1 Monday, 3 February 2003
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Groome.
7 WITNESS: CHARLES KIRUDJA [Resumed]
8 Examined by Mr. Groome: [Continued]
9 MR. GROOME: Just as a reminder to the Chamber, Exhibit 378, tab
10 5, is on the overhead projector, and that's a summary of some of this
11 portion of Mr. Kirudja's testimony.
12 Q. Mr. Kirudja, when we concluded your testimony last week, you were
13 describing a report of an incident regarding a large number of people
14 detained in the football stadium in Bosanski Novi on the 6th of June,
15 1992. Before I move forward from that point, is there any point or detail
16 which you would like to add to what you've told us so far about that
18 A. Not any that I have presently.
19 Q. Now, I'd ask that the witness be shown Prosecution 378, tab 7.
20 Mr. Kirudja, as with the other exhibits, I'd ask you to look over
21 it. And I'd ask that the second page of the exhibit be placed on the
22 overhead projector.
23 I would ask you, Mr. Kirudja, do you recognise Prosecution Exhibit
24 378, tab 7?
25 A. Yes. It's a memorandum that I wrote.
1 Q. What is the date of the memorandum?
2 A. 3 July 1992.
3 Q. And in this memorandum, is one of the things that you write about
4 the Bosanski Novi football stadium incident?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Prior to the 3rd of July, were there other memos in which you had
7 referenced this report?
8 A. Yes. Among other reports of refugees crossing into Sector North.
9 Q. And would it be fair to say -- or can you tell us, the report of
10 the Bosanski Novi football stadium incident, was that a restricted report
11 or were other members of your office and the UN generally, did they have
12 access to that report as well?
13 A. As you note, this memorandum carries the word "restricted" at the
14 top right-hand corner, yet if you look at the end of that memorandum, it
15 also indicates to whom the memorandum is addressed.
16 The meaning of "restricted" is that it's restricted to those
17 people to which the memorandum is addressed.
18 MR. GROOME: And I'd ask that the witness be handed the last page
19 of the exhibit. It doesn't need to be on the overhead. Please leave that
20 page on the overhead.
21 Q. Mr. Kirudja, can you tell us who this memorandum was sent to?
22 A. As you can see, it's addressed to Mrs. Yolanda Auger who was the
23 deputy director of civil affairs, and it was also copied to a Mr.
24 Magnusson in Zagreb.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Kirudja, the first page of this memorandum is on the
1 overhead projector. I would ask you to read for us the third paragraph,
2 the paragraph beginning with, "We believe..."
3 A. "We believe the football field detainees are only a tip of the
4 iceberg involving the concerted action of local Serbian authorities in BH
5 trying to establish a Serbian Republic of BH, free of Muslims. In that
6 process, the mayors, the milicija and TDF of Bosanski Novi, acting in
7 unison with their counterparts, not only in the UNPA (Dvor and
8 Kostajnica), but also with Bosanska Dubica, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Sanski
9 Most and Kljuc. The Serbs appear to be engaged in a determined process of
10 forcefully disarming Muslims where they are clearly a small encircled
11 minority, such as in Bosanski Novi, or besieging their city totally, such
12 as in Bihac. Apparently the football field is the holding ground where
13 Muslim groups are detained while their houses are being 'searched,' the
14 men isolated and transported to concentration camps."
15 End of quote of the paragraph.
16 Q. I'd ask you to please continue on to the bottom portion where you
17 actually list a number of suspected concentration camps.
18 A. Continuing, and I quote: "The UNHCR representative and Civil
19 Affairs have pieced together reports from Muslims who recently have taken
20 refuge under UNPROFOR protection in Dvor and Kostajnica. There are
21 reported concentration camps at the following locations.
22 "Keraterm: Located at a railroad station in Prijedor en route to
23 Banja Luka. 100-200 Muslims believed to be here under extremely bad
25 "Trnopolje: Also located at a railroad station in Prijedor,
1 direction Banja Luka. A refugee camp for women, children, and old men."
2 Do you want me to read the second page?
3 Q. Yes, please.
4 A. "Omarska: Located in a purely Serbian village. Reportedly a camp
5 for Muslim men and local Muslim authorities prior to Serbian takeover of
6 control, particularly in Prijedor.
7 "Manjaca: Outside Banja Luka. A large camp reportedly including
8 Croatian soldiers taken prisoner in the fighting in Kostajnica."
9 Q. I'd ask you just to finish with the next sentence and conclude
10 your reading there.
11 A. "The treatment of Muslims and other minorities in the camps is
12 reportedly atrocious, with regular beatings, deprivation of food and
13 water, poor shelter, et cetera."
14 Q. Mr. Kirudja, I want to ask you a few questions regarding this
15 memo. In the first paragraph, you used the word "milicija." Could you
16 please define that for us.
17 A. "Milicija" is a term I learned to associate with regular police,
18 those of the military camouflage form in distinction from regular fighting
19 forces in camouflage uniforms. The police wore blue and were regularly
20 referred to as "milicija."
21 Q. And did the milicija exist post demobilisation?
22 A. Yes, and in particular in the UNPA post demobilisation, the
23 milicija in the camouflage uniforms became increasingly blended and harder
24 to distinguish one from the other.
25 Q. Now, you mentioned several locations. Dvor and Kostajnica, what
1 country is that in?
2 A. Dvor and Kostajnica were at that time part of the UNPA inside what
3 is now Croatia.
4 Q. And Bosanski Dubica, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Kljuc,
5 where are they located?
6 A. Those are across the border into what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 Q. Can you briefly describe for us the type of sources that you used
8 to generate this report.
9 MR. GROOME: I'm sorry -- could I ask the usher to put the previous
10 exhibit on, and we're finished with that one. Thank you. And that's
11 Exhibit 5 -- tab 5.
12 A. Just a minute. This memorandum we just finished talking about has
13 a paragraph referring to many previous memorandums on the same subject. I
14 take your question to our sources inclusive of those references to other
15 reports of similar kind.
16 This was as a result of people coming -- this particular
17 memorandum, we used to have people, a stream of refugees, coming into the
18 sector and seeking protection. And as we provided that protection, we
19 would talk to them as to why and where they were coming from and what
20 caused them to flee. So this particular memorandum was done after a
21 number, I forget the exact number of all night refugees coming into the
22 sector, interviewed by my -- by my people plus the civil police, and
23 compiling the summary we have read, where they were fleeing from and why.
24 Q. Are you able to give us an estimate of the number of primary
25 sources, these refugees, who would have made reports that eventually would
1 have ended up in a summary report of this fashion?
2 A. A clarification: The refugees themselves didn't make the report.
3 Our staff talking to the refugees debriefed them and then they found their
4 way into our concerted report.
5 Q. Are we talking about dozens of people?
6 A. Yes, yes, yes.
7 Q. Can you give us an estimate of approximately how many people would
8 have gone into a summary report of this nature?
9 A. In this one, I wouldn't be surprised if there would be almost a
10 hundred or so. I'm not sure of the exact number. As I mentioned, we were
11 engaged for almost all day, all night talking to these people.
12 MR. GROOME: I'd ask now a different exhibit be placed on the
13 overhead, and that is Exhibit 378, tab 8.
14 Q. While that's being done, Mr. Kirudja, may I ask you, on the 6th of
15 July, 1992, did you receive a letter from someone?
16 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that the Serbian be placed on the overhead
17 and the English translation given to the witness.
18 A. Yes. I recognise the letter, and it is -- yes, I did receive it.
19 MR. GROOME: Okay. I'd ask if the director could zoom out so we
20 could see the entire -- perhaps if it could be shifted on the page. Thank
22 Q. Who is this letter from?
23 A. It's from Radomir Pasic, the mayor of Bosanski Novi.
24 Q. And did he sign the letter as the mayor of Bosanski Novi?
25 A. No.
1 Q. And how did he sign the letter?
2 A. Crisis Committee President.
3 Q. Could you please describe for us the circumstances under which you
4 received this letter and its contents.
5 A. He had come to my office in one of two or three meetings. I --
6 this one may have been received in the second or third meeting in our
7 office where he sought to convince us, and me in particular, of why we
8 should agree with this proposal to transition 5.000 refugees through
9 Sector North.
10 Q. I would ask you to just look at the original or the facsimile of
11 the document on the overhead projector. Do you recognise the signature
12 and the seal that is affixed to it?
13 A. There is a signature and a seal, and since it was the first time I
14 had seen it, I wouldn't know whether any more that it -- but it looked
16 Q. Now, does this letter contain the following? Does this letter say
17 that a large number of people want to leave Bosanski Novi, and does it
18 claim they have been issued the necessary paperwork allowing them to
20 A. I'm looking for the specific part where that language is.
21 I'm sorry, I don't see the specific language that you refer to.
22 Q. Could I ask you, in your own words, to summarise the content of
23 the letter that you received.
24 A. This is a -- this letter pretty much summarises what I received
25 verbally and -- from him, the gist of what he explained in greater detail
1 when he was talking to us, and that had to do with why he considered that
2 the people were leaving voluntarily from Bosanski Novi and the status of
3 an agreement he had reached with them so that they could leave
5 Q. And does he identify the bus companies, the names of the bus
6 companies with which he's made arrangements to transport these people?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And does he also indicate to you what arrangements have been made
9 for an escort for these buses containing these supposed voluntary
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And who did he make arrangements with regarding that?
13 A. Companies Kozaraprevoz, Autoprevoz Dvor, and private vehicles and
14 other means of transportation.
15 Q. And who was to escort these buses?
16 A. The escorting would be by the "Republic of Serbian Krajina
18 Q. Does it mention anything about the Ministry of Internal Affairs?
19 I draw your attention to the third to last paragraph.
20 A. That's the institution providing internal affairs of Republic of
21 Serbian Krajina workers.
22 MR. GROOME: Thank you. I'm finished with that exhibit. I'd ask
23 that the summary page tab 5 once again be placed on the overhead
25 Q. On the 10th of July, Mr. Kirudja, did you -- did the deputy mayor
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of Bosanski Novi and the mayor of Dvor again request that 5.000 Muslims be
2 allowed to leave the area voluntarily?
3 A. Yes. I believe that's true.
4 Q. And on the 18th of July, did you receive a directive from your
5 superior regarding your observations of what was going on in Bosnia?
6 A. Yes. It was a directive from my superiors in Zagreb not to be
7 involved with what was going on in Bosnia.
8 Q. And how did you respond to that directive?
9 A. I was rather sad, though the directive was not unexpected. I was
10 disappointed by it because it took -- it took a bureaucratic approach into
11 what we were saying, that we were receiving refugees under -- we were
12 responding to people in dire need not from Bosnia-Herzegovina but from
13 where we were located legitimately by the mission, and yet my headquarters
14 saw that as "involvement in Bosnia-Herzegovina." That was extremely
15 disappointing to me, and I made it clear to them that we were not
16 exceeding our concern, we were responding to people in need who were drawn
17 to where we were by the fact that the UN flag was flying above us.
18 As a result, I called my staff and confirmed to them we were not
19 going to stop from reporting and responding to these people as they came
20 to us. We owed it to tell to our headquarters and beyond that these
21 people are coming, under what circumstances, and in what conditions.
22 Q. And did you in fact continue to report on events in Bosnia as they
23 impacted on your work in Sector North?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Now, I want to draw your attention to the later part of July, the
1 21st of July. Did the government of Croatia in fact agree to accept 4.000
2 of the Bosanski Novi refugees?
3 A. Again, that was true, and I must add they agreed after a long
4 period of resisting the idea themselves.
5 Q. And can you please describe what happened after the Croatian
6 government agreed to allow these people to enter Croatia proper?
7 A. At that point, all that was left was to see to it that the 4.000
8 that was requested were treated properly and given all the support that
9 they needed to safely come out of the sector into that part of Croatia
10 that the sector bordered, that is, outside the sector into Croatian
11 official control areas, at Karlovac specifically.
12 Q. Did 4.000 people in fact leave Bosanski Novi and travel through
13 Sector North on to Croatia?
14 A. No. It wasn't 4.000; it turned out to be more like 9.000 plus.
15 Q. What was your position regarding future similar evacuations
16 related to what you believed was ethnic cleansing? Did you support the
18 A. No. As a matter of fact, as soon as this -- this matter was
19 clearly understood both by my headquarters, UNHCR and ICRC, and following
20 that transit by 9.000, we sought to make it clearer to them that this is
21 the beginning. If you allow it, it is going to be a flood and, therefore,
22 we continuously tried to give them to understand what we knew, and I'm
23 glad to report they did turn around and joined - I mean "they" meaning
24 UNHCR, ICRC - they did turn around to our position that this is an affair
25 we couldn't be involved in.
1 Q. At this time now, Mr. Kirudja, I would ask you to look at
2 Prosecution 378, tab 9. I would ask that the first page be placed on the
3 overhead and that you take the second page. And I'll ask you a few
4 questions regarding the report in general and then about it in particular.
5 I'd ask you just to review the subject, the date, and the author
6 of the memo, and then I'd ask you whether you recognise this memo.
7 A. Yes, I do.
8 Q. Please tell us what it is.
9 A. This is a memorandum prepared and authored by one of my assistants
10 called Mr. Paolo Raffone, a civil affairs officer based in my office and
11 reporting to me, and it is also released under my signature.
12 Q. Your signature appears on that document as well?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I would like to draw your attention to the first paragraph on the
15 second page, the page you have. I'd ask you to read that to the Chamber.
16 A. The paragraph reads as follows, and I quote: "A calculated
17 strategy to 'cleanse' the area of Muslims appears to have intensified
18 beginning in May 1992. House burnings, deportations, summary executions,
19 shooting in the houses, et cetera, are a part of the present situation in
20 the towns and villages along the north side of the BH border (Bosanski
21 Novi, Bosanska Kostajnica, and Bosanska Dubica. Reportedly, the milicija
22 does not seem to intervene. Some mayors and other Serbs working in other
23 opstinas have also been reported as trying to help the Muslims to leave
24 their houses safely. In Bosanski Novi, the military police is reported to
25 have its HQ in Hotel Una. There are reports of brutal torture in this
1 hotel." End of quote.
2 Q. Once again, are you able to tell us what would be the source of
3 information of this report?
4 A. It's the same source of stream of people arriving in the sector
5 and being interviewed before being given safe transit outside.
6 MR. GROOME: I'm finished with that exhibit. I'd ask that tab 5
7 once again be placed on the overhead.
8 Q. Mr. Kirudja, I want to draw your attention now to some other
9 areas, different than Bosanski Novi, and ask you some specific questions
10 about them. And the areas I want to draw your attention to now are
11 Prijedor, Bosanski Novi, Kljuc, Dubica, Sanski Most, and Banja Luka.
12 On the 1st of June 1992, did Mr. Kupresanin, the mayor of Banja
13 Luka, make a report or have a conversation with your office regarding the
14 situation of Muslims in those municipalities?
15 A. Yes. It was a telephone call received by Mr. Raffone.
16 Q. Please describe what occurred.
17 A. This was a telephone call that Raffone took and made note of what
18 he was being told by the mayor of Banja Luka. And the mayor of Banja
19 Luka, the gist of what he told him was to the effect that there were
20 already 15.000 refugees already leaving the area in the towns that you
21 have mentioned, namely Bosanski Novi, Sanski Most, Prijedor, Kljuc, and
22 Bosanski Dubica, and that there would be 15.000 more to follow, and that
23 he pleaded that United Nations, the UNHCR, these people needed assistance
24 from them. That was the gist of his call.
25 Q. Now, Mr. Kupresanin, do you know what his ethnicity is?
1 A. No.
2 Q. I want to draw your attention to other municipalities, Velika
3 Kladusa and Bosanska Krupa. Are they in Bosnia as well?
4 A. Yes, Velika Kladusa and Bosanska Dubica?
5 Q. No, Bosanska Krupa.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. On the 13th of June, did the Serb deputy mayor of Dvor notify you
8 regarding the presence of refugees in the Croatian town of Dvor?
9 A. On what day?
10 Q. On the 13th of June, 1992.
11 A. 13th of June. Yes. My notes do reflect that.
12 Q. Okay. Now, I want to draw your attention -- I'd actually ask you
13 to open to page, in your notebooks, to this date, the 12th of August,
14 1992. My question to you is: As the initial group of 9.000 refugees from
15 Bosanski Novi, were there attempts to move additional refugees from that
16 area through Sector North?
17 A. 12th of August?
18 Q. The 12th of August, yes.
19 A. Yes. And confirming our greatest fears that the 9.000 wouldn't be
20 the last ones, the meeting on this date did underscore our greatest fear
21 on this regard.
