Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 26603

1 Monday, 3 July 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.12 a.m.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.

6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number

8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

10 Before we'll start with the examination of the next witness, we'll

11 first turn into private session, or closed session I think is what would

12 be appropriate in the present circumstances.

13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

14 [Private session]

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19 [Open session]

20 THE REGISTRAR: We are in public session, Your Honours.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

22 Mr. Ostojic, just for the public I informed the public that when

23 we were in private session you made a solemn declaration that you would

24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

25 WITNESS: VELIBOR OSTOJIC

Page 26610

1 [Witness answered through interpreter]

2 [Witness appeared via videolink]

3 Questioned by the Court:

4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, could you please state your full name

5 and date of birth?

6 A. Velibor Ostojic, born on the 8th of August, 1945.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ostojic. Mr. Ostojic, did you receive

8 a copy of the witness statement which was compiled by the Legal Officer of

9 the Chamber and subsequently translated into Serbo-Croatian and sent to

10 your home address on the 19th of June, 2006?

11 A. Yes.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Have you had an opportunity to read that statement?

13 A. Yes, I have read it. I have read the entire statement in the

14 Serbian language.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Are there any corrections you would like to

16 make to that statement?

17 A. Yes, there are some corrections that are needed in this text.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please tell us where we find the --

19 A. I'll try, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you refer to the paragraph first.

21 A. Page 2, item 2. The paragraph entitled "professional career." It

22 says that I worked as a journalist in Radio TV Sarajevo, and it should

23 read that I worked there as a language proofreader.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I -- before we continue, I have the full volume

25 of B/C/S through the English translation. Can perhaps this is the way

Page 26611

1 to -- I hope that it's now adjusted.

2 MR. HARMON: I have the same problem, Your Honour, so it's very

3 difficult --

4 JUDGE ORIE: Could you speak a few more words, Mr. Ostojic,

5 perhaps repeat what we just said so that we ...

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Page 2, item 2, paragraph

7 entitled "professional career." In line 1 it says "journalist," whereas

8 it should read "language proofreader."

9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then in the same paragraph, that is

11 to say the same item, in line 3 it should say "minister of information in

12 the coalition government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992."

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further corrections?

14 A. Yes. In the same paragraph, the last line that explains the

15 structure of the top staff in the ministry, at the end instead of "deputy

16 secretary," it should just say "secretary of the ministry."

17 JUDGE ORIE: I have some difficulties to --

18 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I think it's in paragraph 2. It

19 says "vice-secretary was a Croat." The witness, I assume, means the

20 word "vice" should be removed.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Is that correct, Mr. Ostojic, where we read: "The

22 deputy was a Muslim and the vice-secretary was a Croat," that you would

23 like --

24 A. Deputy -- no, no. It should say "that ministry was headed by a

25 Serb, the deputy was a Muslim, and the secretary of the ministry was a

Page 26612

1 Croat."

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So "vice-secretary" is now replaced

3 by "secretary of the ministry." Yes, any further --

4 A. Item 3 on the same page, that is to say the next one. Instead of

5 what it says here that the Council of Ministers was an idea just on paper,

6 it should say that the Council of Ministers was a decision of the Assembly

7 of the Serb Deputies that was supposed to be prepared by Mr. Simovic,

8 deputy Prime Minister for state administration in the coalition

9 government.

10 JUDGE ORIE: That means that the words "an idea on paper prepared"

11 are now replaced with "a decision of the Serb deputies that was supposed

12 to be prepared," and then we continue with "By Mr. Miodrag Simovic, the

13 deputy Prime Minister for state administration in the coalition

14 government," as is already in the text.

15 Any further correction, Mr. Ostojic?

16 A. The next sentence in the same paragraph that reads: "The Council

17 of Ministers did not function as a body," it should read as follows: "The

18 Council of Ministers had not been established and did not function as a

19 body."

20 JUDGE ORIE: So we insert the words "had not been" ...

21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could the witness please be

22 advised not to speak at the same time when the Judge is speaking.

23 JUDGE ORIE: The words "had not been established and" are inserted

24 here.

25 Mr. Ostojic, any other correction?

Page 26613

1 A. Paragraph 5 on the same page. The sentence that starts with the

2 following words: "After the Dayton Agreement and after the first

3 parliamentary elections, I was a deputy in the Chamber of

4 Representatives." What is missing is: "Of the parliamentary Assembly of

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina."

6 JUDGE ORIE: So we add after the "House of Representatives of

7 Bosnia-Herzegovina."

8 Any further corrections, Mr. Ostojic? May I ask you whether we

9 have a similar amount of corrections during the whole of the document?

10 Because that would take us hours and hours here in court, and we might try

11 to find another solution then for that. Do you have a similar number of

12 corrections on later pages as well, Mr. Ostojic?

13 A. Yes, there are changes on the next pages, too, even more than

14 until now.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Once second, please.

16 [Trial Chamber confers]

17 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber invites the parties also to see how we

18 could practically resolve this because under normal circumstances you

19 would invite the witness to put them down on paper and have them worked

20 in, but since we are relying on translations provided by The Hague and not

21 by Belgrade, there might be a problem in doing it in any different way.

22 At the same time, to spend here the whole day in court all of us

23 correcting which seems to be not major changes -- Mr. Harmon.

24 MR. HARMON: One suggestion, Your Honour, would be to take a break

25 and have Mr. Ostojic make his corrections with the assistance of a

Page 26614

1 language assistant in Belgrade, fax those to us immediately as to be

2 distributed to us.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It could even done perhaps in his B/C/S version

4 of the statement.

5 MR. HARMON: It could be, and if that could be distributed then we

6 could --

7 JUDGE ORIE: And then that it would be translated here. At the

8 same time, of course, we are not having the guidance of the -- what will

9 be the final statement.

10 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

12 MR. JOSSE: I, broadly speaking, endorse that, but could I urge

13 the Court to tread very cautiously when the Chamber suggests that these

14 may be "not major changes." The first page is unlikely to be major, but

15 we don't know what is to follow thereafter when we get to the substance of

16 his evidence.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course there are two matters. I thought

18 they were not major changes, and let's also not forget that this is a

19 statement based on an interview of which we have little transcript. So

20 therefore, we know what exactly was said during the interview. Let's try

21 to ...

22 Mr. Sabbah, could I address you for a second? Mr. Sabbah, could

23 you have a -- do you have the B/C/S copy of the statement of Mr. Ostojic

24 there?

25 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: Yes, Your Honour.

Page 26615

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Would it be possible and do you have the

2 facilities to make all the corrections Mr. Ostojic thinks he has to make

3 on paper and then send them by Telefax to The Hague? Do you have

4 facilities to do that?

5 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: Yes, Your Honour. I would just ask

6 the question whether you would like it also to be translated into English

7 or just the B/C/S statement?

8 JUDGE ORIE: Do you -- well, if you would have facilities to have

9 it translated into English, but are the translators sufficiently qualified

10 to do that job? Otherwise, it should be done in The Hague.

11 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: If you give me one moment, Your

12 Honour, I can certainly find out and report back to you.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll then -- I suggest that we'll have a

14 break, that during this break you find out whether you have the facilities

15 needed to do it. If not, please report this to The Hague and we'll then

16 resume. If you have the facilities, I would expect you to assist

17 Mr. Ostojic in making all the corrections.

18 I also add to that, Mr. Ostojic -- yes, that we do not expect you

19 to redraft the whole of your statement, of course, but to make all

20 corrections which are needed for us to properly understand your statement

21 and you may keep in the back of your mind that the Chamber and the parties

22 have the advantage of having had the possibility to read the transcript of

23 what you literally said during your interview.

24 We'll then adjourn without --

25 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour.

Page 26616

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Josse.

2 MR. JOSSE: We're a little concerned about what Your Honour has

3 just said to the witness.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

5 MR. JOSSE: Could Your Honour make sure the witness understands

6 what Your Honour is saying and is of a like view, because perhaps if he

7 could in his language explain to you what he now feels he needs to do, we

8 might know where we're going.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, could you please -- this is a request by

10 Mr. Josse, Defence counsel, could you tell us whether you understood and

11 how you understood what you're invited to do at this moment.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I intervened in the

13 text. It seemed to me that when the transcript was being written out some

14 of my words were omitted, and therefore certain thoughts had not been

15 completed and may therefore get a completely different meaning. My

16 interventions do not actually amend the text or change the statement. The

17 changes are there only to complete each and every thought so that it would

18 be complete, accurate, and comprehensive.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, at least most important, Mr. Josse, and I

20 think that's well understood by the witness is that this statement

21 reflects exactly what he thinks he said and what, at least, he takes

22 responsibility for at this moment.

23 MR. JOSSE: Particularly the latter, I would suggest.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes. I added that not without reason.

25 [Trial Chamber confers]

Page 26617

1 JUDGE ORIE: Another way of dealing with it would be - and I am

2 just asking the parties whether that would be an acceptable way of - is

3 just go paragraph by paragraph, ask Mr. Ostojic to add or to correct

4 whatever he wants without writing it all down at this moment. And then

5 finally have in evidence the statement as amended in the transcript of

6 this hearing, which doesn't make it --

7 MR. HARMON: That's acceptable to the Prosecution, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

9 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

10 MR. JOSSE: We have no observations on that.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Then I just receive some additional information which

12 might help us out even further, that is that I do understand that

13 Mr. Ostojic has prepared all these corrections in writing already on the

14 document; therefore, I now suggest to the parties that we'll ask

15 Mr. Ostojic to read out slowly whatever corrections he has made and that

16 he'll then sign the corrected statement, that it will be sent to The Hague

17 by Telefax anyhow, and that a translation will then be further prepared

18 here of the statement as a whole.

