1 Thursday, 17 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore?
7 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, yes, there is just three small matters,
8 one that is extremely important and may I deal with that at the start?
9 Can I on behalf of all the lawyers present congratulate you on your
10 elevation to vice-president, and I suppose it's being slightly flippant by
11 saying they almost got it right but we utter our congratulations to you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, and all counsel and all present, thank
13 you so very much. It was a great honour that was bestowed on me by the
14 Judges this morning, an extra load perhaps that I carry with good heart,
15 good cheer and good energy. And I would add that also welcome today is a
16 permanent Judge rather than as an ad litem judge was Judge Van den
17 Wyngaert. So you have two new lots of life on the Bench as from now.
18 Thank you very much.
19 MR. MOORE: Pleasure.
20 May I move on to two smaller matters? One that relates to the
21 transcript that was used yesterday for the meeting between Cyrus Vance and
22 Mr. Sljivancanin et al. That was not made an exhibit, and I wonder
23 perhaps if that could be made an exhibit, although I know there may be a
24 small issue in relation to translation in two small parts. But
25 nevertheless, I will make an application for it to be an exhibit in any
2 JUDGE PARKER: Which tab was that?
3 MR. MOORE: It wasn't on a tab. It was the separate -- it was the
4 separate sheet held together by a staple.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Yes.
6 MR. MOORE: It's got the number, the last four numbers, 7244.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
8 Mr. Lukic?
9 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good
10 afternoon to everybody in the courtroom.
11 I don't mind having this video footage admitted into evidence. I
12 spoke to Mr. Moore just now and expressed my bewilderment that we didn't
13 do this yesterday. What I have a problem with is the transcript that we
14 had in our hands, the hard copy. There is a portion missing in the B/C/S
15 version, and there is something in English that I couldn't find in the
16 B/C/S version. Therefore, I would like to have this retranslated by the
17 CLSS, and in the meantime, can we just mark it for identification?
18 That's all I had to say.
19 MR. MOORE: Yes. I was told about small concerns and I, of
20 course, will have that looked at again, and we have isolated the two
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will for the time being be marked for
23 identification, Mr. Moore.
24 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
25 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be marked with number 69.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. MOORE: And then the video itself, I suspect, should be a
3 separate item, in any event, and that is -- it's an excerpt, number 327,
4 and it's V00/1231.
5 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much, indeed.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This will be exhibit number 70, Your Honours.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, Ambassador. I'm sorry in the
9 handling of all of those matters you've been rather overlooked. May I
10 remind you of the affirmation you made at the commencement of your
11 evidence which still applies.
12 THE WITNESS: Of course.
13 WITNESS: HERBERT STUART OKUN [Resumed]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Tapuskovic?
15 Cross-examined by Ms. Tapuskovic:
16 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Okun. My name is Mira Tapuskovic. I'm one of
18 the attorneys of Miroslav Radic.
19 As we were preparing for your testimony, we from the Defence team
20 received very little information on you. The Prosecution only disclosed
21 to us four pages of your diary in -- with translations, and now we had
22 occasion to see that these diaries of yours are quite voluminous. You
23 were introduced to the Defence and to the Trial Chamber as an
24 international witness. That means that you were to tell us about the
25 general context of events taking place in Croatia in the second half of
2 Yesterday, several times, you mentioned various names of
3 officials, officers you met in the course of your mission in the former
4 Yugoslavia, and it seemed to me that you yourself speak one of the
5 languages that we refer to here at the Tribunal as B/C/S, meaning
6 Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. Do you understand any of those languages?
7 A. I speak Russian. I read Cyrillic easily, and via Russian, I can
8 understand some Serbo-Croatian, what you call B/C/S. I would not claim to
9 be fluent in Serbo-Croatian, what you call B/C/S.
10 Q. Thank you. I think it would be interesting to tell to the Trial
11 Chamber that before coming here you testified here twice in two other
12 cases. In 2003, you testified in the case Prosecutor versus Slobodan
13 Milosevic; is that right?
14 A. Yes. It was February 2003.
15 Q. The other case where you also appeared as a witness was the
16 Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik in 2004; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's correct. I testified in that case in June 2004.
18 Q. In both of these cases, your testimony was quite extensive, lasted
19 several days?
20 A. I believe so.
21 Q. In the Krajisnik case, you spoke only about the events which took
22 place in Bosnia following the eruption of the conflict in 1992. Did you
23 at one point in time give evidence about the events in Croatia and what
24 took place in Croatia?
25 A. I don't recall specifically. It might well be the case, because
1 the conflict in Yugoslavia was a continuing, almost continuing conflict,
2 and the situation overlapped from republic to republic. So while I can't
3 recall anything specific, there probably was some mention of Croatia.
4 Q. I will then, when the time comes, refer you back to what you
5 stated then.
6 In addition to the transcripts of your testimony in these two
7 cases, we also received from the Prosecution a brief statement which seems
8 somewhat unusual to us in its form. It is called a declaration. You
9 signed it in 2001. Do you remember that?
10 A. No, not specifically.
11 Q. You signed this declaration on the 14th of August, 2001, and it
12 seems that it was sent to the Prosecution either by fax or by mail, and it
13 pertained solely to Slobodan Milosevic. I'm just now trying to refresh
14 your memory. It's a very short declaration that discussed his ability to
15 control the events in the former Yugoslavia. Do you remember that?
16 A. I remember that I was extensively questioned during the Milosevic
17 trial on that point. I'd be grateful if you could make available to me,
18 and perhaps to the Court, this declaration of 2001, which I don't recall
19 at the moment.
20 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please assist me?
21 Your Honours, I'm now giving to the usher the English version of
22 the declaration signed by the witness in the United States. Could this be
23 put on the ELMO after the witness has taken a look, so that everybody else
24 can see it as well?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Once the witness has had a chance to look at it, he
1 will no doubt be able to tell us whether he recalls making the statement
2 or affirmation, and if he does, we will proceed from there.
3 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
4 THE WITNESS: I've read this declaration, Mrs. Tapuskovic. Yes, I
5 do recall it, and I may say it is accurate. Everything in the statement
6 is accurate. I stand by it fully. Indeed I was questioned about it
7 for -- by Mr. Milosevic for numerous hours during the Milosevic trial on
8 these points.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ambassador. Perhaps the document might
10 be put on to the machine next to you where you will be able to see it but
11 it will also be able to come up on our screens.
12 If it can be turned so that the ambassador can read it, please.
13 Thank you.
14 Yes, Mrs. Tapuskovic.
15 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, all I wanted was to
16 put this to the witness so that he can either confirm or deny signing such
17 a declaration. The witness first said that he did not remember signing
18 this and only upon seeing the declaration he accepted it as his own, and I
19 have no further questions concerning the declaration.
20 Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Do you want it tendered?
22 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] No, no need, Your Honours for
24 Q. Yesterday you told us about various conferences. In fact, you
25 mentioned two conferences on the former Yugoslavia. One of them, as far
1 as I was able to understand, was called the conference on Yugoslavia; and
2 the second one was called the conference on the former Yugoslavia. Did I
3 understand this well?
4 A. You have the first title correct. The second title was not quite
5 correct. The first title, the first conference, was called the Conference
6 on Yugoslavia. That was the EC-sponsored conference we've discussed,
7 which lasted from August 1991 -- yes, August 1991 until August 1992, and
8 that was the one that, as we discussed, had the responsibility for the
9 comprehensive solution of the Yugoslav problem.
10 The next conference, the second one, was the International
11 Conference on the former Yugoslavia, which actually convened primarily in
12 Geneva, and it existed from September 1992 until approximately 1995. I
13 was the deputy co-chairman of that conference, the international
14 conference, from September 1992 until May 1993.
15 Q. Thank you. In your earlier testimonies in the other two trials,
16 you told us that the task that you were given on the 25th of September,
17 1991 in the resolution was to establish peace in the territory of the
18 former Yugoslavia. Yesterday you also mentioned something interesting,
19 namely, that you were a member of a fact-finding mission. Is that right?
20 A. Yes. That is standard diplomatic procedure when you form a
21 mission and you go to a country, particularly where there is conflict.
22 The first thing you have to do is, before you can even begin to mediate
23 between the parties, the first thing, of course, that one has to do is to
24 seek to establish the factual situation.
25 Q. Paragraph 3 of the Security Council Resolution sets forth legal
1 framework for your mission. Paragraph 3 specifies that the United
2 Nations, without any undue delay, offering assistance and advice to the
3 government of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Do you
4 remember this paragraph 3 of the resolution?
5 A. Thank you. I have it in front of me. Yes, I'm looking at it, and
6 you've characterised it partially correctly and partially incorrectly.
7 Q. Thank you. Tell me, please, other provisions of that resolution,
8 did they urge the parties to abide by the cease-fire agreement of the
9 17th and 22nd September of 1991?
10 A. Yes. Article 4 of resolution 713, I quote: "Strongly urges all
11 parties to abide strictly by the cease-fire agreements of 17 September
12 1991 and 22 September 1991."
13 Q. As you, Mr. Okun, were in charge of fact-finding, please tell us
14 whether the parties to the conflict complied with these instructions of
15 the UN?
16 A. The answer is no, none of the parties complied with the
17 cease-fires that were unilaterally declared and sometimes not unilaterally
18 by the European Community. There were more than a dozen cease-fires
19 declared by the European Community between July 1991 and December 1991.
20 Q. Can you tell the Chamber whether the resolution also introduced
21 weapons embargo or, rather, an embargo on delivery of arms and ammunition?
22 A. Chapter 6 reads, and I quote: "Decides under Chapter 7 of the
23 Charter of the United Nations that all states shall, for the purposes of
24 establishing peace and stability in Yugoslavia, immediately implement a
25 general and complete embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military
1 equipment to Yugoslavia until the Security Council decides otherwise
2 following consultation between the Secretary-General and the government of
4 That's paragraph 6, operative paragraph 6, of Resolution 713.
5 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. When you testify in the Krajisnik case in
6 2004, as you spoke about the other international conference on the former
7 Yugoslavia, because in the meantime certain republics had been recognised,
8 you said that the seat of that conference moved from Geneva to New York.
9 If you don't remember saying that -- first of all let me ask you, do you
10 remember that, that that is how it was?
11 A. Yes, I do. The conference seat moved from Geneva to New York in
12 February 1993. Excuse me, I should add that we didn't simply move to the
13 city of New York. We moved specifically to UN headquarters in New York
15 Q. Thank you. That's a very important explanation that you just
16 provided, Mr. Okun.
17 I would like to ask the usher to assist me, if possible, and put a
18 page of the transcript from the Krajisnik case on the ELMO, as you have
19 told us that you don't remember all of the details that you had mentioned
20 of the occasion. Thank you.
21 Your Honours, in order to proceed faster, I will give two copies
22 to the usher. They are identical. One is intended for the witness and
23 the other one is for the ELMO. The same sentence has been underlined in
24 both copies. Thank you.
25 Mr. Okun, can you confirm that the copy that I have just provided,
1 the copy that you have in front of you, is identical to the copy that the
2 usher has placed on the ELMO? This is something we need to do for the
3 sake of the transcript. So if you could please check to your right, look
4 at the ELMO, and see the document there is identical to the one that you
5 have in front of you.
6 A. They are identical.
7 Q. Thank you. I'm not sure if everybody can see this on their
8 screens. The words that are highlighted in yellow, sir, could you please
9 read them out? It's only two lines.
10 A. With your permission, may I read the entire answer? It adds only
11 one line.
