1 Tuesday, 13 May 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, please call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Today, is May 13, 2008
12 Defence counsel, to the accused, and to everyone assisting us in this
13 case. Today we are going to proceed with the testimony of a witness
14 called by the Prlic Defence. I understand that Mr. Karnavas wanted to
15 take the floor, he has some preliminary remarks for us.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Just a couple of points, Mr. President. Good
17 morning, Mr. President, good morning, Your Honours, good morning everyone
18 in and around the courtroom. Just a couple of technical points. First
19 of all, there were two additional documents over the weekend while
20 proofing the witness. We did provide everyone with copies of that.
21 They're not in the e-court system because the system wasn't working
22 during the weekend I'm told, and in any event that's that. And this is
23 something that the witness provided to us when he arrived, so it wasn't
24 something that we knew in advance.
25 The other point, in meeting with the witness this morning very
1 briefly just to sort of -- our habit to sort of welcome them to the court
2 and talk to them a little bit. Two matters were brought to my attention
3 which I thought I would share with everyone as part of the proofing
4 process so that there's no surprise. With respect to one particular
5 document, which is 1D 02626, 1D 02626, it's dated 12 June 1998. It's a
6 compilation of data from 1992 to 1998.
7 We'll hear testimony from the gentleman who will tell us that
8 he's familiar with this document and why he's familiar, but two points
9 that might be relevant. One is on footnote number 1 of this document it
10 talks about elections that were held for BiH in 1996. I was told that
11 for those refugees from BiH that were still in Croatia they were allowed
12 to vote from Croatia
13 that the elections were conducted by the office of the ODPR, the
14 particular office that he had worked for, of displaced persons and
15 refugees, and not the embassy of Bosnia-Herzegovina. That this was --
16 that they consciously -- there was a conscious decision not to have the
17 embassy, but rather this particular office which was monitored at the
18 time by OSCE, the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe
19 Everybody should be aware that they were the ones that were involved in
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina in monitoring the elections and in organizing the
21 elections, and that he will also say that after the elections it was
22 Ambassador -- I believe it's Robert Frowick, I can't pronounce his name
23 correctly but -- yes, who was at the time at the head of the OSCE who had
24 issued a certificate of appreciation to the Croatian government for their
25 assistance in this process.
1 The other part that was brought to my attention in this
2 particular report if we go to page 3, paragraph 4, page 3, paragraph 4,
3 again sticking with the same document, 1D 02626, you will see at the
4 second-to-last paragraph right above paragraph number 5, there is some
5 mentioning of some events that took place in the summer of 1995 to May
6 1996 with respect to a particular camp in Krupcjensko [phoen]. It's my
7 understanding that there there were large numbers of Muslim refugees that
8 had settled among themselves, this was not an authorised camp, they had
9 done it by themselves, that the Croatian government was being asked to
10 dismantle this camp, the Muslims there that were under Mr. Abdic at the
11 time refused. In any event they were able to close down the camp and
12 relocate all those refugees to settlements in Gasinci, in Obonjan, and it
13 was there also under the auspices of OSCE that elections were held.
14 And of course all of this is relevant because if we reminisce
15 back to what witness Azra Krajsek indicated that those camps were
16 inhumane and so on and so forth, so again this is part of the testimony
17 that the gentleman will describe the events in those camps and this is
18 why this is relevant. I just learned of this, I pass it on, and
19 hopefully it will not be of any traumatic inconvenience to anyone around
20 the court to adjust themselves to this new information.
21 I'm told that some correction needs to be made.
22 MS. TOMANOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I wish to draw the
23 attention of the B/C/S interpreters that when Mr. Karnavas says "camp" he
24 means a camp for campers and not a camp for detainees. This is something
25 that might significantly affect the course of these proceedings and how
1 they are perceived by the public following these proceedings. Thank you
2 very much.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 We'll have the witness brought in now.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could Mr. Karnavas pull the microphone towards
7 him, please. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Can you give me your first
9 name, last name, and date of birth.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Damir Zoric, the 1st of January,
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Do you have an occupation
13 currently; and if so, which one?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I manage a private company in
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Have you already testified
17 before a court of law about the events that took place in the former
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, this one.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In which case, if you remember?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Martinovic, Naletilic case.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. I'm going to ask
23 you to read the solemn declaration.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
25 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you. You may be seated.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You've already testified here,
4 so my explanations will be very brief. You've been called by the Prlic
5 Defence to testify here today. You have met Mr. Karnavas already before
6 this hearing. In the first stage of your testimony, you will have to
7 answer questions put to you by Mr. Karnavas. The four Judges sitting
8 before you may at any time put follow-up questions to you, following
9 questions put to you by Mr. Karnavas on the basis of documents we show
11 Once this is over, the other Defence counsel representing the
12 other accused will be in a position to put you questions as part of
13 cross-examination they may decide to conduct if they think it necessary.
14 After that, the Prosecutor, who is sitting to your right, will
15 have as long as the Defence counsel in chief to put questions to you as
16 part of the cross-examination. And there may be a re-examination at the
17 end if necessary. Every hour and a half we have a 20-minute break. You
18 are -- have been scheduled to testify until Thursday and will be sitting
19 here from 9.00 a.m.
20 uncomfortable, tell us immediately and I'll adjourn for a short break.
21 This is the way we are going to proceed, and without further ado
22 I'm going to give the floor to Mr. Karnavas.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Again, good morning,
25 WITNESS: DAMIR ZORIC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 Examination by Mr. Karnavas:
3 Q. Good morning, Mr. Zoric. You're going to have to pick up because
4 we need to pick up your voice because we will get some complaints from
5 the translators, and rightly so. First I'm going to cover part of your
6 background very quickly. Now, can you tell us in 1990 what you were
8 A. That year I was working at the University of Zagreb
9 young researcher.
10 Q. All right. And when did you leave that position to take up any
11 other positions that might be relevant to your testimony here today?
12 A. I left in August 1991 when the government of democratic unity
13 came to power in Zagreb
14 cabinet. I was the advisor to the deputy prime minister at the time.
15 The deputy prime minister or the vice-president was in charge of social
16 issues, such as health and social welfare.
17 Q. All right. And what was his name?
18 A. Dr. Mate Granic.
19 Q. Were you a member of HDZ at the time?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And have you ever been a member of HDZ?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And what period are we talking about?
24 A. From 1995 to 2000.
25 Q. All right. Now, you said that you were doing some research.
1 What sort of research were you doing before you were invited to this
3 A. I'm a BA in history and ethnology or cultural anthropology, if
4 you like. I also took an MA in the same field and later on I went on to
5 a Ph.D. My research had to do with those areas.
6 Q. All right. Now, focusing on your activities in Dr. Granic's
7 office, could you please explain to us very briefly what exactly you were
8 doing at the time, and we're speaking about 1991 as I understand it;
10 A. The idea was for me to work as his assistant and to help him with
11 the preparations for reforms to be introduced in the social sector,
12 including the university. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to do that
13 much because the war began. It so happened that all of us who were there
14 at the time did most of our work dealing with the consequences of the
15 war. In this case, people who were streaming into liberated areas from
16 other war-torn areas.
17 Q. All right. Concretely what were you asked to do? Please give us
18 the month and the year to start with so we have that as a starting point.
19 A. After the fall of Vukovar, Croatia
20 refugees. It didn't really have a civilian body that was in charge of
21 dealing with those people. November 1991, I was approached with a
22 proposal to try and organize, in cooperation with others, an office
23 responsible to the cabinet that would take care of those people.
24 Q. All right. Now, in the translation we heard "refugees." This is
25 the fall of Vukovar, and as I understand Vukovar is in Croatia. So are
1 we speaking about refugees or are we speaking about displaced persons or
2 are we speaking about both?
3 A. At the time we weren't really familiar with international legal
4 terminology, we simply had no experience in such matters. Refugees was
5 the term we used when referring to those people or displaced persons. It
6 wasn't before much later that we realized that there was a distinction
7 drawn by the letter of international conventions between internally
8 displaced citizens and refugees who crossed from one country to another.
9 Virtually the whole of that first year we referred to all of them as
11 Q. All right. Now, perhaps it would be good to give us an
12 impression as far as what was available at the time, what sort of
13 infrastructure, what sort of resources, what sort of technical knowledge
14 existed in the Republic of Croatia
15 that we have some sort of understanding of what was available at the time
16 because we're going to be going 1991, 1992, 1993, and onwards. So at
17 that point could you tell us exactly what existed.
18 A. Infrastructure is perhaps too ambitious a term. There was no
19 such thing back then in Croatia
20 dealing with matters such as those, no specialised services were
21 operating. What's more, the resources provided for in the budget for
22 that type of activity simply weren't available. All there was was a
23 great amount of enthusiasm among the people. People realized what a
24 tremendous amount of misfortune was occurring all around them and people
25 realized that there were other people who were badly in need of help.
1 That was our infrastructure, especially given the fact that we hardly had
2 anything else that was available to us at the time. We didn't even have
3 a physical office to work in.
5 our office to the seat of the Zagreb Territorial Defence headquarters.
6 It was literally no more than five minutes after they had withdrawn based
7 on an agreement to leave Zagreb
8 Q. Okay. What period are we talking about? We know that Vukovar
9 fell sometime in November 1991; correct?
10 A. I am talking about that time-frame.
11 Q. All right. Now, when Vukovar fell can you give us an impression
12 as to how much of Croatia
13 foreign forces? And by "foreign," I mean JNA because in this instance we
14 are essentially -- for all intents and purposes, we have the
15 internationally recognised boundaries of Croatia. So could you tell us
16 at that point in time when the office is established.
17 A. Croatia
18 another month or two. Nevertheless, about one-third of Croatia
19 territory was already under occupation, more or less about one-third I
20 would say.
21 Q. And do you have an approximation as to how many displaced persons
22 existed at that point in time?
23 A. The figure was fluctuating depending on what exactly was going
24 on, but normally it would be between 200.000 and 300.000 people.
25 Q. This is after the fall of Vukovar we're talking about. I'm
1 talking November 1991, November/December, that period, when you're
2 establishing the office.
3 A. Before that period, during that period, and after that period.
4 I'm talking about 1991 and the first half of 1992. 200.000 to 300.000
6 Q. All right. Well, you told us that Croatia did not have the sort
7 of technical knowledge, in fact you've indicated that there was a lack of
8 sophistication in understanding the difference between refugee and
9 displaced person. Could you please tell the Trial Chamber how much
10 technical assistance came from the international community, the UN,
11 neighbouring countries, countries that had been engaged in assisting
12 other places with these sorts of humanitarian crisis. How much of that
13 came in in 1991?
14 A. Nothing. All we received was a letter from Geneva to the effect
15 that aid had been dispatched to the UNHCR Belgrade mission. They said
16 their plan was to give 28 per cent of the overall aid contained in that
17 shipment to Croatia
18 as a whole at that time. I suppose that was what the calculation was
19 based on; however, we were unable to travel to Belgrade at the time
20 because all the roads were blocked.
21 Q. All right. Let me just, I guess, cut to the quick on this one.
22 At this point, as I understand it, Croatia's being attacked by the JNA;
23 is that correct?
24 A. That's right.
25 Q. Headquarters of JNA, for all intents and purposes I'm talking
1 about the main headquarters, are in Belgrade
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. It's perceived that that Yugoslav, Serbian, whatever you want to
4 call it, government is the one that's actually attacking Croatia and now
5 you have these folks in Geneva
8 A. I think that's what happened. At first I don't think they were
9 aware of what exactly was going on on the ground.
10 Q. All right. Well, did they ever send anybody to become aware?
11 Because you're talking about 200, 300.000 displaced persons. Presumably
12 the UNHCR is interested. The international community must have been
13 interested. The neighbouring countries must have been interested. When
14 was the first time, to your knowledge, did they come in with technical
15 and perhaps even other sorts of assistance, financial assistance, to help
16 with this humanitarian situation?
17 A. The first delegations to arrive in Zagreb were so-called
18 high-ranking delegations. It was splendid to welcome people such as
19 Cyrus Vance, Herbert Okun, and other high-ranking officials,
20 international officials. Nevertheless, they wouldn't go any farther than
21 the political level, what I might term the political level. It took
22 months for the first UNHCR delegations to start arriving.
23 Q. All right. And when they did arrive, what exactly did they
24 provide as far as assistance?
25 A. When they arrived, they struck me as being similar to myself
1 several months before in terms of the fact that they had no office, no
2 premises to use, they had no idea where they had just landed, and they
3 had no idea at all what was going on around them. It took them a while
4 to set up an office to use, set up their equipment, and set up their
5 teams. Throughout this humanitarian crisis in Croatia, if we consider
6 the figures, the UNHCR or any other international organizations, were
7 providing assistance. Despite this, if you look at the monthly breakdown
8 of all the aid they provided, this never exceeded a measly 11 per cent.
