbian Defence Forces, which spent a short period
2 of time in Banja Luka, prior to the war, in early spring of 1992. I don't
3 know who appointed them, who brought them to the municipality. I came to
4 work in the morning and saw armed soldiers in uniform blocking the
5 entrance to the municipality building. I was unable to enter the entrance
6 for the staff. There were both the president and the vice-president of
7 the municipality there. Vice-president, when he saw me there, he told me
8 that Predrag Radic had appointed them.
9 I went to Stojan Zupljanin, chief of the CSB, security services
10 centre, to ask him what this was all about, what was this blockade of the
11 municipality about. He asked his assistants how many armed policemen were
12 there. He told them that there were 200 of them. The SOS forces stayed
13 there for the day. The municipality did not work that day, not even the
14 inspection service, which was duty-bound to work every day, was unable to
15 do so. They were supposed to announce the number of those who died in the
16 hospital every day, but they were unable to do it on that particular day.
17 Later on, at the Assembly session, a request was read out by the
18 SOS, the Serbian Defence Forces. As far as I can remember, there were
19 nine requests, one of which was to launch an inquiry into the abuse of
20 official power. An inquiry was in fact carried out, but nobody was found
21 responsible for any abuse.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction. It was the meeting of
23 the Executive Committee.
24 MR. JOSSE:
25 Q. What, if anything, did the SOS do in Banja Luka?
1 A. It was a paramilitary formation, or a parapolice formation; I'm
2 not sure. Representatives of the international community who were present
3 in Banja Luka invited us for a meeting, for a briefing in Hotel Bosna.
4 There was Stojan Zupljanin, Predrag Radic, there was the president of the
5 HDZ, Gabelic. There was Sajic, I, and Vukic, president of the SDS. I
6 don't know whether there was anybody from the SDA. They claimed that they
7 were able to protect Banja Luka from attacks with the help of the SOS.
8 Gabelic told us that his son felt the presence of the SOS forces was
9 stressful, that he lost his faculty of speech. I said that the district
10 public prosecutor saw who these armed people were and went back home. He
11 was unable to go to his workplace, because these were criminals. They
12 could not have been there to protect the town.
13 There were several of us who went to see General Talic, asking
14 that he use his offices to dissolve the group. General Talic asked that
15 we, members of the Assembly, see to it that the legalisation of this force
16 is prevented. He wanted us to prevent this force from becoming legalised.
17 So it happened that it was abolished, and SOS members were drafted
18 into the regular army.
19 Q. You described them as criminals. Why?
20 A. The district attorney said that. He said that some of them were
21 prosecuted by him, that one of them had spent eight years in prison. I
22 got that information from him.
23 Q. Do you say they were criminals?
24 A. They were paramilitaries. I personally didn't know a single one
25 of them. However, we were afraid of them, me and other members of the
1 Assembly, and we wanted the force to be disbanded. The MPs even wanted
2 Knindze to come to Banja Luka in case a member of the SOS attacked one of
3 the citizens. The Knindze were there for a few days. They wanted to be
4 paid 100 German marks a day for their services. Ango Kograhovac [phoen],
5 one of the directors of a local company, paid them that money. But in any
6 case, that's how a possible conflict with the paramilitaries had been
8 Q. Are you aware of any criminal activities committed by the SOS
9 whilst they were in Banja Luka?
10 A. Women in the Municipal Assembly told us that some of them had
11 taken jewellery from the local women when they were travelling on buses.
12 Q. Were the members of the SOS exclusively Serbs?
13 A. I don't know any of them. I met one of them on the front line,
14 and he was a Serb. He even said, which is totally unbelievable to me:
15 Did we have to kill this man? But this is certainly not correct. He is
16 somewhere in Germany, but he was a Serb, and I just met him by chance.
17 Q. Are you able to say why Zupljanin was unable to control the SOS?
18 A. I can't say. He never told me anything about it.
19 MR. TIEGER: I think the question assumed facts not precisely in
20 evidence. I think we need a foundational question before that question is
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 MR. JOSSE:
24 Q. Was Zupljanin able to control the SOS?
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, because the question suggests, as it was put
1 initially, a fact which had not been established yet.
2 MR. JOSSE: I accept the objection, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
4 Then first question is: Was Mr. Zupljanin able to control the
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was in charge of the police, and
7 there were 3.000 police officers in Banja Luka. I don't know how many of
8 them were on the front line. I suppose so. SOS was a very small group of
9 armed people. It was not big.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
11 MR. JOSSE:
12 Q. Certain sacred buildings within Banja Luka were destroyed during
13 the war; is that right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Let's deal in turn. Mosques. Are you able to say how many
16 mosques were destroyed in Banja Luka during the war?
17 A. There were two big mosques, Ferhadija and Arnaudija, both under
18 international protection. They were the two key mosques and they were
19 destroyed. There were many small mosques, some of them wooden ones. I
20 believe that there were 14 of them in the territory of Banja Luka. A
21 majority of them were small ones, only there were two big ones. In the
22 meantime, after the end of the war, quite a number of them have been
23 restored, but the two big ones, the work has not even started on them.
24 Q. Are you able to say when the two big mosques were destroyed?
25 A. I don't know the year. During the war.
1 Q. I'm sure I can lead on this. There is no doubt that they were
2 deliberately destroyed; is that correct?
3 A. There's no doubt about that. Radic was absolutely dissatisfied
4 when these two mosques were destroyed. I was in his office at the time,
5 and he was very angry. To this very day, it still isn't known who is
6 responsible for the destruction of these two mosques.
7 Q. Have you any idea what efforts were made to find those who were
9 A. I am not in a position to do that. I was in the Executive Board
10 of the municipality of Banja Luka, a member of the executive power, and it
11 was the police and the judiciary who should have been responsible for
13 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask one clarifying question again, Mr. Josse.