12 Q. No, no. Just the highlighted portion, please.
13 A. So you're telling me I cannot --
14 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, Mrs. Tapuskovic. There is one answer.
15 I think it would be more important that the whole answer be read than just
16 a sentence from it.
17 If you would, thank you, ambassador.
18 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Certainly, Your Honour, certainly.
20 A. The preceding question, very briefly, was: "Let me ask you," I'm
21 quoting, "more generally whether the discussions continued among the
22 parties and the representatives of the international conference on former
23 Yugoslavia, and my" -- to go to -- the question continues.
24 My answer was, and I quote: "Yes, after the presentation, of
25 course, there were" -- the presentation here refers to the Vance Owen
1 peace plan which had been presented to the parties to the conflict several
2 weeks previously in January 1993. Excuse me.
3 "After the presentation, of course, there were acceptances and
4 rejections and the plan was complex in certain respects. The conference
5 moved in February to New York to be closer to the United Nations and to
6 decision-makers in Washington."
7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. What I would like to ask you in relation to
8 the last words you have just spoken, from this answer that at the time you
9 provided in the Krajisnik case, can you please tell us who are these
10 decision-makers in Washington, since you seem to be using the plural
11 here? Are we talking about the US government? Are we talking about the
12 president? Or are we talking about the institution that sent you away on
13 a peace mission to Yugoslavia?
14 A. I have to preface my answer with a small introduction as to this
15 answer, which is very simple and straightforward, and I will proceed to
16 answer it again.
17 The conference, as I've mentioned, was a combined conference of
18 the EC and the United Nations. In my capacity and Mr. Vance's, we were
19 the United Nations side. Lord Owen was the co-chairman for the EC. Now,
20 since the United States was -- is not a member of the EC, and there are --
21 were then about 140 or so members of the United Nations, and although, of
22 course, it is a fact that Mr. Vance and I are American citizens, our
23 capacity was in -- we were there as UN people, wearing blue hats, so to
24 speak, and it was the consensus view of all of the parties to the
25 conference, including all of the Yugoslav parties, that we could move more
1 quickly and that we could facilitate our discussions if we were in
2 New York at the headquarters and were in the same time zone as the
3 principal players.
4 Now, I say the United States was not represented at this
5 conference, and it is, I think, fair to say that the United States of
6 America is an important member of the world community, and it was common
7 sense to have our members consult, as we did with other countries
8 constantly. If you look through my diaries, which you have, you will see
9 us in Italy, consulting with the Italian foreign minister, in Germany with
10 the German foreign minister.
11 Q. May I interrupt you, sir?
12 A. By all means.
13 Q. I must interrupt you. I fully agree with you as far as the
14 consulting part is concerned. It is logical for you to consult a number
15 of countries, but you said here that you had to be in the vicinity of the
17 My question was brief and clear: The United States, at the time,
18 for you, sir, were they the decision-makers as concerned events occurring
19 in Europe? Because you transferred the seat of the conference from Europe
20 to the United States at the exact point in time when the war began to
21 flare up, as it were. Would that be a fair statement?
22 A. No. Now I understand your question. Decision-makers in
23 Washington means they are decision-makers in Washington, clearly not
24 decision-makers in Europe. That's I think self-evident. They have the
25 Secretary of State, for example, people like that, they -- the kind of
1 people who make decisions for their government. They don't make decisions
2 for other governments. And they did not make decisions for Mr. Vance or
4 Q. Sir, you received your mandate on the 25th of September, 1991,
5 did you not? Your first visit, as you told us yesterday, or rather, as my
6 colleague Mr. Moore elicited from you in chief, was on the 12th of
7 October. Can you remember that, sir?
8 A. Yes. But let me clarify. It is not correct to say we received
9 our mandate, Mr. Vance and me -- and I. It is not correct to say that we
10 received it on September 25th. On September 25th, the Secretary-General
11 received a mandate from the Security Council. We received our mandate on
12 or about October 8th or 9th, when Mr. Vance was called and asked to take
13 on the job and I was called to take on the job. So it was really about
14 October 8 or 9 that we received our mandate.
15 Q. Thank you, sir. This means that your preparation time for that
16 mission, an important mission to all the citizens of Yugoslavia and the
17 entire community alike was briefer, shorter than I believed. All you had
18 was a couple of days before you arrived in the territory of the former
20 A. Well, Mr. Vance had, in 1991, about 45 years or so diplomatic
21 experience at every level, the Sinai conflict, the conflict in Cyprus. I
22 had about 30 years diplomatic experience in conflict solution and
23 management. Neither of us was unaware of what was going on in Yugoslavia
24 at the time. And, of course, we went there as we've all agreed again in
25 standard diplomatic practice on a fact-finding mission to find out for
1 ourselves and make our own independent judgements as to what was going on
2 and report back to the Secretary-General and the Security Council. All of
3 this is quite normal.
4 Excuse me, could I ask the Registrar to have on the screen your
5 questions, our dialogue? I thank you. It's come back already. Thank
6 you. Sorry to interrupt you.
7 Q. Thank you for this answer, Mr. Okun.
8 You can then confirm that you and Mr. Vance were already
9 sufficiently familiar with the situation in the former Yugoslavia before
10 your first mission and your first physical arrival, as it were, on this
11 mission, in the territory of the former Yugoslavia?
12 A. We were familiar in a general way. Lord Carrington, for example,
13 flew to New York immediately after we were appointed, to brief us
14 extensively on the work of the community. Of course, he was the principal
15 negotiator, so there was no better person than he, and we spent hours, if
16 not days, with him. We also had the peacekeeping people and the political
17 people of the United Nations secretariat made available to us. They were
18 extremely cooperative. So in the interim, between our appointment and our
19 departure, we were not painting our finger-nails.
20 Q. Thank you so much. In preparation for your testimony, as I said
21 at the outset, we had little material at our disposal. However, having
22 familiarised ourselves with the answers that you provided yesterday, quite
23 aside from any touristic reasons that you may have had in 1997 and some
24 other possible visits, as far as this mission is concerned, the one that
25 has to do with this indictment, you were in the former Yugoslavia a total
1 of three times, and if we use simple mathematics, it seems that you spent
2 a total of 20 days in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
3 Sir, do you believe that a 20-day period would be sufficient for
4 you to fully familiarise yourself with the situation as it was on the
5 ground in an area where the war was gaining force, as it were?
6 A. Yes. I think we had enough time.
7 Q. Sir, did you submit a special report after each and every one of
8 your visits to the Secretary-General, or did you only submit one report
9 late in 1991 or at a different time?
10 A. No. We submitted reports to the security Council through the
11 Secretary-General at the end of each mission. The first report was in
12 October 1991. It's lengthy. It had several annexes. I couldn't repeat
13 it for you verbatim. It's been 14 years. And it is probably 40 or 50
14 pages long. But it was a very detailed report, and we did that and that's
15 one of the reasons I kept my diary notes was precisely so that we would be
16 accurate in reporting to the Security Council what we found. I commend
17 you to read those reports, if --
18 Q. Thank you, sir.
19 A. If you haven't read them, I will refer to them probably several
20 times today because they are all public documents and they gave Mr. Vance
21 and the Secretary-General's and my view officially to the Security
22 Council. They were all available at the time and are all available today.
23 Q. At this point in time, all I wanted to know about was the
24 technical aspect, more specifically, how many reports you submitted and
25 when, following your visits to the former Yugoslavia. It would seem that
1 throughout this entire mission, you had very good relations with both the
2 UNHCR and the International Red Cross. Would that be a fair statement?
3 A. We had good relations with all parties, with all parties, the
4 fighting parties and the humanitarian organisations.
5 Q. These humanitarian organisations, UNHCR, the International Red
6 Cross, the ECMM, did they brief you or submit any special reports to you
7 that were later incorporated in your own report?
8 A. I don't recall receiving anything in writing from any of the
9 organisations you mention, and incidentally the name of the committee is
10 the International Committee of the Red Cross. Please correct the record
11 on that. But we received extensive oral comments from them about the
12 situation. Of course, that was natural, part of our job to learn, as
13 you've correctly pointed out, it was important to inform ourselves as
14 fully as possible of the situation on the ground, and there is no dispute
15 about that. So it was quite natural that one would speak to the
16 humanitarian organisations, to the representatives of the European
17 Community, the monitoring group, the ECMM, the monitors, although I would
18 not call them a humanitarian organisation. They were monitors. They were
19 observers of the situation. But that was quite natural, and we
20 did speak to them. But to answer your question, I don't recall ever
21 receiving a -- anything in writing, although it's possible. We may
22 have -- they may have shown us reports they made back to their
23 headquarters. That's possible.
24 Q. Are you familiar with the fact that there were several
25 disagreements between the ECMM and the International Red Cross regarding
1 what was happening in Croatia in the autumn of 1991? Please, yes or no,
2 if possible.
3 A. There were disagreements between almost all of the parties as to
4 what was happening in Croatia.
5 Q. Thank you. Throughout 1991, did you meet your colleague,
6 Mr. Zimmerman at any time?
7 A. Yes, of course.
8 Q. Can you tell us how many times specifically in 1991?
9 A. No, I don't have that specifically in my memory. It was probably
10 three or four times, something like that. The gentleman that
11 Ms. Tapuskovic is referring to is Warren Zimmerman who was then the
12 American ambassador in Belgrade.
13 Q. Thank you very much for this clarification, Mr. Okun. If I may, I
14 would now like to go back to what happened in Croatia. This is not
15 necessarily about how the international community viewed it, but from the
16 point of view of how people in Yugoslavia perceived this, what do you
17 think could have been defined as the one turning point, the watershed, of
18 what was going on at the time in the former Yugoslavia?
19 A. Well, that is a question --
20 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction in Croatia.
21 THE WITNESS: In Croatia, yes.
22 It's an interesting question. It's one, of course, for the
23 historians to answer, and it is probably controversial to this day as to
24 what people -- as to how the international community -- let me answer that
25 in two parts. You said international community and the people of
2 As to the international community, that answer is somewhat easier
3 because, as I mentioned yesterday, and no need to did go into detail in
4 it, everybody was aware of the offer, the treaty basically that Lord
5 Carrington put down on October 18, 1991, the arrangements for a general
6 settlement. Everybody knew that five republics had accepted it, that only
7 Serbia rejected it. That was a major point. There were of course
8 differences within the international community on that, particularly
9 differences on the question of recognition of Slovenia and Croatia.
10 As far as the people of Yugoslavia are concerned, I wouldn't claim
11 to speak for them. I don't know who can claim to speak for them. But I
12 think it probably fair to say that it depended on which people, which
13 "narod" you were asking. We saw the leaders, we spoke to a lot of
14 people. In Macedonia, for example, President Gligorov and others down the
15 line were --
16 Q. Just in order to be brief, Mr. Okun, does the term, the log
17 revolution or timber revolution or "balvan revolucija" mean anything to
19 A. The timber revolution?
20 Q. They used to call it the log revolution.
21 A. No I'm not --
22 Q. If you're not aware of the term, there is no need to go any
23 further into that. This is something that happened in August 1990 --
24 A. 1? When did it occur?
25 Q. August 1990, when the Croatian special police attacked a police
1 station in a Serbian settlement in Croatia but we can just move on.