19 Mr. Ostojic, since you -- I do understand that you have made these

20 corrections already all in writing, perhaps we could continue if you

21 slowly read them so that we have them in our transcript. Then later the

22 text will be sent to The Hague for final translation.

23 I think you were at the end of the fifth paragraph. Is that the

24 only correction you would like to make in paragraph 5, adding "of

25 Bosnia-Herzegovina"?

Page 26618

1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the witness.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Now we have again a problem. Could you please repeat

3 your answer. So my question was: Was there anything else in paragraph 5

4 apart from adding "of Bosnia-Herzegovina," what you would like to add or

5 correct?

6 A. Yes.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Please slowly read what you would like to --

8 A. Paragraph 5, paragraph 5, the last sentence in it, instead of "by

9 which my political career was ended," I think I said "by which my

10 political activity was ended." And this is what it should read there.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We move on. Anything more in paragraph 5?

12 A. Nothing else.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph 6?

14 A. Paragraph 6, in the last line, "again I was not a member," the

15 word that is missing is "of a single Crisis Staff."

16 JUDGE ORIE: Any further corrections in 6?

17 A. On the following page at the beginning of the paragraph it

18 says: "The legal provision put a ban on simultaneously holding a

19 political and executive position." What is missing is: "The legal

20 provision on the role of MPs."

21 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please always very precisely point at --

22 are we still in paragraph 6 or are we in another paragraph at this moment?

23 A. Paragraph 6, page 3, the first line.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I've found it. One second.

25 A. After the words "a legal provision ..."

Page 26619

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said: "On the role of MPs" should be --

2 A. What is missing is: "The law -- the legal provision of the law on

3 the election of MPs and deputies."

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further correction in ...

5 A. Yes, Your Honour. In the following line, at the end of the

6 thought where it says that "people were elected as members of the Crisis

7 Staff through their political positions," I believe that it should

8 read: "Members of Crisis Staff through local bodies," instead

9 of "political positions."

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's corrected in "local bodies," instead

11 of "political positions." Anything else in paragraph 6?

12 A. Paragraph 7.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph 7, yes.

14 A. In paragraph 6 there is nothing else.

15 Paragraph 7, the third line from the bottom of that paragraph,

16 i.e., the seventh line of paragraph 7. Instead of "business" it should

17 state "inner."

18 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please read again the line so that we --

19 because I do not find the word "business" right away. Could you read the

20 whole of the line so that --

21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please read the whole

22 sentence.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the whole sentence, I apologise.

24 A. The sentence begins at the end of the sixth line of paragraph 7

25 where it says: "It was not in the core office of the Prime Minister but

Page 26620

1 in the expanded office." It should be: "It was not in the inner office

2 of the Prime Minister but in the expanded office of the Prime Minister."

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It now has been -- "core" has been replaced

4 by "inner." Anything else in paragraph 7?

5 A. Paragraph 10.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

7 A. The second sentence in it. Instead of "the Ministry of

8 Information of Republika Srpska did not deal with foreign media

9 activities," it should read: "The Ministry of Information of

10 Republika Srpska did not deal with foreign media."

11 JUDGE ORIE: The word "activities" to be removed.

12 Yes, anything else?

13 A. Instead of "foreign media activities," it should read "foreign

14 media."

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the word "activities" is moved out --

16 A. And I would like to add to that.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

18 A. In paragraph 7 at the end of the thought: "However, it helped the

19 journalists representing foreign media."

20 JUDGE ORIE: You would like to add this to paragraph 7. Is that

21 correct? Or at the end of --

22 A. Paragraph 10.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then perhaps that was a

24 mistranslation. "However, it helped the journalists representing foreign

25 media."

Page 26621

1 Yes, Mr. Ostojic, anything else in this paragraph?

2 A. No, nothing.

3 Page 4, paragraph 12.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

5 A. The last thought in that paragraph which reads: "Volunteers and

6 students of foreign languages worked there," and it should

7 read: "Students, volunteers of foreign languages, worked there," instead

8 of "volunteers," as such.

9 JUDGE ORIE: You would say the word "students, who were the

10 volunteers." "Students, volunteers of foreign languages ..."

11 A. Yes.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anything else in paragraph 12?

13 A. No, nothing in paragraph 12. And nothing until paragraph 17 on

14 page 5.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What would you like to correct in paragraph 17?

16 A. Paragraph 17, there is a substantive error here at the end of that

17 thought. It reads: "I did not attend any meetings with Mr. Krajisnik

18 other than the Assembly sessions where Mr. Krajisnik was present."

19 No, that he chaired because he was the chairman. He was the

20 president of the Assembly.

21 JUDGE ORIE: It now reads: "Other than the Assembly sessions

22 which Mr. Krajisnik chaired."

23 Anything else in paragraph 17?

24 A. Yes, yes. There is nothing. That would be it.

25 JUDGE ORIE: And next correction would then be in what paragraph?

Page 26622

1 A. Paragraph 18.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

3 A. I believe I said at the beginning of that paragraph: "I'm not

4 sure that the Supreme Defence Council existed in 1992."

5 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then read that --

6 A. At the beginning.

7 JUDGE ORIE: "I'm not sure whether a Supreme Defence Council

8 existed in 1992."

9 A. And that is my only correction there.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So -- but if you say then following: "But I

11 did not attend any session of the Supreme Defence Council nor did I attend

12 any" -- well, if you do not know whether it existed, should we then also

13 read --

14 A. I really am not sure whether it existed or not.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. "I'm not sure whether Defence Council existed

16 in 1992" --

17 A. And I did not attend any of its sessions. Yes.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. To be understood whether there were any or not

19 is another matter.

20 And then the last that you did not attend any session of the

21 Presidency remains as well?

22 A. Yes, yes.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

24 Next correction, Mr. Ostojic.

25 A. The next correction is in paragraph 20.

Page 26623

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

2 A. "I could have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik ..." "I may have

3 consulted with Mr. Krajisnik in his capacity as president of the Assembly

4 about draft laws." And what is missing here: "Or with his associates."

5 JUDGE ORIE: So it then reads: "I could have consulted with

6 Mr. Krajisnik or his associates"?

7 A. Correct. "Or with his associates."

8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that this should read: "I

9 may have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik."

10 JUDGE ORIE: "I may have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik or with his

11 associates."

12 A. Paragraph 20, line 3.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

14 A. In my translation there is a mistake which is more down to the

15 style. "The Presidency of the Assembly had its own information service,"

16 and I believe it should read: "The Presidency of the Assembly had its own

17 information service."

18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter notes that the mistake is in the

19 gender that was used.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So that doesn't change anything in the English.

21 Next correction, Mr. Ostojic.

22 A. The next correction is on page 6, paragraph 22.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

24 A. Line 5. I believe that the translation into my language is not

25 logical; therefore, I would kindly like this to be corrected. Instead

Page 26624

1 of: "The media did not favour any parties that might have supported an

2 ethnic group," it should read: "The media were not equally in favour of

3 the parties."

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It now reads: "The media were not equally in

5 favour of any parties that supported ethnic groups."

6 Please, next one --

7 A. "Which supported national or ethnic groups."

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anything else on page -- in paragraph 22?

9 A. Nothing.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Next correction. What paragraph, please?

11 A. The next correction is in paragraph 23.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

13 A. Page 6. I believe that something was omitted from the

14 translation, and this is a thought in which I said that: "When it came to

15 the division and separation of channels, this was something that was

16 discussed by all the parties and coalitions, and this was not only the

17 position of the Serbian side." And I would like this sentence to be added

18 to the end of the paragraph.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just try to find it. Yes.

20 A. At the end of paragraph 23. This is not there; it is missing.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, it's not there. Please read slowly what is

22 missing exactly.

23 A. This is something that should be added.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

25 A. "The division of channels was something that all the parties in

Page 26625

1 the coalition discussed publicly."

2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for --

3 A. "And this was not the position of the Serbian side only."

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please? Paragraph number?

5 A. Page 6, there are no more corrections there. However, on page 7

6 in paragraph 24 in the second and third lines there are some illogical

7 parts; therefore, I would suggest that this thought which reads: "Radio

8 Banja Luka, Glas Srpksi and Radio Bijelina became important media at the

9 regional level even before 1992" instead of "during 1992." In other

10 words, "Radio Banja Luka, Glas Srpski and Radio Bijeljina became important

11 media at the regional level before 1992." This is what the sentence

12 should read.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's been corrected. Next one, please.

14 A. Paragraph 25, I believe that I explained at the time that not only

15 journalists, refugees worked in the local media, but also the journalists

16 who were otherwise employed there. What is missing here is that "the

17 local media were under the control of their founders, which was the local

18 community." I would like this to be added. And it says here: "The

19 programme or editorial policy was decided by journalists who were refugees

20 and who had left the RTVSA, or who had previously worked in the local

21 media." This is what I would like to see added to that sentence.

22 JUDGE ORIE: It is added.

23 A. "And whose founders were local communities." This would be all.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next one, please.

