1 Friday, 10 March 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone. Mr. Registrar, would you
6 please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. A few matters.
10 Mr. Harmon -- and perhaps, Madam Usher, you could already try to
11 find the witness so that he could be standby. Were you able to reduce the
12 number of pages of the book?
13 MR. HARMON: I was, Your Honour. I informed the Defence last
14 night in respect of tab 59, the pages that are relevant are pages 1
15 through 6 and pages 8 through 13.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 Mr. Josse, any comment on that?
18 MR. JOSSE: I'm grateful for that. But I reserve the right again
19 to challenge the admission of the exhibit when that becomes an issue.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I think the presence of the witness is not
21 of any relevance for that later objection.
22 MR. JOSSE: Absolutely, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So then we know that you reserve that right and we
24 have now reduced the number of pages.
25 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And it's on the record.
2 Then, Mr. Josse, I think you provided the representative of the
3 Registry with the CD concerning the attack on the Tuzla convoy, but I also
4 do understand that there is no transcript, neither in English nor in
6 Mr. Harmon, do you know whether that exists?
7 MR. HARMON: I do not, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please try to find out. Because I
9 don't know whether there is any text spoken on it or whether it's just
11 MR. JOSSE: As a matter of fact, it was on -- it was being played
12 by a member of our team when I left this courtroom last night, and I
13 viewed a small portion of it and there is some text -- there is spoken
14 words. I wasn't exactly clear even by asking him what they were. He's in
15 this building. I can try and find out. The trouble, of course, is, from
16 our point of view, preparing a text would be a mammoth task.
17 JUDGE ORIE: It depends on how much text there is. If it's just
18 a journalist who says this is a convoy that leaves Tuzla and it's now
19 attacked by the Green Berets or whatever, then of course the parties could
20 even agree that the text is, for our understanding, not of major
21 importance but it's just the event that is described.
22 MR. JOSSE: That's what I was rather assuming, but permit me to
23 deal with it this morning. I'd like to deal, whilst it's fresh in our
24 memory --
25 JUDGE ORIE: I just draw your attention --
1 MR. JOSSE: The person concerned is in the building, I repeat, and
2 I'll speak to him at the break.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Anything else at this moment? I do understand
4 that you have replaced number 60; is that right? Tab 60, Mr. Harmon?
5 MR. HARMON: Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's tab 60, yes.
7 Then, Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Poplasen into the
9 [The witness entered court]
10 WITNESS: NIKOLA POPLASEN [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 Cross-examination by Mr. Harmon: [Continued]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Poplasen. I would like to remind
14 you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the
15 beginning of your testimony.
16 Mr. Harmon will now continue his cross-examination. Mr. Harmon,
17 please proceed.
18 MR. HARMON:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Poplasen.
20 A. Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.
21 Q. First of all let me start with the two documents that I gave you
22 copies of last night. You asserted they were forgeries. Have you had an
23 opportunity to look at those documents and can you enlighten us as to any
24 particular features of those documents that suggest they are forgeries?
25 Starting with the document that is found in tab 37, if you would,
1 Mr. Poplasen. That is the Serbian Democratic Party decision of 9
2 September 1991, on your appointment to the Commission for Information and
4 A. I've reviewed both documents. As for the first one, I didn't say
5 it was a forgery. I simply said that I saw it for the first time
6 yesterday. I'm not saying that this isn't authentic but I found out that
7 I was appointed to this commission for the first time yesterday.
8 As far as the second document is concerned, my assessment of it
9 being a forgery has to do only with the fact that my name was listed among
10 those attending the meeting of the commission. I have absolutely no
11 recollection of either being a member of the commission or ever attending
12 any of its meetings. Who wrote this document, I do not know, but I'm not
13 saying that it -- this document isn't an authentic one. I don't know. I
14 really cannot comment on its contents and I don't recall attending a
15 meeting or ever being on the commission.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Poplasen.
17 Let me turn my attention now to a slightly different topic. I'm
18 interested in your defining a term that I have seen frequently used by you
19 and representatives of your party and representatives of the SDS. That is
20 the term "genocide." And in the context of the discussions that -- in
21 which you participated, there was frequent reference to a fear of genocide
22 reoccurring in Bosnia. I'm not interested in the historical context of
23 that. What I'm interested in is when that -- when you used that term,
24 what did you mean by that term?
25 A. To put it in the shortest of terms, by "genocide" I mean an
1 organised, deliberate, planned, physical, cultural and spiritual
2 extermination of a group. Most often the group is consisted of members of
3 a nation. Extermination can be of different characters, in terms of a
4 pogrom, of an extermination of a religious group, or it can be a cultural
5 genocide, when the culture of a peoples is considered to be inappropriate
6 and one aims or strives to destroy any elements underlying the culture of
7 a peoples. But what is most significant and most important, at least as
8 far as the events on the Balkans are concerned, is the organised, planned
9 and deliberate designed destruction of a peoples, behind which a state is
10 hiding or a political or any other organisation sponsored or supported by
11 a state.
12 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. Let me turn to your work as a
13 republican commissioner. You told us earlier that you worked closely with
14 Mr. Koljevic in your capacity as a war commissioner. You informed
15 Mr. Koljevic, as you were required to do. Mr. Koljevic's responsibility
16 was to inform the other leaders in the Republika Srpska; Mr. Karadzic,
17 Mr. Krajisnik, Mrs. Plavsic, of the work of the commissioners and what
18 information they were giving to him. Is that a fair statement?
19 A. Yes. Yes. Approximately, yes.
20 Q. Now, and he did that, didn't he?
21 A. I suppose he did. I suppose he submitted a sort of a rough report
22 to the other members of the Presidency. He probably did not go into
23 detail. There were several commissioners, and if each one of them
24 presented Mr. Koljevic with a detailed report, then it would have been
25 quite a difficult task for Professor Koljevic to relay the information in
1 full. Probably he made a summary of these reports.
2 Q. Now, you told us that you left and you delegated your authority as
3 a republican commissioner to a number of individuals. Did they continue
4 to inform Mr. Koljevic of events in the municipality where you served as a
5 republican commissioner?
6 A. Yes. I already said that the municipality of Vogosca, being a
7 municipality belonging to Sarajevo, was not too far from the seat of the
8 Presidency and the government of Republika Srpska, so that in performing
9 their duties, they were able to relay the information directly to
10 Professor Koljevic. Particularly because I was often away in other parts
11 of the republic and in Serbia.
12 Q. And in fact, they signed documents on your behalf. I'm going to
13 be presenting you with some of those documents later this morning. That's
14 correct, isn't it?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Did you have a chance to review the documents that were signed on
17 your behalf at a later time, post facto?
18 A. They informed me verbally of having submitted their reports, and
19 in principle I did not require them to do so, especially as far as the
20 functioning of the local authorities was concerned, but if there was a
21 report submitted to the Presidency and the government, I wanted to be
22 privy to that, because we saw some of the documents that we commented on,
23 where we said that the Presidency -- or that the commissioners worked in
24 cooperation with the local authorities, and if there were any decisions
25 made which in a way derogated from the authorities of the competent
1 organs, then this constituted a violation of the regulations. And there
2 were such instances, in fact, although the violations were not so grave,
3 and I thought that the Executive Board of the Vogosca Municipal Assembly
4 did in fact perform its duties properly.
5 Q. Now, you mentioned yesterday, Mr. Poplasen, a gentleman by the
6 name of Mr. Radovanovic. You were asked specifically about him by
7 Mr. Josse.
8 MR. HARMON: I refer Your Honours to page 42 of the LiveNote.
9 Q. You said he was a republican commissioner for the municipality of
10 Ilidza and you were critical of him. You said he left most of his duties
11 and obligations to the president of the Ilidza municipality, and that also
12 included the reporting obligations. Let me ask you: Mr. Radovanovic was
13 also the commissioner for the Serb municipality of Rajlovac, which was
14 nearby, was he not?
15 A. I don't recall that Rajlovac had the status of a municipality.
16 Rajlovac is a settlement. There was the municipality of Vogosca and the
17 neighbouring municipality was that of Ilidza. It is possible that at a
18 later stage this area in fact became a municipality, but as far as I know,
19 in 1992, while we were working as commissioners, Rajlovac was not a
21 Q. I'm going to present you with a document in just a moment that
22 will show you there was a self-declared municipality of Rajlovac, but let
23 me ask you: Do you know a gentleman by the name of Jovo Bozic who was the
24 president of the Serbian municipality of Rajlovac?
25 A. No. I don't recall Mr. Bozic.
1 Q. Do you know if Mr. Radovanovic had responsibilities as a war
2 commissioner for more than the municipality of Ilidza?
3 A. No. I don't know. Mr. Radovanovic should know that. If that is
4 the case, there should be a document in relation to this. Such a duty
5 cannot be delegated verbally.
6 Q. Let me show you a document.
7 MR. HARMON: Tab 38 needs an exhibit number.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 38, Your Honours, will be P1086.
10 MR. HARMON: I'm sorry, tab 38 is the wrong exhibit.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then --
12 MR. HARMON: We need to clarify this.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. 38 was assigned a number yesterday already.
14 MR. HARMON: I'll return to it, Your Honour. I'll return to it at
15 the break.
16 Q. Now, we'll come back to that document, Mr. Poplasen. I'll show
17 you after the break, rather than take time now. Let me turn to the
18 relationship between the SDS and the -- and your party, the Serb Radical
19 Party, and the cooperation that existed in 1992. If we can turn to tab
20 14 --
21 MR. HARMON: And tab 14 needs an exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1087, Your Honours.
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. Mr. Poplasen, tab 14 is a document from February issue, issue
25 number 12 of a publication entitled "Velika Serbia." It is entitled:
1 "Visit by Vojislav Seselj to Serbian volunteer units in Banja Luka." It's
2 author is Nikodin Cavic, president of the Serbian Radical Party of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'd like to direct your attention, if I can, to a
4 passage in this document. It is found in the B/C/S version, I believe, on
5 page 21 of the document, between -- midway between the second and the
6 third photographs, so it should be to the left.
7 MR. HARMON: And, Your Honours, the passage I'm referring to is on
8 page 3 in the middle of the page.
9 Q. This is -- I'm quoting Dr. Seselj. This is what the passage says,
10 Mr. Poplasen: "Dr. Vojislav Seselj said that the Serbian Radical Party
11 shall in no way whatsoever stand in the way of the Serbian Democratic
12 Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina but quite the reverse. It will be its good
13 associate. Support, encouragement and all the things which are of vital
14 interest to the survival of the Serbian people in these lands will be done
15 through joint effort and understanding."
16 Now, that was -- that's a fair characterisation of how the SRS and
17 the SDS worked in 1992, is it not?
18 A. As far as I'm able to see, this dates from 1991. The text and the
19 qualification. You yourself said that the text was from 1992. Although I
20 can't find it here, I should see which issue this is of the magazine of
21 Velika Serbia, although I can't see. All right, it is here at the end;
22 Banja Luka, 27 December, 1991. Therefore, this isn't 1992, this is 1991.
23 Q. I stand corrected. I was informed it was 1992. You're correct.
24 I see that date at the bottom. But getting to the point I would like you
25 to comment on, the passage that I read fairly reflects the way in which
1 the SDS and the SRS worked in 1992. It was a cooperative relationship.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon. The date under an article, Mr. Poplasen,
3 is not necessarily the same as the date of the publication. So whether
4 Mr. Poplasen is correct, at least it seems that the author has dated this
5 article late 1991 but when it was published is still unclear. So I just
6 want to avoid any misunderstanding as that the Chamber would accept what
7 seems to be agreed between Prosecution and witness. Please proceed.
8 MR. JOSSE: We are told, apparently, the date of publication in
9 English in a handwritten entry on the top of page 1.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I've seen that, but that's -- finds no source in
11 the original so it should not have been there, as a matter of fact, in
13 MR. JOSSE: That's why I raised it.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Harmon is invited to see whether the
15 original, with the date, could be produced.
16 MR. HARMON: Okay. I will do that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Even agreement between the parties would be enough
18 for me. We don't have to see it. But please proceed.
19 MR. HARMON:
20 Q. Let me return to the question I've been asking you, Mr. Poplasen.
21 The passage that I read to you fairly characterises the manner in which
22 the Serb Radical Party - your party in Bosnia - and the SDS party worked
23 in 1992; it was a cooperative relationship. Is that a fair statement?
24 A. It is. But I can help you understand the background, the whole
25 context, in a few sentences, if I'm allowed. You see, at the time when
1 this was authored, I was living and working in Sarajevo, in peace. These
2 events related here have to do with the Republic of Croatia and the
3 Republic of Serbian Krajina for the most part, and this information I was
4 only able to glean from the papers. The quotation you cited here, well,
5 I've explained on several occasions that we had quite a cooperative
6 relationship with the SDS whenever it suited us. Evidently, the
7 information contained in your question is true because this particular
8 aspect was consistent with what our positions were, and I'm referring to
9 what the SDS was doing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Now, in respect of the objectives that were sought to be achieved
11 in Bosnia, were there differences in the policy between the SRS party in
12 Bosnia and the SRS party in Serbia?
13 A. No. I don't think there were any. In essence, it was a united
14 party. There were -- there was a joint platform, joint documents. There
15 was this central body called the Central Homeland Administration. I
16 explained to you that the Serbian Radical Party of the Republic of Srpska
17 was formally independent because Bosnia-Herzegovina had been
18 internationally recognised, in view of the fact that the party wanted to
19 take part in the elections and it had to be registered as a political
20 party in the country where it wanted to participate in the elections.
21 Q. Let me direct your attention, Mr. Poplasen, to tab 59, then. I
22 want to ask you about a portion of the text in tab 59.
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please speak closer to the
24 microphone or maybe switch another microphone on.
25 MR. HARMON: I will, yes.
1 Q. Mr. Poplasen, I'd like to direct your attention to page 188 in the
2 Cyrillic text, and Your Honours' attention to the bottom of page 8 and the
3 top of -- I'm sorry, bottom of page 10, Your Honour, going over to the
4 next page.
5 Now, let me read this portion of the text to you, Mr. Poplasen.
6 This is in the context of a discussion about forming a new state. The
7 question that is asked is: "A treatment of non-Serbs in the process of
8 unification is a particular issue. Who is forming the state, what kind of
9 state and in which borders?"
10 Quotation: "This is inevitable formation of a civilian state, the
11 state of the Serbs and equal (loyalty is implicit) citizens, members of
12 other nations, ethnic minorities and groups.
13 "If such a state is formed, other nations, ethnic minorities and
14 groups should not exceed more than 8 per cent of total population; they
15 should not exceed the said percentage in any larger settlement, region or
16 administrative unit, and there should be no possibility to change that
17 percentage through birth rate. That is an important reason to determine
18 the borders by respecting this German standard.
19 "Therefore, the State would have to be peaceful, democratic, with
20 multi-party political system and market-oriented economy."
21 Mr. Poplasen, did that discussion vis-a-vis ethnic minorities
22 reflect the position of the SRS in Bosnia?
23 A. No. This is the reasoning by Mr. Seselj, which in my opinion
24 should be changed in some details. I do not wish to elaborate on the
25 percentage. It could be interpreted differently. It could mean that a --
1 doesn't have to be a strict measure concerning the birth rate or possible
2 emigration. In my opinion, any mentioning of a percentage in relation to
3 the population is quite unnecessary, but in any case I agree with the
4 statement that the state would have to be peaceful, democratic, with
5 multi-party political system and market oriented economy. But this in
6 itself already excludes the other. The two are quite contradictory, and
7 therefore in this view point of Mr. Seselj's there are some contradictions
8 that a logic cannot accept, and this cannot reflect a serious stance by a
9 political party. Doesn't reflect my position, at any rate. This is
10 probably an ad hoc statement. He probably came across some German
11 standards and at the time of the interview he felt it important
12 historically to emphasise the importance of the preservation of the
13 nation, but he should be the one to answer that question.
14 Q. But your attitude towards the Muslims, and the party, the SRS
15 party's attitude towards Muslims in a newly created Serbian state or
16 entity in Bosnia was that they should be in a minority. You didn't want
17 to live with them, did you?
18 A. No. We insisted on a common state with the Muslims, and we
19 launched initiatives for such negotiations. Some of them called it a
20 Yugoslavia in miniature, or a rump Yugoslavia. Yesterday, I was
21 interrupted by the Presiding Judge when I wanted to explain what I meant
22 by an inter-agreement. The presidents of the republics had already agreed
23 on this before the war. They had not only agreed on it, they signed the
24 Cutileiro Plan, and it meant coexistence. And then Alija Izetbegovic,
25 under pressure of the American ambassador, withdrew his signature and war
1 broke out. So it's not the case that the parties' position was to have an
2 ethnically clean area and that the members of the other ethnicities were
3 enemies and that we were in a conflict. Our approach was that of a common
4 state because it was quite clear that Slovenia no longer wished to be part
5 of Yugoslavia. The problem of Croatia arose, which had a large Croatian
6 -- Serb population, and the idea was to form a joint state where all the
7 Serbs, Muslims and Albanians would live together and regulate their
8 relations. When the broker -- when the war broke out, then --
9 Q. After the war broke out, you didn't want to live with the Muslims,
10 did you?