22 Q. Did Mr. -- or did the Serb mayor give you a warning on that day?
23 A. Yes. He came in this time that they were requesting more
24 refugees, would assist them to do -- to do the same thing as had happened
25 previously with the 9.000.
1 Q. And did he make any statement to you what would occur if he was
2 left to have to resolve this matter by himself?
3 I would draw your attention, during the preparation of your
4 testimony, I asked you to place a green tab next to the portion that I'm
5 interested in at this point.
6 A. Yes. Yes. And it was kind of a warning to us if we didn't do
7 what they wanted to do.
8 Q. Could you please read -- do you have a quote?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Did you record a quote? Could you please read that to us.
11 A. Yes. I wrote that: "If the Serbian side is not respected, there
12 could be massive deaths on both sides. If we are left to resolve the
13 matter by ourselves, we will resolve the matter very quickly. For
14 example, there are 7.000 Serb refugees from Croatia in Bosanski Novi. The
15 world did not condemn their plight."
16 Q. And in that passage, the latter part of that passage, he's
17 referring to Serbs in Croatia that were made refugees by events there.
18 A. And in Bosanski Novi.
19 Q. Right.
20 A. Right.
21 Q. Now, in late June of 1992, did you also receive reports of the
22 expulsion or harassment of Croats by Serb authorities and armed persons
23 within Sector North?
24 A. Yes, there were.
25 Q. Where specifically?
1 A. In this was a group of five, I believe, five Croats that had been
2 forcibly moved out of their houses somewhere south of Korenica into Sector
3 North, and then we had them housed in a hotel in Slunj.
4 Q. And on the 21st of July, 1992, did you report to your superiors
5 the existence of 10.000 non-Serb refugees from the area of Bihac in
7 A. We alluded to reports reaching us of that kind.
8 Q. On the 12th of August of 1992, did Bosnian Serbs request that the
9 UN evacuate 500 non-Serb refugees from Bosanska Kostajnica?
10 A. Yes. This was among the numbers in the meeting I just quoted from
11 -- in Bosanski Novi. We had been given a list of possible refugees in a
12 number of places, and that was one of them named, and the figure of 500
13 given as potential refugees from there.
14 Q. By the second week in August, did you have an estimate of how many
15 non-Serb refugees sought to flee Bosnia by travelling through Sector
17 A. Yes. When they started looking for the second round of numbers to
18 be evacuated through Sector North, the numbers started at 5.000. By the
19 end of the period you're referring to, the number had swelled to 28.000.
20 Q. Now, up until this point, all the communications you had regarding
21 the evacuation of these people, it was always with Serb mayors or Serb
22 officials; is that correct?
23 A. At the bottom end of that process, it started with the Serb
24 officials, but immediately we had to keep the Croatian side involved in
25 the matter because they would have to be taken through the sector into the
1 waiting hands of the Croatian side. So we dealt with the bottom of the
2 process with the Serbs, at the end of the process with the Croats, but
3 flipping back and forth between the two groups.
4 Q. What I'm asking is, up until this point, the meetings and the
5 phone calls and the letters, were they all from Serbs or were they from --
6 did you ever have a meeting in which Muslims attended, prior to August?
7 A. Yes. In one meeting that Mr. Pasic and his group had requested of
8 me, he had brought two Muslims in his team to tell us about the nature of
9 this. Other than that, we were -- nobody else was involved.
10 Q. And was that meeting held on the 19th of August, 1992?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. So prior to the 19th of August, no Muslim had ever come to your
13 office, requesting voluntary removal?
14 A. No. And not even since. And they came in the company of the Serb
16 Q. And prior to this meeting, you estimate that at least 28.000 had
17 become refugees?
18 A. No. The 28.000 was the projected figure in an attempt for a
19 second round after the 9.000 had left.
20 Q. I want to ask you about that meeting. Can you tell us in a little
21 bit more detail who attended that meeting of the 19th of August?
22 A. On the 19th of August, I had Mr. Vrkes, Vlado Vrkes, who had the
23 title as the president of SDS of Sanski Most; Mr. Majkic, Dragan Majkic,
24 who was the representative of the milicija of Sanski Most; Mr. Islamcevic,
25 Besim Islamcevic, who was a representative of Muslim and Croatian willing
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to leave Sanski Most, the person I referred to as the only one of two
2 Muslims; Mr. Asanovic, Esad Asanovic, who was the representative of Muslim
3 refugees from Bosanska Krupa, now in Sanski Most. I also, of course, had
4 other -- had the representatives of UNHCR in my office in that meeting.
5 Q. During the course of this meeting, were you requested to assist in
6 the evacuation of specific numbers of non-Serbs from specific
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And I ask you just to tell us the municipality and the number that
10 you were requested to evacuate.
11 A. The numbers came in two parts. One I was told in total. I was
12 told in total, Sanski Most, they expected 11.000 applicants to leave.
13 Bosanski Krupa, 600 applicants.
14 Prijedor, 8.000 applicants.
15 Q. Were you also presented with something at this meeting?
16 A. Yes. To my surprise, it was a computer list printed in the kind
17 of a -- the old printer, computer printer where you fold one after
18 another, and you folded it - it was about the size of this book -
19 containing lists of names of the applicants themselves and complete
20 details. And now, since I don't have a copy of that report, I'm just
21 working on memory. It was nicely printed but it had more than details of
22 the names. It totalled -- after they left, we went through the names and
23 it totalled somewhere around 7.700 plus of the names.
24 Q. And this was presented to you as these are the people that we want
25 you to help leave Bosnia?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. What was your reaction to having been given that list?
3 A. A shock. We had already gone through this. We had already told
4 them our incredulity about the claim that people could be voluntarily
5 leaving their homes. It didn't seem to register. And now they seemed to
6 have worked on it very meticulously about who it is.
7 I must say, when I -- I got a little reminder of something that
8 happened in the Second World War, about trying to remove people and going
9 about it meticulously, which is one of the reasons why I mentioned earlier
10 I had to tell my staff we couldn't not tell this story, notwithstanding
11 the directive I had received from my headquarters not to be involved in
12 it. It is in my office we are talking about, inside the UNPA, not in
14 Q. Did you form an impression regarding the level of organisation
15 between Serbs on both the Croatian -- on the Croatian side of the border
16 and the Bosnian side of the border?
17 A. Impression?
18 Q. Impression. When you were presented with this list, did you form
19 an impression whether there was a sophisticated level of organisation
20 between the Serb leaders on the Croatian side and the Serb leaders on the
21 Bosnian side?
22 A. Actually, it gave me a mixed conflicting understanding. On one
23 side, even if we told them in no uncertain terms how wrong this was, there
24 seemed to be a level, unfortunately I used the word naivete about it, and
25 they didn't seem really to be perturbed, and it didn't look more like
1 devious, it was just there was a strict naivete about it and not even
2 trying to understand it, a kind of refusal to understand it on the one
3 side. On the other side, they seemed to be pretty determined to pull it
4 through as to prepare all of this, and the persistent nature in which they
5 sought our agreement to do this.
6 Q. Continuing through September of 1992, was there a steady stream of
7 Bosnian refugees making their way into Sector North?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Now, before I conclude this portion of your testimony, I want to
10 -- I forgot to ask you a question regarding the letter from the mayor of
11 Bosanski Novi, Mr. Pasic, and I can have the exhibit shown to you again if
12 you require.
13 Did he sign his name as the mayor of Bosanski Novi?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Do you recall how he signed his name?
16 A. President of the Crisis Committee, I believe it was.
17 Q. Had you ever heard of that title before?
18 A. No.
19 MR. GROOME: I now ask that Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab 10, be
20 placed on the overhead projector. I'd just point out a correction for the
21 Chamber. This is in fact pages 26 and 27 from Prosecution Exhibit 336,
22 the map book, and it's a photocopy. The summary says pages 20 and 21.
23 That's incorrect. It's 26 and 27.
24 Q. Now, Mr. Kirudja, do you recognise what is depicted on this map?
25 A. Yes, I do?
1 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that the director zoom out a little bit so we
2 can get the two municipalities on the top. A little more. Very good.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Kirudja, I'd ask you, did you make the markings on this
5 A. Yes, I did.
6 Q. I'd ask you just to walk us through the markings and just briefly
7 describe what each marking indicates.
8 A. I draw your attention to the fact that this is the border. This
9 is the international border of Bosnia and the -- this is there, the
10 internationally recognised border. As you'll see, all of these areas that
11 are marked are well -- either at the border or well inside of
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We were operating from inside, on the other side of
13 the border, and this stream of the people was going up into the sector
14 through this area here.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Kirudja, would I be correct in saying that Dvor is the
16 only Croatian municipality that you've circled on this map?
17 A. Exactly.
18 Q. Okay. Could you please start from the left-hand side of the map,
19 just identify the location and tell us what your markings indicate.
20 A. This is the Bihac town, and we have marked around 10.000 estimated
21 refugees in that -- from that area and coming through Bihac.
22 Bosanski Krupa. The 600 estimate was given to me in my office as
23 we have just talked about in that meeting of 19th of August.
24 Then Sanski Most. The 11.000 estimated, again from that meeting
25 in my office. There was some to come from Kljuc, but I don't recall if
1 there was any particular estimate or the number.
2 Then Banja Luka. This is where the telephone call I referred to
3 taken by my assistant took -- was taken from, where the mayor was warning
4 us and requesting assistance and telling us 15.000 have left and 15.000
5 may be coming thereafter.
6 This is Prijedor, where the number of 8.000 was given in my office
7 as potentially coming from that town.
8 And this is Bosanski Kostajnica. Again this is on the border town
9 with Croatia and we had a presence also on the other side and where the
10 number of 500 was estimated from.
11 This is again another border town, Bosanski Dubica, where we were
12 also given notice that the refugees would be coming from there.
13 I have circled the small thing. In the memorandum that you made
14 me read a few minutes ago, I mentioned a number of places where we were
15 told that there were refugees, and Omarska was one of them, and that is
16 where I've circled.
17 Q. Thank you. I'm finished with that exhibit, thank you.
18 Now, Mr. Kirudja, leaving the evacuations related to ethnic
19 cleansing, I want to bring you back to the mayor of Vrginmost,
20 Mr. Obradovic. You've mentioned him earlier in your testimony. Could you
21 tell us what happened to Mr. Obradovic.
22 A. Mr. Obradovic one morning - I recall that it was Saturday but it
23 was a morning around 9.00 - was killed in a stretch of the road between
24 Vrginmost and Topusko, a wooded area. He was ambushed there and was shot
25 several times from there.
1 Q. Did you go to the scene of the shooting that day?
2 A. Yes. Almost an hour or so within that period, I was there. It's
3 a very short distance from where we were located.
4 Q. Did you yourself personally make attempts to medevac, or evacuate,
5 him by helicopter to a larger hospital?
6 A. I went from the scene of the crime. He didn't die on the scene.
7 He had been evacuated to a local hospital and they were attempting to save
8 his life when they also requested we give them a medevac on -- to save his
9 life as they were frantically trying to do that.
10 Q. And can you tell us what happened with respect to those
12 A. Naturally, we told them that it would be easier for us to give him
13 evacuation, but the evacuation, since we were in Topusko, our helicopters
14 would take him to Zagreb, which was actually a short distance away from
15 where we were, but they turned that down.
16 Q. And what happened to Mr. Obradovic?
17 A. They turned that down first because their insistence that the
18 medevac be to Belgrade, which was quite a distance from there. And before
19 we could even reach an agreement on that, around 2.00, Mr. Obradovic,
20 unfortunately, died.
21 Q. Was there an investigation into how -- the circumstances
22 surrounding Mr. -- Mayor Obradovic's death?
23 A. Yes. Immediately after, even while he was on the hospital, trying
24 to save his life, there were many roadblocks erected immediately, and this
25 was in the operational zone of Kordun. So the military units of Kordun
1 and Cedo Bulat and the police and Mr. -- the police, Djuro Skaljac, they
2 went into high gear trying to catch who they called Croatian infiltrators.
3 Immediately I was told there were Croatian infiltrators all over the
5 Q. And did you believe that Mr. Obradovic was killed by Croatian
7 A. Not really. There were many reasons for me to discount any
8 Croatian infiltrators. Not that there weren't any. There had been in the
9 past reasons to suppose there were Croatian infiltrators, but not on this
11 Q. Why?
12 A. On this occasion, there were many, many curious things that
13 happened. I mentioned I was in the hospital with only one or two
14 officials and that the most high ranking official in that hospital was
15 Mile Paspalj. He came wearing a gun for the first time himself. And as I
16 talked to them, it was clear that they were much more worried about
17 something among themselves than something outside.
18 Q. Who did you believe was responsible for the death of
19 Mr. Obradovic?
20 A. I wasn't sure, nor was I ever able to find out despite my -- I had
21 pretty good sources of people who advised and gave me an idea of the
22 direction if not the detail of something as magnitude as that, but they
23 all froze. Nobody would even dare to talk to me about that.
24 Secondly, if they really believed in Croatian infiltrators, I
25 would not hear the end of it, not just a week later but thereafter they
1 would have made clear to the Croatian side. So the story of the Croatian
2 infiltrators rose one day and disappeared immediately.
3 So all in all, it was clear that there was terror among the Serbs
4 themselves in that area about this death.
5 Q. Can you describe for the Chamber briefly what Mr. Obradovic's
6 political disposition would have been.
7 A. Mr. Obradovic was a quiet - and I emphasise this - quiet in
8 relative to the other mayors who were given to a lot of speech-making,
9 political kind, about national -- living together in one country. He was
10 a quiet man. He also was given to interpreting the Vance Plan precisely
11 the way it was intended to, and that was it gave the mayor and the chief
12 of police the only authority recognised, and he seemed to play up to that
13 that way.
14 In short, there was an air of independence, a quiet independence
15 around him, and he got about doing his business that way.
16 Q. Can you describe for us what was the effect of his death among the
17 other Serb political leaders in the area?
18 A. Chill, a real chill, a noticeable one. And not long thereafter,
19 several of them did quit and were new mayors, particularly in Dvor itself.
20 And in Vojnic there was a new mayor put in over there. And I believe
21 mostly in those two places. And apart from the chill, there was changes
22 in the mayor personnel.
23 Q. So mayors were actually replaced.
24 A. Yes, particularly in those two places, in Dvor and Vojnic.
25 Q. Now, you described last week for us that the highest level of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 government, local government, not counting the signatories on the Vance
2 Plan, but the highest level of local government was at the municipality
4 A. Recognised by the Vance Plan.
5 Q. Recognised by the Vance Plan.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did his murder have some change on the role that Knin played with
8 respect to the operation of local governments at the municipality level?
9 A. I underscore the role of Knin was pronounced not long after we
10 arrived in April or May. He was killed -- I forget the date. It was much
12 The role of Knin now became more pronounced. The difference that
13 mayors gave and police officers gave to Knin became total at that point.
14 Q. Now, in an unrelated matter --
15 JUDGE MAY: Before we go on to that, what roughly is the date of
16 the murder of the mayor? Have we got some idea?
17 MR. GROOME:
18 Q. Are you able to estimate for us or do you have it in your
20 A. It's somewhere, but it's not present in my mind -- I know it was a
21 Saturday morning, that was clear.
22 JUDGE MAY: No doubt in due course we can be told.
23 THE WITNESS: We can tell you that later.
24 MR. GROOME:
25 Q. I'd ask you, during one of the breaks, to please review your
1 notebooks and I will ask you later on.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In April of 1993, did you become aware of an incursion from
4 Croatia from the army of the Republic of Serb Krajina into Bosnia?
5 A. April.
6 Q. April of 1993.
7 A. You're referring to the one into Bosnia.
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And can you please describe where into Bosnia these troops went.
11 A. On the border, that international border I referred to a little
12 earlier, there is a stretch of that border running between the town of
13 Velika Kladusa and Bihac. That particular stretch of the border was
14 turbulent, and we had military observers on both sides; in Velika Kladusa
15 and in Bihac.
16 The Serbs made an incursion across into the area behind Velika
17 Kladusa after three hours of artillery bombing.
18 Q. I want to now ask you about Mr. Fikret Abdic. Do you know who he
19 is, and did you have occasion to meet with him?
20 A. Yes. I knew Mr. Abdic and met with him quite frequently, a number
21 of times. He was based in Velika Kladusa, and we had a lot of these
22 military issues and humanitarian issues that affected that.
23 Q. Can you briefly describe for the Chamber who he was.
24 A. First, on the one hand, he was a politician, a member of the
25 Presidency in Sarajevo, and attempted and lost an election that he made
1 clear, he reminded us many times, that he had won that election. In other
2 words, a politician, a member of the Presidency.
3 On the other hand, he was also a businessman and the head of one
4 of the largest agri-business, known as Agrokomerc, based in Bihac.