14 You several times referred to the police and the judiciary as
15 being responsible for, well, investigating and adjudicating those who were
16 responsible. Could you tell me: At what period of time are we talking
17 about? I would say destruction of the mosques. I take it that if you say
18 that the 14 -- most of the 14 were restored, that they first were at least
19 damaged. The two great mosques and the 14 of which at least some have
20 been damaged, when did this happen, approximately, in time?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were not damaged. They were
22 razed to the ground. Arnaudija mosques and Ferhadija mosques. There was
23 during the war, either in 1993 or 1994. I'm not sure of the year.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Nothing of the kind happened in 1992?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know the year. It was
1 during the war, however. I don't think that they were destroyed in 1992.
2 I believe that this happened somewhat later, in 1993 or 1994.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Are you now talking about the two large mosques or
4 about all 14, and the two?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm talking about the two big ones
6 that were in the centre of town.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And the 14 ones of which you said many of them were
8 restored after the war, I understood this to be as a reference to earlier
9 damage and perhaps even destruction. Is that correctly understood?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Did any of these destructions happen in 1992, or
12 should I say damage or destructions?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know the year. I
14 don't think that the destruction started in 1990. I believe it all
15 started later.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I have some difficulties in following the
17 interpreters, perhaps being not close enough to the microphone. Yes.
18 Now, you said the police and the judiciary. Could you tell me, at
19 the time you're referring to, what was the composition of the police? Had
20 it changed since the beginning of the war? And I'm talking about
21 composition in terms of ethnicity or nationality.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never received any information
23 about that at the Executive Board meetings. In the leadership, the
24 composition was changed, and since other ethnic groups that occupied those
25 positions had left the town, only the Serbs remained. The police protect
1 property and obtain information on the order of the prosecutor's office.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you told us about the leadership. But on
3 average, did you have no information at all on whether the police was
4 still multi-ethnic in its lower regions or whether it had become more or
5 less a mono-ethnic police force?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never received that information,
7 because the Ministry of the Interior is a body at the level of the
8 Republic, and it is the minister who has to look after that. The
9 municipality did not have any information about the police, no insight
10 into it whatsoever, because the police is a body at the level of the
11 Republic. Only from time to time did we review their reports on the
12 security situation in Banja Luka, and that was all.
13 JUDGE ORIE: You had no idea about whether the composition, apart
14 from what you told us already, that there were changes or considerable
15 changes or whether it was still the same? I mean, I'm not asking about
16 official reports, but just whether you knew.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't know anything about that.
18 There were a lot of police officers, and without an official report, I
19 couldn't know anything about this.
20 JUDGE ORIE: You might have known some of the police officers, and
21 you might have met them on the streets, to say: Well, I know that my
22 neighbour from two streets from here is a police officer. I saw him
23 frequently in the exercise of his police functions.
24 I mean, sometimes you know things even without having received
25 reports from the ministry. Could you tell us -- just give us an
1 impression of what you experienced in that respect?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I worked in Jelsingrad, which is in
3 the suburbs. I resided in the suburbs. I had very few occasions to see
4 patrolmen. But I knew who their heads were. During the war, it was only
5 the Serbs. I don't know who were police officers. I didn't know any of
6 them personally.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
8 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So I would like to know the
9 importance of the municipality of Banja Luka. How many people lived in
10 Banja Luka?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] According to the 1991 census,
12 192.000. The town itself had 148.000 inhabitants.
13 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse -- an early break -- not an early break,
15 but at least a break that would give you some opportunity to -- could you
16 tell us how much time you'd still need?
17 MR. JOSSE: Yes. My estimate at 10 past 4.00 was about as bad as
18 they can get.
19 JUDGE ORIE: We might have been responsible to some extent for
20 that as well.
21 MR. JOSSE: Not really. I'm going to be questioning this witness
22 until 7.00, almost certainly, now. So I'll take the break --
23 JUDGE ORIE: If you find a suitable moment within the next ten
24 minutes to have a break, then we'll have a break until close to 6.00 or
25 6.00, and then continue for another hour.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
3 Q. Catholic churches, were any of those destroyed in Banja Luka?
4 A. Yes. The Catholic church in the centre of town, one of the most
5 beautiful in Banja Luka, is still standing. However, one in the suburbs,
6 very close to my apartment, was destroyed during the war. I don't know
7 about any of the others. The neighbourhood where that church was is
8 called Petricevac. In the meantime, it has been restored. The Pope
9 himself was present some two or three years ago for the consecration of
10 that newly restored church.
11 MR. JOSSE: If I may, I'll accept Your Honour's offer at this
12 point in time, in fact.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll then adjourn until five minutes to 6.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.33 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 6.01 p.m.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, you may continue once the witness is
18 Mr. Kasagic, Mr. Josse will continue his examination.
19 MR. JOSSE:
20 Q. Really, Mr. Kasagic, I'm going to ask you a series of what I hope
21 are fairly specific questions in the next few minutes.
22 The first is: You described the ethnic make-up of the Executive
23 Committee in Banja Luka at the start of the war. Were there any non-Serbs
24 who served on the Executive Committee during the war?
25 A. There was a Croat from the HDZ. The others left Banja Luka.
1 Q. The Croat from the HDZ, what was his name, please?
2 A. Anton Ruzic.
3 Q. And what was his role on the Executive Committee?
4 A. He was the deputy president of the president of the Executive
6 Q. And for how long did he serve with you on the Executive Committee?
7 A. From the moment the Executive Committee was elected until the
8 moment I became the president of government. But even when I left, he
9 remained serving on the Executive Committee.
10 Q. Quite important translation point, Your Honour. You were prime
11 minister, not president of the government, weren't you?