2 In May 1990, Franjo Tudjman was elected president. Yesterday, we
3 touched on a lot of constitutional issues. I don't think there is any
4 need to go into those now. However, there is something I would like to
5 ask you regarding the declaration of independence of Croatia. Do you
6 perhaps remember the date when Croatia of its own accord declared
8 A. I'm not certain. I believe it was June 25, 1991.
9 Q. That's correct. That's correct, Mr. Okun.
10 Do you agree that the European Community made recommendations to
11 the other European countries to prevent a premature recognition of Croatia
12 or any other republics of the former Yugoslavia? Is this something that
13 you're familiar with?
14 A. I'm quite familiar with that subject.
15 Q. Do you know that the UN Secretary-General, in December, advised
16 the Dutch foreign minister to refrain from prematurely recognising Croatia
17 as an independent state?
18 A. Yes. I'm fully aware of the Secretary-General's letter, which
19 concerned not only Croatia but Slovenia. He recommended --
20 Q. I'm just talking about Croatia now, Mr. Okun.
21 A. But one can't talk about these things in isolation, Madam. There
22 was a continuum. It would be taking matters out of context not to look at
23 the overall situation - excuse me - but that must be taken in order to
24 give the full picture to the Court.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. As I continue my cross-examination, I will
1 make an effort to adopt a broader view, but we mustn't go too far from the
2 point. We mustn't stray too far from the point.
3 In your testimony in the Milosevic and Krajisnik trials, you spoke
4 about the general context. You spoke about how things were in the former
5 Yugoslavia. Here, on the other hand, we will have to focus on a much
6 smaller picture, both in terms of the territory covered and in terms of
8 Now back to this recommendation to refrain from a premature
9 recognition. Do you think this was because at the time there, there were
10 integration processes afoot in Europe and this development was believed to
11 have a possible negative effect on the treaty of Maastricht?
12 A. No. That was not the case at hand. The situation was as follows,
13 if I may explain it to you.
14 Both Slovenia and Croatia, in this case, let's stick with Croatia,
15 I agree with you on trying to keep focused, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina
16 and Macedonia, had all requested recognition by the EC. In answer to that
17 request, the European Community, and Lord Carrington in particular, asked
18 the Badinter Commission, the commission of arbitration, to issue a
19 decision as to which of the four countries merited recognition. The
20 Badinter Commission so decided in December, and their tentative decision
21 was that Slovenia and Macedonia merited recognition, that Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina and Croatia did not. The reason they gave -- excuse me, Madam
23 I must not be interrupted on this point. You asked the question. I'm
24 trying to explain to the Court the situation. If you want to explain the
25 situation do so, but you asked me to explain it.
1 To continue: The reason they gave for not approving the request
2 for recognition of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were in the case of
3 Croatia, they said they needed to pass some legislation protecting the
4 rights of minorities, which Croatia did. In the case of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina, the Badinter Commission decided that only an expression of
6 the will of the people would make it acceptable. So in those two cases,
7 they temporised with the recognition. And therefore, the letter about
8 which you have asked me, the letter from the Secretary-General to Hans
9 Van den Broek, the Dutch foreign minister, was consistent with that
10 recommendation. It was also the very strong recommendation of Mr. Vance
11 and myself against early, selective, premature, chaotic recognition
12 policy. Have I answered the question?
13 Q. Yes. Thank you. However, regardless of these conclusions reached
14 by the Badinter Commission, and the first one was reached in November, as
15 far as I recollect, and regardless of the letter that the UN
16 Secretary-General sent to the Dutch foreign minister, at one point in
17 time, Germany made a unilateral decision to grant recognition to Croatia,
18 did it not?
19 A. That's correct. The German government, following a vote in its
20 parliament, they were instructed to do so. So they recognised Croatia and
21 Slovenia about two weeks, 14 or 15 days, earlier than the European
22 Community. The German recognition came about Christmas time 1991, and the
23 entire recognition of Croatia and Slovenia by the EC was January 15th,
24 1992. So they were pretty close in time, although they weren't
1 Q. I apologise to the interpreters for interrupting them.
2 You said quite well that perhaps the date of German recognition of
3 Croatia is not so important, even though, as a sign of their gratitude,
4 Croats built a monument to Genscher and sang a song thanking Germany.
5 However, do you think that it was -- somehow it was wrong for them to
6 recognise Croatia, despite the contrary recommendation given by the
7 Badinter Commission?
8 A. As I've said, it was my view, Mr. Vance's view, that of the
9 Secretary-General, that it would have been the wiser policy for the EC to
10 maintain a united front and recognise all the Yugoslav republics that
11 desired independence, as you know there were four republics, not just one
12 or two, there were four, we felt that a coordinated recognition policy was
13 wiser than a selective premature policy of recognition.
14 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun.
15 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would suggest
16 that we take a break, in accordance with our yesterday's agreement.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I was hanging on in case you needed to
18 ask more questions on that topic. That was all.
19 We will break now and resume at quarter minutes to 4.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 3.19 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 3.50 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Tapuskovic? Oh, Mr. Vasic.
23 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, my colleague,
24 Lukic, would like to bring up a procedural issue.
25 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
1 First of all, I'd like to clarify something concerning our
2 schedule for tomorrow. We have received information that there is a
3 likelihood that we would be working tomorrow in the morning. On behalf of
4 all Defence teams, I can say that we will put in additional effort to
5 prepare in full our cross-examination of the next witness, who is coming
6 here pursuant to Rule 92 bis so that the Trial Chamber and all parties
7 could complete their work tomorrow somewhat earlier, now that it has
8 become possible.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. We heard this morning that
10 the trial listed this morning -- tomorrow morning has had to be adjourned
11 so that the courtroom will be available.
12 It occurred to the Chamber that it might be good for everybody if
13 we commenced sitting tomorrow at, say, 10.00 in the morning and finished
14 earlier in the afternoon than possible. In other words, returning to
15 something like normal court hours, rather than the early morning, late
16 afternoon shifts that we operate in at the moment. It's helpful to learn
17 that it will be practical from the Defence point of view to think of doing
18 that. I will check with Mr. Moore and if it is, we will make such a
20 Mr. Moore?
21 MR. MOORE: There are no difficulties, apparent difficulties, to
22 the Prosecution for a change of time. We'll accommodate my learned
23 friends and the Court in any way that we can.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. The Chamber then will sit tomorrow in
25 the morning and afternoon but commence sitting at 10.00.
1 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 Before I put my next question to the witness, I would like to ask
3 for your guidance concerning this transcript from the Krajisnik case. Is
4 it a typical procedure to tender into evidence transcript from another
5 case? And if so, is it acceptable for this Trial Chamber? In which case
6 I would like to have this page, 449, of the transcript be tendered into
7 evidence. I am asking for your instructions, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The answer has to be very much like many of the
9 answers that you've had from the ambassador. I have to give an
11 The first is that it depends very much upon what it is you're
12 seeking to tender and for what purpose. If you wanted the whole of the
13 transcript of a witness to become evidence in this case, that would
14 require a special motion. It would have to be considered by the other
15 side, and they might want that witness to attend for cross-examination.
16 Now I realise that's not what you are proposing, but I thought I might
17 explain it to you in case something like that should arise in future and
18 you would then understand how to approach it.
19 If it is the case that you simply want an answer or a passage or
20 two from an extensive transcript, recorded as evidence in the transcript
21 so that it is seen that this is what the particular witness said on
22 another occasion, it's not normal to receive the transcript as an exhibit,
23 merely that when you ask the questions, as you have done here, what was
24 said on the last occasion is read so that it appears in the transcript of
25 this trial.
1 Now, if it's the page that you put to the witness earlier, the
2 transcript records now fully the question and the answer so that it is now
3 clearly in evidence in this trial that this witness gave that evidence
4 earlier, and he has explained that that is his -- the correct position and
5 so forth. So you really don't need now to tender anything further.
6 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for the explanation,
7 Your Honours. This will be beneficial to all of us in our future case in
8 this trial, as we will have many witnesses who testified in other cases.
9 Therefore, this explanation of yours is of great assistance to us.
10 Q. Mr. Okun, we can proceed with questions. I will now go back to
11 the issue of the recognition of Croatia as an independent state, because
12 this is one of the very important matters in trying to describe the full
13 picture of the situation as it existed in the territory of the former
14 Yugoslavia, which is precisely the subject of your testimony here.
15 You have mentioned Badinter Commission to us several times, or the
16 arbitration commission, as it is otherwise known. Will you tell me this,
17 please: Were the decisions of this commission mandatory to the then
18 republics of the former Yugoslavia or to the entire Yugoslavia at the
20 A. My best recollection is that the decisions of the arbitration
21 commission, which was its official name, unofficially people called it the
22 Badinter Commission, both names, of course, mean the commission that I
23 talked about, we are discussing, I believe their judgements were advisory
24 in nature, but that's a judgement on my part. We were not -- Mr. Vance
25 and I, we were servants of the United Nations and were not bound at all by
1 the Badinter Commissions, although we met on several occasions with
2 Minister Badinter personally. We found those meetings very useful. He's
3 a man of deep humanity and high intelligence and very knowledgeable on the
4 legal issues and so he informed us, informally, of his views. As I said,
5 we consulted as widely as possible in order to get the fullest possible
6 picture about the situation. But it was always a matter of advice, and we
7 were -- and others, orbit, the UN orbit. I believe the decisions as far
8 as the EC were concerned were advisory opinions but I'm not certain of
10 MR. MOORE: Could I respectfully interrupt for one moment?
11 We have had a lot of questions in relation to the constitutional
12 position and opinions expressed by the arbitration commission, whether it
13 is advisory or indeed other matters. The trial content relates
14 specifically, and I accept it may be a narrow interpretation, to what I
15 will call to military control command structure and the killing of over
16 260 people at Ovcara. For my part, I fail to see the relevance of going
17 into these matters in detail. I certainly have not seen within the
18 Defence briefs any suggestion that what was done would be legitimised in
19 any way by a change in a constitutional position. I don't know if my
20 learned friend would be able to help the Court or myself in relation to
21 that, but we seem to be going around in circles with regard to the
22 political position as it existed.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, I believe the Chamber can save
24 Ms. Tapuskovic any trouble of submission. There can be little doubt that
25 the narrow picture of relevance to this case is as you put. There can
1 also be little doubt that at least from the view-point of those who were
2 members of the then Yugoslav armed forces, that there is a view held,
3 rightly or wrongly, about the legal legitimacy of their position. I think
4 that the Defence must have an opportunity to advance that view, and then,
5 of course, they will be required in their submissions to deal with the
6 legal relevance of that view to the questions of criminal responsibility
7 that arise in this case. But I don't think we can assume that there can
8 be no possible substance in that at this point so as to deny a reasonable
9 exploration of the issue. So we wouldn't interrupt the course of
10 cross-examination on that basis, Mr. Moore.
11 MR. MOORE: Perhaps I didn't explain it fully. I, of course,
12 understand because of the way the case was put by Mr. Vasic yesterday that
13 there may well be a view that I'll use the general term, the JNA operated
14 believing that they had a legitimate and valid and constitutional basis
15 for intervention at Vukovar/Croatia. I understand that entirely. But we
16 are now into the realms of the arbitration committee, who basically merely
17 make recommendations, and in our submission, while one is extremely
18 interested in much of the evidence that is being given, nevertheless, we
19 would submit that it is now becoming extremely broad by way of
20 cross-examination, and it is difficult to exactly understand the purpose
21 of the cross-examination as it now exists.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, very briefly, the legal status of
23 Croatia at the time relevant to these events is, as I understand it, an
24 issue that is relevant to the charge in the way I've explained. The
25 evidence of the ambassador, the work of the European Commission and the
1 United Nations, the recognitions given, if any, by other nations, all have
2 a relevance to the position of Croatia, either still as a member of the
3 federation or as an independent state in the world, or in some process of
4 transition. Those matters may legitimately be explored.
