1 Tuesday, 7 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we are allowing you to complete
7 your examination-in-chief in relation to Bosnia. I expect your questions
8 to be focused and specific and non-leading, and please don't ask
9 questions, "Is it so-and-so or ..." where the latter question, the
10 alternative, is clearly suggesting the answer to the witness.
11 I'm told that tabs 28 -- yes. So that matter has already been
12 dealt with. And we're expecting you to conclude in the first session.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, Professor Kostic
14 occupied the highest posts in Yugoslavia. I don't know how I can go on
15 with leading questions if he should answer simply what he knows.
16 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC [Resumed]
17 [Witness answered through interpreter]
18 Examination by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
19 Q. [Interpretation] Professor Kostic, in the book "The Balkan
20 Odyssey," Lord Owen, on page 182 of this book, which has been exhibited,
21 writes about Mladic, but I would like to quote only one brief passage.
22 "When in June 1991, when the Serb Croat war began, Ratko Mladic was Chief
23 of Staff of the 9th Army Corps based Knin. Like other corps, this one was
24 disintegrating because the personnel started declaring themselves as
25 Croats or Slovenes, and leaving the JNA in order to join their national
1 armies. Some of them left army service altogether or left the country
2 completely. Those who remained serving on the JNA had no longer any
3 freedom and many were besieged by the Croatian army in their barracks,
4 which is one of the reasons why the JNA reacted so forcefully in places
5 like Vukovar. At that stage, a traditional civil war developed --"
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The accused is again on the Croatia
9 indictment, and he was actually told he can only deal with Bosnia.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Absolutely, Mr. Milosevic. Move on to Bosnia.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, this question where Lord Owen,
12 who represented the European Community in the entire peace process and
13 chaired the peace conference speaks about a traditional civil war, my
14 question to Mr. Kostic would relate to both Bosnia and Croatia.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Was there a civil war there, or was it, on the contrary, an
17 aggression, an occupation, or something like that? To the best of your
18 knowledge from that time.
19 A. It is obvious that both in Croatia and, unfortunately, later in
20 Bosnia we had a typical textbook civil war, with a proviso that it was
21 waged between two ethnicities, between Serbs and Croats in Croatia,
22 whereas in Bosnia it took an even more drastic form; everybody waged war
23 against everybody. For a while, there was a war between the coalition of
24 Muslims and Croats against Serbs. Later, Croats and Muslims fought one
25 another, and that is the most traditional example, the most classic
1 example of a civil war.
2 And if you allow me, I have a CD here, and four minutes of it will
3 tell you more than a half hour of my talking, because that's something I
4 said on Sarajevo TV that caused an outcry in the Croatian democracy.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. You have answered the question, and I do not
6 wish to listen to the CD.
7 Ask another question, Mr. Milosevic.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Professor Kostic, what kind of efforts were taken by the SFRY
10 Presidency to stop the conflict from spreading on to Bosnia and
12 A. On several occasions, already in the second half of 1991, we
13 evaluated the political and security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 and issued very serious warnings that the situation was getting more tense
15 with every day. And we warned also that unless all the three ethnic
16 leadership in Bosnia steered to another course, there will be a civil war
17 in that country with no winners.
18 In addition to that, in its reduced composition, the SFRY
19 Presidency organised a Conference on Yugoslavia on the 3rd of January,
20 involving various movements, individuals from all over Yugoslavia, but
21 mostly from Bosnia. Unfortunately, members of the SDA, the Socialist
22 Democratic Action Party of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, were not taking part,
23 and the same goes for the Croatian Democratic Union of Mr. Tudjman.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Do we have this footage that
25 Mr. Kostic has offered? If it is ready in the AV booth, we can see it.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's only three and a half minutes.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: What does it show? What does it show,
3 Mr. Kostic?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is an interview I gave to a
5 Sarajevo television studio called Club 92 -- or 91, on the eve of the
6 Catholic Christmas, after all discussions that took place in the
7 Presidency and just before the war in Bosnia started.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Does it add anything to the comments that you
9 have just made about the nature of the conflict?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It adds something.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, we'll not hear it. Proceed to another
13 matter, Mr. Milosevic.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. What do you know and what can you tell us about the so-called
16 Belgrade Initiative? Let me draw your attention to tab 72, where we have
17 your book, and the text of the Belgrade Initiative is included. You can
18 open this tab and use it.
