1 Monday, 3 April 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.22 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much, Mr. Registrar.
9 Before we invite the Defence to call its next witness,
10 Mr. Stewart, the --
11 MR. STEWART: Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ORIE: -- exhibits tendered by the Prosecution in relation
13 to witness Mrs. Cenic, are there any objections?
14 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then P1139 up to and including P1144 are admitted
16 into evidence.
17 The Chamber, meanwhile, has received the response of the
18 Prosecution on protective measures for the next witness to come, not for
19 this one. The Chamber -- it was not obvious to us that any additional
20 information by the Defence had been included, or perhaps it was not given.
21 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour. There was a change from the
22 factual position when we were discussing this in Court, because at that
23 time, if Your Honours recall, the witness was expected very imminently to
24 arrive, but the timetable's been changed, so since that witness isn't --
25 isn't here yet --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. STEWART: -- we've been dealing with it in a different way.
3 We will supply the Trial Chamber with such additional information as we
4 have in answer to the points raised.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then as far as I know, there are no other
6 procedural issues to be dealt with at this moment, so therefore, Madam
7 Usher, could you please escort the next witness into the courtroom.
8 I'm expecting, Mr. Stewart, that you're ready to call this next
9 witness, which I do understand is Mr. Kecmanovic.
10 MR. STEWART: That's right, Your Honour. It's Mr. Nenad
11 Kecmanovic. [Interpretation] This witness is going to be speaking French.
12 He's not going to be speaking French, no. He understands French, but he
13 doesn't understand any English. So as you say in Paris, "c'est comme ca."
14 JUDGE ORIE: [Interpretation] Mr. Stewart, be very careful,
15 because maybe Judge Hanoteau is going to speak even more questions.
16 MR. STEWART: [No interpretation].
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's get serious again.
18 MR. STEWART: We're just waiting for the witness, Your Honour, I
19 assume, so --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Kecmanovic, I take it. Could I
23 invite you just to remain standing for a second. I'd like to invite you,
24 in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, to make a solemn
25 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
1 the truth. Madam Usher now hands out the text of this solemn declaration
2 to you.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I?
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
6 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much, Mr. Kecmanovic. Please be
9 WITNESS: NENAD KECMANOVIC
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 JUDGE ORIE: You will first be examined by Mr. Stewart --
12 Mr. Stewart, I take it. Yes. By Mr. Stewart, who is counsel for the
14 Please proceed.
15 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Stewart:
17 Q. Mr. Kecmanovic, I'm going to put a number of I hope relatively
18 straightforward factual points to you to seek your agreement. You -- you
19 were born in Sarajevo in 1947, and you are now a professor of politics at
20 Belgrade University, a post that you've held for about five years?
21 A. That's correct.
22 Q. And you've lived your whole life in Sarajevo until July 1992, and
23 up to that time -- not your whole life, but at that time you were a
24 professor of politics at Sarajevo University; is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And your -- you and your family currently live in Belgrade,
2 although you are officially resident in Sarajevo, although you've not been
3 back there since 1992?
4 A. I have two residences and two nationalities, and I still own an
5 apartment in Sarajevo.
6 Q. Now, going back to before the war, you were active in politics as
7 a member of the Communist Party up to 1989; is that right?
8 A. I was a member of the League of Communists.
9 Q. And in 1986, you'd been a candidate to be the Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 member of the joint Presidency of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;
12 A. Yes, correct.
13 Q. But your candidacy was undermined by a secret service report that
14 you were a British spy?
15 A. More or less that was the case.
16 Q. And was it true that you were a British spy?
17 A. No.
18 Q. You joined Ante Markovic's Alliance of Reform Forces - it goes
19 under a number of different names, but commonly known as the SRS - on its
20 formation in the summer of 1990; is that correct?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Were you, around that time, made any offer in relation to the SDS?
23 A. Yes. I was invited by the group that founded the SDS to come and
24 be its leader.
25 Q. And the members of that group who issued the invitation were who?
1 A. Those were mostly people who constituted the top leadership of the
2 SDS and Serbian national movement, like Mr. Koljevic, Radovan Karadzic,
3 Vojislav Maksimovic, Aleksa Buha, Professor Ekmecic, who was one of the
4 founders but formally he never had any position.
5 Q. Did Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik come into that picture at all at that
7 A. Mr. Krajisnik was not a member of the inner circle of those who
8 founded the Serbian Democratic Party. I didn't know him from before. He
9 was not a public figure, and he was not a member of that group that had
10 established the Serbian Democratic Party, as I've already said.
11 Q. Did you ever -- have you ever joined the SDS?
12 A. My response was that I supported the foundation of that party
13 because the other two peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina had already
14 established their ethnically-based parties, and in that sense I supported
15 the foundation of the SDS, but I said that I wouldn't be ready to lead
16 that party and that I would probably not even become its member because I
17 -- I had become the president of Markovic's party, the Party of
18 Reformists. I was its president for Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was a
19 Yugoslav party; Markovic was its leader at the level of Yugoslavia, and I
20 was its leader in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At that moment, this was all in
21 the pipeline. There were talks about that, but later on this was
23 Q. Without embarking on any detailed analysis, is it -- is it
24 possible for you to summarise what you saw as the essential differences
25 between the SDS and the party, the SRS, that you joined at that time?
1 A. The Alliance of Reformists, as it was called, was a party which
2 was one of the rare parties -- or the only big party that still fought to
3 preserve Yugoslavia. The League of Communists, as it was known at the
4 time, had already broken apart and segmented into republican parties, and
5 Markovic's party insisted on the preservation of Yugoslavia. That was one
6 element that went into the picture. And the second element was that it
7 was not an ethnically-based party. It was a multi-ethnic party, unlike
8 the SDS, the HDZ, the SDA. Those were ethnically-based parties. The SDS
9 was the same.
10 And the third element which constituted a difference was the fact
11 that all the parties at that moment advocated democratisation,
12 liberalisation, the market economy, and so on and so forth. However, it
13 was believed that the reformists had more advantage in that respect
14 because Ante Markovic had been Prime Minister, and he had proven himself
15 as a person who knew how to implement that plan. He had been successful
16 as a Prime Minister at one point.
17 Q. And then, coming to the November 1990 multi-party elections, your
18 party won about -- about ten or so seats in the Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 Assembly at those elections. That's right, isn't it?
20 A. Eleven, to be more precise.
21 Q. But you didn't stand for election as a deputy in the Assembly, but
22 you stood for election to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency; correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And you just missed out on being elected; is that right?
25 A. Yes. I was the third ranking by the number of votes, following
1 Mrs. Plavsic and the late Nikola Koljevic. The difference was very small,
2 but big enough for not -- for me not to become a member of the Presidency
3 because only two members were elected into the Presidency.
4 Q. And the position was this, wasn't it: That Mr. Abdic,
5 Mr. Izetbegovic, and Mr. Ganic were elected?
6 A. Excuse me, what is your question?
7 Q. You recall that Mr. Abdic, Mr. Izetbegovic, and Mr. Ganic were
8 among those elected to the Presidency?
9 A. Yes. I asked you what your question was because I wanted to avoid
10 any confusion. The three members of the Muslim people were elected as
11 opposed to two Croats and two Serbs. Mr. Ganic was actually elected as a
12 representative of other parties; not as a Muslim, not as a Bosniak but as
13 the representative of the other peoples who were present in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina but did not form any of the constituent people in
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He declared himself as a Yugoslav.
16 Q. Well, you've anticipated my next question, so I'll just complete
17 the whole list then. Mr. Abdic, Mr. Izetbegovic declared themselves as
18 Muslims. They were members of the SDA, and they were elected; right?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. Mr. Ganic was a member of the SDA, but, as you say, declared
21 himself as a Yugoslav and was elected?
22 A. At first Mr. Ganic was a member of the same party that I led, and
23 then on the eve of the elections he became a member of the SDA, and the
24 SDA put him up as a Yugoslav candidate.
25 Q. Mr. Koljevic and Mrs. Plavsic, as you've indicated, were both
1 members of the SDS, both Serbs, of course, and were both elected. And
2 members of the HDZ, Mr. Kljuic -- Stjepan Kljuic and Mr. Franjo Boras, two
3 Croats, were also elected to the Presidency?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. And as far as Serbs were concerned, you were the next in votes
6 after the successful candidates Koljevic and Plavsic, ahead of the next
7 unsuccessful Serb candidate, Mr. Pejanovic?
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. The -- after the multi-party elections it was conventional, was
10 it, and you followed that convention, for you as a senior member of your
11 party to attend Assembly sessions, even though, of course not being a
12 deputy, you didn't have a vote?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And another person who attended and the two of you were able,
15 apart from not having the voting status, were able to participate actively
16 included you and Dr. Karadzic?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. Before Mr. Krajisnik -- or when Mr. Krajisnik became president of
19 the Assembly, we've already heard some evidence that Mr. Trbojevic had
20 been a possibility but had not taken that post. Can you recall any other
21 names of people who were potential presidents of the Assembly under
22 discussion at that time?
23 A. Yes, I can give you a few names. One of them was my colleague
24 from the school of philosophy, Professor Aleksa Buha; then from the school
25 of literature, Professor Vojislav Maksimovic; a lawyer, Trbojevic, who
1 you've already mentioned; and a few other people were in the game but I
2 can't remember their names at the moment. Those were representatives of
3 the SDS to whom that position was offered before it was offered to
4 Mr. Krajisnik.
5 Q. Had you, before he became the president of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 Assembly, had you met Mr. Krajisnik?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Did you make any inquiries about Mr. Krajisnik when he took over
9 that position?
10 A. Mr. Krajisnik was one of the rare people who were highly
11 positioned in the new government whom I had not known personally before.
12 And I heard that he was one of the managers in Energoinvest, which was a
13 large Sarajevo-based company. I inquired about him. I asked some people
14 who knew him about him, and I received some basic information about him
15 before I actually met him in person.
16 Q. And what -- what information did you receive about him?
17 A. The opinions were positive. My Croatian and Muslim friends told
18 me that he was professionally very successful, that he was a very good
19 manager. He was the financial manager of one of the companies within the
20 Energoinvest company. And given the position in the national party, I was
21 interested in that aspect because I also heard that he was a very
22 patriotic person, that he was very religious, that he expresses his
23 national views very freely, but also that he expected the religious and
24 national identity of his colleagues and people that worked with him. I
25 also remember a very interesting detail: At that time, it was not
1 customary for people to congratulate each other's religious holidays, but
2 he did that, and he offered everybody to take a day off on the biggest
3 religious holidays to celebrate them. My friends to whom I spoke,
4 although they did not feel the need to take any days off, still thought
5 this was a very noble gesture on Krajisnik's part. And as I say, at the
6 time it was not customary to take or to get a day off on religious
8 Q. Now, the Assembly, the Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly as constituted
9 after the November 1990 elections, was the -- it was the first multi-party
10 Assembly in, well, in effective living memory, wasn't it, in Bosnia?
11 A. I apologise. I'm afraid I haven't understood your question
13 Q. The -- after the November 1990 elections, the -- the Assembly of
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina was, for all practical purposes, the first
15 multi-party Assembly in living memory, wasn't it?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Did this -- did this have public impact in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
18 A. Well, it did for my generation and for people somewhat older and
19 younger than me, the post-war generation. That is this was a very
20 interesting experience. This was more than a political event, it was a
21 political spectacle, because the sessions of the parliament, of the
22 multi-party parliament, were broadcast on television, whereas the other
23 bodies, which also are multi-party bodies, such as the government, did not
24 receive that much attention of the TV. There were just short reports from
25 the meetings of those bodies. The Assembly sessions were broadcast in
1 total, live. The Assembly, in communist tradition, was a boring body.
2 Its session were boring because it was a mono-party, and all of a sudden
3 the citizens were able to directly follow political debates which involved
4 a national or inter -- intra-national component.
5 Q. So the -- overall, the public reaction to the new Assembly was,
6 from what you've just described, distinctly positive, was it?
7 A. Yes. After the first multi-party elections, which took a while,
8 this was a direct continuous experience of democracy or how democracy
9 should look like in everyday life, and this was presented to the eyes of
10 regular citizens.
11 Q. How far did Mr. Krajisnik make a contribution to that public view
12 of the new Assembly?
13 A. I think -- and not just me; this was a prevalent opinion at the
14 time among the citizens irrespective of their ethnic affiliation or
15 political background -- that his contribution was a major one, because he
16 was not an authoritarian president of the Assembly. He channeled the work
17 of the Assembly very correctly. Whenever he interrupted, it was in
18 accordance with the book of rules. But he would rarely do that. He was
19 very relaxed in his role, and the assemblymen were given an opportunity to
20 speak at great length. Sometimes those sessions were funny because the
21 deputies on all the three sides were new to the politics, and the way the
22 politics were run were also -- was also new. All this was a novelty for
23 an average person, and I believe that Mr. Krajisnik was the one who
24 instigated that spirit, who encouraged that spirit. He did not want to
25 restrict the debates. On the other hand, the sessions lasted very long,
1 but he would allow for longer breaks and then the atmosphere of the
2 meeting room would spill over to the Assembly building corridors where
3 there would be journalists with cameras, and all this was part of a very
4 lively event.
