1 Tuesday, 8 February 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Before you recommence your examination-in-chief,
7 Mr. Milosevic, may I remind court-assigned counsel and yourself of the
8 Prosecution's motion concerning the recalling of the witness Ivan Kristan
9 and to remind you that it is still open to you to make a response to that
10 motion if you wish.
11 MR. KAY: I've actually drafted it and e-mailed it to Ms. Higgins
12 yesterday but failed to attach it, a frequent failing of mine, so it will
13 be filed later on today.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Kay.
15 WITNESS: MITAR BALEVIC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kristan --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Balevic.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Balevic, rather, you remain subject to the
20 declaration that you made.
21 Mr. Milosevic, you may start.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
23 Examined by Mr. Milosevic:
24 Q. [Interpretation] We left off before the break with some data in
25 tab 4.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I should like to mention to you,
2 Mr. Robinson, that the white books that we mentioned and that you marked
3 for identification, I did believe that they had already been introduced as
4 exhibits, but then I shall be tendering them, since they haven't, through
5 the next witness. I have the grounds and foundation to do that.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. So without going into establishing or, rather, going into those
8 exhibits now, Mr. Balevic, bearing in mind the situation that prevailed in
9 Kosovo, you were there at the time and you're well aware of it, I should
10 like to say that from the beginning of 1995, as it says in this book, that
11 Albanian terrorism began from 1998 -- 1995 to 1998. And on page 4,
12 paragraph 4, it says: "From the beginning of 1995 to the end of 1998,
13 Albanian terrorist bands or groups carried out 1.484 --" "Between early
14 1995 and the end of 1998, Albanian terrorist gangs mounted a total of
15 1.845 armed attacks on both members and installations of the Serbian
16 Ministry of the Interior," et cetera, et cetera. And in the following
17 paragraph, it says that 364 people were killed. Among them were 122
18 police officers, 242 citizens of Kosovo and Metohija, 97 of whom were
19 Albanians. And at the same time, 605 people were injured, whether
20 seriously or lightly, et cetera. And it also says that 249 people were
22 Now, my question to you, Mr. Balevic, is this: Who were the
23 victims of the Albanian terrorists in Kosovo and Metohija during the
24 material time, the time you are testifying to, or to be more specific,
25 1995 when the KLA appeared with all its activities up until the end of
2 A. Mr. President, the victims of Albanian terrorism in Kosovo and
3 Metohija, and that's what this book talks about, the passage you read out,
4 were not only the Serbs and Montenegrins but also the Albanians and other
5 people who were not Albanians. Unfortunately, after the signing of your
6 agreement on the 13th of October with Holbrooke, according to these facts
7 and figures, about 50 Albanians were killed and 27 kidnapped.
8 I'm going to quote one example, the killing of -- in Novo Selo
9 near Vucitrn in June 1998 - I think it was 1998 - of Zejnula Bunjaku just
10 because he was married to a Serb woman.
11 According to this information, it also says that more than -- more
12 Albanians were killed than -- from their -- from the hands of their
13 compatriot terrorists than were killed during the whole war, and a lot did
14 lose their lives during the war. And I'm sure you all know or, rather,
15 that you know of one case in point, and that was on the 14th of April, if
16 my memory serves me, on the road between Prizren and Djakovica. I think
17 the village's name was Bistrazin, when a column was bombed, a column of
18 Albanians and about 100 Albanians were killed as a result. So that large
19 number of Albanians were killed -- more Albanians were killed at the hands
20 of the terrorists than in clashes with the state police, in fact.
21 Q. You mentioned just now what happened after the agreement between
22 myself and Mr. Holbrooke. Despite that agreement and the agreement
23 reached that a verifying mission should come in, did the attacks by
24 Albanian terrorists continue in Kosovo and Metohija?
25 A. After your agreement with Holbrooke -- actually, this just meant
1 an agreement for the Serb side, was binding on the Serb side for the army
2 and the police, which on the 26th, the Yugoslav army began to go back to
3 barracks, and all 20 remaining checkpoints were abolished, disbanded, so
4 that Serbia or, rather, the state, the army and the police complied with
5 what you undertook to perform under the Holbrooke agreement, but
6 unfortunately, the other side did not comply. Quite the contrary; they
7 received support and a free reign to carry on even more violent terror
8 against the Serbs and Montenegrins, and this was confirmed by the killings
9 that took place afterwards. And the mass exodus. People were leaving en
10 masse more so than before the agreement. And then the other crimes
11 against the Serbs, Montenegrins and indeed Albanians that they committed.
12 Q. Very well, Mr. Balevic. Let's now move on briefly to another
13 matter. I'm going to ask you about just some events which you yourself
14 were able to witness, I believe. You're not from Pec yourself, but you
15 know the family -- the Trifovic family from Pec very well. What happened
16 to them on the 14th of December, 1998? What happened to that family?
17 A. Yes, I do know the family well. The Trifovic family, we have some
18 Kumship relations. They were godfather or parents to one of my cousins.
19 There were four brothers and they worked in the railway company where I
20 was the manager. I don't know the young men who lost their lives, but I
21 do know the family, and I knew the father of the boy Dragan Trifovic, and
22 his name was Vojin, and it is the grandson of Dusan Trifovic. The tragedy
23 that befell that family, according to what I had heard because I went to
24 pay my respects and condolences, I wasn't able to go to it the funeral
25 myself because the roads were blocked so you had to go through Kosovska
1 Mitrovica, Crna Gora and Rosanj, anybody wishing to go attend the funeral,
2 and the official people went by helicopter from Pristina to Pec to attend.
3 But according to what I was told and what I heard and what I learnt from
4 friends and family who attended the funeral themselves, and from other
5 people too, there was such a lot of sadness, it was such a great tragedy
6 that if we were to compare it, we can say it was like the execution of the
7 pupils in Kragujevac, of schoolchildren in 1991 but not by virtue of its
8 mass character.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please just tell us what happened to the family.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm sorry. The terrorists
11 mowed them down in the Panda cafe while they were sitting and relaxing. A
12 band of them entered, four or five of them, and shot them down. They were
13 bullet-ridden, and the bodies were completely mutilated from the bullets
14 in this cafe, the Panda cafe. And it is interesting to note that a
15 student by the name Ivan Radovic who was killed on the occasion as well
16 whose father subsequently, Bogdan Radovic, was kidnapped and his fate is
17 not known, and his uncle Milos Radovic from Vitomirica in his -- was
18 killed in his own house, in his own home because he didn't want to leave
19 his home and move out, and he was killed because he was a Serb. So that
20 was done by a group of terrorists in the Panda cafe where they were
21 sitting quietly. They were mowed down by firearms, bullet-ridden.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Balevic, you yourself saw the aftereffects of the Galerija
24 tragedy in Pristina, Cafe Gallery in Pristina. What do you know about
1 A. The crimes committed on that territory of Pristina were numerous.
2 There were many more of them. This was one cafe that was located in the
3 centre of town, close to the electrical distribution company building,
4 where once again a terrorist group stormed the building and opened up
5 fire, a burst of gunfire, wounding seven young men. I came the next day,
6 the following day. I wasn't able to go there that very night. I didn't
7 dare go because there was a security hazard, and I saw that there were
8 pools of blood all over the place, shattered glass, shattered furniture,
9 tables and chairs. It was terrible sight to behold. Unable to describe
10 the horror of it after that terrorist attack.
11 Q. Mr. Balevic, you've just described to us some of the things that
12 you talked about; two attacks on premises where the owners were Serbs and
13 the victims were Serbs. Do you happen to remember an attack on the
14 premises of an Albanian, owned by an Albanian?
15 A. Yes, Mr. President, I do. A grocery store that was owned by Enver
16 Shala, for example, in the Dijana [phoen] settlement, near the new market,
17 Nova Pijaca, across the road from the post office. On the 6th of February
18 1999 it was blown up. There was a large explosion. It was blown up and
19 Enver Shala, the proprietor of the grocery store, was killed and two of
20 his workers, employees. The explosion was so strong that the windows were
21 shattered on the post office building which was across the road, about 100
22 metres away from the grocery shop itself.
23 Q. Tell me now, please, Mr. Balevic, how did this affect you? When I
24 say "you," I mean the Serbs and Montenegrins living in Kosovo and
25 Metohija. How did you feel when you heard about the crimes committed in
1 the village of Klecka, Djordjeni [phoen] near Decani, not far from the
2 bauxite mine near the source of the river Mirusa, for example? What
3 effect did that have on you?
4 A. Well, those are the most terrible executions sites in Kosovo and
5 Metohija. Klecka, for example, was terrible and had the effect that it
6 speeded up, accelerated, the exodus of the Serbs and Montenegrins and not
7 -- the non-Albanian population loyal to the state of Serbia who had good
8 relations with the Serb population, they continued to leave the area, to
9 move out. Security was taxed to a maximum. General jeopardy. There was
10 no safety and security over there regardless of the authorities that
12 Klecka, and you can see this from the documents and information,
13 was a stronghold for the terrorists, and according to our information or,
14 rather, the information -- official information from the SUP of Pristina,
15 provided by the SUP, there were about 150 terrorists and 22 Serbs were
16 killed on that occasion, but the order of the killings was such --
17 actually, they had a warehouse there and a prison there and a crematorium
18 of an -- unprecedented since World War II, and I don't think that history
19 will ever see the likes of that again because I'm sure the international
20 community will never allow anything like that to happen. These people
21 were first tortured and then they were killed, and then they were tied
22 with wires and taken off to the Klecka crematorium. Not all the bodies
23 were burnt, whether because there was not enough space in the crematorium
24 or because the temperature hadn't been set properly, so parts of the
25 mutilated and semi-burnt bodies were found dug near the crematorium with
1 their legs tied with wire. And this is confirmation and proof. And this
2 is something that the international journalists were able to learn, and
3 that was the official statement made by the Pot Parol [phoen] of the SUP
4 of Pristina, Bozidar Pilic.
5 The other execution site or crime site for the Albanian people was
6 Glodjane because they were killed there. It is between Decani and
7 Djakovica. That's where it is located, that crime spot, where about 40
8 dead bodies were found. 20 were buried. They were unidentified bodies,
9 12 were identified bodies, and the secrets of the Radonjicko lake will
10 never be uncovered and how many bodies there are in the lake there. There
11 were young people there -- children, in fact, from the age of 8 upwards --
12 and it is claimed --
13 MR. NICE: Interrupt for a minute. I have no idea what the
14 witness's source of this information for this material is. It's all
15 extremely detailed. It's unlikely I shall be able to deal with it in
16 cross-examination, and in any event it's probably not relevant. I'm not
17 going to object to it's being given but I ought to explain my position
18 right away.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice. And, Mr. Milosevic, I didn't stop
20 the witness, but I've already made it clear that I don't like long
21 narratives. You ought to be asking the witness specific questions. For
22 example, you could have asked him about the second alleged execution site.
23 So please bring this narrative to a close as quickly as possible,
24 Mr. Balevic, and then we'll have another question.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Balevic, just complete what you were saying about the second
3 execution site or crime site. You said that some dozen people were killed
4 there. Tell us who those people were and what information you have about
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I have not come here
7 to tell you stories, nor is that my wish, but unless I tell narratives at
8 length, I'm afraid that you won't be able to understand what these
9 execution sites mean to the Serbs.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Balevic, I have stopped you. You will follow
11 my instructions and the evidence will be given in accordance with those
12 instructions. It's a matter of how the evidence is given not the evidence
13 itself. I don't like long narratives because it's difficult to
14 understand. I like questions and short answers.
15 Go ahead, Mr. Milosevic.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Mr. Balevic, how many people were killed at that second execution
18 site or crime site? And you spoke about the village of Djakovica.
19 A. About 40 were established and they say that there were six more
20 burial sites that have not been uncovered yet. Amongst them there are
21 Albanians. Twelve were buried and identified at Djakovica, and 20 remain
22 unidentified bodies, and those are the official data sent out by the chief
23 of SUP.
24 Q. And what about the third execution site that you mentioned a
25 moment ago? Just briefly, please.
1 A. The bauxite mine where five dead bodies were found. There were
2 more, but the others were not uncovered.
3 Q. Mr. Balevic, you are from Kosovo Polje yourself. Tell us, please,
4 what happened with the vice-president of the Municipal Assembly of Kosovo
5 Polje, Zvonko Bojanic on the 18th of December, 1998.
6 A. Vice-president Zvonko Bojanic was killed. He was kidnapped on the
7 17th, killed on the 18th of December, 1998 in a violent way. Terrorists
8 stormed his house, took him outside, tied up his brother. Another
9 relative who was there, a woman, was shut up. They took him off in a
10 Mercedes, looted the house, took all the valuables, the gold, the
11 jewellery, and everything they were able to take, and took him off in the
12 direction of Lapusnik. And according to the reports, he was killed near
13 Careva Cesma and the dead body, mutilated, was found. He was so mutilated
14 that not even his mother would have recognised him.
15 Q. Do you have any knowledge about the reactions on the part of our
16 forces of the interior, the interior forces with respect to these
17 terrorist attacks? And I'm talking about your personal knowledge.
18 A. My personal knowledge is this: Our forces, that is to say the
19 state forces, when I say "our forces," the state forces of Serbia,
20 responded to the attacks, and I personally toured and visited our bases.
21 That was in Lapusnik, Olovac, Crni Luk, Malisevo and Podgradje. I have
22 proof and evidence of where I was, the tour I made. And they convinced me
23 that they were able to have law and order prevail. And I should also like
24 to confirm that at the railroad crossings on the 3rd of May -- 23rd of
25 May, 1993, there was a classical ambush in which two policemen were killed
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 and five wounded, whereas on the 28th of February, 1998, in the village of
2 Likosane, four people were killed, four policemen, two were wounded from
3 an ambush. And this confirms and shows that killings took place from an
4 ambush and our organs, the state organs, had to respond by opening fire
5 when the need arose.
6 Let me also add this: When Zvonko Bojanic was killed, I omitted
7 to say that a minute ago, the village of Vasiljevo was surrounded in order
8 to catch a terrorist, and the commander, who was nicknamed Sultan, was
9 there, and he held the village under siege, but the order came that the
10 forces were to withdraw and not to attack the village and not jeopardise
11 the lives of the inhabitants.
12 Q. Tell me, please, what was the behaviour and conduct -- and may I
13 just put something right. A moment ago, on the 23rd of May, 1993, I think
14 it should be 1998. Did you mean to say 1998 when you spoke about that
15 railway crossing?
16 A. The 23rd of May, 1993.
17 Q. I understand, and the other incident took place in 1998?
18 A. Yes, that's right. They were different periods. I was just
19 telling you about the killings; 1993 and 1998.
20 Q. Tell me, please, what did you personally, and according to what
21 you learnt, know about the behaviour of our army and our police force and
22 our security forces vis-a-vis the civilian population?
23 A. According to my knowledge and what I saw and what I became
24 convinced of is that our forces never attempted to jeopardise the
25 population, the Albanian population, except what happened when they were
1 attacked, except when under attack from an ambush or from sniper fire when
2 they responded, fire meeting fire.
3 Q. Mr. Radovic [as interpreted], would you answer my question,
4 please. I did not ask you how they reacted towards the terrorists, what
5 their reactions were there when they shot at them. What I'm asking you is
6 what was the relationship toward the civilian population. So not those
7 who were shooting at them.
8 A. Mr. President, they were protecting and indeed protected equally
9 the Albanian people and the Serb and Montenegrin inhabitants without any
10 differentiation between the two groups.
11 Q. At one of the meetings that you attended by virtue of your office
12 and post in Pristina at the time when terrorism escalated, and that
13 meeting was also attended by high-ranking state and party officials coming
14 in from Belgrade. They were the top state and party leaders, in fact, of
15 their day and they had come in from Belgrade. To the best of your
16 knowledge with respect to the measures, anti-terrorist measures, what was
17 said at the meeting of the provincial board, the meeting that you attended
19 A. It was an expanded meeting of the provincial board, Kosovo and
21 Q. When did the meeting take place?
22 A. I'm sorry, I can't remember. I didn't make a note of the date.
23 Q. Well, tell us roughly.
24 A. Roughly prior to the war, just before the beginning of the war,
25 which would make it towards the end of 1998 or thereabouts, but as I say,
1 I didn't make a note of the date so I don't want to guess.
2 There were several such meetings, in fact. That was the last one,
3 which would make it the end of 1998. And at that meeting, among other
4 things, calls were made for and let me say that Milomir Minic attended the
5 meeting, Gorica Gajevic, too, Tomic, Dragan, Sainovic and others - I don't
6 remember their names just now - but they demanded the liquidation of
7 Albanian terrorism, that the state should liquidate Albanian terrorism.
8 And that was not only brought up at that meeting. You received an
9 official letter from the funeral of the young man in Pec, six of them,
10 from the wives and mothers of Pec, to put a stop to Albanian terrorism.
11 They got together and wrote you an official letter as president of the
12 Municipal Board of Klina, that terrorism should be stopped, and many
13 others, too.