12 A. Where I come from, it's one and the same thing.
13 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, just for purposes of linguistic
14 clarification, this was an issue that was raised perhaps before Mr. Josse
15 was part of the case, and that was the use of the term "government," not
16 to mean the overall political authorities but to mean that specific body
17 that is presided over by either the president of the government or the
18 prime minister, depending on the term used.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Being ministers together headed by the prime
20 minister, but not including the Presidency of the Republic.
21 MR. TIEGER: Correct. I think that's an issue that was -- and I
22 don't mean to pre-empt the questions, but I think if the witness was
23 trying to explain, and I think it's been addressed before.
24 MR. JOSSE: I'm grateful. I apologise to the interpreter if I've
25 done any injustice to her.
1 Q. The next matter, Mr. Kasagic, is this: Are you aware of an
2 incident at the Kozara relay station, where, as a result of a transmitter
3 being altered in some way, Sarajevo Television was no longer being
4 received in Banja Luka and instead Belgrade Television was received?
5 A. I'm aware of that. I believe that this happened in late 1990. In
6 Banja Luka, we could watch Sarajevo and Zagreb TV, but not Belgrade TV.
7 When the nationalistic tensions started, one group of people went up and
8 turned the transmitter to face Belgrade, and from then on we could follow
9 the programmes from Belgrade.
10 Q. Is there any truth in the suggestion that you attended a party to
11 celebrate this event at the Europa restaurant, at the bottom of the Kozara
13 A. No. I'm not even aware of the fact that there was such a
15 And as for this hotel, or the restaurant Europa, I was there long
16 before the war, when Jelsingrad celebrated 50 years of its existence, and
17 never again after that.
18 Q. Is there any truth, Mr. Kasagic, in the allegation that you
19 carried out a plan to remove all non-Serb managers from all state-owned
20 companies, such as the electric company?
21 A. No. This was a decision, or rather, a conclusion of the Crisis
22 Staff of the AR Krajina. At the Assembly of AR Krajina, I asked for the
23 conclusion to be abolished. This conclusion was published in the Official
24 Gazette on issue number 5 of AR Krajina. I said at that assembly that one
25 day we would be ashamed of that decision. However, only four of us voted
1 against that decision and that decision remained in effect, in other
2 words, this decision of the AR Krajina was never abolished.
3 Q. I'm going to digress there for a moment. What was your view of
4 the AR Krajina, your general view of it?
5 A. I advocated the position that it was an association of
6 municipalities in line with the constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina and it
7 had its competencies along these lines, and the competency was in terms of
8 commerce and in terms of defence. Yugoslavia was very much geared towards
9 defence, and everybody was duty-bound to have its defence plans, companies
10 and municipalities included. When the Crisis Staff came into existence
11 and when they started passing some very ridiculous decisions, some at the
12 expense of the Serbian people, I started to object those decisions.
13 However, I didn't have much influence on these decisions.
14 Q. Going back to what I was asking you a few moments ago: Is there
15 any truth in the suggestion that you were a leading force in the ethnic
16 cleansing of all non-Serbs in Banja Luka?
17 A. I heard that some people that evicted non-Serbs out of their
18 houses evoked my name. I've already mentioned that. And I also told you
19 how I asked for protection of people in their homes. However, I didn't
20 have any say in that, and I heard that the Croats who had settled in
21 Croatia said on Radio Gradiska that Rajko Kasagic was amongst the
22 influential people in that respect. However, I never participated in any
23 of that. I never cooperated with any in that. I never visited a single
24 house. All to the contrary; I was never involved in any of that.
25 Q. You've already dealt with this to some extent, but I should ask
1 you again. What about the suggestion that you were involved in the
2 resettlement of Serbs into vacated Muslim homes in Banja Luka?
3 A. Not me personally, but the Executive Committee, they issued
4 temporary certificates on temporary usage of those houses and apartments.
5 I was the president of the Executive Committee and I was the one who
6 signed those certificates or permits or decisions.
7 Q. As far as you're aware, did you sign any eviction orders?
8 A. Certainly not. Absolutely not. There are minutes of the meetings
9 of the Executive Committee dating to that period here, at The Hague
10 Tribunal, and you can consult them to see that.
11 Q. What about the suggestion that you were involved in this ethnic
12 cleansing and resettlement of Serbs with someone called FNU Denic, who was
13 head of the municipal military department? Did you cooperate with him in
14 these activities?
15 A. Denic was in charge of defence, and he also was in charge of
16 mobilisation of people for the front lines. Once I gave a statement in
17 the public media talking about Denic who had engaged directors for
18 mobilisation. My view was that directors should be in charge of the work
19 of their companies. In my view, defence was something that was amongst
20 the competencies of the Republic rather than of particular municipalities,
21 and that is why I could not cooperate with him. He was in charge of
22 defence and I worked in the municipality. I'm not even aware of the fact
23 that he might have been doing something in that respect. I never heard
24 any such thing. This is the first time I hear it, the first time I hear
25 that he was involved in any such thing.
1 Q. Finally, so far as this set of questions is concerned, what do you
2 say to the suggestion that you, in conjunction with Mr. Zupljanin, became
3 very wealthy from the illegal smuggling of fuel?
4 A. I couldn't say a thing. The only thing I can say is that there
5 were a lot of rumours in the war, a lot of lies. I heard stories about my
6 company on Cyprus, in Athens, in London. I have two daughters in the
7 States. I do not have a son, although some say that my son has a company
9 I never heard of Zupljanin smuggling oil, and especially doing it
10 with me. People who spread those stories or believed in them realised
11 after a while that I don't have any money, and they wondered how come I
12 don't spend that money. And then they realised I don't have the money and
13 then they started saying, Rajko is a fool. He didn't get anything for
15 And I am an intellectual. I have authored six books. I have
16 become a full-time professor at the university, and that is enough.