5 MR. MOORE: Of course, thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: That doesn't mean that the Chamber would see that
7 we should absorb days and days and days of this case on those issues. Let
8 me make that clear. But the Chamber certainly feels that there is, in
9 this area, some matters that genuinely warrant exploration by the Defence,
10 and we certainly don't propose to interrupt that so long as the matter is
11 dealt with with the proper appreciation of time in the overall context of
12 the trial.
13 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for the explanation,
14 Your Honour. In the introductory part of my cross-examination today, I
15 specified precisely that, namely, that this witness was introduced to the
16 Chamber and to us as an international witness testifying about the general
17 context of events which are relevant for this case. And based on those
18 reasons, I proceeded putting questions either about the Badinter
19 Commission or other issues. My further examination will not be very long.
20 I just have a few more questions about this, to complete the picture
21 precisely of those matters that you have mentioned.
22 Thank you.
23 Q. Mr. Okun, do you remember that immediately before the recognition
24 of Croatia as an independent state by Germany first and then European
25 Community, foreign minister or foreign ministers of the European Community
1 passed a declaration on the guidelines of the recognition of the new
2 states in Eastern Europe and in the Soviet Union, and another declaration
3 on Yugoslavia? Do you remember those declarations?
4 A. Not specifically, but, of course, I'm aware that the former
5 Soviet Union dissolved also in December 1991, simultaneously, almost, with
6 the events that we are discussing.
7 Q. Would it refresh your memory if I were to tell you that the
8 conclusion of that declaration of the EC foreign ministers was that the
9 political reality, both in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union,
10 had to be accepted, including the political reality in the territory of
11 the former Yugoslavia? Does that serve that purpose, to refresh your
13 A. Yes, of course, the Badinter Commission had already judged
14 Yugoslavia to be undergoing a process of dissolution so that this was the
15 factual situation that there was no state anymore. It was in the process
16 of dissolution. That was the understanding, I think, by all parties,
17 based on the arbitration commission's opinion.
18 Q. Were you familiar with the fact that in mid-1991 the situation in
19 Croatia was such that Croatian authorities did not have control over
20 one-third of their territory?
21 A. That may be the case. I would not contest it. I can't confirm
22 it. I didn't -- I wasn't involved. I wasn't there at the time to check
23 on it, so that that may or may not be the case.
24 Q. You, as a person with a long established career in diplomacy, do
25 you know the standards of the international law and especially
1 international public law about what conditions each subject has to meet in
2 order to be internationally recognised as an independent state? There are
3 three or four standards that have to be fulfilled. Are you familiar with
5 A. I'm generally familiar with them. And they, of course, are based
6 in each case on the political reality. They are general guidelines. Each
7 case is decided individually on its merits.
8 Q. Mr. Okun, are you familiar with the fact that this criteria are
9 stable population, defined territory, and government which has effective
10 control over the territory and is able to establish relations with other
12 A. As I've said, these are general propositions which have to be
13 interpreted and are interpreted, used by the nations in their recognition
15 Just to give you two very brief examples. When the state of
16 Israel declared its independence in May 1948, it controlled zero per cent
17 of its territory. The Jews controlled nothing because the territory at
18 that time was a British mandate, and it was supposed to go to a partition
19 state between Israel and Palestine, and as we know, Israel was --
20 Palestine was invaded by the armies of the neighbouring Arab states.
21 Israel declared independence, and within 24 hours, 48 at the latest, both
22 the Soviet Union and the United States recognised Israel and it was
23 promptly admitted into the United Nations, even though it controlled zero
24 per cent of its territory, and it certainly did not have a stable
25 population because there was great fighting and confusion between
1 Palestinian and the Jews.
2 The same obtained in the case of East Timor.
3 There are many, many cases. I don't want to take the time of the
4 Court. But these simply illustrate that the general propositions that you
5 have cited are applied always in individual cases based on the particular
6 reality of the case.
7 Q. I agree with you, Mr. Okun, but that is precisely why, in the
8 Middle East, the war is still in progress. They haven't resolved the
9 issue of territory.
10 But does that mean that in the case -- in the example that you
11 just gave us, as well as in the case of the former Yugoslavia, they did
12 not uphold the principle u ti possidetis, meaning that you have to control
13 the territory and that it has to be one of the criteria related to the
14 effective control of the territory, which can lead to the proclamation of
16 A. I have to recall for you, Madam, what I said earlier, that each
17 case is divided -- is decided, excuse me, is decided, on an individual
18 case, and to bring it closer to the Yugoslav reality may I remind you that
19 in November 1943, the AVNOJ, Marshal Tito, declared a fight for
20 independence by the partisans supported by the western community. He was
21 given aid and assistance, and at that time, as we know, the German and
22 Italian occupiers occupied all of Yugoslavia except where the partisans
23 and the Chetniks were fighting them. So that I can only reiterate for the
24 benefit of the Court the fact that recognition is always based on the
25 individual merits of the case.
1 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. Will you please tell me something about the
2 UN resolution that you mentioned, namely, Resolution 317 [as interpreted]
3 of September 1990? This resolution introduced the embargo on the weapons
5 A. Yes. Resolution 713, not 317. I think the letters were simply
6 transposed; it's 713. It's a simple transposition but no problem.
7 Included in that was a general arms embargo. The arms embargo was
8 maintained during most of the fighting for the next several years. It was
9 frequently broken by the parties. Everybody knew that. There was no
10 secret. The sides were busy arming themselves, all of them. It has to
11 also be said that that the embargo came under increasing criticism,
12 particularly when the fighting spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina because
13 the JNA didn't need the weapons, it already had the weapons of an army,
14 and the Bosnian Muslim forces in particular were being prevented from
15 defending themselves. That's a separate issue. But you should be aware
16 that the embargo was formally maintained for two or three more years, and
17 as I say, it became -- it came under increasing criticism by most members
18 of the international community. It was not so much of an issue during the
19 fighting in Croatia.
20 Q. Do you know that the federal government, or rather, the Presidency
21 of the SFRY, in January of 1991, passed a decision on the sale [as
22 interpreted] of illegally admitted weapons and on dissolution of all
23 illegally formed forces?
24 A. Well, I was aware in a general way that the -- that Belgrade
25 opposed the -- this sort of behaviour. So I don't find it inconsistent.
1 Q. Do you remember the Spegelj affair in January 1991?
2 A. Excuse me, which affair?
3 Q. Spegelj affair.
4 A. No, I'm afraid it's not familiar to me.
5 Q. That was a scandal involving illegal import of weapons into
7 Now we will turn again to something that you mentioned several
8 times yesterday concerning the barracks that were blocked in Croatia. I
9 apologise, Mr. Okun, for the sake of the transcript, page 32, line 6,
10 there is a word "sale" but instead of that word there should
11 be "surrender."
12 Mr. Okun, to continue, based on several pages of your diary, five
13 or six pages that we received, we could see that in several places the
14 issue of unblocking the barracks is mentioned. At the time, you were
15 quite aware of the problem that had been going on for several months
17 A. Yes. As I mentioned yesterday, the unblocking of the blockaded
18 JNA barracks was uppermost in General Kadijevic's mind. It was his
19 principal concern expressed to me and to Mr. Vance, and based on that, we
20 undertook strenuous efforts to secure the unblocking of the JNA barracks
21 in Croatia as we discussed yesterday.
22 Q. Sir, do you remember that you signed any agreement to lift the
23 blockade of barracks in the territory of the Republic of Croatia?
24 A. Yes. We discussed this yesterday. There was more than one
25 agreement actually. The major agreement was the Geneva Accord of
1 November 23, 1991, where Mr. Vance and I brought General Kadijevic and
2 Tudjman and Milosevic to Geneva. I mentioned the four points that were in
3 the accord yesterday. The second point was the unblocking of the
5 We signed another formal agreement, that is to say, the warring
6 parties signed another formal agreement, on December 9th in Zagreb,
7 concerning unblocking and withdrawal of JNA troops and turning over
8 certain equipments, that sort of thing. That was done under my direction.
9 I convened the parties in Zagreb and that was the December 9th agreement.
10 And the third and definitive agreement was the implementing accord
11 of January 2, 1992, signed in Sarajevo, and it implemented the November 23
12 Geneva Accord. That's why it's called the implementing accord. And with
13 that, the large-scale fighting in Croatia ended.
14 And one month later, the -- to be more specific, six weeks later,
15 the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 743, which
16 established the peacekeeping force for Croatia, the first time there had
17 ever been a peacekeeping force in Europe. Those were the three principal
18 documents concerning the unblocking of the barracks.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. I may have been somewhat imprecise in
20 phrasing the question. But you managed to answer one of my other
21 questions. My question was: Did you sign, with the warring parties, any
22 agreement concerning the unblocking of the barracks? Do you remember
24 A. You mean did Mr. Vance or I personally sign an agreement?
25 Q. Yes, you personally.
1 A. I believe I signed as a witness, since I convened the December 9,
2 1991 meeting between the Croatian and the Serb side. It's quite possible
3 that I might have signed it as a witness, since I was the chairman of the
4 meeting, and, of course, as we have mentioned previously, Mr. Vance signed
5 the Geneva Accord of November 23.
6 Q. I apologise for interrupting you.
7 Yesterday you said that you met General Raseta. Do you perhaps
8 remember that you were one of the signatories, even if merely in your
9 capacity as an observer or witness to these negotiations and agreement, to
10 an agreement in December 1991 to unblock a barracks in Dugo Selo?
11 A. Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I spent a good deal of time,
12 perhaps even most of the period from the end of November until the
13 signature of the implementing accord on January 2, 1992, working on
14 unblocking the barracks. So while I have no specific recollection of the
15 barracks in Dugo Selo, it is quite possible because I visited, oh,
16 probably a dozen or so, maybe more, blockaded barracks along the Adriatic
17 coast, and other places as well. So that is quite possible, although, as
18 I say, after having visited so many barracks, it's not always easy to
19 remember exactly.
20 Do you have the document? And if so, could I see it?
21 Q. No. This is quite sufficient. Should it be necessary, the
22 Defence will use the help of other witnesses to introduce these documents.
23 You've said quite enough. I understand you do not rule out the
24 possibility that such an agreement was signed or, rather, that you
25 confirmed the signing of such an agreement with your signature.
1 A. I confirmed the fact that it might have been possible. I think I
2 said I wasn't -- I said I have no specific recollection --
3 MR. MOORE: Yes, I'm sorry for --
4 THE WITNESS: -- for signing -- about the barracks in Dugo Selo.
5 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] I accept your answer, sir.
6 THE WITNESS: And I accept the inference you draw from it. But in
7 the absence of the document itself, and in the absence of a clear
8 recollection of Dugo Selo, I can only say what I said.
9 MR. MOORE: With the utmost respect, if there is going to be a
10 topic pursued in relation to whether a witness has signed a document, he
11 should have an opportunity of knowing whether in actual fact the signature
12 that is suggested to be his is his.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. I think that's clear to all
14 parties. Yes.
15 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as I have already
16 stated, now that the witness has told us that he cannot remember whether
17 he in fact signed such an agreement or not, I will no longer pursue this
18 matter. I don't have the document itself. I have information to this
19 effect. I am merely checking this information pursuant to instructions
20 that I received from my client.