9 Q. All right, but let me focus you again. I'm going to ask you to
10 maybe pick up the speed of your answers, slightly that is. When they
11 first arrived, you indicated that they didn't have an office space, they
12 didn't have a place to put their equipment. I take it at some point they
13 did become oriented, they did set up an office, and they did start
14 providing some assistance. Can you please tell us as far as technical
15 assistance, know-how, that is, what sort of assistance did they provide
17 A. The first assistance we received or the first cooperation we had
18 with them was cooperation with regard to the establishment of a database
19 that we got based on the list of all displaced persons and refugees who
20 at the time were in Croatia
21 us the equipment and the funds to do so.
22 Q. All right. What was the purpose of having this database, as far
23 as you understand?
24 A. We needed to know who was who, where they had come from, or from
25 which place they had been driven out, how old they were, how many
1 children there were, how many sick people, where they were. We had to
2 know their needs and how to identify them.
3 Q. All right. First of all, what period are we speaking about?
4 When is the first database established?
5 A. In the first half of 1992.
6 Q. Now, to your knowledge at that point in time is there some sort
7 of a line item in the budget of the Republic of Croatia
8 your office's needs?
9 A. The amounts that were received from government were received in
10 an irregular fashion. The only two persons that were receiving a salary
11 in the first three or four months were the head of that office and
12 myself. Everybody else volunteered.
13 Q. All right. Well, let me stop you. We will hear later on that
14 you became a member of the parliament, and as you well know normally once
15 a year there's a -- there are discussions about a budget. So that way
16 the government can plan its expenditures, you know, over the year. So my
17 question was, and I would ask you to specifically answer my question:
18 Was there a budget set aside by the government for these needs to your
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. And do you know what the amount was?
22 A. It's hard for me to say now because we had a different currency
23 at the time, which later on was converted into the new currency. But the
24 government covered the costs for organized accommodation, schooling,
25 medical treatment, and for all other needs of those people.
1 Q. All right. Now, going back to this database, just a couple of
2 quick questions before we move on unless the Trial Chamber has some
3 questions. First, was the database ever used for discriminatory
4 purposes? In other words, you know -- you can identify exactly how many
5 of one particular group are coming, where they're coming from, that way
6 you can then later on discriminate against them, provide them with no
7 education, no proper accommodation, maybe direct them in places where
8 they would be abused. Do you know whether that was one of the purposes
9 or whether the database was used in any way in that fashion?
10 A. We did not use the database for any discriminatory purposes. We
11 needed it for the technical implementation of our work. We had to know
12 where we had people and how many; we had to know their needs. It was
13 necessary for us to know where they had come from because at any given
14 moment we wanted to be able to return those people to the places of their
16 Q. All right. Now, let me ask you, was this database -- I know you
17 took a census essentially initially, was this database updated; and if
18 so, how often was it updated?
19 A. It was updated periodically. New arrivals were registered, and
20 those who had left were deleted from the register. The database was
21 often used for the needs of humanitarian organizations, especially for
22 the International Red Cross and their search programmes and for the
23 programmes of putting together family members because many families had
24 been split by the war. And when those people became refugees they looked
25 for each other and it was much easier to find them using our data.
1 Q. All right. And can I -- from your answer, am I correct in
2 assuming that that database was shared with the international
4 A. Yes, you're right.
5 Q. So if UNHCR, for instance, wanted to have access to it so it
6 could -- for its own purposes, they would have access to it; correct?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. All right. Now, very quickly, how was the data collected?
9 A. We had people who worked in the local centres where the displaced
10 persons and refugees had been put up, and they entered the necessary data
11 in the forms provided. Later that data was collected to become part of
12 the central base and there the data was processed. It was archived,
13 backed up, and whatever needs to be done with such a base.
14 Q. All right. Now, you indicated local centres, so perhaps it would
15 be good at this point to inform us exactly how was this entire network
16 set up, that is, the network with respect to your particular office?
17 Because we know that you were asked to create an office, I assume that
18 was in Zagreb
19 a few words on how it was set up?
20 A. In all administrative units called municipalities in -- as they
21 were called in former Yugoslavia
22 centres. As our resources were limited, we felt we had to focus on
23 priority issues. The social welfare centres worked with addicts, poor
24 families, and others. We suggested that these centres become part of the
25 structure of our office, and the government approved of that, because the
1 most important social issue in Croatia
2 over half a million refugees and displaced persons. At that moment that
3 was about 12 per cent of the overall population and the territory of the
4 country was effectively reduced by one-third. You can draw your own
5 conclusions out of these facts. So the social welfare centres became the
6 local offices of the government centre for displaced persons and
8 Q. Okay. Above that level, above -- so you have -- at the very
9 bottom you have local centres. What's at the next step?
10 A. The next higher level was the level of regional centres. They
11 were organized on functional principles, but there a distribution did not
12 correspond to the administrative breakdown of the country, that is,
13 regions and counties which were in place at the time in Croatia. So on
14 the territory of one county or region there could be more than one
15 territorial offices, due to the fact that there was such a huge number of
16 displaced persons and refugees. That was the case in Split
17 which with the surrounding territory is one Croatian county but we had
18 three or four regional offices there at the time.
19 Q. All right. And was that because of the numbers of refugees and
20 displaced persons and the numbers of various local centres?
21 A. Yes. We tried to set up as many reception centres as possible in
22 places where refugees and displaced persons arrived in Croatia.
23 Q. Okay. Now, could you briefly tell us how many are we speaking
24 of, reception centres ultimately in places where people are placed, where
25 they are displaced or refugees, so we have some sort of an understanding
1 of the numbers that we're speaking of?
2 A. In Croatia
3 sites; thus, we took care and provided for about half the displaced
4 persons and refugees and the other half took care of themselves. They
5 found accommodation with relatives, friends, or simply people who had
6 taken them up. But after some time even those families turned to us to
7 cover the cost of the accommodation of those refugees and displaced
8 persons. From time to time, the displaced persons and refugees
9 constructed their own accommodation. If the conditions were such that
10 they could continue living there, then we tolerated that and legalised
11 them; but most times, as there were -- as there was no infrastructure,
12 there were no hygienic conditions, et cetera, such places had to be shut
13 down and evacuated. And we then moved those people to other more
14 suitable places.
15 Q. All right. Well, sticking with that, can you just give us one
16 example so that we have an understanding of what we're talking about,
17 where you had some refugees or displaced persons setting up their own
18 accommodations and where eventually they have to be moved because of a
19 variety of reasons, one being hygienic?
20 A. In big cities you can always find empty premises such as
21 provisional accommodation for construction workers and the like, and
22 people simply entered those premises and tried to organize their lives.
23 There were such settlements without electricity, without running water,
24 without sewage. We either tried to provide them with the necessary
25 infrastructure or, if that was not possible, we strove to move the people
1 to other facilities. There were many examples. I was busy doing that
2 practically around-the-clock for two years.
3 Q. All right --
4 A. There were other cases, some of them dramatic, when the police or
5 somebody would call you up, saying that on the central railroad station
6 there were two trains full of women and children waiting for a day or two
7 there and who didn't know where to go, and many of who refused to get off
8 the train before they were told where they would be put up. The worst
9 case being if you had two or three people on such trains who couldn't
10 move or who had to -- or who were in need of urgent medical treatment
11 within hours or they would die. We had such occurrences in Zagreb
13 Q. All right. Now, we're going to go into some more specifics, and
14 before I do that maybe it might be good to ask you one question before I
15 go into your background a little bit more because we do have some
16 documents here. But just so we understand, did -- when the refugees and
17 displaced persons began arriving, did they give you any advance notice
18 and what sort of numbers are we talking about? Because I think it might
19 be good for this Trial Chamber to understand that while Croatia
20 one-third occupied, fighting a war - and I'll be asking where the front
21 line is - to really truly understand what sort of numbers we're talking
22 about in the periods of advanced notice that you had in order to take
23 care of these sorts of individuals, displaced persons and refugees.
24 A. I'm speaking about 1991, 1992, and 1993. The numbers of
25 displaced persons and refugees in that period - and I'm talking about
1 people permanently accommodated in Croatia - the numbers ranged and
2 500.000 to 700.000 people, which means that we worked with at least a
3 million persons because some of them moved on and some of them were
4 fortunate enough to be able to return. Some of them died, unfortunately.
5 But that number was always over 500.000 from 1991 through 1993.
7 front line. The front line was not far from Zagreb. Sisak is only 60
8 kilometres away. Karlovac is 40 kilometres from Zagreb, and the front
9 line ran through the outskirts of Karlovac. Croatia is a small country.
10 Q. All right. But how much advanced notice did you get? Did they
11 say, for instance, in one week so many refugees, displaced persons, are
12 coming so you can at least get the places ready and food there and the
13 water? How much advanced notice?
14 A. There was no advance notice because we're talking about people
15 who were persecuted. In individual cases we may have received advance
16 notice. Mostly we learned from the media that people were crossing
17 lines, crossing the line, but we mostly learned of their presence only
18 after they had already arrived. No preparation was possible.
19 Q. What sort of numbers are we talking about? I'm talking about at
20 one given time when you have a wave of refugees, of displaced persons,
21 coming in, not the overall numbers.
22 A. Exact figures can be found in the documents. I said that the
23 numbers never fell under 500.000. I can tell you that on one weekend 50
24 or 60.000 people arrived in Zagreb
25 football match, that is a logistical problem; but if these people are
1 refugees, that's a huge problem. There were two such incidents, and on a
2 few occasions it was similar in Split
3 migration lines in Croatia
4 People from Bosnia-Herzegovina mostly arrived in Split
5 heading north mostly arrived in Zagreb
6 Q. All right. Now, let's go back to where we started so we have
7 some dates about your particular involvement. You indicated sometime in
8 1991 you got involved. Could you just briefly tell us before we get to
9 the documents, you know, when -- at what period were you working with
10 displaced persons and refugees and what positions you held.
11 A. I was the secretary-general of that office from its establishment
12 in November 1991 till March or April 1993, when I was elected to Croatian
14 Q. All right. And how long did you serve in the parliament?
15 A. Until the end of 1995.
16 Q. While you were in the parliament, did you continue in any way to
17 be involved in the matters in which you had been involved, that is, with
18 displaced persons and refugees; and if yes, how so?
19 A. Yes, I was involved. It was my wish to stay involved because
20 once you experience something like that, being a member of parliament is
21 a very boring job. I remained active in the humanitarian field and I
22 organized several convoys in Croatia
23 I too travelled with these convoys in both countries. I didn't take so
24 much interest in debates about laws.
25 Q. All right.
1 A. So that toward the end of my term in office I decided to return
2 to that office. I accepted Dr. Granic's invitation and returned to the
4 Q. What period are we speaking about?
5 A. Late 1995 and 1996. I returned to work to the same Office for
6 Displaced Persons and Refugees.
7 Q. All right. Now, just very quickly so we can get this into the
8 record, if I can show you some documents. 1D 02642. It should be the
9 first document in your bundle, 2642. We see here this is a decision to
10 appoint you secretary-general, it says Damir Zoric, 13 November 1992, and
11 this is to the office of displaced persons and refugees. My first
12 question is: You indicated that you worked in 1991, but here we see that
13 it's not until 13 November 1992
14 with this decision. Can you give some sort of an explanation, and make
15 it brief and quickly.
16 A. What we're looking at here is the creation of a new government.
17 The prime minister wanted me to remain in that position. The previous
18 government, however, the one that had first set up my office,
19 Dr. Greguric's cabinet, that is the cabinet that we're talking about when
20 we talk about 1991.
21 Q. All right. Let's go on to the next document, and that is
22 1D 02640, 2640. Here we see 5 March 1993, we see your name again, and
23 this is the decision to relieve you. Am I to understand that this
24 decision is based on you being a member of parliament or having to do
25 with you being elected?
1 A. I can't see the decision, but, yes, I had to leave my position
2 because it was simply incompatible for me to remain in an executive
3 position and also to be part of the legislative body at the same time.
4 Q. Okay. Mr. Zoric, your package should have been done with exact
5 precision. The numbers are there, so if you have a problem let us know.
6 We have duplicates. You don't need to be fishing around in the back.
7 They're all in the sequential order of what I'm going now.
8 All right. 1D 02643, 2643. This is another decision. This is
9 to appoint as deputy head of the office of displaced persons, and here we
10 have 23 November 1995
11 the parliament at this point, yes or no?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Okay. Let me ask you the next question. Now, can you please
14 explain how is it that you are a member of the parliament and at the same
15 time you are appointed as deputy head of the office? They seem to be
16 somewhat incompatible. Brief explanation very quickly because we have a
17 lot of work to do.
18 A. The position of the president was incompatible, not that of the
20 Q. All right --
21 A. That is precisely why I was appointed deputy.
22 Q. All right. And very briefly if you could just tell us, what did
23 that job entail? What were your responsibilities while you were the
24 deputy head? Very briefly.