17 Q. I think again to some extent you've answered the next question,
18 but I want to ask it anyway. Are you very wealthy?
19 A. I've always said, and I will say again, that I'm wealthy in
20 spirit. I have what I had before the war, and nothing new. A year ago I
21 bought a new Skoda Fabia from the proceeds of my current job. I said
22 publicly on TV to all the citizens that if any of them is aware of my
23 assets abroad or any surplus on what I had before the war, I will
24 willingly share that with them. I will give away anything that they think
25 I have. I fear God. That is why I have never obtained anything
1 illegally. I fear of God's punishment. The love of silver is punishable
2 by God.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau would like to ask a question.
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you very much,
5 Mr. Josse. Sorry for interrupting you. I'd like to ask a question of the
7 Going back to what you said on several occasions during your
8 testimony, I noted that you make a clear distinction between things
9 pertaining to local powers and things pertaining possibly to central
10 powers. So at the level of the Republic or of the government.
11 I'd like to know this: Were there any decisions taken,
12 lato sensu, widely speaking, by the central government, a decision that
13 you would have disapproved of, and if there were any, which were they?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember any such decisions
15 that were contested by the Executive Committee. However, the Executive
16 Committee proposed to the central government, i.e., to the government of
17 Republika Srpska, that there should be more activities geared towards the
18 rule of law. We proposed that administrative procedures should be carried
19 out at two levels, and this wasn't done. So the Executive Board was the
20 authority that issued decisions on appeal, because the central government
21 failed to introduce a two-instance procedure in the administrative -- into
22 the administrative proceedings.
23 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I am aware that you claim to be a
24 legalist. I am not asking you whether local institutions challenged or
25 whether local institutions suggested to the central government to do such
1 things, this or that. But I'm asking you whether you, as a citizen, you
2 were able to disagree with given decisions taken by the central powers.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As an MP, I intervened about that at
4 the parliament session. I contested a few things, I agreed with some
5 others, but I don't remember any details.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
7 continues]... you challenged, which decisions you were against, and which
8 you, in all conscience, could not agree with as a parliamentarian, as
9 representative of your municipality or as a simple citizen?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were many Assembly sessions.
11 Many decisions were taken at every of them. At this moment, as I sit
12 here, I can't remember anything specific, really.
13 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Earlier on you mentioned the
14 decision taken by the Crisis Staff of the Autonomous Region of Krajina.
15 It was a plan aimed at evicting non-Serbs from a number of companies, or
16 dismissing them, and you said that you were against it and that you
17 opposed that decision. Where did you express your opposition, on what
18 specific occasion did you do so, and how did you express your
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was an Assembly of AR Krajina
21 in Banja Luka, in the culture hall currently known as Banski Dvor. I
22 spoke publicly at that assembly, and I said that this decision should be
23 voted for or against and that we would be ashamed of that decision. This
24 was at the Assembly of AR Krajina.
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And that's where your protests
1 ended. It was during a public session, so you did not send any
2 communique, a release, a report, to people in positions of power, within
3 the central powers that you might have known. That ended there. Right?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. That's where it ended. This
5 was no secret. Everybody knew that. The media were informed about what
6 had happened and they informed the general public about that. But you
7 have to bear in mind that this was the state of war and it was dangerous
8 to act differently. I already had problems with the president of the
9 Crisis Staff of AR Krajina and its president. At the assembly sessions,
10 as MPs, we also entered into conflict with them.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] This goes together with my next
12 question. To what extent do you feel that you were a free citizen during
13 the events? What was the capacity for you to oppose decisions? You said
14 you were afraid, but who were you afraid of? What were you afraid of?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Armed people. Everybody was armed.
16 All the soldiers carried arms and brought it into Banja Luka. There was a
17 lot of shooting, a lot of stray bullets which killed people. On one
18 occasion, I spoke to General Talic, and I asked him not to allow soldiers
19 to bring arms home but to leave them on the front line.
20 During the war, I don't know when exactly this was, my house was
21 fired at by a Zolja. On that night, I was not home. I was in Banja Luka.
22 A projectile from Zolja hit the room where I was supposed to sleep. If I
23 had been in my bed, I wouldn't be here today, I suppose.
24 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Were you afraid of the people
25 working within the Crisis Staff?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm a free person, a brave person.
2 I was not afraid of entering into conflict with them if my way of thinking
3 differed from theirs. I was not afraid at the moment when information
4 came from the High Representative that I was supposed to be assassinated.
5 I said to a journalist, a foreign journalist: If that is my lot, then I
6 would be killed. And if that is not to be my lot, then the person who is
7 supposed to assassinate me will be killed on the way to assassinate me.
8 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] This assassination that you could
9 fear could have come, could it, from the people on the Crisis Staff?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Who could it come from?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was much later. I had already
13 been removed from the position of --
14 JUDGE ORIE: One very short question. Did the ARK Assembly have a
15 general power to overrule all decisions from the ARK Crisis Staff?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Assembly was duty-bound to
17 either accept or reject conclusions or decisions issued by the Crisis
18 Staff. The Crisis Staff was duty-bound to submit information on all the
19 decisions and conclusions that had been taken before the next Assembly
20 session. And the Assembly was in a position to either adopt those
21 conclusions or decisions or reject them.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Do you remember any occasion where they rejected
23 decisions taken by the ARK Crisis Staff?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was only once at that one
25 session. I don't know whether there were any other sessions of the
1 Assembly after that, as I did not attend any of them.
2 In 1992, I did not attend the AR Krajina Assembly meeting. I went
3 to the meeting of the parliament on Mount Jahorina. I did not consider
4 this Assembly session to be any important [as interpreted].