21 Q. Yesterday and on another day recorded in your diary you mentioned
22 something about the clearing of mines. Can you tell us why this problem
23 of mines very often seemed to be linked to the problem of a barracks being
25 A. Well, the JNA officers and soldiers in the barracks told us, more
1 than once, that the area around the barracks had been mined by the
2 Croatians to prevent them from leaving. We, of course, could not check
3 that without being blown up. So we heard them and, of course, I recorded
4 it in my diary. It may have been the case. It may not. Of course, as
5 you will well aware, the Croatians had very few weapons at this time, and
6 so they were seeking to maximise their position by the utilisation of
7 whatever means they had.
8 Now, the question of mines also arose in Vukovar when we were told
9 by Major Sljivancanin that the little bridge across the tiny river could
10 not be crossed by Mr. Vance and me because it was mined, and I've already
11 testified to the fact that we knew that was a falsehood because we could
12 see motor vehicles and pedestrians walking on the bridge.
13 Q. Thank you, sir. Yesterday you said you knew General Tus, or
14 rather that you met him. Do you remember this meeting that you had with
15 General Tus?
16 A. It is recorded in my diary in -- accurately. I don't have it
17 specifically in my head at the moment, but I did meet him on several
18 occasions and they are all recorded in my diary notes, which are available
19 to the Court.
20 Q. Thank you, sir. The Defence teams were only given a single page
21 of your diary. The first name we see is president of Croatia, Franjo
22 Tudjman, and the only other name that we see is General Anton Tus. This
23 is all we know about your meeting with General Tus. You say that there
24 were a number of such meetings.
25 Did you perhaps try at one of those to get an answer to the
1 following question? What was the military objective that Croatia wanted
2 to achieve by laying siege to all the JNA barracks throughout Croatia?
3 A. As I mentioned to you a few moments ago, the Croatian side had
4 relatively few weapons at this time. I would say the proportion was 90 to
5 10, if you ask me to put a number on it, as compared with the JNA which,
6 of course, was a large army, in 1991, the eighth largest army in Europe.
7 The Croatians, as I reported, felt that by blockading the barracks they
8 would have, so to speak, a quid for the quo, when it came to talking about
9 their independence and JNA withdrawal from the country. So I think that
10 was what probably the Croatians had in mind by blockading the JNA barracks
11 in the country. It was somewhat of a desperate act, I think, on the part
12 of the underdogs because they were so heavily outgunned, I mean, in terms
13 of the destruction being wrought in the country we reported on that.
14 May I tell you what the decision was about this point? May I
15 inform the Court? It might be useful. If you want to know our view at
16 the time. I can tell you, if you wish. But it's up to you. I think the
17 Court might find it useful.
18 Q. On this matter, I would like to show you a document. Before that,
19 however, I will have to address the Chamber.
20 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I would like to
21 show the witness a document. We do have a problem in this regard,
22 however, which I would like to deal with, with your assistance.
23 The document that I wish to show the witness and subsequently
24 tender into evidence is one of the 65 ter -- Rule 65 ter list documents,
25 one of the documents placed by the OTP on their list. All these were
1 filed confidentially, although not all of the individual portions are
2 confidential, especially not the list as such.
3 I would like to ask this. The document is marked as a Rule 70
4 document. First of all, I would like to have this document shown to the
5 Trial Chamber, through E-Court, and to the OTP as well. I move that this
6 document not be shown outside this courtroom or to the witness for the
7 time being. In these situations, when one of the parties wishes to show a
8 Rule 70 document, are we required to go into private session or not?
9 Therefore, with your permission, I will ask for this document to be
10 displayed on the screen in the courtroom but not outside, and the number
11 is R0320966. It's a three-page document.
12 If this doesn't work, in that case, Your Honours, I have copies.
13 Your Honours, I believe I said this. Just to be on the safe side,
14 I don't think the witness should be shown this document for the time
15 being, and then it will be up to the Chamber to decide whether or not the
16 witness will eventually be shown this document.
17 Your Honours, I hear from my colleagues that the image is not very
18 clear, the one that we have on our screens. I have prepared printed
19 copies of this document, and I would like to ask the usher to get the
20 copies from me and distribute them.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. While that is occurring, Mr. Moore,
22 have you any submission on whether this document needs to remain in
24 MR. MOORE: Well, I didn't know exactly what the document was. I
25 haven't had an opportunity of perusing it. I know it's come from OTP but
1 we have no notice of what is arriving in cross-examination. May I be
2 permitted a few moments to look at the document?
3 JUDGE PARKER: Indeed. I thought you may have looked at it
5 MR. MOORE: No. We had not received notice of it.
6 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, while my
7 learned friend is looking at that document, I would like to share
8 something about the document with you.
9 Although this is a Rule 70 document, it is quite clear that the
10 substance of this document has already been shown in a public place with
11 no restrictions. This is about someone who was mentioned today on the
12 cross-examination. This person presented a position which was
13 subsequently published by the media. Regardless, the document bears this
14 mark or is marked as a Rule 70 document which prompts me to address you on
15 this matter.
16 Alternatively, Your Honour, we should have a break in five
17 minutes, so maybe if we break five minutes early so that Mr. Moore may
18 have an opportunity to go through the document and the Chamber can then
19 decide on the status of this document that I would like to show the
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I think that will be a practical
22 course. We will use the break to enable Mr. Moore to form a view.
23 Are there questions you want to put now or would you like to break
24 now? We will have a slightly early break --
25 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] If I'm allowed, once I have asked
1 questions about this document, having received permission from the
2 Chamber, I will have an additional five to ten questions to ask the
3 witness after the break. Therefore, I think it might be a better idea to
4 have the break now. That's if you agree, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 We will resume -- Mr. Moore?
7 MR. MOORE: All I'm asking is if there are any other documents of
8 this nature, if they can be shown to us now, it will stop applications for
10 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at five minutes past 5.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 4.42 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 5.07 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore?
14 MR. MOORE: May I thank the Court for the time. We are in
15 agreement for this to go before the witness. It can go in the open court
17 Can I just indicate, so it assists, at least I hope it assists, in
18 actual fact it is a news article from Novi Vjesnik and clearly is a
19 reported speech on what has been given by way of lecture. If it's to be
20 used as a principle for reported speech in an article that is relative to
21 the issues before the Court, we would support that course of conduct.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. If the document could come
23 on to the witness's and the public screens. Thank you.
24 Ms. Tapuskovic.
25 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
1 like to give the witness some time to go through the document so that he
2 may familiarise himself with the substance of this document.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
4 Did you say you had a paper copy of it? Not -- if you had one,
5 I'm sure the witness would find it much easier to read. You've only got
6 yours? That's all right. We'll just have to persist with this.
7 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in fact, I have
8 several copies, and I think it's a good idea to let the witness have a
9 printed copy, a hard copy. I prepared copies because I didn't know
10 whether the copies on the screen would be legible. They tend to be quite
11 blurred sometimes. If the usher could please distribute these copies.
12 And with your permission, Your Honour, I will ask the witness to
13 yet again identify whether the image displayed on the screen is identical
14 to what the witness has in front of him. In order to be as brief as
15 possible, I have taken the liberty to highlight some of the passages in
16 yellow to facilitate the witness's progress through this document.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Did you say you had any spare
18 for the members of the Court?
19 We are very grateful.
20 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you for assisting me, Your
21 Honour. While the document is being distributed, I would like to say that
22 we only have this document in English. The OTP has not yet had this
23 document translated. The Defence teams are making an effort to have their
24 documents translated and we believe that priority should be given to those
25 that are originally in B/C/S, so that we can avoid situations where the
1 witness is unable to analyse the document. Since this witness speaks
2 English, we treat this document as an original and the witness should not
3 have a difficult time commenting on the document.
4 I also move that the document be marked for identification until
5 such time as I'm able to have an official translation.
6 THE WITNESS: I've finished.
7 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Thank you, sir. I will ask you two or three questions in relation
9 to this document. If you look at the highlighted portions well, that's
10 what I'm interested in.
11 You say that you met General Tus and that you talked to him on
12 several occasions. As you can see, this was a public lecture given by
13 General Tus. The media published this lecture in February 1993. The date
14 is not readily legible on the face of the document. When you arrived in
15 the former Yugoslavia, as you confirmed before the break -- I mean about
16 what happened in relation to the barracks -- was it not clear that the
17 Croatian authorities were laying siege to the barracks in order to obtain
18 the weapons that were in the barracks?
19 A. That was clear to us in some barracks. In others, they never got
20 the weapons. For example, or at least they didn't get all of them
21 certainly, because when we were in Osijek, we could see the JNA barracks,
22 and the JNA troops in Osijek, in fact, fired tank fire, we were informed,
23 heavy tank guns, into the populace of Osijek, and the city underwent some
24 shelling; not a great deal but some. So that was one case.
25 In other cases, I have no doubt that the Croatians got weapons
1 from the JNA. As I mentioned earlier, they essentially started out with
2 no army and very few weapons, so it's understandable that they would seek
3 weapons and it varied quite a lot from barracks to barracks.
4 During our lengthy visit to the Marshal Tito caserne in Zagreb,
5 which I reported on extensively, four pages long, just the description of
6 the meeting in my diary notes, General Raseta informed us during that
7 meeting that one of the Croatian conditions that were put to him in
8 connection with the unblocking of the barracks was that the JNA leave its
9 weapons behind and he refused that condition.
10 So the short answer is yes, they tried to get weapons from the
11 barracks. I don't find that surprising.
12 Q. Thank you for your answer. If you turn the next page, marked as
13 0968, the four last digits, it seems that pagination is not quite clear.
14 It's just how this was published. The second page on your screen. Let me
15 just see these figures. No. That doesn't seem right. Could we have the
16 previous page, please, on the screen? Yes. That's the right page.
17 My apologies to you, Mr. Okun. We have technical issues here.
18 What you see on the screen now is something that we are interested
19 in. There is a paragraph beginning with the words: "In that way we
20 captured" and so on. Can you find that in the text?
21 A. Yes, I found it.
22 Q. Thank you. Line 5 and 6 reads: "And much of this was sent to
23 Vukovar and other crisis areas."
24 You as observers on a mission entrusted to you by the United
25 Nations, was it clear to you that the weapons thus obtained, namely by
1 blocking the JNA barracks, were being sent to Vukovar and other crisis
3 A. Well, we did not go into the provenance of each and every weapon.
4 Nobody would expect us to do that. We did observe the weapons. I've
5 already reported that we saw the Serb gunners surrounding Vukovar as we
6 drove into the city. We saw them in the field, in the town. We -- I've
7 reported to you that, it's in my diary notes that you have, that we saw
8 destroyed tanks in the streets of Vukovar. So, of course, we were aware
9 that a war was going on. And you can't have a war without weapons. And
10 it was also very obvious that the overwhelming superiority in the matter
11 of armament rested with the JNA, since it was the -- or had been the
12 formerly constituted army of a country. That didn't surprise us either.
13 What was, however, shocking was the disproportionate use of force
14 that was being applied, and we reported that to the Security Council and
15 to General Kadijevic and to Milosevic at the time. We've gone over that
16 yesterday. I don't think there is any need to repeat it. I can, if you
17 wish. But, of course, we were aware that there were weapons and that 90
18 per cent, or something like 90 per cent of the fire-power, I would guess
19 90 per cent, was in the hands and under the control of the JNA.