25 A. I was preparing to replace Dr. Rebic as head of office. It was
1 on account of poor health that he was minded to leave the office and the
3 Q. All right. And then if we go to the next document, 1D 02639,
4 2639, we see that this is a decision, it's dated 22 February 1996. We
5 see your name, and this is a decision to appoint president, deputy
6 president, and members of the steering council of the Office for
7 Displaced Persons and Refugees. And we see that you're being appointed.
8 Can you give an explanation as to what exactly this is?
9 A. This is the steering council, the committee. It was appointed by
10 the government from the ranks of cabinet members, MOPs, humanitarian
11 workers, and people who were actually employees of this particular body.
12 So this council monitored the work of the body itself. The other members
13 of that steering council or committee were one or two MPs, another one
14 was the president of Karitas. I was there on behalf of the office's
15 employees. Dr. Kostovic was there on behalf of the cabinet, and so on
16 and so forth. This was a body that monitored and steered, in a manner of
17 speaking, the work of this office.
18 Q. All right. And then if we go to the next document, 1D 02639,
19 2639, this is 22 February -- oh, did we? Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry,
20 you're absolutely right. 2641, 2641, and this is 3 May 1996. And we see
21 here this is a decision to appoint you as head of office. We also note
22 by your name MA, I suppose that's masters, you have yet to receive your
23 Ph.D. at this point. Could you please tell us, what is this position now
24 and who are you replacing?
25 A. I replaced Dr. Rebic. I was now to all practical intents the
1 head of that office.
2 Q. All right. Now, since we mentioned Dr. Rebic, let's get this out
3 of the way? Who is Dr. Rebic because there have been some insinuations
4 by one of the witnesses of the Prosecution that he was part of or engaged
5 in activities related to the Prosecution's allegations of a joint
6 criminal enterprise with respect to the Republic of Croatia
7 events that were occurring in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And I have the
8 transcript ready here if we need to look at it, but who is Dr. Rebic?
9 A. Dr. Adalbert Rebic is a person who is held in high regard, both
10 in Zagreb
11 He teaches at the university, he teaches theology. His subject is called
12 biblical archaeology, exegesis, and he also teaches Hebrew. He is one of
14 matter of fact, speaks four or five different languages. He speaks
15 ancient Hebrew, I think he even speaks Aramaic, Greek, Latin, so on and
16 so forth. He is a highly educated person, an erudite. I think he wrote
17 over 20 or 30 books on the subjects that he deals with professionally.
18 The cabinet wanted him to head the office precisely because he
19 was a person of high moral standards. The cabinet believed that this
20 would be some form of a guarantee to all potential donors. That is how
21 we made it through the war, because of donations. Dr. Rebic would be
22 able to guarantee by his reputation that no funds would be embezzled and
23 that no humanitarian aid would end up being misused. His duty was to
24 head the office, to represent the office, to work with international
25 organizations, to motivate people. My duty, on the other hand, was to
1 get people organized. My job was more hands-on. Regardless of this, we
2 weren't very fussy, we all did everything. It really depended on the
3 circumstances, and the same principle applied to Dr. Rebic. I think
4 Dr. Rebic first got a car that he could use late in 1993, and this was a
5 gift from some Munich-based organization.
6 Q. All right. I don't want to get into those specifics. I just
7 wanted to know who he is. Now, as I understand it from your answer, he's
8 number one and you're number two?
9 A. I'm just saying this to show that Dr. Rebic was a very modest
10 person, a simple person, and that's why I mentioned that. Yes, he was
11 the number one man and I was the number two.
12 Q. Okay. And how was the division of labour? You touched on it
13 briefly, but tell us exactly so we know what Dr. Rebic is doing and what
14 you're doing. And I'm speaking about when you're the secretary-general
15 and he's the head of the office, and very briefly and very quickly.
16 A. My responsibility was to track down people, to find places, to
17 make sure that all the bills were paid, to get people organized, and to
18 provide guidance. What you call distribution of labour was not always
19 possible. He sometimes did my job and I sometimes took over from him.
20 Q. Okay. But what was his job concretely?
21 A. He was the head of office. He was the number one man. He
22 liaised with the cabinet, with international organizations, and he was
23 the public face of the office, if you like.
24 Q. All right. Thank you.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: I take it we're taking a break at 9.30? Okay.
1 Very well -- 10.30.
2 Q. Just very quickly let's get two documents out of the way so then
3 we can move on to more substantive documents. The one is 1D 02915, 2915.
4 And if you don't have it we'll provide it for you, but I see this is a
5 certificate of appreciation. It's dated 9 January 1993. And could you
6 please tell us a little bit about this, what is it, why did you receive
7 it, and why is it -- what can we glean from this? Very quickly.
8 A. We were being approached throughout by many organizations and
9 individuals from both Croatia
10 for assistance. The first thing they always asked for was food because
11 that was about all we could provide, foodstuffs, clothing, firewood, that
12 sort of thing. I received several thank-you notes such as this one.
13 People obviously came to me for material assistance, and I did what I
15 What we're looking at here is the BH army command, specifically
16 Maglaj municipality, which is somewhere north of Zenica and south of
17 Derventa. It's signed by two commanders Anto Marincic and
18 Sulejman Herceg. Obviously this is a joint command with Croat and
19 Bosnian Muslim forces fighting jointly in that particular municipality.
20 This means that our aid made it far into Bosnia, and we're looking at
21 early January 1993.
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. And I think if we look at the original
23 document on the left side we see the coat of arms of the Armija of the
24 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Do we see that, the original, the B/C/S
25 version? Top left side.
1 A. I do have a copy and I can see the coat of arms you're talking
3 Q. All right. If we go to the next document 1D 02916, this is now
4 dated 9 June 2005
5 Travnik. Could you please tell us what this is about.
6 A. My apologies, I can't see the document for the time being.
7 Q. All right. We'll get it for you very quickly.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: If we could have some assistance from the usher.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I see it on my screen.
10 MR. KARNAVAS:
11 Q. Okay. All right.
12 A. [In English] Excuse me.
13 Q. Okay. Could you please tell us what this is about, and it says
14 something about ambassador. You may want to have your glasses handy
15 because we're going to be going through some documents. Every second
17 A. [Interpretation] Yes, in the meantime I had spent two years in
19 in 1995 [as interpreted]. I had been pursuing my private business
20 interests for several years before this, and I had not been involved in
21 any public activity, despite which Travnik municipality awarded me
22 freedom of the city of Travnik
23 received this. They said at the time that this was an expression of
24 gratitude for all the help I had offered them during and after the war.
25 I was one of those people who were making an effort to stop the clashes
1 between Croats and Bosniaks in Central Bosnia. Travnik is a municipality
2 with a clear Bosniak majority.
3 As to this decision, I actually attended the assembly meeting
4 when the decision was taken by a unanimous vote of all the local
5 deputies. Thus, the decision was signed by the Travnik mayor,
6 Tahir Lendo. There is nothing else that is really peculiar about this
7 charter. I am, however, pleased to have been awarded freedom of the
8 city, especially such a city as Travnik. I was awarded this at a time
9 when I had for several years already not been involved in politics at
10 all. A full seven years after I had last held any sort of official
11 position or acted as a state official.
12 Q. Now, we can see from line 16 on page 27 that it says 1995,
13 actually it's 2005, correct, when you received this?
14 A. 2005.
15 Q. And just for the record, could you please tell us when you were
16 ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia
17 when, what period?
18 A. From 1999 to 2000, the end of 2000, November 2000.
19 Q. All right. And the person that signed this particular document,
20 by looking at his name can you tell us whether he's a Croat, a Bosniak,
21 or a Serb just by looking at the name or do you know the person; if so,
22 what is he?
23 A. I hadn't met him before this time. He's obviously a Bosniak
24 because the name is Muslim. I'm not sure about his affiliations, but I
25 would assume that he's a Bosniak. Travnik is predominantly Bosniak.
1 This is the very heart of all Bosnia
2 Q. All right.
3 A. It's an old city.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, this may be a good time for me to
5 break, so if --
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have a follow-up question for
7 the witness.
8 Witness, I'm reading this document. Could you give me a
9 clarification in respect to the meaning of the second paragraph of this
10 document. This document was drafted in 2005, and we could conclude that
11 you are being thanked for having assisted the Republic of Bosnia
13 mention is made to what you did as a statesman, peacemaker, politician,
14 humanist, there's also reference to your government, but during the war
15 and not in the year 2000, the year 1999 or 2005. So what did they mean
16 exactly by this second paragraph?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, they probably meant my
18 contribution in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole. I'm less certain about
19 the figures of speech they decided to use for the purposes of wording
20 this charter. I'm not sure what exactly they had in mind; it's difficult
21 for me to say. I do, however, know that the municipal council had to
22 cast a vote on this. They invited me to the session, they proposed this
23 decision, and there was unanimous acceptance for this.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Obviously the gentleman's quite modest
1 and I think we'll -- throughout the testimony we'll see exactly why such
2 an award was given to him through his efforts during the relevant period.
3 But with that I would ask that we take a break at this point.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We're going to break for 20
6 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed, please
9 proceed, Mr. Karnavas.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
11 Q. We're going to get to the documents so I'm going to direct your
12 attention to 1D 02623, 2623. You don't have to start from the beginning,
13 we're going to go to the very next document, 2623. Do you have it? This
14 is a decree we see that it's dated 30th of August, 1991, and could you
15 please comment on this particular document. First of all, do you
16 recognise it?
17 A. Yes, I recognise it, it's a decree of the Government of the
18 Republic of Croatia
19 the Republic of Croatia
20 even though this office was actually established for the needs of
21 displaced persons.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. These were the first attempts to establish a coordinating body in
25 Q. All right. And if we -- if I could direct your attention to
1 Article 11, at that point in time you see Article -- or some general,
2 minimum rules for the organizing of the living and work of refugees and
3 we see that. Let me ask you this question: With respect to -- what do
4 we mean by health and social adaptation? To your understanding, what
5 does that mean?
6 A. I believe this is meant to mean that displaced persons should by
7 no means be excluded from society. Apart from a minimum subsistence they
8 should get from the state, from our office, such as accommodation and
9 food, they should be enabled to participate in social activities such as
10 enjoy education and enjoy all other rights as all other citizens do.
11 Q. All right. Well, in Article 11 we also see that ensured
12 schooling for children. And my question is: Do you know whether
13 additional schools were built or whether additional classrooms were
14 established, additional teachers were hired to absorb the needs of the
15 displaced persons at that point in time? We're speaking 1991.
16 A. At that time we could not establish new schools. All children
17 that were at the age when they should go to school were included in
18 existing classes, in existing schools up to the maximum numbers possible.
19 We tried to respect what we call pedagogical standards. But even so, we
20 had not 20 students per classroom but 40, say. Teachers who were also
21 displaced themselves were invited to take part in these activities in
23 Q. All right. And just very briefly, Article 12 we see that this is
24 published in the Official Gazette. Am I to understand -- are we to
25 understand that this along with the other legislation as we've received,
1 was available for all, including the international organizations such as
2 UNHCR to see exactly what the legislation was in place dealing with
3 refugees and displaced persons?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. All right. And I believe earlier you had mentioned a
6 Mr. Greguric, and so -- because you had indicated when I showed you the
7 first document when you were appointed, which was in 1992, and you
8 indicated that you had actually began working under this particular
9 government. We see here President Dr. Franjo Greguric -- this is the
10 individual that you're talking about, right?
11 A. Yes, he was prime minister at the time.
12 Q. All right. Now, if we go to the next document, 1D 0 --
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. Two small things I
14 wanted to raise with the witness. Indeed this office has been mentioned
15 by other witnesses who spoke about this and there were a number of
16 questions that had remained unanswered. Since we have the
17 secretary-general of this office we may as well ask a few questions of
18 him as to the way the office operated. Article 1, Witness, we can see
19 the make-up of this office, representatives of the Ministry of the
20 Interior, of Defence, et cetera. Under number 8, I see Croatian Red
21 Cross. Could you enlighten us on this. Could you tell us whether the
22 Croatian Red Cross took part in work meetings with you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we're speaking about
24 an office established in August 1991, and it was active for about three
25 months. That office could not provide for all needs, so another office
1 was established called the government Office for Displaced Persons and
2 Refugees. And I was secretary-general of that office. But I can answer
3 your question, yes, the Red Cross participated very actively in taking
4 care of displaced persons. In fact, they were the only organized
5 structure that had been present from earlier times. They even had some
6 facilities that were previously used for summer schools and similar
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Could you please look at
9 Article 3. In this decree law, this office is supposed to cooperate with
10 the UNHCR from Geneva
11 links, meetings, working meetings, were there continuous follow-up so
12 that the UNHCR could be informed of anything that may have happened later
13 on with regard to the arrival of refugees into Croatia?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, there was no cooperation on a
15 regular basis at the time, and the UNHCR had not yet come to Croatia
16 tried to inform them in writing of the events in Croatia. It is telling
17 that this article reads: " ... the UNHCR ... in Geneva," because they
18 should have been in Croatia
19 in Geneva
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But rather later on when you
21 took up office, did you have close links with them?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I took over the office and
23 when the representatives arrived in Croatia, I had good cooperation with
24 the representatives of UNHCR. During my term in office from 1991 till
25 1993, the UNHCR had three high representatives and I cooperated very well
1 with all three.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Karnavas --
3 one moment, I believe there is another question by a Judge.