5 JUDGE ORIE: Nevertheless, or did I misunderstand your testimony:
6 Didn't you say that this decision to fire all non-Serb managers from the
7 state-owned companies that -- I remember that you said only -- that you
8 raised the matter and that only four votes were cast in favour of
9 rejecting the decision. Was that the one session you were just talking
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was the session, not the one in
12 1992 which I didn't attend, but the second one that I attended on purpose.
13 I was at that Assembly session with the intent to propose the abolishment
14 of such a decision issued by the Crisis Staff. I spoke publicly. I
15 advocated the abolition of such decision, but this was not accepted.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us who voted in favour of your
17 proposal to abolish this decision?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I really don't know their names.
19 One, as far as I remember, was from Gradiska, but I don't know his name.
20 And the other two, I don't know their names. There were four of us in
21 favour of my proposal. But I don't know any of the names. This man from
22 Gradiska who opposed this decision, I never knew his name, actually.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And I take it that that's all on the record of the
24 ARK Assembly meetings?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it should be.
1 JUDGE ORIE: You understand, Mr. Josse, that especially to find
2 objective support for such testimony, the Chamber, of course, would very
3 much like to see it and to better understand what actually happened.
4 MR. JOSSE: Well, I've already made a comment to my left to that
5 effect, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
7 MR. JOSSE:
8 Q. You mentioned, in the course of the questions that Judge Hanoteau
9 asked you, that you had your problems with the president of the Crisis
10 Staff of the AR Krajina. And you clearly just told us about one of those
11 problems. Are there any other problems that you are able to tell us
13 A. I was on very friendly terms with a businessman, also from
14 Banja Luka, who was a member of the government before me. He is a refugee
15 from Zagreb who had a company which was involved in commerce and
16 construction works. In the meantime, he passed away. His business was
17 going on really well, and it was thought that we had some interests in our
18 relationship, but we were merely good friends. It was, I felt, in our
19 interest that the economy was operational, because that was our future.
20 He being a civil engineer probably could not really grasp what the
21 significance of the economy was and in what relation commerce stood to
22 construction works.
23 At these meetings, very often he spoke of some economic
24 embezzlement, mentioning exactly that man, Rajko Vukovic, saying that one
25 day the fact that he was involved in embezzlement was going to come to
1 surface. However, none of that sort of information that would indicate
2 any such embezzlements ever appeared in the public.
3 The Municipal Assembly had authorised the Executive Committee
4 shortly before the war to administer whatever the customs had seized in
5 their warehouse in Banja Luka, or rather, the vehicles that were there.
6 However, the Crisis Staff of AR Krajina decided that they should be the
7 ones to use the vehicles, and the Executive Committee was only in the
8 position to inform the Municipal Assembly that it had been denied its
9 authority to decide about it, although I myself thought that it would have
10 been highly improper of the Executive Committee to decide about these
11 vehicles, which, after all, were the property of the Republican organs.
12 Therefore, I was actually quite pleased that this was taken off our hands.
13 Q. I'm going to move on, if I may, now to another topic.
14 I want to ask you this: Do you recall attending any meetings of
15 any sort at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo in December of 1991?
16 A. In 1991 I did not attend any meeting in Holiday Inn. As MPs of
17 the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we only spent the night in Holiday
18 Inn. We stayed there at the expense of the Municipal Assembly.
19 Q. I'd still invite you to have a look at this document, please.
20 JUDGE ORIE: The exhibit number you are presenting to the --
21 MR. JOSSE: It's tab -- Exhibit 65, tab 64. Or it's the other way
22 around, excuse me.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I think most of us by now understand. We give it a
24 name after the witness has had a look at it.
25 MR. JOSSE:
1 Q. Now, you've had a chance to read that document; is that correct?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. When was the first time that you saw that document?
4 A. Here in The Hague, and it was yesterday.
5 Q. It's commonly known, at least in this courtroom, as the Variant A
6 and B document. Was that something that you were familiar with at all in
7 late 1991, early 1992, in the course of your work or political activity?
8 A. I don't remember hearing of it. If I did, I forgot. It did not
9 have any actual meaning in practice, at least as far as I know.
10 Q. The next thing I want to ask you goes back to, in fact -- related
11 to something you were being asked about by the learned Judges not that
12 long ago. You were being asked about criticisms that you might have of
13 the government, and you said that you can't remember whether in fact
14 you -- what specific criticisms you had now with the benefit of hindsight;
15 is that right?
16 A. The first government, headed by Professor Djeric, did not
17 introduce a two-instance procedure. After a while, I asked that the prime
18 minister resign. However, this proposal was not even discussed. It was
19 ignored. And then a couple of months later, I resigned for my own private
20 reasons. I was dissatisfied, because I seemed not to have been able to do
22 Q. You resigned from what?
23 A. From my position as prime minister.
24 Q. But we're talking about 1996, aren't we?
25 A. No. No. I believe it was in 1992, or it could have been 1993.
1 Subsequently, Lukic was elected prime minister. He was also a professor
2 at the university.
3 Q. I'm going to stop you. The transcript says that you resigned from
4 your position as prime minister. You weren't prime minister in 1992, were
6 A. No, no. No. It wasn't -- I wasn't referring to myself. In
7 December 1995 I was appointed, and I stayed in my position until the
8 15th of May, 1996.
9 Q. I'm going to stop you. You were talking about Mr. Djeric
10 resigning, weren't you?
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 Q. In 1992, did you attend meetings of the Republika Srpska Assembly?
13 A. I attended all the Assembly sessions. I believed it was my duty
14 to participate in the work of the Assembly. But I did not keep any
15 records, although I did take part in the work of the Assembly.
16 Q. Were you aware of any discussion, informally, amongst deputies,
17 about crimes that were being committed in Bosnia?