11 A. How was one to live in such a state when you would get killed?
12 You could only live in it if you were in the graveyard. I was unable to
13 enter Sarajevo although I didn't do anything. And 10 days later I was
14 declared a war criminal.
15 Q. Mr. Poplasen, is it a fact that you considered the Muslim nation a
16 fictional nation?
17 A. That's what they considered, and they no longer called themselves
19 Q. Did you consider the Muslims a fictional nation?
20 A. Of course, because this is a religious affiliation.
21 Q. Now, I want to --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask for a clarification of one of your last
23 answers, Mr. Poplasen. You said before the war, you negotiated to live
24 together with the other nationalities or ethnicities, whatever you call
25 it; with the Muslims. Then you said, after the war broke out, "How was
1 one to live in such a state when you would get killed?" Do I understand
2 that to be that you did not want to live together with Muslims and Croats
3 in a united Bosnia-Herzegovina?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a distinction was made
5 here between the time preceding the war and the period when the war broke
6 out. In the pre-war period, I explained that there were efforts to
7 preserve a joint state, because I was part of it. I lived there, just as
8 other people did. However, when the war broke out, the relations changed,
9 the motives changed. That there were efforts at preserving Yugoslavia is
10 shown not only by the Cutileiro Plan but a series of talks with the
11 representatives of the Bosniaks.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That's perfectly clear to me. You explained that and
13 I understand that fully. But then you said, when you were asked about
14 once the war had broken out, that -- how could you live with them in a
15 state? The only thing I asked you is what state you were referring to.
16 Were you referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state in which you could not
17 live with those who threatened your life? Is that how I should understand
18 "a state"?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Evidently, there is a bit of a
20 misunderstanding here. When the war started, it was impossible to enter
21 Sarajevo, physically speaking, because there were fortified positions on
22 both sides. Some 15 to 20 days later - I don't recall this precisely - I
23 read it in a paper, the faculty of political science dismissed me, and
24 although it was not within the faculty's competence, the faculty declared
25 me a war criminal. And now the Prosecutor asked me whether I would have
1 lived with the Muslims under those circumstances. It is a question that
2 cannot be answered. How can I live there if I'm dismissed from my job,
3 I'm declared a war criminal, I'm not allowed entry?
4 JUDGE ORIE: I understand your answer to be, "How could I live
5 with the Muslims in a state, being Bosnia-Herzegovina, where they made
6 life impossible for me?" Is that --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the territory of the federation,
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I move one step forward. Now, the Serbian
10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or later Republika Srpska, has been
11 created. That means that you more or less separated from other parts of
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina which were not claimed by or were not dominated by
13 Serbs. Now, my question now is, how about living together on Republika
14 Srpska territory, or Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the earlier
15 stages? Would you consider that in municipalities within Republika Srpska
16 territory, let's just assume 40 per cent Serbs, 30 per cent Muslims, would
17 you live with the Muslims in those areas together?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. I did. There were
19 Muslims, and there still are in Banja Luka and elsewhere, both during the
20 war and now. There was no obstacle to that, no difficulty.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. From the figures this Chamber has received,
22 there still are Muslims, although their number has been drastically
23 reduced. So therefore I'm asking not whether you're living at this moment
24 with small numbers of Muslims, and it differs from one municipality to
25 another, but at that time, did you consider it feasible to live, well
1 let's say in a municipality with a 40 per cent Serbs and the 30 per cent
2 Muslims remaining in that municipality?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The principle is clear: Of course,
4 it would have been feasible back then, but I don't really want to go into
5 percentages. The percentages depend on the situation. Yes, it would have
6 been feasible back then and it did happen, in fact.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if there was a Muslim majority in one of
8 the municipalities claimed by the Republika Srpska, would you think it
9 feasible and would you support - because that was not in my last question
10 - would you support living together even if a Muslim majority might get a
11 majority in municipal organs as well?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, with the proviso that the laws
13 and the regulations of the Republika Srpska are complied with. That was
14 the only condition.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did that, in your experience, happen anywhere
16 on Republika Srpska territory? Could you give us an example?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't have such an experience.
18 You're quite right in saying that there was a huge decrease in the
19 percentage of the Muslim population in most municipalities within the
20 framework of the Republika Srpska, but at the same time the opposite is
21 true as well. I mean, in most municipalities on the territory of the
22 federation, the Serbs have almost disappeared. So it's a general
23 phenomenon in the BH. There were huge movements of population, and people
24 were trying to avoid situations in which they felt threatened and
25 insecure, so it is not only typical of the Republika Srpska.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I was not saying that it was typical for Republika
2 Srpska. What did make Serbs move out of the federation territory?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, on the basis of thousands of
4 testimonies, there was a general sense of being unsafe and insecure. In
5 Sarajevo, for example, several thousands of Serbs -- I mean, quite a few
6 of them were killed, and many people were automatically laid off within
7 just a couple of days. Many were gotten rid of in order for other people
8 to get their hands on their property, on their real estate, et cetera.
9 And there was a general atmosphere in which it was sufficient for a person
10 to be a member of the Serb nation in order to be totally threatened. Even
11 their lives were at risk. And for example, there were these changes in
12 percentages on the territory of Sarajevo, and that was the case elsewhere
13 throughout the federation as well, in other municipalities. There are
14 documents that do exist. There are about 4.000 missing Serbs in Sarajevo
15 and nobody knows what happened to them. And the Ministry of the Interior
16 is in the possession of these documents, as well as the Association of
17 Camp Inmates.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Was this organised and/or tolerated by the federation
19 authorities or organs? So this behaviour against Serbs.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't in the federation myself,
21 but according to secondhand evidence from my point of view, obviously,
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, could you -- I asked you what caused the
24 Serbs to leave federation territory. Could you tell us what caused the
25 Muslims to leave Republika Srpska territory?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably they would be better placed
2 to reply to that question, but I think that there must have been such
3 situations in the Republika Srpska as well, in reverse. Everybody was
4 losing their jobs and there was a general feeling of mistrust. There were
5 some exaggerated situations, some abuse, mistreatment, probably murders -
6 I'm not arguing against that - and I think these cases were dealt with in
7 different ways. So there is a whole range of reasons. Probably they felt
8 safer in an area in which the Muslims were in majority.
9 JUDGE ORIE: You said, for the reasons why Serbs were leaving, you
10 said: "... quite a few of them were killed, many people were
11 automatically laid off within a couple of days. Many were gotten rid of
12 in order for other people to get their hands on their property, on their
13 real estate, et cetera. And there was a general atmosphere in which it
14 was sufficient for a person to be a member of the Serb nation in order to
15 be totally threatened. Even their lives were at risk."
16 Would this be -- this description would be true for the other
17 situation as well?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me, and you're using
19 the conditional. Yes, it might be.
20 JUDGE ORIE: When you talked about 4.000 Serbs missing in
21 Sarajevo, would you consider that a similar thing may have happened on the
22 other side? That means large numbers of Muslims or Croats missing on
23 Republika Srpska territory.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose it is, indeed, possible.
25 I've just told you, yes, it could be.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Was this general atmosphere of threats and fear, was
2 that -- on the Republika Srpska side, was that, as I asked for the other
3 situation, was that tolerated by the Republika Srpska authorities?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that respect, we've heard a
5 number of conversations. As far as I know, the authorities insisted in
6 documents, in some kinds of guidelines, directives, and so on and so
7 forth, on the need for free movement and the respect of all international
8 conventions and regulations pertaining to human rights issues, the kind of
9 behaviour with respect to the POWs, and I think to the extent to which it
10 was possible, it was being prevented.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So you say -- but thank you for your answers.
12 Mr. Harmon, please proceed.
13 MR. HARMON: Let me go to the next exhibit, Your Honours. This is
14 Extra 3 defined on the list. It needs an exhibit number.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1088, Your Honours.
16 MR. HARMON:
17 Q. Mr. Poplasen, we are going to play a portion of a tape. This
18 tape, Mr. Poplasen, is from a TV broadcast relating to the post-Dayton
19 elections. It occurred on the 6th of August. The participants were
20 Zlatko Lagundzija of the SDP party; Rasema Magazinovic of the BH Women's
21 Party; yourself; Petar Jovic, BH Citizens' Democratic Party; Dubravka
22 Lovrenovic of the Croatian Peasant Party; Dragomir Grubac of the Patriotic
23 Bloc; Simo Simic of the Union of BH Socio-democrats; Dragutin Ilic of the
24 Socialist Party of Republika Srpska; and Miodrag Zivanovic of the RS
25 Socio-liberal Party. We are going to play part of this.
1 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, I'm referring to --
2 JUDGE ORIE: I take it --
3 MR. HARMON: -- in the transcript.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think that it needs a number, Mr. Registrar.
5 Extra 3, and you said 6th of August but I take it that it was 6th of
6 August 1996.
7 MR. HARMON: Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that it has already 1088.
9 MR. HARMON: Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 MR. HARMON: And the transcript portion that will be played will
12 start at the top of page 2 of the English transcript.
13 Q. So if we could play this, Mr. Poplasen.
14 [Audiotape played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Has the Dayton Agreement solved the
16 Serbian national issue?
17 "Just a moment ... I just wanted to ...
18 "Please, go ahead ...
19 "We are really facing the situation when there, over the Drina,
20 when we have to fight for ... When I'm directly asked, I would really ...
21 This is not the former Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 "It seems like it is mine, sorry ... please.
23 "Let it be there! You see, this is the first time I hear that
24 one political document like the Dayton Agreement can be theoretical thesis
25 for discussion on one question as Mr. ... says ... Now, listen, it is
1 theoretical prefix for discussion, a political document."
2 JUDGE ORIE: Seems to be a problem. Mr. Poplasen, what's the
3 problem? Can't you hear? Are you on the right channel?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't hearing anything through my
6 JUDGE ORIE: Then perhaps you could restart and see whether it now
7 goes any better.
8 [Audiotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Did the Dayton Agreement solve the
10 Serbian national issue?
11 "Just a moment ... I just wanted to ...
12 "Please, go ahead ...
13 "We are really facing the situation when there, over the Drina,
14 when we have to fight for ... When I'm directly asked, I would really ...
15 This is not the former Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16 "It seems like it is mine, sorry ... please.
17 "Let it be there! You see, this is the first time I hear that a
18 political document like the Dayton Agreement can be a theoretical thesis
19 for the discussion of one question as the gentleman here says ... Listen,
20 now it is a theoretical prefix for discussion, a political document.
21 Secondly, I tried to speak like television. Republika Srpska is a
22 national issue. And now various new terminologies are being introduced.
23 You know. When it comes to a national issue, it gets really complex.
24 Those other ones who used to live with us have to tell me first if they
25 are Bosnians, if they are Muslims or if they are Turks. This year they
1 are Bosniaks, last year they were Muslims. Listen, it is a historical
2 genesis. I'm not making it up.
3 "Nikola, when you talked about those things before ... my friends
4 Radil and Fadil thought that you were kidding. Now they saw that you're
5 being serious. Don't be so serious ... Don't be, it is rude.
6 "Well, we have to agree on it.
7 "It is rude if you and I need to agree about such a thing. It is
8 rude ...
9 "There is a genesis ... A thesis was heard here that there were
10 certain influences of other peoples, from outside and so on ...
11 "... that anchors allow such conversation ...
12 "And can I say what I think, Zlatko?
13 "... Of course you can, Nikola.
14 "Are you supposed to write a speech for me so that I read out
15 what you and Alija came up with.
16 "... No, you're the one who is used to writing speeches for
17 others and reading them in the Marx Centre and not me, in which ...
18 "... They could not even read ...
19 "I would like to ask Mr. Lagundzija to wait until Mr. Poplasen
20 finishes what he wants to say. I think it is --
21 "Zlatko still thinks that he is in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina.
22 Listen ...
23 " ... reacts on these statements, not only did he react on first
24 statement by Mrs. ...
25 "Let Mr. Poplasen finish, please.
1 "If one nation has been formed under the influence of external
2 forces, as one of the gentlemen said, I now claim that the external forces
3 have a critical influence on the political, military and economic events
4 in the Balkans, and it is correct. So certain nations and quasi-nations
5 were formed under certain influences. But that is not the subject of
6 tonight's discussion. The subject is the Republika Srpska and a national
7 issue. Please let me also support the cessation of bloodshed. Nobody can
8 convince me that after four years of bloodshed when we all had, four years
9 of war, we should again live together knowing that another bloodshed would
10 take place. I'm convinced that the bloodshed will be stopped at the
11 moment when we start visiting each other with passports. There is no
12 reason ... There is no reason not to cooperate in all fields for which we
13 estimate we have a joint interest. You see, four years of bloodshed, the
14 whole world and everyone around ... judge the Serbs to be primitive and
15 aggressive. They are guilty of everything. Now when we at the referendum
16 twice vote in favour of the state independence, they are pushing us
17 again. And we are no good and they still want to live with us. I simply
18 cannot understand that. What it is all about?
19 "And you don't want to live with us?
20 "We don't want to. Of course we don't want to.
21 "But why?
22 "Because we don't want the bloodshed to be repeated.
23 "Please, can you give me just example on the basis of which you
24 can tell me that you don't wish to live with us?"
25 MR. HARMON: Yes.
1 JUDGE ORIE: The last few lines were not in the transcript.
2 MR. HARMON: I didn't see them either, Your Honour. We'll have to
3 correct the transcript.
4 Q. That's a reflection of your views in 1996 in respect of living
5 with Muslims, isn't it, Mr. Poplasen?
6 A. Yes, but could I just say a few words before I answer to this
8 Q. Well, let me -- is that -- that was your attitude in 1996 at that
9 time, in respect of living with Muslims?
10 JUDGE ORIE: If you first answer the question, then you may
11 explain or give any further comment to it.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was my attitude in 1996 and
13 it is still my attitude today.
14 MR. HARMON:
15 Q. Now, Mr. Poplasen, you have tried to distinguish between your
16 attitude before the war, during the war, and after the war. And this is
17 your reflection of -- the video we've seen is a reflection of your
18 attitude after the war. During the war, once the war started, it's also
19 true, isn't it, that you and your party did not want to live, coexist,
20 with Muslims on territory that had been historically claimed by the Serbs.
21 A. You mean before the war? What, I didn't quite understand what you
22 said. What period are you referring to?
23 Q. During the war -- let me backtrack. There were territories that
24 the Serbs considered historically their territory before the war and
25 during the war; is that correct?
1 A. They were their inheritance, their property. I don't know what
2 you mean historically. They were theirs by right.
3 Q. Let me read to you a sentence, then. Let me read a sentence to
4 you in the same interview, Mr. Poplasen. We didn't play this part of the
5 text, but I'll read it to you. It says -- at the first page of the
6 transcript, it says: "I think it's necessary to point out and recall that
7 the Serbs are one of the rare historical civilised European peoples who
8 unfortunately and for various reasons in the last 200 years did not manage
9 to define a national Serbian state in which a majority of Serbs would live
10 together on the major part of the historical and ethnic territories
11 populated by the Serbian people."
12 That's what I'm referring to. There was a vision of what was
13 historically Serbian territory. And that vision was one that you held
14 before the war, held during the war, and held after the war. Am I
16 A. Yes, it's a little bit more clear now. Yes. It is about
18 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Poplasen, on the -- during the war, you, your
19 party, the SDS party, did not believe that the Muslims and the Serbs --
20 that Muslims and the Serbs could coexist together, did they?
21 A. In the course of the war?
22 Q. Yes. In the course of the war.
23 A. Of course.
24 Q. Now, the Serbs wanted to achieve -- they had a certain vision and
25 they wanted to achieve certain territories that historically had belonged
1 to them. That was one of their objectives, one of your party's
2 objectives; is that correct?
3 A. Historically speaking is what I meant. It's private property.
4 You just have to look at the land registers. If that's what you mean by
5 "historically," yes, fine.
6 Q. Now, some of these territories that were claimed historically by
7 the Serbs had majority Muslim population. For example, Zvornik
8 statistically had 59 per cent Muslims, and the Serbs comprised 38 per cent
9 of the population. Bratunac had 64 per cent of a Muslim population, the
10 Serbs had 34 per cent. Brcko had 44 per cent Muslim, 25 per cent Croat,
11 and 20 per cent Serb. How was it -- how were the Serbs going to achieve
12 dominance in their -- in those historically -- those territories that were
13 historically considered Serb?
14 A. Presumably in a similar way as the other side managed to do it in
15 Drvar where there was 98 per cent Serbs, in Petrovac 92 per cent, in
16 another place 95 per cent, and they still don't belong to the Republika
17 Srpska. So those events have to be seen in a broader context of military
18 action, strategic directions, pressure brought to bear from the outside.