14 Q. I understand that, Mr. Balevic, but tell us what the relationship
15 was towards the citizens of Kosovo and Metohija themselves. When I say
16 "citizens," I mean both the Serbs and the Albanians and Montenegrins and
17 Turks and everybody else living there. What was the relationship and
18 attitude of the state leadership and provincial leadership towards the
19 general inhabitants?
20 A. Well, linked to that question and the answers that we were given,
21 this is what we were told: They said that there would be a political
22 settlement to resolve the crisis in Kosovo and Metohija and that there
23 cannot be a frontal attack which would jeopardise innocent citizens
24 because the terrorists would take them as a human shield, and that was the
25 response, that was the answer. And that is why the Serb -- the Serb
1 people were not happy to see that terrorism had not been liquidated yet in
2 Kosovo and Metohija.
3 Q. And what can you tell us about this famous humanitarian or
4 infamous catastrophe and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Metohija? What is
5 your knowledge about that?
6 A. My personal knowledge, and I'm talking about Pristina, and I'll
7 tell you something further afield as well but this is my personal
8 knowledge: Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and Metohija was the ethnic
9 cleansing of Serbs and Montenegrins and that ethnic cleansing took place
10 throughout the 20th century. The columns of Albanians that I came across
11 in Pristina, for instance, were such that they did not look to me as if
12 they were refugee columns at all because they were going by slowly past
13 the railway station, the bus station, carrying small bags. They didn't
14 look the way that Serb columns looked. So these columns to me appeared to
15 be sort of construed, manufactured columns, staged columns to look like
17 I spoke to many Albanians, and I tried to prevail upon them to go
18 back home. I did not succeed. But the answers I was given from them,
19 they said we have to go. There was no other answer that I received. So
20 the ethnic cleansing of Albanians or any policy along those lines, to the
21 best of my knowledge, simply didn't exist, and I can confirm this by
22 presenting you with a piece of information.
23 Q. I don't know what information you mean.
24 A. Well, I'll give it briefly. Pristina, for example, before the war
25 had 240.000-odd inhabitants. Of that number, 44.000 [Realtime transcript
1 read in error"^"] were Serbs and Montenegrins. Today Pristina numbers
2 over 500.000 inhabitants, of which 120 are Serbs. So who was ethnically
3 cleansed there? See for yourself. You can see that it was the Serbs who
4 were ethnically cleansed.
5 Q. Very well. Now, Mr. Balevic, from the facts and figures that I
6 have, or information I have, I can see that you personally at the railway
7 station in Pristina, between the 25th and 30th of April, 1999, took care
8 of --
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the transcript doesn't --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: The transcript doesn't show the number of Serbs
12 that the witness said were there prior to the conflict. It says Pristina
13 before the war had -- of that number --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, about 44.000. I apologise.
15 44.000. I apologise, Mr. Robinson, for that.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. It's not your mistake, Mr. Balevic, it's just that there was a
18 slip in the transcript. You gave us the correct figure, I believe.
19 Now, tell us what happened at the railway station in Pristina
20 between the 25th and 30th of April, 1999.
21 A. There were several hundred Albanians there. We didn't count them
22 all but I was informed by the office and the staff. I was present at the
23 staff for taking in refugees from Srpska Krajina. Dragan Pelevic [phoen]
24 was his name. And our warehouse was close by the railway station, our
25 food warehouse for the refugees coming in from Republika Srpska. We were
1 told that there were several hundred Albanians there at the railway
2 station, women and children, and I issued him an order to take from the
3 warehouse which stored food for refugees, to take the food necessary -
4 bread, tins, biscuits, milk - and to distribute it among the Albanians
5 there. That is what he did and he kept taking food there for three days,
6 for as long as they were there. I don't know where they left afterwards.
7 Now, when I asked him whether they were receiving food, most of them were
8 receiving food. Some refused to receive food, but he noticed that they
9 took food from others afterwards, so that we assisted and helped out those
10 Albanians, not refugees, Albanians who were at the railway station at
12 Q. All right. So when you saw to those Albanians at the railway
13 station in Pristina, tell me, please, did anybody force them to board the
14 trains and leave Pristina at all? Was there any police there exerting
15 pressure under -- over them?
16 A. No pressure was brought to bear against the Albanians at the
17 railway station there. Now, how they were brought there I don't really
18 know but there was no pressure being exerted. And let me tell you
19 something else that I think will be interesting for you. I was a member
20 of the management board of the Kosmet Tours company, which was the
21 transporter at Kosovo and Metohija because they no longer transported
22 things abroad, but Ivan Ivancevic called me up and said the Albanians keep
23 coming in and asking for buses to take them to Skopje and Prizren,
24 probably further on to Albania, I assume. And this is the answer I gave
25 him: I said, Ivancevic, don't you and I be factors who are going to
1 accelerate the exodus of Albanians, moving out of Albanians. He rang me
2 up the next day, said they are very persistent, they want to pay me, and I
3 gave him the same answer I gave him the first time: Don't let us speed up
4 this process. And then when I went to see him in his office later there
5 was an Albanian by the name of Coca there. I repeated what I had said and
6 I -- afterwards, I left the office and I said, well, you can do what you
7 like but my advice to you is not to do that. Don't engage in things like
8 that, and I'm sure Ivancevic will bear me out.
9 Q. Very well. Now, do you have any knowledge at all about people
10 expelling Albanians from Kosovo and Metohija and sending them to
11 Macedonia, for example? Because you were head of the railway system in
12 Kosovo and Metohija, you occupied that kind of post, so during that time,
13 the time of the NATO aggression, the bombings, did anybody send Albanians
14 to Macedonia or Albanian?
15 A. I have no such knowledge and information, nothing about that. In
16 my own building, the building that I lived in, there were four Albanians
17 and three Serbs, for example.
18 Q. Do you want to say that there were four Albanian families and
19 three Serbian families?
20 A. Yes, that's right. Four Albanian families and three Serbian
21 families living in my residential building. Three of the families went
22 off. They left somewhere, but they returned the same day, the very same
23 day when our country was bombed, which means that they were somewhere
24 nearby. They hadn't gone far off. And as their neighbour, I protected
25 their apartments because there were Serb bandits and criminals that
1 engaged in unauthorised activities, but unfortunately, they destroyed my
2 flat. They looted my flat. So that was how they repaid me. Not all of
3 them but just several of them. And I don't have any information about any
4 pressure brought to bear against them and forcing them to leave by the
5 police or anybody else.
6 Q. And what happened after the arrival of the international forces in
7 Kosovo and Metohija, for example? How long were you -- did you stay there
9 A. I stayed until the 26th of June in Kosovo and Metohija, and after
10 the arrival of the KFOR forces, we Serbs and Montenegrins and Albanians,
11 except the terrorists, of course, expected that the KFOR forces would
12 ensure peace, freedom for the entire area and all the population there,
13 that they would bring law and order. They came in with great pomp and
14 ceremony. They were greeted with flowers and flags. I don't mind this,
15 that was quite all right. But this was a sort of a foretaste that things
16 would not end well. Unfortunately, when the forces arrived, what happened
17 was that people continued to leave and the terror against the Serbs and
18 Montenegrins continued in the presence of those forces, and there is a lot
19 of evidence to bear that out and I shall be going into that later.
20 Q. Well, what did you want to tell us in connection with that? But
21 just briefly, please. Go ahead but briefly.
22 A. Well, at the moment the KFOR forces entered -- and I don't
23 remember the exact date, I think that it was around about the 10th, but I
24 don't remember exactly. Anyway, when the forces arrived, the Serbs and
25 Montenegrins continued to leave the Prizren area of Suva Reka because our
1 forces had to withdraw from that area and the KFOR forces took over. But
2 the exodus of the Serbs and Montenegrins continued and can -- I can tell
3 you something more about their leaving, that exodus, if you wish.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: You say when the KFOR forces arrived, "the Serbs
5 and Montenegrins continued to leave the Prizren area because our forces
6 had to withdraw and the KFOR forces took over." But I don't quite
7 understand why the Serbs had to leave because the KFOR forces took over
8 and your forces left the area. Could you explain that?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can. Mr. Robinson, our
10 forces left on the 26th of June. The police and army returned to their
11 garrisons. No. After the signing of the agreement, but they left at the
12 end of June, because the KFOR forces did not protect them from terrorism,
13 the torching of houses, and the exodus of Serbs and Montenegrins. It was
14 continued. This process continued. So that is the difference between the
15 period when our forces left and the forces of KFOR came on the spot, so
16 that the Serbs and the Montenegrins did not have any protection. They did
17 not enjoy any protection. And according to my information and what was
18 heard at the time, the KFOR forces were predestined to protect the
19 Albanians, whereas we expected them to offer protection to the Serbs,
20 Montenegrins and Albanians. The Serbs were not protected, and the process
21 of their exodus and the torching of looting continued.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Tell me this now, Mr. Balevic: The Albanian terrorists, the KLA,
24 continued their rampage before the eyes of KFOR.
25 A. Yes, with unabated violence. Even more so in fact than was the
1 case previously.
2 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... in the form of a
3 question. It's a comment at the least.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. You made something in the
5 manner of a comment. Continue.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. [No interpretation]
8 A. [No interpretation]
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: We're missing the translation now.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Can you hear the English booth now?
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, I'm now hearing the English.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Where do you live now, Mr. Balevic?
14 A. I now live in Krusevac. I'm a displaced person. I'm a refugee
15 from Kosovo, because there were 12 other Balevic families, over 60 members
16 of the family left Kosovo, and we live in Krusevac.
17 Q. Where do your family members live?
18 A. They're all over the place from the south of Serbia to Banat,
19 Belgrade and Nis.
20 Q. What did you leave behind in Kosovo and Metohija? When I say
21 "you," I'm not referring only to you personally but members of your
23 A. Everything. The members of my family left their apartments. I
24 sold my apartment for peanuts because I simply could not live there. And,
25 for example, in my daughter's apartment there is an Albanian living there
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 who won't leave it. Everything was razed to the ground in other places,
2 especially Milorad and Obrad. Then the graves of my parents are there, of
3 my uncles, my brothers. My youth remained there. Everything I created,
4 everything I did, it's all there where I lived before.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, let him tell us, when did he
6 leave? When precisely did he leave Kosovo?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 26th of June, 1999. Before
8 that, I left Pristina on the 19th. I fled to Kosovo Polje to stay with my
9 daughter, because the Siptar whose shop I kept, Fadil Islami, he gave me
10 his besa. That's what the Albanians call their word of honour. He asked
11 through my son to give him the key to my apartment. I took his word.
12 However, unfortunately, he destroyed everything and he took everything
13 away, including family photographs, in order to prove how loyal he was to
14 terrorism rather than to good neighbourly relations.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. All right. These decades of your life there and your social
17 activity in Kosovo, but over all that time what were your relations like
18 with other Albanians? With your neighbours, people you worked with, with
19 whom you communicated in everyday life, what kind of relations did you
20 have with them?
21 A. It is my assertion that you will not find an Albanian who will say
22 anything negative about my behaviour except for those who are malicious,
23 that I was always in favour of good neighbourly relations between them and
24 my family and my relatives and our community in general. That is what I
25 can say for my part. There were very good relations from the other side
1 too. I have to say that. However, later on, when terrorism came to the
2 fore and these claims for having Kosovo turned into a republic, then all
3 these relations were disrupted and became untenable.
4 Q. You had friends among the Albanians; yes or no.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You had friends among the Albanians.
7 A. I had many friends among the Albanians. They condemned this,
8 although not publicly. Some actually spoke out in public, too. Perhaps I
9 could mention their names but I think there is no need for me to mention
10 that here for the sake of their safety. They condemned this kind of
11 behaviour, but they had to obey the orders issued by their leaders.
12 Q. All right. Since you had Albanian friends, how are your friends
13 doing? Do you know how they reacted to the fact that you had to move out
14 of Kosovo?
15 A. They said, Mitar, you're good neighbour, you're a good friend,
16 you're a good man, but you're a Serb and you have to leave Kosovo and
17 Metohija. Quite a few things were ascribed to me because I chaired the
18 meeting of citizens in Kosovo Polje but primarily because I'm a Serb or,
19 rather, Montenegrin. That's it.
20 Q. All right. When you left on the 26th of June, 1999, was that the
21 first time that you had to leave Kosovo and Metohija?
22 A. Mr. President, can I just say something? When KFOR came -- can I
23 just say this very briefly? Serbs and Montenegrins moved out in six
24 different directions. These were streams of persons who were moving
25 towards -- from Pec to Montenegro, from Klina to Mitrovica, from Kosovska
1 Pomerje [phoen] to Bujanovac, from Prizren to Mitrovica, from Kosovo Polje
2 to Merdari and Nis. These were long columns, I have to point that out,
3 and this is after the arrival of KFOR. Could you please repeat the
4 question that you really wanted me to answer. I'm sorry.
5 Q. You said you moved out on the 26th of June, 1999. Was that the
6 first time you had to move out of Kosovo and Metohija?
7 A. Unfortunately, this is the second time I had to do that. In '41 I
8 lived in Budoslav [phoen], the municipality of Klina nowadays when
9 everything was burned down, destroyed. With my family I had to move to
10 Pec, but I got to Albania and I was also arrested and I was sent to prison
11 by some kind of Skender division.
12 Q. How old were you then?
13 A. I was 13 at the time.
14 Q. Can you make any comparisons between those who expelled you in
15 1941 and those who expelled you in 1999 in terms of the resources they
16 had, the way they behaved?
17 A. When the first onslaught came in 1941, when the Italian, German
18 and other occupation forces came to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija
19 then, so during this first onslaught there were torchings, killings,
20 lootings, expulsions, rapes too, but sporadically. However, in terms of
21 the method used and the brutality involved, it differs from the terror
22 against the Serbs and Montenegrins in the period that came after that. It
23 was more massive, it was more cruel, it was more -- it was worse.
24 Q. Are you going to go back to Kosovo, Mr. Balevic?
25 A. I'm going to go back. Not only I but all members of my family and
1 all Serbs and Montenegrins when a proper government is established there.
2 The rule of the Republic of Serbia, when peace is ensured, equality for
3 all citizens who live there, because Resolution 1244, unfortunately did
4 not manage to secure that. And I think that this Resolution should be
5 written in black letters for Serbs and Montenegrins.
6 So it's not only I who is going to return. All Serbs and
7 Montenegrins are going to return once there is an authority that can
8 ensure peace and order.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Balevic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have no further questions,
11 Mr. Robinson.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
13 Mr. Nice.
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Nice:
15 Q. Mr. Balevic, putting it very shortly and subject to your last
16 observations about people who you knew on a personal basis, your testimony
17 over a couple of days has been highly critical of Kosovo Albanians. Would
18 that be fair?
19 A. No, that would not be fair. You are saying that, and I do not
20 accept that. I was critical towards terrorists who were ethnic Albanians,
21 not towards ethnic Albanians as such, the Albanian nationality. I never
22 linked it to that because Serbs can live with ethnic Albanians, can go on
23 living with ethnic Albanians. So your statement is incorrect.
24 Q. Very well. You have so far, I think, said nothing or almost
25 nothing critical of the behaviour of Serbs individually or collectively.
1 Is that a fair representation of what you've told the Judges?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you accept that in the area where you were living Serbs
4 committed any wrongs? "Smetkopje" [phoen], to use the word "crimes," but
5 do you accept that the Serbs committed any wrongs against the Kosovo
6 Albanians, or are the Serbs blameless?
7 A. Yes. There were Serbs, but unfortunately they are not Serbs.
8 These were Serb bullies, Serb bandits, Serb criminals, Serb drunkards who
9 committed misdeeds that do not belong to the Serb people. There were
10 torchings of Albanian houses. Albanian shops were looted. For example,
11 one street in Pristina, which is called Peyton Place, that is what people
12 call it, quite a few Albanian shops were torched there but also some Serb
13 shops. In Gagani [phoen], my neighbourhood, also some shops were looted.
14 I tried to defend, during the day, one shop, but I almost lost my life in
15 doing so. So it did happen. We condemned that. We the Serb people
16 condemned that, and there were arrests by the MUP authorities. There will
17 be testimonies to that effect from the MUP authorities.
18 Q. Do you accept that there were killings of Albanians by Serbs?
19 A. No. I'm not aware of any such cases.
20 Q. And --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: I wonder if I can ask a question. When you say,
22 Mr. Balevic, that there will be testimonies to that effect, that's about
23 arrests from the MUP authorities, what do you mean by that?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, probably there will be
25 witnesses here who will confirm how many proceedings were instituted
1 against those who were involved in destruction, in the looting of Albanian
2 shops and torching of Albanian shops. There will probably be witnesses
3 and also there will be statistics to show how many people were detained at
4 the SUP and how many charges were brought against people. I can refer to
5 the name of the head of the MUP at that time --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: So you obviously have knowledge about the
7 preparation of the case and the evidence that is to come later in the
8 case; is that right?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, no. It's just my assumption
10 that I'm not the last witness who is going to testify about Kosovo and
11 Metohija in the Defence of President Milosevic. There will be witnesses
12 who will confirm that.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: No. I mention the point because I see that you
14 spend a great deal of time reading from papers in front of you, and I
15 wonder if you had some document that you constantly were reading to us.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are documents that you
17 admitted into evidence. I don't know if they were translated. In these
18 documents, everything that I said is written down. I spoke mainly about
19 Pristina. And as far as I know, this was -- this document was admitted
20 here and part of it was translated too. I know that for a fact.