18 A. Publicly, at the Assembly session, no such thing was discussed.
19 However, from the Prijedor deputies, I learnt that there was a public camp
20 in Prijedor - Keraterm, I believe it was called - and that was the
21 information that I had.
22 Q. Anything else other than that discussion with the Prijedor
23 deputies? Any other discussion with any deputies about crimes?
24 A. No. I know that a deputy in Srebrenica was killed. Nobody knew
25 who had killed him. That was still at the time when we were part of
1 Yugoslavia, when Bosnia-Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia. He got killed
2 as he was returning from negotiations with SDA members.
3 Q. So far as the information the Prijedor deputies gave to you, was
4 that anything you discussed with Mr. Krajisnik?
5 A. No. I didn't -- four years ago, when an ICTY lawyer spoke to me
6 in Banja Luka, he asked me whether I knew that Karadzic had called over
7 the phone and criticised the people about these camps, and I said that I
8 didn't know what or if anybody knew anything about it.
9 Q. Whilst on the subject of SDS deputies: You gave some evidence
10 earlier about the SDS Deputies Club when the Assembly was part of the
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly. I now want to ask you about the Deputies
12 Club in the Republika Srpska Assembly.
13 Firstly, who was the chairman of the SDS Deputies Club?
14 A. The chairman of the SDS Deputies Club was Professor Maksimovic.
15 He was a professor at the Sarajevo University.
16 Q. What influence did Mr. Krajisnik have on that Deputies Club?
17 A. Right at the beginning, I stated that these first multi-party
18 elections yielded the first multi-party parliament, where the deputies
19 were free for the first time to speak their minds. It was dangerous to
20 become a member of an ethnic party at the time when the League of
21 Communists was still in power, but nobody could influence them, could
22 influence their thoughts and what they were going to say.
23 Q. A specific question: Are you able to tell us when in 1992
24 Mr. Krajisnik visited Banja Luka?
25 A. I can't tell you which year that was, but I know that he
1 occasionally came there with the president of Republika Srpska. I know
2 that on his arrival he would always go to the church. I note that there
3 was a lady who approached him and told him, "President, you should take
4 care of us." It was at the time when deputies of different ethnicities
5 came into conflict already. He smiled at her with equanimity and told
6 her, "Don't be afraid. Everything will be fine."
7 After that, we went to see Vladika and spent some time with him,
8 the Orthodox priest.
9 THE INTERPRETER: Orthodox bishop, interpreter's correction.
10 MR. JOSSE:
11 Q. Have you any recollection of Mr. Krajisnik being at a meeting in
12 Banja Luka on the 22nd of April, 1992, along with General Talic, a meeting
13 that was televised?
14 A. I'm not aware of that, really, I'm not.
15 [Defence counsel confer]
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. Is the 22nd of April a significant day in the calendar of
18 Banja Luka?
19 A. I believe that there was a date in April which marked the day of
20 liberation of Banja Luka in 1945, in World War II. This was a date that
21 was celebrated in the period up to this recent war in Banja Luka. I
22 believe that was the date, although I'm not sure.
23 Q. But that doesn't help jog your memory about this meeting one way
24 or the other; is that right?
25 A. No. I did not attend the meeting because I'm sure I would
1 remember it, had I been there.
2 Q. The notion of an extended Presidency within the Republika Srpska
3 meant what to you?
4 A. It meant to me something that was normal in the former Yugoslavia
5 in the single-party system. There was always the most senior official,
6 who would ask of the subordinate officials of the League of Communists and
7 trade-unionists to be his -- for him to be their advisor, that he would
8 give them some information and then they would pass them on. And in that
9 context, you would have the Extended Presidency and not as in a
10 decision-taking body. Because other organs, such as the parliament and
11 the government, would continue discharging their functions as usual.
12 Q. What about in the Republika Srpska?
13 A. In Republika Srpska, yes.
14 Q. Did you ever hear -- as far as you were concerned, was
15 Mr. Krajisnik a member of the Extended Presidency?
16 A. I don't know. Even if it was mentioned, nobody paid any attention
17 to it as an advisory body. Had it been a body taking decisions, then the
18 Assembly would be there to confirm these decisions. But I don't recall
19 ever there being any such decisions forwarded to the Assembly for either
20 confirmation, adoption, or rejection. I believe that under the
21 constitution, this body becomes active in the event of a declared state of
22 war. It does not become active so long as all the other bodies are able
23 to function as per normal.
24 Q. When, if at all, was a state of war declared?
25 A. Republika Srpska never declared a state of war, but rather a state
1 of -- an imminent threat of war. Although officers frequently asked that
2 a state of war be declared, the parliament never did so.
3 Q. Let me put this another way. Did you ever hear of any suggestion
4 that Mr. Krajisnik was a member of the Extended Presidency?
5 A. If I heard anything to that effect, I forgot about it, because
6 this body was not important in terms of any decision-making. Had it been
7 important as a decision-making body, I'm sure that as a deputy, I would
8 have been aware of it.
9 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to move on to another topic, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please do so.
11 MR. JOSSE:
12 Q. As far as you were concerned, in 1992, what was Mr. Krajisnik's
13 role within the Republika Srpska?
14 A. Mr. Krajisnik was Speaker of the Parliament, and he was
15 exceptionally good in chairing the parliament. We were all very satisfied
16 with him. He did not abuse his position as the chairman, or the Speaker.
17 He made it possible for everyone to speak their minds and present their
18 views. I saw him as a person inclined towards democracy, which wasn't the
19 case before, because of the single-party system.
20 Q. As a president of an Executive Committee of a municipality and as
21 a member of the Assembly, are you able to assess what control, if any,
22 Mr. Krajisnik had over municipalities?
23 A. He had none. He wasn't able to have any. Because all the
24 deputies would have opposed such control. After all, they all originated
25 from one municipality or the other.