5 Q. It's -- it's true, isn't it, Mr. Kecmanovic, that Assembly
6 sessions under Mr. Krajisnik's chairmanship tended often to last a very
7 long time?
8 A. They lasted a long time. I'm talking about the period from the
9 elections until the beginning of the war, which was very short. There was
10 a comment that could be heard among the people, especially when the war
11 was already in the air. People would tend to say for as long as Krajisnik
12 chairs the Assembly meetings, there is no danger of war, because everybody
13 was always there. There was just one permanent Assembly session. There
14 is either a session or a long break. This was the comment, the prevalent
15 comment to those long sessions, which were either in progress or on a
16 break. Actually, those sessions would take over a few days normally.
17 Q. At the time of the 19 -- November 1990 election when Mr. Krajisnik
18 then became the president of the Assembly, at that point what was the
19 relative public standing of Professor Koljevic, Mrs. Plavsic, and
20 Mr. Krajisnik?
21 A. Again I didn't understand your question.
22 Q. Well, I'll put it a different way. Professor Koljevic, was he a
23 known political figure already by November 1990?
24 A. When you ask me about my candidacy, I have to say that it was
25 customary for people to be appointed to the positions in the state
1 Presidency if they had already occupied leading positions in their
2 respective parties, and in that sense Professor Koljevic and Mrs. Biljana
3 Plavsic were party favourites. They were highly positioned in their
4 party. That's why they became candidates for the Presidency. And they
5 took up that position as a result of the fact that they were members of
6 the inner circle of those who had established the party from day one and
7 that outside of the political context they were public figures and they
8 were well known in the life of Sarajevo, Sarajevo which was the capital of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mrs. Plavsic was the dean of the School of the
10 Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She was also a highly positioned
11 official of the Socialist Alliance of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was an
12 organisation that rallied all those who were not affiliated with any party
13 at a high political level. She was in charge of the sector of education
14 and science. In other words, she was a publicly known figure.
15 Professor Koljevic, given his profession and his temperament, was
16 a person who was well known in the cultural circles of Sarajevo. He was
17 very present in the cultural life of Sarajevo and well known. He was
18 always involved in the theatre life, the university life, and so on and so
20 If I understood your question well, you wanted me to compare the
21 two of them with Mr. Krajisnik. I can say that he was not as well known
22 as the -- those two. He was a manager, he was an economist, and he was
23 known only to a narrow circle of professionals and executives of his
25 Q. By the time we get to the end of 1990 -- no, I'll take it on in
1 time. A year on, so by the time we get to October 1991, what was the
2 relative standing between Mr. Koljevic, Mrs. Plavsic, and Mr. Krajisnik in
3 the eyes of the general public in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
4 A. One could say that as early as then these public positions had
5 been distributed among these three people that you mentioned. The
6 position of the speaker of the parliament won Mr. Krajisnik a lot of
7 popularity. As the speaker of the parliament, he was always present in
8 the media, and as such he became very popular in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
9 sessions were very frequent, they lasted very long, and media covered them
10 quite closely. And as he chaired that body, he was always in the
11 spotlight and always in the eyes of the viewers.
12 Mr. Koljevic and Mrs. Plavsic, on the other hand, were in more
13 important positions, but those positions were in the shadow. They were
14 not so much in the spotlight. As I've already said, their work was not as
15 transparent as Mr. Krajisnik's work, and the public would be given only
16 the conclusions of the sessions of their body. Those sessions were not
17 open to the public. In other words, that time the situation had changed,
18 and Mr. Krajisnik was much more present and more popular as a political
19 figure then than the other two that we're talking about who were also
20 members of the same party.
21 Q. Did -- did that more prominent position, as you've described it,
22 of Mr. Krajisnik reflect his influence within the SDS?
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
24 MR. TIEGER: I didn't object when there was a question about the
25 witness's sense or impression of what the general public knew, but I was
1 left with the impression that this witness was closely affiliated with and
2 a member of the Alliance of Reformists, not the SDS, and I'm wondering
3 precisely what the basis is to ask him what Mr. Krajisnik's power was
4 within the SDS.
5 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, the basis is for the witness to
6 tell us if he knows the answer to the question, to answer the question.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please proceed.
8 MR. STEWART: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. I'll put the question again, Mr. Kecmanovic. Did that more
10 prominent position of Mr. Krajisnik, as you've described it, reflect his
11 influence within the SDS?
12 A. I don't know whether there is -- a result of that was more or less
13 influence in the SDS. I can't be a judge of that. What I was talking
14 about referred only to his public presence and popularity. He had become
15 a media figure who was well known to everybody, not only to the Serbian
16 people but to the other two peoples. People liked his style, liked the
17 way he chaired the meetings of parliament. Whether this had any impact on
18 his position within the SDS and what that impact was, I really wouldn't be
19 able to tell you.
20 Q. Were you --
21 A. I apologise. If I may add to what I just said. Mr. Karadzic was
22 a person without any state position and still he was the leading
23 personality in the Serbian Democratic Party.
24 Q. Was there in those latter months of 1990 and throughout 1991, was
25 there apparently any rival or threat to Mr. Karadzic as the leading
1 personality in the Serbian Democratic Party?
2 A. I don't think so. I think that Mr. Karadzic was by far the number
3 one person of the SDS.
4 Q. Did you, after the 1990 elections, the rest of that year and in
5 1991 take part in any formal or informal meetings with leaders of other
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Can you give the Trial Chamber an idea of the nature and frequency
9 of such meetings?
10 A. There were both formal and informal meetings. I've already
11 mentioned that as regards all three ethnic sides, and they were the power
12 in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time, I knew the actual individuals involved
13 very well. These communications were informal. There were such meetings
14 as well. However, there were also official meetings. One of these
15 regular meetings that were held from time to time, but regularly, were
16 meetings of the heads of the parliamentary parties within the Assembly.
17 It was customary before parliament would meet that the speaker of the
18 parliament would convene a preparatory meeting among the heads of the
19 parliamentary clubs and the leaders of all parliamentary parties.
20 I was one of persons invited to such meetings, as head of the
21 Reformists, and that is how I met Mr. Krajisnik in an official capacity on
22 a regular basis. There were also the representatives of the Croatian
23 Democratic Union and the Party of Democratic Action, and also other
24 opposition parties that had their own MPs in parliament.
25 Q. Now, just go back for a moment to the Presidency of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina after the November 1990 elections. The person who got the
2 most votes overall was in fact Mr. Abdic, wasn't it?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Was it expected at that point that he would become the president
5 of the Presidency?
6 A. It was not only that he -- that it was expected that he would
7 become president, but according to the rules that were set before the
8 elections, that's the way it was supposed to be. The rules made it
9 incumbent that the first presiding member over a one-year term should be
10 that member of the Presidency who would win the largest number of votes in
11 the election itself, regardless of who this may be. So according to the
12 rules, the previously set rules, it was Fikret Abdic who was supposed to
13 be the first president of the Presidency, and then afterwards, of course
14 according to ethnic parity, it would be changed, rotated.
15 Q. But in fact, Mr. Izetbegovic became the president of the
16 Presidency, didn't he?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. How did that happen?
19 A. I think that, first of all, the Party of Democratic Action had a
20 problem because this top office in Bosnia-Herzegovina was supposed to be
21 held by a person who was not the party leader at the same time. In
22 addition to that, Mr. Abdic was not - how should I put this? - a veteran
23 in the Party of Democratic Action. He joined the party ranks -- or,
24 rather, the party won him over as a man who was very popular, and it was
25 known in advance that he would be a man who would bring in a lot of votes.
1 That turned out to be true in the election itself. However, that turned
2 out to be a problem for the party, especially for Izetbegovic, that the
3 top office in the land would be won by somebody who was not he
4 himself and not someone who is considered to be a natural member of his
5 party. That is one aspect.
6 Another aspect is that the Serb and Croat sides agreed to that,
7 because had they insisted on observing the previously set rules,
8 Izetbegovic or the Party of Democratic Action could not have changed that
9 particular rule. However, I think that Abdic was less acceptable for
10 them, too, less acceptable than Izetbegovic, because it was considered
11 that Fikret Abdic was a man who had a communist inclination, that he was
12 inclined towards communist ideology. He was a member of the Central
13 Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, a man who in his
14 economic enterprises showed a lot of his Bolshevik style of doing
15 business. Market principles were not really taken into account. He
16 counted on the support of the authorities of the state. As a matter of
17 fact, even procedures that were not exactly legal in terms of obtaining
18 credit and things like that. Also, that is why he was not liked very much
19 on the outside too.
20 Q. Mr. Kecmanovic, can I turn to the Croat members of the Presidency
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, before doing so, could you ask or could
23 the witness tell us, when he says -- when he tells us about the rules that
24 would designate Mr. Abdic to become the president of the Presidency, were
25 these informally agreed rules? Were they put on paper? Could you give us
1 some information about the status of those rules.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were official rules, quite
3 official, that were publicly promulgated before the elections were held.
4 MR. STEWART:
5 Q. Are you saying it was part of electoral law?
6 A. Precisely.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And nevertheless, one could deviate from them, as I
8 understand, with the agreement of all the parties, if that was part of
9 law. Could you explain to us how that functioned.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, precisely. Well, I can just
11 confirm what you've just said. The rules were official and made public
12 and part of the electoral law. However, since this rule pertained to the
13 Presidency and it had to do with the Presidency, the collective head of
14 state, and who would be the first one to become the first among equals,
15 primus inter pares. So they could agree amongst themselves. I personally
16 feel that they were not supposed to do that, and there were objections
17 raised in the press as well as this was a violation of the law. However,
18 since all three parties in the Presidency agreed to this, then it
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
21 MR. STEWART: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Q. Just a turn briefly to be made to the Croat members of the
23 Presidency, who were Mr. Kljuic and Mr. Boras after the 1990 election.
24 Were those two the most influential people in the HDZ in Bosnia and
1 A. It could be said that first of all the two of them did not have
2 the same kind of influence in the HDZ. And there is something I could add
3 to that; that there was a third man who carried more weight in the HDZ,
4 more than either of the two, and that was Mate Boban, who was in Western
5 Herzegovina. So he was not in Sarajevo. And actually, he was the
6 eminence grise of the HDZ, and formally he would become the leader of the
7 party later.
8 As for Kljuic and Boras, Boras was a man who was closer to Boban
9 politically and therefore he carried more weight. Whereas Kljuic, in a
10 formal sense was for, a certain period of time, the president of the HDZ.
11 As he worked in Sarajevo and as he pursued a line that was closer to the
12 SDA, he enjoyed greater popularity among the Muslim population, later the
13 Bosniak population, that is.
14 Q. Was he correspondingly popular with the Croat population in
16 A. Are you talking about Kljuic?
17 Q. Yes, I am, yes.
18 A. To a lesser degree.
19 Q. And by comparison with Boban, what was his popularity among the
20 Croat population in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
21 A. In comparison with Boban, well, I primarily meant Boban, because
22 that was the so-called Herzegovina line in the HDZ, which actually
23 throughout the elections and after the elections and during the war was
24 dominant in the HDZ.
25 Q. And the -- in --
1 A. I'm sorry for interrupting. Boban was the leader of that line
3 Q. And in summary, perhaps at least in the first place, what was the
4 Herzegovina line?
5 A. The Herzegovina line and the HDZ insisted on, to put it in the
6 simplest possible terms, the policy of Herceg-Bosna, a Croatian Republic
7 of Herceg-Bosna, on establishing a separate entity of the Croat people in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the idea of becoming independent, linking
9 themselves up to Croatia, or remaining within Bosnia-Herzegovina as a
10 separate entity, territorial -- in territorial terms and also in terms of
11 political self-government.
12 Q. And Mr. Kljuic was against that line, was he?
13 A. Mr. Kljuic was -- well, you cannot put it that way, directly
14 against that line. There weren't any conflicts between those two factions
15 in the HDZ out in the open. But at any rate, he was inclined towards a
16 solution that would be a single Bosnia-Herzegovina, a unified
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that is why the Muslim or, rather, the Bosniak
18 people preferred him, and that's why he was also preferred by the Bosniak
19 representatives in the Presidency, especially Izetbegovic.
20 Q. Was there a point at which Mr. Kljuic's influence and standing
22 A. The influence of Mr. Kljuic, in view of the balance of power, was
23 never a major one, because he didn't really have the Croat people behind
24 him. The sympathies of the Muslim representatives were, after all,
25 sympathies towards a potential partner, not a person who was a member of
1 their party, their people, et cetera. This would later come to the fore
2 when Mr. Kljuic was first replaced as leader of the HDZ. And afterwards,
3 he was even removed from the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina through the
4 agreement reached by Izetbegovic and the leaders of the HDZ in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. So his political line was on the decline;
6 his political line, his political position.