21 Now, whether you are going to value my testimony properly or not
22 depends on your own willingness.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Am I mistaken in thinking you have some handwritten
24 notes in front of you which you refer to a great deal? No, not that
25 document. Other papers that you have actually lying in front of you at
1 the moment.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These are notes from this document,
3 from this Sleepless Night that you have reserved. Then also the Crazy
4 Country of Serbia, a document that you also received. I just made notes
5 so I could answer your questions and the questions of the accused faster
6 and more efficiently.
7 MR. NICE:
8 Q. I think what His Honour wanted to know is whether the documents
9 lying under your left hand right now are documents from which you were
10 reading when giving evidence. Yes or no.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. No, under your -- yes. When were those notes prepared?
13 A. After the questions that were put here from the very beginning and
14 when I heard that these documents were admitted into evidence by this
16 Q. Do the notes that you've got in front of you reflect in any way
17 the very general evidence you were giving today about the suffering of
18 Kosovo Albanians?
19 A. No. I talked about the suffering of the Serbs and Montenegrins,
20 not the Kosovo Albanians. You've made a mistake in that respect.
21 Q. My error entirely. Thank you for correcting me. Did you have the
22 opportunity of reading from those notes when you were talking in very
23 general terms about the suffering of the Serbs and Montenegrins?
24 A. No. I knew that by heart. I didn't need any notes. I just
25 needed to register the dates involved, because dates involve numbers. I
1 know everything by heart. I remember things very well, but dates are not
2 easy to remember. It's probably not easy for you to remember such things
4 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm sorry I not to have alerted the Court
5 to the reading of documents today. I had been alive to the issue on the
6 last occasion but I didn't have a sight line this morning as to what he
7 was doing.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do I understand that the notes were prepared
9 after the break, after you last gave evidence, Mr. Balevic? Notes from
10 which you --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes. Please, I have to give
12 you an answer. Mr. Nice has been putting some questions in a rather
13 provocative manner. I have your own instructions here as to how testimony
14 should be given, and on page 8, item 1, item 1, subparagraph (B), it says
15 -- please allow me to read this. "A witness is physically present in the
16 courtroom and shall tell the Judges what he or she heard or saw or what he
17 or she knows about the events that he or she is being questioned about."
18 I have honoured this, and on the basis of this I have the right to
19 testify about what I saw, what I heard, and what I know, and I have the
20 right to do so unless you refute these instructions.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: If you are reading from notes, the Court should
22 be apprised of that. Mr. Milosevic knows this. We will have to determine
23 what weight to attach to the evidence in the light of that.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: The reason I've raised this, Mr. Balevic, is that
25 the first day that you gave evidence, which was the 25th of January, I
1 noted that you never look up when a question is asked and you're
2 answering, and I noted it again today. You never look at anybody. You've
3 begun to do it now, now that questions are being asked that perhaps you
4 weren't quite aware would be asked, and it's much easier, I think, for a
5 Judge to assess a witness if he can have some sort of eye contact with him
6 or some reaction from him in the course of evidence, and unfortunately,
7 much of your evidence was a sort of monotonous apparent recitation of what
8 appeared to be documents in front of you. So it's only right that you
9 should have an opportunity to comment on this because it may at a later
10 stage affect my assessment of your evidence.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please, sir, Mr. Bonomy, what is
12 your question, what is your comment, and what is a statement that you're
13 making? Could you please distinguish between all of these things for me.
14 If you're talking about my demeanour, about my behaviour, about where I'm
15 looking at, I don't know what to say. Do you prefer witnesses who look
16 you straight in the eye or those who don't?
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm now alert to the fact that you are responding
18 to the person who is asking you the questions. You've done it with
19 Mr. Nice. You've done it with me. But during the course of your
20 evidence, both on the 25th and today, I particularly noted that you spent
21 your time looking down at the desk in front of you from which I was able
22 to see today that meant that you were reading, and I wonder if in fact you
23 were also reading on the 25th.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was. It's just a reminder
2 for me. It's not that I was reading. I repeat: What I read as a
3 reminder is in the documents that you have admitted. You can check that.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: It's important for me to know that that's what you
5 were doing so that later I can factor that into my assessment of your
6 evidence and bear in mind that the reason that you were looking down is
7 that you were reading which may mean it's entirely innocent or it may mean
8 something else. I have to assess that later in the context of all the
9 evidence and I just wish to give you the opportunity to explain the extent
10 to which you were relying on notes that you had made before you gave
11 evidence in court.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you for having said
13 that, but I looked down even when I was not reading. I don't always have
14 to look up, do I?
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. And just one point arising from the questions you've recently been
17 asked, Mr. Balevic. At one point when you were dealing with Serbs the
18 accused corrected your answer by saying, "Did you mean to say four Serb
19 families?" and you accepted his correction. Were you and he speaking in
20 any sense from a prepared script of your evidence? Just yes or no.
21 A. No. No.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I intervened because
25 sometimes in our country people say "three Serbs, four Albanians" but
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 they're actually referring to families, and that is not readily
2 understandable from your point of view, and that is why I asked him to
3 explain this, three Serb families and four Albanian families. You will
4 assume that in an apartment building there aren't three Serbs and four
5 Albanians living there. It's families, really, so it's not the right kind
6 of communication. I simply wanted to clarify that to make it clear,
7 nothing more than that.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice. I think we can move on now.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you do, just let me make it clear. There is
10 nothing in principle wrong with reading from a prepared script as well,
11 knowing the context of this particular trial. The real issue for me is
12 that I would like to know the extent to which that's actually happening.
13 And I think there's been a degree of reading in this instance that we
14 weren't alerted to.
15 And it would be helpful, Mr. Milosevic, if notes are being used by
16 the witness, that we are actually alerted to that in the course of his
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. Let me look at another document while we're on this general
20 topic --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, I did not have the
22 impression that Mr. Balevic was giving answers by reading. I think that
23 even if he does have a little piece of paper in front of him, that is all
24 too modest to cover the entirety of his statement. From what he said just
25 now, it was my understanding that he wrote down some dates because he's
1 75, after all, and he cannot remember each and every date off-the-cuff.
2 He wrote down some dates, but he testified about matters that he knows
3 about, not -- he wasn't involved in reading.
4 MR. NICE: If the witness can have a look at the Serbian version
5 of this. And if the usher, Mr. Prendergast, would be good enough to place
6 the English version on the overhead projector. We needn't spend very long
7 with it.
8 Q. This is a document, is it not, page 1, Mr. Balevic, About Us.
9 It's about an organisation called Freedom, or Sloboda. Yes?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And if we turn on the English version to the third page, you'll
12 see that the National Committee for the Liberation of President Slobodan
13 Milosevic has managing board members. Are you a member of the managing
14 board? You're marked as number 5, but that's alphabetical. Mitar
15 Balevic, pensioner from Kosovo Polje.
16 A. I'm sorry, what's the page that you're reading from?
17 Q. In your version it will be --
18 JUDGE KWON: The second page.
19 MR. NICE: The second page, is it?
20 Q. Yes, the second page where we see your name listed.
21 JUDGE KWON: Number 6.
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour has detected an error in the translation, I
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the first time I see that I
25 am a member of the managing board.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. It doesn't say that. Doesn't say that. It simply says that those
3 marked in red were members of the managing board. We only have it in
4 black and white, and I'm asking, were you a member of the managing board?
5 A. Not that I know of.
6 Q. That's fine. If we go to the second page in the English version,
7 and it will be part way down the first page in your version, we find
8 amongst entries these two. A little bit lower down, please.
9 "Freedom/Sloboda because of his brave and dignified attitude and by not
10 recognising the aggressor Tribunal, Slobodan Milosevic once again stood up
11 in defence of our national and state interests, in defence of freedom of
12 each of us, in defence of all peoples."
13 And then it goes on to say that: "The society will gather all
14 freedom loving people and patriots and organise, encourage and support all
15 actions for the liberation of President Slobodan Milosevic and for
16 termination of The Hague inquisition ..."
17 Are those two expressions or views that you adopt?
18 A. When I said that I was not a member of the managing board, I did
19 not say that I was not a member of this association, because this
20 association Sloboda, Freedom, is one thing, but I'm also a member of the
21 Socialist Party of Serbia, and its president is Slobodan Milosevic. What
22 is written in this programme is something that I as a member of this
23 association support because I was present when it was being adopted.
24 Q. In assessing your evidence, are you facing a Court that you regard
25 as an aggressor Tribunal? I need to know. We need to know.
1 A. No, I didn't say that. I never read this programme, and I never
2 saw where this was written, that this was an aggressor Court. I have my
3 own opinion of you, and I keep it to myself.
4 Q. You see, I can't help --
5 A. And I know that it was established for the former Yugoslavia. I
6 know that, and I'm also aware of these instructions of yours.
7 Q. You know, don't you, Mr. Balevic, that the proper form of address
8 of a Judge sitting in Court is "Your Honour," and I can't help but notice
9 - everybody will have noticed - that you have been allowed to follow the
10 accused's habit of addressing the Judges incorrectly by their surnames
11 while you address the accused as "Mr. President." Just help us, are you
12 prepared to continue with your evidence using the correct form of address
13 for the Judges of this Court or not?
14 A. I am prepared to use the same words that I used until now, and
15 these are the same forms of address that were used by many statesmen who
16 came here to testify before I did. They said "sir" rather than "Your
18 Q. Very well. I'm sure it's a matter for you to choose.
19 Let's go back to this morning's evidence, and we'll have a look at
20 another exhibit before we go back and start with things chronologically.
21 Can we have a look, please, at Exhibit 106, which is the "As Seen, As
22 Told" book prepared by OSCE.
23 And if Mr. Prendergast could put it on the overhead projector at
24 page 235, and anybody who has it may also want to have their finger in, I
25 think, page 350, which is where the foot or end notes can be found.
1 Mr. Balevic, this is an exhibit in the case, and it contains a
2 summary of findings by the OSCE in respect of Kosovo Polje. I'm going to
3 read just a few passages from it, and I want your comment on whether the
4 report is accurate. Do you follow?
5 A. Well, I'd have to read this first, all of this that is written
6 here. There is a lot to be read here, and I'd have to read it in order to
7 be able to give you an answer. Perhaps you could read it out for me,
8 because you have better facilities for organising that so that I can hear
9 it in Serbian. Please go ahead.
10 Q. Left-hand column, towards the bottom of the page, please. We see
11 here a summary, picking it up at the -- towards the conclusion of the
12 first paragraph: "In the second half of June 1998, the UCK occupied the
13 coal mine in Veliki Bulatovac [phoen] and the village of Arde [phoen] or
14 Harde [phoen] Obilic." Is that correct? Just yes or no.
15 A. As far as I know, yes.
16 Q. "On the 22nd of June, nine Serb employees of the coal mine were
17 abducted on their way to work." Correct or incorrect?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. "VJ and police attacked the UCK shortly afterwards. At that point
20 almost all the inhabitants of nearby villages fled, either westward to the
21 Drenica region or east to Prizren." Correct?
22 A. I am not aware of that.
23 Q. "Villagers also stated that in 1998, around 700 Kosovo Albanians
24 had lost their jobs in the coal mine and were replaced by Serb workers."
1 A. I'm not aware of that, and I assume that it's not correct. They
2 left their jobs of their own free will in order to change the ethnic
3 pattern of the population and of the work-force.
4 Q. So you accept, do you, that there was a change of employees, but
5 you say there must have been an ethnic redistribution purpose behind it.
6 Is that what you're saying?
7 A. No, no, no. That's what you're saying. The Albanians left their
8 jobs in order to draw the attention of the international public to what
9 they viewed as an injustice towards them, and they wanted to say that the
10 situation was unfavourable for the Albanians because there were more Serbs
11 employed than Albanians. Now, that is what I said. I disagree with what
12 you said.
13 Q. Very well. So -- and was it your recollection at the time that
14 people were giving up paid employment in their hundreds for this
15 particular purpose? Is that really what you're saying?
16 A. They were leaving or giving up, I repeat, in order to draw the
17 attention of the broader public to this injustice, and they had to leave
18 their jobs because they were ordered by those who gave them orders at the
19 time to do so, by those who pursued their policies then. Nobody made them
20 leave their job on the part of the state authorities. There's not a
21 single document that would corroborate that.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: You're saying the whole thing was staged.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Absolutely. Absolutely correct.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: You suggest it was staged by whom?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You'd have to ask the Albanian
1 leadership that, those who were in charge of the Albanian organisations
2 there at the time.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: So you're talking about a form of peaceful protest.
4 Not terrorist motivated but peaceful protest.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Leaving the workplace was done
6 arbitrarily by the Albanians. I have been repeating that for -- I've been
7 repeating that several times now. Please accept my answer. They were
8 doing this on purpose in order to draw the attention of the international
9 public to this injustice brought against them and they wanted the Serbian
10 state to suffer the consequences of that. To be quite clear: It was not
11 official policy to have Albanians leave their jobs.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour's light's on.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Mr. Balevic, you see, you ask us to accept your answers, but you
16 must understand that the purpose of giving evidence is to have your
17 evidence tested, and let me just remind you of what you said in the last
18 few answers.
19 His Honour Judge Robinson asked you if the whole thing was staged,
20 and you said absolutely, absolutely correct. The next question, which
21 logically follows, from His Honour Judge Bonomy was, by whom? And then
22 you're unable to answer. So help us, please. What is your source of
23 information whereby you were able to say to His Honour Judge Robinson that
24 it was absolutely correct to say that it was staged? Where's your
1 A. The evidence is that the Albanians had no reason to leave their
2 jobs, because no pressure was brought to bear against them.
3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... look at a few more passages
4 of this summary.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I was wrong when I gave the page for the
6 footnotes. The footnotes can be found, if anybody has it, on page 238.
7 I'm sorry I not to have alerted the Court to bringing the document in in
8 advance but we can keep our finger in both places.
9 Back, Mr. Prendergast, please, to 235.
10 Q. It says this: "Police and VJ maintained intensive controls at
11 checkpoints. At Grabovac, there was repeated looting of Kosovo Albanian
12 property, continuing through to the end of 1998, and the police reportedly
13 failed to investigate complaints of such crimes. One villager was
14 reportedly killed in October 1998 when he attempted to return to
15 Grabovac." And this is something provided by the Pristina Outreach
16 offices report.
17 Now, I go back. Looting of Albanian property towards the end of
18 1998. True or false, or don't you know?
19 A. I don't know about that.
20 Q. One villager reportedly killed in 1998 trying to return to
21 Grabovac. True or false or don't you know?
22 A. I don't know about that either.
23 Q. You see, because I'm going to suggest to you that this is an
24 entirely balanced report, you'll be interested to hear the next sentence,
25 which says this: "The UCK remained present in the mountains on the
1 western edge of the municipality, although according to the villagers the
2 local population did not support them."
3 Well, is that true? Was the UCK there on the edge of the
4 municipality, not receiving support from local villagers?
5 A. I don't know on the basis of what you are making these assertions.
6 I don't know about this, because I was not such a high-ranking authority
7 to be touring the mountains and other places where the KLA were. I didn't
8 dare go to places like that, so I don't know about this. But of course
9 you can assert this. That's for you to say.
10 Q. Mr. Balevic, let me just remind you, in answer to the accused, you
11 gave the most wide-ranging account of crimes committed against Serbs and
12 Montenegrins, and do you remember I stood up at one time and said I don't
13 know what the sources are, I don't know that it's relevant, but I'm not
14 going to interrupt. So you were allowed to give this wide-ranging account
15 of Serb suffering.
16 Now, I've asked you for your knowledge or ignorance of things that
17 happened in your own town and in your own municipality, a municipality,
18 incidentally, that you were instrumental in setting up, as we may
19 discover. No knowledge of the events to which I have referred at all, or
20 is your memory selective, Mr. Balevic?
21 A. Whether my memory is selective or not is a provocative question, I
22 think, Mr. Nice. I'm 76 years old. I think that you should behave
23 properly towards me, and I ask the Presiding Judge Mr. Robinson to protect
25 I think that what is being said is exaggerated in terms of
1 Albanian suffering, and I do not know about the suffering that you have
2 been telling me about.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me assure you that you will be protected if
4 it is necessary.
5 MR. NICE: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 If the usher could turn to the --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry, Mr. Robinson, but I
8 believe that it is totally wrong to speak about my selective memory at the
9 age of 76. I find that highly offensive, and I'm a witness here.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: There's nothing improper in the question.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Top right-hand column, please, if we may. This same analysis of
13 material says -- deals with the demographic composition of Kosovo Polje as
14 one of the only sizable towns in Kosovo where Albanians were in a
15 minority, deals with the location of the railway line with which you are
16 of course familiar, and then says this: "Near this railway line, many
17 internally displaced persons from Pristina witnessed abductions,
18 executions and the burning of bodies from March to May of 1999."