19 At any rate, it is not a political concept that we are talking about,
20 about a town in which the majority of the population is Muslim must be
21 ethnically cleansed because it is a historically defined Serb city. That
22 makes no sense at all. Zvornik could have a majority Muslim population
23 and have an autonomous status, with all human rights being respected, and
24 still be within the Republika Srpska. And the other way around: Had 98
25 per cent of Serbs been chased away from Drvar, they could have stayed
1 there, but there are only very few of them left now. The mayor is elected
2 there on the basis of 30 votes. You're putting a question to me which is
3 about cosmic historical topics in order to show that I'm in favour of
4 ethnic cleansing. I'm not in favour of ethnic cleansing.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, Mr. Harmon put a question to you, that
6 is how the Serbs were going to achieve dominance in those territories that
7 were historically considered Serb, and he gave you three examples. Your
8 answer was that presumably they would do it in a similar way as the other
9 side managed to do it in -- and then you mentioned Drvar where 98 per cent
10 were there, and you gave another example. How did they do it, the others,
11 over there?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's not my answer.
13 My answer consists of the following: Mr. Harmon's question --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, I am reading the first part of your
15 answer and I'm seeking clarification. You said presumably in a similar
16 way as the other side managed to do it. How did the other side do it?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The whole thing consists of the
18 following: Mr. Harmon's question contains a ready-made answer. He says,
19 you wanted to dictate this; yes or no. It's not correct. If I were to
20 ask him now to give me a yes or no answer -- okay.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, this is not the debating club. This is
22 a court of law in which you're supposed to answer questions. You said
23 Serbs were -- let me take the text. You said presumably in a similar way
24 as the other side managed to do it. I want, because I do not know how you
25 consider the other side managed to do it, so I'd like to seek
1 clarification: How did the other side manage to do it, in your view, in
2 the municipalities where there was a Serb majority? How did they do it?
3 So I can understand your answer.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By ethnic cleansing. The regular
5 formations of the Croatian army, under the command of American generals,
6 entered Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the most part chased away and to a
7 considerable extent killed off big numbers of Serbs. There are TV
8 documentaries about that, and commanders of the Croatian army and those
9 American generals have wrote their memoirs -- have written their memoirs.
10 So there are lots of dead, civilians, children, and so on. All those have
11 been listed. And after those events, Serbs disappeared from those areas.
12 So that was the action conducted in 1995.
13 JUDGE ORIE: So your answer is, when Mr. Harmon asked you how you
14 would do that in Zvornik with 59 per cent Muslims, in Bratunac with 64 per
15 cent Muslims, and Brcko with 44 per cent Muslims, the way - that's at
16 least how I understand your answer - how the Serbs were going to achieve
17 dominance was the same way as it was done in the other municipalities, and
18 you just explained to us that the means used there -- well, to say it
19 simply, was ethnic cleansing.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I supplemented my answer by
21 saying that the question contained a ready-made answer, because the
22 Prosecutor asked me in what way we wanted to achieve dictatorship, and to
23 answer with a yes or no answer; whether it was done by pressure and
24 military action, and so and so forth. My answer was that their goal was
25 not to achieve dictatorship. And emotionally answering, I said the same
1 way the other side did it because I did not want to answer a question
2 which already contained a ready-made answer.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, Mr. Harmon was talking about dominance
4 and not about dictatorship.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the way it was interpreted to
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then perhaps -- he was talking about dominance.
8 But then in those municipalities with a majority of Muslims -
9 Zvornik 59 per cent, Bratunac 64 per cent - they were claimed to be under
10 the rule of Republika Srpska. How would you -- without using words
11 dominance, without using words as dictatorship, how would you achieve to
12 get these municipalities with a majority Muslims, how would you achieve to
13 bring them under Republika Srpska rule?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Through the rule of law and
15 equality. Equal human rights for all.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but that was, you said, as long as they would
17 obey to Republika Srpska rule. I mean, it was Republika Srpska who
18 determined what was equality and what was equal human rights, isn't it?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, of course. There are some
20 universal principles which ought to be applied in the political policies
21 and regulations of the Republika Srpska. There are some universal
22 principles that cannot be circumvented, if we look at the European
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now looking back at those years, is it your
25 opinion that Republika Srpska did provide this equal rights for all and
1 the fundamental human rights to all living on the territory of Republika
2 Srpska? Looking back to the early 1990s.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know which period you have
4 in mind. As far as the wartime period is concerned, it was a topic that
5 could not be discussed. For as long as there are people getting killed,
6 one cannot discuss these rights, and we have to defend the integrity of
7 body and limb. As far as the post-war period is concerned, from 1996
8 onwards, I believe that major progress has been achieved in that area.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand your answer correctly if I think you
10 said that during the war, equal rights and fundamental freedoms could not
11 be granted because one had to defend itself. And therefore, Republika
12 Srpska could not grant it?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Evidently, neither of the sides
14 could secure this. When there are large conflicts such as a war, which
15 entails killing and many dead, one of the main mechanisms in the world in
16 regulating these events is to achieve the separation of the warring
17 parties. This is what the major powers have recourse to. In this TV show
18 that we looked at a while ago, I insisted on this exact model in order to
19 prevent any further bloodshed. Of course, separation can be provisional
20 or permanent. I don't want to give you examples that we have experienced
21 in the world because I wasn't asked that.
22 After the first elections in 1996, it was -- or rather around the
23 elections in 1996, it was my opinion that these nations ought to be
24 separated in order to prevent war from occurring again, and then gradually
25 work on bringing the peoples together, ensuring their cooperation and
1 coexistence. But this is not something that can be ordered. Coexistence
2 is not just a political category, it's also a moral and emotional
3 category. I always found it difficult to understand how the world could
4 make an assessment that the peoples in the -- in Yugoslavia could not
5 coexist and that Yugoslavia ought to be dissolved, and then, on the issue
6 of Bosnia-Herzegovina --
7 JUDGE ORIE: You're moving away quite far from my question. Was
8 separation of civilians necessary for those purposes as well, or would it
9 be sufficient to get the armed forces under control and separated?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand the question.
11 What do you mean the separation of civilians? Which civilians and which
12 armed forces? I don't understand.
13 JUDGE ORIE: If you say that you can't live together any more once
14 the war has started, and if you're living in municipalities not separated
15 apart, perhaps, from village to village but mixed population, then to
16 separate the peoples would need to move them, because they were a mixed
18 Would it be necessary to separate by moving or by whatever other
19 means you could suggest to me? Would it be necessary to separate the
20 civilian population or would there have been a possibility to get control
21 over armed forces so that new armed operations would be prevented?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course it's not the case of
23 making a head count of each of the peoples and then separating them.
24 Under the proviso that the Muslims and the Croats recognised the Republika
25 Srpska, they are equal citizens, and vice versa. There is no problem
1 there. As far as the separation is concerned, it applies not only to the
2 state and territorial autonomy but also to personal autonomy, that members
3 of a peoples can enjoy full human rights where they are a majority, and
4 nobody would deny that they have their educational system and cultural
5 rights. One has to presume that there is tolerance there. One has to
6 also have the right to choose the school they wish to attend to. The
7 separation does not only mean that you put someone on a bus and ship him
8 off. This is -- the object should be the subject of careful negotiations
9 and agreement, not necessarily entailing physical movement. Now, you
10 should not have a political dictatorship where someone wants to leave and
11 is not allowed to, where a person is dissatisfied with the situation and
12 doesn't want to live in Sarajevo but wants to go to Banja Luka; or vice
13 versa, if you have a person who doesn't want to live in Banja Luka and
14 wishes to go to Sarajevo, and should be allowed to, just as the person who
15 wants to stay where he is should be allowed to. As long as there are
16 conditions in place that satisfy the person to the extent that he can
17 fulfil himself in terms of culture, religion, education, information, but
18 without it being to the detriment of the other people. The resolution of
19 a conflict by separation is not --
20 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered my question.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
22 MR. HARMON:
23 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you have used the term "ethnic cleansing." You're
24 familiar with that term. Did ethnic cleansing occur in the territory
25 occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces in 1992?
1 A. Occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces? I don't know what this
3 Q. I'll tell you what it means.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Rephrase the question.
5 MR. HARMON: I'll rephrase the question.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Did ethnic cleansing occur in the territory in --
7 under the control of the Bosnian Serb forces in 1992?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my opinion, no.
9 MR. HARMON:
10 Q. Now, listening to your answers to Judge Orie, I am struck by it.
11 Did you defend the rights of Muslims to remain in the territories that now
12 occupy the Republika Srpska, between -- in 1992? Did you defend their
13 rights? Did you assert that they should be permitted to remain in the
14 territory post-April of 1992?
15 A. This was in fact the case, and could be clearly seen from my
16 public statements. However, I primarily advocated the rights of the
17 Serbs, but in doing so I did not wish to curb the rights of the others.
18 You know, when you make a public statement, the way you formulate what you
19 say is quite important. But the question has several layers to defend
20 under what circumstances, where, and with what resources. In principle, I
21 was in favour of the respect of the rights of all, including the Muslims.
22 Q. In 1992, post-April 1992, to the end of April, what affirmative
23 steps did you take, Mr. Poplasen, to ensure that the Muslim -- Muslims and
24 the Croats living on the territory occupied by the Republika Srpska, would
25 remain in place, particularly the civilian populations?
1 A. Which steps could I have taken to begin with? If I met anyone and
2 then I could have asked him whether he was thirsty or hungry.
3 Q. I'm asking you what steps you took personally and on behalf of the
4 Serbian Radical Party to ensure that Muslims and Croats, particularly
5 civilians, who lived on the territory occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces,
6 remained in that territory.
7 A. In 1992, the party didn't exist. We have already cleared that up.
8 It was in 1993 that it was registered as a political party.
9 Q. Well, then let me stand corrected. Let me ask you then, since you
10 were acting on behalf of the Serbian Republican Party, and you told us you
11 were going around Bosnia-Herzegovina, trying to organise the municipal
12 boards of the --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, I think you perfectly understood the
14 question of Mr. Harmon. It was not about when exactly the party was
15 established or when you were preparing the establishment of the party, but
16 what you did do in -- to ensure that the Muslims and Croats, in particular
17 civilians, who lived on the territory of Republika Srpska, to remain in
18 that territory.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whenever I had occasion to, I asked
20 for everyone's rights to be respected and tolerated. I otherwise was busy
21 with setting up the boards of the Serb Radical Party. My main priority
22 was the Serb interests.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an example on when and how you
24 asked for such respect.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are many such examples. I
1 can't recall all of them. I remember, for instance - and I believe this
2 was reported on by the media - that in September 1992, in Banja Luka, at
3 the steering meeting of the board where many people were present, I called
4 all the members of the peoples to respect each other's rights. I called
5 for tolerance and for actions that would reduce violence and destruction
6 on all sides. This was a meeting held in a building called Internacional.
7 There were several hundred people there. There were some people who
8 disliked what I said, but I insisted on that, as did I insist on that in
9 all the meetings. But I did not make note of my statements. I cannot
10 tell you which date it was and who the audience was, I told the Prosecutor
11 already. The better part of my day was spent not running around trying to
12 save the Muslims and the Croats who were at risk, although there were such
13 cases, but rather I focused on setting up boards of the Serb Radical
14 Party. I also had duties as a commissioner. And some refugees. And the
15 day only has 24 hours. And already in November I moved to Banja Luka.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think you said it was reported by the media.
17 If there would be any way of having that material so that the Chamber
18 could find support for this testimony in that respect, it would certainly
19 be helpful. I'm at this moment -- of course, Mr. Josse, you're blocked
20 but if you would have any of these media reports, could you please -- if
21 you have them, could you please tell us so that we could have a look at
23 A similar matter, by the way, Mr. Josse, appears with the
24 reference, for example, the witness made earlier to the double pension
25 legislation. I mean that's all public, I take it. So therefore, the
1 Chamber would very much like to receive such material. I take it,
2 Mr. Harmon, that there would be no problem to providing legal texts so
3 that we could find support for the testimony of the witness in objective
5 MR. JOSSE: The double pension issue, in fact, I was personally
6 aware of not via the witness, via other sources. I'm not giving evidence
7 about it, I've been told about it by another source. I'm sure we could
8 verify that and find the information.
9 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber would appreciate it.
10 MR. JOSSE: What the witness has just now said, bearing in mind
11 everything the Defence faces, we're almost entirely dependent on the
12 witness --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So --
14 MR. JOSSE: -- frankly, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: -- Mr. Poplasen, if you would have any press reports
16 on what you just told us, please give a message to us so that we could
17 consider to have a look at it. Please proceed.
18 By the way, it's time for a break anyhow.
19 Could I ask Madam Usher first to escort -- Mr. Poplasen, would you
20 please follow Madam Usher.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, how much time would you still use --
23 would you still need?
24 MR. HARMON: At least one more session and possibly into the
25 following session, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We will consider how much time you'll be given. You
2 go well beyond the 60 per cent. At the same time, there is an issue of
3 testimony in rather general and abstract terms and testimony on facts.
4 We'll consider whether you'll get the time you asked for. The Judges
5 might have some questions as well. I'm aware that the Judges have taken
6 already quite some time.
7 MR. JOSSE: There are likely to be some short procedural matters
8 which we would like to deal with immediately after the second break,
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We would very much like to finish with the
11 witness today and not any later. I take it, Mr. Josse, that you would
12 have some questions in re-examination.
13 MR. JOSSE: I have some at the moment. Not very many, but I do
14 have some.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Harmon, would you at least review your
16 programme during the break in order to bring it within the next session
17 and not beyond the next session. Within does not necessarily mean the
18 full time of the next session. And we'll consider -- how much time would
19 the procedural issues take?
20 MR. JOSSE: Oh, not very long, I assure the Court. One of them
21 I'm learning about as the morning proceeds. Another is a very short
22 matter relating to what Your Honour said yesterday.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Okay, then we'll restart at five minutes past 11.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.12 a.m.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I see that the witness is already in the
2 courtroom. Would that be any problem in relation to your procedural --
3 MR. JOSSE: After the second break is what I thought I had said,
4 and that's fairly essential, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine.
6 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Harmon, would you please proceed.
8 MR. HARMON:
9 Q. Mr. Poplasen, yesterday you were asked a question by Mr. Josse at
10 the end of his examination of whether you were aware of the six strategic
11 goals and whether that was something that you were made aware of in any
12 guise --
13 JUDGE ORIE: By the way, Mr. Harmon, I hadn't told you yet but
14 two-thirds of a session would be granted to you. You know how much time
15 that is. At the same time, please keep in mind that the policy of the SRS
16 is not the core of this case.
17 MR. HARMON: Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: And that evidence in relation to credibility and
19 reliability should find somewhere its end as well.
20 MR. HARMON: You may have noticed I was speaking a little faster
21 than normal, Your Honour. I anticipated your ruling.
22 JUDGE ORIE: It's always the interpreters who suffer from our
23 rulings. Please proceed.
24 MR. HARMON:
25 Q. You were asked about the strategic objectives, and your answer was
1 that you -- you said when it came to the document itself, the answer was
3 MR. HARMON: Let me play a video. It will be stand-alone -- I
4 mean it's tape number Extra 2. If we could go to that. It needs a
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1089, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I have a specific question regarding
10 the ruling party. Some opposition parties criticise you for being too
11 close to the ruling party. Would you criticise these opposition parties?
12 What would you say about them?
13 "I would say that they are far away from the Serbian people. You
14 see, when it comes to the ruling party, we have concluded long ago that
15 the Serbian Democratic Party had identified the strategic goals of the
16 Serbian people in an acceptable manner. You see, the Serbian Democratic
17 Party has never given up the uniting of all the Serbian countries on the
18 biggest part of the ethnic ... They have never given up capitalism, that
19 is, non-socialism. They have never given up multi-party system of a
20 parliamentary type. Those are our main goals. It is another thing --"
21 MR. HARMON: We can stop here. We have passed the critical
23 Q. Mr. Poplasen, this was an interview that was given by you on the
24 8th of November 1996. Mr. Poplasen, it is clear from this interview that
25 the substance of the strategic objectives were known to you while you may
1 not have seen the actual document. Is that correct?
2 A. I will answer the question, of course, but His Honour has promised
3 to grant me 30 seconds to just make an observation. After that, I would
4 immediately answer the question.
5 In my earlier testimony, I heard clearly into the microphone, I
6 don't know if everybody saw it, that someone was -- who was working by the
7 microphones seemed to be working like in a bathroom or something, and I
8 think I heard this comment, and I believe anybody here listening to the
9 Serbian could have heard the comment.
10 JUDGE ORIE: I do not fully understand what you mean. Are you
11 saying in your earlier testimony, you heard clearly -- and, of course, we
12 could not see what you heard, but that someone was working by the
13 microphone seemed to be working like in a bathroom. What I noticed --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
15 JUDGE ORIE: But perhaps -- yes.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Someone among the interpreters said
17 that I, not somebody else, was doing into the microphone what a person
18 would be doing in a toilet. I cannot really quote the words here, it
19 would be too improper.
20 JUDGE ORIE: I'll inquire into the matter, whether any comment was
21 made and which then apparently reached you. And I'll inquire into that
22 matter. It's certainly -- it would be something very unusual. But I'll
23 ask about it.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can be heard on the tape. But
25 let me answer the question.
1 JUDGE ORIE: If I inquire into it, that could include listening to
2 the tape as well. But at this moment, I take it that we can then continue
3 and that you would answer the last question of Mr. Harmon.