5 Q. Did he ever describe for you an agreement he had reached with
6 Mr. Milosevic?
7 A. Yes. And again, out of the agenda. We were there to talk about
8 something else, about incursions, some cease-fires between that, and he
9 set aside the agenda on that occasion and started to talk to us about what
10 he called the Belgrade declaration.
11 Q. And did he tell you when the Belgrade declaration was?
12 A. I believe it was on the 22nd of October.
13 Q. I'd ask you to just open up to that page in your notes.
14 A. Yes. We had met on 26th of October in Maljevac.
15 Q. And did he describe for you what the substance of this agreement
16 he had made with President Milosevic was?
17 A. Let me preface my answer in saying we were trying to solve a
18 border incursion between the Serbs on the one side and the Muslims on the
19 other, and once he pulled out the Belgrade declaration, there was a reason
20 for him to put that. He believed it was the formula for ending any and
21 all kinds of conflicts between the Muslims and the Serbs as an example of
22 why we had come there to talk about that specific cease-fire. And he said
23 after the Belgrade declaration, we have created the conditions for solving
24 the Bosanska Bojna, Gradina issue - that is the issue that brought us
25 there that day - we should start the process with a lot of confidence.
1 Many documents were signed in the past. Unfortunately, none were
2 fulfilled. I'm really ready to fulfil this declaration, meaning the
3 Belgrade declaration.
4 Q. And did he indicate to you whether Mr. -- that the Belgrade
5 declaration was an actual piece of paper that he signed?
6 A. At that moment, my notes indicate two things. He was telling us
7 the status of the declaration as of that point, but I also note that I was
8 - and I recall seeing the broad elements of that agreement, but it was
9 not by -- the details were not directly from Fikret but from his
10 assistant, a man by the name Mr. Sajso [phoen]. But Mr. Abdic himself
11 mentioned to me, and I quote from my notes here: "Pretty soon a meeting
12 with Karadzic which I will have and I will host. I talked to Mr.
13 Milosevic today by telephone. He promised to contact Karadzic for this
15 Now, from the note of the general parameters I understood of this
16 declaration, it also had the agreement of Mr. Tudjman. So basically, it
17 did illustrate Mr. Fikret Abdic's bigger vision that he claimed and he
18 made clear to us as representatives of the UN. And, generally summarised,
19 was if he, Mr. Abdic, was in charge, he could end these fightings that
20 were between Muslims and Croats and all of that because he could obtain an
21 agreement easily or, rather, relatively easily with Mr. Milosevic and
22 Mr. Karadzic on the Serb side and Mr. Tudjman on the Croatian side and
23 himself as a representative of the Muslims. And to illustrate that, he
24 had created an area called the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia where
25 he could illustrate his vision.
1 Q. Now, to make sure that we understand what you've just told us, at
2 the time you're meeting with Mr. Abdic, he's telling you that there is an
3 existing agreement between himself and Mr. Milosevic that has the approval
4 of Mr. Tudjman and that that very day Mr. Milosevic called Fikret Abdic --
5 A. He would call.
6 Q. That he would call and arrange for Karadzic to visit Bihac so that
7 he would also participate in this?
8 A. Come on board on this agreement.
9 Q. Now, you said that you later learned the details of the agreement
10 between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Abdic from Mr. Abdic's assistant. Are there
11 any details which you have not described so far? If you haven't, I would
12 ask you to tell us any additional details of that agreement.
13 A. No. I have given you from my notes the framework of how I
14 understood it.
15 Q. Now, after this time, was there a level of cooperation between
16 Colonel Bulat and Fikret Abdic?
17 A. There was before then and after, a major, major collaboration
18 between Fikret Abdic and Cedo Bulat on the Kordun side as well as Tarbuk
19 on Banja side. I mentioned earlier the reason the meeting was held was an
20 incursion into Bosanska Bojna by the Serbs, and it caused a major rift.
21 That collaboration was to assist Fikret Abdic, ironically, fight his own
22 Muslim group in Bihac in the form of the 5th Corps of Bihac that he had
23 got into fighting relationship with, and he was getting the military
24 support from Cedo Bulat as well as Tarbuk on that.
25 Q. Now, in your view, did this agreement amount to a cease-fire of
1 the fighting that was going on in that area?
2 A. It was better than a cease-fire. They had agreed on a complete
3 pull-back from that area of Bosnia where the Serbs had gone in.
4 Q. Now, you've told us it was an agreement between Mr. Milosevic,
5 Abdic, with the approval of -- I want to ask you, there was any mention
6 about a member of the federal government of Yugoslavia, of their
7 involvement in this agreement or their having signed an agreement with
8 Mr. Abdic?
9 A. Beg your forbearance in misunderstanding you when I was talking
10 about an agreement. It's obvious from your last comment that you are
11 talking about Belgrade declaration. I was not talking about Belgrade
12 declaration, I was talking about a parallel agreement about a pull-back in
13 the region in an area called Bosanska Bojna.
14 Now, to repeat, that had nothing to do with Belgrade. So could
15 you kindly rephrase your question.
16 Q. Did the Belgrade declaration that you've referred to, did that
17 result in a cessation of hostilities?
18 A. I don't look to it itself had a direct role. There was something
19 else that ended the hostilities locally there that had nothing to do with
20 the Belgrade declaration.
21 Q. And please describe that for us.
22 A. It was a concerted effort between the UN and the Serb side and
23 Fikret Abdic to locally disengage. The Serbs themselves were -- ended up
24 conceding it was an error and they needed to get out.
25 Q. Now, back to the Belgrade declaration. Was there ever any mention
1 of the involvement or role that the federal government of Yugoslavia had
2 to play in this agreement with Abdic?
3 A. Abdic himself made it clear he just needed their support of his
4 idea of Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. From there on, he made it
5 clear he was capable of taking care of the area himself.
6 Q. I'm not talking about the federal government of the Bosnian
7 government, I'm talking about of Yugoslavia itself.
8 A. I understood, and my reply was he made clear that he needed the
9 endorsement from Belgrade of his Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.
10 He needed and got endorsement from Tudjman. He needed and got an
11 endorsement -- or rather, was working to get Karadzic, through Belgrade,
12 to agreed to it.
13 Q. When did you conclude your duties in Sector North?
14 A. Towards the end of the two years. It's normal to end the duties
15 around that time, and it was around 1994.
16 Q. And did there come a time when you were transferred to Belgrade to
17 take up other responsibilities for the United Nations?
18 A. Yes. I was transferred after a short stint in Zagreb in the
19 capacity of civil affairs Chief of Staff.
20 Q. And what was your title when you served in Belgrade?
21 A. The title was the delegate of the special representative of the
22 Secretary-General, who at that time was Mr. Akashi.
23 Q. And approximately when did you assume your duties there?
24 A. The date probably is August 1994 or somewhere around that time.
25 Q. Can you briefly describe what your duties entailed.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. This was to be -- to have a big component of that responsibility
2 was to help Mr. -- the diplomatic communications between the headquarters
3 of UNPROFOR and Mr. Akashi's headquarters and the government in Belgrade.
4 There was a big diplomatic component in that assignment
5 Q. Can you describe for the Chamber, what procedure would you follow
6 if there was an issue that Mr. Akashi wanted raised -- wanted you to raise
7 with the Yugoslav authorities. What procedure would you follow, and
8 please tell us how you would come to meet the people you came to meet.
9 A. It was well-executed procedure that worked pretty well. There was
10 a commission for relationship with UNPROFOR that was part of the Foreign
11 Affairs Ministry of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. At that time
12 there was a Foreign Minister by the name of Jovanovic, and the commission
13 itself had a secretary by the name of Mr. Pesut.
14 If Mr. Akashi or Mr. De Mello or anyone wanted some diplomatic
15 communication, a meeting set, I was requested to inform Mr. Pesut, as the
16 secretary of that commission, that such-and-such meeting was requested for
17 such-and-such a reason, and he would then contact the people requested and
18 the meeting would be set up.
19 Q. Would Mr. Jovanovic determine who were the people you should meet,
20 depending upon the issues that you needed to raise?
21 A. Rarely. Although, I had the courtesy and pleasure and the
22 opportunity of meeting with Mr. Jovanovic, I didn't need that. I -- Mr.
23 Pesut alone was enough to communicate the request. And even if it was a
24 request for a meeting with the President of Serbia, at that time Mr.
1 Q. Approximately how many meetings did you have with Mr. Milosevic?
2 A. I am guessing around six.
3 Q. And can you please tell us, just generally, the topics that you
4 would have discussed with him?
5 A. These meetings were meetings requested by Mr. Akashi, and they
6 covered the full range of the issues that UNPROFOR was engaged in, be it
7 in Bosnia, in the Republic of Serbian Krajina, or those United Nations
8 Protected Areas or issues specifically that were in the territory of the
9 Rump Yugoslavia, meaning Serbia and Montenegro. And those were the issues
10 of the Prevlaka peninsula in Montenegro or Resolution 781 that dealt with
11 the no-fly that was imposed on the former Yugoslavia, and monitors were
12 watching the flights out of Serbian skies, searching in Belgrade.
13 Q. Can you generally characterise your interaction with Mr. Milosevic
14 during these meetings.
15 A. It was very professional, and I will take the opportunity to
16 recognise he was always very kind and courteous, and we -- we had his
17 reaction in time as well -- as well as in substance as the -- as
18 Mr. Akashi wished. In other words, at no time was there a request by
19 Mr. Akashi that was turned down.
20 Q. I want to draw your attention to several of those meetings, and
21 the first one I'd like to draw your attention to is on the 26th of October
22 of 1994 regarding an unofficial meeting with Mr. Milosevic to discuss the
23 FRY's position towards the conflict in BiH. Do you have a clear
24 recollection of that meeting or would you like to refer to your notes?
25 A. Who else was in that meeting? Was it Mr. Akashi or somebody else?
1 Q. Mr. De Mello was present at the meeting.
2 A. Yes. This meeting was really -- yes, I recall it, and essentially
3 it was an informal meeting. Not for the purpose you have mentioned, but
4 it was the time when Mr. De Mello was ending his role in the former
5 Yugoslavia, and it was a courtesy meeting to say farewell to the president
6 at that time.
7 Q. And did the topic of the FRY's position towards the conflict in
8 Bosnia arise?
9 A. In that context, and I would like to be clear that it was in that
10 context of two people, Mr. De Mello and Mr. Milosevic, kind of taking back
11 a look at the issues that they had discussed earlier, and they covered a
12 number of topics, including the one you have mentioned.
13 Q. And did Mr. Milosevic characterise the position of the FRY towards
14 the conflict in Bosnia?
15 A. Yes. He made it clear that the war solutions were not going to be
16 producing any results, and he did speak at length about his quest for a
17 peaceful outcome rather than a war outcome in the area.
18 Q. During the course of that meeting, was there also some discussion
19 with Mr. Milosevic regarding nationalists within Serbia and, in
20 particular, Mr. Seselj?
21 A. Yes. Because he was -- to underscore his point about the option
22 for peace and no option for war, he mentioned so-called hawks and
23 hard-liners in Serbia who he said were waning in influence. Their
24 influence was decreasing. And to give an example, he gave an example of
25 Mr. Seselj at that time in the parliament of Federal Republic of
1 Yugoslavia and mentioned that his immunity had been withdrawn at that time
2 so he could face some charges.
3 He also mentioned that Seselj's - how do you say? - supporter or a
4 leader, somebody who was aligned with Seselj in the Republic of Serbian
5 Krajina in Knin, that person also had been removed, and that was
6 Mr. Milosevic's way of underscoring to Mr. De Mello that the forces of
7 peace were winning over the forces of war.
8 Q. I want to now draw your attention to another meeting approximately
9 a month later, on the 23rd of November, 1994. Did you meet with
10 Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Milan Martic?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Can you please describe the substance of that meeting.
13 A. I believe this is the meeting called by Mr. Akashi, and this was
14 in the context of NATO action that had been brought to bear on an airport
15 controlled by the Serbs called Udbina airport.
16 Q. And can you please tell us what of significance occurred during
17 that meeting.
18 A. This was rather -- there was a measure of tension in the meeting
19 because the military side of UNPROFOR and others -- and Mr. Martic were
20 talking an issue that of course had resulted in airstrikes, and most of
21 the meeting was taken up with Mr. Martic denying very much that this was
22 something that they caused and kind of turning the tables the other way,
23 that it was an aggression by NATO and that the people of the Serbian
24 Republic were -- I mean, the people of the Republic of Serbian Krajina
25 were very -- were on edge. They took offence on this, and he implied that
1 he was doing his best to prevent these people from attacking UNPROFOR for
2 these actions.
3 So he spent a lot of time along those lines of complaints, meaning
4 Martic, at the end of which he requested Mr. Akashi to condemn those
5 strikes as a way of getting on the good side of Serb in the -- Serbs in
6 the UNPA. All this time, Mr. Milosevic was listening and the conversation
7 was not with him; it was with Mr. Martic up to a point.
8 Q. Did at some point in the meeting Mr. Milosevic take a greater role
9 in discussion at the meeting?
10 A. Yes. After all that kind of point, counterpoint between the
11 military side and the UN and Mr. Martic, Mr. Milosevic did intervene.
12 Generally, if I recall correct, he did two things: He did associate
13 himself with the feeling that the NATO action was uncalled for on the -- a
14 point that Martic was making. On the one side, having conceded to Martic
15 that he, Mr. Milosevic, agreed that NATO action was uncalled for, he also
16 spoke to Martic kind of indirect by telling him what he believed his
17 obligation was and that - Martic's obligation - and that was not to do
18 things that resulted in the war option being exercised in this -- against
19 the Serbs. Consistent with the point Mr. Milosevic had made many times
20 about war and peace.
21 JUDGE KWON: Just a minute, Mr. Groome. Let me get back to the
22 earlier issue a minute.
23 MR. GROOME: Yes.
24 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Kirudja, let's go back to the issue of the
25 removal of Seselj's men in Knin.
1 THE WITNESS: Yes.
2 JUDGE KWON: Did Mr. Milosevic say that he had done that himself?
3 THE WITNESS: He didn't say he had done it himself but he said
4 that in the process, things like were happening - example, there was the
5 removal - without saying whether by himself or by somebody else.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you. And one thing more: Could you explain
7 the immunity which was -- had been given to Mr. Seselj. What was it like?
8 THE WITNESS: As a member of parliament, of the federal republic
9 or parliament, I understood that to mean that you would be -- you have a
10 certain measure of immunity from prosecution as long as you are a member
11 of parliament. And in order to lay charges on him, that immunity was
13 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
14 MR. GROOME:
15 Q. I want to now draw your attention to a meeting on the 3rd of May,
16 and the topic of the meeting -- I'm sorry, the 3rd of May, 1995, in which
17 the topic of the meeting was Western Slavonia.
18 A. Excuse me if you forbear with me on the earlier meeting. I
19 mentioned there was a topic of strikes in Udbina. There was a second
20 topic in which Mr. Milosevic intervened.
21 Q. I'm sorry. Please continue.
22 A. The second topic that came up in that meeting was a remark that
23 Martic made about the Serb forces doing their best "to prevent
24 humanitarian help going into Bihac." And that was Martic openly saying we
25 have been trying to prevent humanitarian assistance going into the pocket
1 of Bihac. At that point, that illustrated some things we'd been saying
2 all along, that Bihac was besieged and no humanitarian effort was going
4 At that point, at that remark by Martic, Mr. Milosevic did
5 intervene to make clear in no uncertain terms, Mr. Martic, that such an
6 action was not to be contemplated and that humanitarian assistance into
7 the pocket had to be allowed.
8 Q. Now, there's nothing -- is there anything else you think is of
9 significance from that meeting?
10 A. Basically, that is what comes to my mind now, but if I look at my
11 notes, we could look at whatever else you want to look at.
12 Q. Can I draw your attention now to the 3rd of May, 1995, a meeting
13 with Mr. Milosevic during which Western Slavonia was discussed. Do you
14 recall that meeting?
15 A. Yes. Again it was requested by Mr. Akashi.
16 Q. And did the topic of a military commission arise in the meeting?
17 A. Yes. This was again for -- a background quickly: This was on
18 something the Croats had done called Operation West Sector or something
19 like that, where they had taken military action against Sector West, the
20 Serbs in Sector West. And that, of course, was received very
21 traumatically by the rest of the Serbs in other areas because it kind of
22 portended what would come eventually for all areas that the Serbs had
23 occupied in Croatia.
24 And Mr. Milosevic, of course, was, like others, not supportive of
25 that military action by Croatia, and he spoke along those lines, and in
1 general in BiH he revived a concept of -- earlier on that had been
2 instituted called commission on disarmament or commission -- I need -- it
3 was a disengagement commission, a military disengagement commission that
4 he wanted revived to deal with issues such as military actions by one side
5 against the other.