20 Q. Until what time?
21 A. Well, the situation altered, of course, over time. The -- several
22 things happened to the JNA, which we are all aware of. It's a matter of
23 common knowledge that the JNA was -- became smaller in size, both for
24 unofficial reasons, one might put it, as the members of the JNA from the
25 republics that had declared independence, many of them left the JNA to
1 return to their home countries. General Tus was an example. He had been
2 a senior officer of the JNA before going back to Croatia. So that was one
4 The other thing that affected the JNA was the desertion rate of
5 the enlisted men and the fact that many of the call-ups were not fully
6 answered. So that over time, the JNA very quickly became a Serbian army,
7 not a Yugoslav army. This was reported to us by the prime minister of
8 Yugoslavia, by Mr. Markovic. You will find it in my diary recorded that
9 from Prime Minister Ante Markovic telling Mr. Vance and me that the JNA
10 has become Serbised, Serbised were his very words.
11 So that is one of the continuing factors, both the reduction in
12 size of the JNA, which happened mostly in 1992, but beginning with the
13 declarations of independence of the four republics, Slovenia, Bosnia,
14 Croatia and Macedonia. They lost a lot of men from those republics. And
15 that was the factual situation of the JNA.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. And my last question pertaining to this
17 document: Were you and Mr. Vance aware, either by having direct knowledge
18 of the situation or through reports you received from the ground, that the
19 population of Slavonia had problems in leaving the areas engulfed by war?
20 A. Yes. We were made aware via numerous sources that there were
21 movements of both of the nationalities, more than both, there were some
22 Hungarians in the areas, some Czechs, and because of the fighting in
23 Eastern Slavonia -- am I correct in assuming that when you say Slavonia,
24 you mean Eastern Slavonia, not Western Slavonia? The situation was
25 different in Western Slavonia.
1 But in Eastern Slavonia where there is in many opstinas no
2 majority population, there was great movement, and as I've already
3 reported to the Court, we visited one of the refugee camps where we
4 witnessed affecting scenes and women weeping. They were Croatians,
5 however. And we also were told of a refugee inflow into Serbia from that
6 area. We were informed of that situation. And, of course, we made the
7 logical assumption, which I think was correct, that the people leaving
8 Eastern Slavonia and going into Serbia itself were Serbs. So there was a
9 large-scale displacement of persons. But if we look at the bottom line,
10 as they now say in America, namely if we sum it all up, the overwhelming
11 number of refugees were Croatian.
12 Q. I would like now to put a specific question about a paragraph in
13 this document based on which we can see -- or rather, would you agree with
14 my interpretation of the words of General Tus, that it was the Croatian
15 interest to keep the residents in the cities of Eastern Slavonia? Would
16 you interpret this sentence in this way?
17 A. Excuse me, counsel, which sentence are you referring to?
18 Q. I apologise if I failed to direct you, Mr. Okun. It's the same
19 page, third paragraph from the bottom, last sentence, which begins: "The
20 basic thing for us General Tus said" --
21 A. Excuse me, I've found it now. Thank you very much.
22 "One of the big mistakes of the Yugo army concept" - I'm reading
23 it aloud myself - "was in not going further in their penetration and
24 capture in the surrounded cities later. They wanted instead to first
25 clear the entire territory captured and destroy everything that was
1 Croatian. The basic thing General Tus said, was to keep the people in the
2 cities of Eastern Slavonia."
3 Well, I find that consistent. I don't think you would want to
4 denude your territory. To do so would be to give de facto control to
5 whoever -- whoever occupied it.
6 It's important to bear in mind that for whatever reason the JNA
7 chose at this time not to storm the cities, that is, the infantry didn't
8 charge into the cities, which I think they probably could have done with
9 armour support. Instead, they shelled them very heavily from outside.
10 The pattern was the same in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We all know about the
11 shelling of Sarajevo. This was a matter of concern, but also many of the
12 western military observers wondered at the JNA tactic, and it is still a
13 matter, I suppose, of debate in military circles.
14 But the answer to your question regarding General Tus's comment to
15 try and not denude the Croatian cities in Eastern Slavonia of their
16 Croatian people, I don't find that surprising. I think that's a normal
18 As you know, during the battle of Stalingrad, the people of
19 Stalingrad lived in the city. They were in shell holes but they lived in
20 the city. There is a monument to the people of Stalingrad precisely for
21 that reason. You can see it if you visit the city which is now called
22 Vulgograd. I have seen it. So I don't think it is a surprising thing.
23 Q. Unfortunately I must say that I cannot agree with you concerning
24 this comparison between Vukovar and Stalingrad, because we are now dealing
25 with the desire of the Croatian government to keep the citizens in the
1 towns of Eastern Slavonia.
2 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] However, I have no further
3 questions concerning this document and I now tender it into evidence, Your
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 MR. MOORE: I would ask that that be marked for identification
7 because, as I say, it's a report from a newspaper. If, however, as a
8 general principle, such a document as this, namely a newspaper or reported
9 speech is to be admitted by way as an exhibit, then as a general
10 principle, then, of course, I'll agree to that. But it must be one
11 principal to apply to all documents.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, this document will be marked for
13 identification, as you request, until such time as you've had an
14 opportunity to verify the source, being one of your discovered documents.
15 That shouldn't, I would expect, be a major problem.
16 MR. MOORE: No, not at all. Thank you very much.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, this will be document marked for
18 identification number 71.
19 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 Q. I have just one more question for you, Mr. Okun.
21 Yesterday, in several instances you mentioned the existence of
22 paramilitary formations in the territory of Croatia. You also mentioned
23 your observations about them. You mentioned Slivovitz and you mentioned
24 Paraga. Since this is my last question, I would like to ask you to
25 explain to me whether at the time you knew about the convicts' battalion
1 as a special purpose formation?
2 A. Excuse me, Madam, on whose side was the convicts' battalion
4 Q. It was a Croatian paramilitary formation.
5 A. No. I don't believe I was made aware of that. It's possible, but
6 I don't recall.
7 Q. Did you hear about turbo Ustashas?
8 A. We heard frequent references to Ustasha. It was the standard Serb
9 appellation for the Croatians, and any Croatian in uniform was regularly
10 called Ustasha. So we heard a lot about Ustasha, yes.
11 Q. My question pertained to turbo Ustashas.
12 A. Turbo, I don't recall any specific references to turbo Ustasha.
13 Q. My last question is: Did you hear of the 204th Vukovar Brigade?
14 A. I don't believe so, no.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. I have no further questions for you.
16 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have completed my
17 cross-examination of the witness. Thank you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Tapuskovic.
19 Mr. Lukic?
20 Cross-examined by Mr. Lukic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Okun. My name is Novak
22 Lukic. I am an attorney-at-law from Belgrade, and in this trial I'm one
23 of two counsel representing Mr. Sljivancanin. I'm by myself today. I
24 will now be putting questions to you, and you probably have already
25 guessed that the line of my questioning will be somewhat different from
1 the questions put to you by my colleagues and that I will mostly focus on
2 the topics you discussed during examination-in-chief, and the reasons for
3 that are probably clear to you.
4 Now I would like to put several questions to you regarding your
5 diaries. I would like first to sum up, to see whether I understood well
6 the process of keeping diaries, based on your yesterday's and today's
7 answers. I understood it that you entered information into your diaries
8 on a daily basis immediately during the day or shortly thereafter, after
9 the event that you wanted to record in your diaries. I took it that when
10 you toured Yugoslavia, you wrote your diaries every day, in hotels and, as
11 you said yesterday, while driving in a car en route to somewhere else.
12 Did I understand this well? I'm especially interested in the pace of data
14 A. You don't have it right, Mr. Lukic. Quite right. The diaries --
15 I wrote them not at the end of the day but at the time the event was
16 occurring. That's to say, if I'm at a meeting, take the meeting with
17 General Raseta in the Tito caserne. We are there for an hour and a half.
18 He makes a presentation. Colonel Djurovski makes a presentation. I
19 record that as they are talking. Summarising it, as I said yesterday.
20 I'm not a court stenographer but I summarised the important points. I
21 know what their points are. I know what we are listening to hear. I know
22 what they are trying to say. I would note anything that, you know, that
23 might be surprising, that sort of thing, and when I heard something
24 important, I put it in quotations. Now, that happened at the time, at
25 meetings seated around the table with General Kadijevic, with Milosevic,
1 with Gligorov, with Izetbegovic, all of them.
2 But there were times when we were more active. For example, in
3 Vukovar we were getting in and out of the armoured personnel carriers, and
4 there, I would probably wait 15 minutes or so, and inside the carrier
5 write it. But on no occasion did I wait even to the end of the day
6 because there were simply too many meetings, as you could see by my
8 The diaries, incidentally, which cover the entire period of my
9 activity in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, run to almost 2.000 pages.
10 And they were mostly written, you know, at the time we were seeing things.
11 So the -- or they were summaries. You'll see sometimes in the diary, let
12 us say I had dinner with Mr. Vance and Mr. Milosevic and Jovanovic. That
13 happened more than once. Well, as a guest, I wasn't going to take out my
14 notebook over the caviar and the meat course. I didn't think that would
15 be polite. I don't think anybody would do that as a guest of the
16 president of Serbia. But immediately on repairing to the hotel, right at
17 the end of the meeting, I would note and so note in the diary that it was
18 a summary of the meeting, to make very clear for the record that it was
19 not word-for-word, that it was summarising the meeting.
20 So having done this for many years and being very experienced at
21 it, I continued to do it during the Yugoslav missions because of the fact
22 that they were so intense, and it was necessary to recall what we were
23 hearing and seeing in order to report back to the Security Council, which
24 was our task. And as I informed Madam Tapuskovic, the previous counsel,
25 we reported regularly, orally and in writing, after every mission.
1 I hope that makes it clear.
2 Q. In fact, now, with your answer, you have in fact reminded me that
3 you testified extensively about this in the Milosevic trial. I think it
4 is also useful for us to hear that in this courtroom, in this trial. I'm
5 mostly interested in the Vukovar events but you gave this explanation and
6 it will be of great assistance.
7 A. Could I make a very brief point? You will see if you read the
8 transcripts of the Milosevic trial, which you just mentioned, that on
9 numerous occasions, Mr. Milosevic, who had all of the diaries, referred to
10 them in cross-examining me, which of course was his perfect right to do
11 so. I should add that at no time did he ever, by word or even by hint or
12 suggestion, at no time did he ever challenge the accuracy and the veracity
13 of the diaries.
14 Q. Now that we are dealing with the diary, I will now have to revisit
15 the issue that has to do with the fact that we received only several pages
16 of your diary but not more than that. Initially, that didn't seem as a
17 problem, but now it emerges that perhaps it would have been useful for us
18 to receive the diaries in the entirety, especially since the public and
19 the Prosecution have had it.
20 MR. MOORE: I'm sorry, no, I'm sorry, there have been repeated
21 complaint about this. There has been not a single request from the
22 Defence at any time for any other pages, apart from the ones that we
23 supplied. I've had this checked to clarify. If my learned friend knows
24 of some document that anyone has sent to the Prosecution, I will clearly
25 withdraw that, but we received not a single request for anything.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
2 Yes, Mr. Lukic.
3 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I don't know what prompted this
4 reaction of my learned friend. All I wanted was to clarify with the
5 witness the fact that we could have perhaps taken advantage of the entire
6 diary. Based on the events recorded in the diary, it seems that there is
7 a discrepancy between the number of pages and the brevity of the time that
8 elapsed between various events. Therefore, it might be something that the
9 Trial Chamber would like to hear about, to explain this discrepancy
10 between the number of pages and the passage of time, a very brief passage
11 of time.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Not the concern at the moment of the Chamber,
13 Mr. Lukic. If you have a point to make about it with the witness, he has
14 the diaries there. Pursue it, if you want to know what happened or what
15 is noted on the pages between the pages you have.