7 Q. Now, after the 1990 elections, was there a provision in the Bosnia
8 and Herzegovina constitution for something -- it goes under various names
9 in English, but I'll call it in English the Council for Ethnic Equality.
10 Perhaps you could confirm that you're receiving as the translation in your
11 own language the name of a body that you recognise or are familiar with.
12 A. Yes. The idea of the Council of Peoples was something that was
13 present in the minds of the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina considerably
14 before that too. It was a multi-ethnic community with three constituent
15 peoples, and it was considered only natural that in a democratic
16 constellation these positions should be safeguarded. The idea about
17 something like this was present even in the old system, and that is why,
18 through the constitutional amendments, the communist government introduced
19 a body called the Council for Ethnic Equality, a kind of a substitute for
20 a proper Council or Chamber of Peoples. It was a mechanism which was of a
21 specific nature. For want of a proper Council of Peoples, it was supposed
22 to play the role that is played nowadays in Bosnia-Herzegovina, since
23 Dayton, that is. It was a specific mechanism according to which, if one
24 of the sides in the tripartite partnership in Bosnia-Herzegovina in
25 parliament during the sitting of parliament would assess that something
1 that is on the agenda could affect the ethnic national interest of one of
2 the three peoples, they could intervene with the parliament, the speaker
3 of the parliament, in writing with at least 20 signatures of MPs, and ask
4 that they remove that from the agenda. The mechanism envisaged that then
5 this should be sent on to a multi-ethnic commission in which all three
6 national parties would have the right of veto. If any side would put a
7 veto on that item of the agenda, it could no longer be returned to the
8 agenda of the parliament.
9 Q. Was there a time after the November 1990 elections when such a
10 procedure did operate in practice?
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. And during what period and in what circumstances?
13 A. This happened during that one year between the multi-party
14 elections and the beginning of war. I think that this mechanism was used
15 twice involving 20 signatures of MPs, and I think this mechanism
16 functioned well, or it proved to be functional in realistic terms. I
17 cannot remember exactly what the subject involved was, but at any rate, it
18 had to do with ethnic equality. And that is the sole reason why this
19 mechanism was instituted; in order to safeguard an equality of rights for
20 all ethnic groups.
21 Q. Is it correct that on a couple of occasions the mechanism operated
22 in a practical short circuit way in the sense that, knowing that there was
23 inevitably going to be a veto if there was a reference to this body, the
24 proposers of the measure didn't insist on it going to that body only to
25 get sent back following a veto?
1 A. That's an interesting point, that actually the body that is called
2 the Council for Ethnic Equality was never constituted but, in spite of
3 that, it did carry out its function. The very fact that there would be an
4 objection by 20 MPs from one of the national clubs would be sufficient
5 announcement to the effect that there would be a veto at the Council for
6 Ethnic Equality. It would not have been difficult to assume that. So
7 that is why if there was an objection in writing by 20 MPs, that was
8 considered to be a fait accompli. It was no longer necessary to go
9 further up to this body where the veto would actually be made.
10 So 20 signatures of MPs was considered to be a sufficient veto, so
11 to speak, because further procedure would only involve repetition.
12 Nothing would really be changed, and nothing would become stronger if it
13 went further up.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Kecmanovic, we've had quite a lot of evidence in this
15 case about the events in the Assembly on the night of the 14th and 15th of
16 October, 1991. First of all, were you present at that Assembly session?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And is it right that there was -- there was an attempt by Serb
19 deputies to operate this mechanism of 20 signatures and a proposal to
20 pursue sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina to be sent off to the Council
21 for National Equality but that attempt turned out to be unsuccessful?
22 A. Yes. That's exactly the way it was.
23 Q. And how would you describe Mr. Krajisnik's actions and conduct as
24 president of the Assembly in relation to that issue at that session in
25 October 1991?
1 A. Well, I think that Mr. Krajisnik behaved the same way he did when
2 chairing parliament until then, as far as I know; with a lot of patience,
3 trying to defer matters, to avoid any kind of dramatic decisions, that
4 breaks be taken with a view to a possible solution of the crisis and
5 bridging the disagreement between the two parties. However, Izetbegovic
6 -- but then I cannot say all of the SDA, because among the officials of
7 the SDA there were politicians who during the course of that dramatic
8 session showed more of a willingness and readiness to reach a compromise
9 than Izetbegovic himself. A few times when it seemed that things would
10 not only be deferred but actually resolved at the session itself,
11 Izetbegovic came out with a very hard-line position that a decision had to
12 be made precisely then and that there could be no postponement or
14 Finally, Mr. Krajisnik read the request of 20 MPs of the Serb
15 Democratic Party that the item be removed from the agenda. However, the
16 Party of Democratic Action and its deputies and the deputies of the HDZ
17 refused to accept that. Mr. Krajisnik, bearing in mind the necessary
18 procedure and following the required procedure, made public the
19 intervention of the 20 deputies - that was his duty - and he said that
20 this infringed on ethnic equality. Since all other means were exhausted,
21 he adjourned the session late in the evening. However, the
22 vice-president, the vice-speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Mariofil Ljubic from
23 the HDZ, called upon the deputies of the HDZ and the SDA to stay on.
24 Since they had a majority, they were to reach such a decision without the
25 presence of the Serb deputies.
1 May I also add that this led to a rift between the opposition
2 parties, inter alia in the party that I led, precisely along ethnic lines.
3 Deputies of Muslim ethnicity stayed on -- some of them stayed on and
4 supported the position of Alija Izetbegovic, whereas the Serbs among these
5 MPs, including myself, although I was head of the party, not an MP, we
6 left the session, believing that this is a very dangerous decision and a
7 decision that of course does not honour the equality of rights of all
8 three peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the constituent peoples of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the state-forming peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 Q. Now, we heard plenty of evidence about this, Mr. Kecmanovic. One
11 of the important reactions to these events was the founding of the Serb
12 Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, wasn't it?
13 A. That's right.
14 Q. Did you personally attend the founding session of that Assembly?
15 A. The Serbian Democratic Party, which scheduled its founding
16 meeting, sent out invitations to the heads of other political parties.
17 Amongst other people, one invitation came to me, but also invitations were
18 sent to some people from the -- from everyday life, people who did not
19 belong to any political parties. Amongst others, I responded to that
20 invitation, and I attended the founding session of the SDS.
21 Q. Did you personally attend any subsequent sessions of the Serb
22 Assembly or what became the Assembly of Republika Srpska?
23 A. No, no. This was the founding session, and it had a very specific
24 nature. It was a ceremonial meeting, not a working meeting. There were
25 representatives of other peoples, of other parties. That's why it was so
1 special in nature. The subsequent sessions of the Serbian Assembly were
2 working meetings. Therefore, I was neither invited nor did I attend any
3 of them.
4 Q. Now, just looking at your own party at that time, you've described
5 to the Trial Chamber a different reaction on the night of October 14th and
6 15th from some Muslim members of your party as opposed to Serb members.
7 Were those differences repaired or did they cause changes within your own
9 A. This resulted in a crisis in the party. Up to then, there was a
10 high degree of homogeneity in the party, especially when we're talking
11 about the inner leadership that counted some 20 to 30 members. This was a
12 body which was called Presidency. It had very frequent sessions, and it
13 was mostly composed of people who resided in Sarajevo, which enabled them
14 frequent contacts. There was a high degree of closeness among these
15 people based on their previous acquaintance, on the continuity of their
16 previous work. Together in the leadership we fostered openness to various
17 ethnicities. We believed that our multi-ethnic composition enabled us to
18 talk in the way in which the ruling coalition talked amongst different
19 parties. However, this was a dramatic decision, this vote was a dramatic
20 vote which seriously shook the party. Some people left it because they
21 could not forgive their peers for having voted the way they did. The
22 others had misgivings because people didn't -- didn't vote as they wanted
23 them to vote.
24 To cut a long story short, quite a lot of members left the party
25 after that.
1 Q. Did your party adopt or retain a clear policy in relation to the
2 issue of sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina after that Assembly session
3 on October 14th, 15th?
4 A. Our position was under the influence of all these events, and I
5 have to say that the fact that there was quite a decrease in the number of
6 our membership, our position was that none of the mono-ethnic parties in
7 the ruling coalition should not take unilateral moves without a prior
8 consensus of all the three constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
9 position of the party in principle was against such a decision, like it
10 was for -- against any unilateral move on the part of any of the three
11 mono-ethnic parties. Or if you will, indirectly we condemned that thing
12 that happened in the Assembly.
13 Q. There seem -- please explain if this is wrong: There seem to be
14 two separate elements there, Mr. Kecmanovic: First of all, your party,
15 from what you've said, was against the fact that such a decision had been
16 put through the Assembly by the Muslim-Croat coalition in the face of Serb
17 opposition. That's correct, isn't it?
18 A. That's correct. There was another additional argument when it
19 came to our party. As I've already mentioned, our party was a Yugoslav
20 party. In general terms, we were in favour of the preservation of
21 Yugoslavia. The decision that was made during that dramatic night in the
22 Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina was a decision on the secession of Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina from Yugoslavia. This was something that was contrary to
24 our programme, to the principles that our party was based on.
25 Q. The --
1 A. Our name, our integral name, was the Alliance of Reformist Forces
2 of Yugoslavia for Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was our full title. The
3 secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the Yugoslav framework was contrary
4 to the concept of our party.
5 Q. Did your party adopt a public position in relation to the
6 establishment of the Serb Assembly?
7 A. I don't think so. I think that this was perceived as an integral
8 part of the story that took place in the joint Assembly in Sarajevo, that
9 this was nothing more but a consequence. One side was out-voted and, as a
10 result of that, it was no longer prepared to cooperate in joint Assembly.
11 Q. Did -- in the first place ask about you personally,
12 Mr. Kecmanovic, your own position in the party, did you adopt a position
13 out of the public eye in relation to the establishment of the Serb
15 A. I don't think so. I'm not sure, but I don't think so. You have
16 to bear in mind that under such position, the position of the leader of a
17 multi-ethnic party was already rather complicated. One had to juggle
18 amongst the three ethnic interests which became prominent within that
19 multi-ethnically-based party.
20 Q. Did you view the establishment of the Serb Assembly as an
21 unreasonable response to the circumstances?
22 A. No. No, because I perceived this more as a warning, as an
23 ultimatum. Proof that this was not interruption of the communication and
24 that it was not the final act of the drama was the fact that Mr. Krajisnik
25 remained the speaker of the joint Assembly. He was both the president of
1 the Serbian Assembly as well as the speaker of the joint Assembly. How
2 shall I put it? I think that he maintained this link and the hand
3 remained extended through him for a future reconstruction of the joint
4 Assembly. In other words, after this incident, given the adequate
5 condition, this joint Assembly could still go on working. That door was
7 Q. Had leading members of your own party left your party? Did they
8 quite soon after the 14th, 15th of October?
9 A. Some did. Some left the party and its leadership, but as a result
10 of that there was an even larger decrease in the number of our members.
11 Q. What -- what sort of size membership did your party have
12 immediately before the Assembly session on the 14th, 15th October 1991?
13 A. I couldn't give you a precise answer.
14 Q. Can you give us some idea of the scale of membership?
15 A. I don't have a perception. After we lost the elections; i.e.,
16 after we had such poor results during the elections, there was a decrease
17 in the number of our members. You have to bear in mind this didn't happen
18 only to the Reformists but also to many other parties that had been
19 established prior to the elections. Those were not parties with a long
20 tradition based on which they would enjoy a greater loyalty of their
21 members. Those parties were ad hoc parties that were established on the
22 eve of the multi-party elections. So the degree of loyalty was very low,
23 especially in the case of those parties that won the elections. The only
24 exception was the former League of Communists, which had a long
25 continuity, and although its membership dwindled down, there were still
1 people loyal to that party and remained with it.
2 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I've reached a break in topics, if that
3 were convenient.
4 JUDGE ORIE: It's at the same time a convenient moment to have a
5 break. We'll adjourn until ten minutes past four.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.17 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kecmanovic, I made a mistake by asking you to
9 already enter to the courtroom, because I need two minutes to deal with a
10 procedural matter which has, to some extent, nothing to do with you, and
11 to the extent it has, should not be said in your presence. So could I ask
12 you - it will not take more than two minutes - to leave the courtroom.
13 And I apologise.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, you asked to get an opportunity to
16 address the Chamber in view of the filing of final briefs. We do that at
17 the end of the three witnesses we have -- we are now hearing, so that
18 would be on the 11th of April. And if we would find no time on the 11th
19 of April, then it's something you can do just prior to the beginning of
20 the evidence of Mr. Krajisnik. That's the first issue.