4 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, sorry for
5 interrupting you. Witness, I would like to follow-up on the President's
6 question. You said that you cooperated with the UNHCR in Geneva;
7 however, at the beginning of the hearing you said that the word
8 "refugees," which can be found in this document, was wrongly used because
9 you took care of internally displaced persons, so displaced in their own
10 country, that is, Croatia
11 with the UNHCR in Geneva
12 supposed to look after Croats who were displaced in their own country
13 whilst the UNHCR, as far as I can see, was supposed to take care of
14 individuals coming from other countries and who found themselves in
16 is a question that is now part of the remit of the UNHCR. There is a
17 debate as to whether the UNHCR should look after internally displaced
18 people or not, but that is a question raised today. But back then I
19 think that the policy of the UNHCR was to look after refugees. So what
20 kind of cooperation did you enjoy with them?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I believe I understood you,
22 Your Honours, but I must say that apart from displaced persons, that is,
23 Croatian citizens who were put up in Croatia, some of them found
24 accommodation in third countries. Some Croatian displaced persons
25 were -- or rather, found accommodation in Hungary so that they actually
1 became refugees. Some found accommodation in Austria, some in Germany
2 and a smaller number in Slovenia
3 the status of refugees. I believe this was a natural development as the
4 governments of those countries suggested to us that we should work more
5 closely, cooperate more closely, with the UNHCR. The office considered
6 its mandate whether we should also deal with displaced persons and
7 refugees so that talking about the humanitarian crisis in former
9 mandate for such issues too.
10 Throughout my work, I cooperated well with the UNHCR. Our work,
11 or rather, in our work we were not so much concerned with legal or formal
12 issues, but our major concern was the alleviation of the humanitarian
13 crisis. We had to prevent a catastrophe because people in -- the number
14 of people in exile, wherever they had come from, was growing rapidly.
15 JUDGE MINDUA: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. This
17 concept of refugees and displaced persons, let me take the example of an
18 individual who is displaced and, say, arrives in Zagreb and is going to
19 be looked after by the office in charge of his situation. This
20 individual may spend some time in Croatia
21 country, say in Norway
22 status of a refugee. Did you take care of this type of situation in a
23 very specific and precise way?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there were such situations,
25 but I repeat, initially all people who had been expelled, driven out of
1 their homes, or who had left their homes in any fashion, we called them
2 refugees. In Croatian and other Slavic languages, that word means a
3 person who for some reason flees due to the existence of threat to their
4 lives. Only later did the UNHCR point out to us that in international
5 terminology the -- there is a distinction between refugee and displaced
6 person. The Croatian word "prognanik," probably would be better
7 translated into English as "expellee" than displaced person. But when
8 the new office became active and when the new decree on the status of
9 these people was passed, we tried to adhere to international terminology.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now you're going into semantics
11 mentioning, for instance, the word expellee, line 24, page 35. What you
12 say is interesting; however, I guess there are situations in which
13 individuals are displaced or refugees although they were not expelled
14 because they decided to find themselves in such situations.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were such persons. There
16 were persons who arrived because they feared for their lives, and fear is
17 a very subjective notion.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you've come across this type
19 of situation, have you?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 MR. KARNAVAS:
22 Q. Okay. Well, just sticking with this topic just a couple of quick
23 questions. I know that it was pointed out to you by the UNHCR that there
24 is a legal distinction between a -- somebody who is displaced and a
25 refugee. But factually speaking, as far as the treatment, the way those
1 two were treated, a displaced person versus a refugee, were there any
2 differences in that?
3 A. No.
4 Q. And we're going to get into more documents at some point, but as
5 far as placement was concerned were there any distinctions being made
6 that displaced persons should go to certain centres and refugees should
7 go to other centres?
8 A. No, that was not our position. We were happy to find
9 accommodation, whatever -- of whatever type. But in the first year
11 after the start of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina we saw a
12 significant -- the arrival of a significant number of refugees to
14 So we filled all existing facilities, but once they were full we
15 had to look for additional ones or construct additional ones so that in
16 the second half of 1992 and in 1993 there were many facilities with
17 refugees only because they arrived later. And in the facilities that had
18 existed previously we put up displaced persons because they arrived
19 earlier. One of the problems that we faced was that many facilities for
20 social welfare were of seasonal type, which means that they couldn't be
21 used in winter-time. Tourist facilities on the coast mostly lack heating
22 because those are facilities for staying in summer-time only. But in the
23 situation we were you must provide accommodation to people so that they
24 can survive the winter there also. None of us ever dreamed that it would
25 take so long. We all thought that within months or within a year at the
1 most we would be able to return those people to their homes.
2 Q. Okay. Let me -- since we're on this topic very briefly, let me
3 just go in a different direction from my planned direct. Were there
4 possibilities and did it occur where refugees or displaced persons who
5 were, for instance, initially registered in one centre and then made
6 arrangements either on their own or through the authorities to be
7 transferred or relocated to other centres; and if that occurred, can you
8 give us an explanation as to why it would have happened?
9 A. There were such cases initially due to the programmes of putting
10 together families. Members of one family could be found in different
11 cities, and we tried to bring them all together at one place so that --
12 the consequence of that was a vacancy and those vacancies were filled.
13 So there was some amount of relocation.
14 Some facilities could not be used for longer than a few months
15 because the conditions were unsatisfactory. Sometimes the government
16 would pay for the necessary adaptation, and we were building three or
17 four large accommodation facilities and we located them in such a way
18 that -- in such a way as to enable people to be relocated to a place
19 closer to their original home. We called that closer to home. We
20 considered it better for people to be closer to their regions of origin.
21 Q. And why is that?
22 A. Because we wanted them to return to their homes, because their
23 life would have been more bearable and easier in their natural
24 environment. So the displaced persons from Vukovar who found
25 accommodation on the coast and wanted -- wanted to be relocated to
2 town. We built those facilities with the assistance of the German
3 government which had sent a specialised agency to build those
4 accommodation facilities. Apart from the Germans, the Turkish government
5 also provided significant assistance. We tried to equip all those
6 facilities to be used in the winter, which was very demanding from a
7 logistical point of view.
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. If I may add, both refugees and displaced persons arrived in
10 greater numbers in spring and summer because at the -- in those seasons
11 there were more massive military operations so that they would arrive
12 then to facilities which were all right for the summer but not suitable
13 for winter-time. The facilities that were impossible to equip for the
14 winter had to be vacated and the people had to be relocated to other
16 Q. All right. Now, moving very quickly, you talked about this
17 census that was taken and the list of tracking of the refugees and
18 displaced persons. Was that in any way used, to your knowledge, as far
19 as family members being able to identify where their other family members
21 A. Yes. It was precisely such compounds that made it possible for
22 families to be reunited and for family members to be tracked down. We
23 always tried to gather information as to what the last place of residence
24 was in relation to some people, whether they left Croatia, where they
25 left for, and then we were often in a position to track those people down
1 in other countries. We often came up with very good results precisely
2 thanks to such information that had been collected.
3 Q. All right. Now, going back to this decree that we were on, and
4 that was 2623, 1D 02623, we notice on Article 1 various ministries and
5 you were pointed to the Red Cross, the Croatian Red Cross. Now, before I
6 get to that question, why was it necessary to have all these ministries
7 engaged and to assist in or be part of this office?
8 A. Yes, but the infrastructure that we had wasn't much and very
9 often officials, state officials that we had appealed to for help, wanted
10 to do no more than their job was worth. This decree was binding for a
11 number of state bodies and organizations to each in their own field
12 provide assistance to our office as a specialised agency looking after
13 refugees and displaced persons.
14 We were unable or perhaps to some extent we were able to organize
15 schools to some extent, but not really that well. This decree made it
16 possible for us to go to the education ministry and talk to them about
17 that. Likewise, we asked the health ministry to take charge of health
18 issues. Without this decree any school principal in Croatia could have
19 approached me or any of my assistants, saying that they were under no
20 obligation to take these children onboard because it wasn't exactly clear
21 who would be bearing the costs and now they were under an obligation to
22 take those children in and it was the state who covered all the costs. I
23 think this is actually enshrined in Article 1 of the decree. One thing
24 that I'm certain about is that it did work like this in practical terms.
25 Q. All right. Now, getting back to the Croatian Red Cross, because
1 I think we all have some images as to what Red Cross normally does, can
2 you tell us how the Croatian Red Cross operated, what sort of functions
3 it carried out prior to, say, the conflict, prior to the war?
4 A. If I compare to what I saw before the war, while the former
6 functioning back then and if I look at the work of the International
7 Red Cross, the organizations were similar in only name. The Red Cross
8 was an organization that operated on a purely voluntary basis and it was
9 led by a number of, I assume, professionals. And they were gathering
10 blood pools and they organized various courses. They would also collect
11 aid and contributions for families on the brink of society on an annual
12 basis. However, the international HQ soon granted recognition to
14 good. Over no more than a short period of time, although they were a
15 small-scale organization to begin with, they grew and became the -- a
16 well-regarded player on the international stage. It was they that set up
17 this tracking service which was of great use to us and we were grateful
18 to them for it.
19 Another important organization at the time was the Karitas. They
20 enjoyed a great deal of credibility at the time and were able to --
21 Q. Okay. We'll get to that. Let's go step by step now as opposed
22 to free flow. If we go to the next document, 1D 02637, and I'm going to
23 ask you to keep your answers rather short and to the point so we can move
24 along at a rapid clip. We see that this is a document dated 22 November
25 1991, it is another decree, it's on the Office of Displaced Persons and
1 Refugees. Do you see that, sir? You're shaking your head. Does that
2 mean yes?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. And we also see if we go to the last page on Article 12
5 that this was also published in the Official Gazette; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why was it necessary to pass this decree to your knowledge?
8 A. In a way, this decree makes up for some of the shortcomings of
9 the previous one. We see this new office being set up, and if you look
10 at Article 2, you look at all the organizations that there will be some
11 form of cooperation with. You see that the number of the organizations
12 is growing. In addition to Karitas and the Red Cross, you also see the
13 Merhamet organization joining the ranks. At this time we were facing a
14 growing problem with refugees from Bosnia. This is a decree law and any
15 decree law is always published in the Official Gazette.
16 Q. Okay. And if we look at Article 4, if you could look at it very
17 quickly and tell us what -- interpret this for us. Because it says:
18 "Surveillance over the work of the office shall be performed by the
19 office's steering council. President and members of the office's
20 steering council shall be appointed and relieved of duty by the
21 Government of the Republic of Croatia
22 So could you please tell us, what is this all about?
23 A. It was the head of office that was supposed to run the office and
24 his chief secretary. There was a body in charge of monitoring too, also
25 government appointed, and they were supposed to steer its work, they were
1 supposed to guide its work, and provide guide-lines. This was the
2 steering committee, also to be government appointed.
3 Q. All right. And if we look at Article 5, without commenting on it
4 too much, it appears -- it lists the various offices including Karitas,
5 as you indicated, International Red Cross, and others of which your
6 office is supposed to cooperate with. Is that correct?
7 A. Correct. The international organizations at the time wanted to
8 know what this body was, this government body, that they were working
9 with, who was their partner, and that is what this article is for, it
10 specifies who exactly is the partner for any talks or forms of
11 cooperation to international players in Croatia.
12 Q. All right. If we move to the next document 1D 00902, 00902,
13 dated 5 May 1992
14 Dr. Mate Granic, you told us who he was at the time, and this is a
15 certificate to a Dr. Slobodan Lang. First of all, who is
16 Dr. Slobodan Lang, do you know him?
17 A. Yes, I know Dr. Lang. He's a long-time human rights activist and
18 humanitarian worker. He gained a degree of notoriety already during my
19 time as a student, I think it was in Kosovska Mitrovica, he descended
20 into a mine himself as a token of support for the miners who were on
21 strike in Kosovo at the time. He often went to hotspots where we
22 believed human rights of workers and other persons had been violated and
23 he would always go to such areas to offer his support and assistance. He
24 worked at the faculty of medicine and Dr. Granic also taught there.
25 It appears obvious on the face of this document that Dr. Lang was
1 in need of a pass or a certificate that would allow him to go to
2 Croatia's south to see what the situation was like over there as far as
3 the humanitarian situation was concerned. I think he did this job on a
4 professional basis, because I think the subject that he taught was called
5 social medicine. I think he was sufficiently qualified to make an
6 assessment --
7 Q. Let me interrupt you --
8 A. -- in this respect, and I think every time he was back from a
9 trip like this he would normally submit a report on what he found.
10 Q. At this point in time is he associated with any particular
12 A. No, not as far as I know. At the time, however, there were many
13 people who were willing to help and he was just one of those.
14 Q. And when it's talking about the region of southern Croatia, what
15 region are we talking about?
16 A. The Adriatic coast, Dalmatia for the most part. In colloquial
17 terms we refer to this region as south Croatia simply because all these
18 areas are actually at Croatia's south.