4 MR. HARMON: Let me reframe the question, Your Honour, so we can
5 move expeditiously.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
7 MR. HARMON:
8 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you testified you hadn't seen the actual document
9 enunciating the six strategic objectives, but you were aware of their
10 substance, weren't you?
11 A. I've already commented on that. I talked to Professor Koljevic
12 about what the strategic goals meant, what they implied, and it is quite
13 understandable that the Serb -- the interests of the Serbs were a great
14 priority of mine, that's true, but I didn't see the document, the paper
15 itself that was adopted.
16 Q. One of the goals that they had articulated and identified in an
17 acceptable manner was the establishment of state borders separating the
18 Serbian people from the other two ethnic communities.
19 A. I suppose so. I saw the document subsequently.
20 Q. I want to change the topic. I want to talk about paramilitary
21 formations, Mr. Poplasen.
22 You are aware, are you not, that there was a centre in Belgrade
23 where Mr. Seselj, Mr. Arkan, Mr. Vuk Draskovic, Mr. Mirko Jovic and others
24 gathered volunteers to be sent to Bosnia; is that correct?
25 A. Most of that is something that I'm fully familiar with. I'm not
1 informed -- I don't know about the details, but in general, yes.
2 Q. That centre existed before the commencement of hostilities in
4 A. I can't say that for a fact but I believe that it started
5 operating with the advent of the hostilities in Croatia. As I had been
6 informed about the centre from the media and from conversations, I was
7 never there myself, I never visited the centre. I believe that it existed
8 before the outbreak of the hostilities in Bosnia, at the time of the
9 hostilities in Croatia.
10 Q. And the volunteers who assembled at that location were armed, with
11 the full knowledge and approval of the Serbian authorities, correct?
12 A. What do you mean by "the Serbian authorities"? Do you mean
13 Serbia, the Republika Srpska, the Republic of the Serbian Krajina?
14 Q. The Republic of Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic was arming those
15 volunteers and his -- well, that's correct, isn't it?
16 A. No. No. As far as I know, they went out into the field without
17 weapons and when they joined the units of the Republic of the Serbian
18 Krajina and of the Republic of Serbia when they were assigned to a
19 formation, then they would be given weapons, according to what I know.
20 Q. Let me play a film for you. It's found if you turn to tab 47,
21 Mr. Poplasen.
22 JUDGE ORIE: It has no number yet.
23 MR. HARMON: It has no number.
24 THE REGISTRAR: P1090, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
1 MR. HARMON:
2 Q. This, Mr. Poplasen, is a film -- you were present when Mr. Seselj
3 was making these remarks. You were a participant in this.
4 MR. HARMON: Referring, Your Honours, to the top of page 1 in the
5 English of this. If we could play this.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]"When we announced you and
8 Mr. Poplasen as guests, many callers called in with questions. However,
9 one question was frequently asked, the question about volunteers and
10 members, as well as sympathisers of your party, who from the day one --
11 they were present as volunteers on the territories of the former Croatia
12 and former Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nevertheless, the viewers think that this
13 has subsided in time and that even your sympathisers are not interested
14 any more in the future of the Serbs in the Republika Srpska. Is that
15 true? Are your volunteers still there and are you still ready?
16 "That impression is not correct. Our volunteers are still
17 present. There, for example, with the Chetnik Vojvoda Slavko Aleksic at
18 the Jewish cemetery, with Vojvoda Vasko in Ilijas, with Vojvoda Mando
19 Maksimovic on Majevica, as well as a number of volunteers who are with
20 Vojvoda Brne at Ilidza, with Vojvoda Radovic on Podvelezje, and so on and
21 so forth. There are some of them still there. However, there would be
22 more of them if the Command of the Serbian army asked us to send
23 volunteers. It is more difficult for us to send volunteers now than it
24 was in 1991, 1992 and 1993. At the time, when we were sending out
25 volunteers, we had good cooperation with Slobodan Milosevic, who was
1 giving us uniforms, weapons, buses, barracks, such as the Bubanj Potok
2 barracks which was given entirely to the Serbian Radical Party. We had
3 all the necessary equipment. That used to work much better at the time.
4 Because of Slobodan Milosevic's treason --"
5 MR. HARMON: We can stop there. I won't play the rest of the text
6 because of my time limitations.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
8 MR. HARMON:
9 Q. Does that refresh your recollection, Mr. Poplasen?
10 A. Yes. I remember this dialogue on TV. I don't know where it was
11 but I suppose it was sometime in 1994 that we took part in this
13 Q. The actual date was the 13th of March 1995. But does that refresh
14 your recollection as to the fact that Slobodan Milosevic was providing
15 logistical support to volunteers, including your volunteers?
16 A. That's quite probable. We had been insisting on this. But it is
17 possible that the weapons arrived through some other channels. The fact
18 is that the volunteers were not armed in Serbia -- our volunteers were not
19 armed in Serbia and then crossed over to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Perhaps the
20 weapons arrived through a different channel and then the volunteers were
21 armed the way I told you they were. I'm not saying that all this is true,
22 but Mr. Seselj cooperated with Mr. Milosevic, I didn't have any other
23 information, and I only could believe what Mr. Seselj was saying, and
24 there is no reason for me to disbelieve it.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Poplasen, the volunteers that were being provided
1 logistical support in Serbia were welcomed in Bosnia by the Bosnian Serb
2 leadership, by Dr. Karadzic, by Mr. Krajisnik, by Mr. Koljevic, by
3 Mrs. Plavsic; that's correct, isn't it?
4 A. I'm not aware of that.
5 Q. We'll come to that in a few minutes then. Let me focus on one
6 paramilitary formation, paramilitary formation that was under the command
7 of Arkan. You knew Arkan, you met Arkan, during the war, did you not?
8 A. No. We were not personal acquaintances.
9 Q. Did you ever meet him?
10 A. Once, I was about 300 metres away from him, as I was going past
11 with some people. As we were not acquainted with each other, we didn't
12 greet each other.
13 Q. Mr. Arkan was --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Just for my understanding, Mr. Poplasen, you say, "I
15 was 300 metres away ..." For me, I always translate it in football
16 grounds. That is three football grounds. If I would see someone at a
17 distance of three football grounds, I would not be able to see who it is.
18 I mean, could you clarify how you say "I was about 300 metres"? Did you
19 see him or were you told that he was at a distance of 300 metres?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm wearing glasses. I hope
21 they are helping. For several days, Arkan was spending nights in Banja
22 Luka and I was across from him, on the other side of the street, and
23 somebody motioned to him.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, did you see him? Did you see a person
25 which you recognised as being Arkan? Apart from a street of 300 metres
1 wide is a rather big street, but --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have to understand what I'm
3 saying. There was a man accompanying me, I don't know who he was. He
4 was, I believe, a police officer, and he pointed to the man on the other
5 side of the square and he told me, There is Arkan passing by Hotel Bosna,
6 and I don't know why I shouldn't have believed the man. That was the only
7 time I saw the man. He was going on his business somewhere.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the answer is someone, he accompanied me,
9 pointed at a man at quite some distance and told me that that was Arkan,
10 but you did not recognise him as such yourself. Is that a correct
11 understanding of your answer? Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
12 MR. HARMON:
13 Q. Mr. Poplasen, Arkan was a notorious criminal before the war
14 started in Bosnia, wasn't he?
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was a criminal. That's for sure.
17 How notorious, I don't know.
18 MR. HARMON:
19 Q. Did you know he was a criminal at the time he was paramilitary
20 leader? Did you know he had been convicted of robberies, that he had been
21 convicted of murders?
22 A. I knew very little of him. I didn't know of the man before the
23 start of the war. When the war started, he was somewhat present in the
24 media. One could hear about him. And as for his background, I found out
25 about it from Mr. Seselj, but I don't know why I would have had to know
1 anything about Arkan from before the war, when he was abroad, involved in
2 some shady deals.
3 Q. Let's go to the next exhibit. It is 1090. It's a film clip found
4 in tab 47.
5 MR. HARMON: I direct Your Honour's attention to the top of -- the
6 bottom of the second page, starting with the word "Seselj." If we could
7 play that portion of it.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "... and other political parties will
10 have a lot of constructive work to do as soon as peace is there.
11 "It is important to address the problem of crime - the problem
12 which most affects the lives of all the Serbs in all the Serbian
13 countries. The main -- all the main criminal activities that have been
14 going on during this war in the territory of the Republika Srpska and the
15 Republic of Serbian Krajina are linked to the regime in Serbia and the
16 Serbian police. They are also linked to the counter-intelligence service
17 of the army of Yugoslavia in which there are communists, members of the SK
18 for Yugoslavia (we have spoken about that before) and the leaders. For
19 example, Zeljko Raznjatovic Arkan, a man of the Serbian UDBA, who used to
20 liquidate immigrants and rob banks in the Western countries. In this war,
21 the press proclaimed him a Serbian hero, although he never had more than
22 two to 300 men under his command. He said that he had liberated
23 Bijeljina. That's not true, because he only had 29 men in Bijeljina.
24 What did he do? He plundered Bijeljina. What did he in do in Brcko? He
25 plundered Brcko. He took away everything he could possibly take. The
1 value of the goods he took can be measured in millions of German marks.
2 He could not have done it by himself. He shipped it with the permission
3 of the Serbian police, Radmilo Bogdanovic, Sokolovic, Radovan Stojisic
4 Badza, and so on and so forth. That was sold on the black market, and the
5 money was shared. He stole even the fire engine from Bijeljina. The
6 whole of Bijeljina was proud of that vehicle; it was worth approximately
7 one and a half million German marks before the war. He drove it over to
8 Erdut, and the vehicle was lost. Such things can never be brought into
9 any relations with the Serbian Radical Party. We are clean, if our past
10 were not so clean, if our activities were not so clean, the regime would
11 already have settled accounts with us. The regime can accuse us of many
12 things, but it cannot prove anything."
13 MR. HARMON:
14 Q. Did you learn of those facts from Mr. Seselj or did you learn of
15 those facts elsewhere?
16 A. Well, I've heard that in that conversation. Perhaps that was the
17 first time that I actually talked about those matters with Mr. Seselj and
18 I have no reason to disbelieve him.
19 Q. Okay. Now, were you aware and did you get -- were you informed
20 that Mr. Arkan had been involved in the killing of civilians in Bijeljina
21 in early April of 1992? Did you ever hear any reports of that?
22 A. Well, I heard it subsequently. Now we are talking about it but
23 subsequently, after a number of years, I heard about it. But when all
24 those things were happening in Bijeljina, I had a normal life living and
25 working in Sarajevo. I don't know how I could have gathered that on the
1 basis of summary reports in the media.
2 Q. Let me show you tab -- two photographs very quickly. They are
3 found in tab 61, 62.
4 MR. HARMON: These have exhibit numbers, Your Honour. These are
5 Exhibits P292A for tab 61, and P294B for tab 62.
6 Q. Take a look at the first picture in tab 61. Have you ever seen
7 that picture before, Mr. Poplasen?
8 A. I've seen similar pictures. I can't remember this one in
9 particular, but similar pictures, yes.
10 Q. Take a look at the related photograph under tab 62. Mr. Poplasen,
11 the Court has heard evidence that these pictures were taken in Bijeljina
12 and that these soldiers depicted in this first photograph are members of
13 Arkan's unit, that those pictures were widely published in the beginning
14 of the war, right after, shortly after the events in Bijeljina. Do you
15 recall seeing those pictures then?
16 A. No. I don't. I've seen very many such photos and I really can't
17 tell you, after 17 years, whether I've seen this particular one. I didn't
18 -- my mind is not a computer.
19 Q. Okay. Had you received -- while you were in Bosnia in 1992 did
20 you receive reports or receive information that Arkan's unit was involved
21 in killing civilians?
22 A. Who would give me some information or any reports? I was in the
23 opposition. Nobody was duty bound to provide me with any information.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, you're not asked whether someone could
25 have given it and whether it would be logical for you to receive. The
1 question simply was whether you received reports or received information.
2 Not whether anyone was under an obligation to provide it to you but just
3 whether you received it or not.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said -- I mean, the way it was
5 translated to me was, Did you receive a report? In Serbian language, it
6 implies that there is a formal channel through which somebody either
7 orally or in writing, according to a system of subordination, would submit
8 a report to me. But I said that I was informed through the media, like
9 all the other citizens, but in a very summary fashion, because there were
10 no such pictures shown in the media and there were no descriptions of the
11 killings of civilians and so on. But I'm not saying that this hasn't
12 happened. I just didn't have insight into that and I didn't know Arkan
13 and I didn't know that he was coming to Bijeljina. I saw on TV that
14 Mrs. Plavsic went to visit Bijeljina and that she met with Arkan and
15 greeted him, et cetera, but, yesterday I said that in many things she was
16 more radical than I was, but I didn't get any more information than your
17 average man in the street back then.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Let's just -- you received information by watching
19 television. Any other source?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Presumably in the papers as well. I
21 used to read the papers too.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Newspapers.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Any other source?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recall any other source.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
2 MR. HARMON:
3 Q. Did those sources of information that you had in 1992 disclose
4 that Arkan had been involved in the killing of civilians in operations in
5 which he participated?
6 A. I don't remember that. It was presented as a kind of interethnic
7 conflict in Bijeljina, as far as I can remember. But you can find that
8 information in the news broadcasts of the BH television. And as a member
9 of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the camera was actually zooming
10 in on Mrs. Plavsic, and she went to Bijeljina and those events did appear
11 rather dramatic. There were reports of shooting, but I don't remember
12 anyone saying volunteers came from Serbia and killed civilians in
13 Bijeljina. Certainly nobody put it in quite those terms. So there was
14 description of these dramatic events but I would really have to watch that
15 tape once again. That would probably jog my memory.
16 Q. That's quite all right. I want to talk about volunteers from the
17 Serbian Radical Party. If we could -- first of all I want to ask you a
18 couple of questions about their presence. There were a number of
19 volunteers who formed under the guidance of the Serbian Radical Party in
20 Bosnia. That's a correct statement, isn't it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. If we could take a look at a film. It needs an exhibit number.
23 It is to be found in tab 41. This, for your information, Mr. Poplasen, we
24 are going to be looking at a film that's in two parts. One is of a
25 ceremony that took place where 18 new Chetnik vojvodas were honoured,
1 given the designation of vojvoda. And the second part is a part where you
2 participated with Mr. Seselj shortly after that ceremony in Sokolac, and
3 your image will appear in it. So if we could play that film.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, that would be?
5 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 41 will be P1091.
6 [Videotape played]
7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Today on the first day of the
8 referendum, Dr. Vojislav Seselj arrived at the Republika Srpska. He's the
9 Chetnik vojvoda and the president of the Serb Radical Party. Right after
10 crossing the Drina he went to visit our defenders on the defence lines.
11 After this, he visited Knezina, the village and monastery in free Serbian
12 Romanija. An oath-taking for new Serbian Chetnik vojvodas.
13 "Order number 124. As the only Serbian Chetnik vojvoda who was
14 directly engaged in the present liberating struggle of the Serbian people
15 by following the tradition of Serbian Chetniks for extraordinary service
16 in this war, the great heroism and combat skills of the most outstanding
17 Chetnik commanders I declare ...
18 "So new 18 Romanija, a mountain that will not negotiate with
19 enemies, I was glad to see the oath-taking of the new 18 vojvodas. It is
20 an oath that's not been heard for 50 years.
21 "I do solemnly declare that as a Serbian Chetnik vojvoda ...
22 "I declare before God and Sveti Sava ...
23 "I declare before God and Sveti Sava ...
24 "That I shall fight with all my strength for the freedom of the
25 Serbian people ...
1 "That I shall fight with all my strength for the freedom of the
2 Serbian people ...
3 "And for the renewal of a unified Serbian state in the Balkans
4 that will include all Serbian lands ...
5 "And for the renewal of a unified Serbian state in the Balkans
6 that will include all Serbian lands ...
7 "So help me God.
8 "So help me God.
11 "They can be trusted that it will be so. The following Serbian
12 heroes from all parts of Serb lands were given the rank of Chetnik
13 vojvoda: Zdravko Abramovic, Branislav Vakic, Srecko Radovanovic, Slavko
14 Crnic, Nedeljko Vidakovic, Slavko Aleksic, Mitar Maksimovic - Manda,
15 Miroslav Vukovic - Cele, Milika Dacevic - Ceko, Tomislav Nikolic, Milan
16 Lancuzanin - Kameni, Zoran Drazinovic - Cica, Jovo Ostojic, Ljubisa
17 Petkovic, Todor Lazic, Mirko Blagojevic, Dragan Cvetkovic and Branislav
18 Gavrilovic - Brne.
19 "Brne! Brne! Turn around a bit so I can get a good shot. Hey,
20 that's good.
21 "And then Sokolac."
22 MR. HARMON: We are going to stop right there. Just for Your
23 Honour's benefit and for counsel's benefit, the man who has been
24 identified as Brne, there has been other evidence in this Chamber. I
25 refer Your Honours to intercepted radio communication, telephone
1 communication, I should say, Prosecution Exhibit 292, KID 31208, an
2 intercept from April, between Mr. Seselj and Mr. Gavrilovic.