25 A. Paragraph 27.

Page 26626

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

2 A. Line 1 and line 2, there are mistakes in the names of the

3 transmitters. That is why I would like to make a distinction. In the

4 first line it should read: "As to the alleged take-over of the

5 transmitters on Mount Kozara, Mount Pljesevica, Ciganiste, Majevica, and

6 Trovrh." This is wrong. It should read: "As to the alleged take-over of

7 the transmitters on Mount Kozara and Ciganiste," and that is it.

8 JUDGE ORIE: So we leave out Pljesevica, Majevica?

9 A. Pljesevica, Majevica, and Trovrh.

10 JUDGE ORIE: All three are taken out.

11 A. My explanation should be added: "Pljesevica is the territory of

12 Croatia."

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'll come back later to that, what you would

14 know about the three transmitters that have been taken out now.

15 Please, your next correction would be in paragraph ...

16 A. My next correction is in paragraph 29 on page 8.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

18 A. I remember that there was a question during the interview about

19 re-routing of the transmitters and -- or redirection of the transmitters,

20 and I said that this was a reaction of the individuals on the ground who

21 were not satisfied with the way RTVSA reported, because it was not

22 objected. And I would like to add this thought at the end of that

23 paragraph. "This was a reaction of some individuals on the ground."

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

25 A. "Who were not satisfied with the reporting of the RTVSA."

Page 26627

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Your next correction would be in paragraph?

2 A. The next correction, paragraph 34, page 9.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

4 A. When we spoke about Radio Petrovac, the case of Radio Petrovac

5 that is, I believe that I said in addition to the thought at the end of

6 the paragraph: "Moreover, Radio Petrovac had an insignificant

7 broadcasting range," but I also added that this was a minor case that I

8 was not familiar with.

9 JUDGE ORIE: So we add there: "But this was" --

10 A. "This was a minor case that I was not familiar with."

11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please.

12 A. Paragraph 35, page 9. In answering the question whether the media

13 and the editorial policy of Republika Srpska had any information or

14 propaganda plan, I referred to the archive of the media Republika Srpska

15 that is in place and that was at the end of the final thought in that

16 paragraph. But this is lacking here. It is not there. That is why I

17 suggest: "There was no editorial policy in the media of Republika Srpska

18 that might have inspired or influenced some individual crimes, and there

19 was also an information or propaganda plan which can be ascertained by the

20 inspection of the main media of Republika Srpska."

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please, next correction.

22 A. Paragraph 36.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

24 A. Second line from the end of that paragraph, i.e., the penultimate

25 line.

Page 26628

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

2 A. Instead of: "This alleged statement is a projected statement," I

3 referred to the well-known thesis from psychology which reads -- it should

4 read: "This alleged statement is a projected thought."

5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. "Statement" being replaced by "thought."

6 A. Instead of: "A projected statement," nothing.

7 JUDGE ORIE: And the next correction would be?

8 A. Page 10, paragraph 38. I believe that during the interview I

9 mentioned a public session of the coalition government, the session that

10 took place in 1991 at which the decentralisation of the local government

11 in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been discussed.

12 Your Honours, I would like this to be added to the end of the

13 paragraph: "The decentralisation was publicly discussed by the coalition

14 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991." This is what I would like to

15 add to the -- to this paragraph.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It has been added. Next correction or

17 addition, please.

18 A. Thank you, Your Honour. Paragraph 39.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

20 A. A substantive mistake. Here in the penultimate line it says in my

21 copy: "According to page 2," and I believe that it should

22 read: "According to item 2."

23 JUDGE ORIE: "Page" is replaced by "item." Next correction,

24 please.

25 A. Yes. Thank you. Paragraph 40.

Page 26629

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

2 A. With regard to the meeting, during the interview I expressed my

3 doubt that any such meeting had ever been held. And I don't see it in my

4 translation. Therefore, I would like this to be added to the paragraph in

5 the following form: "I doubt that any such meeting ever took place."

6 JUDGE ORIE: And that would be after the sentence where you

7 said: "I absolutely deny the allegation that I chaired such a meeting

8 with Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic." And then you would like to have

9 added there: "I doubt that any such meeting every took place."

10 Yes, please, next one.

11 A. Correct. Thank you, Your Honour.

12 Next correction is in paragraph 41.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

14 A. In the second sentence, a part of my thought is missing. It says

15 here: "It was not within the purview of the Ministry of Information of

16 Republika Srpska to follow the events at the local level and the

17 activities of the military structures." "It was not within the purview of

18 the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska to follow the developments

19 at the local level and the activities of the military structures -- local

20 military structures."

21 JUDGE ORIE: So we add: "The activity of the local military

22 structures."

23 Yes. Next correction, please.

24 A. Within the same paragraph in line 8 there are mistakes in the

25 translation, therefore I would like this sentence to be corrected to read

Page 26630

1 better. "I do also remember that General Mladic and I both attended a

2 meeting in the beginning of May 1992 which was a rather general meeting."

3 And the explanation in the next sentence is that: "This meeting took

4 place after the Assembly session on 12 May 1992." What is missing here

5 is: "In Banja Luka."

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You changed, apart from adding the place, in

7 English it did read: "This meeting could have taken place after the

8 Assembly session." And the end of the sentence is: "But I may be

9 misremembering." Would you -- I now do understand you said "the meeting

10 took place," instead of "could have taken place."

11 A. Perhaps I haven't got it here in the translation.

12 JUDGE ORIE: And at the end it says: "But I may be

13 misremembering." Is your statement now that the meeting took place or

14 that the meeting may have taken place or could have taken place?

15 A. I still claim that it is possible that it may have been held --

16 oh, I found it. I found it. "Possibly I do not remember all details

17 correctly," as I stated. And what I stated is that "in actual fact that

18 meeting was held by other officials of Republika Srpska," which is not

19 contained in this text. And that is why I said that this was a general

20 meeting.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So what you now add as a matter of fact is that

22 it was -- that the meeting could have taken place after the Assembly

23 session on the 12th of May, 1992, in Banja Luka, and that you may not

24 remember all details. Is that a correct understanding?

25 A. Yes, that's right.

Page 26631

1 JUDGE ORIE: Then your next correction, please.

2 A. Page 12.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph number?

4 A. Paragraph 44, the first sentence. It reads as follows: "I do not

5 recall whether the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska issued

6 accreditations to journalists who visited camps and detainees." But the

7 rest of the thought is missing. "However, it did issue permits to all

8 journalists who came to Republika Srpska."

9 JUDGE ORIE: "However, it did issue permits to all journalists" --

10 A. "All journalists who came to Republika Srpska."

11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

12 A. "And it took care of them." And in relation to that, I

13 unequivocally stated the following fact. That: "In the territory of

14 Republika Srpska at that time, not a single journalist was a casualty."

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please.

16 A. The last correction is on page 13, paragraph 48.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, paragraph 48 deals with your personal

18 health situation. If there's anything you would rather tell us in private

19 session, for reasons of privacy, please tell us. But what would you like

20 to change? But please address me if you'd like to do it in private

21 session.

22 A. There is no need, Your Honour. I can say it right here that what

23 is missing is that I am a heart patient and that I have stomach ailments,

24 which is not a secret. And the latest findings have supported this, and I

25 confirmed that to you, Your Honours.

Page 26632

1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, we have added your heart condition and

2 stomach ailments and the latest filings supporting this.

3 Mr. Ostojic, have you made all your corrections?

4 A. Yes.

5 JUDGE ORIE: May I then -- do you want to add or are these

6 corrections -- anything you would like to add, is that already included?

7 A. Well, Your Honours, I made the corrections by remembering what I

8 said in the interview. It's not that I'm changing the text, so I really

9 don't have anything else to add.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then could I invite you to sign your statement,

11 unless you have done so already, and perhaps to initial each page of it.

12 A. Your Honour, I have already signed the statement and initialled

13 all the pages.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Would you then please give it to the local -- yes,

15 the local representative of the Registry.

16 Mr. Registrar - and now I'm addressing Mr. Registrar in

17 The Hague - the statement would need an exhibit number and that would be?

18 THE REGISTRAR: C6, Your Honours.

19 JUDGE ORIE: C6. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

20 I suggest that before the break - we had a late start - I would

21 read the summary of the witness statement -- no, I'd rather do that after

22 the break so that we can see whether any of the changes would need our

23 summary to be -- to be adapted in any way. Yes.

24 Is there any objection against admission into evidence of the

25 corrected statement under Rule 89(F)?

Page 26633

1 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.

2 MR. JOSSE: No, Your Honour.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Then the statement of Mr. Ostojic is admitted into

4 evidence and we'll, only after the break, see whether the summary needs to

5 be corrected as well.

6 Mr. Ostojic, you'll receive a copy of this statement and the

7 parties will also receive a copy of the statement, and a copy of the

8 statement will be -- of the final statement as amended by you will be

9 given by the Chamber. We'll have a break now until a quarter past 11.00.

10 We'll then start putting -- first of all, we'll start reading the --

11 reading the summary so that the public knows also what your statement is.

12 If it would take more time to check whether any further corrections are

13 needed, the Chamber might decide to postpone the reading out of the

14 summary under Rule 89(F).

15 We'll resume in half an hour from now.

16 --- Recess taken at 10.44 a.m.

17 --- On resuming at 11.27 a.m.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, I see that the videolink with Belgrade

19 is functioning.

20 Before we put any additional questions to you, Mr. Ostojic, I'll

21 first read a summary of your statement that's to inform the public what we

22 are talking about.