6 MR. GROOME: I'd ask that Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab 11, be
7 placed or given to the witness. I'd ask that the first page be placed on
8 the overhead projector.
9 Q. Mr. Kirudja, during the course of that meeting, did Mr. Milosevic
10 characterise his relationship with Ratko Mladic?
11 A. Yes, there is a reference to that.
12 Q. And how did he characterise his relationship with Mr. Mladic -- or
13 General Mladic?
14 A. Can I pick up this?
15 Q. Yes, yes. Pick it up and read it if you need to.
16 A. Thank you.
17 Q. Or refer to your diaries as well if that's required.
18 A. Yes. I make reference in this memo to the fact that the border
19 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia had been closed for
20 all males from the RS, and this, I advised -- my interpretation of it was
21 because of the action taken, it would have some implications, and one was
22 reducing the number of refugees that would be coming across; and secondly,
23 it would by initial bolster the relationship with Mr. Mladic by cutting
24 off the rate of desertion from the BSA.
25 Q. Going back to the 3rd of May meeting, and I'll still be using that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 exhibit so -- the 3rd of May meeting, did Mr. Milosevic also characterise
2 his view of Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Krajisnik?
3 A. Yes. Again in a persistent wane of those he conceded as
4 hard-liners and hawks defeating his strategy of finding a political
5 solution, those two were in that category. He saw them in that category
6 at that stage.
7 Q. I want to now ask that the second page of that exhibit be placed
8 on the overhead, and, Mr. Kirudja, first let me ask you: This is a report
9 that you had done regarding your meetings or your analysis of meetings
10 with Mr. Milosevic; correct?
11 A. This was a specific time and period an analysis at that particular
12 specific time.
13 Q. I'd ask you to read the top paragraph on the second page.
14 "After the 5-hour meeting on 16 May with Frasure, all the top
15 brass of the ruling SPS began to show up at President Milosevic's office
16 in Belgrade, again presumably to be briefed about the negotiations. Among
17 them was Radmilo Bogdanovic, the former Interior Minister and now
18 president of the federal parliament's Committee on Serbian diaspora; Boris
19 Jovic, president of the federal parliament's committee on foreign policy;
20 and Milomir Minic, the Secretary-General of the ruling SPS. The
21 'recognition' side of the negotiation 'equation' is apparently a done
22 deal. The negotiations still going on have to do with what the US has
23 characterised as the 'road map' for the phased approach to sanctions
25 Q. Thank you. I'm finished with that exhibit.
1 Mr. Kirudja, just before the break, could I ask you to briefly
2 describe the general situation of the closure of the border and the
3 incident involving sightings of Yugoslav helicopters crossing the border
4 from Serbia into Bosnia. Can you just give us the background and then
5 we'll pick up the detail after the break.
6 A. Border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the president of -- President
7 Milosevic at that time did take a decision, the result of which that
8 border was closed to all except humanitarian assistance. That was -- and
9 to monitor that the border was closed to all but humanitarian border,
10 there was a monitoring mission that was outside the mandate of the UN. It
11 was run by the ICFY monitors. And that situation of the closure of the
12 border has also to be seen under Resolution 7801 of the Security Council,
13 prohibiting military flight in the skies outside of Serbia and Montenegro.
14 So in that context, at one date, the UN contingent, the Dutch
15 contingent that was in Srebrenica, did notice and report the sudden
16 appearance of helicopter flights from across the border with the Federal
17 Republic of Yugoslavia.
18 Q. Can you gives the approximate time frame you're talking about?
19 A. Dates?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. Unfortunately, I don't have them right now.
22 Q. Perhaps after the break.
23 MR. GROOME: If that's a convenient spot for the Chamber.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We will adjourn now. Twenty minutes.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Groome.
3 MR. GROOME:
4 Q. Mr. Kirudja, just before the break, you were telling us about
5 Dutch UN troops in the Srebrenica area that observed helicopters crossing
6 the border. Did something also occur during this sighting with respect to
7 United Nations military observers that were stationed in a radar control
8 room in Serbia?
9 A. Yes. Procedurally, before we broke, I was also asked about two
10 other questions. Do you want me to answer them now?
11 Q. I'm sorry, let's do that. The first one, I think, was the death
12 of Mayor Obradovic. Did you have an opportunity to --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When was he killed?
15 A. My notes say early July 1992. And I had a second matter that I
16 also wanted to be clarified. The commission I was struggling to remember
17 was called joint military commission. That was the subject of that
18 meeting that you asked me about.
19 Q. All right. And --
20 A. That joint military commission was a commission that Mr. Milosevic
21 wanted revived after the Operation of Flash that ended up taking Sector
22 West. That meeting in that context, after Sector West. And in that joint
23 military commission was made up of the force commander Rupert, Mr. -- the
24 head of the Muslim group, and the head of the Serbian VRS.
25 In that meeting, that's when Mr. Milosevic mentioned the comment
1 that, "Mladic is a personal friend of mine" but not so with Karadzic and
2 Krajisnik at that point, because he regarded them as promoting the war
3 option, that he was against. That's in that context.
4 Q. Just a couple matters of clarification. When you say "Rupert," do
5 you mean General Rupert Smith?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And when you say after Flash, is that the Croatian offensive that
8 resulted in the re-taking of Sector West from Serb-controlled areas?
9 A. Yes. And that meeting was held in that context.
10 Q. Now, once again back to the sighting of the helicopters. Could
11 you please describe for us what if anything was unusual with respect to
12 United Nations military observers at the time the sightings were made.
13 A. Prior to those sightings, we had access to the radar room, meaning
14 United Nations military observers in Belgrade had routine access to the
15 military radar room for the purposes of observing Resolution 781, the
16 no-fly around.
17 Two or three days before the sightings, we had reports of certain
18 unusual events leading to the military observers claiming they had no
19 access to the room. There were complaints that they were being prevented
20 to have access to that room.
21 Q. Who denied them access?
22 A. Well, their counterparts. They always observed with their Serbian
23 counterparts in the room.
24 Q. Were they -- their counterparts had been members of the Yugoslav
1 A. Right.
2 Q. And what was the stated reason for members of the Yugoslav army
3 refusing access to the UNMOs when they previously had granted them access
4 to observe the radar screens?
5 A. The only official reason I can give you is the one that was given
6 to me ex post facto, not before. I got an explanation when I met with
7 Ambassador Cicanovic. That is the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's person
8 in charge of relationship with UNPROFOR, and I had many dealings with
9 him. For example, to get an explanation like that.
10 Q. Can you summarise --
11 A. Yes. The explanation -- the explanation was it was a
12 misunderstanding. There were failures in the control room due to missing
13 parts because of the sanctions against Yugoslavia. So basically, it was a
14 misunderstanding on the part of the UN UNMOs, that they thought they were
15 being precluded. They weren't. But this is ex post facto explanation.
16 Q. Right. I'd ask that you be shown Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab 12,
17 and while that's being shown to you, did you memorialise the response of
18 the FRY government in great detail in a report that you sent to
19 Mr. Akashi?
20 A. Yes, I did, in a report comprising ten pages of details.
21 Q. Okay. I'm not going to get you to read any of that report at this
22 stage, I just simply place it in evidence should the Chamber wish to
23 examine more closely the examination.
24 I ask that you now be shown Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab 13. I'd
25 ask that the second page of that document be placed on the overhead
1 projector. The first line on the second page is "Airfield monitors in
2 FRY." Can I draw your attention to the first paragraph of point 3 and ask
3 you to read from that paragraph.
4 A. The one beginning "UNMOs..."?
5 Q. Yes. Just the first paragraph.
6 A. "UNMOs have been denied access to the flight controls at Surcin
7 airport control room. The consistent explanation has been the requirement
8 for spare parts to repair the screen that had been assigned to the UNMOs.
9 This flight control unit had had the parts scavenged to maintain other
10 controls. UNMOs have been denied access to flight controls not in use and
11 at a minimum to walk around the control room and make observations over
12 the shoulder of the operators."
13 Q. Please, just the paragraph that begins, number 3, "UNMOs have not
15 A. "UNMOs have not been permitted to have an independent means of
16 communications in their offices at the airfields or in their vehicles.
17 Suspected violations, therefore, cannot be reported in a timely manner to
18 permit UNPROFOR to react appropriately other than to advise UN New York
19 belatedly. The consistent reason given is that any VHF HF communication
20 systems used at the airfield would interfere with aircraft controlling.
21 This is highly unlikely."
22 Q. I'd ask you to take a look at the first page.
23 If that could be handed to Mr. Kirudja.
24 And was this a code cable you received from Mr. Akashi on the 13th
25 of February, 1995?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. I now ask you that you take a look at Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab
3 14. While that's being placed in front you, you've used the word "ICFY."
4 Can you tell us what that stands for?
5 A. International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia. That was
6 headquartered in Geneva and chaired by, at the time, by Mr. Stoltenberg on
7 the UN side and Lord Owen on the European Union side.
8 Q. I'd ask that the entire exhibit be handed to Mr. Kirudja.
9 I'd ask you to look at it and tell us whether you recognise it.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I'd ask that the third page be placed -- I'm sorry. Can you tell
12 us what it is.
13 A. This is a report that informs my headquarters that we are -- we
14 were now exchanging reports between ICFY and us. In other words, we were
15 going to share certain information.
16 Q. I'd ask that the third page of that document be placed on the
17 overhead projector, and Mr. Kirudja, I would draw your attention to the
18 table at the bottom of that page.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And what is depicted or what does that table represent on the
21 bottom of that report?
22 A. It's a summary of the confiscations along the border with
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina for the period from 4th August to 31st January, 1995,
24 as observed by ICFY monitors.
25 Q. So this would be a record of the goods that were confiscated that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 were being attempted to be brought from Yugoslavia into Bosnia; is that
3 A. I'm not sure which direction, but in the border. I'm not sure
4 which direction the goods might have been going; maybe both directions.
5 Q. How much petrol was confiscated?
6 A. Well, on this it shows 45.368 tonnes of petrol, and 399.513 tonnes
7 of diesel.
8 Q. Okay. I'd now ask that the last page be placed on the overhead
10 While that's being done, in your view, how effective was the
11 border closure between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina?
12 A. It's only an opinion that I couldn't back up since that
13 responsibility was not in my hands.
14 Q. Then I withdraw the question then.
15 On the last page of that document, was there also information
16 regarding a possible pipeline, the existence of a possible pipeline
17 between Serbia into Bosnia under the Drina River? I draw your attention
18 to the very last paragraph of the report.
19 A. Yes. I would confirm that differently in the sense that I also
20 had one or two representations in my office from people at the other end.
21 I forget the name, but they were also ICFY representatives, seeking our
22 assistance in repair parts for that pipeline.
23 Q. I'm finished with that exhibit, and I would ask that the witness
24 be shown -- or ask that the witness be shown 378, tab 15, and I'd ask that
25 the entire exhibit be shown to Mr. Kirudja.
1 And after you've reviewed it, Mr. Kirudja, could you tell us, do
2 you recognise what it is?
3 A. It's a memorandum that I had sent to Mr. Akashi on 1st of March on
4 the subject of cross-border flights.
5 Q. I'd ask you to take a quick look through the document, and I ask
6 you, in this report, do you describe some reports you had of involvement
7 of Yugoslav army troops outside the territory of Yugoslavia and in Bosnia?
8 A. Meaning the entirety of the memo or a specific part of the memo?
9 Q. Let me draw your attention to the second page of that memo.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And if you look at the second paragraph and read forward from
12 there. See if that refreshes your recollection.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Can you please describe what you reported, back on the 1st of
15 March, 1995, to Mr. Akashi.
16 A. That paragraph opens with the statement: "As mentioned in
17 previous reports, the JA -" meaning Yugoslav army - "'house' in the
18 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is caught in a wave of internal turbulence,
19 pitting hard-liners against proponents of the 'peace option' spearheaded
20 by Milosevic. Today word is out that written orders have been issued to
21 all 'officers' or 'professional' soldiers in the Yugoslav army who were
22 born on the other side of the Drina or have parents or families still
23 living there. The order for six-month 'detachment' to either the 'RS' or
24 'RSK' armies. Refusal to obey the orders will result in summary
25 dismissal. The orders seem to have been accepted without contest and do
1 not apply to non-Serbs still in the JA even if they originate from BiH."
2 Q. And do you go on further to talk about an anti-aircraft battery
3 that was reported having crossed into BiH, Bosnia?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Can you please read that one sentence regarding that.
6 A. "Two days ago, two anti-aircraft infantry units the size of a
7 brigade plus, reportedly crossed into BiH complete with their two old
8 Soviet-made batteries of missiles of a type they call Volkov and Dina,
9 their destination of intent not yet clear."
10 Q. And on the 26th -- or did you also report in this particular
11 report that on the 26th of February, 1995, troops from the Yugoslav army
12 had been seen moving toward the borders with Sector East in the vicinity
13 of Sid not far from the Vinkovci-Mirkovci area?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And during the time that you wrote this report, would it be fair
16 to say that Mr. Milosevic was actively involved in negotiating in the
17 peace process?
18 A. It is fair to say so.
19 Q. Thank you. No further questions from that exhibit, or about that
21 I'd now ask that Mr. Kirudja be shown Prosecution Exhibit 378, tab
23 And this would be the final piece of correspondence regarding the
24 helicopter flights I'd like to ask you about. I'd ask you to look at the
25 entire exhibit and, after you've had a chance to review it, please tell us
1 if you recognise it.
2 Do you recognise what that is?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And what is it?
5 A. This is a memorandum I addressed to Mr. Akashi again on the
6 subject of the helicopter border crossings that we talked to earlier.
7 Q. I'd ask that the second page be placed on the overhead projector,
8 and Mr. Kirudja, I would ask you to read the first sentence in the first
9 complete paragraph of the page, the sentence beginning with,
10 "Mr. Kertes..."
11 A. "Mr. Kertes, explaining that he was speaking on behalf of the
12 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia government, protested that the Federal
13 Republic of Yugoslavia had not been promptly informed of the helicopter
14 flight allegations the same day of their occurrence, and claimed that ICFY
15 had neither the mandate nor the competence to examine such helicopter
16 flight allegations. Of the 26 reported --"
17 Q. That's sufficient, Mr. Kirudja.
18 A. Okay.
19 Q. Prior to this incident, had you ever been aware of Mr. Kertes's
20 involvement in the relationship between the UNMOs and the Yugoslav army in
21 access to the radar sites?
22 A. No, nor was it my responsibility. This was the responsibility of
23 the EU monitors that reported to me this part.
24 Q. I've finished with that exhibit. Thank you.
25 Now, I want to move to a different area of inquiry. I want to ask
1 you, did you at some point become involved in a situation or negotiations
2 regarding UN personnel that had been taken hostage in Bosnia?
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. Can you please describe in summary fashion what occurred in that
5 incident before I ask you detailed questions?
6 A. At some point, it was all over the news, international news, that
7 United Nations monitors and other personnel had been taken hostage in the
8 area within the vicinity of Sarajevo, and there occurred -- this occurred
9 while the border had been closed, the border between Serbia and
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina had been closed.
11 In that context, immediate requirement arose for the release of
12 these hostages, first from Sarajevo itself and the commander, General
13 Rupert Smith, and later the matter reached Belgrade, where assistance was
14 being sought in the same exercise.
15 Q. And who was the person that you negotiated most directly with?
16 A. Mr. Stanisic.
17 Q. And can you tell us his entire name? Do you remember his first
19 A. I'm sorry. Right now it doesn't come straight, but --
20 Q. I'm going to ask that you be shown a report that you drafted, and
21 that is Exhibit 378, tab 17. I'd ask you to review the report and tell
22 us, do you recognise what it is?
23 A. Yes. This is a memorandum putting on record the circumstances
24 under which I became involved in -- on the side of Belgrade in their
25 assistance to release the hostages through Mr. Jovica Stanisic.
1 Q. What is the date of that report?
2 A. 9 June 1995.
3 Q. What was Mr. Stanisic's position at the time that you were
4 negotiating with him for the release of the hostages in Bosnia?
5 A. My understanding was that he was chief of Serbian internal --
6 Interior Ministry and other special security forces. Not in great detail,
7 the title wasn't given to me in great detail, just an understanding that
8 he was chief of -- he was chief of Serbian Interior Ministry.
9 Q. And approximately how many times did you meet with him in
10 connection with the hostage crisis?
11 A. Oh, the exact number isn't clear to me, but at least three times.
12 Q. And where were those meetings held?
13 A. In his office.
14 Q. And at the time that you had meetings with him in his office, can
15 you tell us who would have been present?
16 A. Just myself and one staff member that helped me record what I was
17 being told.