19 Q. All right. Just one final question, please make it very brief.
20 Why would Dr. Lang need a certificate like this? Why can't he just go
21 down there to southern Croatia and do whatever he wanted to do as far as
22 humanitarian assistance is concerned?
23 A. In order for him to reach the coast from Zagreb, I think he would
24 have had to make at least 20 stopovers. When I say "stopovers," I mean
25 various check-points that he'd be pulled over at and he would be
1 requested to declare his identity to prove who he was; otherwise, I don't
2 think he would have been allowed to pass through too many of those.
3 Q. All right. If we go to the next document, 1D 02587, this is May
4 13, 1992. We see this is a Crisis Staff of the Muslims of Croatia for
5 providing humanitarian and other aid to the Republic of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is a guarantee. We see that it's signed by the
7 Minister of Finance, Jozo Martinovic, and if we look at it very closely
8 we see we're talking in the amount of $30 million US dollars, the
9 then-value as opposed to the value today. Now, could you please tell us,
10 first of all, do you know what is this Crisis Staff of the Muslims of
12 A. I think this is a group of private individuals, well-regarded
13 citizens of Zagreb
14 association. In keeping with the popular terminology of the time, it was
15 named Crisis Staff. They tried to put together as much equipment, funds,
16 and resources as possible for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 Q. All right. Now, from this am I to understand that this money, 30
18 million US
19 A. If I look at the wording of the document, it appears to be a bank
20 guarantee. Anyone working with money would be happy to be -- to have a
21 document like this available to them, regardless of the value of the
22 dollar right now this is a guarantee that the Ministry of Finance would
23 be paying this sort of money in return for the bills delivered to them.
24 What this is about is the following: There was this Crisis Staff with
1 they would be allowed to use up as many as $30 million USD and the
2 Ministry of Finance provided a guarantee that that would be covered.
3 This is as good as a guarantee, and I do have to agree with you that if
4 we think back to Croatia as it was at the time this amount is simply
5 enormous. As a matter of fact, I think even nowadays it could still be
6 seen as an enormous amount of money.
7 Q. All right. Well, just to make sure I understand it with this
8 guarantee because I'm not a banker, never worked in a bank, but it seems
9 to me with this guarantee this organization could go to warehouses,
10 stores, or what have you, and select foodstuffs, medicine, household
11 necessities, and other material to their choosing, to their liking, based
12 on what they believe are the needs, and that -- up to $30 million. Is
13 that what we're talking about?
14 A. That's my understanding.
15 Q. And from this there doesn't seem to be any indication as to where
16 those goods would be shipped once they got into Bosnia-Herzegovina. They
17 could be -- is that correct, there's no strings attached to this? Like,
18 for instance, it has to go to a particular municipality?
19 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, if I might. If we could --
20 there's no indication that the witness has any information about this
21 particular matter. Unless the witness has some personal knowledge that
22 he has as to what the arrangements were. We have no idea what
23 arrangements were made between the Government of Croatia and this group,
24 Muslims of Croatia. We don't know if there were pay back -- you know,
25 payment provisions. We don't know anything about this transaction
1 whatsoever, and the witness has not indicated that he has personal
2 knowledge about it. All we have is a letter in front of us that's quite
3 short and rather cryptic in some ways.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I object to the word "cryptic," it's rather plain
5 and simple, but I'll agree that the gentleman doesn't know as to which
6 municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina the stuff should go. So, we can
7 move on. I think the Chamber can take the document for whatever it's
9 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I still have a question.
10 Witness, do you know whether and to what extent actual use was
11 made of this guarantee, what the outcome was finally?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm happy to answer
13 this. I do have some knowledge about this, since I was a high-ranking
14 official government at the time and I was involved in all the cabinet
15 meetings. This body, the Crisis Staff of Croatia's Muslims, had a close
16 cooperation with the Sarajevo government. They sent all of the aid that
17 they got to Sarajevo. Where it went from there is really not something
18 that I am privy to.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Your answer makes everything
20 more complicated it seems. We have a letter of guarantee from the
21 minister of finance and it could be interpreted in different ways. It
22 may be a guarantee for spending by this Crisis Staff of the Muslims of
23 Croatia when they buy goods or foodstuffs for refugees or displaced
24 persons. We might think then that the minister of finance has informed
25 or is informing this Crisis Staff that they enjoy a guarantee up to $30
1 million. But when I hear your last answer, I see another explanation
2 possible. Would that be a letter of guarantee allowing the government in
3 Sarajevo to start spending money, money that would -- could go up to $30
4 million? How should we understand this letter of guarantee according to
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this is a payment
7 guarantee. The Ministry of Finance is providing a guarantee to a
8 particular institution that it would cover expenses up to a certain
9 amount in lieu of that institution. This has nothing to do with putting
10 up refugees, but it does have to do with such aid as was collected in
11 Croatia and the Crisis Staff of Croatia's Muslims was one of the
12 organizations that helped dispatch the aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the
13 time there were many people trying to organize themselves, and that was
14 also how this Crisis Staff of Croatia's Muslims was set up. Their
15 cooperation with Sarajevo was close.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Dr. Zoric, an additional question. This
17 guarantee was something like a bond, which normally is something that is
18 paid back when things go better. Do you know and could tell the Chamber
19 whether any of this money was actually returned to the Government of
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, that was never
22 requested by the Croatian government. This is a donation.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you.
24 MR. KARNAVAS:
25 Q. All right. Well, I --
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Without going into financial
2 details, that may be relevant; however, considering the knowledge that
3 some of us have in that matter, why is the title of this document:
4 Letter of guarantee? Why doesn't it say: Letter of credit here? You've
5 told us that the minister of finance would be paying. Let's assume that
6 this Crisis Staff buys rice. Would the invoice be sent to the
7 Ministry of Finance, who would then pay the company selling the rice, or
8 would the Crisis Staff pay and then get the money back from the
9 Ministry of Finance? It's a bit confusing I must say.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The finance minister who signed
11 this guarantee had previously worked in one of Croatia's most important
12 banks, one of Croatia's major banks. As far as my experience with such
13 letters of guarantee go, this is a textbook example of an irrevocable
14 guarantee being provided that a sum such as this would be covered,
15 30 million USD, based on any bills or expenses incurred by the Crisis
16 Staff of Croatia's Muslims. What this means in practical terms is that
17 they could do what they believed needed doing with this money. They
18 would be given the equivalent up to this amount in Croatia for the money
19 specified here, and this was then covered by the finance ministry.
20 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, before Mr. Karnavas continues
21 I just -- for the record just want, again, to make my point again. It's
22 only become clear in light of the Court's questions, Judge Trechsel and,
23 Mr. President, your questions. The witness has still shown us absolutely
24 no personal knowledge about this transaction or these arrangements, and
25 everything -- I guess I can appreciate that he's trying to assist the
1 Chamber, but everything he's just told us is general knowledge or
2 speculation but has no knowledge, he has indicated no knowledge of this
3 particular transaction or these particular arrangements. For example,
4 when he says: "As far as I know it wasn't paid back," well, anybody can
5 say that. As far as I know it's not this, as far as I know it's not
6 that. The bottom line is the witness has no knowledge of this matter.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: May I continue?
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed.
9 MR. KARNAVAS:
10 Q. Yes. Let's fast-forward a little bit. I want you to look at a
11 document 1D 2609, 1D 2609. You will see a somewhat different document,
12 again featuring the figure of 30 million US. First of all, if you could
13 look at the second page we see this is 3 February 1993. You see two
14 signatures, one is from Minister Jacques Mouchet; did you know this
15 gentleman? Have you located the document, sir? 2609. Now, look at the
16 second page, do you see where it says Mr. Jacques Mouchet. Do you know
17 that individual; if so, who was he?
18 A. Yes, Jacques Mouchet at the time was the UNHCR's high
19 representative in Croatia.
20 Q. And underneath it we see another signature by Dr. Adalbert Rebic.
21 Is that his signature to your knowledge?
22 A. As far as I can see, yes, that's his signature.
23 Q. Now, we've heard testimony from a Prosecution witness who was
24 attached to the embassy, the Bosnia-Herzegovinian embassy there, more or
25 less indicating that the ODPR was discriminating against Muslims, not
1 providing them with education, putting them in places that were unfit,
2 isolating them and what have you. From this document, sir, it would
3 appear that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is
4 providing the ODPR with $30 million to distribute and if we look at the
5 bottom to "cash grants to host families, refugee registration
6 documentation, programmes benefitting women, children, and the elderly,
7 improvement with shelter and accommodations, agency support."
8 Can you give us -- can you comment on this particular document in
9 light of the fact that you were working in that office on this date?
10 A. This document shows that the UNHCR having established a mission
11 to Croatia in cooperation with the ODPR tried to help the refugees in
12 Croatia irrespective of their origin. This doesn't say that these or
13 other refugees would get help, but that refugees in general would get it.
14 The UNHCR mission to Croatia obviously had confidence in our office and
15 Professor Rebic, trusting that the money would be distributed to those in
16 need and to those to whom it was directed. They had the right to take
17 active part in the distribution of aid and monitor it. As far as I know,
18 they had no remarks to our activities.
19 Q. All right. Now, very briefly looking at paragraph 2 if we look
20 at it, it says that ODPR's required to report in financial and narrative
21 forms on the use of all contributions received from the high
22 commissioner. Two questions: One, were reports and financial -- in
23 narrative form made, to your knowledge; and two, did there ever come a
24 time --
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Are you okay, Your Honour?
1 Q. -- did there ever come a time when UNHCR complained that ODPR had
2 abused the funding in any fashion?
3 A. No. The UNHCR never had such complaints because there were no
4 such incidents.
5 Q. All right. Now, let's move to the next document, 1D 02585.
6 Again we've heard testimony from one particular Prosecution witness, and
7 that's Ms. Azra Krajsek, who was here and apparently she had indicated --
8 she had testified about certain conditions and certain places, one being
9 Gasinci, the other one being on the island of Obonjan. My pronunciation
10 is off but I'm sure everybody knows what I'm talking about.
11 First let's look at this particular document, 11 September 1992.
12 My first question is: At this point in time in Croatia, is Croatia
13 absorbing refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina or are we talking about
14 displaced persons or are we talking about both of them? Focus on the
15 period of time.
16 A. This is an official communication including statistics issued to
17 everyone who had an interest in that, which shows where in Croatia
18 displaced persons and refugees had found accommodation. At the time we
19 already had a significant number of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina. I
20 just would like to point out --
21 Q. Let me direct you. Let me direct you so it will -- might move
22 quicker. First of all, we see Adalbert Rebic. Is that his signature,
23 yes, no, if not, who's is it, do you know?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Do we see a "za" there, meaning "for"?
1 A. [In English] Instead of him.
2 Q. Okay. Now, let's look at this document. We see that we have
3 approximately 5.898 folks in Korcula and there's another item, I believe,
4 that's mentioned there. Am I correct?
5 A. [Interpretation] Yes, you're right. Croatia has over 1.000
6 islands, Obonjan being one, and out of all islands mentioned here Obonjan
7 is closest to the mainland and it takes 10 or 15 minutes there by ferry.
8 Q. Let me walk you step by step.
9 A. [In English] Okay.
10 Q. I'm mentioning Korcula at the very top, Dubrovnik. Do you see
11 Dubrovnik, 5.898?
12 A. [Interpretation] That's right.
13 Q. Is Korcula an island, and if so, what is the condition of that
15 A. Korcula is an island which can be reached by ferry from Split and
16 the passage takes three and a half hours. In some suitable tourist
17 facilities, both refugees and displaced persons had found accommodation.
18 At the time this document was issued they were over 6.000 of them.
19 Q. All right. And just to make sure, you have to take a boat from
20 the mainland to get to the island? In other words, you can't drive to
21 it? I mean, please answer the question so we can move very quickly. I
22 know they're stupid questions, but for those of us who know the terrain,
23 but for those of us who don't.
24 A. You have to take a ferry to get to an island.
25 Q. Okay. Let's go down to Slavonski Brod and we see at the very
1 bottom of it Djakovo. Was there a refugee camp or some sort of a
2 facility in and around that area because we see a figure, I believe it's
4 A. Yes, when we say Djakovo, we mean only the town of Djakovo where
5 at the time 1382 persons had found accommodation and in the surrounding
6 villages, such as Gasinci, another 3.000.
7 Q. All right. Now, at this point in time where are those folks
8 coming from, if you know?
9 A. The first part were people who had come from Eastern Slavonia in
10 1991 and who had filled all available facilities in Djakovo. And the
11 other 3.000 are ethnic Croatian and Muslim refugees mostly from the
12 Bosnian Posavina after the events that had -- that took place there. And
13 they were taken to Gasinci because that was a suitable location. We
14 adapted a former military camp with the aid of foreign governments that I
15 have already mentioned. So it was adapted for the accommodation of
16 persons. They were facilities with a big kitchen and other equipment for
17 putting up a significant number of people.
18 Q. Did the international community, UNHCR and any other
19 organization, ever demand that this facility be closed down?