23 You were minister of information in the coalition government of

24 Bosnia and Herzegovina until the 12th of May, 1992, when you became

25 minister of information of Republika Srpska. You remained in this

Page 26634

1 position in the government of Republika Srpska until the end of 1992. As

2 to the Bosnian Serb Council of Ministers that allegedly existed in the

3 beginning of 1992, you stated that it was not established and did not

4 function as a body.

5 You described the tasks of the Ministry of Information of

6 Republika Srpska as exclusively related to the legal, technical,

7 technological, and financial side of information. You stated that the

8 ministry had no influence on the editorial policy of the media. You

9 stated that the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska could not

10 receive international or foreign media reports or broadcasts or press

11 clippings of international press organisations, because it did not have

12 the technical resources for that. You stated that the Ministry of

13 Information issued accreditations to foreign journalists. Later on, Radio

14 Television Sarajevo, RTVSA, and Srpska Radio Television, SRT, were

15 responsible for issuing the accreditations.

16 As minister of information of Republika Srpska, you reported to

17 the government and through the government to the Assembly in relation to

18 regulations concerning media and information. You stated that the

19 relationship between you and Mr. Krajisnik was very official and that you

20 did not attend any meetings with Mr. Krajisnik other than Assembly

21 sessions which were chaired by him.

22 You stated that the Presidency of the Assembly had its own

23 information service and that it maintained contact with the media through

24 this information service, not through the Ministry of Information, because

25 it was not within the purview of the Ministry of Information to provide an

Page 26635

1 information service to other governmental organs. You stated that the

2 Main Staff also had its own information service that worked independently.

3 You stated that the SDS did not control any media in Bosnia and

4 Herzegovina in 1991. You further stated that, after the failed attempt to

5 amend the law on information in mid-1991, Radio Television Sarajevo came

6 under Muslim control through informal means and secret dealings.

7 You explained that Srpska Radio Television was established in May

8 1992. The Serbian News Agency was also set up in May 1992. You did not

9 prepare any programming guidelines for these newly established Serbian

10 media. You stated that the editorial policy was decided by journalists

11 themselves who had left Radio Television Sarajevo. Moreover, you stated

12 that there was no editorial policy in the media of Republika Srpska that

13 might have inspired or influenced crimes, that such policy did not exist

14 and that there was no such information or propaganda plan either.

15 You denied the allegation that you said in a radio broadcast in

16 Foca on the 9th of April, 1992, I quote: "Shoot at everything that moves.

17 Slaughter everything that comes into your hands." You stated that this

18 was not your rhetoric and not your style.

19 As to the alleged take-over of the transmitters between August

20 1991 and March 1992 by Serb paramilitary forces, you stated that this was

21 done by individual groups who were dissatisfied with the editorial policy

22 of Radio Television Sarajevo. You did not remember an attack launched

23 against the Radio Television Sarajevo building in the weeks after

24 Mr. Kalinic had threatened in the session of the Assembly on the 12th of

25 May, 1992 to "destroy with rockets" the Radio Television Sarajevo

Page 26636

1 buildings and the antennae.

2 You also disagreed with the allegations put to you that the SDS

3 party in the end of 1991 and throughout 1992 increasingly came to control

4 the media outlets in the territory of Republika Srpska. You also

5 disagreed with the allegation that the purpose of this was to block,

6 suppress, and marginalise information and opinion that dissented from the

7 SDS policy. This evidence is incorrect, in your view, because throughout

8 1991 none of the media had new editors, but rather the same editors who

9 had been appointed during communist rule. Only the newspaper Javnost,

10 which was set up in 1991, published political views of the SDS.

11 You considered the claim that the newspaper Glas and Radio

12 Banja Luka were, and I quote, "put under the direct authority of Republika

13 Srpska" to be too strong in its wording because there was no Banja Luka

14 television in 1991. Banja Luka was just a technical centre of the

15 Sarajevo studio of Radio Television Sarajevo.

16 You were told that the Court received evidence that the ministry

17 provided direct assistance to adapt local newspapers "for operation under

18 wartime conditions." You explained that the phrase: "Adaptation of media

19 to wartime conditions" means that the media can technically provide

20 information at the local level. It also means, in your view, that only

21 correct information will be broadcast, because misinformation in times of

22 war may create panic. You stated that the Ministry of Information of

23 Republika Srpska could not monitor the media outlets in order to avoid

24 misinformation, because it was understaffed. You moreover stated that the

25 Ministry of Information was not entitled to monitor the media outlets.

Page 26637

1 There was no central body that monitored media outlets, in your opinion.

2 You stated that you did not know about a plan of the Bosnian Serb

3 leadership dating from late 1991 to take over power in the municipalities

4 at the time, but that you later learned about such a plan through the

5 media after the Dayton Agreement. You stated that you did not know

6 anything about the origin or distribution of a document of 19 December

7 1991 entitled: "Instructions for the Organisation and Activity of the

8 Organs of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Extraordinary

9 Circumstances."

10 You did not recall an alleged attack on the village Glogova on the

11 9th of May, 1992. You stated that you were not present at an alleged

12 meeting in Pale of SDS Crisis Staffs and municipality presidents around

13 the 10th of May, 1992, and you denied the allegation that you chaired such

14 a meeting with Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic and even expressed doubt

15 that such a meeting even took place. You remembered that you and General

16 Mladic attended a meeting in the beginning of May 1992.

17 You stated that you never paid any visits to municipalities with

18 General Mladic. You could not recall whether the government formed teams

19 of ministers for on-site investigations in the municipalities on 24th May

20 1992, and you could not recall that you were sent on such a mission.

21 You stated that you never visited detention camps. You explained

22 that the Ministry of Information held a record of all accreditations

23 issued to journalists who wanted to visit detention camps. You stated

24 that, on the 26th of July, 1992, you, your driver, and a journalist were

25 ambushed and attacked by the paramilitary group Yellow Wasps and their

Page 26638

1 leader nicknamed Zuco, at a place called Grbavci on the Bijeljina-Pale

2 road. You filed a report with the Ministry of Police. You believe that

3 the police took immediate action to eliminate the paramilitary group after

4 that.

5 And this concludes my summary of your statement.

6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I would have a few questions for you.

8 May I first of all draw your attention to paragraph 7 of your witness

9 statement. You stated that the Ministry of Information of

10 Republika Srpska had a sector of domestic information, finance sector, a

11 legal service, a technical service, and a press centre.

12 Could you tell us how many persons were employed in the Ministry

13 of Information of Republika Srpska in 1992.

14 A. What I stated here was based on the law on the ministries in the

15 government which provides for the duties of the Ministry of Information.

16 And the Ministry of Information had certain planned activities and

17 services. However, some of those services, which can be seen from the

18 archive of the work of the ministry, had either one person or --

19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I'm going to stop you. I'd like you to

20 carefully listen to my question and start first of all to answer my

21 question. My question simply was: How many people were employed in the

22 Ministry of Information of the Republika Srpska in 1992?

23 A. I believe that at the beginning there were about 12 members of

24 staff and that by the end of 1992, by the end of my term of office in the

25 ministry, there could have been no more than 15 members of staff.

Page 26639

1 JUDGE ORIE: And could I ask you whether they were equally divided

2 over the different sections you described or whether the division was not

3 equal. First, perhaps, domestic information.

4 A. In the sector of domestic information, as far as I can remember

5 after such a long time, I had an assistant and two associates whose task

6 was to provide for the needs of domestic media in respect of the work of

7 the Ministry of Information. In the other sectors, the situation

8 differed. The most numerous staff was in the press centre which employed

9 students, volunteers, who were in charge of organising press conferences

10 and of being a contact service for all the journalists and media who

11 visited the Republika Srpska and the Ministry of Information.

12 In the legal service, literally, there was only one person

13 employed and he had a legal background. And the situation was the same in

14 the technical service, where we had, as far as I can remember, a

15 university drop-out and an engineer in electrotechnics.

16 In the finance sector I had only a treasurer. In other words, I

17 did not have either staff or professional capabilities to develop the

18 services as they should have been developed, but they were there in a

19 rudimentary form.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, when you said 1992 approximately 12

21 people employed and by the end of that year not more than 15, did you

22 include volunteers, as you just said, student volunteers, did you include

23 them in those numbers?

24 A. Yes, yes. They -- they received certain compensation for the work

25 that they did and I have included them as well.

Page 26640

1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I'd like to move to another subject.

2 May I take you to paragraph 3 of your statement. In your

3 statement, as you amended it this morning, you said that the Council of

4 Ministers was a decision of the Serb deputies that was supposed to be

5 prepared by Mr. Miodrag Simovic, the deputy Prime Minister for statement

6 administration in the coalition government. And you said: "The Council

7 of Ministers had not been established and did not function as a body."

8 I'd like to take you to the minutes of the second meeting of the

9 Ministerial Council of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and

10 this is found under the first tab.

11 Could the document which is P65, tab 82.1, in the bundle be shown

12 to the witness. That is the second meeting of the Ministerial Council of

13 the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on the 17th of January,

14 1992.

15 Have you got that in front of you, Mr. Ostojic?

16 A. Yes, in the English version.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There should be a B/C/S version as well for

18 you.

19 A. I've got it now.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Ostojic, according to these minutes you

21 were appointed president of the Commission of Public Services. Moreover,

22 according to the same minutes, you informed the Ministerial Council of the

23 activities and the tasks in the field of information and dissemination,

24 according to this document, and Mr. Krajisnik proposed a debate on the

25 relation between the Ministerial Council and the Assemblies. You said that

Page 26641

1 the Council of Ministers had not been established and did not function as

2 a body. The minutes suggest a different situation.