3 Now we can continue with this.
4 [Videotape played]
5 MR. HARMON:
6 Q. The image on the right-hand side, the man on the right with the
7 beard, that's you, isn't it, Mr. Poplasen?
8 A. Yes.
9 [Videotape played]
10 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "If there is a military intervention,
11 thousands and thousands of our volunteers will cross the Drina to be here
12 with you. All of us that you can see here today, we'll all be here
13 amongst you and share your destiny.
14 "After the rally, Mr. Seselj went to Pale esorted by the
15 newly-appointed vojvodas to talk with the president of the Republika
16 Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic."
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Now, let me -- did you accompany Dr. Seselj to meet with
19 Dr. Karadzic in Pale?
20 A. I suppose I must have done, but there were a number of such
21 visits, and within a brief period of time. When Mr. Seselj was in the
22 Republika Srpska, most often I was together with him, unless I had other
23 duties which were -- I considered to be more of a priority but most often
24 I would be with him.
25 Q. If we could turn to tab 42, this needs a number.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 42, Your Honours, will be 1092.
3 MR. HARMON: This document does not have a translation. For your
4 benefit, Mr. Poplasen, I will read it into the record. It's dated the
5 15th of May. It's from Tanjug news service. "Dr. Vojislav Seselj,
6 chairman of the Serbian Radical Party, began talks today with the
7 leadership of the Serb republic ... in Pale.
8 "The talks are attended by Dr. Radovan Karadzic, president of the
9 Serb Republic; Nikola Koljevic, vice-president of the Serb Republic;
10 Momcilo Krajisnik, president of the Serb Republic Assembly; and Nikola
11 Poplasen, chairman of the Serb Radical Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 "As has been learned, they are discussing new political
13 possibilities for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the former
15 "Seselj arrived in Pale after visiting Knezina and Sokoc."
16 During those discussions, Mr. Poplasen, the -- Mr. Krajisnik,
17 Mr. Karadzic and others with whom you were speaking were fully informed of
18 the presence of volunteers from the Serb Radical Party, the presence of
19 the 18 new vojvodas. That's correct, isn't it?
20 A. What do you mean in its entirety, or fully? It was probably one
21 of the topics. Probably one of the topics was also the sending of
23 Q. If we could go to the next image, which will be -- it's from the
24 same -- this is from the same exhibit number, so it's 1092. This is a
25 brief clip of a public address by Mr. Seselj and Dr. Karadzic. So if we
1 could play that.
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The Republic of Yugoslavia apart
4 from the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church no comments could
5 be heard by the officials in the RS ... however Dr. Vojislav Seselj, the
6 leader of the strongest opposition party in Serbia, the SRS, wanted to
7 strengthen the support to the people and the leadership of the RS by
8 coming to Sokolac and to Pale. Dr. Vojislav Seselj and the president of
9 the Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, gave the following statements
10 to Channel S after today's meeting.
11 "I would just like to say in our language that we are very
12 honoured by this visit of Mr. Seselj and his associates, especially since
13 it's taking place at the time of our referendum, which is of great
14 importance to us and for which we have gained the support of the radical
15 ... of the SRS and Mr. Seselj. We do have a habit of meeting
16 occasionally and in the future we'll try and meet with all the other
17 leaders of all parliamentary parties in Serbia and Montenegro, that is
18 Yugoslavia, and to continue cooperation. Some of them are very close to
19 us, some less so, but that is exactly the reason why we have to maintain
20 dialogue with all of them.
21 "The delegation of the SRS, the biggest opposition party in the
22 FRY and second in power in that state, is visiting the Republika Srpska
23 today and we have been received by the president of this republic. We
24 came here to visit a few Serbian towns, to visit Serbian soldiers on their
25 positions, to meet with the people and to follow the referendum that's
1 taking place because we feel that this referendum is of great existential
2 importance for the Serbian people here and the SRS is following its rule,
3 its principle that the Serbian people here must be the sole masters of
4 their own destiny and that all outside political subjects must respect the
5 inviolability of its will and the legitimacy of decisions passed by its
6 governmental organs and the decisions that the people themselves passed
7 through the referendum. I'm convinced that the people of the RS will
8 reject the Vance Owen Plan because that plan opposes its national
9 interests, its vital and existential interests and not because somebody
10 will convince the people to reject the plan. Were this plan good for the
11 Serbian people, it would be futile to try and convince the people to
12 reject it."
13 MR. HARMON:
14 Q. Let me then go to the next exhibit. It's found in tab 48.
15 Mr. Poplasen, this is a regular combat report from the Sarajevo Romanija
16 Corps. It's dated 18 April 1992 and I would like to direct your attention
17 to subpart 3, which I will read into the record. It is -- this report is
18 also signed by the commander, Stanislav Galic.
19 "3. The situation in the territory without significant changes.
20 However, a paramilitary formation consisting of about 25 men commanded by
21 Branislav Gavrilovic, aka Brne, is active in the Rakovica sector. This is
22 a group of criminals whose behaviour is damaging the reputation of the
23 Republika Srpska in the eyes of the population in this territory."
24 I invite your comments, your brief comments, as to commander
25 Galic's observations of Mr. Gavrilovic. Did you hear of such reports?
1 A. I had not heard of this report. This is the first time I've set
2 eyes on it and I have no reason at all to doubt the assessment of
3 Mr. Galic because he's a very serious and conscientious man. Probably
4 it's about the following. Probably Mr. Seselj had been informed of this.
5 I do remember -- I can't remember the exact date but I do remember that
6 because of this, we made a special trip to Ilidza to see the brigade
7 commander to clarify the matter. Mr. Seselj talked to Gavrilovic to warn
8 him of that sort of behaviour and to tell him that he had to subject
9 himself to the brigade command, and everything in this respect had to be
10 considered by the command and dealt with.
11 There were quite a few of us there on that occasion, and the
12 meeting took place at Ilidza. There were some ten of us and we talked to
13 the brigade commander at his command and then we went to this location
14 that is referred to here at Rakovica to see Gavrilovic, and Mr. Seselj
15 talked to him. Mr. Gavrilovic at that stage didn't like me for some
16 reason, so I wasn't in a position myself to talk to him directly, but I'm
17 absolutely certain that Mr. Seselj discussed this topic with him for quite
18 sometime and brought quite some pressure to bear in order for this to be
19 dealt with, and it took place at the so-called Orchard Centre at Rakovica.
20 There were those people there.
21 Q. Do you remember approximately when that meeting with Mr. Seselj
22 and Mr. Gavrilovic took place?
23 A. I suppose that it should have been by the end of 1992, the
24 beginning of 1993. I can't recall the exact date. I suppose that the
25 contents of this information somehow reached Mr. Seselj and that he had
1 been warned of this, because there was a clear party rule that there
2 should be no units anywhere outside the framework of the armed forces of
3 the Republika Srpska, no independent units which would not be subject to
4 the regular command.
5 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if I were to inform you that by at least February
6 the 12th, 1993, Mr. Gavrilovic was still not subordinated to the VRS, will
7 you accept that fact?
8 A. It is possible. It is possible. But I don't have full insight
9 into the situation.
10 Q. If we turn very quickly - I don't want to spend very much time on
11 this - but tab 51.
12 MR. HARMON: That needs a number as well.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 48, Your Honours, P1093.
14 MR. HARMON: Tab 51?
15 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 51 will be P1094.
16 MR. HARMON:
17 Q. This is a document dated the 12th of February 1993, and at the
18 bottom there is a signature of Srdjan Sehovac. It's an official note from
19 the Minister of the Interior, National Security Service, the Ilidza war
20 department. And it says, in the second paragraph: "With the arrival of
21 the new commander, Captain Spasoje Cajic, Brne's formation felt it would
22 not have the privileges it had had until that time and that it would have
23 to place itself under the brigade command; i.e., as an integral part of
24 the Republika Srpska army. Upon the arrival of the new commander, Brne
25 came in person to him and told him he knew everything about him, including
1 the exact time he was to take over the brigade, and one of the Chetniks
2 had told him that he was in charge of his liquidation. Owing to this
3 wisdom and composure of the said colonel, a 'temporary' common ground was
4 found with aka Brne's men, but this is still far from true subordination
5 to the superior command."
6 I won't read further. So does that give you any reason to dispute
7 that particular date and time at which point Mr. Gavrilovic was no longer
8 under -- was not under the command of the VRS?
9 A. I don't have any specific reasons to dispute what you have just
11 Q. Let me turn to tab 55 --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, let me just inquire into what kind of
13 evidence we are hearing at this moment. The evidence presented, the
14 swearing in of new vojvodas, among them Brne, now we see that Brne, at
15 least on the basis of your documentation, is suggested to have behaved in
16 an undisciplinary way and -- what is exactly what we are heading for? Is
17 it that you would say that this witness, by being present at the
18 swearing-in, supported this kind of irregular -- irregular armed forces or
19 people? Is that it? Or what are we heading for?
20 MR. HARMON: I intend to ask some additional questions.
21 JUDGE ORIE: But I would like very much to keep in mind that this
22 is not a case against the SRS or against this witness, but that I'm still
23 wondering where the links, the direct links -- of course, there are always
24 some links but whether they are direct and strong links with the case we
25 are hearing. But please proceed, but keep that in mind.
1 MR. HARMON: Yes, some of the links, Your Honour, will become
2 apparent with future witnesses as well, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course. It's always a problem for a Chamber
4 that we never can see where we are heading, and sometimes after half an
5 hour or after five days we say, well, it was an excellent way of doing it,
6 and sometimes after a couple of hours or after a couple of days, we say
7 why did we have to hear all this?
8 MR. HARMON: I can appreciate that, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. HARMON:
11 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 55, please. Mr. Poplasen,
12 this is a Serbian Radical Party war staff authorisation, dated the 13th of
13 December 1991, from Belgrade, and it is signed by Chief Ljubisa Petkovic.
14 Do you recognise that name and the signature at the bottom of this
16 A. I'm familiar with the name, but how should I know his signature?
17 I know the person. I know who he is.
18 Q. And this is an authorisation to permit a gentleman by the name of
19 Nikodin Cavic from Banja Luka to sign up volunteers from the Republic of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina without special permission, and on the basis of written
21 request and signatures of authorised officials. And he was then to screen
22 these people, and the text goes on. Do you know Mr. Cavic?
23 A. I met with him -- or rather, met him, on several occasions. We
24 were not close acquaintances, though, and unfortunately he passed away.
25 Q. Okay. Now, he was authorised by the Serbian Radical Party to sign
1 up volunteers in Banja Luka, according to this document. And he did so,
2 didn't he?
3 A. According to this document, he did. Of course, this is the first
4 time I set my eyes on this document. This is the year 1991, and I didn't
5 know of the existence of the staff. At the time, I didn't know this man.
6 I met him later. At this particular period of time, I was living and
7 working in Sarajevo.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. HARMON: Can this have an exhibit number, please?
10 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 51, Your Honours, will be P1095. 55, Your
11 Honours, tab 55.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's now corrected.
13 MR. HARMON:
14 Q. Mr. Poplasen, were any of the people who were identified as 18 new
15 vojvodas ever disciplined by the Serbian Radical Party for criminal
16 conduct that had occurred in Bosnia?
17 A. Yes. A number of them. I can't recall all of their names, but I
18 could supply you with the information subsequently. One of them was not
19 only found responsible but was expelled from the party, which was the
20 highest discipline that could -- measure that could be applied. And from
21 the staff, some information came about the persons who should even be
23 Q. What type of crimes are we talking about, in summary form?
24 A. I would have to try and find the papers. Probably it involved
25 fights, wounding, something of the sort that was incompatible with the
1 work of the Serb Radical Party. There must be some documentation
2 somewhere but I would have to look into that and supply you with it at a
3 later stage.
4 Q. Did it include crimes committed against Muslim civilians?
5 A. I don't recall that. There were some offences. I don't remember
6 which. I had no authority whatsoever over the vojvodas. That was within
7 the purview of the president of the party.
8 Q. So your answer is you don't know if it involved crimes committed
9 against Muslim civilians? Is that your answer?
10 A. Yes. That's my answer.
11 Q. Okay. Well, let me -- we can't go further with that topic if you
12 can't recall more than that, Mr. Poplasen.
13 Let me turn to another topic quickly. That is the prison in
14 Vogosca. You testified about that. You testified about a location,
15 Sonja's. In fact, you felt that the conditions in that prison were
16 inadequate because there was insufficient food and overcrowding. And you
17 made your concerns known on a number of occasions to the RS authorities,
18 the Republika Srpska authorities, didn't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. In fact, you wrote a number of letters to the Republika Srpska
21 authorities, complaining about the conditions that you found in that camp.
22 That's true, isn't it?
23 A. I didn't complain. I asked that the conditions change, that it be
25 Q. Did the -- your testimony the other day was that you asked either
1 that it be legalised, the prison, either be disbanded or integrated into
2 the prison system. I think that was your testimony.
3 Your Honours, that's found at page 62 of the transcript.
4 Correct, isn't it?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, the people who were being detained in that location were
7 civilians, Muslim civilians I think was your evidence.
8 A. I suppose so.
9 Q. Did you ever ask the -- they, to Mr. Koljevic or the authorities
10 above you, that those people should be released from prison?
11 A. I addressed them not only orally but in writing as well, as I've
12 said. I wrote a letter to the minister of justice, a copy was sent to
13 Mr. Koljevic, wherein I asked that the people be treated in keeping with
14 the law and that what was termed by Vlac [phoen] as detention to be
15 integrated into the judicial, that's the prison system, and that the
16 operation of this facility be legalised. In view of the fact that the
17 situation with the food in this facility and at Vogosca was inadequate, I
18 asked that adequate food supplies be ensured. This visit, which lasted
19 some 15 to 20 minutes, was the only visit to this facility and yielded the
20 results that I have just relayed.
21 Q. Let me ask you a very specific question: Did you ask Mr. Koljevic
22 to have the civilians in that prison released from custody?
23 A. This goes without saying. A person cannot be held in a prison if
24 there are no legal bases for his being there. When I said that I wanted
25 the facility to be integrated into the prison system, what did I want to
1 say by this? I see a Muslim walking on the street, I seize him and take
2 him and lock him up in a facility. That's why I'm saying there has to be
3 a legal basis for him being detained, which, of course, triggers a certain
4 legal procedure, which has to have its end.
5 Q. What was the response of Dr. Koljevic to that information that you
6 had given him?
7 A. He agreed with that. I told him that I had sent the letter to the
8 minister of justice and the Deputy Prime Minister. He said that was a
9 good thing to do and I will talk to them about it. I then went on some
10 other business away. I believed that this was discussed by the
11 government, that this was in fact put on the government's agenda, but, of
12 course, I was not a cabinet member and I can't know whether they in fact
13 discussed it.
14 Q. And were the Muslim civilians from Sonja's house released, after
15 that discussion with Dr. Koljevic?
16 A. How am I to know this?
17 Q. Well, you might know it because you were a commissioner in the
18 municipality and it was an area that was of interest to you and you had
19 raised it at the highest levels of government. That's how you might know
20 about it. So my question is were they released after you had raised this
21 issue with Dr. Koljevic?
22 A. Your question was whether the Muslim civilians had been released.
23 I didn't say that there weren't any other civilians, Serbs and Croats and
24 so on and so forth. How am I to know whether some Croats and Serbs were
25 kept behind when some Muslim civilians were released? I find the question
1 quite strange. Based on the information that was given to me --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, let's not discuss the question. The
3 question simply is you took initiatives to have people released. The
4 question was were they released?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I launched this
6 initiative and procedure for them to be released. Whether this was in
7 fact done, I don't know.
8 JUDGE ORIE: A follow-up was not your interest? I mean, if I'm
9 interested in the fate of people that may be illegally detained, and I
10 take steps to get them released, then usually one would wonder to know
11 whether these steps were successful. Could you explain to us why you did
12 not give that any follow-up?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was convinced that the local
14 authorities and the republican authorities would do their jobs according
15 to law. There were other places where there were similar dramatic
16 situations and it is quite impossible to double check all that. It's not
17 the absence of interest for human life but rather the faith and belief
18 that the people acted in accordance with their duties, with the law,
19 whereby a person committing a crime needs to be held responsible. And how
20 was I able to go and -- from house to house to check whether this was in
21 fact done, whether there had been a follow-up?
22 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it would not have needed to go house to house.
23 You could have just asked the prison warden whether the people were
24 released, isn't it? It takes you five minutes.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I said, I asked the president of
1 the municipal government about it and he told me that all was well. Why
2 would I have to go and ask the prison warden about it? I have nothing to
3 do with him. I was not his superior.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Did he say that they were released?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The president of the Executive Board
6 of the municipality told me that the proceedings were in course in keeping
7 with the law, and I believed the facility, the prison, to have been
8 integrated into the system which had existed in Sarajevo before the war,
9 which had the necessary staff and experience, that they had the premises
10 they needed and they had procedure in place. I thought the problem
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
13 MR. HARMON: I want to show you three documents, Mr. Poplasen. If
14 we could turn first of all to tab 27. If I could get a number for it.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 27 --
16 MR. HARMON: Sorry, 27 has a number. 29, if I could have a
18 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 29 will be P1096.