19 So before you left the area. And if we go, please, to footnote 5
20 on page 238, we'll see that the person who wrote this, or the people who
21 wrote this, Mr. Balevic, relied on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
23 Now, you've been given an opportunity to identify your sources.
24 Here is a document that is sourced, and it says that near the railway
25 line, executions and the burning of bodies were witnessed from March to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 May of 1999. True or false or do you say you don't know?
2 A. I don't know about that. What I see here is written in English,
3 so I don't know what is written here at all. If you want me to read
4 something, give it to me in Serbian. Or maybe I'm wrong, maybe I should
5 learn English. So I don't know about what you've read out to me just now,
6 because had I known about it, I would have told you.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Didn't you hear it in Serbian? Wasn't it
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I heard it, and I said that I
10 don't know about this. But I'm talking about actual reading. But, no, I
11 don't know about this.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. So it might have happened, as reported here, that there were
14 abductions, executions, and the burning of bodies between the start of the
15 bombing by NATO and May, which was before the time when you left the area.
16 It may have been those things happened; correct?
17 A. Yes, but until the 19th of June, I lived in Pristina, not in
18 Kosovo Polje. You got that wrong.
19 Q. Not very far away. And are you suggesting that you were in some
20 way hermetically sealed from information coming from fellow Serbs or from
22 A. No. I didn't have the opportunity of following what was going on
23 in the territory around the railway because I lived in Pristina from 1980
24 until the 19th of June, 1999. So I could not follow what was going on
25 there. Also, movement was very dangerous for us at the time, for Serbs
1 and Montenegrins, that is.
2 Q. May I ask one last question?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: One more question before the break.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. And again, you see, Mr. Balevic, it's just to suggest to you that
6 the summary I'm reading to you has the characteristics of being fair.
7 In the next paragraph deals with the presence of the OSCE/KVM and
8 then says this: "The most prominent incident was the killing of the Serb
9 deputy mayor of Kosovo Polje on the 17th of December, 1998. He was
10 reputed to have been a 'moderate' Serb who did much to improve the
11 conditions of Kosovo Albanians."
12 It then goes on to say, "From January to March 1999, several
13 killings and abductions in the area were reported to KVM, the victims
14 coming from both the Serb and Kosovo Albanian communities" And that is,
15 as we can see, sourced in various documents and individuals. Does the
16 report there seem to have got it right about the deputy mayor and the
17 suffering by death of Serbs and Kosovo Albanians?
18 A. I attended the funeral of that vice-president of the municipality,
19 and I gave a statement how he was killed. As for the rest that you have
20 been asserting from this indictment of yours, I don't know about that.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Balevic, we are going to take a break now for
22 20 minutes. We are adjourned.
23 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
24 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Mr. Nice.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. Mr. Balevic, you've -- as you've explained, been around for a long
3 time, you've been involved in politics. We're going to discover that
4 you've been described by Mr. Dizdarevic as at one time seeming to be a
6 In your evidence, you used the word "Siptar." You know perfectly
7 well how that word is regarded by Albanians. Indeed, it was a word that
8 was banned from official use in 1968. Why did you use it?
9 A. Mr. Nice, this is the first time that I'm hearing that Dizdarevic
10 seen -- referred to me as being moderate, and I thank him for that if he
11 can hear me.
12 Now secondly, the word "Siptar," I used it just by the by. I had
13 no ill intent. And up until 1968, they were called the Siptars by the
14 Serbs and Montenegrins, but after that the Serbian dictionary was
15 corrected on that point and no longer recognised the Siptars but referred
16 to them as the Albanians. So that was a slip of the tongue on my part.
17 Q. But a slip of the tongue going back 37 years to a previous
18 politically acceptable vocabulary. Does this reflect the way you
19 ordinarily describe Albanians, Mr. Balevic, that it should slip out in a
20 court of law?
21 A. Up until then when this was proscribed, that is to say when the
22 new -- they began to be referred to as Albanians, everybody in Kosovo, in
23 the state leadership and in the Serbian leadership, always used the term,
24 or mostly used the term "Siptar," "Siptar." So that did not mean any
25 special form of derogatory term or any insult like that, but once it was
1 changed we accepted that. So there were no political background to that.
2 We referred to them as Siptars, but without deriding them by doing so.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Balevic, is it your understanding that today an
4 Albanian would be offended by being referred to as a Siptar?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. Thank you. Mr. Balevic, I'm going to go back in time, but in
8 going back in time I pass over, as it were, your career on the railway.
9 Just one question about that. Was there a type of train in use and
10 purchased by your railway called a Kennedy train?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Was there an inquiry of --
13 A. Let me add something to that. If you mean a locomotive which --
14 or locomotives which were procured from Canada, diesel locomotives, then
15 they were referred to as Kennedies because that's where they came from,
16 but not a train. Not a train on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija was
17 called a Kennedy train.
18 Q. There was an inquiry, was there, into the acquisition of those
20 A. Not in Kosovo and Metohija but at the top of the Yugoslav
21 railways, yes.
22 Q. Yes. Were you one of the people into whom that inquiry was
24 A. No.
25 Q. Were you named in the inquiry at any stage?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Are you sure about that?
3 A. Sure.
4 Q. I may return to that at a later stage.
5 A. You return to it.
6 Q. As to matters of history, Mr. Balevic, you'll understand that the
7 Prosecution nor, I suspect, the Court, has no need to or interest in any
8 final resolution of historical issues, but this much you can confirm for
9 us: The view of comparatively recent history since the Second World War
10 that you have given is a Serb view, and you will know that there is a
11 contrary view held by Kosovo Albanians; correct?
12 A. And what is your question here?
13 Q. First that there is contrary body of opinion to the Serb view
14 expressed by you. Am I not correct?
15 A. What their contrary view is is a question you're going to have to
16 ask them and so forth. Now, what views they had, and opinions of the
17 Serbs they had, they confirmed that since 1941 onwards. Part of the
18 Albanian people, that is.
19 But I'd like to say something else here at this point. In your
20 indictment, the so-called Kosovo indictment, you wrote paragraph 73 or 75
21 that Yugoslavia was formed after World War II. Yugoslavia was established
22 after the First World War.
23 Q. I'm sure it's helpful for us to know the degree of your detailed
24 knowledge --
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. -- of the indictment, but we'll do better if we move along by
2 question and answer. And I want to establish that --
3 A. Yes, and --
4 Q. I want to establish that there's a contrary --
5 A. I'm going to give you an answer to that. There is a contrary
6 opinion, but they had no reason -- the Albanians had no reason to have
7 contrary opinions to those that the Serbs held because they enjoyed all
8 rights. And in the state leadership from 1945 to the downfall of
9 Yugoslavia, the Albanian leadership was represented there in the
10 Presidency, in the first and second Presidency, in the Central Committee
11 of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, and they enjoyed all rights.
12 Therefore, they had no reason for any contrary opinions.
13 Q. I'm going to give you -- I'll explain exactly why in the next
14 question but one, but I'm going to give you this chance: Men like Ibrahim
15 Rugova or Mr. Mrovci or Veton Surroi, they are not men whom you would wish
16 to characterise as men of violence, are they? They're men of peace.
17 A. No. Had they supported peace, they could have prevented the kind
18 of terror that we saw in Kosovo and Metohija. And Ibrahim Rugova, in one
19 of his statements when the KLA was first formed, he said that it was a
20 minor organisation, that he didn't know about it, but Adem Demaci refuted
21 that. So had Rugova wanted to, and his followers in the leadership, we
22 wouldn't have seen the kind of terror enacted in Kosovo and Metohija
23 towards Serbs and Montenegrins that we did.
24 Q. Very well. That's your view. Now, in the same way that we looked
25 at --
1 A. That is my observation and my answer to your question.
2 Q. In the same way as we looked at a document to see whether it
3 provided a fair and balanced view of matters within your knowledge, and in
4 light of some of your evidence, I want you to help us with a view passages
5 from a report that's been prepared for the Court by an expert called
6 Audrey Budding. And first of all, we'll be going to -- in order to make
7 it shorter, we'll go straight to page 11 in the English, and I want to see
8 if Audrey Budding's summary of matters is one that you can accept as being
10 And this will be at page 9, I think of the B/C/S version. Because
11 you've said various things about population movements, and Audrey Budding,
12 on page 11 in the English, and it will be, I think, just towards the end
13 of page 8 in the B/C/S, says this: "Kosovo saw its total population
14 increase between a census --"
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us get it on the ELMO.
16 MR. NICE: I'm sorry, yes, of course. On the ELMO, please. Page
17 11, and --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we have it.
19 MR. NICE: I'm sorry if Your Honours hadn't been alerted to bring
20 it in. My error if so. That is, if you prefer to work with hard copy
22 Q. Yes. "Kosovo saw its population increase between a census
23 performed in 1939, 645.000-odd inhabitants and the first post-war census
24 in 1948, 727.000-odd. The total increase in Kosovo's population actually
25 reflected two separate trends: An absolute decrease in the Orthodox
1 population and an absolute increase in the number of Albanians. The
2 dimensions of each trend are subject to some interpretation because the
3 two censuses are not strictly comparable. Allowing for varying
4 assumptions about the rate of natural population growth in this period,
5 French social geographer Michel Roux believes that the approximate upper
6 limit for the number of Serb and Montenegrin expellees is 36.000, a figure
7 relatively close to the April 1944 calculation of a senior German official
8 in Belgrade that 40.000 Serbs and Montenegrins had been expelled since
9 1941. Roux calculates that even on the assumption of zero natural
10 population growth among the Kosovo Albanian population in this period, the
11 demographically possible upper limit of Albanian immigration would be
12 around 104.000. Claims that 200.000 or more Albanians immigrated, Roux
13 argues, are incompatible not only with Yugoslav population figures, but
14 with Albania's own demographic development."
15 So in a reasoned passage, drawing on available expertise, draws to
16 our attention that the maximum figure of 104.000 is sustainable. Do you
17 accept that analysis? Because you've given figures about population
19 A. Firstly, Mr. Nice, you have mentioned so many figures that even if
20 I were a computer, I wouldn't have been able to take it all in and give
21 you an answer. Secondly, I didn't analyse the material presented by the
22 lady you mentioned. That is an historian's task. And I didn't say
23 anything with regard to population movement. I just presented the facts.
24 So I cannot comment on what the lady says, but I claim that from Kosovo
25 and Metohija, over 200.000 Serbs left, and there is official data that you
1 can find if you're interested in that. Otherwise, I'm not able to comment
2 further because I'm not aware of these facts and figures and the
3 statistical data that you brought up here.
4 Q. We'll come to all that perhaps a little later, but since you
5 mention it, what's the official data that you've relied on, and have you
6 brought it with you?
7 A. No, I haven't brought it with me. The data does exist. The
8 documents exist in the state organs of the Republic of Serbia. Many books
9 were published in the commissariat. You will be able to find it, but I
10 don't have that data and information with me or on me.
11 Q. Very well.
12 A. And I assume that your accused, Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, must have
13 those facts and figures himself.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, are we talking about the same thing here?
15 MR. NICE: No, we're talking about immigration as opposed to
17 JUDGE BONOMY: But the figures you've quoted from the report deal
18 with the period before 1948; is that correct?.
19 MR. NICE: Yes, 1939 to 1948.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And when the witness talks about 200.000, is he not
21 talking about a later period?
22 MR. NICE: He is talking about a later period, and we'll move on
23 to that, I hope, very swiftly.
24 Q. I want from you from time to time, if you will help us, some
25 confirmation of facts in case they become relevant later, not necessarily
1 with any extensive answer. But just as a matter of history, it was in
2 1950 that Yugoslavia broke its ties with Albania; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. It was in 1956 that there was a campaign to collect weapons from
5 Albanians organised by the secret police of the former Yugoslavia and that
6 as a result of that, or at the time of that, thousands of Albanians fled
7 to Turkey; is that correct?
8 A. Disarmament and collection of weapons was not done by the secret
9 police. It was an order by the organs of authority at the time, and it's
10 true that the weapons were collected in Kosovo and Metohija. It is also
11 correct that a number of Albanians left and went to Turkey. I don't know
12 what the figure is or the reason they left. I don't claim that it was --
13 I don't know whether it was because of any violence in the collection of
15 Q. The same year there was the trial of Kosovo Albanians on the
16 grounds that they were acting as spies for Albania. Many long prison
17 sentences of up to 12 years were imposed, and all the people concerned
18 were later acquitted. As a matter of fact, correct?
19 A. I'm not aware of that trial and the details of it and what
20 actually happened, so I don't think I can answer that.
21 Q. You mentioned Adem Demaci. He features, first of all, is this
22 correct, in the 1960s with a movement for unification of Albania, having
23 some few hundred members at that time?
24 A. Well, I know that he was convicted and served a term in prison,
25 how much, I don't know, and that he was working on a movement directed
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 against the system itself and the order in Kosovo and Metohija itself. I
2 don't know what it was called, but he was found guilty of that.
3 Q. We would then move to the critical date of 1966, which you have
4 yourself identified as critical, and we've already discussed. You
5 expressed yourself in these terms about the removal of Rankovic. You
6 said, "Another terrible event in 1966 for us Serbs and Montenegrins, the
7 Communists, because the 4th plenary session was held, the infamous one
8 where Rankovic was removed from office and expelled from the party." And
9 then you said this: "That was the crash of the security network for Serbs
10 and Montenegrins." And that was an answer you gave almost without being
11 asked about it specifically.
12 That reflects, does it not, the emotional response even today of
13 Serbs to what happened in 1966; correct?
14 A. Please. I said that by replacing -- that the replacement of
15 Rankovic was the crash or fall of the security system in Kosovo and
16 Metohija for Serbs and Montenegrins, and I confirm that today, because at
17 the time, we saw Albanian nationalists come to power in the organs of SUP,
18 like Dzevad Hamza and others, whereas all the other Serb leaders were
19 replaced from the security organs, organs of the interior.
20 Q. I want to read you one footnote --
21 A. And may I be allowed to add something with respect to Rankovic?
22 During Rankovic's day, Rankovic's rule, there was something called Goli
23 Otok, Grgul [phoen] and Bileca, Goli Otok being an island where tens of
24 thousands of Serbs and Montenegrins were sent to. And I don't know
25 whether there were as many as three Albanians who stood up to the policy
1 of Tito supporting the policy of Russia and Stalin. So Rankovic, he knew
2 about these camps, Goli Otok and the others, but he remained loyal to the
3 end and never wanted to say a word against the person who had him
5 Q. Look, please, at -- on the overhead projector, a footnote to an
6 existing exhibit. The exhibit is Exhibit 801, the ICG report. And if we
7 can just put footnote 90 -- 70, and I'll read it slowly to you, please,
8 Mr. Balevic, and ask for your comment as to its accuracy.
9 "Aleksandar Rankovic --"
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The translator said a report by the
12 ICG, in those words. The witness doesn't know what ICG is at all, I can
13 guarantee that. So could you translate. What does ICG mean? What's it
14 about? It's not a mistake on Mr. Nice's part that he is speaking English,
15 but when the interpreter says ICG, they must assume that the witness does
16 not know what ICG is or stands for.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, can you help us?
18 MR. NICE: If it is a mistake at all it is my mistake and I am
19 quite happy to identify the body that prepared the report, the
20 International Crisis Group, and there is now a B/C/S version of the page
21 before the witness for him to follow the footnote in his own language.
22 Q. The footnote reads, in English: "Aleksandar Rankovic was
23 vice-president of Yugoslavia and regarded in some quarters as
24 heir-apparent to Tito. He headed the Yugoslav security police. The UDBA
25 was responsible for serious abuses of the Albanian population. On the
1 pretext of suppressing Albanian irredentism, UDBA put pressure on
2 Albanians to emigrate. Between 1954 and 1957, some 195.000 Albanians left
3 Yugoslavia, and by the time of Rankovic's dismissal, the figure had
4 reached 235.000."
5 This is a document we've looked at. We know the nature and
6 general terms of its sources. But tell us, Mr. Balevic, is what is
7 recorded here correct; 195.000 Albanians leaving between 1954 and 1957?
8 A. I don't know where you get those figures from. The figure is not
9 correct, and you can check that out in the official statistics for Kosovo
10 and Metohija, which I'm sure still exist. And I state that that is not
11 the correct figure. And it is true that Rankovic for a time was the head
12 of state security in Yugoslavia. However, the figures that you have
13 presented, there is no evidence of them being true. I don't think they
14 are correct. Because had that been so in the space of three years, the
15 Albanians would have disappeared from Kosovo altogether.
16 Q. What about the record there of the Yugoslav secret police being
17 responsible for abuses of the Albanian population? You see, you come to
18 us and you are of great assistance because of your experience and indeed
19 your age. You've got a long memory. So tell us. This is correct, isn't
20 it, that Albanians were suffering in the way described?