3 Could you please comment on your statement that the Council of

4 Ministers was not established and did not function as a body, despite

5 these minutes?

6 A. First of all, I am totally unaware that there were some activities

7 involving the Ministerial Council -- actually, I'd forgotten about that.

8 In other words, I did not remember any activities involving the

9 Ministerial Council.

10 Second of all, in my view, these minutes reflect an administrative

11 activity with regard to the preparations for the establishment of the

12 Ministerial Council of the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

13 And third of all, I did not do anything at all with regard to that

14 position nor can I remember ever having been involved in any activities

15 that would have to do with this position.

16 JUDGE ORIE: You said that in your view "these minutes reflect an

17 administrative activity with regard to the preparations for the

18 establishment of the Ministerial Council of the Assembly of the Republic

19 of Bosnia and Herzegovina." This sounds as if the meeting was focussing

20 on the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina administrative matters. If --

21 A. Let me repeat.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Before you repeat anything, unless it would have been

23 mistranslated, I see reference made very often to institutions of the

24 Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not just of institutions

25 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Could you please comment on that?

Page 26642

1 A. Your Honour, this Ministerial Council should have taken off the

2 ground in order to articulate the political and ethnic rights of the

3 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, it did not touch

4 upon the authorities of the institutions of the Republic of Bosnia and

5 Herzegovina. That is why I believe -- actually, these minutes reminded me

6 of something that I have completely forgotten. I believe that these

7 minutes reflect an administrative activity by the people who were tasked

8 by the Serbian Assembly of the Republic of -- Serbian Republic of Bosnia

9 and Herzegovina.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you tell us what role Mr. Krajisnik

11 played in this meeting.

12 A. In light of the fact that I have completely forgotten this

13 activity, I can say even less about the activities of these people who are

14 mentioned here. And save for a statement that the most responsible people

15 from the Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina attended

16 this meeting, bearing in mind that what I am saying here should be the

17 truth, I cannot say anything more about this. I just can't remember. I

18 believe that -- that all those who were present were present in order to

19 observe the work in this administrative sphere of a body that should have

20 been established.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, your statement that the Ministerial

22 Council did not function -- was not established and did not function as a

23 body, is that still your evidence at this moment?

24 A. I must be honest and say that the minutes challenge that; however,

25 my recollection of the period have made me state that this council did not

Page 26643

1 function.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Now --

3 A. In my view, it was just an activity that was being conducted and

4 that developed.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us -- but perhaps I first explain

6 perhaps to you a sound that might be very unfamiliar to me -- to you, very

7 familiar to me. In the Netherlands at 12.00 on the first Monday of the

8 month, they usually test the sirens for urgency situations. So if you

9 heard a lot of sirens in the background, that is just a testing exercise

10 and nothing else at this moment. You might wonder what comes to your ears

11 at this moment.

12 Mr. Ostojic, if you say: Well, my recollection was a bit

13 different from what you read here in these minutes, in your recollection

14 then what body, if not the Ministerial Council, performed governmental or

15 executive tasks and functioned as a de facto government of the Serbian

16 people in the beginning of 1992?

17 A. Your Honours, irrespective of the fact that there is a document

18 describing an activity, I still claim that during this period of time,

19 which is the beginning of 1992, in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina

20 there was not in the sphere of the Serbian representatives a single body

21 that might have had any power, any executive power. All the

22 representatives of the Serbian people in the coalition government worked

23 exclusively in the organs of the executive power within that coalition

24 government. I can claim this because I myself was a participant in the

25 coalition government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Page 26644

1 JUDGE ORIE: I move to another subject at this moment,

2 Mr. Ostojic.

3 You stated in paragraph 39 of -- yes, but before I move to another

4 subject, Judge Hanoteau has a question for you.

5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]

6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

7 JUDGE ORIE: We have to stop because no English interpretation is

8 received in Sarajevo. Another way of -- I beg your pardon.

9 MR. JOSSE: Or here.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Or here. I don't know how much time it would take

11 to --

12 [Trial Chamber confers]

13 JUDGE ORIE: In order not to lose more time, Judge Hanoteau will

14 put the question in English so that we can continue, and during the next

15 break have an opportunity to --

16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: At least I will try to do it in English.

17 In paragraph 5, at the end of the document, quite at the end, we

18 can read: "A statement about this meeting of the Ministerial Council will

19 be made by Velibor Ostojic."

20 Do you remember to have established such a statement? Do you

21 remember you have accepted to make such a statement and have you made it?

22 I can read: "A statement about this meeting of the Ministerial Council

23 will be made by Velibor Ostojic."

24 Can you read this, Mr. Ostojic? It's --

25 A. I cannot find it. I cannot find it.

Page 26645

1 JUDGE ORIE: On page 6 of the B/C/S version, the last lines above

2 the names -- it reads: "5. A statement about this meeting of the

3 Ministerial Council will be made by Velibor Ostojic."

4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: Do you remember having accepted --

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I've found it.

6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: -- that mission, and do you remember you have

7 written such a statement?

8 A. No, I do not remember having written such a statement. Quite

9 simply, I cannot remember.

10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: Thank you very much.

11 JUDGE ORIE: I'll then, Mr. Ostojic, move to our next subject.

12 In paragraph 39 of your statement you stated that you do not know

13 anything about the origin or the distribution of the document

14 entitled: "Instructions for the Organisation and Activity of the Organs

15 of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Extraordinary

16 Circumstances" dated the 19th of December, 1991. Would you please have a

17 look at this document again. You find it as the next one in the bundle

18 which is in front of you.

19 And for the parties, it's P43.

20 A. I have had a look.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Since you were shown this document by a Legal

22 Officer in Belgrade during the interview, have you been able to recall

23 anything more about this document?

24 A. I've looked at this document. Today, like then, I do not recall

25 anything in relation to this document because at that time I was not an

Page 26646

1 official of the Serb Democratic Party, which I stated in paragraph 6 on

2 page 2 of my statement.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

4 A. Because in July 1991 there were party elections within the Serb

5 Democratic Party, and I was not a candidate in that election because that

6 was prohibited by the law on the election of deputies, members of

7 parliament, and state officials in government. That is the reason,

8 therefore, why I did not --

9 THE INTERPRETER: There was a break in the soundtrack,

10 interpreter's note.

11 A. I was very busy with my work in the Ministry of Information of

12 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, may I ask you to look at the next document in

14 the bundle, which is a newspaper article from the 12th of March, 1992,

15 Slobodna Bosna, which is entitled: "Serbs, Get Ready for War."

16 You found that, the title?

17 A. Yes, yes.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I will quote some of this article. It starts

19 with the following sentence: "Slobodna Bosna is the only one to publish

20 the 'instructions on the organisation and activities of organs serving the

21 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances'

22 which," but still a quote from Slobodna Bosna, "which the SDS forwarded to

23 the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina through its municipal

24 councils." That is P405 in this bundle.

25 Isn't it correct, Mr. Ostojic, that the newspaper article is

Page 26647

1 referring to the 19th of December instructions; namely, the document you

2 were shown before?

3 A. In my assessment, on the basis of many years of work in the sphere

4 of information, I believe that Slobodna Bosna is alluding first and

5 foremost to the Assembly of the Serb People in Bosnia and Herzegovina and

6 the Council of Ministers that was -- well, it's supposed to be made

7 complete and start functioning.

8 I could not read the text now. I just glanced at it. I've just

9 seen what is written in italics and I've seen the headlines. So speaking

10 in an ad hoc manner as I look at the text, I see that this is what is

11 being alluded to. Maybe I'm not right. However, likewise what is alluded

12 to in the text and what is suggested by the text is an introduction of a

13 state of emergency in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and only one party is being

14 blamed for that.

15 JUDGE ORIE: But isn't it true that -- let me move to my next

16 question. What could you tell us about the Slobodna Bosna newspaper, and

17 what coverage did the newspaper have in 1992?

18 A. Well, Slobodna Bosna, like another newspaper that appeared at the

19 time in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that was called Vox, were

20 extremist newspapers from the tabloid sphere. What they preferred in this

21 context was that everything they published did not have to be correct

22 necessarily, but it was necessary in order to sell more copies.

23 Therefore, they carried articles of a sensationalist nature, caused

24 turbulence in the public scene, and all of this with a view to selling

25 more copies and have a larger circulation.

Page 26648

1 Slobodna Bosna, from a newspaper that started out as a tabloid

2 with a circulation of a couple of hundred copies, came to a circulation of

3 tens of thousands of copies. The same happened with the Vox newspaper.

4 At the time, when I was minister of information in the government of

5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this newspaper in the ministry itself and in serious

6 journalistic circles was treated as a sensationalist newspaper of

7 extremist journalism and a newspaper that aspired to shape a public

8 opinion that would lead to disagreement, suspicions, conflicts, and of

9 course it was a newspaper that aspired to shape public opinion based on

10 sensations.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you tell us approximately in March 1992

12 what would have been the -- at that moment the number of copies that was

13 distributed of each of these newspapers? You said it started with a

14 couple of hundred, and then -- at this time in 1992, March 1992, could you

15 tell us what approximately the number of copies was?

16 A. If you permit me, I will try to draw out of my subconsciousness

17 some recollections. The letterhead of Slobodna Bosna said about 20.000

18 copies.

19 [French on English channel].