21 MR. STEWART: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Talking about the 11th of April and looking at the
23 scheduling for the days to come, the Chamber is again concerned on whether
24 we'll be able to finish as scheduled on the 10th of April, as a matter of
25 fact, although some overflow possible until the 11th of April. I can't do
1 anything else than to express this concern and add to that, and that's in
2 relation with this witness, that looking at the last one hour and a half,
3 the Chamber, I think out of the one and a half hours, if there was 20
4 minutes of new, fresh evidence, it -- it's already a positive estimate. I
5 mean, the Chamber is aware and has heard quite some evidence on matters
6 like those who wanted to stay in the former Yugoslavia were blocking a
7 decision by a majority to get out of the former Yugoslavia, just as those
8 who wanted to get out of the former Yugoslavia, by the majority out-voted
9 the minority. We have gone over that again and again, and I do not think
10 - and I'm addressing you Mr. Tieger - that this is something really in
11 dispute, or is it?
12 MR. TIEGER: I'm -- I would be hard pressed to identify, at least
13 at this point, the differences between the evidence the Court just
14 referred to and the evidence that was led by the Prosecution during the
15 course of its case about these matters.
16 JUDGE ORIE: It's more or less the function of this -- of this
17 constitutional -- what was it? It was not committee although sometimes
18 called Committee on Equality -- Council for the Ethnical Equality. I
19 mean, it's -- it's so clear that you're -- that a deadlock will easily
20 result if one minority in such a council could block, by having 20 votes
21 in the Assembly, to block any further decision-taking which would be in
22 accordance with the majority, just as the majority might have felt
23 frustrated -- just as the -- this minority, having felt frustrated if not
24 using that instrument that they would be out-voted in the Assembly. That
25 structure, which we spent, again, so much time on it, and then looking at
1 the 10th or 11th of April, Mr. Stewart, the Chamber really wonders whether
2 it would not have been possible that the -- I would say that what the
3 witness adds to it could not have been presented more efficiently and more
5 And the second issue is that the Chamber wondered whether the
6 position of the party this witness belonged to should be dealt with in so
7 much detail. What I can add to that, there's no way for this Chamber to
8 proceed, also for practical reasons, beyond the 11th of April. So the
9 11th of April is -- is really the last day. Tuesday, the 11th of April.
10 Just asking your attention for it. And I'd like to ask the usher
11 to escort the witness into the courtroom again.
12 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, if I could just -- perhaps it might be
13 helpful if I just indicate -- Well, first of all, Your Honour, I say
14 straight away this is not one of those occasions where I'm going to
15 suggest that there's nothing in what Your Honour has just said. So I take
16 -- I take some of the points Your Honour has made, and I'm not -- I'm not
17 proposing, having, if you like, had a sort of introductory session with
18 this witness, I'm not proposing to go over all sorts of extraneous detail,
19 but -- I won't spend time going into what we've already heard, Your
20 Honour, but I take the point.
21 But looking ahead to the witnesses, we have, in our discussions
22 and our planning, we have taken it that, as Your Honours have indicated,
23 that the 11th is the last day of this current run of hearing witnesses.
24 Your Honour, we have this witness, the next witness, who has been brought
25 here, as Your Honour knows and who is here, and then we have the witness
1 for whom there is an application for protective measures. Your Honour, we
2 can't see any way in which any more witnesses than those can be fitted in.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course, the Chamber is concerned on whether
4 we could finish those witnesses within the time still available.
5 MR. STEWART: That's what I'm coming to, Your Honour. We are
6 proceeding on the basis that we expect to be able to do that.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
8 MR. STEWART: But can I say straight away Your Honour --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. STEWART: -- that this, well, directly affects Mr. Josse,
11 because he will be taking the next witness, that preparation for the next
12 witness presents its difficulties in this sense, that it's really, from a
13 practical point of view, not going to be possible for Mr. Josse to present
14 that witness to start before Thursday, Your Honour. So that does -- if
15 there is -- I don't know whether there will be, but if there is a gap
16 between the end of this current witness and the beginning of that witness,
17 Your Honour, I do know from discussion with Mr. Josse it's not a gap that
18 it's fair to ask Mr. Josse to plug by having that witness ready to begin
19 evidence on Wednesday. But, Your Honour, we --
20 JUDGE ORIE: That's even --
21 MR. STEWART: -- calculations.
22 JUDGE ORIE: That's then again even more time not available in
23 court and we really wonder how you'll manage to do it, but it's finally --
24 it's your responsibility, and I -- well, my observations I just made are,
25 I would say, for this very moment sufficient.
1 MR. STEWART: Well, the squeeze is going to come on that last
2 witness, in effect, Your Honour, but we accept that we must -- we must fit
3 that last witness in in the time that the Court is making available, and
4 we acknowledge that.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's clear.
6 Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Kecmanovic to the
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE ORIE: Welcome back, Mr. Kecmanovic.
10 Mr. Stewart, you may proceed.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Kecmanovic, between the end of 1991 and the end of March 1992,
14 was there actual violence that you were aware of in Sarajevo?
15 A. The situation in Sarajevo was very tense, but violence happened in
16 other parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina. For example, I remember in Sijekovac
17 there was an incident. The state Presidency; i.e., several members of the
18 Presidency, were sent there to calm the situation down.
19 Q. But in Sarajevo itself, there was no actual violence of which you
20 were aware?
21 A. There was violence in Sarajevo, primarily against the Serbian
22 population, and especially against the families of JNA officers,
23 irrespective of their status; i.e., whether they were active officers and
24 their families or retired officers and their families. Their apartments
25 were stormed and searched, even plundered, and so on and so forth.
1 Q. And did you at any point in the first three months of 1992 come to
2 the view that war was approaching the inevitable?
3 A. In that respect, I believe that the turning point was the
4 dissolution of the parliament in Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, when the
5 principle of equality was disrespected for the first time. It was obvious
6 that the -- this would not be a one-off but that there was, rather, a very
7 deep discord amongst the newly formed power. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
8 national parity was a prerequisite to the peace, and a dramatic violation
9 of that principle was bound to have consequence and was bound not to --
10 not to be a singular incident.
11 Q. Did you during that period, the first three months of 1992, have
12 any contact yourself with Mr. Krajisnik?
13 A. I've already said that those were, first and foremost, meetings in
14 the parliament. The speaker of the parliament called those meetings
15 pursuant to the standing procedure in order to coordinate the work of the
16 parties. Those were regular meetings. There were also some informal
17 meetings, meetings which involved our personal encounters relative to my
18 work at the university. At that time, I was the dean of the University of
19 Sarajevo, and as such I had to be in contact with the representatives of
20 the authorities, including Mr. Krajisnik.
21 Q. Did you form any impression from your contact with Mr. Krajisnik
22 as to any work done by him to try to avert war?
23 A. Mr. Krajisnik, together with all the other officials of the SDS,
24 or the leaders of the Serbian National Party, as most of the Serbs in
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina stood by the SDS, most of the Muslims stood by the SDA,
1 and most of the Serb -- Croats stood by the HDZ. So Mr. Krajisnik was the
2 first amongst the leaders of this national movement who was best accepted
3 by the other two parties as an interlocutor. He had a ritual which in my
4 eyes looked a bit unnecessary, and I would sometimes make jokes at his
6 At the beginning of such meetings, he would often tell us a story
7 about his family and about his finding his place in his multi-ethnic
8 midst. He told us that his father always told him -- and Mr. Krajisnik
9 would address Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Kljuic -- he said that his father
10 always told him how important neighbourly relations were, but there was
11 always an accompanying remark. His father always told him to respect his
12 neighbours, and if he had to do something at the expense of any of the
13 neighbours, then he should do it at the expense of a Serb rather than a
14 Croat or a Muslim because the consequences would be lesser. This was his
15 staple introduction to any of those meetings, and as I often sat next to
16 him, I would often ask him whether he would open the meeting with the same
17 story, because if he was, I would go out and have a cigarette and then
18 come back.
19 He would tell me that his story is very important and that it
20 should be repeated in -- because of the good inter-ethnic relationship.
21 And although he repeated the story again and again, it always met with the
22 understanding of all the participants in the meeting.
23 Mr. Krajisnik was the best loved negotiator on the Serbian side
24 when it came to negotiations with the other parties.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kecmanovic, may I stop you here. We are under
1 considerable time restraints. It took you four minutes to explain in
2 quite some detail how Mr. Krajisnik - and that's the core of your answer -
3 always stressed the importance of good relationship, inter-ethnic
4 relationship, with your neighbours, and he did not cease to emphasise
5 that, which he learned already from his father, as he told us. Now, it
6 took me approximately half a minute to say this. It took you four
7 minutes. And the question was -- I think a very important question. The
8 question was whether you formed an impression from your contact with
9 Mr. Krajisnik as to any work done by him to try to avert war. So could
10 you please -- I'm not obstructing you from telling what you told us, I'm
11 asking you to do that in 20 to 30 seconds and then come to the core of the
12 question. So tell us whether you formed an impression on any work done by
13 Mr. Krajisnik to avert war.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember any specific
15 sentence or specific words.
16 MR. STEWART:
17 Q. Do you recall any actions --
18 A. I apologise. I can just remind you of something that I said
19 before the break, and that is that he was the only official amongst the
20 Serbian top leadership who kept his position. He remained the speaker of
21 the joint Assembly, whereas Koljevic and Plavsic withdrew from the
22 Presidency. And I understand this as a gesture of that sort.
23 Q. It's -- just to be clear, it's -- Koljevic and Plavsic withdrew
24 from the Presidency in April 1992. That's correct, isn't it?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And that was specifically following the call by Mr. Izetbegovic
2 for mobilisation; is that right?
3 A. Even after that Mr. Krajisnik remained in his position as the
4 speaker of the parliament.
5 Q. During those first three months that I asked you about, January to
6 March 1992, did -- were you aware of any actions by Mr. Krajisnik that
7 tended to provoke or increase the risk of war?
8 A. Absolutely not.
9 Q. Did you -- did you ever hear in the whole of that period, 1991,
10 1992 - and I'll embrace the whole of 1992 - did you ever hear of something
11 called Variants A and B?
12 A. No.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau would like to ask a question.
14 MR. STEWART: Of course, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. Before we proceed further,
16 to come back to a sentence uttered by -- the witness said, and I haven't
17 -- clarify. I'm not sure whether I understood the meaning properly. You
18 said that: "[In English] ... I believe that the turning point was the
19 dissolution of the parliament in Bosnia-Herzegovina or, rather, when the
20 principle of equality was disrespected for the first time. In
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the national parity was a prerequisite to the peace,
22 and a dramatic violation of that principle was bound to have
23 consequence ..."
24 [Interpretation] So could you clarify that sentence for us? Could
25 you tell me exactly what you mean by all this.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In a nutshell, I believe that the
2 vote in favour of the referendum against the will of the Serbian
3 representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a decisive step that eventually
4 resulted in the war.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
7 MR. STEWART: Thank you Your Honour.
8 Q. Again, during the whole of 1991 and 1992, did you ever hear of
9 something called the six strategic objectives?
10 A. No.
11 Q. You were familiar, were you, with the Cutileiro talks and the
12 Cutileiro Plan?
13 A. Not only did I know, but I also attended some meetings which were
14 chaired by Cutileiro in Sarajevo. I was even supposed to go to Lisbon to
15 the last session that ended on a sour note, however, due to technical
16 circumstances and delays, I did not go there.
17 Q. Were you supportive of the -- such agreements as were made
18 pursuant to the Cutileiro discussions?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what was the sour note that you referred to a moment ago?
21 A. I primarily referred to the fact that although the three parties
22 were on the verge of reaching an agreement on the solution to the crisis,
23 and the three leaders signed the agreement, however, one of the sides
24 withdrew from the agreement. In more specific terms, it was
25 Mr. Izetbegovic who finally decided not to put his signature on the
2 Q. Did you -- were you ever aware of anything which signified that
3 the SDS leadership were not genuinely committed to the Cutileiro Plan if
4 others had supported it?
5 JUDGE ORIE: Is this in dispute, Mr. Stewart?
6 MR. STEWART: I'm so sorry, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Is this in dispute?
8 MR. STEWART: This witness's awareness, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, well, Mr. Tieger --
10 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry, Your Honour --
11 JUDGE ORIE: If let's say if Mr. Izetbegovic would not have
12 withdrawn, is the position of the Prosecution that the SDS would not have
13 committed itself to the Cutileiro agreement or not the full agreement at
14 that time?
15 MR. TIEGER: No, Your Honour. The Prosecution has led no evidence
16 to that effect and has not relied on any proposition to that effect.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Stewart, of course this Chamber has not
18 proofed the witness, but the sour note, I would have betted - good English
19 tradition, isn't it - for 95 per cent that it would be the withdrawal of
20 Mr. Izetbegovic, which we've heard some 20 times. Of course if you would
21 have expected anything else, certainly it would have been a question to
22 ask more specifically about the sour note. If, however, he would have
23 expected the same, after briefing this witness, the question was totally
24 superfluous. Please proceed.
25 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. Sometimes I have to assess what
1 gambles I will or won't take on Mr. Krajisnik's behalf, and perhaps I got
2 that one wrong.