21 A. Please. I don't know whether you drew that conclusion from one of
22 my answers when I said that during Goli Otok, when Rankovic was the head
23 of UDBA, there were over 40.000 Serbs and Montenegrins, not a single
24 Albanian. And the UDBA protected all the nations and nationalities,
25 ethnic groups, all citizens on the territory of the country regardless of
1 what ethnicity they were, but it was against those and arrested those who
2 wanted to overthrow the regime and who opposed the regime.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, I'm sure it's me but I'm desperately in
4 need of assistance on what this is relevant to in the indictment.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it's right to, I think, inquire. The
6 witness has given a long history. I made it clear resolution of the
7 history is not, of course, our function or the Court's function. My
8 concern is to ensure that there is recognition of the existence of
9 contrary views, but more, it's to ensure that the Court can be satisfied
10 insofar as it needs to in due course that expert material coming the
11 Court's way is reliable. And so with the questions that I've just asked
12 by way of preliminaries, and we're moving on quite rapidly to the time of
13 the 1987 meeting, but before we get there, I was going to ask for this
14 witness's comment on another short passage of Audrey Budding's report.
15 I hope that that will be helpful to the Chamber, because for this
16 reason: It seems to me, and I'm open to correction, that although the
17 Chamber doesn't need nor want to make any final decisions about these
18 historical matters, it certainly needs to know the broad parameters within
19 which different theories exist, and if it has an expert, it needs to know
20 if that expert appears to be reliable.
21 Q. And can we, with that in mind, go to page 21 in the English of
22 Audrey Budding's report, which is page 16 in the B/C/S. And you see,
23 Mr. Balevic, the expert who has reported on matters for this Court -- or
24 for the Prosecution in giving evidence to this Court, says this at the
25 foot of page 21, please -- actually, in the middle of page 21: "National
1 questions had received only glancing attention at Brioni, but took centre
2 stage at the League of Communists Plenum. (Reserving the accusations of
3 Serbian nationalism for a Serbian party forum was in keeping with the
4 principle that each party should fight nationalism 'in its own house.')"
5 And then that takes us to footnote 90. I'm not sure if the
6 footnote's been copied in B/C/S, but it's footnote 90, and she there says
7 that the matters that the witness spoke about himself, she says that, "It
8 was for the same reason that each --" footnote 90. Sorry. It's on page
10 "It was for the same --" Further down, please. Footnote 90.
11 "It was for the same reason that each of the positions Rankovic
12 vacated upon his fall was filled by another Serb ... Casting Rankovic as a
13 Serbian nationalist ultimately encouraged Serbs themselves to see his fall
14 in national terms."
15 That's probably all I need read. Does that both reflect the
16 evidence you gave, Mr. Balevic, and --
17 A. The fourth plenary at which Rankovic was replaced, and according
18 to your observation or, rather, your question, that that was the only time
19 when the national question was raised and that it was devoted to the
20 national question. The fourth plenum was the crash of the national
21 question, the question of Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo and Metohija.
22 I don't know who replaced him, but I assume it was a yes-man who was ready
23 to implement what Rankovic was not prepared to.
24 So the League of Communists, to which I belonged, fought against
25 all forms of nationalism which upset brotherhood and unity in Kosovo and
1 Metohija, and therefore, they fought against Serbian nationalism by the
2 same token.
3 Q. Just to stick with His Honour's question of me and to focus on the
4 evidence you've given, it's what happened in 1966 and thereafter that lay
5 behind the actions that you and your fellow Serbs took and of which you've
6 told us starting at the beginning of the 1980s and concluding after the
7 Kosovo Polje meeting at the end of 1998; is that right? This event in
8 1966 is part of the driving force that led to the action of Serbs between
9 1980 and 1988 in Kosovo?
10 A. In 1966 events, and that were to be borne out by the 4th plenum,
11 it was the motive force of the break-down of the security system and the
12 more massive exodus of the Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and
13 Metohija. It was because of this exodus and because their security was
14 jeopardised that the Serbs took measures and sought resources to enable
15 themselves to remain there and for their salvation. They knocked on all
16 the doors, but they didn't take on any policy of this kind towards the
18 Q. Very well.
19 A. Or any Greater Serbian nationalism.
20 Q. I've put my case to you in print general terms. A couple of
21 detailed matters and then we'll get to particulars.
22 One of the things you told us in evidence on the 25th of January,
23 the way I have at page 37, was, in dealing with the history of the good
24 fortune of the Kosovo Albanians, you said that university teachers, I
25 think, were hired not for the sake of giving them -- sorry, Albanian
1 professors were hired, but not for the sake of giving them employment.
2 They were hired, you said, in order to indoctrinate young Albanians
3 against living together with Serbs and Montenegrins. That was your
4 specific suggestion.
5 Now, first of all, where's your evidence for that, that the hiring
6 of Albanian professors was specifically aimed at separating the ethnic
7 groups in Kosovo?
8 A. You have a document that was translated, Sleepless Nights, and you
9 will see what Professor Milanovic had to say, a distinguished professor
10 from the University of Pristina. If necessary I can find it and read it
11 out. He confirmed that in his speech, and we felt that at this meeting
12 that was held during the night between the 24th and the 25th of March,
13 1987 about the indoctrination of Albanian students and about the Albanian
14 professors coming. That is what is written in this document that you have
15 in the translated version. Professor Milanovic.
16 Q. Such things were said on the night of the 24th and 25th, and it
17 may be - we'll discuss this later - that there was an element of stage
18 management about what was said, and that's going to be my suggestion to
19 you. Did Professor Milanovic give the source of his observation about the
20 purpose of professors coming to the university in Pristina or was it just
21 a broad assertion not rooted in research? Tell us.
22 A. I am saying what he said. Now, what the sources of his
23 information are is something that you would have to ask him.
24 Q. So although you made this assertion to this Chamber, you have
25 absolutely no material, apart from one speech that you happen to have
1 heard on the night of the 24th, 25th of March, 1987; correct?
2 A. Not correct. The demonstrations of Albanians, of young people in
3 the streets, starting from '68 or, rather, first in '67 and the first few
4 months in '68 and then all the way up to '81, all of that confirms what I
5 said, that there was a considerable degree of indoctrination among them,
6 because during the first months of 1978, in the territory of Kosovo, there
7 were people shouting in favour of NATO. There were American flags, and
8 Fadil Hoxha, Dzevad Nimani headed the column, and Ymer Pula. So that is a
9 corroboration of the indoctrination of young people --
10 Q. Very well.
11 A. -- and the demonstrations in 1968. The allegation was made that
12 all of this was due to poor food at student dormitories, and that's not
13 true. It was this indoctrination.
14 Q. That's in 1981, and we'll come to that if necessary. But please
15 would you just again, for the same purpose, look at what in your version
16 of Audrey Budding's report is page 32, and if Mr. Prendergast will put
17 page 30 on the overhead projector.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I did not interrupt Mr. Nice in the
21 wish to hear what all of this would lead to. However, may I remind you
22 that when I started putting questions to Mr. Balevic, I pointed out that I
23 did not wish to ask him about historical facts but, rather, about his own
24 knowledge from the period involved. So he testified about his own
25 knowledge. I think that it is improper to give him an expert report,
1 Mr. Nice's expert, Ms. Budding, for him to give answers to it. He's not
2 an historian, he's not a demographer. He cannot give such answers,
3 especially because, as you know, I insisted that he only speak about his
4 own personal experience, and that's what he did.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... submission.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, can I deal with that, because it's
7 actually a matter of considerable importance.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
9 MR. NICE: This witness has given a very broad, a very one-sided
10 on one view account, highly critical of and indeed arguably offensive to
11 one of the ethnic groups living in Kosovo. He was led to most of those
12 answers by the accused. I am exploring to the extent that I judge
13 desirable or necessary the degree to which his answers are founded in
14 either research or experience or some other reliable source. On this
15 particular topic, we've now had his answer on how reliable his source is
16 and what his sources are, and it must be proper for me to show him other
17 evidence in the case and to ask him if he has any real evidence to counter
18 it. That is one of the standard and proper purposes of cross-examination,
19 and not to do it would arguably be not to put my case. So I would seek
20 now to put the short passage on page 30 that deals with this topic --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: We're going to consider this submission.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: But if you follow the line that the accused has
23 just presented, that what he will rely on is the knowledge that the
24 witness has of events in Kosovo, then where does this take us quite apart
25 from whether it might be justified because he answered a question at some
1 stage in his examination-in-chief that might have a bearing on Audrey
2 Budding's report? What's the point? He's not an expert. We're not going
3 to reach any conclusions based on his view of this stage of history and
4 listening to a lecture and hearing about how students behaved at the time.
5 On the other hand, he's tried to give sweeping statements about events
6 closer to the time or at the time that are relevant to the indictment, and
7 I would have thought that challenging the basis for these statements might
8 have been much more helpful to us than the basis for his perhaps criticism
9 of historical opinions expressed by others.
10 MR. NICE: The answer to that, Your Honour, is twofold. One, of
11 course I've missed out a great deal of material that he's given that is
12 contentious in the history, but there is a limit to how much it would be
13 proper to leave it all go when there is indeed material of an expert
14 nature before you to the contrary effect.
15 Second, when we come to the events of 1980 to 1988 and then on
16 into 1989, the background will be important both to understand, as I will
17 suggest through this witness, what this witness and others were doing, and
18 indeed important for the Court to follow when it hears the way we put our
19 case about the accused, which I will be able to put partly through this
20 witness, indeed significantly. But to some degree I do need the
21 background facts.
22 [Trial Chamber confers]
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we think there is some merit in the
24 submission from the accused. At the same time, we understand that you
25 want to put your case through the -- through this witness, and we think if
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that's what you want to do, you should do that directly, and if it is
2 necessary, then you can return to the historical matters.
3 MR. NICE: As Your Honours please. The -- as Your Honours please.
4 I'll get on with it and deal with it on that basis, but I should make it
5 clear because I think there is a difference of -- arguably a difference of
6 view at the time moment.
7 Although it would be the Prosecution's case that the accused has
8 led far, far more evidence of history than is truly of value to you, and
9 we've not dealt with most of it, nevertheless, the Prosecution takes the
10 view that understanding the history from certainly 1966 or 1968 or 1971 or
11 thereabouts onwards is probably important for an understanding of
12 everything that happened thereafter, and to that extent --
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I would say it's certainly important.
14 MR. NICE: And to that extent where issues are joined from those
15 dates onwards, I would be grateful for an opportunity to explore them as
16 briefly as I possibly can. But, Your Honour, I'll deal with the
17 university matter simply in this way --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Part of the question, Mr. Nice, is whether this
19 is the appropriate witness to put that to.
20 MR. NICE: On that topic, Your Honour, my problem is this -- not
21 problem. My position is this: I frequently take the view, or may take
22 the view that witnesses may be going outside that for which they are
23 properly to be called, but I don't want to be seen to be trying to shut
24 evidence out too often or too extensively, and also it's quite difficult,
25 particularly with a litigant in person, to address these matters
1 compactly. So we let a lot of evidence in.
2 I'm quite happy to take a more restrictive -- or to attempt a more
3 restrictive approach, but I've got a suspicion the Chamber would find that
4 wearying, but I'm quite happy to do that.
5 Shall I move on with this particular topic?
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
7 MR. NICE:
8 Q. Mr. Balevic, the university position and the lecturers coming from
9 Albanian is as simple as this, isn't it: That a number of lecturers came
10 to Kosovo in the 1960s and later when the university became fully
11 independent in 1970, and this led to an explosion of education and an
12 increase in education among Kosovo Albanians, and the Serbs didn't like
14 A. What is your question? The Serbs didn't like that?
15 Q. The Serbs didn't like the Albanians becoming over-educated.
16 That's the question, and then I'll follow up with another one.
17 A. Not correct.
18 Q. And one of the reasons they --
19 A. The education of the Albanians did not bother Serbs, but through
20 regular channels and so on. You have to read the speech made by this
21 Milanovic, who established that people got doctorates there in English
22 literature before a commission and not a single member of the said
23 commission knew a word of English. Read that. It's in the book. And he
24 quotes an Albanian professor. Serbs were not bothered by education
25 through normal schooling and according to the regulations prescribed by
1 the state.
2 Mr. Nice, I did not make sweeping statements, as you put it, in a
3 one-sided fashion and insulting to a particular ethnic group. I'll tell
4 you once again: I have a high regard for ethnic Albanians, but I talked
5 about Albanian terror and about Albanian terrorists. What happened before
6 and after KFOR came, when buses were blown up, when people were executed
7 and --
8 Q. I'm going to cut you short --
9 A. Thank you. Cut me short, but you made me give you this kind of
10 answer. I'm sorry, sir.
11 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... answer the questions. And
12 the reason that the Serbs didn't particularly want the Albanians to become
13 educated is this, in part: Before 1966 Serbs occupied a
14 disproportionately large number of important and influential positions in
15 Kosovo compared with their ethnic proportion but after 1966 and the fall
16 of Rankovic and the loss of Serb authority, Albanians took more, a larger
17 percentage of the important jobs and this, along with their increasing
18 education, was something that was not acceptable to or liked by the Serbs.
19 Isn't that the truth?
20 A. Albanians even before the 4th plenum, before 1966, held certain
21 positions. After that plenum, they took over the leadership of Kosovo and
22 Metohija. They held the highest offices in Kosovo and Metohija, including
23 the police, the courts and other organs that were of high importance for
24 Kosovo and Metohija, but they did hold high positions before 1966, too,
25 and I do not accept that they were not represented.
1 Q. Let's now, then, move on beyond 1981, because we've dealt with
2 other witnesses with those demonstrations.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice, as he put it, is trying to
6 establish the reason why the Serbs did not want the Albanians to be
7 educated. That means that he takes as a point of departure an assumption
8 that Serbs did not want Albanians to be educated, and that is totally
9 incorrect. He cannot base his questions on an assumption that is wrong,
10 quite simply.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, these are matters that you can
12 take up later when you have an opportunity to re-examine.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Let's now move beyond 1981, and before we come and look at the
15 activities of you and the others whom you've spoken of, I want one general
16 point for you to deal with.
17 By the 1980s, had this position been achieved in Kosovo amongst
18 the Serbs, namely that every incident involving, for example, a Kosovo
19 Albanian and a Serb would be characterised or instrumentalised as
20 something to do with politics, whereas it was simply an incident of
21 ordinary life? So that, for example, was it not the case that the
22 suggestion was abroad for long enough that there were a lot of rapes by
23 Albanian men on Serb women committed with a political purpose?
24 A. Ordinary incidents were never treated as political incidents, only
25 those that deserved to be viewed as political incidents. As for rapes,
1 you have it all written here; committed where, when, by who, and these are
2 official records.
3 Q. But that is --
4 A. That is in the book Sleepless Nights.
5 Q. But the problem with that, and we can look at it if time allows
6 and if the Court allows me to do it, the problem with that was that there
7 was an inquiry into the incidence of rapes conducted by, amongst others,
8 Sergej Popovic [phoen], but by Serbs, and it was recorded that the
9 incidence of rapes on an interethnic basis was lower than average and
10 therefore of no significance politically at all. And do you know of that
12 A. I do not know of that report that has to do with rape. I never
13 investigated such matters. I really don't know anything about that.
14 Q. Very well. I put my case on that, and I'm now going to move to
15 what you said on page 43 of the transcript on the 25th of January, where
16 you describe the establishment -- where you describe the establishment of
17 a body. Would you like to tell us what the body was called.
18 A. Could you put a question to me? I mean, what is the body that
19 you're asking me about? Could you put a specific question? What are you
20 asking me?
21 Q. The gatherings that started in 1981 which led to delegations going
22 to federal organs becoming a mass movement undertaken by Serbs and
23 Montenegrins who went from Kosovo to sort out their problems was led by a
24 limited number of men and had a name, didn't it? You were one of the men.
25 What was the name of the organisation?
1 A. I was president of the regional conference of the League of
2 Communists of Kosovo Polje, and later on president of the Municipal
3 Committee of the League of Communists in Kosovo Polje. During the time of
4 the meeting in Kosovo Polje I was president of the regional conference and
5 I did not belong to any group of nationalists. The rallies held in the
6 territory of Kosovo and Metohija, the protest rallies and the delegations
7 that were sent, that was the only means that could be resorted to in order
8 to ensure the survival of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija because
9 the state of Yugoslavia and the then authorities in the Republic of
10 Serbia, not to mention Kosovo and Metohija, did not take any measures to
11 save the Serb and Montenegrin people. So we did not belong to any kind of
12 groups that you are talking about, and you cannot put words to that effect
13 into my mouth.
14 Q. The men Grujic, Tusko Ristic [phoen], Kosta Bulatovic, Bosko
15 Budimirovic [phoen], Bogdan Kecman, and Miroslav Solevic, together with,
16 for some of the time, Zvonimir Trajkovic were the leaders of the Serbs
17 from Kosovo, weren't they?
18 A. They were the proponents and the organisers with the help of the
19 people because the people supported them. And then there was the
20 so-called petition 216 of the Kosovo Serbs. As I pointed out earlier on,
21 they worked on organising Serbs and Montenegrins into delegations and at
22 rallies in order to strive for their very survival. Therefore, they
23 cannot be called nationalists. Perhaps individuals said something in --
24 at particular points during the discussion, but something had to be done
25 to save the people.