18 Q. And did Mr. Stanisic have any other members of his staff or other
19 people from other parts of the either Serbian or federal government with
21 A. No.
22 Q. Where were the hostages that you were specifically negotiating?
23 Do you recall where in Bosnia they were?
24 A. In fact, that was the subject of the negotiation. There had been
25 a release of a certain number of personnel taken hostage. Some at that
1 point had been released. I forget how many, but the others were not
2 identifiable as to location or who was holding them, and that was the gist
3 of the meeting.
4 Q. Just as a general matter before I ask you a specific question
5 about that report, can you describe for the Chamber when it is that you
6 generate these reports with respect to having conducted a meeting.
7 A. Usually within hours. Certainly at the end of the day or, at
8 most, the next day. Of any matter that we were involved on, it was a
9 requirement that you file a report for that day.
10 Q. And with respect to the notes in your diaries, you've read a
11 couple of passages from them. When are the -- when did you generate the
12 diary entries with respect to --
13 A. The same, and for every one of those diaries and what we have
14 read, a report within the same day or at most 24 hours, was sent to
15 headquarters corresponding to the subject discussed and the material
17 Q. I want to ask that the second page of that report be placed on the
18 overhead projector.
19 Mr. Kirudja, I want to ask you to read from paragraph number 5.
20 If you would read that entire paragraph.
21 A. Number 5?
22 Q. Number 5, yes.
23 A. "Stanisic proposes, if you confirm there is indeed an armed UN
24 group in a situation as described, that he would go to the Bosnian
25 territory while maintaining contact with our office in Belgrade, and set
1 up a means of identifying his forces from those of the Serb captors on the
2 ground. Simultaneously, the blocked UN group would receive coordinating
3 orders leading to a 'cross-over' to Stanisic's forces."
4 Q. Now, I want to focus on one part of that. Where Mr. Stanisic --
5 where you write that Mr. Stanisic conveys to you that he will set up a
6 means of identifying his forces, given the context of the entire
7 conversation, did you interpret that to mean that Mr. Stanisic, after this
8 meeting, was going to send in some of his forces into Bosnia for the
9 specific task of locating the hostages, or did you interpret that to mean
10 that his forces were already present in Bosnia and he would simply
11 identify the ones most critical to the hostage situation?
12 A. My strong understanding is that he had in place already forces in
13 Bosnia which he needed to contact discreetly for this purpose.
14 MR. GROOME: I'm finished with that exhibit. I'd ask that the
15 witness be shown Prosecution Exhibit number 18 -- tab 18 of 378.
16 Q. There are -- there are no specific questions I wanted to ask you
17 regarding this document. I want to introduce it for the sake of
18 completeness. Is this another report of a subsequent meeting you had with
19 Mr. Stanisic?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And what is the date of this report?
22 A. There's a correction on it, and it should be the one handwritten,
23 10 June 1995.
24 Q. Now, just for a matter of clarity, a number of the reports that
25 you have spoken to today have underlining and certain scribbles on them.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Did you do any of the underlining or any of the other writing on any of
2 these reports?
3 A. No, because this was originating from me, and actually, I had
4 never seen them after I sent them until the -- this process brought them
5 to my notice complete with those markings.
6 MR. GROOME: I would just state for the record that the documents
7 were received in this condition. These marks are not the product of
8 anything the Office of the Prosecutor has done and I would request that
9 the Chamber simply ignore the underlines and handwritten marks contained
10 on the documents.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kirudja. Now, Mr. Kirudja, I would ask you, in
12 conclusion of your testimony here, can you, based on your experience and
13 your dealings with Mr. Milosevic and other members of the -- both the
14 federal Yugoslav government and the Republic of Serbia government, can you
15 describe for us what opinion, if you have any, of Mr. Milosevic's role and
16 authority vis-a-vis other members of those governments that you dealt
18 A. One of the things that struck me as interesting was
19 Mr. Milosevic's command of detail and knowledge of matters that we sought
20 to see him, and without this normal -- if you meet with government
21 officials at his level, certainly he -- at the level -- summit level like
22 his, usually there is always aides who are the keepers of the details of
23 the issues being discussed.
24 He struck me as very informed from policy, all the way down to
25 detail. That was a speciality I noted.
1 Q. During the course of your negotiations, were you ever directed to
2 the then sitting federal president, Mr. Zoran Lilic?
3 A. It was never an issue. It didn't arise either from Mr. Akashi or
4 from anybody else to request meetings with that -- on that source.
5 Q. Drawing your attention to a report of the 16th of May, 1995, did
6 you in that report express your concern to your superiors that
7 Mr. Milosevic had too much of a solo role in the negotiations?
8 A. It wasn't a concern, it was to draw their attention. I want to
9 preface that all these reports were written long before this court or even
10 the idea of this court existed. So there was a reason I wrote those
11 reports, and that was the result to make sure that the people I was
12 reporting to understood in greater detail the risks we learned and the
13 things that we made our mission at risk of fail. One of those is to
14 understand who it is they were dealing with, and therefore, in order to --
15 in the case of Mr. Milosevic, it was important for them to know he was
16 very well-informed. There's no need to think of big delegations when you
17 meet him or to request a lot of other people. It was sufficient that you
18 met with him and he would be informed.
19 Q. And did you make this observation in official reports that you --
20 A. Yes, for that purpose.
21 MR. GROOME: Your Honour, I have no further questions. Just as an
22 administerial matter and a way of taking stock, the Prosecution is seeking
23 to tender all of the exhibits used with this witness, Prosecution Exhibit
24 378, tabs 1 through 18.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We admit the exhibits normally unless there is
1 any form of objection.
2 Yes. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
4 Q. [No interpretation]
5 JUDGE MAY: There is no interpretation. Let's try again.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the English?
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let's try again.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the interpretation now?
9 THE WITNESS: I can hear the interpretation now, not prior to this
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. So it seems to be working now. Mr. Kirudja, when you arrived in
13 Krajina, the Sector North, and the entire area, Krajina, Croatia, Bosnia,
14 everywhere you moved around, you came across a situation there, and was it
15 your impression that the Yugoslav People's Army and other authorities
16 extended full cooperation and support to you in what you considered to be
17 your task and assignment there?
18 A. Yes -- yes, Mr. Milosevic. It is correct that the Yugoslav
19 national army did extend, as I testified earlier, what I considered full
20 cooperation to the UN mission, at least in the early stages of its
22 Q. So may we then take it that with respect to logistical support,
23 the army and the authorities of Yugoslavia demonstrated towards you their
24 readiness to fully cooperate and see that your mission was a success and
25 fulfilled its assignment? Is that right?
1 A. Again, I stress there was an issue of cooperation as we started
2 our deployment. There were other details of my testimony that point to
3 changes thereafter.
4 Q. All right. We'll get to those changes and then I should like to
5 ask you for some additional explanations in that regard, but as a
6 conscientious representative of the United Nations with the mandate you
7 were given, I assume that you did not omit to become acquainted, once you
8 arrived in Yugoslavia, with the most important provisions of the
9 constitution of Yugoslavia. Am I right in thinking that?
10 A. Mr. Milosevic, you are partly right. I was, of course, obligated
11 to understand the mandate of the mission, as we spoke earlier, the Vance
12 Plan being a component of that, plus the subsequent resolutions of the UN
13 that mandated that. With regard to the constitution of Yugoslavia, I
14 regrettably say I can't say I am familiar with that constitution, nor was
15 I required really to become familiar with its contents.
16 Q. Well, were you acquainted at least with some of the principles,
17 such as the principle mirrored in the constitution which speaks about the
18 inalienable right and duty of the peoples and nationalities of Yugoslavia,
19 the citizens of Yugoslavia, to protect and defend their independence,
20 sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the constitutional order?
21 A. As a matter of fact, in one of the meetings that we had with you,
22 if you recall over lunch at the break, I had the pleasure of having you
23 explain me a certain point on that constitution that I still treasure to
24 this day, because you did give me a very impassioned explanation.
25 If you recall, I had asked you to clarify for me an issue that had
1 become very constant claim by the Serbs who were in Sector North and
2 elsewhere wherein they kept reminding me of a speech given by Mr. Tudjman
3 on one Christmas not long after the declaration of independence that
4 stated that Croatia was a state of Croats, and that, they said to us at
5 the UN, how do you expect us to live in a state where the president tells
6 us it's the state of Croats?
7 So, Mr. Milosevic, I did ask you to explain to me is the
8 constitution of Yugoslavia different? Does it speak of Yugoslavia --
9 Serbia as a state of Serbs? And I was pleasantly surprised of your
10 explanation, which you might remember.
11 Q. Yes, I do remember that, because it was the constitution of Serbia
12 which was enacted in 1990, and Article 1 of that constitution states that
13 the Serbs -- that the state of Serbia is a state of all its citizens.
14 A. Yes, you did explain to me that.
15 Q. And as you know, Mr. Kirudja, during the time you spent on the
16 territory of the former Yugoslavia and later on in these past ten years -
17 I assume you'll be able to confirm that - nowhere on the territory of
18 Serbia and the new Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which
19 was formed on the 28th of April, 1992, did you have any ethnic conflicts
20 or acts of discrimination on the part of citizens of other ethnic groups
21 or, rather, 28 nationalities, 28 ethnic groups live in Serbia, and there
22 were no acts of discrimination which you were able to point your finger to
23 or to, indeed, witness. Isn't that so?
24 A. Mr. Milosevic, if I heard you correctly, you referred to the last
25 ten years. Mr. Milosevic, the testimony I give here is ten years ago,
1 going back to 1992. Part of that testimony clearly indicates I did leave,
2 I left my role at the UN since then. So I couldn't, obviously, testify
3 for the time I was away. So in order to answer --
4 Q. Let me put myself right. I wasn't thinking over the past ten
5 years, i was thinking of the past 12 years or 13 years or throughout the
6 time, let's say from 1989 onwards, up to the year 2000. And all these
7 years encompass the period of your sojourn in Yugoslavia. So I used the
8 term ten years, I said ten years more or less symbolically, to symbolise a
9 decade, but of course, starting out from the first day of your presence
10 there and then throughout your stay, that's what I'm referring to.
11 A. Thank you for your clarification. Of course, if you ask me for
12 the time I was there, unfortunately, much of the testimony you heard today
13 is contrary to that because we are testifying about the events that
14 occurred that point to a concerted effort, at least in the area that I
15 knew, of Serb authorities to force Muslims out. At least in the area that
16 I testified to.
17 So generally, your statement would, of course, not be correct, at
18 least in those cases that I testified.
19 Q. I asked you about Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
20 not about Bosnia, Krajina, Croatia, but about Serbia, Serbia and
21 Montenegro or, rather, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
22 A. I beg your apologies. I didn't understand that specific
23 reference. In that case, my answer would be not to my knowledge in those
24 particular areas of what constitutes Serbia and Montenegro, I wouldn't
25 have any evidence.
1 Q. Well, I hope, Mr. Kirudja, that you could have heard just evidence
2 to the contrary, that is to say of a highly tolerant atmosphere and a lot
3 of care and attention on the part of the authorities to see that there was
4 no discrimination.
5 A. Are you asking me my personal impression?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. I have to answer you in the positive in the sense that my presence
8 in Serbia, I had a complete feel of personal security, no hostility that
9 were ever directed to me, and I did visit wide areas of Serbia in all
10 kinds of circumstances. You are right. I personally didn't feel any
11 discrimination directed to me.
12 Now, I say that. If you ask me elsewhere, outside, I did
13 elsewhere, but not in that area that you specifically refer to, Serbia and
14 Montenegro, while I was there.
15 Q. Well, all right. You know that during that time I was president
16 of Serbia, so I'm asking you about the territory which I considered myself
17 to be responsible for.
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. Do you know, Mr. Kirudja, as you were speaking here and giving
20 examples and speaking in detail about these examples - we'll come to that
21 later on- but you mentioned refugees, and do you know that we in Serbia at
22 one point had as many as 1 million refugees? Are you aware of that?
23 Coming in from different parts of the former Yugoslavia.
24 A. Mr. Milosevic, I was the recipient of a number of statements about
25 the presence of refugees in Serbia, and your -- at that time people who
1 were under you in the humanitarian did make presentations to us
2 about the presence of refugees in Serbia and Montenegro. However, at no
3 time did I hear or retain a figure in millions. I don't know what the
4 figure was, simply.
5 Q. Well, at one particular point the figure had reached that
6 particular number. But when you were in Yugoslavia yourself, do you
7 happen to recall, for example, the piece of information according to which
8 in Serbia alone there was -- let's take this concrete example: 70.000
9 Muslim refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina, to quote an example, and from the
10 territories engulfed by war?
11 A. Are you asking me to authenticate the figure of 70.000 or did I
12 hear it? Is that the specific question?
13 Q. Yes. Did you hear about that figure?
14 A. No. I did hear there were a lot of refugees of all kinds, and I
15 did meet even Muslims in Serbia. So the fact that there were refugees
16 that were Muslim in Serbia, yes, I can say that I met some. How many
17 there were, the exact numbers, that I couldn't.
18 Q. Very well. This wasn't your responsibility or duty to deal with
19 things of that kind, but these Muslim refugees that you happened to meet
20 in Serbia that you mentioned, did they complain at all of the treatment
21 they were being given in Serbia which would discriminate against them in
22 any way? So they had arrived in Serbia to take refuge from the war that
23 was going on in Bosnia-Herzegovina, hadn't they? Now, did they live there
24 as citizens on a footing of equality with everybody else, without any
25 special treatment, regime, or any kind of discrimination? Did they live
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 like any other citizen, like all the other citizens, in fact?
2 A. Mr. Milosevic, I could testify to that that one of my interpreters
3 was a Muslim that was relocated from Serbian -- from Bihac and continued
4 to work peacefully in Belgrade. So at least even directly in my front
5 office, I had an example.
6 Q. Very well. I'm happy to hear that. But let's go back to the
7 constitution for a moment. Did you know that the defence of the
8 territorial integrity of the country was one of the constitutionally based
9 foremost tasks of the armed forces of Yugoslavia?
10 A. No. I didn't really have an occasion to delve into that kind of
11 detail. I take your word for it.
12 Q. I should now like to clear up one particular point, Mr. Kirudja.
13 In your statement where you speak about the 21st of April, 1992, it says,
14 among others, "Among the representatives of the local authorities --" and
15 I'm quoting you on that -- "who came to us in the UN were Colonel Slobodan
16 Tarbuk, the local commander of what started to be called the forces of
17 Territorial Defence," and in brackets you have "TO." So the members of
18 the TO decided to take that name, to be called in that way because they
19 wished to differentiate themselves from the JNA, which was expected, in
20 keeping with the UN mandate, to withdraw from Croatia?
21 MR. GROOME: Your Honours?
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
23 MR. GROOME: The statement is in excess of 60 pages. It would be
24 very helpful if Mr. Milosevic could provide at least a ballpark reference.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Has the witness got a copy? Do you have a copy,
1 Mr. Kirudja, of your statement?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Kirudja will, I'm sure, remember
3 that passage, but that's not what I'm basing my question on.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, it's a statement of 60 pages. Let the
5 witness have it. Which page is it, please?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. May, I don't mind giving
7 the witness a chance to look at all of this. I'm quoting from his passage
8 about the 21st of April, 1992.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. But my question relates to the following, Mr. Kirudja: Is it
11 clear to you--
12 MR. GROOME: [Previous translation continues]... page 6, Your
14 JUDGE MAY: The witness must be entitled to have the page. So
15 when you quote the statement and the witness has got it, let's have the
16 page number so he can follow. We've got this. Page 6, yes. At some
17 stage the Chamber may need copies but for the moment we will go on
19 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise, they do not have a
20 copy of the statement.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Do you know, or rather, did you know at the time, Mr. Kirudja,
23 that the Territorial Defence was not something that was created then and
24 there as a substitute in any way for the Yugoslav People's Army? It was
25 something that had existed beforehand. It was part of the armed forces
1 pursuant to the constitution, the type of organisation formed at local
2 level throughout the territory of the then Yugoslavia.
3 A. Mr. Milosevic, the meeting you refer to is on 21st of April, as
4 you pointed out. You may note that it was the first time the force
5 commander had come into the sector and the local authorities who were
6 meeting him and making a presentation to that. Conclusion that is
7 implicit in that meeting is that the terms of the Vance Plan had already
8 been placed in motion. The terms of the Vance Plan that I take it that
9 you are also very familiar with. Under those terms, you must also
10 conclude, the issue to Territorial Defence force was alien to that force,
11 was actually proscribed. There were not to be any forces like that.