20 A. No.
21 Q. All right.
22 A. On the contrary, they assisted us in adapting that those
23 facilities for the accommodation of displaced persons or refugees. In
24 those facilities, including Gasinci, there were also representatives of
25 international organizations. Such statistics were made for them also to
1 enable them to decide where it would be advisable for them to go to live
2 up to their mandate. So in Gasinci and Djakovo there were
3 representatives of international organizations, including the UNHCR, some
4 Islamic organizations of which I forget the name, the International
5 Red Cross and other organizations run by volunteers.
6 Q. Okay. But we heard this witness, who indicated that in Gasinci,
7 for instance, weapons were being pointed at the facility, indicating that
8 it was purposely pointed in the direction towards the Muslims and that
9 all sorts of crime was being committed in there -- of course we don't see
10 any names to that effect, any specific data, but to your knowledge, to
11 your knowledge, did you ever hear any complaints or see any documents
12 from the international organizations, such as UNHCR who were there in
13 situ, where they would bring these sorts of atrocities or complaints to
14 your attention, something that would verify what Ms. Azra Krajsek said
15 while she testified under oath here.
16 A. Those are the only remarks that I know about. We had no comments
17 by any other international organizations present there. We mustn't
18 forget that at that refugee centre, apart from Bosnian Muslims, there
19 were also Croats. We know that the Bosnian Posavina was populated by
20 ethnic Croats and Bosnian Muslims in equal proportions. We had both
21 there, and, you know, speaking about weapons in a refugee centre is less
22 than credible because our country needed weapons at other places at the
24 And talking about crimes or mistreatment, you as lawyers know how
25 this should be done. Who did what, when, to who, who was informed and
1 what was done about it. And general complaints to me seem one-sided.
2 The information that the government would keep weapons in a refugee
3 centre where there were both ethnic Croats and Bosnian Muslims is not
4 credible to me and we know that our forces were poorly armed and that
5 weapons were badly needed elsewhere. I believe there is no basis for
6 such claims whatsoever. I went to Gasinci several times --
7 Q. All right.
8 A. -- and the facility could accept a large number of people.
9 Whether everybody there was happy, well, of course not. Nobody was
10 happy, because it's a very sad situation, being a refugee. There could
11 have been a dissatisfaction -- I'm sure there was some, but there was no
12 discrimination, there was no officially encouraged violence; on the
13 contrary, if there should have been some sparks they would have --
14 something would have been done to alleviate the situation.
15 Q. All right. Now we can talk a little bit about Obonjan, because
16 again this witness, Krajsek, when she testified insinuated that Muslims
17 were placed on that island and essentially they were there in isolation
18 because they were not able to make it to the mainland, they didn't have
19 the money for the ferry, and I believe you indicated that that's a
20 15-minute ferry ride. Before we talk about the specifics on that
21 particular island, let's look at where it says Split, where it says Brac,
22 3.150. Could you please tell us how far is that island from the mainland
23 by ferry?
24 A. The island of Brac is about one hour by ferry-boat away from
25 Split, the principal port on the Adriatic. We also had some refugees on
1 the island of Hvar, to which it takes two hours by ferry-boat. But there
2 were also some refugees on the remotest islands in the Adriatic, such as
3 Vis, where we had --
4 Q. That's why I wanted to ask you step by step because I want to
5 make sure that I have my record very clear. Vis, how many hours is that
6 away by ferry?
7 A. Four hours.
8 Q. Now, why did you -- did your office or the Croatian government
9 establish centres in such touristic islands as Korcula, Brac, Hvar, and
10 even on an island as far as four hours away? Vis, from what I
11 understand, is a rather nice island as well.
12 A. Well, those are tourist destinations but there was no tourism at
13 the time except perhaps for Croatian tourists. The activities were very
14 limited because there was a war on the mainland and we took the people
15 there because there were accommodation facilities there. I'm talking
16 about tourist facilities, hotels, and other facilities. Some companies
17 in Yugoslav times had their own resorts for their own employees to go for
18 their summer vacation.
19 Q. All right. Thank you. Now, if we go to the island of Obonjan,
20 could you please describe to the Trial Chamber, where is this island, how
21 far [sic] it takes to get there, how you would get there, and what's on
22 the island, what was the island used for prior to, say, 11 September
23 1992, and then how was it used thereafter once it became -- you started
24 housing refugees and displaced persons?
25 A. Obonjan is an island in the Sibenik Archipelago very close to the
1 mainland and the town of Sibenik which is some 60 or 70 kilometres north
2 of Split. And there are several islands around Sibenik, one of them
3 being Obonjan. It is 10 to 15 minutes away from the mainland by boat.
4 Before it was known as the seventh continent, and on the island there
5 were facilities for the use of scouts, boy scouts, who there had their
6 summer courses, and before the war it was the destination of the scouts
7 from all over the world and that's probably why it was called the seventh
8 continent. It was run by a special organization which was at -- which
9 was in charge of the time. And when war broke out and the problem with
10 the displaced persons arose, we made use of these facilities because they
11 include dormitories, an infirmary, kitchen, et cetera, all the necessary
12 infrastructure for putting up a larger number of people.
13 At the same time, especially after the occupation of Jajce and
14 after the fall of large stretches of territory in Eastern Bosnia, most
15 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived in Split and the town was an
16 apocalyptic site at the time, I must say. People were put up in
17 gymnasiums to spend the night, to give us time to organize, to sort out
18 who was who, and decide what to do. Once the gymnasiums were full,
19 people were put up in pools, swimming pools. If you look at the
20 statistics, Split at the time had 59.627 refugees and displaced persons
21 who were put up in the city or in the surroundings. And then there were
22 a large number of newly arrived persons. We had people who for weeks had
23 to sleep in empty swimming pools, and then we took them to the island by
24 ferry that -- and there was the ferry sailed once a day from Sibenik to
25 the island.
1 Q. All right. Well, just sticking with the last point that you
2 made, placing people in the swimming pools, were those Muslims or Croats
3 or both? Because there seems -- from the Prosecution's evidence was that
4 there was a concerted effort to discriminate -- at least from -- this is
5 what Azra Krajsek says. Who were in those swimming pools? I assume that
6 they were empty at the time.
7 A. If the refugees were from Eastern Bosnia they were almost
8 exclusively Muslims because there was no significant number of Croatian
9 populace there. And talking about Central Bosnia or other parts of
10 Bosnia then there would be an equal share of ethnic Croats and Muslims.
11 There was no discrimination with regard to that whatsoever. But it's a
12 fact that the ethnic Croats found it easier to integrate into Croatian
13 society, many of them had relatives in Croatia, which is a widely known
14 fact. And those who didn't have relatives were put up in the same way.
15 And when we speak about refugees from a certain region, 10 or 15.000 of
16 them arrive, eventually you have a problem with 3 or 4.000. We are now
17 speaking about a people who had no other possibility of finding
19 Q. All right. Now, on this particular island, Obonjan, which took
20 15 minutes to go from the mainland to it on a ferry, how often did the
21 ferry run?
22 A. We knew that the -- some refugees wanted to go to town and didn't
23 have money to pay for it --
24 Q. Excuse me, excuse me --
25 A. -- and we paid for the ride once a day.
1 Q. Mr. Zoric, I have a lot of material to go through. I would most
2 appreciate it if you would just answer my questions step by step because
3 there's a purpose in it. So first question is: How often did the ferry
4 run? Five times a day? Twenty times a day? One time a day? How often?
5 A. We paid for one passage a day. Whether the ferry ran more often,
6 I don't know, but we covered the cost of one ride per refugee per day.
7 Q. Okay. Now, could all of them leave at the same time? I mean,
8 what was the procedure, if you know?
9 A. No, they couldn't go all at the same time. There were hundreds
10 or thousands of them there and we didn't have such large ferry boats. 20
11 or 30 could go at a time, and it was up to them to decide who would go.
12 And in accordance with the decrees we saw earlier, the refugees had the
13 right to select their representatives and agree about such issues.
14 Q. So if somebody needed to, say, seek medical attention on the
15 mainland, they didn't have to have money to get on the ferry, that would
16 be provided -- the ferry ride was free for them; am I correct?
17 A. Yes. We paid the cost of one ferry ride per day, and on the
18 island there were doctors and an infirmary and they were able to provide
19 for basic medical assistance. If specialist medical assistance was
20 required, the people would be taken to Sibenik hospital.
21 Q. All right, let's look at the next document, 1D 02586, 2586. It's
22 somewhat similar, at least the first page, it's dated 27 October 1992,
23 again we see the various places where you have refugees staying. But if
24 you could just go through that document because we see some other charts
25 and numbers. Are you familiar with this document, sir?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And the figures that we have here if we were to look, say, on the
3 second page where it says: "Facts regarding the number of displaced
4 persons and refugees," to your understanding how accurate are these
5 figures? Because we see at the very bottom: "Total in Croatia: 630.449
7 A. These are the stats established by the office. This should be
8 accurate to a large extent. The UNHCR also gathered information on this.
9 I think the probability that anyone else would try to pass off their own
10 information as accurate was quite low. I think this is accurate
11 information. At the time Croatia had in total of 630.000 registered
12 refugees, roughly speaking.
13 This information also shows how many refugees there were from
14 Croatia that were put up in other countries such as Austria, Germany, and
15 Croatia at the time. You see that the greatest number of refugees were
16 received by Austria and Germany; however, we started keeping our own
17 statistics at the time to see what was going on in Bosnia and Herzegovina
18 and to see where some people from Croatia had ended up. We also had
19 information to show where they were before they arrived in Croatia. Most
20 of those were in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but there were people who were
21 flooding in from other republics of the former Yugoslavia as well.
22 Q. All right. If we look at table number 2, it's Germany and
23 Hungary that took the most, it would appear. Germany with 55.000 and
24 Hungary with 32.600, as opposed to Austria with 2.500; is that correct?
25 In table number 2, am I correct in stating those figures, sir?
1 A. Yes, you're correct. At the time the governments of certain
2 countries published exact figures as to how many people they'd be
3 receiving, some sort of a quota. Once the quota was filled, they would
4 simply close down their borders.
5 Q. All right. And let me just ask this one question because I
6 should have asked it earlier. Were Croats from Croatia actually going to
7 other countries as well? In other words, folks that would have been
8 displaced in Croatia, did they leave as refugees?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you. Now, is there anything else with
11 respect to this particular document that you want to comment on before we
12 move on?
13 JUDGE PRANDLER: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas, I would only like to
14 say that I thank you for making the revisions as far as the numbers are
15 concerned. I also would have liked to make some comments on that, but
16 now it is in perfect order. Thank you. I mean as far as the numbers of
17 refugees in Hungary is concerned, mainly. Thank you.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
19 Q. And as far as that is concerned, we see that Slovenia only has
20 4.000, and obviously they were a former republic of Yugoslavia. One
21 would expect that they would be a little bit more generous. To your
22 understanding, throughout this period of the war how many refugees was
23 Slovenia accepting?
24 A. The Republic of Slovenia had very restrictive policies in that
25 respect. They were taking in very few refugees and the regime under
1 which those people lived was quite harsh. They were treated more or less
2 the same way as asylum seekers; therefore, there were many families at
3 the time asking us to have them back in Croatia or they left for third
5 There were a number of countries around that had a very open
6 policy towards refugees that offered assistance and allowed for these
7 people to receive work permits, such as Germany, for example. In some of
8 the federal states, in Germany these people were receiving monthly
9 subsidies of up to 1.000 German marks. My salary at the time, just to
10 give you an idea, was 300 marks. Therefore, in purely financial terms,
11 it was better to be a refugee in Germany than a state official in Croatia
12 at the time. There were states that applied consistently restrictive
13 policies, they had quotas, limited ones, and the facilities that most
14 refugees were being put up in were certainly not of an open type, if you
16 Q. Let me make sure I understand you correctly. So if someone came
17 in as a refugee to Bosnia and then went to a third country such as
18 Germany, they would actually per person get up to a thousand marks a
19 month compensation; is that what you're saying?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Now -- and you told us what your salary was. Could you please
22 tell us how much compensation per month was the Croatian government
23 providing to the displaced persons and refugees? In other words, if I
24 have to make a choice, a thousand in Germany versus Croatia, what was
25 Croatia offering in order to keep the refugees there?
1 A. Croatia's government was covering all the accommodation costs
2 regularly, and that also applied to schooling and medical assistance. On
3 and off, if and when the budget allowed, one-off assistance would be
4 granted by Croatia's government or one of the international
5 organizations. This would be done through the Office for Refugees and
6 Displaced Persons, and this worked the same way with the UNHCR. However,
7 this wasn't money that one was receiving on a permanent basis.
8 Q. All right. But maybe this would be a last topic before we take
9 a -- okay, we'll take --
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We need to have a break. Let's
11 have a 20-minute break.
12 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.51 p.m.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you've used up
15 two and a half hours of your time.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, to be exact, two hours and 26 minutes, but I
17 will be finished well in advance of the four hours.