3 Q. Mr. -- Mr. Kecmanovic --
4 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, sorry to interrupt Mr. Stewart. If
5 witness can take off his earphones, I want to clarify that answer so there
6 is no misunderstanding about the Cutileiro Plan vis-a-vis the parties.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Kecmanovic, first of all, do you understand
8 any English? You do. It wouldn't help, Mr. Tieger. Can we leave it? I
9 mean, at this moment it seems not to be an urgent matter. Can we leave
10 that for the very end of this session?
11 MR. TIEGER: I think so.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You will keep it in mind, I take it, yes.
13 MR. TIEGER: I'll write it down and keep it in front of me, Your
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
16 MR. STEWART:
17 Q. Mr. Kecmanovic, it may not be a matter of scientific definition,
18 but when do you regard the war as having started?
19 A. I can mention a few events that, on a cumulative basis, made up
20 something that would be called the beginning of the war. Actually, it was
21 the occupation of JNA barracks in the city of Sarajevo, because the army,
22 the JNA, in Sarajevo played a very useful role, because it intervened
23 neutrally in the conflicts among the three sides. I'm referring to the
24 so-called Serb barricades or roadblocks. Although in that stage, after
25 Slovenia and Croatia had left, the JNA consisted primarily of Serb
1 officers and soldiers, but the JNA intervened against barricades that were
2 put up by the Serb side in certain parts of town after a member of a Serb
3 wedding party was killed, Gardovic. That showed that the army had a
4 neutral position towards all three sides irrespective of its ethnic
6 However, in spite of that, at one point in time the JNA barracks
7 were occupied, or surrounded, which means that part of the Sarajevo
8 population had a hostile attitude towards the JNA. So this was something
9 that caused concern and a great deal of anxiety among the population in
11 Another thing that I could note from this period in time was that
12 one night there was a showdown in the town of Sarajevo in the late-night
13 hours. There was gunfire and it was hard to establish what this was all
14 about. However, the next day when I went out into the street, all the
15 shops in the centre of the city had been demolished. Nothing was left in
16 them, which means that there was a kind of showdown within the town itself
17 among paramilitary gangs. It wasn't clear among who, but at any rate, it
18 was an indicator that organs of government no longer functioned in
19 Sarajevo and that they could not keep elementary law and order. And that
20 was an indicator for me that the situation was worsening dramatically.
21 Q. Now, you became aware, did you, that at some point in April 1992
22 the SDS leadership, including Mr. Krajisnik, left Sarajevo and moved to
24 A. Yes. That was under special circumstances.
25 Q. And what you just described a moment ago about a showdown in
1 Sarajevo and gunfire and so on, those events occurred before that
2 departure of the SDS leadership to Pale, did they?
3 A. That's right.
4 Q. Did you -- at some point after the SDS leaders had gone to Pale,
5 were you instrumental in arranging a meeting between Mr. Krajisnik and
6 Mr. Izetbegovic?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. First of all, can you say when -- we'll come to the arrangement of
9 the meeting in a moment. First of all, can you say when the meeting
11 A. I think it was in the month of May.
12 Q. And where did the meeting occur?
13 A. I haven't heard you. I haven't heard the question.
14 Q. Where did the meeting occur?
15 A. One meeting was in late April, I think, at Ilidza at the Terme
16 Hotel, and the other one was in Lukavica. These were my meetings with
17 Krajisnik along with Mirko Pejanovic. And there was also a meeting when I
18 organised talks between Krajisnik and Izetbegovic.
19 Q. Now, can we first of all, please, just get them in their correct
20 chronological sequence. You've referred to three meetings. You referred
21 to them in the order of a meeting at the Terme Hotel, a meeting at
22 Lukavica, and another meeting between Mr. Krajisnik and Mr. Izetbegovic.
23 What's the chronological order of those three meetings?
24 A. The first meeting was at the Terme Hotel in Ilidza. The second
25 one was the meeting that I organised between Izetbegovic and Krajisnik,
1 and the third one was with Krajisnik in Lukavica.
2 Q. Well, I want to ask you about them in the chronological order in
3 which you've told the Trial Chamber they occurred. So the meeting at the
4 Terme Hotel, first of all, as accurately as you can remember, when did
5 that take place?
6 A. I think it was in the month of April. And the meeting was also
7 attended by Mr. Mirko Pejanovic, who later became a member of the
8 Presidency with me. He was a candidate of the Socialist Party of the
9 presidential elections. And at the meeting at Terme Hotel, Mr. Krajisnik
10 was -- Mr. Karadzic was also present in addition to Mr. Krajisnik. So
11 four participants altogether.
12 Q. Right. Can I just -- first of all, how did that meeting come
14 A. That meeting was held at my initiative, and Mirko Pejanovic's too.
15 Q. What was the purpose of the meeting?
16 A. As party leaders, we wanted to see Karadzic and Krajisnik, and
17 quite simply to get information about the situation. We knew about it
18 from the inside, but we wanted to see what it was like from the outside
19 once this separation line had already been established, slowly but surely.
20 Q. And the separation line being where?
21 A. The separation line was still rather undefined. Quite simply,
22 there weren't any formal obstacles yet, but the population concentrated on
23 two sides, and at that time we could still take a taxi in order to go to
24 that meeting. Of course it wasn't easy to find a taxi driver who was
25 ready to drive there, but it wasn't too difficult either.
1 Q. And were you able to obtain useful information at that meeting?
2 A. Nothing spectacular. It was just more complete information about
3 the situation being -- the situation being very bad, increasingly
4 difficult, with less and less hope of agreement being reached among the
5 different sides, and that was about it.
6 Q. And did the whole meeting -- how long did the meeting last?
7 A. Half an hour to one hour.
8 Q. And were the four of you active participants in the whole of the
9 meeting during that period?
10 A. Yes. But Radovan Karadzic came to the meeting a bit later, and I
11 think he had some interview for television or newspapers, so he had to
12 leave the meeting early too.
13 Q. Was -- was anything discussed at that meeting by way of plans or
14 proposals that might achieve peace?
15 A. Nothing specific. Everybody expressed great concern over the
16 situation that was very serious.
17 Q. Did anything of value come out of that meeting?
18 A. No. No. It didn't have that kind of ambition either. Since we
19 both led multi-ethnic parties and we were ethnic Serbs, the assumption was
20 that we could communicate more easily and in a more relaxed manner with
21 the leaders of the SDS than people who were, say, ethnic Croats or
23 Q. Was it -- was it you and Mr. Pejanovic who had asked specifically
24 for Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Krajisnik to attend that meeting?
25 A. Yes. Yes. It was at our initiative.
1 Q. Why had you asked for Mr. Krajisnik to be at the meeting?
2 A. Our request was not very specific, as far as I can remember. We
3 simply asked to see some people from the Serb leadership. I have to
4 repeat this: We all knew each other very well from earlier on. It could
5 have been the late Koljevic or somebody else. The point of our meeting
6 would have achieved that -- would have been achieved that way too.
7 Q. Now, the meeting that you -- the next one that you placed in the
8 chronological sequence, the meeting between Mr. Krajisnik and
9 Mr. Izetbegovic, how did that meeting come about?
10 A. That meeting came about at my initiative. I think that I had
11 consulted the members of the leadership of my party about it too. Quite
12 simply, the motive was - in view of the fact that a war was already on -
13 to do something again in order to stop the clashes around Sarajevo.
14 Q. Now, to stop the clashes around Sarajevo or, a wider ambition, to
15 stop the fighting around Bosnia -- the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
16 A. Primarily it had to do with Sarajevo, because we in town did not
17 have any specific information at that time as to what was going on
18 throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. Among other things, we thought that the
19 position of the capital city is of particular significance in terms of
20 peace initiatives.
21 Q. Now, Mr. Izetbegovic was plainly the leader on the Muslim side,
22 wasn't he?
23 A. In effect, yes.
24 Q. What was the reason for setting up this meeting with
25 Mr. Izetbegovic on the one hand and Mr. Krajisnik on the other?
1 A. This initiative was first launched vis-a-vis Izetbegovic.
2 Izetbegovic wanted Mr. Krajisnik to be his collocutor.
3 Q. And did he indicate why?
4 A. As he had put it -- well, it wasn't necessary for anybody to say
5 anything, but it went without saying that he was the favourite Serb
6 interlocutor as far as Muslims were concerned.
7 Q. And for what reason was he their favourite?
8 A. Because he always left the impression of a calm man, a patient
9 negotiator, a man who always tried to build bridges or to keep bridges,
10 bridges that had become shaky, if I can put it that way. Mr. Krajisnik
11 usually would not raise his voice or quarrel or present things rigidly.
12 In parliament, he proved to be very patient, tactical -- rather, tactful,
13 and I think that that is what made him get such standing.
14 Q. Now, the -- what -- what time of day did the meeting occur?
15 A. Midnight.
16 Q. And were you present?
17 A. Yes, I was.
18 Q. So Mr. Krajisnik was present, Mr. Izetbegovic was present, you
19 were present; correct?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. Anybody else present?
22 A. No, no one else.
23 Q. And -- well, what -- what was the discussion?
24 A. The subject of the meeting was what I had already mentioned; that
25 is to say, how to stop the war conflicts in Sarajevo.
1 Q. And did anybody present come up with any concrete proposals as to
2 how to do that?
3 A. In a way, I had proposed the subject to both sides and that was
4 accepted. Now the question was how to carry this through. Mr. Krajisnik
5 mentioned the idea that it would be necessary to have some temporary
6 separation in order to pacify the front line, so to speak.
7 Q. Temporary separation in what sense?
8 A. Mr. Krajisnik insisted on this being temporary.
9 Q. Yes. What -- separation of what from what, in what way?
10 A. Quite simply by taking the population concentrations that had been
11 established as a given situation, a temporary situation, though, that
12 should be pacified. You see, the town was already separated. There was a
13 front line. Mr. Krajisnik suggested to proceed from the actual state of
14 affairs to freeze it temporarily so that the conflicts would cease.
15 Q. And at what -- what, then, was the practical result proposed to
16 be? Temporary, albeit.
17 A. Well, that did not happen, so we can only speak in the
18 conditional. What the result was supposed to be was to have a cease-fire,
19 because both sides wanted to advance in territorial terms in that
20 situation. So if there were to be a freeze on the situation as it was,
21 that should have brought about a pacification.
22 Q. And what was Mr. Izetbegovic's reaction to Mr. Krajisnik's
24 A. At first he expressed some reservations regarding that, and then
25 at the insistence of Mr. Krajisnik that this was a temporary situation and
1 that the sole objective was to stop the conflicts and that this was a
2 temporary situation and that he was sure that he and Izetbegovic would
3 live to see an overcoming of the war situation and that the previous
4 situation would be re-established, that is to say without the separations,
5 so after that, Izetbegovic accepted the proposal, and then the situation
6 that cropped up was how to carry this out in technical terms, so to speak.
7 Krajisnik offered Izetbegovic that he should give a kind of
8 proposal in this regard. However, Izetbegovic replied that Krajisnik
9 should do it. So after a few reciprocal suggestions of this kind - you do
10 it; you do it, and so on - I said that it would be most logical to
11 formulate certain proposals in an operative sense, that they should be put
12 on paper and that then we meet again and continue our discussion. And
13 then one of them - either one or the other, I cannot remember - thought of
14 me being the one who was to make the proposals about the alternatives. So
15 at their request I accepted that, and it was agreed that I put this on
16 paper, a few options, and that we meet again the following day at the same
17 time, again at midnight.
18 Q. Did you then put some options on paper?
19 A. Yes, I did that, as agreed. And also as agreed, I sent these
20 options to Pale by fax, and I received an affirmative answer. Namely, the
21 Serb side accepted option number 4. And then I went to the Presidency and
22 I gave the same paper to Izetbegovic. And it's interesting to note that
23 after looking at the proposal briefly, he chose the same option, option
24 number 4.
25 Q. Was it -- do you know, was it Mr. Krajisnik who had responded to
1 your fax to -- fax or faxes to Pale and notifying acceptance of option
2 number 4?
3 A. No. The late Mr. Koljevic phoned me and said that option number 4
4 was acceptable to him, and then I asked him whether that was only his
5 position or the position of the leadership. Was Karadzic involved, I
6 asked. And he said that he talked to Karadzic and that this is actually
7 the position of the two of them.
8 Q. The -- since the Bosnian Serbs had chosen the same proposal as
9 Mr. Izetbegovic, was it then implemented?
10 A. In this way I had done my part of the job practically. I was
11 sitting in President Izetbegovic's office when Mr. Krajisnik telephoned
12 Mr. Izetbegovic. I think, as far as I understood things, was that the
13 only problem was that on the previous night Mr. Krajisnik's car had been
14 shot at by the Muslim side, and therefore he asked for the second round of
15 negotiations to take place on the Serb side, because the first was on the
16 Muslim side.
17 I did not follow matters further because I thought that I had
18 completed my mission as an intermediary, and I left Izetbegovic's office.