19 MR. HARMON: I'm sorry, Mr. Registrar. If I could have a number
20 for tab 28.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 28 will be P1096, Your Honours.
22 MR. HARMON:
23 Q. Okay, if we could first of all turn to tab 27, Mr. Poplasen. It
24 is tab 27. It's P743 is the exhibit number. Mr. Poplasen, this is a
25 document from the Vogosca Serbian Municipality War Commission, dated the
1 6th of August 1992. It's a conclusion, and the conclusion, the -- "That
2 approval is asked from the aforementioned addressee for occasional use of
3 detainees for construction and other work, according to the current
5 Now, this document is signed apparently on your behalf. You see
6 the signature on the original document that says for you? Do you
7 recognise this document? Do you remember this document being signed on
8 your behalf?
9 A. I don't remember but there is no reason for me to doubt it.
10 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at, then, the document that is found in tab
11 29. This is Exhibit 455. This is from the War Commission to the Ministry
12 of Justice. It is type-signed as coming from the president of the Serbian
13 Municipality of Vogosca, and it asks the Ministry of Justice for the very
14 same request; that is, the use of detained persons in construction work
15 and other works as the need arises. And then finally, if we turn to tab
16 28, Mr. Poplasen, this is now Exhibit 1096, this is -- appears to be the
17 response from the Ministry of Justice, dated the 10th of August 1992, and
18 it is -- bears a typed signature of Momcilo Mandic. It has a reference
19 number, and it says: "Regarding your request for the engagement of
20 detainees in works, we hereby inform you that we are in agreement that
21 detainees be temporarily engaged in construction and other works."
22 Now, the term "construction and other works," Mr. Poplasen, what
23 does that refer to?
24 A. How am I to know? Probably some construction work, repairing
25 buildings that were damaged in shelling, or repairs of the roads; whatever
1 constitutes construction work. As for under "other works," I suppose that
2 of whatever needed to be delivered or carried.
3 Q. Did it mean that these prisoners who were in custody of the prison
4 authorities were to be released to work on front line positions, for
5 example, digging trenches, building defensive fortifications?
6 A. I'm not informed about this, although this term "lines" can be
7 stretched quite far, because the whole town could be the line, the front
8 line, and then, of course, if the -- depending on what the emphasis of the
9 attacks or the fighting was, the line moved.
10 Q. As a republican commissioner, did you hear that in the Vogosca
11 municipality, civilians who had been prisoners were forced to work at
12 front line positions where combat was occurring?
13 A. No. As a republican commissioner, one can see from the last few
14 documents that you have admitted into evidence that the commission
15 insisted on legality. We are addressing the Ministry of Justice and the
16 Ministry of Justice does not in turn address the commission but the local
17 authorities. Our goal was to ensure that the activities were conducted in
18 keeping with the law. Of course, everything was happening in a state of
19 war. If there are bodies that are not working in keeping with the law,
20 then there are inspection services and other service to monitor the work.
21 It wasn't the duty of the commission to do that. Our duty was to ensure
22 that the authorities that were legally elected did their job properly. If
23 their activities included some of the activities you've mentioned now,
24 then they should have been held liable under the law.
25 Q. So what you're saying, Mr. Poplasen, is the use of civilian
1 prisoners at -- in construction activities and other work at dangerous
2 front line positions where they could be wounded or killed would be
3 illegal. It would be a crime. Is that what you're saying?
4 A. I suppose we should look into the regulations covering that, but
5 detainees often have a duty to do some work, but I don't suppose there is
6 meant to be put in a position where their lives are at risk.
7 Q. Now, if I were --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau has a question.
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Poplasen. I have
10 a difficulty because I can't follow you any more in your explanations.
11 Yesterday you gave us a description of the role of the commissioner. You
12 told us that the commissioner was there to see whether decisions taken by
13 local authorities would be legal. I think you underscored the fact that
14 you had no decision power on such matters, and then you explained to us,
15 if I remember you rightly, that after that you had delegated your own
16 monitoring authority, as far as legality is concerned, to commissioners,
17 to people who were sort of subcommittee and that the subcommittee had the
18 same role as yourself, which was one again to monitor and appraise the
19 legality of the decisions taken by the local authorities.
20 And in your explanations this morning, and through the documents
21 which have been presented, we have the impression that there was a
22 committee called War Committee which existed, which you seemed to be
23 leading and which is taking decisions instead of the local authorities.
24 So could you clarify all this. Because any way, as far as I'm concerned,
25 perhaps I'm not clever enough to understand, but I get the impression that
1 we are seeing something more and more confused.
2 Was there - yes or no - a War Commission which substituted itself
3 to the local authorities and who was able to make decisions, to write
4 directly to the ministry, and so on?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the setting up of the
6 commission, there used to be a body which was called the Crisis Staff, and
7 those Crisis Staffs were abolished on the basis of a Presidency decision,
8 and the municipal commission, following a proposal from the republic
9 commissioner, and there we've got the decision that I signed, and all the
10 other bodies would continue in existence and would continue operating in
11 line with the law. It is indeed true that for a certain period of time
12 the so-called Crisis Staffs used to exist, but here we are talking about
13 the period of time in which I was not really active and I was not present
14 or active either in Vogosca or in any other municipality. We are talking
15 about April, May and June. So now we've got the category
16 -- I can see why you're puzzled, because most citizens in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina would be puzzled as well, because there were the legal
18 authorities, the Municipal Assembly, the Crisis Staffs, the commission,
19 and then something else which was called the War Presidency, either by
20 mistake or rightly so, but all this is rather puzzling. However, the
21 whole point of my work, or the whole point of the setting up of the
22 commission was to ensure that the legal institutions' role be upgraded as
23 much as possible and that only the necessary rectifications be made
24 through the commission. And in May, June, July, as time passed, I could
25 see that more and more Tribunals were being set up and the administrative
1 bodies, and so that vacuum that existed at the very beginning of the war
2 had been overcome, so all these positions were becoming staffed gradually,
3 and so the conditions were being created in order for all that to start
4 operating. And I did say yesterday that I accepted the role of
5 commissioner precisely in order to promote and speed up the creation of
6 all the legal institutions and bodies. Of course, if there was a whole
7 range of extreme and unacceptable situations, and even crimes, and the
8 Prosecution does point out to them, but they had to be dealt with
9 according to the provisions of the law. What was unacceptable to me was
10 to make decisions on behalf of somebody else. In this case, my decision
11 was signed by somebody else on my behalf, by Ratko Babic in this instance,
12 but I did tell him do not make any decisions which are within the area of
13 competence of somebody else. Now, this seems like a simple task. He
14 would have to turn to the Justice Ministry, and the Justice Ministry did
15 not tell the commission anything. They got in touch with the president of
16 the Municipal Assembly, and he was the one who was to ensure that
17 everything was done through the proper channels. So we did not have a
18 well-established system or model of controls a postiori and feedback, and
19 so that was the problem.
20 I don't know whether I've been of any assistance with this
21 explanation, but that's the way I understood it, and it is for this
22 reason --
23 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] To ensure this monitoring of the
24 legality of what the local authorities were doing, did you consider that
25 you had to go on the site to see what was going on, to make sure that
1 things were happening legally, were being done legally? How could you
2 check whether decisions were legal if you didn't go and check on-site, on
3 the different sites?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said earlier that the decisions
5 were implemented and checked by the legal bodies, enshrined in law. There
6 were inspections and inspectors within the Justice Ministry and it was up
7 to them to establish whether the ministry's decision was implemented
8 properly. In the last analysis, there is a possibility of somebody
9 swindling me. Because I did not have the necessary professional
10 expertise, they might have just swindled me and make me believe that
11 things had been done properly when they had not. And that's why I wanted
12 for the municipal leadership to be informed, because that's where my role
13 was exhausted. I wanted to get some feedback there. And in case I found
14 out that what I got from them in terms of feedback did not correspond to
15 the situation on the ground, I would have had to react, but then I had
16 other problems in that case. Perhaps I should have gone to the hospitals
17 as well and visit whether Muslims and Serbs and Croats were all treated in
18 the same way. I should have perhaps visited the schools as well.
19 Life is a complex matter and there is always somebody who makes a
20 decision, somebody who implements them, et cetera, but I take it that
21 people also have to have some trust and confidence. Why should I work on
22 the assumption that every time the president of the Executive Board or the
23 president of the Municipal Assembly or the police chief, every time they
24 come and tell me something are telling me lies, or somebody from the
25 ministry? In case they are all telling lies it is a very pessimistic,
1 disastrous, chaotic situation. It could be impossible for any life to
2 take place there.
3 According to that principle of chain of responsibility you could
4 ask the president of the republic why, in some village 500 kilometres
5 away, a sick man died and he was not provided with proper assistance,
6 because he would be held accountable for everything. Maybe the nurse had
7 not arrived on time, and it is all regulated by relevant regulations. We
8 know who is to be held accountable, and this chain of accountability, as
9 you seem to be presenting it, I really don't see how it can function in
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. Poplasen, a last question --
12 my last question, anyway. For you, was the fact of being deprived freedom
13 of your citizens, if it wasn't legal, was this for you a particularly
14 important crime?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is a crime.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, sir.
17 JUDGE ORIE: I would have a few questions in this respect as well,
18 and then we'll have a break anyhow.
19 Mr. Poplasen, you explained to us that once you experienced that
20 civilians were held, detained, without a proper basis, as far as I
21 understand, that you reported this as something that should be taken care
22 of and that it should all be legalised. Is that a correct understanding?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, I address the parties at this moment. Are
25 there any documents found? Because we have some Vogosca documents in
1 which a written report was sent to the minister of -- Ministry of Justice
2 or to whatever authority because it would be exculpatory certainly,
3 Mr. Harmon. Has it been found? Has it been disclosed to the Defence?
4 MR. HARMON: Bear with me one minute, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: I'll leave you some time. Of course, Mr. Josse the
6 next question, if it would have been confirmed, if it would have been
7 disclosed, then of course the Chamber would like to see such exculpatory
9 MR. JOSSE: I assumed it did not exist because I assumed I would
10 have received it if it had, but it may be a very foolish assumption on my
12 JUDGE ORIE: I give Mr. Harmon a minute's time to try to find that
13 out, or perhaps during the break.
14 At the same time, Mr. Poplasen, you, who was so concerned about
15 illegal detention of civilians, your War Commission, on the 6th of August
16 asks permission to use detainees for construction and other works. Did
17 you verify whether these detainees which were needed for work, whether
18 they were civilians or not and whether they were legally detained or not?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said that subsequently
20 I asked the president of the Executive Board whether everything was done
21 in line with the legal provisions, and he replied in the affirmative. And
22 so, generally speaking, I did ask.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Generally speaking, you did. When did you
24 write that letter asking for the release of civilian detainees? When was
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if I arrive at Vogosca by the
2 beginning of July, I must have gone there in the beginning and as soon as
3 I saw the situation I would have written the letter and sent it off. I
4 can't remember the exact date but it would have been in the beginning of
6 JUDGE ORIE: Somewhere in July. You said you arrived in the
7 beginning of July, so it must have been somewhere in July.
8 Now, the 6th of August, did you receive firm confirmation of the
9 matter being resolved?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I am not sure I was at Vogosca
11 on the 6th of August. I think I was with my family in Serbia.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I didn't ask you whether at the 6th of August you
13 were in Vogosca. I asked you whether by that date, wherever you were, you
14 had received firm confirmation of the matter being resolved.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I had not received any firm
16 confirmation in the form of a certain detailed report, if that's what you
17 mean by firm confirmation.
18 JUDGE ORIE: "Firm confirmation" is that you received information
19 not that everything went well or that one was working on it or that one
20 was making good progress, but here it would mean that the illegal
21 situation would have ended. And then if people were illegally detained,
22 that, of course, would include that they would have been released.
23 Because otherwise the illegal situation would continue to exist.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The information that I
25 received from the president of the Executive Board was not just a single
1 sentence. Well, he said, "We are doing it in line with the law. We are
2 solving the problem of starvation and we are having difficulties in terms
3 of space and quite a few people -- as far as I could understand, some
4 Muslims wanted to feel safe in some enclosed area until they could be
5 taken somewhere else, so it was a whole range of problems that I was told
7 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you. If you say they are working on
8 space and they are working on starvation, that, of course, is not a real
9 solution for illegal detention, would it? Because if you're illegally
10 detained, one should release you and then space is not a problem any more.
11 It might even improve. Starvation would be the problem of the civilian
12 himself and not your concern any more.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did say that he confirmed that
14 they were working in line with the legal provisions. That would mean that
15 nobody was unlawfully detained, I suppose, if you work in line with the
16 legal provisions. None of the civilians can be detained unless there is
17 some reason for it, some legal basis.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But a couple of weeks before that, the
19 situation was certainly different. They were not aware of their
20 obligation not to illegally detain civilians. What made you believe that
21 after a couple of weeks, the situation on these kind of vague notions,
22 because they said it's in line with the law, et cetera, no one ever said
23 to you, "We've released them," did they?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all the attitude of the
25 Justice Ministry and the clear report, or rather, information from the
1 president of the local government, the municipal government, I mean.
2 JUDGE ORIE: I asked you whether anyone told you, "We released
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Nobody told me that.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, in early August, permission is asked for sending
6 detainees for construction and other works. Was it verified at that
7 moment whether these could include illegally detained civilians?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't understand the question.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I say in early August, permission is asked to use
10 detainees for construction and other work Vogosca detainees, request
11 submitted by the Vogosca prison warden. Did you or did the War Commission
12 verify whether those detainees who they wished to be allowed to send to
13 work, whether that still would include or could include illegally detained
14 civilians? Did you verify that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that period of time, I wasn't in
16 Vogosca, as I mentioned earlier on, and that's why somebody else signed it
17 on my behalf, and I think you should ask the person who signed it.
18 JUDGE ORIE: When were you back in Vogosca?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose after ten weeks, up to a
20 fortnight, because I had a great deal to do with my family.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 10 days.
22 JUDGE ORIE: So by mid-August, you would be back, being the main
23 responsible person as a republican commissioner. Did you view at what had
24 happened in your absence, or did you receive reports; we asked for
25 permission to get people to work and we got that permission or --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not told about any details.
2 Of course, I met the other members of the commission, the president of the
3 Executive Board, and I think I must have stayed in Vogosca for a day or
4 two, and then I must have gone somewhere else on some party business.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Of course I'm interested to know whether, upon your
6 return, the issue of getting permission to send detainees to work, whether
7 that came to you, that information, and the decision that they could be
8 sent there.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember about this actual
10 problem having been mentioned at all. I can't really tell, but I do not
11 recall it.
12 JUDGE ORIE: This Chamber received evidence that detainees,
13 civilian detainees, held without any form of process, were sent -- were
14 still detained in that period and were sent to the front lines. This
15 Chamber also received evidence that the death of some of those prisoners
16 or injuries of those prisoners was reported by the -- by the armed forces.
17 Would you have any comment on that evidence this Chamber has received?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry if that's the case and I'm
19 sorry about the victims, but I really do not have any information in this
21 JUDGE ORIE: Did you know anything about the location of where
22 those people would have to do their construction and other work?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm not familiar with that.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said construction would have been something
25 like. Were you informed about any specific object on which the detainees
1 would work?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.
4 Mr. Harmon, it's time for a break.
5 MR. HARMON: Yes. I could respond to Your Honour's question.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I beg your pardon?
7 MR. HARMON: I can respond to Your Honour's earlier inquiry. We
8 are not in possession of any letter asking for the release of detainees.
9 Therefore --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Has there been a -- well, could I say more or less
11 full review of Vogosca documents in this respect?
12 MR. HARMON: There has, Your Honour. The closest document I have
13 is found in tab 32. It only relates to the testimony of the witness who
14 testified, as I recall, at page 62 that he had either asked that the
15 facility be disbanded, and I took for granted civilians be released, or
16 that it be integrated into the prison system. There is only one document.
17 It's found at tab 32, and the only request from Mr. Poplasen is that the
18 prison be essentially integrated. I can confront the witness with that.
19 JUDGE ORIE: If you would say no request for release but --
20 MR. HARMON: This is no request for release.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 Mr. Poplasen, we will have a break. You are, however, invited, in
23 order to better enable us to inquire into the issue you raised before -
24 let's say the bathroom incident - whether you would remember when
25 approximately or at what moment approximately this was said. If you
1 remember, for example, the question you were answering at that time or the
2 answers you were giving when you heard this, this would assist the
3 Chamber, and -- if you know at this moment. We could take -- yes?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was when apparently there was
5 some technical problem. You raised the issue of the microphone and it is
6 at that stage that I heard it through my headphones. As to whether
7 everyone heard it or not, I do not know but that's what I did hear through
8 my headphones. You were commenting on some technical problem with the
10 JUDGE ORIE: We'll try to find that.
11 MR. JOSSE: Very briefly, Your Honour, just -- I need to correct
12 something I said about the material that Mr. Harmon's been looking for. I
13 said I assumed it did not exist. Of course, what I meant is it doesn't
14 presently exist. In other words, I have to correct my own English.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes you have to assume that it presently does not
17 MR. JOSSE: I was not impeaching my own witness.
18 JUDGE ORIE: No. And even -- yes. I fully understand that.
19 That's how I understood it, as a matter of fact.
20 MR. JOSSE: I really need to get my English --
21 JUDGE ORIE: It was not available to us at this moment.
22 MR. JOSSE: I really need to get my English right. I apologise.
23 JUDGE ORIE: I'll think about my Dutch one of these days,
24 Mr. Josse.
25 We'll have a break until quarter past one.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.54 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 Mr. Stewart, I see you there. Mr. Josse asked for some limited
5 time for a procedural matter. Are you dealing with the matter?