1 Q. As a member of the Republika Srpska Assembly, are you able to
2 assess what control Mr. Krajisnik had over the police, either centrally or
3 regionally, within the Republic?
4 A. Whether he was able to, and to what extent, cooperate with the
5 chief of police, I don't know, but he could, of course, interact with
6 minister of the interior. But he did not have any authority or competence
7 over the police, nor did I ever hear of him exerting any pressure on the
8 police, in any sense.
9 Q. The same question in relation to the army, please.
10 A. One was unable to influence the military. They had their supreme
11 command in Belgrade. They were generals of the Yugoslav People's Army.
12 Those were professional soldiers who themselves stated that they had never
13 been trained or taught anything about the civil war and didn't know much
14 about it. Mr. Krajisnik was unable to influence them. Although
15 parliamentarians sometimes discussed military matters and deputies used to
16 call the military personnel communists.
17 Q. What about when the VRS was established? Did the situation
18 change? Did Mr. Krajisnik then gain some control over the army?
19 A. No. As a deputy, he was unable to have any control over the army.
20 It was only the supreme commander of the armed forces and the military
21 command who were able to have control. What their links with the supreme
22 command in Belgrade were, I really don't know.
23 Q. The same question in relation to the judiciary. What was his
24 position in relation to them, please?
25 A. The judiciary was autonomous, and thank God it was so. It was not
1 active enough during the war because of the general dangers. Not
2 everything functioned the way it should have. It was very difficult.
3 There were criminal offences committed on the front line, and in the
4 hinterland. But the judiciary, although limited by the state of an
5 imminent threat of war, continued functioning quite well, and
6 autonomously. The parliament elected judges and the president, Speaker of
7 the Parliament, did not have any influence over that. The judges of
8 Republika Srpska were elected by the parliament in Banja Luka. I don't
9 know which year that was, but all the information related to that was sent
10 to the deputies.
11 Q. Flowing from that, did Mr. Krajisnik have any power to punish
12 individuals or groups within the Republic?
13 A. He did not have any power to do so, and I don't know whether he
14 did punish anyone. Whenever a person would come up with some criticism,
15 then he would always agree, affirm that it was so. When the next person
16 would raise another matter of criticism, then he would again affirm that.
17 But as for punishing someone, I don't believe he did, and I don't think he
18 would be able to find anyone who would disprove what I'm saying. He was
19 not -- he did not have the authority to punish anyone under any
20 regulations. I don't even know if he was able to deny someone to take the
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'm glad to say I've timed that rather well. I
24 have no further questions.
25 JUDGE ORIE: No further questions.
1 Before we finish, I would have one question related to one of your
2 last questions, Mr. Josse.
3 You said: "Thank God the judiciary was independent and the
4 judiciary was functioning well."
5 Did you ever hear of judges provisionally releasing those who were
6 suspected to have committed serious crimes and then to be sent to the
7 front line rather than to remain in gaol?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not hear anything of the sort
9 in connection with the judiciary. But I was once with minister of
10 judiciary, Jovo Rosic, I believe it was at the time, in a prison, when one
11 of the prisoners asked to be released in order to go to the front line. I
12 don't know what they decided about this subsequently. I never spoke to
13 him again.
14 I said: Thank God, of course within the limits of their power,
15 because war is an evil thing.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The last part of your answer suggests that it
17 never happened. Is that what you want to say?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say that I don't know whether
19 this happened or not.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that answer.
21 We have to finish for today. Let me just -- perhaps it's good
22 that the witness is there.
23 Mr. Tieger, you wanted to delay cross-examination until Friday; is
24 that --
25 MR. TIEGER: That's correct, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That means, Mr. Josse, that you would call your
2 next witness for examination-in-chief tomorrow.
3 MR. JOSSE: Yes. Two things on that.
4 First of all, when I had the opportunity, I explained the position
5 to Mr. Kasagic. He understands that he's unlikely to be required
7 Secondly, to the best of our knowledge, our next witness is now in
8 the air, on his way to this country, though I just hope that information
9 is accurate. He certainly won't have landed here as of this time.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Nevertheless, tomorrow, in the afternoon, you
11 would start the examination-in-chief?
12 MR. JOSSE: I think I've got no option.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then there's -- from what we just discussed,
14 Mr. Kasagic, we will continue tomorrow not with your cross-examination.
15 Most likely it will start on Friday. Of course, it depends on what
16 happens tomorrow in the afternoon. But so we'd like you to follow the
17 guidance of the Victims and Witnesses Section, which will tell you whether
18 or not your cross-examination will start on the basis of the information
19 they will receive tomorrow, but you should make yourself available by next
20 Friday. That would be in the -- yes, it would be in the afternoon as
22 MR. JOSSE: Is that -- I see the registrar nodding his head in
23 agreement. I thought it was the morning.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, it's in the morning. I made a mistake. I
25 apologise for that. So we'd like you to keep yourself available for
1 Friday morning.
2 I also would like to instruct you that you should not speak with
3 anyone about the testimony you have given until now and the testimony you
4 are about to give in cross-examination, perhaps re-examination.
5 Madam Usher, could I ask you to escort Mr. Kasagic out of the
6 courtroom, because I've one or two other matters to briefly announce.
7 [The witness stands down]
8 JUDGE ORIE: The first one is, Mr. Josse, the Defence has asked
9 whether we could sit on Tuesday, the 22nd of November, in the afternoon
10 rather than in the morning.
11 MR. JOSSE: That's right, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 MR. JOSSE: I have to say, could I just make this observation:
14 That rather presupposes that, and he may be in a position now to help us,
15 that my learned friend is going to take most of Friday with this witness,
16 and whoever is going to cross-examine Mr. Banduka is going to take most of
17 Monday, the idea being that we will have that much more time to prepare
18 the witness for whom we're going to make the protected application.