1 Q. That's -- so we've now identified. There was a group that was
2 running this, and you became a part of that group, didn't you?
3 A. No I did not become a member of that group. I was secretary --
4 rather, president of the regional conference of the League of Communists
5 and president of the Municipal Committee of the League of Communists, and
6 I repeated this to you time and again. And this was a movement. I was
7 not a member of that movement, I was in official politics, but I belonged
8 to this movement, this mass movement of Serbs and Montenegrins for saving
9 Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo and Metohija. It was a mass movement. I
10 was not a member of any group, and they were not nationalists.
11 Q. And you went with that group certainly on one occasion to Belgrade
12 when you saw Dizdarevic, because he's recorded it in his book. That was
13 in 1987, January or February. That's right, isn't it, that you went with
14 those leaders to Dizdarevic?
15 A. It is correct that I was received by Dizdarevic. I don't know who
16 was there at the time, which leaders. That's probably in the book. I
17 would like for you to see who was on the delegation, and perhaps you can
18 challenge what I'm saying now but I think that as for these leaders, as
19 you call them - you call them leaders and I disagree with that - I don't
20 know if there were one or two of them, you should really check this in the
21 book because I haven't read the book, actually.
22 Q. Let's deal with the group overall. The group started at the
23 beginning of the 1980s. It worked its way through to the important events
24 in the early part of 1987. It stayed in existence until the end of 1988
25 when it was disbanded. Am I right that it was disbanded at the end of
2 A. I don't know when this group was disbanded, when it stopped
3 working. I did not really register these dates. I don't know.
4 Q. I'm going to suggest to you that that's not an honest answer and
5 it can't be, because this group has been written about by people like
6 Solevic in detail and by others, and you knew that it was disbanded at the
7 end of 1988 by this accused, don't you?
8 A. I assert that what you are saying is not truthful and sincere. I
9 don't know when this group was disbanded and when it stopped working.
10 Q. Very well. Just tell me, Vojislav Vucinic, who was he?
11 A. This was also a man who belonged to those persons who led the
12 people, and one of the proponents of petition 216 together with Kosta
13 Bulatovic, and they were getting people to sign the petition. Otherwise,
14 he was a railways conductor.
15 Q. Precisely. Like you, he worked on the railways and travelled on
16 the railways. Was he the person who communicated between your group or
17 the group and Belgrade on a regular basis?
18 A. I know that he did what many people did in the interests of Serbs
19 and Montenegrins, that is to say the non-Albanian population that was
20 threatened. What kind of communications he had and with whom is something
21 that he did not report to me about, and I cannot say anything about it.
22 Q. Before the accused came to see the Kosovo Serbs and others at
23 Kosovo Polje in the beginning of 1987, had he been in touch with your
24 group, directly or indirectly, through someone like Vojislav Vucinic?
25 A. I first heard of Slobodan Milosevic when he became president of
1 the Central Committee, and my first contact was when I called him on the
2 16th of April, 1987 -- or the 17th, after the rally held before Zoran
3 Grujic's house, when I called him and asked him to come. That was my
4 first contact with him. I called him as the president of the Central
5 Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia, and I took a great
6 responsibility upon myself in this way. And Azem and the likes of him,
7 wanted to expel me because of it. Now, whether anybody else had contacts
8 with him before that is something that you will have to ask other people.
9 Q. As to the meeting on the 20th and the 24th and 5th of April of
10 1987 for which we've seen a video and for which you've brought records, I
11 have some propositions to put to you, and I'd like your comments on them.
12 Until this meeting, or until shortly before this meeting, maybe,
13 the accused had shown no interest in Kosovo, to your knowledge.
14 A. I didn't say that. That is your arbitrary observation.
15 Q. Can you tell us, then, please, what documented interest in Kosovo
16 had the accused shown before he was invited to come to the first of those
17 meetings in April 1987?
18 A. I don't know. I said I heard of him when he became president of
19 the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. Now, before,
20 what he was before, I don't know. You would have to ask your accused
21 Mr. Milosevic that.
22 Q. And indeed the point you make is one that the Prosecution really
23 accepts, that he showed no particular signs of leadership or seeking to
24 lead the country until shortly before this period, did he? He wasn't
25 known as a man seeking leadership of his country.
1 A. From the moment we in this specific case linked to the Kosovo
2 Polje meeting, that is to say I addressed the president of the Central
3 Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia who was the president,
4 Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, and his arrival, my -- the only person who found
5 the courage and capability of tackling the problem with the situation that
6 prevailed, with the drama that was unfolding for the Serbs and the
7 Montenegrins in Kosovo and Metohija was him. And from that time on, he
8 had -- he understood what we meant. Our meetings in Kosovo Polje were not
9 a support to Slobodan Milosevic but a support to the struggle for the
10 survival of the Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo and Metohija, and as luck
11 would have it, Slobodan Milosevic was there who was the only man who had
12 the courage to take upon himself the responsibility of solving and
13 tackling the problem of life together for Serbs, Montenegrins, and anybody
14 else in Kosovo and Metohija.
15 Q. Between the first meeting on the 20th and the second meeting on
16 the 24th, did his secretary Mico Koljevic [phoen] come down to see those
17 of you who were leading these meetings and organise how they were being
19 A. No, I don't remember that, the meeting that you're referring to.
20 I had a meeting with the regional conference. I organised that, the one
21 on the 24th. Contrary to the decisions made by the provincial and
22 municipal boards who demanded that it be an active and with 20 people
23 taking part in the discussions. So this is the first time I'm hearing
24 about Mico Koljevic having arrived. I don't know. I don't remember that.
25 There's no reason why I shouldn't tell you if I knew.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... you know the secretary Mico
2 Koljevic, don't you?
3 A. I can't remember who the man is, to be quite frank. I can't
4 remember. Many people came during that period of time, especially after
5 the advent of Slobodan Milosevic, but I can't remember everybody who came
6 and marched through Kosovo and Metohija --
7 Q. And --
8 A. -- to help us, to help us with our survival. I really can't say.
9 I can't be precise on that matter. I just don't remember Mico Koljevic
10 for the time being.
11 Q. And that second meeting that's been elaborated on by you in
12 evidence at some length was to a significant degree stage managed for a
13 purpose, including by the preparation of the bricks to be thrown at the
14 police in order to create the sort of problem that the accused could then
15 go out and apparently solve. True or false?
16 A. Not true. That is a complete fabrication and false.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just technically speaking, in the
20 transcript here it says Mico Koljevic. It was Mico Jakovljevic. Mica
21 Jakovljevic, and Mica Jakovljevic was never my secretary. That's the
22 second point. So the man we're talking about here is Mica Jakovljevic,
23 and he was one of the executive secretaries of the Presidency of the
24 Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia and most probably,
25 like many others, he came and went, went to and from Kosovo.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you for the correction.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. And you see, Solevic has written about this, or been interviewed
4 about this in various places. Have you never read his accounts?
5 A. I've never read what he said nor do I know what he said.
6 Q. I can give you an opportunity to consider that perhaps a little
7 later, but help us with this: Is it not right that that meeting, the
8 demonstrators for that meeting included men armed specifically with
9 pistols and being 2 or 300 men, young men, who would be in a position to
10 fight the local police? True or false.
11 A. False. I state that it is false.
12 Q. When the accused arrived, was there a problem with changing venue
13 from one hall to another?
14 A. You've mixed up the dates there. I'm going to have to correct you
15 on that score. The first meeting at which Slobodan Milosevic, that is to
16 say the president, was invited to attend was the meeting in front of the
17 primary school called Aco Marovic in Kosovo Polje. And the second
18 meeting, and that's the meeting -- the one held in the Aco Marovic school
19 building was supposed to have been held in the ZTP building at the railway
20 station, the railway station hall. It was the largest hall. Because
21 people thought that the discussion would be better there, better premises.
22 But when the Serb people learnt that Slobodan Milosevic was due to arrive,
23 then people came in from all parts of Kosovo and Metohija, because you
24 can't hide anything in Kosovo and Metohija. There were streams of people
25 coming in, a large number of people, so that it was physically impossible
1 to hold the meeting in the hall, but we went from the railway station
2 building together, Slobodan Milosevic and all of us, and held the meeting
3 in front of the primary school building in Kosovo Polje. And the decision
4 was taken there whereby the inhabitants from Kosovo and Metohija, Serbs,
5 Montenegrins, and jeopardised Albanians should pick their delegates to
6 attend the meeting to be held on the 24th in the Cultural Centre called
7 the Brata Krajnovic [phoen] Cultural Centre.
8 Q. And that centre was convenient to where the lorry was parked with
9 the stones for use in throwing at the police in order to create the
10 disturbance that the accused could then go out and quell; correct?
11 A. Mr. Nice, you can think up whatever you like, that there were tank
12 units there or whatever. I claim that that is completely untrue and
13 incorrect. There was no truck, no lorry of any kind. That is just an
14 arbitrary observation that wishes to diminish the importance of the
15 meeting that was held there.
16 Q. As to the meeting itself, there was a large degree of preparation
17 and orchestration of the speeches that were delivered, orchestrated by you
18 and -- not necessarily by you individually but by your colleagues;
20 A. What speech are you referring to?
21 Q. The speeches in the hall.
22 A. Because there were many speeches delivered.
23 Q. Yes. They were orchestrated. They were planned. They were
24 anti-Kosovo Albanian, and that was by organisation.
25 A. Please be specific. Whose speeches? Which speech was organised
1 and orchestrated in advance?
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... it in this way: We've looked
3 at a video, haven't we, of some of the speeches of that however many hour
4 session it was.
5 A. I don't have the right to ask a question, but I should like to
6 observe this: What speech do you say was orchestrated in advance? Which
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you have to be more specific so he can
9 answer the question.
10 MR. NICE:
11 Q. This is the problem: The speeches we've looked at come on a
12 videotape, and I want to know by whom the videotape was prepared. Was it
13 prepared by the police, the DB police?
14 A. I state that not a single speech that was delivered there, that I
15 myself did not contact anybody there nor take part in any of that. They
16 were all delegates from all parts of Kosovo and Metohija, would take me
17 five days' holiday to tour them all. Everybody had a speech of their own
18 that they wished to deliver. So it is not true. It is false that any
19 speech was organised and prepared by the police or whoever, that they took
20 part in compiling it. I presented my own speech there. I compiled the
21 speech. It was looked at at the regional conference, but otherwise your
22 observation is simply not true.
23 Q. And Azem Vllasi, who has also written about this, and other Kosovo
24 Albanians were intimidated from speaking by the organised presence that
25 had been made available for this accused to listen to and to address;
2 A. Firstly, Azem Vllasi was never afraid in his speeches. He always
3 spoke from a nationalistic standpoint. He was never afraid of the
4 consequences of delivering such a speech. And one such speech was the one
5 in June 1985, when the column of Serbs started out from Klina and Patos
6 [phoen] and there was no electricity for 41 days. And there was a police
7 cordon which prevented the Serbs leaving the area and going to Belgrade.
8 So not a single Albanian was afraid of anything. There were two Albanians
9 who took the floor, but there were others there although they didn't speak
10 on the occasion.
11 Q. At the end of the meeting, and I want to deal with the meeting
12 comprehensively although in summary, at the end of the meeting the accused
13 -- needn't trouble with that. At the end of the meeting, Azem Vllasi and
14 the others in authority did review the complaints that had been made at
15 the meeting, didn't they, in a responsible way?
16 A. I'm not aware of --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... comments
18 by --
19 MR. NICE: By the various speakers.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not aware of the fact that they
21 assessed those speeches, that they complained about them and had their
22 complaints about what was said. I can't say. They should have done that
23 before. They should have assessed the complaints made by the Serbs and
24 Montenegrins and all the speeches they held before that, but they weren't
25 interested in anything like that.
1 MR. NICE:
2 Q. I see. So that your approach to this meeting is that it wasn't a
3 meeting to resolve a problem because you're convinced that they were never
4 going to resolve the problem; is that right?
5 A. The object of that meeting was for us to present the problems, to
6 set forth the problems that were facing the Serbs and Montenegrins in
7 Kosovo and Metohija; their drama, the persecution, the terror exerted
8 against them. And 76 participants took the floor and spoke at the
9 meeting, and the meeting went on for 13 hours. So the aim was to inform
10 not only Slobodan Milosevic but him firstly as president of the Central
11 Committee but the whole of Yugoslavia and the broader international
12 community as to what was happening to the Serbs and Montenegrins in Kosovo
13 and Metohija who did not merit this, deserve this at all because the Serb
14 people were never conquerors, were never conquerors.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we're at the time for the break. We
16 will adjourn now for 20 minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. Staying with the meeting and its aftermath, Mr. Balevic, one of
22 the things you told us on the 25th of January, when speaking of the
23 accused coming to these meetings, was that, "It could have been some other
24 person, some other Milosevic, but you were there. You happened to be
25 there. So we invited you. You accepted our invitation."
1 And that's what, looking back, is the truth, isn't it? There was
2 a movement of Serbs in Kosovo led by the people we've identified - I've
3 identified - and it needed a leader. The accused answered your invitation
4 and took the opportunity to become the leader of the Serbs. Isn't that
6 A. No, that's not correct. He supported, listening the whole night
7 about the terror against the Serbs and the laments and all the sadness of
8 it. He listened to that on the 24th and the 25th and then he did what he
9 could do to save the people of Kosovo and Metohija. The object was not to
10 proclaim him a leader.
11 Q. No. He saw the opportunity for leadership by leading the Serbs of
12 Kosovo and he took it, and for a time he seemed to be serving the
13 interests of the Serbs of Kosovo well. Isn't that correct?
14 A. He never took any opportunity. He just stood at the head of the
15 struggle for the salvation of the Serbs and Montenegrins. That's my
16 observation. And you can ask President Milosevic the same question you
17 just asked me.
18 Q. What would you think of this description by one of your colleagues
19 in that organisation or in that grouping: "He entered the hall as the
20 president of the Central Committee. He left a leader of the Serb nation.
21 We asked for a leader and we got a Tsar." Does that describe what
22 happened at that meeting?
23 A. No. I don't know which colleague said that. We didn't ask for a
24 leader, neither did we get a Tsar. We asked for a president, and the
25 president came forward.
1 Q. Let's move on before we review events generally. You seem to be
2 saying something about to whom the words "you will not be beaten" was said
3 and it was only to a small number of people on either side. I didn't
4 quite understand that. To whom were these words being said?
5 A. You understood me well, then, but not now. They were said --
6 well, just a few people standing round could have heard those words.
7 Q. You know, and we can see this in due course from the head of the
8 television company concerned, that those words were put out on every
9 channel that night or all the major channels that night and on every news
10 time, weren't they?
11 A. Well, what does that mean? What answer do you want me to give?
12 Q. Those words, and I've already raised with you the possibility that
13 the whole thing was in some way rehearsed or planned. Those words were
14 the lead news item on the news programmes that night, all over the former
15 Yugoslavia, or certainly all over Serbia, and the use of those words
16 generated Serb nationalist feeling, didn't they, the broadcasting of those
18 A. I stand by what I said on the 25th of January, that the words that
19 he said on that occasion could just have been heard by a small circle of
20 people. Now, how this was commented and broadcast over television I
21 really can't say. It's not up to me to make an assessment of that. But
22 I claim that it was not addressed in order to be abused at all and that
23 nobody in Serbia and Montenegro or, rather, that criminals, that people
24 shouldn't be beaten, and so on.
25 Q. You know the man Dusan Mitevic?
1 A. Yes, I do know him but I never had any contacts with him.
2 Q. It was his television company, amongst others, that put the
3 programme out.
4 MR. NICE: And incidentally, Your Honours, his interview in The
5 Death of Yugoslavia film is already an exhibit put in by Mr. de la
7 Q. Let's move on. After this meeting in April of 1987, as you know,
8 various people lost office and the accused became president of the -- in
9 place of Stambolic, didn't he?
10 A. Yes, he did come. But as far as cadres policy, personnel policy
11 that was waged in the party leadership, I really don't know. It wasn't
12 accessible to me. I was a small man, a small leader of a committee and I
13 don't know that.
14 Q. But even so, you'll know as a member of the Communist Party and
15 subsequently, as we're going to discover, a member of the SPS, you know
16 the general important events, and one of the other important events was
17 that a man called Dragisa Pavlovic was defeated in the Serbian Communist
18 Party, was he not, and turfed out of office?
19 A. Yes. I just know when he was replaced.
20 Q. And he was the man who had criticised --
21 A. But --
22 Q. He criticised this accused for what he said in Kosovo Polje and
23 not pursuing to the end the line of brotherhood and unity which was then,
24 it may be thought, holding the former Yugoslavia together, or capable of
25 doing so.