18 Q. Now, sir, when we left off I had asked you about what Croatia was
19 providing, and you indicated that they provided accommodation. And then
20 you said schooling and that caught my attention because listen to what
21 Ms. Azra Krajsek said on 19 June 2007 on page 20.118, line 22. She says:
22 "My evidence is that refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina who were Muslims
23 could not exercise their right to a regular education in Croatia -- in
24 the schools of Croatia."
25 Okay. Now, can you please tell us whether that is an accurate
1 statement, yes or no?
2 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, before that could we have an
3 indication of time. Are we talking about 1991, 1992, 1995? Because we
4 don't know what time-period we're talking about, either the previous
5 witness or this witness. So it would assist everyone if we had
6 indication as to time.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
8 Q. While you were there in 1992, 1991, 1992, 1993, would it be fair
9 to say that Ms. Krajsek's statement when she says: "My evidence is that
10 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina who were Muslim could not exercise their
11 right to a regular education in the schools of Croatia."
12 To your knowledge, while you were working, was that the case?
13 MR. SCOTT: Well, just to be again fair, Your Honour, when we say
14 1993, the witness's evidence is that he left on the 5th of March, 1993.
15 So when we say 1993 we're talking about the month of January and February
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand the Prosecution's concerns, and I
18 don't wish to debate the gentleman. But as you might recall, I asked
19 whether when he got onto the parliament whether he continued, whether he
20 continued, to be associated and to be -- keep abreast with the situation
21 concerning refugees and Muslims. We know that the Croatian government is
22 funding this. The purpose of that was to avoid this sort of a disruption
23 that I just got. I was laying the foundation. So it's not a matter of
24 when he left. I asked to his knowledge, while he was working there.
25 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour. But that doesn't answer the
1 question, and we haven't -- the witness has not provided us with any
2 evidence of foundation as to his involvement after March 5th of 1993, and
3 I am going to be a stickler on this point because it goes to the scope of
4 the witness's testimony.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
6 MR. SCOTT: The witness when he testified in the Tuta case, he
7 said it was impossible, and I use that word directly from the transcript,
8 he said it was "impossible" for him to continue to be involved in ODPR
9 after he took up his duties with the Croatian parliament in March of
10 1993. So let's talk about personal knowledge and what his involvement
12 I have no questions, the Chamber will note I'm sure, but up to
13 today when we've talked about things within the scope of his employment
14 so to speak up -- through 1992, you have not seen me on my feet. Now
15 we're going to go to a period in which this man did not have continuing
16 involvement in these issues -- yes, maybe very, very generically, but
17 even that, I invite the Chamber, that he would have to give us more
18 specific foundation than just general speculation because he's a public
19 official in Croatia.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase, Your Honour. I'll rephrase so we
21 can move on. I'll rephrase the question.
22 Q. Up until March, up until March 1993, were refugees from
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina who were Muslims, were they prevented from exercising
24 their right to a regular education in the schools of Croatia?
25 A. Muslim refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina were never prevented
1 from enjoying their rights to regular education in the schools of
2 Croatia, not ever and not before the date you specified. They had the
3 right to be educated, they had health insurances. There are many
4 documents that are available showing that many of their children
5 practically went through their entire primary education while in Croatia,
6 literally thousands of children. And what I'm stating here is a
7 well-known fact, it's nothing to do with my direct and personal knowledge
8 or the periods during which I may have been involved. Many of them are
9 now part of Croatia's society, many of them have stayed in Croatia and
10 are now living and working in Zagreb.
11 Q. Were there any -- to your knowledge now, we don't want you to
12 speculate now. To your knowledge were there any problems or particular
13 needs that arose between some Muslim children vis-a-vis the educational
14 system that was being provided by the schools in the Republic of Croatia?
15 A. When any of those children went to Croatian schools, the
16 curriculum was the same as for everyone. It was sometimes the case that
17 parents make demands for their children to be schooled based on different
18 programmes and curricula. In certain areas so-called extra-territorial
19 schools were set up or schools where the religion was taught. Certain
20 religious officials taught the children of Muslim refugees a number of
21 subjects that are not normally taught in Croatian schools, but this was
22 an optional thing in the type of school that I referred to and those that
23 wanted to take that class were certainly allowed to do so.
24 Q. Okay. Now, these extra-territorial schools, did they exist just
25 for Muslims or were there schools such as those for Croats as well?
1 A. Extra-territorial schools were for the most part schools that
2 were run by religious officials, priests, or sometimes they were simply
3 involved in the teaching process. It would have been difficult to expect
4 that the children of Croat refugees would have gone to schools like that
5 simply because their religion was different.
6 Q. All right. What about the funding of those schools? We
7 understand that -- or at least we saw early on that the Ministry of
8 Education was supposed to be part of this process, and you indicated the
9 reasons why. But here now we have an extra-territorial school, what
10 about the funding for that? Where was the funding coming from and,
11 and - please listen to the entire question - and do you know whether the
12 government or whether the Republic of Croatia provided any funding for
13 such schools?
14 A. We, the office, covered the expenses. For the most part the
15 schools were in the same locations as the refugee centres, and we would
16 cover all the expenses as a rule.
17 Q. All right. Now, we know that you were there until March of 1993,
18 we know you go back at some other point. Can you tell us to your
19 knowledge while you were there or while you were a member of the
20 government or of the parliament, did you ever see or come across any
21 evidence from any international institutions such as UNHCR complaining
22 that the Republic of Croatia was discriminating against the Muslims with
23 respect to their right to exercise regular education? That's question
24 number one. And I mentioned that in particular since we saw on that one
25 document, 1D 2609, where we have a -- we have an amount of $30 million
1 which ODPR is supposed to disperse. So obviously they would have been
2 keeping track of all the funding that they were providing for. But did
3 you ever come across any document so we can see concretely that the
4 internationals were having problems with the Republic of Croatia in the
5 way they were discriminating against Muslim children in receiving their
6 proper education?
7 A. No, I never came across any such document.
8 Q. All right. And just to make sure that I understand because I
9 wasn't there, but we have places like this little island that we talked
10 about where large amounts of people are there, obviously it was a
11 seasonal place. For the children that were staying on that particular
12 island, for instance, as in many other places, what sort of provisions
13 were made, be they Croat or Muslim, for education, for instance?
14 A. The first step we took was to look if there were any teachers
15 among the refugees. If there was a doctor or something like that, we
16 would make a move immediately to give that person something appropriate
17 to do. It was in a way a responsibility that some of the refugees had,
18 to use their professional knowledge for their survival and for the
19 survival of their fellow refugees. There were many situations where
20 teachers simply organized themselves and got involved in the work of such
22 Secondly, we would dispatch both domestic and foreign volunteers
23 to these centres, and they too organized and ran schools. One such
24 organization that was particularly active in Croatia was the Sunflower.
25 There were refugees from all over Europe involved and I think it was
1 funded -- its work was bank-rolled by the Soros Foundation and this
2 organization ran a number of schools.
3 Q. All right. If we could go on to the next document, 1D 02588,
4 2588. We see it's a decree, we see the date 27 October 1992, decree on
5 status of displaced persons and refugees. I don't want to spend too much
6 time going over this document because everybody can read it. But I did
7 want to draw your attention to Articles 1 and 2. It would appear that
8 the term refugee in this particular decree refers to -- at least if we
9 take it literally, to Croats who have fled abroad; in other words,
10 displaced persons, displaced Croats from Croatia that have gone to places
11 such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, and what have you.
12 My first question is this: Was this decree the basis upon which
13 your office was operating on in treating displaced persons and refugees
14 within - I underscore that - within the Republic of Croatia?
15 A. Yes, based on this decree status of refugees was determined --
16 internal refugees within Croatia and those who fled to Croatia from other
18 Q. All right. Now, we see if we go to Article 27 on the very last
19 page that this was published in the Official Gazette, granted this is
20 October 1992. To your knowledge, did the international community, UNHCR
21 and anyone else, suggest that perhaps this decree was poorly drafted,
22 insufficiently drafted, in not covering refugees that were from other
23 countries remaining in the Republic of Croatia?
24 A. It's possible that the decree was poorly drafted, but as for its
25 actual application to refugees in Croatia no objections were ever raised.
1 Quite the contrary. We used this decree in the way we dealt with
2 refugees in Croatia. If you look at the overall context of this decree,
3 it's easy enough to see it's about rights that are granted to refugees in
4 Croatia. This decree in no way empowers me or anyone else to determine
5 what any refugee, whether from Croatia or a third country, would or would
6 not be granted in a third country when their status as refugees would be
7 granted or denied. This is for that third country to determine, and that
8 is what the spirit of this decree tells us.
9 Q. All right. Now, if we go to -- if we could fast-forward to one
10 of the other documents, it's not in order, and this is 1D 02638, 2638, it
11 should be the third from the last of the documents, we see that this is a
12 decision, a decision, on the proclamation on the Law on the Status of
13 Displaced Persons and Refugees. This is dated 6th October 1993.
14 Article 26 tells us that it was published in the Official Gazette, but
15 just very briefly can you tell us why was it necessary, if you know, for
16 this decision to be passed when, in fact, we have a decree and
17 essentially it would appear that they cover the same purpose, if you
19 A. I think I do. Croatia's constitution, at the time at least,
20 authorised the government to occasionally use decrees to deal with issues
21 that had to do with legislation, something that would normally be a job
22 for the parliament. However, a government cannot exercise this right all
23 the time. It was only for a limited time that it could. Sometime after
24 a decree was adopted, the government was under an obligation to table
25 this to the parliament to decide and to pass as a law, and that is
1 precisely what we see happening here.
2 Q. All right. Now, if we go on to 1D 02608 --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, this law was passed on
4 the 6th of October, 1993. If I'm not mistaken, you were a member of
5 parliament at the time. Did you vote in favour of this decision?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In keeping with the powers of my
7 particular chamber, yes, I voted in favour of this decision.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In other words, in October you
9 were familiar with the situation of displaced persons and refugees; is
10 that correct?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was familiar with the situation.
12 In my capacity as deputy I remained in touch with international
13 organizations, I would receive invitations from them. I knew many of
14 them personally, the German office for humanitarian aid, the UNHCR, that
15 sort of thing.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When this text was adopted,
17 were there discussions, questions put by the MPs to the minister who was
18 tabling this text? Was it just on the agenda and was it adopted without
19 further ado?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't think this was
21 a law that was widely debated.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Fine.
23 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Dr. Zoric, one cannot help noticing that the
24 Article 2 of this statute, this law, still has all the formulations which
25 give the impression that refugees from other countries into Croatia are
1 not covered. Now, you have said the first version was perhaps badly
2 drafted. Was an improvement envisaged? Was no one aware? Could you
3 explain? And perhaps in the same going, how was the process of
4 legislation? Was there a parliamentary committee preparing the proposal
5 for parliament; and if so, I would have supposed that you ought to have
6 been a member of it. Could you enlighten the Chamber on this? Thank you
7 very much.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: For the record, I had indicated that it might have
9 been poorly drafted, so I had pointed -- I had indicated in my question
10 that -- so whether he was aware or it or not if you go back. So just to
11 make sure that that little nuance, and it goes to knowledge and
12 awareness. If you go back [indiscernible] to my earlier -- because I'm
13 saying -- but in any event the question is rightly put.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I've already pointed out,
15 Your Honour, I don't think there was much discussion about this law -- I
16 don't think there was any discussion at all as a matter of fact. I was a
17 member of a number of different bodies, but I don't think there was any
18 major discussion regarding this law. It was only a technical issue not
19 exceeding the constitutional dead-line for a decree to remain in force
20 before it became a law. I think that was the only issue at stake here.
21 This law was applied to refugees, and I think there's a lot of evidence
22 showing just that. It was also about the allocation of aid, and clearly
23 in all such situations this law and the provisions of this law was
24 invariably invoked in a way that was appropriate. Was it well-drafted,
25 was it poorly drafted, is it technically accurate? These are questions
1 that I can hardly be expected to answer not being a lawyer myself.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, if we compare
3 Articles 1 and 2 of this law, we may get the following impression. Under
4 Article 1 we have very specific description of what refugees or displaced
5 persons will receive, education, accommodation, food, financial aid,
6 medical care, and so on and so forth. Under Article 1 you have a list of
7 all the rights enjoyed by displaced persons and refugees, but when we
8 look at Article 2 as lawyers we find here very specific definition of
9 what is a refugee, of what is a displaced person. And within the meaning
10 of this law, a displaced person is someone who has moved within Croatia.
11 For example, someone from Vukovar who went to Zagreb, that's a displaced
12 person. But if we take the case from someone hailing from another area,
13 someone from Mostar going to Zagreb, he could be seen as a refugee. It
14 has been said here that this decree or this law were poorly drafted. Is
15 it your impression as well -- of course you're not a lawyer but you've
16 occupied senior positions and you've taken part in the vote of that -- on
17 that law; and as such, you may have an opinion.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, now I understand your
19 explanations. At the time it didn't seem like that to me. At the time
20 we were not aware of the existence of some international conventions, we
21 cooperated with the UNHCR, in Croatia we also had a law about the stay
22 and movement of foreigners and we also had agreements signed with Germany
23 and Austria, not only about the return of refugees to Croatia but also to
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The first tripartite agreement was signed in 1993,
25 which made possible movements in both ways. And in good faith, we
1 applied this law to refugees in Croatia too because based on this law the
2 Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees was in charge of refugees. It
3 determined their status, it provided accommodation, provided food, and
4 covered the costs for them based on this law.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may, Your Honour --
6 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour -- go ahead, Mr. Karnavas.