19 Q. Do you know whether they, Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Krajisnik, did
20 in fact meet the following day, or night?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Do you know at all what follow-up, if any, there was after that
24 A. No. I really don't know. As a matter of fact, I wasn't really
25 interested in it later, because you see, the situation was such that
1 things were happening very fast. I thought that I did what I could have
2 done, and I informed my colleagues in my party about it too.
3 Q. At the meeting you've just described with the three of you there,
4 was there any discussion about a conflict in other parts of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina? Other than Sarajevo, that is.
6 A. No. The meeting between Krajisnik and Izetbegovic was very
7 cordial, with a lot of private questions about the respective wives and
8 families and children. I was the one who wanted to move on. And the
9 topic was Sarajevo and there was no discussion about the situation in the
10 entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
11 Q. Are you able to give any useful indication as to how long after
12 the Bosnian Serb leadership moved to Pale this meeting between
13 Mr. Izetbegovic and Mr. Krajisnik took place?
14 A. I'm sure that this was in May, but maybe towards the end of April,
15 beginning of May, maybe around the 28th or the 30th of April, if my memory
16 serves me well, but I can't be sure of that.
17 Q. And the third of the meetings that you mentioned a little while
18 ago, the one that took place at Lukavica, how long after the
19 Krajisnik-Izetbegovic meeting did that take place?
20 A. The third meeting that you are mentioning now, the meeting in
21 Lukavica, must have been towards the end of May. This meeting was also
22 dedicated to my appointment to the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
23 which was in the first half of June. So this must have been towards the
24 end of May.
25 Q. And what was the purpose, then, of the meeting -- well, no. First
1 of all, who did -- how was the meeting in Lukavica set up? Who took the
2 initiative, if anybody, for that?
3 A. Mirko Pejanovic and I did that. We established communication. We
4 got in touch with Pale through Mr. Krajisnik's brother whose phone number
5 we had. He was our liaison person for communication with the leadership
6 in Pale in a very informal way.
7 Q. And did you -- was your proposal -- you and Mr. Pejanovic were in
8 complete agreement about what you wanted from this meeting and who you
9 wanted to be there, were you?
10 A. We were supposed to fill up two empty spaces in the Presidency
11 that belonged to the Serbs. Under the law, it was envisaged that if there
12 were empty seats for whatever reason - health reasons, death, or something
13 else - that there would be no by-elections but, rather, that these seats
14 would be filled by those candidates who had won most numbers. In this
15 case, candidates number 3 and 4. Those seats were empty because Plavsic
16 and Koljevic had left, and we believed that it was our obligation to
17 appear not only as the leaders of multi-ethnic parties but also Serbian
18 representatives, and we thought that we would have to consult this
20 Q. And did you propose who particularly you wished to consult?
21 A. I don't think so. Although the preliminary conversation was
22 carried out by Pejanovic, and I really don't know whether he mentioned any
23 specific names or he just asked for a contact. Mirko Pejanovic knew
24 Momir's brother well before the war, and that's why he was in charge of
25 their communication.
1 Q. And did the four of you meet then, Mr. Pejanovic, you -- well, who
2 was present at that meeting at Lukavica?
3 A. The three of us, not four of us; Mr. Krajisnik, Pejanovic, and
5 Q. Was --
6 A. This was a meeting for which the -- the office of the president;
7 i.e., the Presidency, provided technical support. Izetbegovic's office
8 that was. It was necessary for us to have the consent of both sides,
9 because it was no longer possible to cross from one side to another in a
10 taxi. That's why we were provided with a vehicle of the Presidency. We
11 drove through no man's land and we were met on the Serbian side from which
12 we were taken to Lukavica, and there we met with Mr. Krajisnik.
13 Q. And there were just the three of you present throughout the
14 meeting, were there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And how long did it last?
17 A. I can't remember exactly. In any case, less than an hour.
18 Q. And did anything useful emerge from the meeting?
19 A. Pejanovic and I presented to Mr. Krajisnik our position as people
20 who played by the rules and were supposed to fill up two Serbian places,
21 although in that respect we did not have the national legitimacy.
22 However, the procedure was in our favour, but we did not have the mandate
23 to represent the Serbian people. And according to the structure of the
24 Presidency, this is precisely the role that we were supposed to play.
25 Q. So was -- you were raising this point. Was there a resolution or
1 agreement about these matters?
2 A. Mr. Krajisnik did not have the authority to give us support or to
3 refrain from giving it to us. It was just our wish to inform the Serbian
4 side on what was happening. I remember that an alternative to that was
5 for Mrs. Plavsic and Mr. Koljevic to come back to the Presidency. Not to
6 the centre of the town, because this was not realistic, but just withdraw
7 their resignations. This would have helped us not to have to represent
8 the Serbian side without the legitimacy that rose from the results of the
10 Mr. Krajisnik said that he would convey our message but that they
11 are the ones who were in a position to withdraw their resignations just
12 like they were in a position to hand in their resignations to their
13 membership in the Presidency.
14 Q. So for you and Mr. Pejanovic, did you both favour the solution of
15 Mrs. Plavsic and Mr. Koljevic withdrawing their resignations?
16 A. I couldn't claim that this was Pejanovic's position, but it was
17 mine and this is exactly what I said.
18 Q. Did -- did Mr. Krajisnik give or purport to give you any
19 instructions or directions in relation to the Presidency or your future
20 actions in relation to the Presidency?
21 A. No. I told Mr. Krajisnik that I would have a condition for which
22 I have the support of my party and Pejanovic's support, and that condition
23 was the introduction of a veto in the Presidency, because it was precisely
24 the majority vote that made the positions of Plavsic and Koljevic
25 unsustainable in the Presidency. I said that the -- that both of us would
1 insist on that condition, and that was the only way there could be no
2 out-voting, and it was precisely the out-voting that forced Plavsic and
3 Koljevic out of the Presidency.
4 Q. Was there discussion at that meeting about any other topic apart
5 from what you've already related about the Presidency?
6 A. As far as I can remember, no, save for some very informal private
8 Q. In -- in May 1992, did you go to Belgrade?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And at whose initiative or suggestion did you go?
11 A. This was another initiative of mine in the party, and then it was
12 a party initiative proposed to the Presidency; i.e., to Izetbegovic. At
13 the time, Izetbegovic was the one who held all the strings in Sarajevo in
14 his hands. And the initiative was about an attempt to try and resolve the
15 status of the JNA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to find a solution that would
16 provide for the JNA to stay in Bosnia-Herzegovina but to respect the
17 democratically elected Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, all the while
18 protecting peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I proposed that to Izetbegovic.
19 He accepted that, and he even provided us with the wording of the proposal
20 that could be offered to the Main Staff of the JNA in Belgrade. He
21 proposed that this should be a five-year transitory period during which
22 the army would have the status that I have just described. And after
23 those five years, some of the troops that had remained in
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina could become incorporated into the army of Bosnia and
25 Herzegovina and thus become the army of the state of Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina. And those who didn't wish to do so could go wherever they
2 wanted. And the third responsibility was for those who had reached the
3 pensionable age to be retired. This was my specific proposal accepted by
4 Izetbegovic, and it is with this proposal that I left for Belgrade.
5 Q. And did you go on your own or were you accompanied?
6 A. I didn't go on my own. I insisted on being accompanied by two
7 other members of my party. I wanted our group to be composed of the
8 representatives of the three peoples. One of them was Sejfudin Tokic, a
9 Croat from the leadership, and the third one was Croat Josip Pejakovic.
10 Izetbegovic provided us with a plane. He actually offered us a plane
11 ride. I said I didn't want to fly in the government plane but, rather,
12 the Energoinvest plane in order to stress the informal nature of that
13 journey and meeting in Belgrade. And he in turn asked me to talk to
14 General Kukanjac and ask them to allow us to take off from the Sarajevo
15 airport which was at the time under the control of the JNA.
16 Q. And whom did you meet in Belgrade?
17 A. It had been agreed that this meeting would be with the president
18 of Yugoslavia. Actually, the president of the Presidency, which at the
19 time was the body that was the Supreme Commander of the army. At that
20 time, the president of the Presidency was also the Chief of the General
21 Staff of the JNA. Those were the meetings that had been agreed.
22 However, on the eve of our departure, Izetbegovic asked me
23 eyeball-to-eyeball whether I could also meet with Slobodan Milosevic, who
24 was the President of Serbia at the time. He believed that Milosevic's
25 support to that project was of the utmost importance.
1 Q. Now, the -- the president of the Presidency at the time, was that
2 Mr. Kostic?
3 A. Branko Kostic, yes.
4 Q. Branko Kostic.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And what position did General Adzic have at the time?
7 A. General Blagoje Adzic was not the Chief of the General Staff but
8 the minister of defence, as far as I can remember. He was either the
9 Chief of the General Staff or a defence minister, either/or. I'm not
11 Q. Did you meet him, General Adzic?
12 A. Yes. First we met with General Adzic, then with the president of
13 the Presidency, Branko Kostic, and finally, with the President Slobodan
15 Q. Separately -- there were three separate meetings with those three
16 separate people, were there?
17 A. Precisely so.
18 Q. And was anything agreed?
19 A. In all three cases, we conveyed our proposal, and we received
20 support. However, a question was raised as to what to do next, because
21 those three meetings were rather informal. And then there was a proposal
22 either by Kostic or by Adzic upon our suggestion, which was that the
23 following stage should be taken over by a Muslim from the Presidency and
24 that Fikret Abdic would be best suited for that because of his good
25 business relations all over the country. Our collocutors in Belgrade
1 accepted our proposal, and we conveyed their agreement to -- in Sarajevo.
2 Q. So what -- what specifically was agreed that you conveyed back to
4 A. The formula was completed by Izetbegovic, and that was that the
5 JNA should stay in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the
6 guarantor of peace and security and also prevention of inter-ethnic
7 clashes for a term of five years. In the meantime, the JNA was supposed
8 to respect the position of the Presidency of the state which had been
9 elected in a democratic and legal way, and that after five years the
10 troops and officers would have the right to choose whether to become
11 members of the army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whether they would be
12 retired, or whether they would go back to their own respective homes and
13 become members of their respective armies there.
14 This was the proposal that had been accepted in Belgrade, and we
15 just conveyed the agreement of federal institutions.
16 This initiative took from strength to strength. Izetbegovic went
17 to Belgrade, and the final act of that agreement took place in Ohrid at
18 the well-known Ohrid meeting attended by Izetbegovic, Kostic, Adzic, and
19 the meeting was hosted by Kiro Gligorov.
20 Q. Now --
21 A. However, all this eventually came to nothing.
22 Q. And why did it come to nothing?
23 A. Although the agreement was reached in Ohrid, and this was made
24 public, on his return to Sarajevo, Izetbegovic presented the agreement
25 before the Presidency, but the Presidency refused that agreement.
1 Q. Now, was the Bosnian Serb leadership involved in any way in those
2 discussions and meetings in Belgrade that you've just been referring to?
3 A. As far as I know, no.
4 Q. Did you consult or did you seek the views of any of the Bosnian
5 Serb leadership in advance of going to Belgrade or while you were in
7 A. I didn't do that. I didn't think this to be necessary, because
8 the Serbian side trusted the Yugoslav People's Army, and I was convinced
9 that they would have nothing to say against an arrangement of that sort.
10 Q. Did you report the outcome of those discussions and meetings in
11 Belgrade subsequently to anybody in the Bosnian Serb leadership in Bosnia
12 and Herzegovina?
13 A. No. The results of our activities were very soon made public. As
14 soon as we returned from Belgrade, I reported to Izetbegovic about the
15 course of our talks, about the favourable outcome, and he asked me to
16 inform the members of the Presidency who were waiting for my report. I
17 did it, and after that session I know that there was a press conference
18 and the results of our talks were made public. I also had an interview on
19 TV in which I explained the entire initiative and -- and I informed the
20 general public about the outcome of that initiative.
21 Q. Now, apart from when you were away in Belgrade, for example, you
22 remained living, did you, throughout this period in Sarajevo?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And you lived in the city itself, in the -- centrally in the city?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. One of your children you had moved to Belgrade in March; is that
3 A. Yes. My son left in March.
4 Q. And your daughter, you arranged for her to go sometime in May, did
6 A. Yes. At the time, my daughter was very young. After the events
7 that I described, the shooting during the night when everything in the
8 centre of Sarajevo was demolished and devastated, and when I realised that
9 the basic safety was no longer in place, I sent her to Belgrade as well,
10 to her aunt, my sister.
11 Q. Your daughter was in her mid-teens at that time; is that right?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. Was it possible for -- well, Mr. Kecmanovic, you were able --
14 because of your position, you were able more readily than the average Serb
15 in Sarajevo to make arrangements for your family to leave, weren't you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Was it possible for the run of the Serb citizenry of Sarajevo to
18 leave if they wished in May 1992?
19 A. The situation got worse gradually. During the first weeks of the
20 war, it was rather easy to do that. As I've already said, you could even
21 take a taxi and cross from one side to another. As time went on, it
22 became more and more difficult.