6 MR. STEWART: I beg your pardon, Your Honour. Sorry, which matter
7 are we talking about?
8 JUDGE ORIE: A procedural matter.
9 MR. STEWART: There are a number of different matters. Mr. Josse
10 is dealing with the particular point that arose. Excuse me, Your Honour,
11 I'm just not clear which matter we are talking about.
12 I apologise, Your Honour, I hadn't realised that the matter which
13 I did come to deal with had been touched upon before. But never mind,
14 I'll start from scratch.
15 Your Honour, we are running into difficulty about witnesses next
16 week. I received information this morning from the Victims and Witnesses
17 Section that Mr. Arsovic [phoen], who was due to give evidence as the
18 second witness next week, has a -- well, he has a medical problem, Your
19 Honour. There is no need for me to go into that. I can certainly say
20 that. He has a medical problem which has been reported to me which, as I
21 understand, at least prevents him from travelling. I'm having inquiries
22 made as to find out whether that prevents him from giving evidence,
23 wherever he is, but my understanding on very recent information obtained
24 through my team is that, yes, he is quite ill at the moment. This
25 apparently is going to be the position for a week or two. That's as much
1 as I've been able to establish at the moment, Your Honours. So that's --
2 that is an obvious problem for next week.
3 Your Honour, we don't -- we can't, in practice, have backup
4 witnesses for specific dates. Your Honour will understand. It just
5 doesn't and can't work like that, so the position we are in is that it's
6 Mr. Radojko who is programmed to give evidence on Monday, we would expect
7 that his evidence would finish, all being well, sometime on Tuesday. Most
8 of these witnesses, as Your Honours would have seen, take, broadly
9 speaking, two days for examination-in-chief and cross-examination. That
10 leaves us in the position, Your Honour, where, come Wednesday next week
11 there is no practical prospect of having a witness here and prepared to
12 give evidence.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, in the circumstances -- well, not
15 seeking, in a sense, to take advantage of this unfortunate situation but
16 simply looking to be practical and make the best of a difficult situation,
17 we were already on the Defence side placed with enormous difficulties as
18 far as Mr. Radojko is concerned, whom we've never seen and never spoken
19 to. Not the ideal situation, but we were, of course, to fit in with the
20 proposed schedule, absolutely doing our best and proceeding on the footing
21 that we would, the Court sitting in the afternoons next week, start with
22 Mr. Radojko according to the programme on Monday. However, Your Honour,
23 if there is an inevitability of there being days next week when the Court
24 simply cannot sit because of the -- I say cannot sit, Your Honours
25 understand what I mean -- where we won't have witnesses because of the
1 difficulties which I've suggested, it is the Defence's request, therefore,
2 that one of those days could, and in our submission should, usefully be
3 Monday because then we can valuably use Monday for further preparation of
4 Mr. Radojko. Starting from the position, Your Honour, that the
5 preparation which we had built into the witness programme as planned was
6 not seriously adequate from our point of view. It was just the best we
7 could do.
8 So, Your Honour, that's a report. Of course, I can -- that's as
9 much as I know, effectively, but Your Honours, of course, any questions
10 Your Honours address to me in relation to these witness difficulties I
11 would do absolutely my best to answer. But that's a report coupled with a
12 submission and an application as to how to proceed with the next immediate
13 witness in the light of the practical situation that we have in relation
14 to what was going to be the following witness.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Which witness would have been the following one?
16 MR. STEWART: Mr. Arsovic, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Has he a passport?
18 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, he has. I've seen a copy of his
20 JUDGE ORIE: Has he applied for a visa already?
21 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, my understanding is that all the
22 normal practical matters had been taken care of in a perfectly regular
23 way, that there was no problem about visa, no problem about security, no
24 problem about clearance. The only obstacle has been this news about his
25 medical condition.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Stewart, the Chamber would prefer to have
3 the next witness in line here as soon as possible. That's the simple
4 answer. Of course, I do not know whether tickets are already ordered for
5 a later date but whether they could be changed or not.
6 MR. STEWART: For whom, Your Honour?
7 JUDGE ORIE: For the next witness you would expect. You said --
8 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour, please understand, Your Honour. We
9 have certainly -- we would not have done, and the implication that we
10 might have done I'm afraid I resist. No, of course we have not taken any
11 such pre-emptive action.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I'm now asking you to do that.
13 MR. STEWART: -- straightaway and remained with the perfectly
14 efficient arrangements we'd made as they have been made.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and you are now invited to see whether it would
16 be possible to have the next witness in The Hague as soon as possible so
17 that we would not lose any additional --
18 MR. STEWART: Which witness, Your Honour?
19 JUDGE ORIE: The one you said was next on the --
20 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, we have. I'm sorry, Your Honour.
21 Absolutely -- Your Honour is now talking about the witness Radojko who we
22 had scheduled and still have scheduled, as things stand, for Monday.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And then the next one was not available, from what I
24 understand for health reasons, so there would be someone after that one,
25 wasn't there?
1 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. It's that I started off. Your
2 Honour, of course we will do, as I assure Your Honour we do do, we will do
3 anything and everything we can, but I'm informing Your Honour
4 conscientiously about the practical position that I see no serious
5 prospect whatever of being able to accelerate a later witness in our
6 programme to be ready to give evidence at the time that Mr. Arsovic would
7 have given evidence, in other words immediately after Mr. Radojko. It's
8 only right that I should tell Your Honours. It's not in an uncooperative
9 spirit, it's --
10 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not talking about cooperation, but has the next
11 witness in line, has he been invited to come to The Hague and to start
12 testimony next Wednesday or Thursday?
13 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour, for this reason --
14 JUDGE ORIE: You're invited to ask the witness.
15 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I explain? Since Your Honour asked
16 me, I said I would deal with any questions. First of all, this has
17 happened this morning. We do our best, Your Honour. We make telephone
18 calls, which we have done; we make inquiries, which we have done.
19 Mr. Josse has been in court this morning. There are limits. However, we
20 have actually made all the inquiries we could reasonably have done. So
21 far as the next witness in line is concerned, all I can tell Your Honour
22 is that we are already, and we know we are, and we have done already,
23 running into enormous difficulty with that witness. The question to that
24 witness, can you come earlier, would, without going into too much detail,
25 have been a completely pointless question. We are running into the
1 question of whether that witness can and will come at the date when we
2 planned for that witness to come. It would have been a futile question to
3 have said to the witness, can you come earlier? So we haven't asked that
4 question, Your Honour, and won't ask it, with respect, at any time when it
5 is pointless to ask it because we are just going through the motions of
6 futile questions.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And the one after that? I mean, Mr. Stewart, the
8 problem is the following: You've asked for delay -- for further time to
9 prepare and sometimes you said it's to prepare for the testimony of
10 Mr. Krajisnik, and in the beginning, that was not the issue, but you would
11 need further preparations. Now we are confronted with a situation where a
12 witness cannot appear -- cannot appear and that you more or less tell us
13 this witness comes to The Hague, we've never seen him before, we've never
14 spoken to him before. So there seems to be nothing of preparation and
15 this Chamber has given a scheduling order in which limited time is
16 granted, and I emphasise again and again that this Chamber wants to hear
17 as much relevant evidence as it -- as is possible. And the Chamber will
18 not just accept that we say, well -- of course, it can happen that a
19 witness is ill and he can't come. It can happen that a family member of a
20 witness is ill or deceases, but just accepting so we have not resolved the
21 matters for next week, we are under time restraints and we have to do
22 everything possible to have witnesses here so that the Chamber can receive
23 that evidence. This is the basic line, and what it takes of being
24 inventive, changing schedules, trying to find other solutions, that's all
25 to be done to the best. And, of course, then finally if you say, well, we
1 didn't manage to do that, we come to the very uncomfortable position to
2 say this is what you've been granted, we have not heard the amount of
3 evidence we would have wished to hear and then make our -- draw our
4 conclusions, make our determinations, and that's -- when I'm very
5 insistent it is because the Chamber wants to hear the Defence evidence and
6 the Chamber is not here to see whether this week perhaps we could see one
7 witness and perhaps after three weeks we could hear another one. We want
8 to -- we want the Defence to do everything -- and I repeat everything it
9 can to present their evidence within the schedule we have given to the
11 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I agree with that entirely. I would
12 only like to say this, Your Honour: That if -- and perhaps I'm wrong in
13 doing this -- if I detect the slightest suggestion there that the Defence
14 has not used its full application, its full industry, and its full
15 inventiveness and is not doing its best in very difficult circumstances to
16 bring these witnesses, then that implication is rejected utterly, Your
17 Honour. We are doing our best in very difficult circumstances, we are
18 reporting conscientiously to the Court and to the Prosecution
19 appropriately at every moment, as appropriate, and we are doing our best.
20 One of the witnesses that we were certainly hoping to bring is the
21 witness Mr. Lakic, where we received the report about the death in his
22 family. We received that report. What can we do except act on that, Your
23 Honour? Mr. Lakic, if the Trial Chamber had not altered the timetable
24 against the Defence's wishes, then Mr. Lakic might have given his evidence
25 and be gone.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, ten lines ago, you said, "If I
2 detect ..." There is no reason to detect any such thing and therefore in
3 the ten following lines are totally superfluous.
4 MR. STEWART: I'm delighted to hear that, Your Honour, and I
5 apologise if I misread anything or misheard anything that Your Honour has
6 said in an overly sensitive way. Thank you for that confirmation.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any other issue?
8 MR. STEWART: Not at all. I'm delighted to hear that, Your
10 MR. JOSSE: I just wanted to ask for a little bit more time in
11 relation to the D14 matter that was referred to yesterday.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Granted.
13 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Then the witness could be escorted into the courtroom
16 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, while the witness is en route to the
17 courtroom, we earlier discussed an exhibit. It was tab 14. There was an
18 issue as to the date of the -- handwritten --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. HARMON: -- it said February 1992. I have a copy of the cover
21 of the document.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps you show it to the Defence.
23 MR. HARMON: I showed it to the Defence.
24 JUDGE ORIE: And you agree it was published when?
25 MR. HARMON: It says February of 1992.
1 MR. JOSSE: I'm prepared to make that agreement. If the Court
2 would rather the document didn't go into the evidence, I'm neutral either
4 JUDGE ORIE: If the parties agree, the Chamber is pleased to
5 accept that, and it again underlines that the date on the bottom of an
6 article is not necessarily the date of publication.
7 MR. HARMON: Is Your Honour accepting the stipulation or does the
8 Court --
9 JUDGE ORIE: We accept that it was.
10 MR. JOSSE: So stipulate.
11 MR. HARMON: Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's accepted it was a publication of February
14 Mr. Harmon, you know that your time is very limited.
15 MR. HARMON: Yes, I intend to put one document to the witness just
16 to verify a signature.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
18 MR. HARMON:
19 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 32, please. This exhibit
20 is already in evidence, P743.
21 Mr. Poplasen, this is a document, it has a signature at the
22 bottom. Is that your signature?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. This is a document where you suggest to the Serb Municipality of
25 Vogosca War Presidency, and in subpart 3, that the illegal prison in
1 Vogosca be transformed into a subdivision of the correctional facilities
2 in Butnim or Pale and that an investigative judge and warden be appointed.
4 A. Yes. That's under 3.
5 MR. HARMON: That's all I have, Your Honour. I just wanted to
6 verify this document with the witness.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon.
8 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, Mr. Poplasen.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse?
10 Re-examination by Mr. Josse:
11 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you were asked about the use of the word "vojvoda" -
12 excuse my pronunciation. I want to show you some documents, please.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I don't know how much time we are going to
14 spend to that but the Chamber, on the basis of a lot of evidence, gained
15 the impression that a vojvoda is not -- perhaps historically he was but at
16 present not a kind of a military leader but someone with I would say moral
17 authority, a kind of a moral leading person in society. That's our
18 provisional impression of what a vojvoda is.
19 MR. JOSSE: I can cut the matter short: We also have the
20 definition of an archduke from an English dictionary, and it uses the same
21 word, I can say. I can provide that but -- perhaps the witness could have
22 this document.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. JOSSE: And look at it.
25 Q. This is an interview, Mr. Poplasen, with you in 1998 in a
1 publication called Dani, and it's right, isn't it, that you are asked here
2 about the use of the word "vojvoda" and you define it in the answer. If
3 you quickly cast your eye over the B/C/S version - I'm not going to ask to
4 you read it into the record - I'm going to ask you to confirm that you
5 said this.
6 A. Yes. That's the text present -- which actually presents the
7 viewpoint presented by His Honour, that it was a honourary and symbolic
8 role which had nothing to do with military command. If need be, I can
9 read the entire text, but that's -- these are the lines along which the
10 text runs.
11 MR. JOSSE: Could that have a number, please.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then, Mr. Josse, I have a question which sounds
13 perhaps a bit familiar to you, whether then only the translated portion or
14 whether the original and the context would be in evidence? I noticed that
15 it seems that in B/C/S, that the interview also is about extradition and
16 about the Tribunal, et cetera. I don't know whether you wanted that to
17 be --
18 MR. JOSSE: I don't particularly. It would mean sending it for
19 translation. I would rather leave it as it is for logistical as much as
20 any other reason.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, no objection against that, limited to
22 this? Of course, Mr. Harmon has the opportunity to ask for the context to
23 be translated as well.
24 MR. JOSSE: Of course.
25 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, yes, at this point I can't read it, so I
1 can't --
2 JUDGE ORIE: No, but I see a few words which sound very familiar
3 to me, Tribunal and extradition, so therefore -- but we know already
4 something about the attitude of this witness towards the -- this
6 MR. HARMON: I will look at the document at my first opportunity.
7 JUDGE ORIE: So for the time being it's given a number --
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D142, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE ORIE: D142, and it's limited to the translation --
10 translated portion, unless Mr. Harmon comes back to it.
11 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
12 Q. The learned Judge -- put that down, if you would, Mr. Poplasen.
13 The learned Judge has just asked you about your views of the
14 Tribunal. It's right, isn't it, that you provided a statement to the
15 Office of the Prosecutor, I think in the year 2002.
16 A. Yes. I gave a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor but not
17 in relation to the Krajisnik case but in relation to the Seselj case, on
18 the request of the OTP. The statement I gave which had to do with the
19 Krajisnik case was given by me to Mr. Krajisnik's defence team, whereas it
20 was in the Seselj case that I gave a statement to the members of the OTP.
21 Q. To be clear, was that a voluntary statement or were you forced in
22 some way to make it, under some sort of compulsion?
23 A. I don't know how to interpret your word "voluntary." The entire
24 NATO pact is behind all that. We were sitting at a desk, having coffee,
25 and I was telling them the truth, the whole truth, just as I was doing
1 right now, in my firm belief that I was the last person who would mind
2 having the truth out. I even told them that, if need be, I can come and
3 testify before the Tribunal. Now you're pushing me to say whether it's
4 voluntary or not. Well, nobody actually does it voluntarily except for
5 the people who work here.
6 Q. I'm sorry, I was being a bit clumsy. It's right that you weren't
7 a suspect, you weren't interviewed under caution, this is a statement?
8 A. Of course I was not cautioned. I was asked, requested, by the
9 Prosecution to give a statement. There were no cautions leveled at me,
10 that I was a possible suspect of any act, either by the OTP or by the
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities.
12 Q. All right. Next I want, if you would, to have a look at tab 8A.
13 This is an interview. Quite large parts have been alluded to. I'm going
14 to need the help of the usher here to find the part in B/C/S. But in the
15 course of this interview, which we see took place in February 2000, you
16 may take this from me, you were asked, "Does it bother you that non-Serbs
17 are returning to RS?" And your answer was, "Why would it bother me? That
18 is their personal business and a matter of their assessment where they
19 want to live and organise their lives and their future." Do you remember
20 giving that answer, Mr. Poplasen?
21 A. Yes. That is indeed my opinion, and that is the answer I gave.
22 Q. Thank you. The next matter I'd like to turn to, please, relates
23 to questions of paramilitaries that you were asked about at some length.
24 I want to hand out another document.
25 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, only a portion of this has been
1 translated. I suspect the Chamber would want it all translated in due
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The same -- yes, for such short documents the
4 Chamber would like to have the context available.
5 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
6 Q. This in effect is a public announcement by you on behalf of your
7 newly formed political party, dealing with the outline of its policies.