12 Q. I'm talking about something else. I don't know whether we
13 understand each other. It's not that the Territorial Defence was formed
14 as a substitute for the JNA. It had existed previously as a form of
15 direct defence involvement on the part of the citizens throughout the
16 territory of the former Yugoslavia. So it existed far before the
17 conflicts broke out. It existed as part of the defence and protection
18 system of Yugoslavia.
19 A. I wouldn't be able to speak authoritatively, obviously, on what
20 was there before we arrived in a different context and a different
21 purpose. If you say so, Mr. Milosevic, I wouldn't have a way of disputing
22 the point about things which were in the former Yugoslavia before we came
23 in, before the mandate was framed. Of course I wouldn't be able to know
25 Q. All I wish to do is to challenge something, a misunderstanding
1 probably on your part, according to which you concluded, as far as I was
2 able to gather, that the Territorial Defence was in fact established then
3 as a substitute for the JNA. And all I'm saying is it existed much
4 earlier on and was, in fact, and I'd like -- focused upon and mirrored in
5 the Yugoslav constitution, because the constitution stipulates in Article
6 240.2 of the constitution, the armed forces of the Socialist Federal
7 Republic of Yugoslavia make up a whole and are composed of the Yugoslav
8 People's Army as a joint armed force of all the peoples and nationalities,
9 et cetera, and is also composed of the Territorial Defence as the broadest
10 form of the organisation for the defence forces. Therefore, the
11 Territorial Defence - and this is what I want to ask you whether you
12 understand - was not formed as a substitute for the army but it was in
13 existence as part of the armed forces of Yugoslavia, and this was provided
14 for by the constitution at the time when Yugoslavia was united, one
15 country, and that's when it was in existence.
16 So are you aware of that fact? It was the existing part of the
17 armed forces. So it wasn't established as a reaction to the Vance Plan.
18 That's what I want to make clear.
19 A. I will return, may it please the Court, to my statement that the
20 TDF, and my use of that term was in the context of the attempt to
21 demobilise the existing forces as required in the Vance Plan, and that
22 demobilisation was not qualified. It was supposed to be total. There
23 shall be no armed forces with big weapons except police for the purposes
24 of law and order. As soon as we sought to make that a reality, then
25 cropped the issue of Territorial Defence forces and given various reasons
1 the Serbs give us, like defence of their borders from Croat infiltrators.
2 That is the context in which this explanation is given. I just
3 re-emphasise that. Explanation about the existence of the concept of
4 Territorial Defence force in the constitution of Yugoslavia, as Mr.
5 Milosevic explained, may or may not be true. I couldn't speak to that. I
6 was speaking in the exact context I described.
7 Q. Very well. Do you know that Croatia, in 1991, started to effect a
8 secession from Yugoslavia?
9 A. It's my understanding that by the time we arrived, there were
10 recognised by the UN the states of Croatia and other constituents of
11 Yugoslavia, the former Yugoslavia, when we arrived. It is also my
12 understanding that within the State of Croatia -- or, rather, it's not an
13 understanding, it's self-evident, there had been an area carved out of
14 that Croatia where our mission was to help resolve those disputed
16 When or under what circumstances Croatia seceded from the former
17 Yugoslavia in 1991 I am, unfortunately, not conversant with the details of
18 that in 1991.
19 Q. You were -- you didn't deal with that, but I'm sure you know that
20 it was emphasised that it was the function of the Vance Plan to achieve
21 peace and to ensure the safety and security of citizens on territories in
22 which there had been conflict. And another important characteristic of it
23 was that the presence of the United Nations forces in areas under UN
24 protection does not -- does not mean that a political solution is implied
25 but that a political solution should be sought through political means.
1 Isn't that so?
2 And if you just shake your head, this cannot be recorded. So may
3 we have an audible answer from you, please.
4 A. I was waiting for you to stop, and I will of course give you an
5 audible answer.
6 Pretty much everything you have said, with one major difference,
7 if I heard you correctly, where you mentioned that the United Nations'
8 responsibility for maintaining law and order while a political solution
9 was being sought. Mr. Milosevic, you're sure that is not quite correct.
10 The law and order was to be kept by local police and the mayors.
11 Q. I'm not going into that.
12 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish so that he can give his answer.
13 THE WITNESS: Thank you. So the law and order, a very crucial
14 part, was left in the local hands, and that was -- the only role the UN
15 had was to monitor that that function was properly executed.
16 Now, as you recall one of my testimonies here, I did allude to
17 that turning into a big loophole in terms of the UN being unable to fulfil
18 that part of the resolution responsibility.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you mean the monitoring?
20 THE WITNESS: No, not the monitoring. The failure for -- in other
21 words, I did testify that because the Serbs transformed the forces that
22 were essentially military forces into the semblance of a police force for
23 both in strength beyond the requirement of the Vance Plan as well in terms
24 of numbers, as well as in weapons, they became what they called the army
25 of the Republic of Serbian Krajina for the purposes of pursuing goals such
1 as independence for that area.
2 So if the UN had the responsibility for maintaining law and order,
3 then its own forces, the forces of the UN that were there, would have come
4 in different composition and in different numbers. They had come only to
5 observe maintenance of law and order at the hands of the local police.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Yes. But we are talking about UN protected areas, not zones that
9 are monitored by the UN, but they are protected by the UN. We are talking
10 about those areas. So I assume that it is legitimate to ask whether the
11 United Nations protected these areas and the population in them. But
12 we'll come to that.
13 Tell me, Mr. Kirudja, you came for the Vance Plan, and I assume
14 that you familiarised yourself with the events that preceded the adoption
15 of the Vance Plan, that you familiarised yourself with the causes that led
16 to the conflict or, rather, the reasons why the conflict broke out. And
17 after that, the Vance Plan was adopted, and the peacekeeping forces were
18 deployed, or, rather, the UN Protective Forces were deployed. That was
19 the name.
20 So do you know that the first serious incidents in Krajina took
21 place when the Croat authorities, in the autumn of 1990, started taking
22 away the weapons of the local police and the Territorial Defence in the
23 area --
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we need to consider this: The
25 relevance to the witness's evidence. These were events before the witness
1 came on the scene. He, therefore, can't speak directly about them, and
2 really to rehearse these events with him is not going to take the case any
3 further forward. You can ask him about events, of course, after he
4 arrived, but there's little point in asking him about events before then.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, I asked Mr. Kirudja, since
6 he had come to carry out an important task, whether he was familiar with
7 what had preceded the Vance Plan and what the reasons were for the
8 adoption of the Vance Plan to begin with, and was he aware of what the
9 problems were beforehand. If there is a problem, then I will drop it, but
10 does he know how the hostilities actually came to exist, that's a
11 legitimate question.
12 JUDGE MAY: It seems to be his state of mind, unless you can show
13 its relevance, is not going to take us any further forward.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Do you know, Mr. Kirudja, that Serbs in Krajina did not recognise
17 the secession of Croatia since it was contrary to the constitution of
18 Yugoslavia, the constitution that was then valid in Yugoslavia, as well as
19 contrary to international law? Therefore, there would be a violent
20 degradation in the rights that they enjoyed on a footing of equality with
21 other citizens in the Republic of Croatia and in Yugoslavia as a whole.
22 Are you aware of that?
23 JUDGE MAY: What is the relevance of that question to the
24 witness's evidence? I know it's your case, which you've put often enough,
25 but it seems to me not to be relevant to the witness's evidence, whether
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 he knew or not.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The relevance, Mr. May, is in the
3 undoubtedly undeniable right of the Serb people which -- and that is a
4 right that cannot be taken away from any people. That is the right to
5 self-defence. The relevance lies in the following: That we should
6 establish that the Serb people were indeed threatened in that territory
7 and that exercising their right to self-defence, they had many things
8 happening that were related to that right, and I'm asking the witness, who
9 was there at the time when all these events took place.
10 JUDGE MAY: No. That is an issue which we, no doubt, are going to
11 have to determine, because as we've heard before, that is, as I've said
12 before, it is your case that this was a matter of the local Serbs
13 defending themselves.
14 Now, the witness's view about that, with all respect to him, is
15 totally irrelevant, and rehearsing what happened before he came, as I've
16 said, is not going to advance the case. It's just taking up time
17 unnecessarily. You can do it with other witnesses who deal with that
18 period. What, if I may say, you should concentrate on is the witness's
19 evidence in relation to his time when he was in Croatia and Bosnia.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. May. I'm going to
21 skip a few questions then. Irrespective of your efforts, these issues
22 cannot be sidestepped. But anyway, I shall be quite precise with regard
23 to the questions put to this witness.
24 JUDGE MAY: That kind of comment is wholly unnecessary and wholly
25 untrue. These are issues which you have raised, and they will be dealt
1 with in due course, and you must understand that. But meanwhile, what
2 we're discussing is the relevance to this witness's evidence. Now, would
3 you concentrate, in cross-examination, on relevant matter. That's all
4 you're being told to do. Now, let's get on with it.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. The UNPROFOR command, was it well-informed about the situation in
7 the field?
8 A. Well, yes and no. At the very beginning, we of course had to keep
9 an open mind and learn as we got to know what was on the ground. So our
10 knowledge - and I speak now collectively since you put it as UNPROFOR - we
11 did learn a lot before and even more during the time we were there.
12 Q. Precisely. I'm referring to the period that you spent there. So
13 what you say now, does that mean that, not taking into account individual
14 incidents, truly some individual incidents that could have gone by
15 unnoticed irrespective of your presence in the field, but can we establish
16 that not a single more significant event or process could not go unnoticed
17 by members of UNPROFOR? I mean, by your personnel, by other members of
18 UNPROFOR, et cetera. Is that right?
19 A. Frankly, it's a little more complicated for me to take a blanket
20 situation that everything was noticed by us. We noticed what we have
21 talked about. I wouldn't be surprised if somebody said there was an event
22 XYZ and I didn't notice it. Such is life. We didn't know everything.
23 Q. I'm talking about more significant events, processes, happenings.
24 So can we assume that more significant events could not go by unnoticed or
25 unregistered by your mission and by UNPROFOR, generally speaking?
1 A. You're correct. Much of my testimony has to do with those events
2 we considered were significant. Everything? I'm not sure.
3 Q. Very well. Does that mean that with regard to all these major
4 events, all these more significant events or, rather, regarding everything
5 that you learned about, did your vertical chain have to be informed
6 accordingly? That is to say, all the people who headed your organisation,
7 UNPROFOR, et cetera. You didn't keep anything to yourself, did you?
8 Everything that you found out on the ground was vertically sent up to the
9 very top, to General Nambiar; is that right?
10 A. Mr. Milosevic, thank you for giving me that question. A little
11 earlier I did say we went every mile to report what we thought was
12 significant to our headquarters, even inclusive of testimony here, at one
13 point I get the UN telling me, "Don't do this. You are getting too
14 involved." So it wasn't like we were holding back anything.
15 Q. You sent everything up. You reported on everything; right?
16 A. To the best of what I knew.
17 Q. In your statement, you said in several sections that you met with
18 General Nambiar. Tell me, what were your impressions of him? Was this a
19 good, conscientious, able, professional soldier, an honourable man, in
20 every conceivable respect a person who was up to the job that he had?
21 A. I'm pleased to say yes, I consider him in the category of that,
22 and I got to know him well, and I can say yes, he was a professional,
23 conscientious man who was well-suited for the job he took.
24 Q. Well, I'm going to read out to you his statement since he spoke
25 about events that took place in Yugoslavia. At that time, he was director
1 of an institution called United Services Institution of India, and he says
2 that he and his people, while he was in Yugoslavia, that is to say both he
3 and you and everybody else who made up this mission that consisted of
4 several thousands of people, there is quotation: "[In English] [previous
5 translation continues...] witness any genocide beyond killings and
6 massacres on all sides that are typical of such conflict conditions."
7 A. You said --
8 Q. Is that right?
9 A. You read me a statement of General Nambiar. I haven't seen it.
10 If you say it was his statement, the only thing I can say is it is a
12 Q. Do you doubt that this is his statement?
13 A. I don't even know what it is. I haven't seen it.
14 Q. All right. I don't hold it against you, the fact that you did not
15 see it. It is not your duty to follow his statements. I mean --
16 JUDGE MAY: How could he have seen it? Mr. Groome, is this
17 something which you disclosed to the Defence, one of your statements?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, it's not.
19 MR. GROOME: It's new to me, Your Honour, and --
20 JUDGE MAY: All right. There's even less reason that you should
21 have seen it. All right. We'll accept for the moment that it's a
22 statement which you have from the general. I suppose what you can ask the
23 witness is that, having heard that statement, is there any comment that
24 you would like to make about it or not? Yes.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- facilitate matters. Can I just
1 say something? In order to make it easier for Mr. Kirudja, I'm going to
2 go on with my questions, and during the break, which is coming up, as far
3 as I can see on the clock, I'm going to give your technical booth a tape
4 with this statement of General Nambiar's, and after that, Mr. Kirudja, if
5 he wishes to, may comment on it. That is certainly within his rights. So
6 let's not waste any time now regarding a possible explanation of that.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. So, he says that violence was on all sides in the situation of
9 that type of conflict. Do you agree, Mr. Kirudja, that when there is that
10 kind of a civil war, an ethnic conflict, that the only thing that can be
11 done is to bring the conflict to a stop, that no small corrections can be
12 made through any partial remedies. The only solution is bringing the
13 conflict to an end and going back to political means. Is that right or is
14 that not right?
15 A. It's a lengthy question and there are several parts to it. The
16 part that I zero on is the issue of violence which you referred to as
17 existing. That is something I can say, yes, we did see violence in --
18 from the three groups, but it wasn't of equal magnitude or weight. Second
19 -- in terms of numbers involved, in terms of repercussions, in terms of
20 impact; there were by no means equal.
21 Secondly, if you ask me whether peaceful solution was the way out,
22 obviously we would agree with you, and we did in the meetings we met with
23 you, because such was the UN nature there is to find a peaceful solution.
24 It goes without saying that is something we would have agreed to.
25 Q. Well, in your experience throughout your stay there, was there
1 anything that official Serbia did and that I personally did, was anything
2 going outside the framework of that general objective, to attain peace and
3 a peaceful solution? Do you know of anything that was not done in that
5 A. I'm afraid the question is of such broad nature that I could only
6 respond to you partially. My testimony here contains what we heard from
7 you, and towards the end of the questioning, you heard me repeat honestly
8 and bluntly that was your preference, that there be a peaceful solution.
9 As regards to anything and everything that happened that may have
10 been contrary to that policy, with due respect, I cannot answer that
11 because I wasn't privy to everything that would be in that domain.
12 Q. Well, all right. You are talking about what you know.
13 Now, the fact the commander of UNPROFOR says that this is not
14 genocide and that he bears in mind the high quality monitoring system that
15 you established and the system of reporting from the area of Krajina,
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, can that be considered as a reliable
17 statement, an authentic statement in respect of what I've been asking you?
18 JUDGE MAY: The witness cannot comment on that. For one thing,
19 genocide is a technical term and one of the issues which we're going to
20 have to determine in this case as the indictment in Bosnia contains such
21 an allegation.
22 Now, you said you were going to play a tape afterwards. It's now
23 time for the adjournment, so we'll take it now, and perhaps you can set
24 the tape up to be played in the next session.
25 We'll adjourn for 20 minutes.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.39 p.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I have a tape. On the tape we
5 don't have this particular statement, but he made an identical statement
6 in India in 2001 -- 2001 was when he -- too was when he made this
7 particular statement. He was speaking at the university and made the
8 statement in front of students there, and you'll see on it on the tape.
9 [Videotape played]
10 "Question: [No interpretation]
11 "General Nambiar: [Indiscernible] Bosnia-Herzegovina was one
12 of my responsibilities. So these 28.000 troops were spread out in all the
13 parts of the former Yugoslavia except Slovenia. And to answer your
14 question very directly, the other part of your question, as far as
15 commander -- I was commander of UNPROFOR, none of my troops ever gave me
16 any reports of genocide because they were not [indiscernible] genocide.
17 There were allegations by other people from [indiscernible] area, but my
18 troops were not participating in genocide. They never reported any such
19 things to me, and therefore I never reported any -- [indiscernible]."
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, that was very brief.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Is this General Nambiar?
23 A. Yes, he was.
24 Q. So can you now comment this statement of his?
25 A. Yes. I would like to make a brief observation. A statement is
1 contained in that tape where General Nambiar is saying, if I understood
2 him correctly, "None of my forces reported to me incidents of genocide."
3 I believe that was the word.
4 General Nambiar, I said earlier, had a wonderful sense of
5 propriety, integrity, and being extremely careful and precise with his
6 words. Notice he said, "None of my forces." I want to put on record that
7 there is a memo that I read out here listing out a number of places where
8 I used the word, "We were told there are concentration camps," starting
9 with Keraterm and ending, I believe, the Omarska or somewhere. Several
10 number of places.