1 A. I cannot accept your assertion that you're highlighting that
2 Slobodan Milosevic, the president, did not keep the brotherhood and unity
3 line. He confirmed it at his speech in Gazimestan, the cultural centre
4 there, and this was seen there, too, on the 25th of January. As to the
5 replacement of Dragisa Pavlovic and other functionaries, please understand
6 me; I was neither present nor do I know about it. I just heard that news,
7 just like everybody else, on television.
8 Q. Going back to the words "You will not be beaten," if they were
9 intended, as you were suggesting, for a narrow audience, could you confirm
10 this: At the various demonstrations against this accused in the 1990s
11 when Serbs themselves were facing his police and it may be the army, did
12 they not then shout out in their own defence that he had told them that
13 they would not be beaten? Was that not a regular occurrence in the 1990s,
14 that they shouted this, or some of them shouted back this phrase to him?
15 A. That was an abuse of the words he addressed, which was later used
16 and abused --
17 Q. So how come, then --
18 A. -- by the opposition. It wasn't that this was said in the way
19 that the individuals harnessed this to their own purposes and for
20 promoting themselves.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, were the words "You will not be beaten"
22 or "You will not be beaten again"?
23 MR. NICE: I think the second rather than the first.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: They're slightly different connotations.
25 MR. NICE:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. But we come to 1988, and your grouping or the grouping of people
2 led by those we've identified remained in existence, and tell us, please,
3 what it did in 1988.
4 A. I'm not aware of what it did in 1988. I've already said that I
5 was the party secretary officially, but I wasn't with that group and I
6 don't know what it did or did not do. You will have to ask them that.
7 What were you saying?
8 Q. Were you still working for the railways?
9 A. No. I retired.
10 Q. Do you know who --
11 A. And I retired as party president in 1990 in Kosovo Polje. I think
12 that I might have stayed on for a few more days, but in 1989 I took up my
13 duties as party president.
14 Q. So as a functioning local politician, you know that during 1988,
15 groups of Serbs were sent to various places to demonstrate, weren't they?
16 A. Not to demonstrate. They went in various ways to seek support and
17 the salvation of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija. They went to all
18 the federal organs, to the Assembly, to the Presidency, they travelled to
19 Montenegro, but they didn't come across support to save them and to
20 support the Serb people and introduce law and order into Kosovo and
21 Metohija. Had that happened, none of what happened later would have come
22 to pass. The only people who supported them was the church and later the
23 arrival of Slobodan Milosevic, of course.
24 Q. Mr. Miroslav -- Miroslav Solevic, one of the principal leaders of
25 this group, any reason that you can think of why he should give a false
1 account of the history of these matters?
2 A. I don't know about that. You will have to call Solevic and have
3 him explain it to you.
4 Q. I'm asking you. I'm asking you, Mr. Balevic.
5 A. I don't know about that. I had no contacts with Solevic after I
6 left Kosovo and Metohija, and I never read his books, so I don't know.
7 Q. Your group, this group of which you were an active member in April
8 of 1987, in the account of others who led it, had become an important
9 instrument in the hands of this accused, which is why I'm pursuing it with
10 such -- in the detail I am. You had become an important instrument in his
11 hands, and as a reflection of that, it was the demonstrations of this
12 group that led to the overthrow of the government in Vojvodina and to the
13 government in Montenegro. Correct or incorrect?
14 A. Again, I'm giving you an answer. I never belonged to any kind of
15 group, and I was not involved in any kind of grouping. Please don't ask
16 me that way again because I'm not going to answer. I was not an
17 instrument in the hands of Slobodan Milosevic. I was president of the
18 party, of the League of Communists, and later the SPS, and I'm proud of
19 that because I worked in favour of the brotherhood and unity of the
20 different peoples of Kosovo and Metohija. You said that the leadership
21 was replaced or removed in Kosovo and Metohija and in Vojvodina and
22 whatever else you said. We did not remove them. It is their own negative
23 policy that removed them.
24 Q. You sent demonstrators to do whatever they did, sometimes with
25 some violence, and they brought those governments or administrations down;
2 A. Not correct.
3 Q. Not only --
4 A. Not correct.
5 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
6 A. Not correct. We were not sending any demonstrators anywhere.
7 These were peaceful gatherings, rallies without a single incident. There
8 was not a single incident there. There was not a single negative
9 nationalist slogan there. These were peaceful meetings and rallies in
10 favour of the survival of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija.
11 Q. So did you go on these meetings yourself that you can say they
12 were peaceful without nationalist slogans?
13 A. No. I attended one rally, the one in Nis, and I can make
14 assertions in that respect. I did not attend others, but I know others
15 who went to other meetings and rallies. They are my friends, comrades,
16 and this was also shown on television. There were no slogans against the
17 Albanian people.
18 Q. In the same way as I suppose you will say that there were no
19 nationalist slogans at the Gazimestan event in 1989.
20 A. I'm going to give you the same answer.
21 Q. We'll come to that shortly, but just to stay with 1988 and 1989,
22 is it right that your group or this group was prepared and in a position
23 to overthrow the Bosnian leadership in the same way as the Vojvodina and
24 Montenegrin leadership had been approached? Is that right?
25 A. Not right.
1 Q. But that it was the accused who, on this occasion showing his
2 control of your group, said no and linked his refusal to surrendering
3 Jajce for some reason.
4 A. I don't know what your accused, President Slobodan Milosevic,
5 said, but my assertion in response to your first question is that it is
6 not correct. That is to say we did not overthrow any Bosnian leadership
7 or whatever.
8 MR. NICE: Your Honours, the matters I've been asking questions of
9 are matters I would prefer to put to the witness through the medium of, in
10 this case, newspaper articles where interviews with individuals concerned
11 are set out and would regard it as a fairer method so that he can see the
12 basis on which I'm asking the questions. I'm in Your Honours' hands.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: How many?
14 MR. NICE: There are three altogether. Quite short. One
15 interview over three days.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you bear in mind that he has denied being a
18 part of any group.
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it's denied being part of the group. He's
20 also essentially involved in the 1987 event, he's in political office.
21 He's shown extremely broad knowledge of matters other than the matters
22 that I'm asking him about, and I would prefer, with Your Honours' leave,
23 to be able to show him the material that underpins my questioning him.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Show him first.
25 MR. KAY: Can I raise an objection to this?
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
2 MR. KAY: Because what is happening is in fact another route to
3 try and get evidence before the Trial Chamber that's not adopted by the
4 witness so that the Prosecution have a further platform of evidential
5 material. The witness can only speak from his own knowledge and what he
6 personally knows, which has been the basis for him being called as a
7 witness. That's been reaffirmed on several occasions. To put materials
8 of statements said by other people on other occasions that he's not a
9 party to serves no evidential purpose with this witness. What is then
10 being achieved if material such as this is put before the Trial Chamber?
11 In our submission, it doesn't advance the case any further at all.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mustn't we see first the witness's response?
13 MR. KAY: Questions have been asked. The way to do it is to ask
14 the question and if it is adopted or it has some sort of basis or
15 relevance, then it can go forward from there, but the technique that's
16 been used is that the document goes in, we go through it wholesale and
17 then he says, "Well, I don't know anything about that. It's nothing to do
18 with me," and then the Trial Chamber's left with the position of having
19 spent half an hour on some document that the witness has denied in the
20 first place or has not adopted in the first place.
21 JUDGE KWON: Whether it is right or wrong, has it not been our
22 practice, be it Defence or Prosecution?
23 MR. KAY: Well, no, not in those -- those terms. There were many
24 rulings during the Prosecution case when the ruling was, "Well, he doesn't
25 know about that. Your turn will come to call your evidence," was the
1 frequent ruling by Judge May in the first phase of the case, the
2 Prosecution case. What is being undertaken here is the same technique but
3 they've had their case. They have had their chance to put their case on
4 the indictment.
5 JUDGE KWON: We are not going to admit those documents. Is there
6 any danger to put to the witness when the witness is able to cope with it?
7 MR. KAY: That can be done but that has not been the technique
8 that has been employed. In my submission, we haven't done it in a brief,
9 simple way such as that. We've gone into a rather elaborate reading
10 through screeds of material said by someone else on some other occasion
11 that gets on the record and creates an impression within the Prosecution
12 case that they wish to serve to the Court rather than dealing with the
13 witness as a witness and what he has to say about the matters he gave
14 evidence upon.
15 In cross-examination, of course, under the Rules you ask questions
16 on matters raised by the witness, and this is a departure from that
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, if I may comment on that or answer that.
19 It certainly isn't outside of what the witness has given, and in any
20 event, I'm allowed to go outside if it relates to my case. He's given a
21 lot of evidence about this meeting in more detail than we covered it in
22 our case. The -- the accused is entitled to do that and it's then my duty
23 to meet it and to deal with it. And there is a great deal of material
24 going to show that the way this witness has characterised this meeting,
25 the way this witness has characterised the activity of the men involved in
1 this meeting may be wrong. It's absolutely my duty to ensure that the
2 Chamber has the best material, and in the real world of this type of case
3 artificially to shut out a body of interview material would be harmful to
4 the truth-seeking function that we're all engaged in. And I would invite
5 the Chamber -- incidentally, I should say that after the newspaper
6 articles there are also some tape recordings of various of the people
7 we've referred to saying things directly to the camera about what they
9 Now, it would be entirely artificial to exclude that from your
10 consideration when they are men involved with this witness in the things
11 that he was doing at the time. For example, on the stone -- the
12 stone-throwing incident. There is the clearest admission or explanation
13 by Solevic of exactly what was going on.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is he involved in any of the interviews?
15 MR. NICE: Solevic is fully interviewed in Death of Yugoslavia,
16 the transcript is available, and there's an extract which says exactly
17 what they were doing with the stones and how they were setting it up.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, the witness.
19 MR. NICE: I'm sorry. The witness, he's not, no. No. He was not
20 involved, but these were the people with whom he was associated.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll consider.
22 MR. NICE: Thank you.
23 MR. KAY: Just one matter in reply because it is relevant to this.
24 The way to do it is to produce the material from the case they called, if
25 it's relevant to the indictment, and put that material to the witness,
1 because then that is the foundation of the indictment in the Prosecution
2 case. That is what has to be met. Mr. Nice doesn't have to meet a case
3 at all. That's topsy-turvy. That's not how the trial is being run. He
4 doesn't have to meet a case. He has to put a case and he puts the case
5 from his evidential material that he's called in his phase of the trial.
6 That's what should be put to the witness.
7 MR. NICE: Really, I'm sorry, I must explain to my learned friend
8 through the Court -- I know, but this matter was discussed in Mr. Kay's
9 absence last week and therefore it was - I think it was last week or the
10 week before with Ms. Higgins - and it was fully explored why in the
11 particular circumstances of these trials where cases can be broadened the
12 position just simply isn't like an ordinary domestic trial, and the matter
13 is on the record. That's enough for me.
14 MR. KAY: I did read the transcripts and was fully briefed as to
15 what was said.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, this is certainly troubling me. It
18 troubled me before. It may in fact never have been dealt with in the life
19 of the Tribunal, but you're really making no bones about it that what
20 you're trying to do here is introduce material which you have got a fair
21 idea the witness isn't going to accept, but you're going to invite us to
22 treat it as positive material in support of your case at a later stage.
23 Now, that is not consistent with the adversarial presentation of a case.
24 That's not to say it's not necessarily the procedure that should be
25 followed here, because we're facing up to perhaps an unusual situation in
1 that we have a very substantial body of material, a lengthy case, and a
2 Prosecution finding that perhaps there is material that would assist the
3 Trial Chamber that wasn't presented in the course of the Prosecution case.
4 So we may be dealing here with two separate issues which require to be
5 considered in two separate ways. One is the use of the material as
6 cross-examination fodder, as it were, because you want it to prompt the
7 witness and see if you can get him to accept something. But separately,
8 you're blatantly, I think, offering it as positive evidence in support of
9 your case whether he accepts it or not.
10 Now, can you assist me on any authority --
11 MR. NICE: First --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: -- within the Tribunal that gives us guidance on how
13 to deal with this situation other than on purely adversarial terms?
14 MR. NICE: I think it would be helpful if I take Your Honour's I
15 think possibly three points in reverse order.
16 The structural problems we face in this case now, but in this type
17 of case generally, is the one to which I referred a couple of weeks ago
18 and is going to recur and recur, and it is that the Prosecution advances
19 its case at a particular breadth or narrowness appropriate to the position
20 it finds itself in at the time it launches the case. The accused, in
21 either cross-examination --
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I think -- I am clear about the strategical
23 difficulty. It's how you deal with it that's my problem.
24 MR. NICE: So that the broadened case is something for which I
25 can't complain about the accused and I don't seek to stop him if he says
1 not just that this meeting happened but it is a reflection of the highest
2 principles of democracy and everybody was behaving impeccably, and so on.
3 In our judgement, we then have to meet that as an issue to an extent yet
4 to be identified.
5 First, and then I come back because I suggested it may be two or
6 three points. That's the first point.
7 The other point divides, as I think Your Honour pointed out, into
8 two. It's unfortunate that the witness is here, but I don't seek to waste
9 time by making this point in his absence.
10 There can be witnesses and there may be many of them in this case
11 on both sides who are never going to budge an inch from a particular
12 position, and the Chamber's going to be assisted in cross-examination on
13 issues of credibility by the knowledge that there is a body of material
14 contrary to the stated position of the witness. And so one of the values
15 of material of the kind that I'm seeking to explore with this witness is
16 effectively a credibility issue for him. It is, it may be thought, hard
17 to value somebody at a hundred per cent of what he says if you find that
18 there are recurring, repeated reports of others close to the events,
19 associates of him and so on, saying entirely different things whether
20 faced to the camera or in newspaper interviews over several days. And in
21 the real world, it would be -- this is the real world, but in the real
22 court world that these trials compel us and require us to live, it would
23 be quite unrealistic, in our submission, for you to shut yourselves out
24 from that material for that purpose.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, one disadvantage of that procedure, it
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 seems to me, and this arises from the adversarial system, is that the
2 accused will not have an opportunity to cross-examine the persons who made
3 those statements.
4 MR. NICE: Absolutely true, and that's a reality of having no
5 hearsay rule, which we don't have. We don't have a hearsay rule.
6 Material is prima facie admissible. And it is your functions, difficult
7 but nevertheless regular in these courts, to weigh the value of the
9 The third potential value of material like this is that it may
10 actually go to prove the assertions that are made. That of course is much
11 less likely something I'm going to press if at all on the basis of mere
12 newspaper reports or even television interviews, if the material stands
13 alone. But of course if there's other material available to the same
14 effect, or if the witness acknowledges part of the hearsay material, why,
15 then the position is different and it does become evidence of the
16 assertion that is made.
17 Now, it seems to me that is a, I hope, fair and candid analysis of
18 the position we're in, and Your Honour used the word "blatant" but
19 straightforward is, I hope, the way I would describe it. I haven't
20 thought to dissemble in any way what I'm doing, and with this particular
21 witness, knowing that in the last few weeks you've become more concerned,
22 particularly His Honour Judge Bonomy, about this evidence. I started off
23 with some propositions and then explained what I was going to do.
24 And incidentally, on The Death of Yugoslavia video, what we've
25 done is prepared an extract, stripping it of all commentary so that all
1 you have on this very topic of this meeting is the extracts from
2 interviews with various participants whose full transcripts are, of
3 course, always available.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Your basic legal argument for its admission is
5 that under 89(C), all evidence is admissible if it is relevant and
7 MR. NICE: And it is relevant and probative on a common sense
8 basis. On a legal basis, at least for the first of my two purposes.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: And this notwithstanding that the particular
10 witness to which the material is put does not adopt.
11 MR. NICE: We don't know if he's going to in part or whole, but if
12 he doesn't it's still of value because, of course, newspapers are prime
13 facie self-producing documents, and a video of somebody -- a video of
14 somebody who the witness will inevitably recognise, because the people on
15 the video are Stambolic, Solevic, Vllasi, I'm trying to think whoever
16 else, maybe one or two others, are all people he will recognise. And that
17 is, in our respectful submission --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Judge Kwon reminds me that in the Prosecution
19 case, in some instances the accused was allowed to put the particular
20 newspaper article or whatever it was but it wasn't admitted if the witness
21 had no connection with it. In other cases, he wasn't allowed to put it at
22 all. As Mr. Kay said, he was told his turn would come.
23 MR. NICE: And as I've made clear before, the difference there is
24 his turn may come comes with the certainty that his turn will come. In
25 our case with a broader --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: You don't have another term.
2 MR. NICE: With the broader case to confront, we don't know that
3 we'll have another turn. Just to give an example, on -- of these
4 witnesses, potential witnesses who deal with this matter, and we
5 respectfully suggest that this is actually quite an important matter. I
6 think Mitevic is, I think, no longer with us. He's the television man.
7 Stambolic, of course, is dead. Solevic is alive but who knows whether
8 he's susceptible to compulsion. Vllasi is somebody who you know I've been
9 suggesting is somebody on list B right from the beginning of the case and
10 I suspect would be available, and I can't remember whoever else there
11 is. And there is Dizdarevic as well. He certainly is alive. He's
12 written a book.