8 Is that correct?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. And we see at number 3 on the first page what you had to say about
11 paramilitary formations.
12 A. Yes. That's correct. By your leave, I can read the paragraph.
13 It's just one sentence. I believe the interpreters can successfully
14 interpret it. If there is no English version, that is.
15 Q. No. There is an English translation of that part, Mr. Poplasen.
16 For that part, we have an English translation, so for my part you don't
17 need to read it.
18 A. Yes. In that case, it bears noting that this release is from
19 November of 1992. And it clearly shows that we do not organise or support
20 the organising of other military formations and that we even want to rid
21 ourselves of the negative heritage of the JNA, primarily of the communist
22 type of conduct and ideology among the manpower. When you look at the
23 press release as a whole, not just this point, then you can see that under
24 point 4, for instance, we are insisting on the principle of legality and
25 we insist that change in society cannot be brought about forcibly, but in
1 a legal, lawful way. This is our viewpoint from 1992, which was for the
2 most part the subject of our discussions in that period of time. It was
3 published, or rather, broadcast by TV and published in the press. It was
4 -- a part of it was even republished in one of my books.
5 Q. I'm going to stop you there.
6 MR. JOSSE: Could I invite the Court to read in full tab 47, which
7 I don't think there is a B/C/S version of. It was the extract from the
8 video, the top of the second page in English I would draw the Court's
9 attention to. I'm not going to ask the witness, simply through lack of
11 I've got one other matter I wish to deal with before I sit down.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You'd like us to read in full tab 47?
13 MR. JOSSE: In due course, and in particular the top of the second
14 page, the answer given by this witness in that interview at the top of the
15 second page.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. Finally, Mr. Poplasen, you -- while this is being handed out,
19 please --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just check 47 has a number.
21 MR. JOSSE: 47 does have a number but what doesn't have a number
22 is the pamphlet which I handed out a few moments ago.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D143, Your Honours.
24 MR. JOSSE: Thank you. Could I hand out one other document, which
25 will also need a number, please.
1 Q. This -- you were telling the Court earlier about the double
2 pension situation.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 MR. JOSSE:
5 Q. It's right that this is an extract from a newspaper. What's the
6 name of the newspaper, please, to avoid me embarrassing myself by not
7 being able to pronounce it.
8 A. I believe this is the daily paper issued in the federation, in
9 Sarajevo, called Nevniavas [phoen], as far as I remember.
10 Q. That's right. That's what it says on the page that we see. And
11 it's right, again, Your Honour, we will have the whole of this translated,
12 but basically there is a question from a reader about pension rights, and
13 the answer is given that pursuant to Article 94 of the law of pensions -
14 I'm summarising - that for persons who have taken part in BiH defence
15 preparations or its defence between April the 30th 1991, December the 21st
16 1995, time so spent shall be counted double for persons in their
17 retirement pensions. That's what it says, doesn't it, Mr. Poplasen?
18 A. Yes. Quite evidently this stems from this piece of legislation.
19 MR. JOSSE: As I say, Your Honour, we will submit the whole of the
20 question and answer to the CLSS.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll then receive -- of course, the Chamber
22 would most -- would be most interested not only in how legislation is
23 presented in the press but to have the original source available.
24 MR. JOSSE: I am told we've got it, and I think that's the
25 information that is about to be relayed to me. I'm told we have been
1 sent --
2 JUDGE ORIE: And this would be --
3 MR. JOSSE: -- the actual law, that someone can have the pleasure
4 of translating that.
5 JUDGE ORIE: And this would be federal legislation. Would that
6 be --
7 MR. JOSSE: You're asking the wrong man, plain and simple.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand. Is this federal legislation or is
9 this -- how do I have to understand it? Perhaps we'd better look at it on
10 the basis of the original text so that we can then identify to what extent
11 this law would apply in any entity, and if it does apply only in one
12 entity, whether similar legislation exists in the other entity which, of
13 course, would give a more balanced view on the matter.
14 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you very much. At least we --
16 MR. JOSSE: That concludes my re-examination. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. JOSSE: Apparently that hasn't got a number. I'm sorry.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D144, Your Honours, the extract.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I got a bit lost where it concerns D143, which
21 was the pamphlet. Is that correct, Mr. Registrar?
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours.
23 JUDGE ORIE: But exactly what pamphlet would that be?
24 THE REGISTRAR: The public announcement by Nikola Poplasen on
25 behalf of the newly formed political party dealing with the outline of its
1 policies, dated 12 November 1992.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's clear to me, yes.
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE ORIE: I have one final question for you: Talking about
5 detention and detention facilities in Vogosca and getting them under the
6 -- under the system, could you tell us how many there were and whether
7 this prison warden you talked about was in charge of them all, if there
8 were more?
9 A. I really don't know that. Had I known of the existence of some
10 other facility, I would have reacted accordingly. I really am not
11 familiar with this. I'm not claiming that there wasn't any, I'm just
12 saying that I wasn't aware of the existence of any other facility other
13 than this one that I visited just for a few minutes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, it was not entirely clear how it came that
15 you would visit that facility, because I think you said that you were
16 having a cup of coffee there and you saw people move around. What made
17 you go there?
18 A. This may seem unusual but it was a pure coincidence. With me in
19 the vehicle was my friend, a commissioner from the adjacent municipality.
20 He came up with this idea to have coffee at his acquaintance's, Brano
21 Vlaco. I didn't know the man. And I asked him where the man was, and he
22 told me he was over there -- that he was there, along the road, because it
23 was a catering establishment, an inn of a sort. And then we simply
24 strayed from the road and parked there and that was when I happened to see
25 the facility. It was a coincidence. Then I asked him what this was all
1 about and what was going on there.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you describe what you saw as what you now say
3 was a detention facility. What did you see?
4 A. There was no armed guard in front of the building, but there, next
5 to the bar, there were some people who seemed to be detainees but there
6 were also people who did not seem to be detainees and they were wearing --
7 they had weapons slung over their arms. To the right there was a
8 restaurant there. We sat at a table. Vlaco came and joined us and we
9 engaged in a conversation. That was when I collected the information.
10 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you, if I come into a bar and see some
11 people with perhaps rifles, and others not having any rifles, how would
12 you see that those who have no weapons are detainees? In a bar, I would
13 expect them to be visitors of a bar. What made you think of them as
15 A. It was from the conversation with Mr. Vlaco, as I just mentioned.
16 He told me what this was about, but it was quite confusing. I wasn't
17 really clear whether this was a detention facility, whether this was a
18 collection centre or a reception centre, and I asked him to clear this up
19 because we could not leave the situation standing as it was, since it was
20 obvious that one could leave the facility undisturbed. Nobody was there
21 under duress. My conclusion was that perhaps the Muslims felt safer in
22 this facility rather than somewhere else. Perhaps some of them there had
23 had their houses -- had lost their houses, which had been burnt or
24 something of the sort. It seemed even to me to have a character of a
25 private prison, somebody thought of the idea of having a place where to
1 detain people and then went and found some people and detained them,
2 because there were such instances, and it is true the entire impression
3 was as you mentioned, because you could see people passing by, some of
4 them armed, some of them unarmed. That was the impression I was an able
5 to gain in the 15 minutes I was there, and then on the basis of the
6 conversation I had, I decided that I ought to react, which I did with the
7 competent authorities.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You told us that they were moving around, the
9 detainees, so you gave us, by your language, the impression that they
10 were, well, to some extent free, to some extent not. Could you explain
11 that a bit more in detail. Did you see anyone move out and leave the
12 street alone or --
13 A. 15 minutes isn't much. There was always someone entering and
14 someone leaving the building. I can't say whether it was a soldier or
15 whether it was someone come to visit someone else. There was nothing on
16 the basis of which I could draw any such conclusion. On the basis of
17 there having been movement there, I told you that I didn't feel that
18 anybody was being closed, but when Vlaco told me that he had nothing to
19 feed the people he held therewith, I realised that these people were in
20 fact staying there and were not free in a way. Because Vlaco inviting us
21 for lunch and then I asked him whether there was some food to be had
22 there, because I could see some plates being taken from one place to
23 another. He suggested a restaurant, then I complained about it and then
24 we started discussing these matters, and as we discussed these matters, I
25 was inferring what this was all about. It was all as we were talking that
1 these -- these conclusions of mine were emerging.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you told us that you got the impression
3 that, as you said, you didn't feel that anybody was being closed, but do I
4 understand then from the information you received from Vlaco, that they
5 were actually detained?
6 A. To a certain extent, yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: What is "to a certain extent" being detained? Were
8 they free to leave the building and go to wherever they wanted to go or
9 were they not?
10 A. It is possible that they were. At a certain point Vlaco said that
11 he had to secure food supplies for them, which meant that they were there
12 every day. Now, these people who were there every day, whether they were
13 able to leave or not, I could not tell. I didn't know. I thought it was
14 a facility of a semi-open or an open type, so I suppose that some of them
15 were in fact free to leave. There was, just around this time, a situation
16 in front of the building where there was shooting going on, some such
17 activity, and I thought that perhaps it was even safer to be in the
18 building rather than outside of it, but my general impression was that
19 something illegal was going on there. That's why I decided to act upon
21 JUDGE ORIE: Did you then verify before you addressed the central
22 organs about this? Because you're creating a picture which is quite
23 confusing. People coming every day to fetch their food, free to leave
24 perhaps or perhaps not, being detained but perhaps not being detained. I
25 take it that you -- you had a feeling in the beginning that there was some
1 -- well, that people were free to move but then you were told that they
2 were not and then -- what did you actually write in, as you said, to the
3 government, that this detention facility should be under the -- under the
4 normal prison system?
5 A. In my opinion, I'm not creating a picture that is confusing. It's
6 rather the circumstances and the situation itself that was quite
7 confusing. And I was confused. I was puzzled. When I went over to the
8 municipality, I asked them about the facility and they provided me with a
9 puzzling answer and I realised that none of the authorities had a clear
10 picture of the situation. Then I told them that such a situation could
11 not be tolerated, that people could not be allowed to do things at their
12 own will, that something had to be done about it, which resulted in my
13 reaction in writing. My conclusion is that the authorities knew about it
14 before, and I did not in fact ask the local authorities to do something
15 about it but I addressed the republican authorities. My opinion was that
16 had the local authorities wanted to do something about it, they would have
17 done it -- they would have done it before.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ask about the existence of similar facilities
19 in the municipality?
20 A. I asked them whether there was any other and the answer was no.
21 Nobody informed me of any other such facilities and I didn't really know
22 of the existence of any. Had I known, I would have reacted in a similar
23 or even harsher way, depending on what I would find.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for those answers. Does this raise
25 any -- I have to apologise for -- I'm looking now at the clock, I see that
1 we are far beyond our time. I apologise, but Mr. Harmon, would you take
2 that into consideration.
3 MR. HARMON: I certainly will, Your Honour, I will be very brief.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 Further cross-examination by Mr. Harmon:
6 MR. HARMON: If we could look at the monitor, we'll see -- Your
7 Honours will see a photograph which was displayed to the witness yesterday
8 in his -- it is P379. It is a photograph of Planjo's house.
9 Q. And, Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 31, which needs a
11 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 31, Your Honours, will be P1097.
12 MR. HARMON:
13 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you were appointed as the War Commissioner for
14 Vogosca on the 18th of June. This document is a document from the Serbian
15 municipality of Vogosca, Municipal Secretariat for Town Planning, Property
16 Rights, Relations, Housing Policy and Land Register. It's dated the 8th
17 of July, which is approximately three weeks after you were appointed, and
18 it is a decision based on the war staff, a decision of the 7th of July, of
19 then the Municipal Secretariat for Town Planning made a decision, which I
20 will read into the record: "1. The house of Planjo Almas and Miralem
21 Semizovac is given for use to the Ministry of Justice for the needs of the
22 prison of Serbian Municipality of Vogosca.
23 "This decision is of a temporary character, and will be valid
24 until the end of the war conflict; i.e., until there is a need and until
25 there is no legal action in the sense of acquiring the ownership over
1 aforesaid mentioned real estate."
2 So the explanation: "Based on the request of the Ministry of
3 Justice, the Department of Butmir Prison of Serbian Municipality of
4 Vogosca and a decision of the war staff of the Serbian Municipality of
5 Vogosca issued at the session of the 7th of July 1992, Municipal
6 Secretariat for Town Planning, Property Rights Relations, Housing Policy
7 and Land Register - issued this decision." And it's signed by Secretary
8 Predrag Bejatovic. Now, did you know Mr. Predrag Bejatovic?
9 MR. JOSSE: How does this arise?
10 MR. HARMON: It arises directly out of the question that was asked
11 by Judge Orie if there were other prisons in the municipality of Vogosca
12 and whether this witness was aware of them. So this document is relevant
13 because this witness was a war commissioner for three weeks by the time
14 this decision was issued.
15 JUDGE ORIE: I see that you are withdrawing your objection, so
16 please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. My question, Mr. Poplasen, do you know Predrag Bejatovic?
19 A. No. This is the first time I see this document, and I hear of
20 this name.
21 Q. Do you recognise the stamp at the bottom of the document?
22 A. The stamp is probably that of the Serbian municipality of Vogosca.
23 All the municipalities had the same stamps but, of course, different
24 titles and this bearing this coat of arms with four Cs in the middle.
25 Q. This document says, Mr. Poplasen, that there was in fact a prison
1 in Poplasa [phoen] at the house of Planjo and that it existed for
2 approximately three weeks after you were named as a war commissioner. Is
3 it your evidence before this Court that the only prison facility in the
4 municipality of Vogosca that you were aware of was the residence at -- or
5 at Sonja's place and that you were completely unaware of this prison?
6 A. Neither this nor any other -- or rather, neither of the options.
7 I didn't know of the prisons and I'm not familiar with this document
8 either, what I can see here.
9 MR. HARMON: I have no further questions, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you -- it's translated at the, under 1,
11 in this document -- no, not under 1. The heading, it says: "Based on the
12 decision of the war staff ..." What's the war staff?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation], I don't know, I'm not familiar with
14 that. I'm not familiar with the wording, document, its contents.
15 JUDGE ORIE: And --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which war staff? I don't
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you can't enlighten us in this respect.
19 MR. JOSSE: Can I make it clear, Your Honour: I cut my
20 re-examination short, I would have re-examined on tab 32, would have asked
21 about various other things on this issue. Cut it short. Your Honour
22 asked a lot of questions. I don't take exception to that. I do take some
23 exception to my learned friend's questions thereafter. Basically, it was
24 the second bite of the cherry. That's what it amounted to really.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is there any, then, specific questions you
1 would like to put to the witness?
2 MR. JOSSE: Tab 32.
3 JUDGE ORIE: I'm looking at the interpreters because I'm the one
4 who is mainly responsible.
5 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to be a moment, if I may.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's Friday, of course, we would like to finish
7 the witness today.
8 Further examination by Mr. Josse:
9 Q. Tab 32, Mr. Poplasen, which you were shown at the end of the first
10 batch of cross-examination by my learned friend. Is this the report that
11 you were telling the Court about? The report to the republican
13 A. This is one of the reports. There must be another one somewhere,
14 one of the minutes that was sent to Koljevic. The request sent to the
15 government had to do with the prison only and is more extensive. In the
16 heading it should say the republican government, Justice Ministry. I
17 believe that what you have just shown me here is my first report that I
18 drafted the day after my visit to the municipality, which I sent to
19 Mr. Koljevic. I sent the request to the government later on. I don't
20 know whether it was a day or two or later the same day. Why this request
21 is nowhere to be seen, I don't know, but it was properly delivered to
23 MR. JOSSE: I just wanted to clarify that.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I may take it from your last answer, Mr.
25 Poplasen, where you said you sent it to Mr. Koljevic, at least the report
1 was addressed to the Wartime Presidency. You would agree?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with the position. I don't
3 know if I need to give any additional comments. It was sent to
4 Mr. Koljevic. I don't think Mr. Koljevic forwarded it to the government
5 because I subsequently wrote to the government about this prison matter.
6 I wanted the Presidency to have an insight.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes. There is no suggestion that Mr. Koljevic
8 would have sent it to the government but, of course, there was a possible
9 implication that it was addressed to the Wartime Presidency, and that's
10 what you just confirmed, that you wanted the Presidency to know about the
11 situation. This was my last question.
12 If there are no further questions, Mr. Poplasen, I'd like to thank
13 you very much for coming to The Hague and to answer to all questions put
14 to you by both parties and by the Bench. And I wish you a safe trip home
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could you escort Mr. Poplasen out of the
19 [The witness withdrew]
20 JUDGE ORIE: There is one brief message I'd leave to the parties.
21 A request has been made to start with the next witness on Tuesday rather
22 than on Monday. The parties will be informed about it this afternoon,
23 whether this suggestion will be followed by the Chamber, yes or no,
24 through the usual channels of communication, but the parties should be
25 prepared, at least as it stands now, to start on Monday.
1 We will then -- with, of course, this reservation, we will adjourn
2 until next Monday, quarter past two, same courtroom.
3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.18 p.m.,
4 to be reconvened on Monday, the 13th day of March,
5 2006, at 2.15 p.m.