16 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Yes. That's precisely that.
17 Q. Mr. Okun, you have your diaries in front of you. We do not have
18 all of the pages. On your page 39 that you gave evidence about yesterday,
19 and that is the page dealing with the 18th of November, when you had
20 meetings with UNHCR and ICRC people and mentioned the term "mushroom
21 people." So the events of the 18th. In your diary, that's on page 39,
22 and that's a page that we received.
23 Then following that, we learn the events recorded on page 63,
24 which is actually the next day, the following day. So can you please
25 explain to us what happened between these pages? What happened and what
1 was recorded in these 30 pages when we are dealing with just a 24 period
2 of time, 24-hour period of time, but it seems to take quite a lot of pages
3 in your diary, and would that be something that would be of interest to
5 A. I'm happy to do so, if -- no problem.
6 First, might I mention a clarification, Mr. Lukic? You mentioned
7 in a previous question that the diaries had been made public, that they
8 were available to the public. That is not the case. They have never, at
9 no time, been available to the public. They have been under either my
10 personal possession or, for the last three years, they have been
11 physically under the control of the Registrar of this Tribunal.
12 Now, what happened? All right. I'll just give you the sequence
13 that you've asked for. It's quite simple. It's in the diary.
14 November 18, 1991, Monday, at 8.15, Mr. Vance and I discuss our work
15 programme and logistics. We meet from 10.00 to 10.50 with the UNHCR and
16 the ICRC. This is in Belgrade.
17 From 11.10 a.m. until 1.55 p.m., in Belgrade that day, the 18th,
18 we meet with President Milosevic and Foreign Minister Jovanovic.
19 From 12.30 p.m. to 1.55 p.m., Mr. Vance and I have lunch with
20 Milosevic and Jovanovic. That's page 49. And as I reported to you
21 earlier, since I didn't want to take notes during the caviar, I wrote a
22 summary of that meeting. I'll be happy to read it now if you wish to hear
24 But to continue on what happened on -- I'm continuing from that.
25 We went immediately to General Kadijevic and met from 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
1 with General Kadijevic, Admiral Brovet and Colonel Vuk Obradovic. We are
2 still on the 18th and we are still in Belgrade. I continue. We left that
3 meeting in mid-afternoon and went back to the hotel for Mr. Vance to rest.
4 And then at 8.00 on the 18th, 8.00 p.m. to 9.15 p.m., we met with
5 the prime minister of Yugoslavia, Prime Minister Ante Markovic, and his
6 undersecretary from the foreign ministry, Mr. Veres. I've already
7 reported on that meeting in answer to questions. It was at that meeting,
8 for example, that he said the -- that Bosnia-Herzegovina was a potential
9 atomic -- atom bomb. That was the 18th. And that takes us to page 60.
10 At page 61, you have, and it begins in Belgrade with our
11 departure, our -- well, our wake-up at 5.00 a.m. and our departure at
12 6.30, courtesy of the JNA, for Vukovar.
13 So that gives you the entire picture of what happened between
14 pages 39 and page 61.
15 Q. I apologise for what I said about the public nature of the
16 diaries. I knew, based on the transcript, that the diaries were only
17 given to the OTP. That's one thing I wanted to say.
18 On the other hand, based on what you just said, I understand that
19 due to the nature of your business there, which was to compile a report
20 for the Security Council, you decided to prioritise, in terms of diary
21 space, the events that you believed were particularly important. And then
22 it goes page by page. This is something that I now fully understand.
23 Now for a brief question. Based on your notes from the meeting
24 with the representatives of the UNHCR and the ICRC, this concept, the
25 mushroom people, where does this concept come from? Is this something you
1 heard from somebody, or is it a mental image or a metaphor that you used
2 for your purposes at the time? Can you please clarify this?
3 A. Yes. It's very easy to clarify. I put it in quotes. It was used
4 by the ICRC representative as he was talking about the civilians who were
5 trapped underground by the shelling of the city. That's what he meant by
6 mushroom people.
7 Q. My next question is in relation to that. You appear to have had
8 regular contacts with the ICRC, the UNHCR and the ECMM. I would like to
9 know this: The information that you obtained from the International
10 Red Cross in relation to what the JNA did, to the actions of the JNA, how
11 would you characterise the information that they gave you? Was it only
12 critical or were there positive things that they said about the JNA too?
13 A. The ICRC, and I may say the UNHCR and other people but
14 specifically to your question about the ICRC, was very broad-ranging,
15 very, very fair.
16 The ICRC, as we all know, as an organisation, one of its key
17 principles is neutrality and impartiality and independence. Those three
18 are perhaps the three key principles on which the organisation has worked
19 for more than 100 years. And they continue to work that way. And the
20 ICRC people - and we met more than one, of course - I always found
21 extremely careful and very balanced in their analysis and appreciation of
22 the factual situation. I thought they were quite, quite good, and quite
23 fair-minded. Where they had to apportion blame, they apportioned blame.
24 Where they found reason to praise, they had no hesitancy in praising, as
25 Mr. Vance and I had no reluctance to hear that. Remember, we were there
1 also as impartial fact-finders. Our task, which Mr. Vance insisted on and
2 I did it at all times, was to be honest mediators between the sides. And
3 I think, if I may say, I think the Court can see that in the way Mr. Vance
4 was received, in the way that both sides asked us to assist when General
5 Kadijevic told us that blocking, blockading the barracks was a major
6 problem, we made that our principal task, certainly very high on the list,
7 to unblock those barracks. That is to say, to get the Croatian government
8 to unblock the barricades. And I've already reported yesterday that I was
9 given the charge specifically of remaining in Yugoslavia after Mr. Vance
10 returned to work on the problem of unblocking the barricades. So we took
11 it very seriously. And I think the ICRC took its humanitarian role very
12 seriously. I never had any indication to the contrary that the ICRC was
13 partial, from what I could observe. Now, I wasn't obviously everywhere
14 all the time. Nobody can be. But I think they lived up to their
15 impartiality and neutrality requirement.
16 Q. Do you remember that on the 19th of November, in Vukovar, you
17 personally saw representatives of the International Red Cross? This note,
18 the diary, page 63, I see that Mr. Vance refers to an active presence, as
19 he says, of the International Red Cross. Is this something that rings a
20 bell, namely that you saw one of their representatives or even talked to
21 them in the area?
22 And then my next question, if you don't mind, do you remember if
23 the fact was mentioned on that occasion that a large number of Croatian
24 soldiers had surrendered on the previous day who were taken to the Sremska
25 Mitrovica prison and that the ICRC was involved to a great extent? And as
1 a result, that everybody was happy with this operation? Is this something
2 that rings a bell?
3 A. No, it doesn't. I don't recall meeting or seeing any ICRC
4 representative on November 19. It's possible because you know we went in
5 an open motorcade. There were many cars behind us. As I say, we were
6 taken to Vukovar by the JNA. You know, we stopped at Sid, et cetera. We
7 moved on. Many, many journalists were there. I've already reported that.
8 You've seen it on the video. We have all been aware of that. So I would
9 not exclude the possibility that there were other people there, but I
10 personally have no knowledge.
11 On your second question, about the capture of Croatians and their
12 being taken to a prison, I don't believe that was raised. Our prime
13 interest was in first seeing the area and then visiting the hospital. And
14 the barracks, which we did see the barracks but we never saw the hospital.
15 Q. I asked this question because on page 63 of your diary, it
16 reads: "Cyrus Vance visited Vukovar today. Tragedy, a serious
17 humanitarian problem. International Red Cross active."
18 My understanding was that you had direct information or that you
19 personally saw this. Or is this something that Mr. Vance had heard from
20 someone and then conveyed to the Croatian authorities?
21 A. Well, the day before, we had met the ICRC representative, as you
22 pointed out and we discussed, so we knew of their activity. It did not
23 mean we were in personal contact with them on the 19th, no.
24 Q. I have already mentioned President Tudjman. I will ask something
25 in relation to one of the questions that Mrs. Tapuskovic, my colleague,
1 asked you towards the end of her cross-examination. It will be a rather
2 direct question, maybe not so direct, but, well, you spoke about civilians
3 in cities and in relation to that document you know.
4 In any one of your talks with President Tudjman and the Croatian
5 leaders, were you ever told about the position of the Croatian leadership
6 that for them the fact of civilians leaving their towns would have
7 constituted an act of ethnic cleansing? Are you familiar with this
8 political angle to this problem?
9 A. Well, we were of course aware of the population displacement.
10 I've discussed that frequently. There have been numerous questions on it.
11 I've answered them.
12 Just to recall one facet, in our first report to the Security
13 Council, at the end of October 1991, after the first mission, we already
14 had a separate annex. You may read it. It's a public document. A
15 separate annex on the humanitarian situation. That is to say, the refugee
16 problem. So we were well aware of it. Mr. Vance and I took the
17 humanitarian situation on both sides into deep account.
18 Did Tudjman refer to this? Of course, he did. He naturally
19 referred to it from his point of view and would talk about Serb and/or JNA
20 depredations, just as Mr. Milosevic would report to us from his point of
21 view about the evil activities being carried out by the Croatians. I
22 think I've already mentioned and it's noted in my diary notes, that he
23 told us that one Croatian soldier was wearing a necklace that was made up
24 of the fingers of Serb children that had been cut off. But we never saw
25 that person and, of course, he never produced the person. But those kinds
1 of allegations, some of which I'm sure were exaggerated and some of which
2 I'm sure were true, were frequently made by both sides. And as impartial
3 arbitrators, as honest go-betweens, it was our task to judge the
4 statements on the basis of the reality that we saw or that we heard and
5 checked. Again, this is I think what one would say normal procedure.
6 We were, for example, aware, although we did not visit Western
7 Slavonia, we were made aware and were aware that many Serb civilians had
8 been driven out of Western Slavonia, places like Daruvar, Pakrac, you know
9 them better than I, and were in Bosnia-Herzegovina, south of the Sava
10 River. That had been made clear to us. And that sort of thing was
11 constant, that the -- the large-scale movement of peoples, voluntary and
12 involuntary, which normally occurs in war.
13 With specific reference to the term "ethnic cleansing," that was
14 not used to the best of my knowledge during the conflict in Croatia. That
15 became a term that was more popularly used during the fighting in Bosnia.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic, we've run more than an hour now. We
17 must have another break. And we'll resume at half past 6.00.
18 --- Recess taken at 6.07 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 6.31 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Lukic.
21 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I believe my next two questions will allow for brief answers.
23 Did you at any point in time during your missions hear from anyone
24 you talked to, the Serbian leadership, the Croatian leadership, the
25 Croatian army, that the Croatian side also shelled some areas of the town
1 of Vukovar?
2 A. We heard about Croatian shelling in other places, and in Bosnia
3 there were allegations of shelling, but that's not at issue here, but I
4 don't recall anybody telling us about Croatian shelling at Vukovar. It's
5 possible, but I don't recall it. I would have to really consult the
6 diaries for that.
7 Q. We've spoken a lot about the blockade of the barracks. I see that
8 you have a lot of information on that. Does the Varazdin barracks ring a
9 bell and the Varazdin Corps? Do you know anything about that, that you
10 could perhaps share with us, about the blockade of that particular
12 A. No, I don't.
13 Q. It seems I won't be asking you any further questions about that,
15 I will now move to a different subject. But just one question,
16 something in relation to one of the questions asked by my colleague,
17 Ms. Tapuskovic. As far as I understand, you never provided a written
18 statement to the OTP concerning your visit to Vukovar, only the one that
19 was in relation to Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, the one that we have seen.