23 I remember as I was leaving Belgrade with my colleagues from the
24 party, it was at the airport I faced the drama of those people who were
25 trying to leave Sarajevo. It was like in a movie, the movie Apocalypse
1 Now when the Americans were leaving Saigon; people were trying to grab
2 onto the wings of the aeroplane in order to leave Sarajevo. It was very
3 difficult to do that. There were large numbers of people waiting at the
4 Sarajevo airport to see if they would be able to leave.
5 Day in and day out this was becoming more and more difficult. And
6 there were people who even put their lives at stake in order to be able to
7 leave. And they also paid a lot of money in order to be able to leave
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, I'm looking at the clock. Time for our
10 next break. But I also promised Mr. Tieger a second.
11 Madam Usher, would you please be so kind to escort Mr. Kecmanovic
12 out of the courtroom. We'll have a break for approximately 20, 25
14 [The witness stands down)
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
16 MR. TIEGER: Thank you very much, Your Honour. I don't believe
17 there is a misunderstanding between the parties but I thought better to
18 make certain that that was the case. The question the Court put to me
19 about what the Prosecution disputed or not was in the context of the
20 so-called sour note and who withdrew or backed away from the Cutileiro
21 discussions, and as the Court noted, and specifically -- and as I
22 acknowledged, there was considerable evidence on that previously and
23 that's not in dispute.
24 I don't want there to be a misunderstanding, however, about what
25 would have happened thereafter, and some suggestion that there was a
1 specific agreement to -- upon which any of the parties would have acted
2 and would have implemented in accordance. So Mr. Stewart made reference
3 to something about such agreement as there was. The Court knows, based on
4 previous evidence, I think, what the status of the negotiations was at
5 that time. Maybe there is a dispute about that between the parties, I
6 don't know, but my acknowledgment was with respect to who backed away at
7 that point.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The question by Mr. Stewart dealt with the
9 genuine commitment, which is a -- perhaps not in every respect
10 practically, is a commitment to sign it, to agree with it. But --
11 MR. TIEGER: Based on my -- based on the state of the evidence, I
12 would say that it's -- it's -- we don't have any argument that the Bosnian
13 Serb side wanted to -- was prepared to move forward and the -- and that
14 Mr. Izetbegovic seemed to back away. Beyond that, there may be more
15 details to discuss, but I wasn't indicating anything beyond that, and I
16 thought that's what was being asked at the time.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I had that in my mind. Apart from that, the --
18 that's also what I had in my mind when I alluded to the facts that the
19 evidence was repetitious.
20 Apart from that, Mr. Stewart, where you said you were willing to
21 -- you're taking -- whether or not to take risks on Mr. Krajisnik's
22 behalf, of course the 65 ter summary says quite clearly that the witness
23 will highlight also Izetbegovic's failure to honour signed agreements,
24 which I understood in this context that being the Cutileiro Plan, but if
25 I'm wrong, please --
1 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I'm not quite sure I follow that.
2 A 65 ter summary is not the witness's evidence, is it?
3 JUDGE ORIE: No. No. But if that's in the 65 ter summary, then
4 it did not come as a surprise perhaps that we heard repetitious evidence
5 in this respect, and that was the issue I raised.
6 If there's anything to be added to it, I'd like to hear it now.
7 Otherwise, we'll adjourn.
8 We will adjourn until ten minutes past six.
9 --- Recess taken at 5.49 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 6.17 p.m.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, you may proceed.
13 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour. Your Honour, my contention
14 is that following a little bit further helpful discussion with Mr. Tieger
15 during the break that the correct and simplest course is I should simply
16 put to the witness the question at page 40, line 25, which was then not
17 answered because we had the -- we had the discussion about the -- what was
18 in dispute.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Please do.
20 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
21 Q. Did you -- just make sure I've got the context correct. Were you
22 -- Mr. Kecmanovic, were you ever aware of anything that signified that
23 the SDS leadership were not genuinely committed to the Cutileiro Plan if
24 others had supported it?
25 A. Absolutely not.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And how did you understand what genuine -- "genuinely
2 committed" means exactly; that they would sign or that they would fully
3 implement, or that they would further proceed on the basis of that? What
4 did you have in mind?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, it is a well-known fact that
6 all three sides signed it. And it's not only the Serb side but the Croat
7 side also did not withdraw their signature. So it was only the Muslim
8 Bosniak side that ultimately did. That is the first point.
9 On this basis, I infer that that is what suited the Croat and the
10 Serb sides. As a matter of fact, now that you're asking me, I think that
11 the Muslim side actually -- Izetbegovic himself, at the moment when he
12 signed the document, he did truly support the plan, but he withdrew it due
13 to other positions apart from his own.
14 JUDGE ORIE: And what do you mean by that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I assume that the conversation with
16 Ambassador Zimmermann was already discussed here. That took place between
17 the signature and the withdrawal of the signature.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for that answer.
19 Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
20 MR. STEWART:
21 Q. Were the -- were you aware of anything that indicated that the
22 Bosnian Serb leadership did not intend fully to implement the Cutileiro
23 Plan if the Muslims had not withdrawn?
24 A. No, absolutely not.
25 Q. Can we go back to Sarajevo, Mr. Kecmanovic? In -- at the time --
1 let's take the time that you went to Belgrade and then came back to
2 Sarajevo and reported on the agreement that you've reached in Belgrade.
3 How much awareness did you have? How much knowledge did you have of
4 violence in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina over the previous few
6 A. I did not have any direct information. I only had indirect
7 information in terms of what was going on outside of Sarajevo. Actually,
8 we already mentioned that there were three cases when I went to the other
10 As for going to Belgrade, that was by plane, so I actually flew
11 over the territory outside Sarajevo, so I cannot take that into account as
12 direct contact with the areas outside Sarajevo.
13 As for these other departures from Sarajevo, it was only for an
14 hour or two, for as long as the meetings would take place, and then I'd go
16 Q. Had you yourself heard news of violence in, for example, Zvornik?
17 A. As for news about what was going on outside Sarajevo, news of
18 course did come in. Newspapers were being printed in Sarajevo, in a
19 reduced form, in all fairness. Newspapers looked like leaflets rather
20 than regular newspapers. And there was also radio information. Very soon
21 there was no electricity in town, so there were transistor radios, and we
22 had the opportunity of listening to radio news, except that -- well, we
23 could listen to the news from both sides, but in both cases, it was war
24 propaganda, and no one could really fully trust what was heard. News were
25 extremely one-sided, so one could only guess about what was actually going
1 on. What I can testify to is actually only the situation in town itself.
2 Q. When you say that you could listen to the news from both sides,
3 what was the -- and you're talking about listening, though, you're talking
4 about the radio. What was the -- both sides. What were the actual
5 sources of the news that you're referring to, that you were listening to?
6 I'll make it clear: First of all, what radio stations were you listening
8 A. At any rate, on the one hand it was Radio Sarajevo. That was the
9 city radio. Possibly it was called Radio Bosnia-Herzegovina at the time.
10 At any rate, the centre of the broadcast was the town itself. And on the
11 other hand, there were the news from Radio Srna or something like that. I
12 can't remember the name exactly now, but at any rate, that's what same
13 from the Serb side. The Radio of Republika Srpska or something like that,
14 or the Serb Radio. I don't know, I can't remember.
15 Q. So Radio Sarajevo, what was that? Was that a normal radio station
16 which had been operating for some long time before the outbreak of the
18 A. Yes. That was a radio that had been in existence for as long as I
19 can remember. But when the conflict broke out, it was in the service of
20 the war situation. It looked like war propaganda rather than neutral,
21 impartial information that one could trust. And if you would hear
22 something, then you'd know that that is what the situation was like.
23 On the other side, the intonation was more or less the same but of
24 course with a different connotation.
25 Q. So far as it was possible for you, Mr. Kecmanovic, to -- to sift
1 out propaganda from something that you felt was reliable, did you in May
2 1992 have any knowledge of what was going on in - let me take examples -
3 Zvornik, Brcko, Bratunac, Sanski Most?
4 A. No. Well, this is not the media. But once I happened to be in
5 Izetbegovic's office, and his daughter, who was at the same time his
6 secretary and his Chef de Cabinet, entered the room and said to him that
7 he had an urgent call. I know it was from somewhere in Eastern Bosnia. I
8 can't say with certainty that it was Zvornik exactly. And it was
9 something important and did he want to speak to the other party, and he
10 said yes, that he would. And since we were alone in the room, I heard a
11 voice that sounded panic-stricken, excited, upset. And he said that it
12 was a kind of call for help, and he told this man to turn to someone else.
13 However, since this person insisted, I know that Izetbegovic said, "I told
14 you earlier on that a struggle for a state requires sacrifice," and he put
15 the receiver down. And then he told me just in passing that it was
16 somebody from the field that was calling him, from Eastern Bosnia, but I
17 cannot say for sure that it was Zvornik.
18 Q. The -- did you, in May 1992, or before then, of course, did you
19 receive any information about actions of the JNA in other parts of
20 Bosnia? And "other parts" meaning apart from Sarajevo?
21 A. No. No. No. Nothing that would be out of this pattern that I
22 already described. On the one hand, you had one type of information, and
23 on the other side you had completely opposite information. You could
24 follow both sides and then try to see what the truth was between these two
25 extremes. What I can say, as far as the listeners of the news were
1 concerned, was that among the listeners, among the citizenry there was the
2 same kind of division. Some believed only one source of news, and the
3 others believed only another source of news, which only made tensions go
4 up even further among the citizenry.
5 Q. Now, Mr. Kecmanovic, you became a member of the Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina Presidency, didn't you, on the 1st of June, 1992?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Who were the other members of the Presidency at the point that you
10 A. Actually, it was the same Presidency as it was in the beginning,
11 after the elections. The only change was that the late Mr. Nikola
12 Koljevic and Mrs. Plavsic were no longer there. Pejanovic and I were
13 there instead of them, and then from the original Presidency Mr. Franjo
14 Boras was no longer there. He was in nominal terms still in the
15 Presidency, but in fact he had been absent for a long time. I think he
16 never went back to the Presidency, although in nominal terms he still had
17 that position because he hadn't resigned.
18 In addition to that Presidency, that is to say Izetbegovic, Abdic,
19 Ganic, Kljuic, there was in view of the fact that a state of war had been
20 declared or, rather, first imminent danger of war, imminent threat of war,
21 something like that, sessions were regularly attended by, but not with the
22 right to vote, Jure Pelivan, who was Prime Minister, and the Chief of
23 General Staff Sefer Halilovic was also present. Also, the vice-president
24 of the Assembly, Mariofil Ljubic.
25 Q. The vice-president of the Assembly, Mr. Krajisnik, still being
1 technically the president; is that right?
2 A. Yes, yes. I think that Mr. Mariofil Ljubic was treated as a kind
3 of acting president or deputy president in the absence of the president,
4 but at any rate, Mr. Krajisnik was still officially president of
5 parliament. Ljubic, Pelivan and Sefer Halilovic, I think, were just
6 invited to meetings but did not have the status of members all the way up
7 to the declaration of a state of war.
8 Q. And was there then -- was there then something that was labelled
9 or known to be called the -- an expanded Presidency of Bosnia and
11 A. Possibly the presence of the mentioned persons was technically
12 treated as an expanded Presidency, because in fact they were not members
13 and they did not have the right to vote. Basically, they were invited to
14 attend, they could partake in the discussion, but they did not have the
15 right to pass decisions, all the way up to the declaration of the state of
16 war. That is when the situation changed.
17 Q. And was it clear to those present at the meeting which had a vote
18 and which didn't?
19 A. Well, it became clear when decisions were supposed to be reached,
20 and we had to take a vote.
21 Q. The --
22 A. As a matter of fact, I think that all of them were not present
23 every time. It depended on the individual case involved. Sometimes it
24 was just one of them or two out of the three. There was no set rule.
25 Q. Now, is this correct -- I'll lead on this, if I may: You imposed
1 -- you and your party imposed three conditions for you to join the
2 Presidency after Koljevic and Plavsic had stepped down. One was that all
3 members of the Presidency should have a right of veto. Two was that all
4 members of the Presidency who were heads of a party should relinquish that
5 position while members of the Presidency, and the third was that the
6 government should be dissolved by the Presidency and replaced by a new
7 government appointed by a new Prime Minister to be appointed by the
8 Presidency. Is that correct? All those were conditions on which you
9 joined the Presidency?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. Working back, the third one, that the government should be
12 dissolved and replaced by a new government appointed by a new Prime
13 Minister, did that happen?
14 A. The process had already started. Mr. Pelivan had resigned at the
15 request of the Presidency, and then the procedure was initiated for
16 appointing a new Prime Minister designate. According to the rules of the
17 game, it was supposed to be a Croat, because when top posts were divided
18 up, it was supposed to be a Croat in that position. So it could have been
19 a Croat only. My proposal was Bozidar Matic. He was director general of
20 the biggest and best-known company in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Energoinvest.