19 So I should make it clear to the Court that I have some concerns
20 that we have some short days coming up. I think Mr. Banduka will take
21 most of tomorrow, as I've already indicated. So I don't think tomorrow
22 will be a short day, but it's the two days thereafter that I'm concerned
23 about, bearing in mind they're effectively cross-examination of each
25 JUDGE ORIE: Let's ask Mr. Tieger. He might have an idea already
1 on how much time cross-examination would take.
2 MR. TIEGER: Not a particularly refined or good one at this point,
3 Your Honour. I -- based on previous experience, I think it's -- we'd
4 probably fall at or close to the guideline. But no, I can't profess to
5 have -- to be of great assistance to the Court.
6 JUDGE ORIE: The guideline would be close to anything between two
7 and a half until three-quarters of an hour, 60 per cent of time in chief?
8 MR. TIEGER: I say that primarily because we've always aimed
9 toward that and we will continue to do so and that seems to have been what
10 has transpired. But I really can't say on the basis of any --
11 JUDGE ORIE: But whatever is the case, Mr. Josse, if it all would
12 turn out that you would have to start earlier, then of course it wouldn't
13 make that much of a difference whether we would be sitting in the morning
14 or in the afternoon of next Tuesday.
15 MR. JOSSE: Well, just this: That what I would endeavour to
16 arrange is that the protected witness, or the proposed protected witness,
17 come with me to the UNDU on Tuesday morning. That would be far more
18 preferable than Monday afternoon, for the reasons that Your Honour knows
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Therefore I take it that you have a keen
21 interest in not starting any earlier than Tuesday, and preferably in the
22 afternoon. So I now --
23 MR. JOSSE: Precisely. That remains our position. I just thought
24 I should lay my cards on the table about -- I have some concerns about
25 time going astray.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I do understand that. But at least that
2 would require scheduling and organisation for Tuesday in the afternoon,
3 which has been arranged by now.
4 MR. JOSSE: I'm very grateful.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Then that brings me to the other matter you just
6 raised, which is perhaps not a matter to be discussed in detail in open
7 session. But you said that -- you were talking about a protected witness,
8 whereas the Chamber has not received any request for protective measures
9 until now, neither on the form of protection nor on the grounds.
10 MR. JOSSE: That is correct. Nothing has been filed as of yet.
11 We are working on it. I will see Mr. Stewart shortly. He was
12 dealing with it, I know, early this morning. We needed to speak to the
13 witness again for some further details. I'm aware of the urgency of the
14 situation, as is he.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Well, especially when it is already considered to
16 apply for protective measures, then of course the Chamber would like to
17 receive requests as early as possible. And at the same time, the Chamber
18 understands that sometimes even the party calling the witness may be
19 surprised by a sudden wish for protective measures, and of course under
20 those circumstances, we have to some extent accept that the request will
21 be filed rather late or submitted rather late.
22 Any other procedural matter? Because we've stolen already ten
23 minutes of the time.
24 MR. JOSSE: Very briefly, Your Honour, just so members of our team
25 can liaise with the victims and witness service tomorrow.
1 Is Your Honour saying that if Mr. Banduka does not arrive here for
2 some reason, Mr. Kasagic needs to be ready to resume his evidence at 2.15
4 JUDGE ORIE: Of course I said this to be available on Friday
5 morning at the moment where I had no clear idea yet. Because the Chamber
6 wants to avoid to sit on many short days, leaving only a couple of hours,
7 one hour remaining on that day. Of course, we'd very much like to
8 concentrate, and if the examination-in-chief -- the cross-examination
9 would start tomorrow -- no. I asked Mr. Tieger whether he was ready and
10 he said he's not. So therefore, I think it remains as it was before, that
11 if we would finish early tomorrow -- yes?
12 MR. JOSSE: I would have thought that the Prosecution could begin
13 cross-examining Mr. Banduka, because --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Cross-examining Mr. Banduka. He'll be here anyhow.
15 MR. JOSSE: Assuming Mr. Banduka is here, if he finishes
16 before 7.00, then I would submit the Prosecution could begin
17 cross-examining him. In effect, they've had two or three days longer to
18 prepare for him.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I do understand that. Of course, it depends a
20 bit. If it would be 20 minutes, it might be splitting up the
21 cross-examination to an extent which would not much assist.
22 MR. JOSSE: Of course, of course.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger, if Mr. Banduka would not take that much
24 time tomorrow in the afternoon, would you be ready or would counsel
25 present be ready to start cross-examination?
1 MR. TIEGER: I actually am not in a position to answer that
2 precisely. The issue is not simply the amount of time the individual
3 lawyer has to get ready, but in distributing the tasks to other resources,
4 limited resources, in a manner consistent with the schedule. Whether or
5 not that presents any problem, I don't know. I can check with Mr. Harmon
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 MR. TIEGER: I'm not aware of any at the moment.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Let's not wait any longer at this moment. If you
10 would not be in a position to start cross-examination tomorrow, if there's
11 some time left, would you please inform us by tomorrow morning so that we
12 can take that into account, and a copy to Mr. Josse.
13 MR. TIEGER: Of course, Your Honour. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Josse, this deals with the matter.
15 MR. JOSSE: And if for some reason Mr. Banduka is not here in the
16 next few hours -- I mean, I hope to see him this evening.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then tomorrow morning we get a lot of e-mail
18 messages from both parties.
19 MR. JOSSE: Exactly. I will let everyone know.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Communication is an essential part of
21 conducting a trial. I again apologise to the technical staff and
22 interpreters for this late finish.
23 We'll adjourn until tomorrow afternoon, quarter past 2.00, same
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.14 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
2 November, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.