20 Circulation then Vox. In that month --

21 JUDGE ORIE: We have again a technical problem. I receive both

22 English and French at this moment on channel 4. Let's continue and see

23 whether we get exclusively English again.

24 Yes, I apologise for interrupting you, Mr. Ostojic. You said

25 20.000 copies. Could you tell us anything about the --

Page 26649

1 A. Yes.

2 JUDGE ORIE: -- distribution geographically.

3 A. Of course. Well, the newspaper Slobodna Bosna was primarily

4 focussed on the city of Sarajevo and other centres in Central Bosnia,

5 Zenica, Tuzla, Mostar, and that's where most of its readers were.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Not in Northern Bosnia?

7 A. Well, certainly some copies arrived there as well. I really

8 cannot rule out any areas in terms of this newspaper not having been

9 distributed there. It was sold through the Oslobodjenje retail network,

10 so it could be found at all the newsstands, where you could also find

11 Oslobodjenje, the then-leading newspaper of the republic.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, do you remember this newspaper article

13 that you saw it at the time or heard about it at the time it was

14 published?

15 A. I do not dare say anything, that I remember this properly. But

16 what I do remember is that as minister of information I got this paper

17 every week and I wish to state quite openly that in view of the regard I

18 held it in and as a person who was well-versed in the sphere of

19 information, I knew that this was a newspaper that should simply not be

20 believed at all and no time should be wasted on reading that paper. It is

21 quite possible that for weeks on end I did not open that newspaper. Quite

22 simply, I had better things to do and more serious things to do that came

23 from the sectors from the home public and the foreign public, what serious

24 newspapers worldwide wrote about. So I gave more thought to that rather

25 than a paper that, according to my criteria, was a sensationalist

Page 26650

1 newspaper and one that I did not pay any attention to.

2 The reason why I cannot unequivocally remember the headline is the

3 fact that I had a completely negative view, not only of this newspaper but

4 of all the newspapers that appeared then as tabloids, and one knows full

5 well how they increase their circulation, through the method of

6 sensationalism.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, in your statement you said that you

8 learned about this, such a plan after the Dayton Agreement. Could you

9 tell us what exactly you did learn about such a plan after the Dayton

10 Agreement?

11 A. Well, I learned of that paper -- or rather, I had occasion to hear

12 at the time about that document which was simply made public. That is

13 what I meant when I said that I heard about this paper after the Dayton

14 Agreement. Because at that time, in view of the activities of the

15 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, this document

16 was already being mentioned as something that had appeared during the war.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know whether any of the foreign media you just

18 referred to ever published this document or about this document? Did you

19 come across any such information when you read the other media?

20 A. As far as I can remember, I did not find that in the foreign

21 media -- or rather, in clippings, press clippings of foreign media.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Who selected and who prepared these press clippings?

23 A. The sector for the foreign public in the Ministry of Information.

24 There was an assistant minister for foreign media who had a discretionary

25 right to produce press clippings as to what the foreign press wrote every

Page 26651

1 day about Bosnia-Herzegovina. I, as minister, would receive a final

2 version of the text, both from the assistant minister for foreign media

3 and from the assistant minister for the home media.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you said that you never came across this

5 document in the foreign media, would that be true for when it supposedly

6 was drafted or -- that is, in December 1991? Was it then that you didn't

7 come across it, or would that be true also for the time when

8 Slobodna Bosna published it in March 1992?

9 A. Well, independently of what Slobodna Bosna wrote, I'm referring to

10 the time when I was minister of information, and that is the end of 1991.

11 I cannot recall that in a press clipping I read this and that the

12 assistant minister for the foreign media submitted such writings to me.

13 JUDGE ORIE: And at a later stage, in 1992, when you were not a

14 minister of the federal government anymore?

15 A. Then it was particularly the case, in view of what happened in the

16 aftermath. I did not remember having encountered any writings that had to

17 do with this document.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you're telling --

19 A. Because in the beginning -- I beg your pardon.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I -- you now refer to the time when you were

21 minister of information in the coalition government, but what about the

22 time when you were a minister of information in the government of

23 Republika Srpska, that is -- well, let's say, from the 12th of May, as you

24 told us, until the 20th of December, 1992, did you ever come across in any

25 foreign media any publication about this document?

Page 26652

1 A. No. I cannot recall. If I cannot remember something and if I

2 cannot establish something, since I am under oath, I quite simply dare not

3 make any statements that would not be in line with the oath taken.

4 So at the time when I was minister in the government of

5 Republika Srpska, minister of information, this document was not something

6 that I was informed about and it most certainly was not the result of any

7 activity through the Ministry of Information.

8 JUDGE ORIE: And when you were a minister in the Republika Srpska

9 government, was the -- was the system, as you just described, in the other

10 government, that you would be -- that you would receive clippings of

11 foreign media, was that the same or was it different or ...

12 A. There were some differences. Since the Ministry of Information of

13 Republika Srpska had just been established, it did not have financial,

14 technical, or staffing possibilities to develop its activity, as I could

15 have developed activities in the Ministry of Information of

16 Bosnia-Herzegovina because there was no comparison between the conditions,

17 technical, financial, and other, between these two cases of course to the

18 detriment of Republika Srpska.

19 So, for example, the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska

20 did not even try to produce daily press clippings, as was the case during

21 my time at the Ministry of Information of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the

22 conditions I had there could not be compared to the other conditions.

23 Press clippings were distributed every day to all officials of

24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Presidency, members of the Assembly, members of

25 government.

Page 26653

1 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us absent anything about the frequency

2 of, if any, press clippings being distributed when you were in the

3 Republika Srpska government and whether that remained the same in the

4 whole of 1992 when you were a minister or whether there were any changes

5 in it.

6 A. While I was the minister of information of Bosnia-Herzegovina,

7 these clippings were a daily occurrence --

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

9 A. For the previous day. The following morning, all the relevant

10 officials and factors in Bosnia-Herzegovina received such reports, and

11 this was something that was done continuously. It was not of a very high

12 quality because sometimes it was done in a haste in order to meet the

13 deadlines. And the technical service with the government had to make the

14 sufficient number of copies for every member of the government and the

15 Assembly. But this functioned on a regular basis --

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Ostojic, my question was focussing on the

17 time when you were a minister of information in the Republika Srpska

18 government. Could you give us information about that period of time.

19 A. I apology. I'm --

20 JUDGE ORIE: You told us already that it was different.

21 A. I apologise, Your Honour, I just made an error. It was a slip of

22 the tongue.

23 Press clippings in the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska

24 were an occasional activity. It happened every now and then. This was

25 not a regular activity because there were no conditions in place to do

Page 26654

1 that. At the beginning of our work, we were duty-bound by the regulation

2 governing the work of the Ministry of Information. We had to pass all the

3 laws for the Assembly within the deadlines, and this was the primary and

4 basic activity during the first half of 1992 in the Ministry of

5 Information of Republika Srpska.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us anything -- you said it was

7 occasional. How many times, well, let's say, a month you would receive

8 clippings?

9 A. Well, I'm trying to remember in a responsible way. This could

10 have been once in a month we would do a review of the writings in the

11 newspapers, primarily of the domestic press.

12 JUDGE ORIE: You said "primarily of the domestic press." My

13 questions were focussing on the international media. What role did the

14 international media play?

15 A. Let me put it simply. We did not have the technical capabilities,

16 and we did not receive foreign press to read, to peruse, to look at the

17 way those journalists who had visited us and used our services ended up

18 writing about us. At one point I said that we tried to create all the

19 security conditions for the representatives of the foreign media to work

20 in Republika Srpska, and I believe that we were successful in that because

21 we made to provide safety for all the journalists, and every one of them

22 was satisfied with our services.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to move to another subject,

24 Mr. Ostojic. In the 3rd Assembly Session, which was on the 11th of

25 December, 1991, you made the following comment when asked about whether

Page 26655

1 you proposed the establishment of Serb Assemblies in the municipalities.

2 And I'm referring the parties to P65, tab 62. You find the

3 document in the bundle.

4 Mr. Ostojic, it's the next document in the bundle. Could you

5 please look at page 24 of the version in your own language, and it's

6 page 16 in the English.

7 You said: "In places where we can have no political influence on

8 the life and work of the municipalities, in places where our

9 representatives serve only" -- have you found it, Mr. Ostojic?

10 A. I have.

11 JUDGE ORIE: So I'll then resume.

12 " ... in places where our representatives serve only to fulfil the

13 formal requirements for the functioning of a government which produces

14 decisions against the interests of the Serbian people, Municipal

15 Assemblies of Serb representatives must be formed. And in places where

16 even this is not enough, municipal territories of the Serb people must be

17 constituted."

18 This ends my quote.

19 Mr. Ostojic, how did you envisage municipal territories to be

20 formed in areas where Serbs were, as I understand from your speech, were

21 in the minority?

22 A. I spoke publicly about this issue at the sessions of the coalition

23 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina which raised serious questions about

24 this issue. And the topic was the decentralisation of power and

25 expressing needs at the local level of every ethnic group who cannot

Page 26656

1 exercise their political and constitutional rights as a result of being a

2 minority.

3 In this case, and I'm going to read about the last sentence which

4 the interpreter cannot interpret because it was read out too fast, and I

5 primarily mean the legal -- the legal norm, the name of which is a

6 personal autonomy of a minority group in a certain territory. It is

7 possible that I did not use the right terminology, but this is what I

8 meant. And this statement of mine is not a heresies, and I said that also

9 in my statement in one of its paragraphs that at the time a discussion was

10 going on in the government and the republican Assembly about the

11 decentralisation of power and the request of all the three ethnic groups

12 to establish new municipalities and to find a modality by which all the

13 local nationality communities might be satisfied.