21 He was a member of the federal government before the war. Before me he
22 was the dean of the University of Sarajevo, a very prominent figure, very
23 popular. However, Kljuic warned me that even before Pelivan he was
24 offered the Prime Ministership by the Croat side and that he had refused
25 that. Then I asked for approval to talk to him because I thought that he
1 would accept my offer.
2 To cut things short, that's the way it was. However, when I came
3 back with his written acceptance of the Prime Ministership, then the
4 present Croats, especially Kljuic, said that he as a Croat could only come
5 in as a candidate of the HDZ, no one else. In view of the fact that every
6 one of us had the right of veto, that meant that the whole thing was taken
7 off the agenda. The only remaining solution was to extend Pelivan's
8 mandate because the Presidency could no longer continue this bidding for
9 the Prime Ministership.
10 Q. The second condition, that all members of the Presidency or heads
11 of party should relinquish that position, Mr. Izetbegovic did in fact
12 formally step down as head of the SDA and was replaced by Mr. Mirsad
13 Ceman, is that it?
14 A. Mirsad Ceman was his name; Mirsad Ceman.
15 Q. Was he a real head of the SDA, or was he a cypher or something in
17 A. I knew the man because I was involved in all of those political
18 processes. However, the general public didn't know anything about him.
19 He belonged to a very broad leadership of the SDA. He was not even among
20 the first ten. In other words, he was not the person who was in a
21 position to take the leadership of the party. So this was a mere
22 formality, nothing else.
23 Q. Just going ahead to the declaration of war that you referred to,
24 when did that occur?
25 A. I can't give you a precise answer, although I have a note of that
1 somewhere. In any case, this was in June, during the period while I was
2 in the Presidency. At Izetbegovic's proposal that this should be done,
3 Pejanovic and I had very serious reservations. We announced that we would
4 veto that proposal with the explanation that a declaration of war - in
5 other words a division in the town, a division in the army of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina in which a certain percentage of Serbs were represented
7 up to then - would be construed as a war against their fellow nationals
8 and that this would mean a dissolution of the multi-ethnic structure.
9 After that, Izetbegovic took this initiative off the table. That
10 initiative had come from Sefer Halilovic, the Chief of the General Staff.
11 During that night, he called a session without me and Pejanovic, and the
12 explanation was that they couldn't find us on account of the situation of
13 the curfew, of lack of communications, and they held that session during
14 the following night.
15 Q. As far as you remember, would there have been any difficulty in
16 them finding you?
17 A. You know what? Everything was difficult in the town at that time.
18 It was difficult even to come to the regular sessions of the Presidency.
19 It was very difficult to be there every day. And irrespective of that, we
20 came to our workplace every day, and there was a possibility to find us.
21 All the things were not easy. It would not have been easy to find us, but
22 it was doable. Even if there were some special difficulties in finding
23 us, there was no reason for the session not to be held on the following
24 day when we would have certainly been there.
25 Q. When you became a member of the Presidency, was there -- were
1 there any clear policy guidelines of the Presidency?
2 A. No. When I entered the Presidency, I was a bit surprised to see
3 that not only there was no written document of the sort but also that
4 there was no initiative to have it done, that nothing was even in the
5 pipeline. That's why I asked for a written listing of the goals of the
6 work of the Presidency under such circumstances.
7 Q. And did you receive such information?
8 A. This was my initiative, to do something like that.
9 Q. And was something done?
10 A. No, no, nothing.
11 Q. Were any steps taken to develop any sort of policy or platform?
12 A. When I established that no such thing existed, I proposed an
13 initiative for a political platform that would govern the work of the
14 Presidency and all the other bodies in the territory of the town, and this
15 would have also spilled over outside of the town. I must admit that some
16 members of the Presidency were delighted to hear my initiative, but there
17 were others, however, who were not.
18 Q. Were any steps taken, then, to develop such a political platform?
19 A. As a majority of the attendants were interested in my initiative
20 and wanted something like that to be done, a working group was
21 established. The commander of the army; i.e., Chief of the General Staff,
22 showed the biggest support to that initiative. Also, Halilovic said that
23 his soldiers very often asked him what the goals of their struggle was and
24 that a document of that sort would mean a lot to him.
25 Izetbegovic was -- abstained. It was my impression that if there
1 had been such a document, that this would have meant that his hands were
2 tied in his presidential role.
3 Abdic was in favour, and very soon a majority was defined. Nobody
4 was against it. And then a working group was established with Kljuic,
5 Fikret Abdic, and myself in it, and also Pejanovic, and we were tasked
6 with drafting such a document and present it to the Presidency that would
7 then either adopt it immediately or propose amendments to it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, I'm lost on a certain matter in which
9 I'd like to find my --
10 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: About the declaration of the state of war.
12 Mr. Kecmanovic, you said -- you described the functioning of the
13 Presidency, and you said, "But they did not have the right to pass
14 decisions all the way up to the declaration of the state of war. That is
15 when the situation changed." Then you were further asked about a
16 declaration of war, and you described how there was an initiative by Sefer
17 Halilovic and then that you had reservations just as -- well, you
18 mentioned other names, and finally they -- under Izetbegovic the
19 Presidency, I take it, met during the night when they couldn't find you,
20 and then you said, "He took it off the table." Does that mean that
21 finally the war was never declared, or is that not a correct
22 understanding? Or the state of war was never declared?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The way you understood me is
24 correct. There was a declaration of war, however without the support of
25 the Serbian members of the Presidency, since Pejanovic and myself did not
1 attend that particular session.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And how do I have then to understand your
3 remark that -- I think you said something that "He took it from the
4 table." Let me just find it.
5 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, it's my fault. I'm not -- I hope I can
6 help on this. I've not completed the question properly. It's entirely my
7 fault. I'd left it dangling. The -- may I, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do.
9 MR. STEWART: Try and repair what I've done.
10 Q. Mr. Kecmanovic, there was the meeting at which you and
11 Mr. Pejanovic as well, you had indicated your opposition to there being a
12 declaration of a state of war and at that meeting at which you signified
13 that opposition it was taken off the table. That's right, isn't it? You
14 have to speak into the microphone rather than just nod or ...
15 A. Yes, yes.
16 Q. And then there was a further meeting, the one at which -- at which
17 they said they couldn't find you, and at that meeting, with you not being
18 there to register your veto, and Mr. Pejanovic not being there to register
19 your veto, the resolution was passed for a declaration of a state of war;
20 is that correct?
21 A. Precisely so.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Now I understand.
23 MR. STEWART: It was entirely my fault, Your Honour. I had left
24 it uncompleted, that particular question.
25 Q. The -- so you were tasked, the four of you, Kljuic, Abdic,
1 yourself and Pejanovic, you were tasked with drafting the document,
2 presenting it to the Presidency. Did you do that?
3 A. Yes, we did that. As a matter of fact, the document in question
4 was drafted by me, and then Pejanovic and Abdic and also Kljuic elaborated
5 this draft that I did.
6 Q. How long did it take to produce, roughly?
7 A. Not long, because I had already had a draft of such a document in
8 another document. There was a party document that the Alliance of
9 Reformists had prepared in the meantime. Let me -- let me -- let me
10 explain --
11 Q. Was it produced within two weeks?
12 A. At the most. Maybe even within ten days. If I may explain. If I
13 may clarify. When the situation changed and when the war started, my
14 party was fortunate or unfortunate, if you will, to somehow adjust its
15 strategy, programme and policies to the newly arisen situation. Of course
16 we did not have time for some grand meetings, but we had to respect the
17 democratic procedure and the inner leadership drafted a document that
18 served as a basis for the platform as my view how things should look like,
19 and this is what I gave to Pejanovic for further elaboration. And in a
20 certain way they just fine tuned this document.
21 Q. And what, if you can say, were the essential features of the
22 proposals in the document?
23 A. What was original about this document, together with some
24 generally accepted and acceptable principles, were some elements from
25 Cutileiro's plan that were incorporated into that document.
1 Q. And the elements from the Cutileiro Plan that were incorporated
2 were what?
3 A. In a nutshell, I can tell you that we started from the fact that
4 it was necessary to carry out some sort of decentralisation in
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, that some territorial ethnic units should be
6 established with political autonomy or, rather, ethnic autonomy and
7 political self-government. The focus of that was the fact that we had to
8 start not from the newly arisen situation that was caused by war and force
9 but, rather, that we should start from the situation as it was then.
10 In Bosnia-Herzegovina, there is a tradition and history of
11 territorial and ethnic division. There were regions that had its
12 territorial and ethnic specificities. For example, Western Herzegovina.
13 In the period before the war, during the communism and even before that,
14 Western Herzegovina was not just a geographical term. When somebody said
15 Western Herzegovina, everybody knew that it was a predominantly Croatian
16 region. When somebody mentioned Cazinska Krajina, where is a region where
17 Fikret Abdic hailed from, alternatively we called it the Green Krajina,
18 and everybody in Bosnia-Herzegovina knew that this was predominantly
19 Muslim territory. If somebody mentioned Central Bosnia, of -- it was a
20 well-known fact that this was dominated by Muslims, but that in Bosnian
21 Krajina there is a predominantly Serb population. And we believed that
22 this is the good basis on which we could execute that decentralisation in
23 order to create regions or cantons. At that time there was no mention of
24 entities. This came only after the Dayton. It was the cantons. And this
25 was a similarity with Cutileiro's plan.
1 We also established that the large urban centres or zones of mixed
2 population, particularly in big towns, and that those towns should remain
3 extra-territorial, and in that I mean Sarajevo and some other bigger urban
5 MR. STEWART: Your Honours. Excuse me, Mr. Kecmanovic. Your
6 Honours, about three minutes to go. I have a point which I do need to
7 raise this evening in the absence of the witness, and in fact in closed
8 session, Your Honour, about the way in which we should proceed first thing
9 tomorrow morning. May I do that now?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then, Mr. Kecmanovic, we'll stop for the day as
11 far as you're concerned. We have to continue for a couple of minutes.
12 I'd like to instruct you that you should not speak to anyone about the
13 testimony you have given until now or you're still about to give tomorrow
14 and perhaps Wednesday. You should not speak with anyone about it. And
15 we'd like to see you back tomorrow morning at 9.00 in this same courtroom.
16 Then would you please follow Madam Usher.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
18 [The witness stands down]
19 MR. TIEGER: Before we go into private session, there is one point
20 I would wish to raise and maybe it's more convenient --
21 JUDGE ORIE: It's open session.
22 MR. TIEGER: I think under the normal course of business we would
23 remain in open session for this. Simply this Your Honour: Again with
24 respect to the 65 ter summary, there are several matters that were
25 elicited during the course of this witness's testimony that are not
1 covered in the 65 ter. I am not anticipating at this point that it's
2 going to cause a delay in the proceedings, although I need to look at
3 that, but I do note that Mr. Stewart would seem to be working off of a
4 multi-page document from -- in short, that those areas weren't elicited
5 inadvertently and unexpectedly, and I would ask again that, to the extent
6 possible, the Prosecution be advised as -- well, within the Rules and --
7 but at least as far as in advance as possible, if we can't meet the 14-day
8 deadline, what the facts that are intended to be elicited from the witness
9 will be.
10 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I do my best. I'm working from a
11 multi-page document last saved at about half past one today, so there are
12 simply limits, I'm afraid, to -- we do our best, Your Honour, but there
13 are limits to how much a document in those circumstances can then be
14 transmitted in 65 ter form. It's as simple and as practical as that, Your
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but if I look at the 65 ter summary, under 4,
17 for example, I see mainly one meeting, if I'm correct, where the witness
18 testified about three meetings.
19 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I'm not disputing the general point.
20 We -- we hardly ever do, actually, neither Mr. Josse nor I, dispute the
21 unsatisfactory position in relation to 65 ters, and I don't here, Your
23 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to add something, especially to the first
24 meeting. Well, you spent not much but at least five minutes on that first
25 meeting, which learned us that they went there by taxi, that no specific
1 issues were really discussed apart from some concerns expressed, that at
2 the end of the meeting they understood that Serbs understood each other
3 better than peoples of different ethnicities, and the one point which
4 might have some relevance sufficient enough, I would say, to raise the
5 issue is that if you invite the SDS leadership that -- and not being very
6 specific, expecting either Mr. Koljevic or anyone else, that Mr. Krajisnik
7 turns up, but apart from that, the whole of the meeting from what I
8 perceived until now could have left out without -- but again what I at
9 this moment consider to be the Defence case -- without too much damage.
10 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour appreciates I don't ask the
11 witness how he travels to the meeting. If he tells the Trial Chamber he
12 travels by taxi, he tells us he travels by taxi. I don't want to know
13 that and I don't want the Trial Chamber to know it, but I can't help it if
14 the witness tells me. But Your Honour, I accept the basic point but Your
15 Honour, in relation to these meetings -- well, Your Honour, I have to go
16 into private session now.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, in private session, yes. Mr. Registrar.
18 [Private session]
11 Pages 22393-22395 redacted. Private session.
11 [Open session]
12 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
14 We will adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00, in the same
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.10 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of April,
18 2006, at 9.00 a.m.