11 I recall clearly when General Nambiar got a hold of that copy. He
12 was the only one in my headquarters - not my boss Cedric, not anybody
13 else- who called me about it. He was very concerned about whether this
14 was true. And being a gentleman he was, and I underscore he was very
15 polite and nice, we remained in touch even after he left UNPROFOR,
16 directly with me. He sought to caution me over the use of the word
17 "concentration camp" that appears in the memo, and true to his caution, he
18 called me, "Charles, did you really say this is so?" I said, "Yes. This
19 was being reported. But if you don't like --" I remember that
20 conversation -- "concentration camp, what would you like to call them?" I
21 asked him, and he said, "Maybe detention camps." I said, "No, the
22 situation was worse on that." And as the photographs came later, you all
23 recall subsequently, there are photographs coming from that area, we
24 weren't exaggerating rating it.
25 Now, notice that statement now, he said, "None of my forces." I
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 wasn't one of his forces. So he may be accurate in what he said, but I
2 wasn't one of his forces, and I certainly didn't report to him. He called
3 me back about it.
4 Q. Yes, but without a doubt he was informed of all the reports,
5 including your own reports, the reports you sent.
6 A. Yes. My point was that he might be correct technically to say
7 none of his forces but factually not complete because he didn't regard me.
8 I certainly was not one of his forces.
9 Q. All right. Let's move on. In your statement, you state the
10 following: "Up until the beginning of April, many countries, including
11 the European Union, recognised the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
12 this speeded up the deterioration of the situation that we noted in Bosnia
13 and had a great influence on our work in Sector North."
14 Now, could you explain to us this negative effect that the
15 recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina had, in fact?
16 A. Mr. Milosevic, do you have the page number again? Do you have the
17 page number you quoted me from, please?
18 Q. I'm sorry, but I do not, but I assume you can recognise your
20 A. I do recognise the paragraph. It would just be more exact if you
21 gave me the quote source itself.
22 Nevertheless, since I recognise --
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, Mr. Milosevic, let's find this. If you're going
24 to cross-examine witnesses on statements, they need to be referred to the
25 particular paragraph, because it's only fair that they should have that in
1 front of them when they answer so they have the context.
2 What we'll do, Mr. Milosevic, is we'll go on, and we'll get this
3 paragraph found, but let's not waste any more time at this stage on it.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now, do you happen to know, Mr. Kirudja, that before the beginning
7 of the war in Bosnia - on the 17th of March, 1992, in fact - the leaders
8 of the three national communities in Bosnia signed a declaration on the
9 principles for the new constitutional order of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
10 that was what was known as the Cutilheiro plan, according to which Bosnia
11 would be one single state within its present borders with three
12 constituent national units or ethnic groups, and that plan could have
13 preserved peace. However, Izetbegovic, following suggestions from the
14 then ambassador of the United States of America to Yugoslavia, Warren
15 Zimmermann, withdrew his signature. Do you know about that?
16 A. Mr. Milosevic, the term Cutilheiro rings a bell but no more than
17 that, neither the date when it was dated. I do not have recollections.
18 Q. And you don't remember the event and the facts that I've just
19 mentioned linked to the plan?
20 A. I don't recall it being something that we were involved on or
21 sufficient for me to know its content.
22 Q. I shall read out what in April 1999 General Nambiar said in his
23 capacity as head of the -- this institution, the Indian institution that I
24 quoted a moment ago.
25 MR. GROOME: Objection, Your Honour. Objection. The witness has
1 stated he has no recollection, nothing to offer the Chamber on this. This
2 appears to be an attempt to have Nambiar's views on it put in through this
3 witness, which is inappropriate. Certainly the Prosecution, if Mr.
4 Milosevic seeks to call Mr. Nambiar, the Prosecution wouldn't object to
5 it. If Mr. Milosevic wants to supply us with copies of these statements,
6 we will review them, and maybe by stipulation introduce the statements of
7 Nambiar, but I think using this witness to bring these statements in is
9 JUDGE MAY: Well, the witness -- the accused can ask what is in
10 the statement, provided it's relevant, and the witness can deal with it.
11 He can put the statement to the witness. He's entitled to do that
12 provided, as I say, it's relevant, and the witness can answer. Of course,
13 the fact that a statement is put to a witness, as we have said before,
14 does not make it evidence.
15 Now, Mr. Milosevic, is this about the Cutilheiro plan and -- what
16 you've been just asking about?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It relates to peace in Bosnia, the
18 conclusion of peace in Bosnia, and the obstacles to it, and we felt it in
19 particular, those of us who wanted to have peace achieved, Mr. May. And I
20 don't want to insist upon the fact that Mr. Kirudja should respond to the
21 question if he does not wish to do so. All I would like to have are his
22 comments in view of the fact that he was the official UN representative.
23 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to interrupt you. We will have -- we will
24 have the quotation. We will hear whether Mr. Kirudja can deal with it.
25 Let us hear the beginning of it anyway, of what you want to put.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Well, the quotation, it's fairly brief. I'm just going to ask him
3 to answer and tell us whether this coincides with what he saw. This is
4 General Nambiar's statement, and he says: "It is ironic that the Dayton
5 Agreement of Bosnia was not fundamentally different from the Lisbon plan
6 drawn by Portuguese Foreign Minister Cutilheiro and British representative
7 Lord Carrington, [In English] to which all three sides had agreed before
8 any killings had taken place -- before any killings had taken place or
9 even the Vance-Owen Plan which Karadzic was willing to sign. One of the
10 main problems was that there was unwillingness on the part of the American
11 administration to consider Serbs had legitimate grievance --"
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, I think we're getting beyond the scope of this
13 witness's evidence.
14 One quotation has been put to you, which was this, that the Dayton
15 Agreement was not fundamentally different from the Cutilheiro plan and the
16 Carrington Plan. Again, do you feel you can comment on that usefully, Mr.
18 THE WITNESS: I think only to place it in context on why I
19 couldn't comment on it, and that is that the Cutilheiro-Carrington
20 reference is to the heads of ICFY. Prior to the mission being instituted
21 in former Yugoslavia and the Dayton agreement which he is comparing it to
22 is well after my departure from that area. So both events place me
23 outside of direct knowledge of this matter.
24 JUDGE MAY: You were next going to be asked about the American
25 administration and their position about the Serbs. Is that something you
1 could comment at all on or not?
2 THE WITNESS: No, I couldn't, because the context is not there for
3 me to do so.
4 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Milosevic, let's move on.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Well, let me just ask Mr. Kirudja this: Do you remember when he
7 says, "In connection with that --" as General Nambiar says -- "I recall
8 State Department official George --"
9 JUDGE MAY: No. We've ruled that the witness cannot deal with
10 that. Now, unless it's something directly related to him, he cannot deal
11 with the American administration. It's not for him to answer about that.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But this doesn't only relate to that
13 issue. General Nambiar says that as George Kenney had this same position
14 and attitude, he said, "I offered to give him an escort and to go see for
15 himself that --"
16 JUDGE MAY: Who did he offer? Who offered to give who an escort?
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Satish Nambiar offered the diplomat
18 George Kenney to give Kenney an escort to go and see for himself what he
19 was claiming, or some of what he was claiming. And he goes on to say:
20 "He accepted my offer, and thereafter he made a radical turnaround."
21 JUDGE MAY: I'm going to -- I'm going to rule against this. It's
22 not something the witness can deal with. If you want to call General
23 Nambiar, you can, in due course in your case, but you can't ask this
24 witness about something he can't deal with. It's neither fair to him nor
25 is it proper use of the procedure.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have absolutely no intention of
2 not being fair towards Mr. Kirudja. I thought he was in a position to
3 comment on these issues. But if you consider he is not, then we needn't
4 pursue the matter.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Tell me, please, do you consider that recognition of
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina speeded up the deterioration of the situation in that
9 A. I have testified here that when the mission UNPROFOR was set up,
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina was a relatively peaceful place, completely peaceful
11 when we arrived there, to the extent that the mission structure was done
12 recognising this and hoping the peaceful situation would continue to the
13 extent that the headquarters of the mission was supposed to be Sarajevo,
14 and we had two battalions, logistic battalions, based in Banja Luka. That
15 estimation by the UN turned out to be incorrect, and in the time line
16 mentioned by Mr. Milosevic is the only association I can see. Not cost
17 relationship, just time line association. That soon after that
18 recognition about the time we were there, we watched the entire Bosnia get
19 involved in a conflagration and the headquarters of the UNPROFOR was moved
20 out of there.
21 Q. And do you know that some highly respected politicians, such as
22 Francois Mitterrand or Lord Peter Carrington, and some others too, claimed
23 that the early recognition of Croatia was a mistake too and that it made
24 the peace process impossible? Are you aware of that in view of the fact
25 that these were things that you dealt with at the time?
1 JUDGE MAY: It's not for this witness who is -- who was an
2 official at the UN at the time, to comment on what either President
3 Mitterrand or Lord Carrington said. Now, if you want to call evidence
4 about that, as I say, you can do so. But not only is it not fair to this
5 witness, his views about it, with respect, are irrelevant.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. May, fine. Then I'll
7 go back to some very specific and concrete questions.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Yesterday you testified, and I saw some statements to that effect
10 in your statement -- I'm very happy, actually, to see that -- we're
11 talking about Lazarevic. Yesterday you mentioned Lazarevic. That's
12 right, isn't it?
13 A. Yes, I did, Mr. Milosevic.
14 Q. Well, I'm very happy to see that you confirm what I had thought
15 too, that Lazarevic was a rogue. That was your conclusion, was it not?
16 A. Mr. Milosevic, I didn't use the word "rogue," if you recall, but
17 I did testify to my being extremely cautious and wary of him.
18 Q. You said that he did a lot of harm. Isn't that right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. That he organised the arrest of the interpreter.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And that he probably did so for his own personal gain.
23 JUDGE MAY: Well, that was not his evidence. Mr. Lazarevic's
24 evidence was that he was acting under instructions and with a purpose to
25 instruct. So to that extent, it must be said that this witness's
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 information, evidence, rather, confirms what Mr. Lazarevic said.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But I think, Mr. May, quite the
3 reverse is true. The testimony of this witness proves that Lazarevic did
4 a lot of harm and that Lazarevic misled his own compatriots as well,
5 because if he translates a conversation wrongly, for example, between
6 Mr. Spanovic and Mr. Kirudja, then he's not doing a service to his side
7 let alone to Mr. Kirudja's side itself.
8 JUDGE MAY: That will be a matter for us to judge in due course,
9 but let's move on.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You said that, "During the mission, I learnt not to accept any
12 information he gave me without checking it out, and that from independent
13 sources." So you concluded that he was prone to lie.
14 A. Yes. I -- he gave me a distinct feeling that I was being hassled
15 by him.
16 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, may I be of
17 assistance. This is on page 5 of the English version of the statement
18 given by Mr. Kirudja to the investigators.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Did the officials in Krajina, then, tell you that behind this
21 rigged arrest of Mrs. Indira Kulenovic, that behind it all was Lazarevic?
22 A. Yes. That was at the meeting following immediately my initial
23 complaint meeting with Mr. Mile Paspalj, Mr. Toso Paic hurriedly came to a
24 second meeting where he sought to put a distance between what my
25 complaints were and explaining that it was caused by Lazarevic, if that's
1 what you mean. But I didn't say I believed completely what he said. I
2 just said that's what he told me. And --
3 Q. Yes. And did I understand you correctly when explaining his
4 position? As far as I understood it, he was an interpreter and Bulat was
5 the liaison officer. Is that how it was?
6 A. Correct. Correct.
7 Q. So what I have just been claiming, that he was an ordinary
8 interpreter, and he said that he was a liaison officer, whereas Bulat was
9 the liaison officer and he was the interpreter.
10 A. Correction, Mr. Milosevic: Bulat was not the liaison officer.
11 Bulat was the boss. Bulat was the commander. Lazarevic was the liaison.
12 Q. Very well.
13 A. Mr. Milosevic, did you get the idea that when he said Lazarevic
14 did it, we had reason to believe he wasn't alone on that?
15 Q. Well, I consider that probably for his own gain he did what he
16 did. Perhaps he wanted to take up the job of this interpreter, replace
17 him. I don't know what your conclusions are.
18 JUDGE MAY: We have to have regard to what the evidence was, and
19 really, it's not for this witness. I mean, Mr. Lazarevic's evidence was
20 that this was a deliberate plan to obstruct. He was an agent of KOS. He
21 was part of the military intelligence and he was put in that position as
22 liaison officer in order to obstruct the UN and other missions, and that's
23 what he set about doing.
24 But you can ask the witness, I suppose, this: Was there anything
25 which Mr. Lazarevic said or anything from the circumstances which enabled
1 you to understand why he was doing this, what his motives were? Was there
2 any suggestion that he was doing it for personal gain or advancement or
3 anything like that?
4 THE WITNESS: There were indications to me that whatever he was
5 doing had those components in it, both personal and official. Both
6 components were in it.
7 On the personal side, it was the part I mentioned to you how I met
8 him, how he presented himself and comes through as a hustler, trying to
9 gain a role for himself. That's on the personal side.
10 On the effects of interference with our work, with the evidence of
11 the arrest of the interpreter, with the misinterpretation in the meeting
12 in which Colonel Spanovic was there, that could not have been personal,
13 because we did tell Bulat about it, we did tell Toso Paic, as the record
14 shows. Djuro Skaljac executed the attempt at arrest. If they differed
15 with him, they would have dismissed him quickly and immediately. They did
16 the contrary; Bulat insisted he interpreted him, even after we told him
17 so, and we told Bulat, in that case, when you speak, let Lazarevic
18 interpret you. When we speak, when any of us speaks, somebody else will
19 interpret. That was not personal.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] A short while ago, you said, Mr.
21 May, that Lazarevic worked for the KOS. The only correct thing to say is
22 that that was his assertion. When a true officer of the service, an
23 ethnic Muslim, testified afterwards, you managed to find out that when
24 Lazarevic claimed to have been a member of KOS, there was no KOS. There
25 was a security service within the army, that's all.
1 JUDGE MAY: It was KOG. We can debate all this in due course, but
2 let's not waste any time about it with this witness.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. You say about Lazarevic, the following. I'm quoting you now.
6 This is the portion that the amicus referred to. You said that: "A day
7 or two later, I remember that after he announced his retirement, he went
8 to Bihac to convey a message to him from the Kordun command which may have
9 been conveyed by Lazarevic. And also there was a warning there if he were
10 to set foot in Kordun. I felt duty-bound to relay that message because I
11 felt that this threat was not in vain. He appreciated the warning."
12 So although -- so it was not only that he threatened your
13 interpreter and said that your interpreter would be arrested but he also
14 threatened a JNA general; is that right, Mr. Kirudja?
15 A. Correction, Mr. Milosevic. He conveyed not his idea that General
16 Spiro Nikovic, who had been retired from command a day or so earlier,
17 would be arrested if he set foot in the territory of Kordun. He wasn't.
18 He was a liaison officer, and my understanding was that he was
19 communicating to me, an official, something backed by his superiors. He
20 wasn't saying, "I'm going to arrest him myself."
21 Q. All right. But you say that when you first saw him, now I'm
22 quoting you: "It is already then that I got the impression that he's the
23 type of person who could be a good mercenary." Is that right?
24 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, Mr. Kirudja, this
25 is page 13, paragraph 1, of the English version that you have. So it is
1 page 13 -- page 13, paragraph 1. In the middle.
2 THE WITNESS: Correct.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Yes. Now, can this also mean, since you had the impression that
5 he could be a good mercenary, that Lazarevic, while lying to you and to
6 the local Serb authorities and with this kind of meddling, he was actually
7 working for a third party, not for the local Serb authorities or for
8 UNPROFOR? Do you reject that possibility altogether or not?
9 A. My exact language in the English language includes the quote: "He
10 was the stuff of which would-be mercenaries are made." That is not to say
11 he was a mercenary, it is to say he exhibited all the qualities. In other
12 words, somebody who did things for hire by somebody else. That's all it
14 Q. All right. So am I right -- I mean, I'm not going to quote
15 everything you said here because you devoted a large portion of this to
16 Lazarevic, because you say: "After awhile, I found out from our
17 interpreters that he interprets differently from what the speakers
18 actually said, that he allegedly interpreted for us," et cetera, and so on
19 and so forth. There are two pages in your statement that have to do with
21 Now, my question is: Am I right if I, on the basis of what you
22 said, and both what I quoted from your statement and what you know
23 yourself that you said in your statement, if one could conclude, since he
24 could be a good mercenary is not someone who could really be respected?