7 Sorry, go ahead.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may just point out a couple of things through
9 the witness, if we look at Article 26, for instance, we have articles --
10 it says: "Provision of Article 13 through 19 of this decree shall apply
11 to refugees in the appropriate manner ..."
12 Now, keeping that in mind, if we turn now to, say, for instance,
13 as Article 13, schooling for education, medical care, assistance, or we
14 turn to Article 14, it would appear that if we take this law literally,
15 that is, that refugees are people that are outside of Croatia, that the
16 demands would be placed on foreign countries that they provide certain
17 things --
18 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Are you giving testimony, Mr. Karnavas?
19 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm just saying -- I'm pointing this out.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Or are you an expert? It just strikes me that
21 you are addressing the Court to explain facts which should be the task,
22 as I thought, of the witness.
23 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
24 Q. Could you please look at that. The number of the document is
25 2588, and far be it for me to lecture to the Bench on the law or how to
1 read a legal document. I was merely trying to assist, and my apologies
2 if I overstepped my -- the appropriate boundaries. If you could look at
3 Article 26 and then look at Article 13 and 14 and then look at -- go back
4 to Articles 1 and 2, recognising that you're not a lawyer, to whom would
5 this aid -- who would this be directed to?
6 A. If you consider Articles 13 through 19 regulating the rights of a
7 refugee, they say -- they speak about the measures taken by the Croatian
8 institutions toward displaced persons. Organized, will be providing
9 education, medical treatment, et cetera in Croatia. If you look at
10 Article 26 it's -- it reads that these rights are realized in an
11 appropriate fashion in the case of refugees too. If we're speaking only
12 about refugees in third countries, such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, or
13 any other country, I do not see how our members of parliament could vote
14 a law obliging foreign institutions to do anything.
15 So it is -- the purpose is only that the same kind of support and
16 assistance should be provided to displaced persons and refugees. This is
17 my understanding and that is what it was like in practice also.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott.
19 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, I've been patient and I
20 deferred to let Mr. Karnavas finish his questions at least up to this
21 point on that. I think it must be said for the record and this is
22 exactly the reason why counsel's characterizations of adding things into
23 the record that are not evidence is a problem because there is no
24 evidence in the record, there is no evidence in the record - and I use
25 that word specifically, evidence - there is no evidence in the record
1 that the Croatian parliament didn't pass exactly the law it intended to
2 pass. Only Mr. Karnavas some minutes ago suggested that perhaps it was
3 poorly drafted. That didn't come from the witness. The witness hasn't
4 so testified. There is no evidence of that.
5 We have two laws written by the Croatian parliament, one in 1992
6 I believe and one in 1993. Unless we're all to assume - and I emphasize
7 again the word assume - that the Croatian parliament made exactly the
8 same mistakes twice, there is no evidence in the record that the Croatian
9 parliament did not pass exactly the statute it wanted to pass, which says
10 that it only applies to persons moving within, inside, the borders of
11 Croatia. And there's no evidence in the record to the contrary.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Just one question going back, and if I may just
13 make one observation, Your Honour --
14 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay, okay.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm sorry to interrupt you. But I just brought it
16 to everyone's attention. I could have sat silent and maybe deal with
17 this. I tried to be honest with the Trial Chamber and give the
18 opportunity to the witness to give an explanation, knowing that the
19 Judges would be reading this and, of course, would come up to -- would
20 have questions. And I wanted to be fair to everyone. Now, with that in
21 mind one question would be:
22 Q. Was this law to your knowledge, was this the basis upon which aid
23 was provided to displaced persons and refugees in the Republic of
24 Croatia? And when I mean refugees, I mean refugees coming in from Bosnia
25 and Herzegovina or other places, because we know that they did come from,
1 I believe, Vojvodina and Kosovo and what have you.
2 A. Yes. On the basis of this law aid was provided to both displaced
3 persons and refugees. The rights of displaced persons are defined here,
4 but one article says that this applies to refugees too. And I believe it
5 is clear from the legal context that refugees in Croatia are meant by
6 those formulations.
7 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
8 I have looked -- compared the decree and the law, Mr. Zoric, and
9 in the final disposition of the law I do not find what is said in
10 Article 26 of the decree. Now, maybe I -- it is somewhere else and it
11 simply escaped my attention. If it is not taken up by the law I wonder
12 whether you could give some explanation. Thank you.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: [Microphone not activated]
14 If I could assist the witness with the number itself,
15 Your Honour --
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: [Microphone not activated]
17 Sorry, the number of the law is 1D 02638.
18 MR. KARNAVAS:
19 Q. 2638, the third from the end.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: And you're absolutely correct, Your Honour, on
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do not have the entire law in
23 front of me.
24 MR. KARNAVAS:
25 Q. Okay. All right. We'll provide it for you.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: If we could have the assistance of Madam Usher.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I don't want to
3 go into legalese, but I'm struck by Article 24 of the law for the final
4 disposition, that seems to encompass the problem or sweep the problem
5 away by saying that it applies to anybody who has left their permanent
7 MR. KARNAVAS: We saw that, Your Honour, and in the previous
8 decree it has that as well, although I hesitated to mention that only
9 because I didn't want to be accused of being unfair. In the sense it
10 says to natural disasters, and one would perhaps quibble with a war being
11 a natural disaster. So that's why I hesitated in mentioning that, so I'm
12 trying to be as careful. I don't want to give the impression that
13 somehow I'm trying to mislead the Trial Chamber. Having drafted
14 legislation myself, I know how things can be done very poorly or very
15 accurately, it all depends.
16 Q. Mr. Zoric, would you like to respond?
17 A. Your Honours, I have said all I know to the best of my knowledge
18 about the law and the preceding decree. I know for certain from my own
19 practice that the law was applied to refugees in Croatia without any
21 Q. If I could just ask a follow-up question of that. Do you know
22 after 6th October, 1993, did Croatia continue to house refugees and
23 provide assistance, that is, after this law was passed? And it's a yes
24 or no.
25 A. Yes, Croatia continued to accept refugees and recognise their
2 Q. And would there have been data -- you talked about early on as
3 far as registering at the census and then updating. So would there be
4 data that would back up that assertion, that after October 1993 Croatia
5 continued to house refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in doing so was
6 providing humanitarian assistance of the type that are articulating in
7 both the decree and the law itself, the decision?
8 A. Yes, there are reports similar to the ones we saw for earlier
9 years or almost the same when reports were made on a weekly basis, and
10 throughout the existence of that office, that is until 1999, that was the
12 Q. Now, you were asked by the President whether after you became a
13 member of the parliament whether you continued to be kept abreast of the
14 situation concerning refugees and displaced persons. And of course the
15 legislation was pointed to you. My question is: In that capacity while
16 you were a parliamentarian, were there any initiatives on your behalf or
17 others that took you to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the purposes of providing
18 humanitarian aid; and if so, and if so, when?
19 A. On several occasions we launched such initiatives. We were more
20 focused on sending aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina and organize convoys to
21 regions that we could reach in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I travelled on such
22 convoys several times and I went to places such as Vitez, Tuzla.
23 Q. All right. Were those convoys restricted -- and the humanitarian
24 aid restricted to Croat areas and for Croats from Bosnia-Herzegovina, or
25 were they also -- the aid was provided to Muslim areas and the Muslim
2 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, before the witness answers
3 that question could we possibly get some dates again as to these convoys.
4 Again, are we talking 1992, 1998 --
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Again --
6 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, we're entitled to know the time-period
7 of the evidence.
8 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll do it step by step, but I've indicated while
9 he was in parliament. Now, we've already established that he was in
10 parliament from 1993 to 1995, so that's the narrow gap, that's the
11 window. I assume, I assume, that, you know, that it was in my question,
12 but I apologise for not giving a specific date. But we'll go step by
13 step. I can assure Mr. Scott that I will not leave him hanging. He will
14 know all this information, so he just needs to stay put a little bit.
15 Q. Now, could you tell us when, about what time, month, year,
16 alleviate us of that concern so we can get that out of the way.
17 A. I'm speaking about 1994 and 1995, until the signature of the
18 Washington Accord, it was practically impossible to enter
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina, at least the part that roughly corresponds to today
20 's Federation. And after the Washington Accord we could -- we were
21 gradually able to go further. That's the time-frame I'm referring to.
22 Convoys couldn't have been directed to territories inhabited by one side
23 only because otherwise you would have been prevented from going there.
24 At many places roads were held partly by one side, partly by another, so
25 it would have been impossible to operate differently on our missions.
1 And speaking concretely about Tuzla, I'm not sure whose territory that
2 is. Tuzla is in the north of Bosnia. I believe that it is populated by
3 a Muslim majority, but there must also be Serbs and Croats. I went there
5 Q. All right. Now, during this period did you ever have any contact
6 with Dr. Jadranko Prlic, and I'm talking about the period of 1991 to,
7 say, 1994, with respect to humanitarian assistance that he was seeking.
8 And if that is the case, first I would like to know when and then some
9 specifics about that.
10 A. It is hard for me to say when I first met Mr. Prlic, but I know
11 him from that time. I believe that we first met at an event in
12 Medjugorje, but he may know better. We may have met in Split or in
13 Zagreb for the first time, I'm not sure.
14 The first major thing I did with him was in the winter of 1992.
15 We were looking for aid for Mostar and other areas because the situation
16 was very harsh on not only their local displaced persons but the
17 situation was very serious in general terms. And I suggested to him that
18 he go to Austria with me so as to introduce him to some people I know,
19 with whom I had worked already, and thus enable him to try to organize
20 aid and supply for the territories of which he was in charge directly.
21 I know that he was surprised. I was a government official but
22 arrived in a van that was donated by the rotary club of books in
23 Switzerland, and it was written on the van. I didn't have a mobile phone
24 at the time and that surprised him also. And we were in such a hurry
25 that we arrived a day early and we were greatly surprised to find nobody
1 waiting for us there. But on the next day we went to Grac and we
2 established all -- set up all contacts, and I believe those proved to be
3 good contacts. And I think he received a large convoy with some 30 big
4 trucks full of food for his territory. And this was a valuable
5 contribution for them to endure the winter, and then they continued that
6 activity themselves without our interference. Those were my first
7 contacts with him. They grew less frequent with time, and later on I
8 cooperated with him while he was a minister of foreign affairs in Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
10 Q. All right. Now, the next document is 1D 02608, 2608, this is
11 October 29, 1992, and we see that it's -- that it bears -- the second
12 page we see that it's Professor Dr. Rebic, Adalbert Rebic, but this is
13 when you were working for the office. Just very quickly, if we see under
14 subject it says: "One-time financial assistance to host of refugees from
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina ..."
16 And if you could just explain to us what is meant by: "One-time
17 financial assistance ..."?
18 A. The office received some funds and distributed them to families
19 that had taken up refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina at their homes.
20 Refugees who arrived to organized accommodation had all costs covered for
21 them, the office took care of that.
22 Q. All right.
23 A. Many families had also taken up refugees, but with time they --
24 their resources depleted and applied for assistance because their costs
25 had grown. And at the time we were in a situation to give a one-time
1 assistance to those families, and Dr. Rebic also gave instructions to our
2 regional offices to give some funds to families that had taken up
3 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. All right. And so if we go back to, for instance, the one
5 document which is actually ahead of -- it's forward in your packet,
6 1D 2609, and we look at the bottom, this is just for a point of
7 clarification and we'll end here for the day, this is with respect to the
8 UN High Commissioner for Refugees, it says: "Cash grants to host
9 families ..."
10 Are we to understand that host families are exactly what you're
11 talking about, where refugees or displaced persons were able to find
12 accommodation with friends and relatives, and albeit they were able to
13 find those accommodations they were nonetheless able to get some
14 assistance, financial assistance, because of their status? Is that what
15 this is about?
16 A. Yes, that is what this document is about.
17 Q. Okay.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: We've run out of time, Your Honours, we can take
19 the break here.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Indeed, we've run out of time.
21 Some recommendations, Witness. You have been a witness previously,
22 therefore you know that you're now a witness of the Court; in other
23 words, you are not to have any contacts whatsoever with the Defence
24 throughout the week. This is what I wanted to tell you.
25 Mr. Karnavas, you've used nearly three hours -- well, two hours
1 and 58 minutes to be exact. This is also what I wanted to tell you.
2 We shall reconvene tomorrow. The hearing will start at 9.00.
3 Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I just wanted to say that based on my calculations
5 it would appear that I have about 30 minutes left, perhaps even less, for
6 scheduling purposes.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. Very
9 The hearing stands adjourned.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.
11 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th day of
12 May, 2008, at 9.00 a.m.