13 So that from this passage of the expanded case of the accused
14 alone, there could be as many as three witnesses who we would seek to
15 call. Possibly more. And of course a further and very valuable function
16 that having the material presented through the witness to the Court as a
17 legitimate part of cross-examination is that the Court will be better in a
18 position to decide in due course which of these witnesses, if any, it
19 wishes to hear from.
20 I go back to my earlier basic position, that of course material of
21 this kind, not adopted, not supporting other live evidence, although
22 technically I could seek to rely on it, I don't think there's any chance I
23 would do so, not for the establishment of its truth. But would I rely on
24 it to go to show that the witness is somebody about whom the Court should
25 have some credibility concerns? Most certainly I might, and in our
1 submission, that would be a proper thing to do.
2 So I don't know if that answers His Honour Judge Bonomy's concerns
3 in order or reverse order.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: What it does do is suggest that there isn't any law
5 on the matter.
6 MR. NICE: I'm sorry, the question on the law. We haven't done a
7 recent check, and, no, I don't believe there is any law. I'll correct
8 myself overnight if I may. And of course any material looked at between
9 now and then could be set one side mentally if I turn up an authority
10 contrary to my position. And finally, on the law, I think, as I know I
11 made clear in the filing that we made at the beginning of the year about
12 exhibits, the rulings during the Prosecution case had some -- some
13 irregularities. Inevitably, in cases of this sort, total consistency was
14 not possible, but I think Your Honour is right that sometimes the
15 documents went in to be looked at and sometimes they didn't, and I would
16 ask that in the -- this part of the case it's very important they be
17 looked at.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's a very important legal issue as to the
19 applicable law in the Tribunal, and part of the problem, I think, relates
20 to what is the applicable law for the Tribunal. We have said that it is
21 sui generis. Some people say it is an amalgam of the two legal systems.
22 But here we dip into the civil law system for the substantive Rule, which
23 is in Rule 89(C), which says that all evidence is admissible if it is
24 relevant and probative.
25 But it seems to me, Mr. Kay, that to deny its admission on the
1 basis that the evidence is not adopted by a particular witness we are
2 dipping into the adversarial system.
3 MR. KAY: In fact it's not hearsay at all. It's nothing to do
4 with hearsay, this material. It fails the probative and relevance test.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not --
6 MR. KAY: And phrases such as "expanded issues" on a case like
7 this fill us with dread. The trial should be on the indictment and the
8 case called by the Prosecution. All trials work that way, be they under
9 the civil code or the common law code. And the point is here that the
10 accused is meeting a case on the indictment that was brought against him
11 and a Prosecution case of 300 days, but then coming back is
12 cross-examination on the issues raised by this witness in relation to the
13 indictment, but on top of that something else that fills me with dread is
14 this phrase "there's a body of material out there that you should be aware
15 of." Well, I'd hate to be put on trial in relation to a system of justice
16 that had a body of material out there that the Judges should be aware of
17 but I don't have to face and deal with.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice may want to reconsider that. But you
19 say that the evidence is neither relevant nor probative.
20 MR. KAY: Exactly. It's nothing. It's on the indictment.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice says it may go to credibility.
22 MR. KAY: It may go to credibility, he says. That's a very wide
23 phrase over -- What status does the material have? He can put a
24 question, the witness not adopt it or it be denied. Then what is the
25 material? Our submission is this; that it is used in these trials, and as
1 a trial lawyer I can see it happening day in and day out in this Tribunal
2 by the Prosecution as a vehicle of introducing extra material against the
3 accused that he's simply unable to deal with. And that's why it fails the
4 probative and relevance test, because it simply comes from nowhere. It's
5 not based on the case which he has to meet which ended on the 25th of
6 February, or whatever the date was, in 2004. It's extra material that is
7 being adduced that was not part of the case on the indictment.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me hear from -- Mr. Milosevic, do you have
9 anything to say on this, any submissions on this issue?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, this propaganda BBC
11 broadcast that Mr. Nice constantly refers to is the turning point for all
12 Mr. Nice's theses. Of course in addition to various interviews given by
13 my political adversaries, and I don't think that's serious, although a
14 farce, of course, isn't something that is serious ever and nothing highly
15 respected either. They are part of the real world but as a caricature.
16 So I think we lack seriousness if we keep going back to some propaganda
17 broadcasts and some statements made by my political adversaries who knows
18 how many years later, post festum, after the events. But I don't mind.
19 You can do what you want. You can show whatever you like here, call
20 whomever you like as a witness here.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice.
22 MR. NICE: I'm sorry, Your Honour, but there is one point I really
23 must make, in two parts. I'm grateful to one of my colleagues who reminds
24 me, I'm sure I didn't tell you this at the beginning: Apparently Vllasi
25 was originally rejected as a witness by the Chamber or indicated as being
1 rejected because he was covering a period of time, the 1980s, rather than
2 the more relevant time, and that, of course, was the way the case was
3 constructed and accepted.
4 The Chamber will remember that when the accused's list of
5 witnesses came in, we raised on general admissibility grounds some of the
6 witnesses who were extending the history to earlier period and suggested
7 that they shouldn't be called at all, or alternatively that their evidence
8 should be confined, and our motions were rejected because the Chamber
9 said, well, you've put in evidence of background through various witnesses
10 and therefore it's only right and fair for him to do the same. So the
11 case has expanded. And we make no complaint of Your Honours' rulings
12 because we were, in advancing the motions we did, testing to see how far
13 Your Honours, having heard the case, wanted the case to be developed if
14 the accused was so minded.
15 But so when Mr. Kay says -- and if I used the phrase "out there,"
16 this is a terrible slip for which I hope -- which I can, I hope, be
17 forgiven but it's not a question of a case out there, material out there,
18 it's a question of material that's either been served probably already as
19 68 material or otherwise or is available. I can't speak for every piece
20 of material but most of this stuff has been served already. It's material
21 that it is necessary to explore given the broadened case. So that's the
22 only point I want to make.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ultimately, of course, we do have --
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... -- material
1 and it is ultimately what is in the interests of a fair trial.
2 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 JUDGE KWON: Just a second. Mr. Nice, if you could you remind us
4 of the reason why Mr. Vllasi was rejected. Was it not because the Kosovo
5 case was completed?
6 MR. NICE: Yes, I'm afraid I -- it was mentioned several times and
7 he was one of the earlier witnesses we notified as a witness the Chamber
8 might like to hear. I'll need to research the whole history of him to get
9 it completely right, but it may well be that our first ability to invite
10 you to consider him came after the close of the case, but there it is.
11 That's the best I can do at the moment. I'm sorry not to have the rulings
12 at my fingertips, but I think there were two or three times he was
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you wanted to say something?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The comment made by Mr. Nice when he
17 said that I have expanded this to the '80s is unacceptable, because the
18 events in Kosovo Polje are mentioned as some kind of arch proof in
19 Mr. Nice's presentations. My speech at Gazimestan, for example, was an
20 event that is being manipulated more than any other. So it wasn't I who
21 introduced that, it was an event that was introduced at the very
22 beginning, in the opening statement made by the opposite side over there.
23 So I don't know what can be more reasonable than what we did during this
24 witness's testimony who was there. He presided over the meeting at Kosovo
25 Polje. He was at Gazimestan himself. What could we have done more but
1 present an integral text of the videotape that has been translated, and I
2 don't suppose anybody needs to be told what somebody wanted to say by what
3 they in fact said. Can anything be more comprehensive, clearer, and more
4 complete than what we have offered? Both my speeches were broadcast here,
5 were played here, both the television tape from word to word. No --
6 nothing was abridged. It was presented word-for-word. So I don't know
7 whether anybody needs to brainwash you and tell you what was actually said
8 or what happened there if you've had a chance of seeing all this for
9 yourselves here.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, put it to the witness and let us see
13 the witness's reaction to it and then we'll make a determination on the
14 basis of that.
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. The newspaper Borba for the 9th of February, 1993 is the date of
17 the interviews.
18 And Mr. Balevic, if you'd be good enough, please, to look at the
19 interview of the 9th of February of 1993. A few passages have been
20 translated because it's not necessary to translate all of them. And it's
21 an interview by the late Slavko Curuvija and Milica Kovacevic with the
22 interviewee Miroslav Solevic, headed "We were Milosevic's instruments."
23 And the passages that you'll see marked with sideline markings,
24 Mr. Balevic, include the following: First a matter of history -- not
25 history, of fact that I haven't asked you about but I'd like your
1 assistance with, and it's on the left-hand side of the first -- of the
2 first page for you, at the bottom. Asked and then Milosevic emerged.
3 Solevic says, "Before becoming president of the party committee of the
4 city of Belgrade, Milosevic had been nothing but an ordinary party clerk.
5 It was only after he had come to the said position that he probably
6 realised what fools he had been surrounded with and how easy it was to
7 snatch power ..."
8 Then he says this: "At the beginning of 1985, at the time when he
9 was already the president of the party committee of Belgrade, Miodrag
10 Vojunovic [phoen], Doko Komad [phoen], and I asked to be received by
11 Milosevic. He didn't receive us. The very same Milosevic!" And he goes
12 on to give an explanation.
13 Were you aware, Mr. Balevic, that your colleagues, or at least
14 Solevic, I don't know whether you regard the other two as your colleagues,
15 but Solevic had asked to be received by the accused in 1985 and had been
17 A. No, I am not aware of any of that, nothing about Solevic or any of
18 the others you mentioned. I hear this for the first time that he didn't
19 receive them and all the rest of it.
20 Q. Over to the next column, and still on the first page of the
21 English, at the foot of the page, it says: "As a matter of fact, he was
22 in Kosovo Polje twice in April of 1987. First time it was after a
23 telegram that we had sent. We had asked that Kosovo Polje be included in
24 his itinerary by all means, so he came. It was just as you described ...
25 In the beginning, a group of four or five hundred people would gather, but
1 later, no sooner had we reached the playground there were five thousand of
3 Do you accept the accuracy of that?
4 A. No. Please. I don't wish to comment what Solevic said or didn't
5 say because we parted ways, ideologically speaking, after the events in
6 Kosovo and Metohija. He went one side and I remained on the SPS
7 positions. So I don't wish to comment any statements he made and I don't
8 in fact know what he said. So if, Mr. Nice, you start using newspaper
9 articles, then I can bring you so many articles in here that you would
10 need three days and three nights to examine me on them.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: That didn't seem to me to be an answer to the
12 question, with respect. You were asked, Mr. Balevic, if what was said
13 there was accurate, that Mr. Milosevic was in Kosovo Polje twice in April.
14 The first time it was after a telegram that had been sent. "We had asked
15 that Kosovo Polje be included in his itinerary, by all means, so he came."
16 Is that accurate?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: You didn't say that, because that's all you were
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, yes, sir, but he is using
21 articles. The Prosecutor is using articles. I can bring in thousands of
22 articles. So I can't say what was correct in the articles and what
23 wasn't. I haven't read them all. But yes, it's true that he was there
24 twice, the first time on the 20th, the second time on the 24th. I've said
25 this umpteen times here and it has come up on the transcript, so I don't
1 know why the question in the first place.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not what you were asked. You were asked a
3 specific question so please answer the questions that are put to you and
4 we'll make some progress.
5 MR. NICE: Grateful to Your Honour.
6 Q. The second page in your version, please, Mr. Balevic, and at the
7 foot of our page, Mr. Solevic expressed this view in answer to a question,
8 "What kind of relationship did you have with Milosevic after the 8th
9 session?" And he replied: "After that moment, Milosevic started
10 consolidating his own power. After that moment, you could not have an
11 isolated view on us without taking Milosevic into account. We had become
12 an instrument of his power. We had thought that with him we could solve
13 everything that we wanted, and he had counted on us being those he could
14 use to exterminate all the mice that were in his way. He got the better
15 calculations. We did not."
16 Now, do you agree that for the period of 19 -- the end of 1987 and
17 into 1988 the body of Serbs in Kosovo who were responsive to the
18 instructions of the men I've identified as the leaders of this group and
19 who, with you, organised the 1987 meeting, were integrated with the
20 political developments of this accused?
21 A. You'll have to call that group for an answer. I cannot provide
22 you with one because I'm not aware of it. I don't know what the
23 relationships between Solevic and Milosevic were. You can ask Solevic
24 that. Bring him here, and the president is here so he can answer for
25 himself. So I don't know what their relations were like.
1 Q. Mr. Balevic, you have said on many occasions you are unimportant.
2 On other occasions you've explained your political history and how you
3 chaired the meeting in 1987 and of how you receive important visitors at
4 Gazimestan in 1989. Let me ask you again: The group of which you had
5 been a party and of which you must have been aware was important to this
6 accused, wasn't it?
7 A. And I'll answer again I did not belong to that group, and the
8 guests to Gazimestan, I was just the technical host and received them that
9 way. I wasn't vital anywhere. I said I wasn't vital for cadres policy
10 personnel policy at the top in the central committee, but I was vital as
11 president of the party in Kosovo. So that's what I meant.
12 Q. Let's look at a couple of entries on the next newspaper article,
13 which is for the 10th of February, and you'll again see these marked. But
14 if you go, I think, to the bottom -- in your case -- sorry. In the
15 English to the middle of the page. I'll omit the first one. And in your
16 page, Mr. Balevic, to the bottom left-hand corner, in answer to the
17 question, "It's well known what happened in Novi Sad," Solevic said this:
18 "Other things are known, too. The rallies started and brought down the
19 leaderships of Vojvodina and Montenegro. We had prepared everything to
20 overthrow the Bosnian leadership too. We thought that the thing could be
21 carried out the easiest over there. But Sloba and Serbian leadership
22 asked us to give up Jajce. It was a mistake that he stopped us. He
23 could, as he had done up to that point, played dumb at their pressure,
24 until we wipe off Bosnia."
25 Now, were you aware -- you were aware, I must suggest to you, of
1 the rallies that were going out because these rallies are the
2 demonstrations in Vojvodina and Montenegro, and you spoke yourself of
3 people from Kosovo going to Montenegro and I think to Vojvodina, so you
4 must have been aware of these rallies; correct?
5 A. Yes, I was aware of the meetings, the rallies, but your question
6 as asked, I'm not aware of that nor did I read Solevic's interviews. I
7 didn't know that they went to Novi Sad to overthrow the government. They
8 were spontaneous organised rallies, organised by the people of Serbia to
9 support us in our struggle for their survival. So I'm not aware of that
10 comment of his so I can't really comment.
11 Q. If you would be good enough to go to the next question, which
12 reads -- the next highlighted passage, which reads: "Don't you have an
13 impression, looking back from the present moment, that in 1988 you were
14 used as an instrument, not to say abused, by Milosevic?" Solevic answers:
15 "Only later it became a parade." And then asked, "How did the rift happen
16 in the rally staff?"
17 And I remind you, Mr. Balevic, that you have said you parted
18 company with Solevic at the end of 1988, I think you said. So Solevic's
19 view of the disintegration of the rally staff is this: "I wanted to
20 dissolve our rally staff. No decision could be taken without Kosta,
21 Bosko, Dusko Ristic, and me. However, Milosevic said - no!, but only a
22 month later Milosevic said: Dissolve it now. And we dissolved it.
23 "Milosevic himself said that?
24 "Yes. And we were called to come to Belgrade to be told that at
25 the end of 1998."
1 Now, think back and tell us, was this grouping of people, the
2 rally staff, sending people out as demonstrators, was it subject to the
3 control of this accused at the end of 1988?
4 A. You, Mr. Nice, keep insisting upon saying that I was a member of
5 the group to which I did not belong. I belonged to the mass movement of
6 Serbs and Montenegrins as a politician in daily politics, so I'm not aware
7 of any talks, as to when Milosevic said this or that, that he wanted it to
8 dissolve or not dissolve, and I don't wish -- I cannot given an answer and
9 I don't wish to comment because I don't know..
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we have to stop. We can't encroach.
11 We are going to adjourn now.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just one comment, if I may.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice is taking this approach:
15 He says that what he is presenting here is the truth and that the person
16 speaking is well-informed. Now, I don't want to ascribe any ill-intention
17 of any kind to Mr. Solevic, however, Mr. Nice has studied my biography
18 very closely and I think he has noted it down somewhere and he knows full
19 well that what it says here when it says that I was a party official until
20 1984, he would have to know that that is not correct, because until the
21 end of 1983, I was president of the Belgrade bank, the largest Yugoslav
22 bank, and before that for many years I worked in the bank and in the
23 commercial sphere generally.
24 So if we take just this fact alone that he operates with is an
25 incorrect one. And since Mr. Nice does have my CV and as he must compare
1 what it says there and what it says here, and then he'll be able to
2 establish that his premise, the one he starts out from, is incorrect, I
3 don't know how he can conclude that all the rest of it is correct, whereas
4 these are material facts we're dealing with, so it's not a value judgement
5 of any kind, it's facts, the facts of what happened, and Mr. Nice has
6 those facts at his disposal but he is using it, he is using this material
7 and knowing full well that certain elements in that material are
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic. You'll have your turn.
10 We are adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9.00 a.m..
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 9th day of
13 February, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.