25 He is a person who is prone to lying, cheating, and you even testified to
1 that if you say that he misinterpreted what was being said. Can one
2 conclude that Lazarevic is a person with low moral qualities, a person
3 that is not trustworthy?
4 A. It's a long statement and there are many parts to it. Before I
5 answer that, look at the date of this testimony. It is 29 September 1999,
6 long before, if I understand correctly, the reference to testimony by Mr.
7 Lazarevic was ever come. I was unaware of that. So what I said at this
8 time was what I knew directly, without reference to whatever testimony you
9 are discussing that Lazarevic gave.
10 The conclusion you're asking me to make, you can make that if you
11 so wish. My point here was to register the very fact that I regarded him
12 as an unstabilising factor in the sector, a misleading factor in the
13 sector, and someone who was quite capable of doing somebody else's
14 bidding. That's what the reference to "would-be mercenaries" is intended
15 to. I didn't know exactly who it was he was doing things for, I just
16 referred to clear signs he was acting that way and that I treated him that
18 Q. All right. I asked you whether one may conclude then that
19 Lazarevic is then a person who is of low moral fibre and who cannot be
21 JUDGE MAY: No. It's not for the witness to say that. He's given
22 his evidence about how he found Lazarevic and that's as far as he can take
23 it. Whether we accept or don't accept what the witness says and what
24 Lazarevic said, that's going to be a matter for us, and you can address us
25 on it, but you cannot take the witness's evidence any further than he
1 already has. He's told us what happened. He's told us his opinion. Now,
2 there's no point repeating the question.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, Mr. Kirudja devotes a
4 considerable part of your -- of his statement to him. I believe that
5 there is not a single individual to whom he devoted more attention, and
6 therefore, we can hear his opinion now. Perhaps he can change it after
7 his testimony, but --
8 JUDGE MAY: He has given his opinion as far as he can, and his
9 opinion is only based on what his experience of what Mr. Lazarevic did and
10 said during the time that they were in Sector North together. Now, he's
11 given his answer to your question about his character, Lazarevic's
12 character. He said that he regarded him as a destabilising and misleading
13 factor, capable of doing anybody's bidding. But whose bidding it was, he
14 didn't know. It will be a matter for us to decide that. Now, let's move
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Then we are now going to
17 deal with this witness of yours.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You say that the Krajina Serbs justified the keeping of part of
20 the armed forces in contravention of the Vance Plan and in contravention
21 of the will of official Belgrade. You say the local Serbs justified the
22 fact that these armed forces were being detained by the so-called
23 inability of UNPROFOR to protect the borders of the RSK from the Croatian
24 army on the north and the Muslim forces along the border with
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. You said that you got a similar explanation from
1 Paspalj on the 13th of May, 1992, and you said that Paspalj said that the
2 RSK cannot be fully demilitarised because the UN is not sufficiently
3 prepared to protect the population from a possible attack. You said the
4 protection of the local population can only be guaranteed if UNPROFOR
5 brings in more troops.
6 Now, my question is the following: These objections of the
7 Krajina Serbs, were they correct altogether? Was UNPROFOR truly not in a
8 position to prevent them?
9 A. Your question contains paraphrasing of a good part of my
10 testimony. Much of that paraphrasing is correct. Some of it is a little
11 different from the statement itself. However, in general, the bottom
12 question is your -- are these objections of the Krajina Serbs correct
13 altogether? I think that's the bottom line of your question.
14 My answer to that is to refer to elsewhere in the testimony where
15 it is stated that the Serbs failed to execute the Vance Plan and used part
16 of it as a loophole to defeat it, to defeat the Vance Plan.
17 Yes, you're correct that the UN forces on the ground, I have
18 stated here, were not designed to do the protecting that you referred to.
19 They were only designed to let the Vance Plan work with the local control
20 and maintain the peace while a solution was being found elsewhere in the
21 context of the ICFY.
22 So your long question cannot be reduced to an answer of yes or no
23 that the Serbs were correct altogether in making that. It had to be
24 broken in part and responded, each one of them, and if you do that, you
25 end up back in my testimony paragraph by paragraph, which is there,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. All right. In your statement - let's be more precise - you
3 mentioned some of the attacks of the Croat forces against the UN protected
4 area, Maslenica Most, Medecki Jep [phoen], et cetera. Can you recall all
5 the large-scale actions of the Croat forces against the population there
6 and against Krajina or, rather, the UN protected area?
7 A. Yes, Mr. Milosevic. In general, I can recall because there were
8 major events that occurred in the sector.
9 Q. Well, is it correct that the UN forces during those attacks did
10 not protect the Krajina Serbs who were ultimately ethnically cleansed from
11 that area? Does that mean that their fears and premonitions were true,
12 and also their objections to the effect that you could not protect them?
13 Weren't they right to believe that?
14 A. Mr. Milosevic, again my testimony points to a sequence of events
15 and counter-events. At certain points, both sides, the Serbs and the
16 Croats, got us into a hopeless situation of who started what, and what was
17 the cause and what was the reaction? So if you mention those major
18 events, yes, I testified, for example, in January or thereabouts that
19 Croatians took action at Maslenica Bridge, attacking that, but the Croats
20 also pointed to us that bridge in Maslenica was being held by the Serbs
21 from a previous occasion. So every one of the events that you mentioned
22 end up being a counterpoint from somebody else's point of view.
23 Now, to come to the bottom line of your question, you claim the UN
24 failed to protect. I come back to the same point again: The nature of
25 the mission was for everyone, inclusive of the Serbs, to demobilise, lay
1 back, and let the UN observe civilian police keep law and order while
2 there was a political solution being found. We know that didn't happen.
3 Q. There's another question here, Mr. Kirudja. Since you say that
4 some thought one thing or did one thing and others thought or did the
5 other thing, is it being contested that these attacks of the Croat forces
6 were against areas that were protected by the UN?
7 A. Correct. The attack on Sector West that we referred to was an
8 area under the UN protection; correct. The eventual attack that ended up
9 with the occupation of all those sectors, you're correct; it was
10 undertaken by the Croatian authorities.
11 Q. Now, let's go back to what you said in court yesterday. Truth to
12 tell, some of it is in your written statement as well.
13 Is it correct, because you mentioned that the Serbs did carry out
14 the Vance Plan, and in accordance with this plan, they did indeed put all
15 their heavy weapons under double lock, as you had put it yourself. That
16 is to say, under their own control and UN control together. Is that
18 A. Yes. My testimony was up to a period of time that happened, and
19 later on, the weapons were retrieved from the UN custody.
20 Q. Now, let us see what the reasons for that were, Mr. Kirudja. The
21 weapons were put under control, the plan was carried out, and the weapons
22 were taken after these attacks when they established that you could not
23 protect them, that they had to protect themselves. Is that right or is
24 that not right?
25 A. The conclusion itself, the sequence of the facts is correct. The
1 fact that the attacks -- the conclusion that the attacks, when they
2 established that the UN could not protect them, meaning could not protect
3 the Serbs, that is not correct, because as I said, there were obligations
4 on the Serb side not to militarise that situation.
5 If you look at the evidence itself, they went there and took all
6 that weapons as soon as an action as far as away as Maslenica, if you look
7 at where Maslenica is, it's way down from Sector North. The Serbs went in
8 in Sector North and took out all the weapons out of Sector North, far away
9 from the where the action had taken place.
10 Now, you may be right partially that they did fear that something
11 would happen. That I concede. But with the presence of the UN, one would
12 have expected, like every other disturbance that took place, we came into
13 negotiation and had a pull-back. We have shown testimony after testimony
14 where the Serbs themselves incurred way into Bosnia-Herzegovina, like in
15 Bosanska Bojna. The Bosnian army didn't invade the sector. We worked
16 until we had a solution and the Serbs pulled back. There was no reason
17 why this wouldn't have been done after the initial attack in Maslenica.
18 The UN didn't get a chance.
19 Q. All right. That's an assumption, Mr. Kirudja, but now let's look
20 at the facts. You said yourself that they put this under control, under
21 double lock, and it was only taken in January 1993 as a result of the
22 action that the Croat forces had taken. Is that right or is that not
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So that means that this is a UNPA. They handed in their weapons.
1 The weapons were under double lock. The Croat forces attacked, and they
2 opened these arms depots in order to take the weapons and protect
3 themselves. Do you believe that this is a logical type of behaviour on
4 the part of persons who are in jeopardy?
5 A. Not really, Mr. Milosevic, because as I mentioned, the action that
6 was the reason for breaking into the UN control of those weapons took
7 place far away. It was Maslenica.
8 Yes, I also conceded to you that, yes, while that may have cause
9 for some future fear, it was not a reason for immediate running down of
10 those weapons.
11 Q. All right. But then -- I mean, whether it was a reason or not, it
12 is a question of assessment at a given point in time.
13 Now, you say further on that in April 1992 in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
14 it was peaceful, and that in May 1992 there had already been problems. Is
15 that right?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. But do you know how the first clashes started in
19 A. First in -- Mr. Milosevic, in what sense first? What time line
20 are you speaking about?
21 Q. Well, I'm talking about the beginning of 1992.
22 A. Yes. In --
23 Q. I'm saying that there was the Cutilheiro plan, and before the
24 Cutilheiro plan, there had been no clashes. There had been no bloodshed.
25 All three ethnic communities believed that there would be a political
1 solution that would peaceful, and you claim that in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it
2 was peaceful.
3 JUDGE MAY: We have been over the Cutilheiro plan. The witness
4 has not been able to answer any questions. So I don't think there's any
5 point going back again over this old ground. If you want to ask about the
6 protected zones, of course you can do so.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Do you know, Mr. Kirudja, that the Croat formations from the
9 territory of Croatia broke in in March 1992? I'll give you the exact
10 date. I haven't got the exact figures here now, but I can give it to you
11 eventually. Perhaps you may recall yourself. They broke into the
12 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the area of the municipality of Bosanski
13 Brod, and they then killed a large number of Serb families in the village
14 of Sijekovac, and that that was the first armed act of violence and crime
15 in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina committed precisely then by the
16 forces that had crossed the river into the territory of the Republic of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Do you remember that?
18 A. There were many reports I heard, not always -- and that one being
19 away from my sector and the refugees themselves not coming through the
20 sector, I'm afraid, Mr. Milosevic, the details of that are not known to
22 Q. So you don't know anything about this, how the first clashes in
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina --
24 JUDGE MAY: No. No. The witness has said he doesn't.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Let us go back to the testimony itself, then. You talk about your
3 discussion with General Spiro Nikovic in Topusko, and you say that he
4 informed you that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had been established,
5 that from then onwards, the JNA would have no influence whatsoever in
6 Bosnia, and that officers and soldiers who were not from Bosnia or Croatia
7 would return to Yugoslavia. Did that actually happen?
8 A. The meeting with Nikovic where this was discussed?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. Yes, the meeting did take place.
11 Q. Now, tell me, was this actually carried through, then, that the
12 JNA withdrew to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
13 A. As I testified here, General Nikovic gave his counterpart, General
14 Bamaiyi, a complete schedule of what and when JNA -- of when JNA units
15 would be withdrawn. He was himself -- his command was terminated. In a
16 few weeks, that command was finished, but he did -- the control of the
17 parts of the sector that comprised Kordun, Banija, and Plaski did come
18 under the control of officers of the kind he described, those who were
19 born there.
20 Q. Well, all right. So does that mean that, in your assessment,
21 people spoke to you openly, that you were given correct figures? You even
22 mentioned that you were taken to command posts, that you had the
23 opportunity of going wherever you wished, and that their behaviour towards
24 you was fair and correct and that they actually carried out the tasks that
25 they promised they would carry out. Is that right or is that not right?
1 A. It's right that we were permitted to meet without restrictions.
2 Wherever the meetings were supposed to be, we went out restriction. You
3 are correct that their behaviour towards us as UN forces was correct and
4 helpful in trying to achieve. The results themselves, it's your
5 assessment to make, they are as described. The outcome is as described.
6 Specifically, JNA disappeared in name. There was no name JNA. The
7 command -- since you know the area, more specifically, Kordun remained
8 under the control of Cedo Bulat, which it was before we arrived, and which
9 it remained after the JNA. It was still under the control of Colonel
11 Banija remained under the control, or shifted several times before
12 it finally came under the control of Colonel Tarbuk beginning with
13 Rakovic, Letic, and a few others who were in command for a very short
14 time, and I assume or was explained, rather, for example, Rakovic, was
15 from Montenegro, so he too left. So Banija also ended up being under the
16 control of Colonel Tarbuk. But Colonel Tarbuk was there when we arrived,
17 and the JNA. As a matter of fact, he has reported in my notes underneath
18 the first meeting when General Nambiar arrived. So we have them
19 commanding the same military structure but with the name Banija Army of
20 the Republic of Serbian Krajina, and so forth.
21 So while the JNA disappeared, the command structure was basically
22 the same, stayed the same.
23 Q. I'm just waiting for the interpreter to finish interpreting what
24 you had just said.
25 But tell me, please, Mr. Kirudja, what was the conclusion that you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 drew from that? Or let me be more precise: During the time of the former
2 Yugoslavia, the only army was the Yugoslav People's Army; is that right?
3 That is something that is not being contested.
4 When the civil war broke out and the violent secession of Slovenia
5 first and then Croatia in these premature recognitions and so on and so
6 forth, practically all the armies that were established - that which was
7 in the FRY and that which was in Croatia, in Croatia and in Krajina, in
8 Slovenia and in Bosnia, both in Izetbegovic's Bosnia and in Republika
9 Srpska - all of them in a way were former parts of the former Yugoslav
10 People's Army. Is that right or is that not right?
11 A. Indeed. They were a former part of the Yugoslav army structure.
12 Q. So what is strange about that? Namely, that part of the members
13 of the former Yugoslav People's Army who were from that area established
14 the armed forces of the Republic of the Serb Krajina, or the police of the
15 Republic of Serb Krajina, just as, for example, the officers and the armed
16 forces of the former JNA from the territory of Croatia established the
17 Croatian forces, or Izetbegovic's army where the officers and the troops
18 that were part of the JNA established their own forces. However, they
19 also included Mujahedin terrorists and many others. And this did not
20 happen anywhere else but there.
21 Is that the process that was taking place there or was it
22 something else?
23 A. I'm surprised, Mr. Milosevic, you ask me that question because
24 there lies the rub, because you know the Vance Plan required there be no
25 forces in that area, and you know the details of it. It also required
1 that only police be in the UNPA. Thirdly, it was required there be no
2 such thing as the Republic of Srpska Krajina as a government. You know
3 that. That's the problem.
4 Q. That's the point: Didn't you come to the conclusion yourself that
5 it was the police that remained ultimately, with reinforcements, in all
6 fairness. But whoever was there until January 1993, until the attack;
7 namely, weapons were handed in to the UN, the Vance Plan was carried out,
8 and it was only the police that was there on the ground. Is that right or
9 is that not right, Mr. Kirudja? Everything that was -- I mean, everything
10 and everybody that was on the ground was the police; right?
11 A. See, that's what I belaboured to be accurate about. We expected
12 not just they stay there from August to January of 1993, and you know that
13 the Vance Plan expected them to be there as long as there was no political
14 solution found under ICFY. So that itself was a violation of the Vance
15 Plan, the act you so accurately describe.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic -- Mr. Milosevic, I wonder if there's
17 much point arguing more with the witness about this matter. He has given
18 his account. We have heard what you say happened, and no doubt we shall
19 have to make our minds up in due course as to where the truth lies, but
20 the witness has given his evidence that, as far as he was concerned, this
21 behaviour amounted to a violation of the plan. You claim there was an
22 explanation for it. We will have to consider that. But whether we're
23 going to benefit any more from lengthy argument with the witness about it,
24 I rather doubt.
25 Now, the time has in fact come where we're going to have to
1 adjourn. So perhaps you can go on to another topic tomorrow morning.
2 I should say that we've considered the time that you should have
3 available, and you will have an equality with the Prosecution, which means
4 that you have one and a half hours left tomorrow morning to conclude your
5 cross-examination of this witness, should you require it.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not sure, Mr. May, that
7 that one and a half hours will be sufficient for me. There are many
8 documents that were provided in relation to Mr. Kirudja's testimony.
9 JUDGE MAY: You know, Mr. Milosevic, throughout this trial that
10 there are time limits which will be imposed, and when you organise your
11 cross-examination, you should have that in mind. Partly that is why
12 you're being told that you have an hour and a half left and you can
13 organise your cross-examination accordingly. But one of the lessons you
14 should draw from it is not to argue with the witness and not to try and
15 ask him about things which he knows nothing about. Thereby, you'll use
16 your time more usefully.
17 We will adjourn now. Nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
18 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
19 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of
20 February, 2003, at 9.00 a.m.