14 JUDGE ORIE: That's still -- you made in this speech -- you make a

15 distinction between the establishment of Assemblies of Serb

16 representatives and where that is not enough, municipality territories of

17 the Serb people must be constituted -- again, my question is, because you

18 didn't fully answer that: How did you envisage municipal -- and that is

19 municipal territories of the Serb people to be constituted in areas where

20 Serbs were in a minority? How would you do that?

21 A. Well, this is an opinion about a discussion, and one cannot be

22 entirely precise, but I'll try and be as precise as possible at the

23 moment.

24 Wherever there is a majority ethnic group, they have to be

25 provided with a legal possibility to establish a new municipality. And

Page 26657

1 the deputies are representatives of the local government, and this is just

2 a symbol that has to represent the elected government in that newly

3 established municipality. And if the same people is a minority in other

4 places, municipal territories of that people have to be established. And

5 in those territories, a certain national minority would exercise their

6 personal protection and their personal rights if in a broader region - and

7 there were such cases - they were threatened by the fact that a different

8 ethnic group was a majority in that territory. In that sense, the

9 constitution or the establishment of the municipal territories of the

10 Serbian people or some other peoples in different areas should have taken

11 place if that people was threatened by majority people, who threatened

12 their right of vote and their rights in that territory.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Was it at that time the prevailing opinion in the

14 Bosnian Serb leadership that municipal territories should be formed?

15 A. The prevalent opinion was that of the people in -- on the ground,

16 and this was not just the Serbian people. And I will illustrate this by

17 some examples. I remember the session of the government. The opinion was

18 to either establish municipalities or municipal territories with a local

19 micro government. In other words, if the leadership of the Serbs in

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina had an opinion about the establishment of new

21 municipalities, that was in conformity with the concept of the

22 decentralisation, and this did not exist only amongst the Serb population.

23 For example, the Serb population wanted to have the municipality of Ozren

24 between Maglaj and Tuzla. The Muslim population, on the other hand,

25 wanted to have a special municipality, Janja. And the Croatian population

Page 26658

1 at the same time wanted to have a municipality near Jajce which had been

2 the municipality of Dobrotin in the past. Namely, quite a long time

3 before that -- I apologise.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you for a second. You made a distinction

5 between establishing Municipal Assemblies of Serb representatives and the

6 establishment or the constitution of municipal territories of the Serb

7 people. So you make a distinction between the two.

8 My question is focussing on whether the Bosnian Serb leadership,

9 whether it was the prevailing opinion at that time among the Bosnian Serb

10 leadership, that municipal territories should be formed, so not only

11 Assemblies to be established, but also municipal territories to be

12 constituted.

13 A. No. In the first case, the establishment of the Assembly of the

14 Serbian deputies, the position of the Serbian leadership was in conformity

15 with the Muslim and the Croatian leaderships' opinion. And in the second

16 and third cases, it was only at the level of discussion as to how to

17 overcome numerous local problems in the functioning of local authorities.

18 And also, with regard to the establishment of these municipal territories

19 of a single people, what was meant was the territories where those peoples

20 did not have a representative in the government, and they were without

21 representation in the government. They did not have any MPs or deputies

22 or members of government in those areas.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that. But my question is

24 whether it was the prevailing opinion that it would be sufficient to

25 establish Municipal Assemblies of Serb representatives, Assemblies, the

Page 26659

1 plural, or whether the Serbian -- Bosnian Serb leadership also wanted to

2 constitute municipal territories. You make that distinction in your

3 speech.

4 A. Yes. I believed that the difference in the position of the

5 leadership of Serbs did exist. There was a prevalent position that within

6 the decentralisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina there should be a demand

7 for the Municipal Assemblies. And the second issue was just in the realm

8 of discussion.

9 JUDGE ORIE: So I do understand that Assemblies should be formed,

10 but whether municipal territories should be constituted was a matter of

11 discussion and not something one had -- they had made their mind on yet.

12 Is that correctly understood?

13 A. Yes.

14 JUDGE ORIE: I used in my question the expression "the Bosnian

15 Serb leadership." How did you understand this expression when you gave

16 your answer?

17 A. What I meant was the representatives of the Serbian people who had

18 been elected in the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 18th of

19 November, 1990, and I meant those at the republican and local levels, and

20 I primarily had in mind the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and

21 Herzegovina, the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Serbian

22 deputies in the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I had in mind the members

23 of the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the ranks of the Serbian

24 people and all of us MPs in the municipalities that belonged to the

25 Serbian people and that had been elected in the elections. In other

Page 26660

1 words, the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs is something that I regard as a

2 structure that was elected by the people, starting with the local level to

3 the republican level. I do not mean just the leaders thereof.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And who did you consider to be the leaders of

5 what you now say is a large number of people you call the leadership? Who

6 were the leaders in that leadership then?

7 A. I make a distinction here. I said the leadership of the Serbs in

8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I mentioned people ranking from the deputies in

9 the local Assemblies to the members of the Presidency. The leadership is

10 the leadership of a political party. In this case, I meant the Serbian

11 Democratic Party.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You made a distinction. You said: Well, you

13 gave a long list of people you considered to be the Bosnian Serb

14 leadership. And you say: "Something that I regard as a structure that

15 was elected by the people starting with the local level to the republican

16 level. I did not mean just the leaders thereof."

17 Who did you consider to be the leaders thereof?

18 A. The leaders are those that were elected by the people in some

19 elections, those who articulate the political will of that people. And

20 this is regardless of who the people are, the Serbs, the Croats, the Jews,

21 because all of them had representatives in the government and in power.

22 JUDGE ORIE: You made a distinction between the leaders of the

23 structure that was elected by the people and that structure as such. I'm

24 now, for the second time or third time even, asking you when you said: "I

25 do not mean just the leaders thereof," and that was in relation to the

Page 26661

1 leaders of that structure of elected -- of persons elected by the people,

2 who did you refer to when you said: "I do not mean just the leaders

3 thereof"?

4 A. When I said "the leaders," and I believe that I've already

5 answered that question, I meant those who were in top positions, members

6 of the Presidency, MPs, and members of the Presidency of the Assembly of

7 Bosnia and Herzegovina. And as opposed to that, political leaders or

8 leader is the president of the political party that articulates that will.

9 In other words, the political leader is the president of the Serbian

10 Democratic Party. And leaders of the Serbs are all those who were elected

11 and who belong to that pyramid from the local level to the republican

12 level. And the higher the point on the pyramid was, the more

13 responsibility that person had for the leading the structures of either

14 local or the republican power.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ostojic.

16 We'll have a break. We have, after the break, only half an hour

17 still to go, but we first have a break of 20 minutes.

18 We'll resume at a quarter past 1.00.

19 --- Recess taken at 12.54 p.m.

20 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.

21 JUDGE ORIE: I see no videolink yet.

22 Mr. Ostojic, I'd like to move to another subject. In the

23 interview you were asked about the 16th Assembly Session on the 12th of

24 May, 1992, in Banja Luka. You appeared there as a speaker, and you

25 referred to travelling with Mladic on the day before to villages in

Page 26662

1 Herzegovina. You explained in paragraph 41 of your witness statement that

2 you travelled together with Mladic by helicopter to Banja Luka on the 11th

3 of May because the road between Banja Luka and Bijeljina was closed. I'll

4 read out to you what the transcript of this Assembly session says.

5 And for the parties it's P65, tab 127. You find it in the bundle.

6 Page 31, English, page 22 of the B/C/S version.

7 I read the relevant portion to you, Mr. Ostojic. You said: "I

8 have witnessed a confirmation of what Mr. Brdjanin has said about the

9 Muslims and their conduct in relation to Serbian rule, while travelling

10 yesterday with General Mladic and being in contact with Muslims from one

11 village in Herzegovina where you can see precisely who can be -- either

12 the master or the servant, and that nothing can be when they are with us.

13 And we do know what kind of masters they make - then we have genocide -

14 and what kind of servants -- respecting the authority and awaiting what we

15 will feel like saying."

16 What, Mr. Ostojic, was the purpose of this visit to a village in

17 Herzegovina?

18 A. First of all, as for this visit to a village in Herzegovina, it is

19 some kind of a mistake because no such visit took place. I don't know. I

20 cannot remember and I don't know that I went out into the field and in

21 what context with General Mladic. This trip from Pale to Banja Luka was a

22 trip taken by MPs and candidates for cabinet members in a helicopter, but

23 we --

24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic. Mr. Ostojic, you said: That trip, I

25 did not travel to a village in Herzegovina. So what I said on the 12th of

Page 26663

1 May what you did on the 11th of May is incorrect. That's your testimony?

2 A. Yes. I said that in paragraph 41 of my statement on page 11, and

3 I'm perplexed now by some statements of my own and --

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

5 A. -- these events that I do not seem to be able to link up. Now,

6 what is this all about? I know exactly that on the 11th --

7 JUDGE ORIE: No, no -- well, most important for us is what

8 happened on -- whether or not you travelled with Mr. Mladic on the 11th,

9 and you say you did not. So therefore the question why you travelled with

10 Mr. Mladic, I take it that the answer would be the same -- that that's --

11 since it is a mistake you could not give us an explanation. Is that

12 correct?