20 Please allow me to clarify. We only received the transcripts of
21 your testimonies in the Milosevic and Krajisnik cases. Did the OTP ever
22 ask you to provide a written statement about your experience during your
23 visit to Vukovar? A written statement to the OTP, a very brief question.
24 A. No, not to the best of my knowledge. Am I correct in assuming
25 that OTP stands for the Office of the Prosecutor? Yes. So that is the
2 Q. I would now like to move on to specific events, and what I will
3 call the timing of your visit to Vukovar. I will not now be showing you a
4 map of Vukovar. I believe we shall have other witnesses who will indicate
5 certain locations for us.
6 But as far as I understood your testimony in chief, and based on
7 the video clips that we have seen, as well as some of your notes, would I
8 be right in stating that you were aware of the existence of Operations
9 Group North and Operations Group South in the Vukovar theatre of war?
10 A. We were made aware of that at some point during our visit that
11 day. We were not made aware of it before the day.
12 As I noted in the diary, at the bottom of page 61, if you could
13 draw your attention to the next-to-last line. I note half hour briefing
14 by JNA colonel, commander of southern front. So it obviously was
15 mentioned to us as he was introduced to us, and at one point in the
16 altercation between Mr. Vance and Major Sljivancanin, and I've been made
17 aware of that and heard it at the time, the question was raised of
18 northern command versus southern command. So it was during the visit at
19 about that time during the altercation that we were made aware of that
21 I apologise if my answers seem longer to you than they should. I
22 realise the need to move on, but it is not possible usually to answer very
23 briefly, and I try to be of assistance and answer fully. I have sworn to
24 tell not just the truth but the whole truth.
25 Q. Do you perhaps remember whether during your visit to Negoslavci
1 you were shown the lines of delimitation between these two operations
2 groups? Please confirm if you do.
3 A. I don't recall that, and I rather doubt that we were shown it, but
4 it's possible that during the briefing we were shown that. It is
6 Q. Where did you go first after you left Negoslavci? This is your
7 visit to Vukovar. Do you remember what was the first building that you
8 came across based on your notes and on your recollection? Could you
9 specify the time when you reached the first location in Vukovar?
10 A. We reached Vukovar at 11.00 a.m., 11.00 in the morning. As I
11 noticed, the day was sunny and cloudy with -- mixed sun and clouds, no
12 rain. We drove through the city coming into it from the south.
13 Negoslavci lies to the south, as you know. And we may have made some
14 stops en route, very brief ones, to look at this or that destroyed
15 building. But the building we saw first, we were taken to -- the major
16 thing that we saw first was the JNA barracks. Then the reception centre,
17 then --
18 Q. Let's take one step at a time, please.
19 When I look at page 62 in your diaries, I see that you arrived in
20 Vukovar at 11.00 and left Vukovar at 3.00 p.m. presumably. This is
21 mentioned twice. My conclusion is that you left Vukovar at around 1300
22 hours in an APC and that you arrived in Belgrade at around 1430 hundred
23 hours. I said 1300 hours. It was from 1100 to 1300 hours.
24 A. Correct. It's so noted in my diary.
25 Q. You also said yesterday that you found out about my client's name
1 later on. Based on your recollection, sir, when did you first hear the
2 full name, or only the family name perhaps, of my present client,
3 Mr. Sljivancanin?
4 A. Well, I only know -- learned his Christian name, his first name,
5 when I was called to testify here. I learned his family name, as I say,
6 sometime after the incident. I did not know it at the time. Probably
7 within a month or so. I mean very shortly thereafter.
8 Q. Do you remember when it was that Mr. Vance for the first time
9 expressed his desire to visit the hospital? Was it before you left
10 Belgrade? Was it when you arrived in Negoslavci? Or was it when you
11 arrived in Vukovar? When was the first time you officially expressed this
12 desire to someone on the JNA side?
13 A. In Belgrade.
14 Q. You informed some of the military authorities that you were in
15 touch related to the task of organising your visit?
16 A. Yes. As we've already established that the visit to the hospital
17 to look into the humanitarian situation, there was the prime reason for
18 the visit. So naturally, Mr. Vance, as a matter of routine, as a matter
19 of organisation, as a matter of courtesy, was going to tell our JNA hosts
20 the purpose of our visit.
21 Q. We saw that video clip yesterday. It has been tendered today. Do
22 you remember, in relation to my client, whether that was the first time
23 your desire to mention -- to visit the hospital was mentioned during your
24 dialogue? And when did this conversation take place? We have three
25 locations in actual fact. We have the barracks, we have your visit to the
1 refugee centre called Velepromet, everyone in this courtroom knows that,
2 and after that you're going to the hospital. This dialogue that we saw on
3 the video clip yesterday, can you please provide a specific time line when
4 this dialogue took place?
5 A. There were several dialogues, more than one. We would be in the
6 APCs, drive for a bit, get out. Mr. Vance expressed a desire to go to the
7 hospital. He was told, well, we have to get back in. We would go in and
8 out and in and out. So there were -- it was a running dialogue. The
9 dialogue was running. Mr. Vance wasn't running. The major wasn't
10 running. The dialogue was a running dialogue which got increasingly
11 unpleasant as time wore on. I would say the high point, or perhaps we
12 should call it the low point, of the exchange occurred probably about
13 12.40 or 12.45 a.m., because after it was made abundantly clear that force
14 would be used to prevent us from getting to the hospital, at that point
15 naturally we had to get back into the APCs and go to Belgrade. So it
16 would probably have been certainly between 12.30 and 1.00 p.m., or as you
17 say 1300 hours.
18 Q. Yesterday you analysed the video clip that we saw that was on
19 page 24 of the draft transcript, line 23. And you said: "You could see
20 the look of anger [In English] and sternness on Cyrus Vance's face because
21 he had said it several times already."
22 [Interpretation] Maybe I'm asking too much now, but I'm interested
23 in the dialogue that we saw on the footage. Do you remember whether prior
24 to that, the request to tour the hospital was mentioned by Mr. Vance to my
25 client? Can you remember whether that's the case?
1 A. Yes. I remember. As I said repeatedly, and it was known that the
2 chief purpose of our visit was to visit the hospital. That was known from
3 the minute we entered Vukovar. I should say more accurately it was known
4 from the minute we departed Belgrade. That was the purpose of the -- the
5 principal purpose of the visit, in addition to seeing the general
7 Q. So I can conclude, based on your answers, that you made it
8 abundantly clear to the organisers or to those who escorted you from
9 Belgrade that you wanted to tour the Vukovar Hospital. Your hosts were
10 made aware of this and very clearly too. Isn't that right?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. How long did you stay in the barracks?
13 A. Oh, not very long. It's not a very large barracks, and we walked
14 through it. I don't suppose we were at the barracks for more than 10 or
15 15 minutes. Long enough to have a walk through. Since it was undamaged,
16 there was really nothing to inspect. You always spend more time in a
17 building, in a situation like that, if there is damage that you need to
18 inspect or the location of the damage, the extent of the damage, that sort
19 of thing. But when it's relatively untouched, no damage, you can just
20 walk through it, see that, and you go on your way.
21 Q. The refugee centre is something that we also saw on the footage.
22 How long did your delegation stay there? And do you remember whether
23 there, once again, you expressed the desire to tour the hospital?
24 A. We spent quite a bit of time at the refugee centre. We spoke with
25 them. We spoke with some of the troops or -- as I said, Mr. Vance was
1 approached by people. They -- you know, weeping, women, children in
2 ragged clothing. It was a very, very powerful and very tragic scene. I
3 noted that down.
4 With regard to the hospital, again, we didn't feel we had to
5 mention it every five minutes, but it certainly was known that it was on
6 the agenda.
7 Q. Do you remember whether Mr. Vance or any other members of the
8 delegation, in addition to my client, spoke to any other senior officials
9 who were present there?
10 A. To the best of my recollection, and I am pretty sure of it, I
11 wouldn't say 100 per cent but I would give it about 90 per cent, Mr. Vance
12 spoke about the hospital exclusively to your client, or very large --
13 almost completely with Major Sljivancanin. As I said, they maintained a
14 running dialogue because Major Sljivancanin, it was clear to us, was our
15 escort officer.
16 Q. You also described to us your visit to what you termed the little
17 hospital in Negoslavci. How long did you stay there? Did you learn what
18 type of patients were hospitalised there?
19 A. We didn't remain there very long.
20 Q. Do you remember that it was said that the patients there were both
21 Serbs and Croats as well as members of the JNA and ZNG? Did your hosts
22 tell you anything about that?
23 A. I'm pretty sure that was mentioned to us, that there was a mixed
24 patient population in that small hospital.
25 Q. My next question is based on the information I received from my
1 client and it has to do with the dialogue with Mr. Vance. I'm interested
2 in knowing whether you remember this and whether you were able to hear
4 Mr. Sljivancanin claims that at one point Mr. Vance asked him
5 whether the JNA intended to proceed further towards Osijek, and when
6 Sljivancanin said that the JNA had no intention of going anywhere but that
7 it was rather carrying out its constitutional duties, Mr. Vance told him
8 then that in Osijek, 80 per cent of the population considered the JNA to
9 be an aggressor's army. Do you remember any such conversation that had to
10 do with Osijek?
11 A. No, I don't remember that specific conversation. As I've said,
12 Mr. Vance and Major Sljivancanin were having an intermittent but
13 continuous dialogue on a variety of issues as we thought we were being
14 taken to the hospital that we had asked to see, and that the interchanges
15 between Mr. Vance and Major Sljivancanin became increasingly acrimonious.
16 That was clear to all. You could see it on the video as well. Indeed, as
17 I've already testified, I've known Mr. Vance for many decades, I had never
18 seen him as exercised or as angry as he was that morning in -- at the
19 treatment he was receiving at the hands of Major Sljivancanin.
20 I might add to that, Mr. Lukic, since you mention Osijek, that it
21 would have been logical for Mr. Vance to mention Osijek in Vukovar because
22 Osijek is larger, it's the capital city, it's nearby, and we had
23 already -- also heard reports about the attacks on Osijek and visited
24 Osijek just 10 days later. We had the same kind of visit to Osijek that
25 we did in Vukovar. It was handled somewhat differently because the front
1 line was outside the city. We had to be handed over from the JNA to the
2 Croatian army. Incidents occurred on the road. I don't need to go into
3 them here. But in any case, it was logical for Mr. Vance to mention
4 Osijek since we knew about it. It was not a hostile question. Rather, it
5 was a question for information.
6 Q. I have a correction for the transcript. Page 67, line 25, my
7 question was that 80 per cent of the population of Osijek were Croats.
8 That is not reflected in the transcript.
9 Do you remember that during that visit, you were taken to an
10 elevation in that area called Milovo Brdo from where one can see the
11 panorama of the city, including the hospital, as my client claims, and
12 that Mr. Vance was even given binoculars to look at the city. Do you
13 remember being taken to this elevation?
14 A. No, I don't remember that.
15 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if we can skip three
16 minutes of today's trial, it I think would be wise because I'm about to
17 begin with another topic.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will adjourn now and will resume in
19 the morning at 10.00. That seems to be all in order.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m., to
21 be reconvened on Friday, the 18th day of November,
22 2005, at 10.00 a.m.