13 A. I did not travel on the 11th. I travelled towards Banja Luka.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Did you --

15 A. That can be checked in the government documentation, which

16 government members travelled on the 11th of May from Pale to Banja Luka

17 and arrived in the evening of the 11th of May because the Assembly took

18 place on the 12th of May. I don't know where this comes from, these

19 papers saying that I went somewhere else. On the 11th of May I travelled

20 from Pale to Banja Luka.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, did you ever travel with -- or did you

22 ever go somewhere together with Mr. Mladic?

23 A. No.

24 JUDGE ORIE: You --

25 A. I could only have mentioned in this entire account that I heard a

Page 26664

1 discussion or that people were talking about some village in Herzegovina.

2 But on that day, I absolutely claim that I was not in any village in

3 Herzegovina. I absolutely claim that on the 11th of May I travelled from

4 Pale to Banja Luka. That is what I absolutely assert, if anything can

5 have the value of an absolute.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's move on.

7 In the 16th Session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly, that's still

8 this session the 12th of May, General Mladic stated the following, and

9 it's found in the English version, page 35, and the B/C/S version

10 page 26: "Please," said Mr. Mladic, "please let us not set before

11 ourselves goals that will bring us down. Let us set before ourselves the

12 goals we can achieve. Many of you have helped me. I already said this a

13 few days ago. I keep on repeating certain things. I said this in

14 Nevesinje before the top leadership of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and

15 Herzegovina and before an even more select political leadership in

16 Belgrade."

17 Could you tell us, Mr. Ostojic, what gatherings Mr. Mladic was

18 referring to in this portion of his speech?

19 A. Your Honour, as I listened to the question, I am trying to have a

20 look at the text --

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.

22 A. -- and what Mr. Mladic stated so that I could answer the question

23 responsibly.

24 As for his encounters with the representatives of the local

25 authorities, if they did take place, Nevesinje included -- well, those are

Page 26665

1 the kind of encounters I have in mind.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Not the kind of -- do you know anything specifically

3 about any meeting or gathering in Nevesinje?

4 A. Well, as for these meetings I found out precisely from this

5 statement that was then made in Banja Luka. As for what was done

6 specifically, I don't know. At any rate, it was my understanding that

7 this was a general type of meeting where he met with the local structures.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Were you present at the meeting where Mr. Mladic -- a

9 meeting that took place in Nevesinje?

10 A. I did not attend this kind of a meeting. Simply, I find all of

11 this quite new and unknown to me. There was no need for me to attend such

12 a meeting. There was no context that would make it necessary for me to

13 attend such a meeting. At that time we candidates for cabinet members in

14 Republika Srpska were under the pressures carried out by the legislative

15 branch in order to elect a government of Republika Srpska on the 12th of

16 May in Banja Luka. The basic law on government of Republika Srpska had to

17 be prepared for that purpose, too. And within that basic document, the

18 law on the government, every minister-designate was supposed to prepare

19 the relevant article of that law that pertained to his ministry. I

20 remember that this article that has to do with the field of information,

21 that is to say of this law in Republika Srpska --

22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you know whether Mr. Krajisnik was present

23 at the meeting in Nevesinje or a meeting, as just referred to by

24 Mr. Mladic, a meeting with an even more select political leadership in

25 Belgrade?

Page 26666

1 A. I think that at this meeting in Nevesinje, no one from the

2 Presidency of the Assembly or from amongst the candidates for government

3 members of Republika Srpska were present. None of us were present because

4 we were engaged in this normative activity. I am unaware of this meeting

5 in Belgrade and I cannot state anything in that regard.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, this Chamber has heard evidence which

7 said that you, Mr. Ostojic, met with General Mladic in Nevesinje before

8 the 12th of May. What do you have to say about that?

9 A. That's not correct. Again, I say -- I have to say that all the

10 days in May, after returning from that village where my father was buried,

11 I spent all of these days in my work related to constituting the Ministry

12 of Information. And during those May days, I did not leave Pale at all,

13 which can be checked in the rules of the government of Republika Srpska

14 and my daily engagements. There is documentation related to all of this.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to take you to next subject. The

16 record of a joint meeting of the National Security Council and the

17 government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on the

18 10th of May, 1992 is before this Chamber as evidence.

19 For the parties P64A, tab 617.

20 And you'll find that as the next document in this bundle.

21 Now, at this meeting, an agenda for the upcoming Assembly session

22 on the 12th of May was prepared, and it reads under item number 1(a) as

23 follows: "Report on the political and war situation in the Serbian

24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The report will be prepared by the

25 president of the National Security Council." And then it

Page 26667

1 reads: "(Velibor Ostojic has been charged with preparing the report with

2 the assistance of the minister of interior and national defence)."

3 Have you found that?

4 A. Yes.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, do you remember being charged with the

6 preparation of the report on the political and war situation in the Serb

7 republic?

8 A. Well, without this document, I could not remember. But now I see

9 in the document that this was the duty that I had.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, well that's reading from the document. Do you

11 have any active recollection of being charged with the preparation?

12 A. I cannot recall. Irrespective of the fact that there is a

13 document in existence, I simply cannot recall from my memory what I did in

14 relation to this duty and whether I actually carried it out with the

15 assistance of these two ministers and how this was ultimately done.

16 During those days there were some exceptional activities on the part of

17 future government members with regard to all of this normative activity

18 and the indispensable legislative activity.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you remember that session? And if so, do

20 you remember whether Mr. Krajisnik was present at this joint meeting of

21 the National Security Council and the government on that 10th of May,

22 1992?

23 A. As for the sessions held up until the 12th of May, this Assembly

24 took place, too, and I'm trying to remember now. I mean, what I'm trying

25 to say is that I do have some memory of the session being held, but I

Page 26668

1 think that Mr. Krajisnik was not present at this session. I cannot recall

2 that he was present.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, in this case it has been alleged that

4 Mr. Krajisnik was involved in the preparation of the agenda for the

5 Assembly meeting on the 12th of May, 1992 and that he may have attended

6 this joint meeting.

7 A. I don't know how he could have been involved in the preparation of

8 this session, if you are referring to this session of the 12th of -- of

9 10th of May. I was not a member of the inner circle of the Prime

10 Minister, but, quite simply, I cannot remember whether Mr. Krajisnik

11 attended the meeting. And what I'm saying is I wish to confirm what I

12 remember. And if I'm not sure, I am afraid that I would make a grave

13 mistake vis-a-vis myself and vis-a-vis the Court.

14 Once again, I repeat that I cannot recall that Mr. Krajisnik

15 attended this meeting of the 12th -- of the 10th of May.

16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, just to be sure, Mr. Ostojic, if you can't

18 remember or if you don't know something, please tell us without any

19 hesitation that you don't know or you don't remember.

20 My next question is: Why did the National Security Council and

21 the government prepare the agenda for the Assembly session?

22 A. Simply put, and with responsibility, Your Honour, I don't know and

23 I cannot remember. But the government was indeed preparing for the

24 Assembly; that I know.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Did that happen at other occasions as well, that

Page 26669

1 is -- that a joint meeting of the National Security Council and the

2 government prepared the agenda for the Assembly in such a meeting?

3 A. No. No. This is an exception as far as I'm concerned. I have

4 just familiarised myself with it, but while I was a government member in

5 1992, I cannot recall any other such meetings. Even physically, the

6 government, after the 12th of May, was in a different place from

7 Banja Luka. It moved to a hotel in Jahorina, so even physical distances

8 led to the fact that the government worked independently.

9 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to move to the next subject. This Court,

10 Mr. Ostojic, has heard evidence about the airport negotiations, which took

11 place in Lukavica in May 1992. The airport was handed over to the United

12 Nations on the 27th or the 28th of June, 1992. Do you know who took part

13 in the negotiations on the Bosnian Serb side in those airport

14 negotiations?

15 A. As far as I can remember, first and foremost I think that it was

16 the late Nikola Koljevic who took part in these negotiations. I don't

17 know who else took part.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Were you, yourself, involved in these negotiations?

19 A. No. No. I was not because it was not within the domain of my

20 work as a member of the government.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It has been alleged in this case that

22 Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Koljevic, and Mr. Mandic were in charge of the airport

23 and that you, Mr. Ostojic, were also involved in the negotiations. Does

24 that change anything in your previous answer?

25 A. No. I absolutely claim that I was not involved in these

Page 26670

1 negotiations. I can just recall that Mr. Koljevic was in these

2 negotiations. I don't know about the others. This is a field that was

3 outside the Ministry of Information, so there are no grounds for the

4 Ministry of Information and its representative to be involved in that.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know whether Mr. Krajisnik did attend or did

6 ever join meetings in which these negotiations were held?

7 A. I don't know. I don't know. I cannot say that I know anything

8 about that. As far as I can remember, Mr. Koljevic was in charge of

9 contacts with international institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.

11 Mr. Ostojic, we have to finish for the day. We'd like to see you

12 back, even if it is at a distance, tomorrow morning, 9.00, at the same

13 place where you are at this very moment. And I'd like to instruct you

14 that you should not speak with anyone about the testimony you have given

15 or the testimony you are still about to give in this case. Do you

16 understand those instructions?

17 A. Yes, Your Honour, that is what I'm doing. I respect your position

18 and I will fully respect it with great discipline and responsibility.

19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we will adjourn for the day. We'll resume

20 tomorrow morning, 9.00, Courtroom I, and continue with the videolink with

21 Belgrade.

22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,

23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of

24 July, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.

25