19 A. The Belgrade Initiative was signed in August 1991. The highest
20 ranking representatives of Serbia took part in the formulation of this
21 initiative, including you and Mr. Momir Bulatovic from the Presidency of
22 Montenegro. There was Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik from Bosnia and Herzegovina,
23 but not as a representative of the Serb people but as speaker of the
24 Bosnian Assembly. There were other participants in this Belgrade
25 Initiative, and you can see that from the document under the tab.
1 The principal purpose of the Belgrade Initiative was to define a
2 framework for a way to organise all those who wish to continue living in a
3 common state. Thus, the Belgrade Initiative opened a door to all those
4 who believed it was in their interest to continue living in one common
5 state. They had the option of committing themselves along those
6 principles, because elections in Macedonia, for instance, and -- were not
7 conducted yet -- or, rather, the referendum.
8 Q. Was there some sort of draft proposal for the way to organise a
9 future state?
10 A. Yes. A proposal was made, and the main thing about it was that
11 this future state should have a two-Chamber parliament, one of which
12 should be representing republics with proportional representations, thus
13 ensuring equal rights to all republics and all entities in that future
14 state without the possibility of anybody being out-voted by anybody else.
15 That's in tab 84.
16 Q. We heard many speeches here, including Mesic's speech and
17 testimony given here to the effect that we had pushed the so-called
18 close-knit firm federation. Now, look at this document in 84 and see what
19 we actually proposed.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Belgrade Initiative, which we haven't found
21 in the book, is actually Exhibit 338, tab 9, or D272.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is correct, Mr. Robinson. I
23 didn't even tender it because it's already exhibited. I just wanted the
24 witness to comment upon it, because he was one of the key politicians in
25 Yugoslavia of that time.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, don't miss the point. You should
2 be providing this information. It should not be left to Judge Kwon.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tab 84.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. What does paragraph 1 say?
7 A. "Yugoslavia is a common state of equal peoples, republics, and
9 "2 --"
10 Q. You don't have to read all the paragraphs. Look at the most
11 important ones, such as 4.
12 A. "Republics in Yugoslavia shall enact their constitutions
13 independently, whereas the bodies of Yugoslavia shall act within their
14 purview independently, as established by the Constitution of Yugoslavia.
15 "Republics in Yugoslavia shall independently establish
16 international relations and conclude international covenants outside areas
17 governed by the Constitution of Yugoslavia. Such relationships and
18 covenants may not be to the detriment of the common interests within
19 Yugoslavia or to the detriment of the interests of other peoples and
20 republics in Yugoslavia."
21 Q. Point 5.
22 A. "Republics and nations in Yugoslavia may step out of Yugoslavia in
23 the way and according to the procedure stipulated by the Constitution and
24 the legislation of Yugoslavia, with the proviso that interests of other
25 nations and republics may not be damaged."
1 Q. Point 7.
2 A. "Yugoslavia shall be based on the principle of equality of
3 Yugoslav peoples and republics. National minorities shall have all
4 minority and human rights recognised for them as established by the
5 corresponding international covenants."
6 Q. Point 9.
7 A. 9: "Market economy, equality of all forms of property, freedom of
8 movement of people, commodities, capital," et cetera, "and freedom of
9 entrepreneurship, are the basic principles on which economic life in
10 Yugoslavia shall develop."
11 Q. Point 10.
12 A. 10: "In Yugoslavia, state authorities shall be organised on the
13 principle of division of power in the form of multi-party parliamentary
14 republics based on the rule of law and social justice."
15 Q. These proposals for organising internal relationships within
16 Yugoslavia, what kind of powers are envisaged for the bodies of
17 Yugoslavia? That is written in item III. What was planned? What were to
18 be the common elements exercised at the level of the joint state?
19 A. It was envisaged that at the level of Yugoslavia, legislation in
20 the area of banking, monetary policy, customs policy, foreign economic
21 relations should be adopted, as well as laws governing the tax system,
22 trading within the Yugoslav market, science and technology, defence of
23 Yugoslavia, the position, the composition and the use of the Yugoslav
24 army, representation of Yugoslavia abroad and foreign relations, et
1 Q. And what about 5, freedoms and rights of citizens?
2 A. Freedoms and rights of citizens envisaged by international laws
3 and covenants. I said already that the parliament was supposed to have
4 two Chambers.
5 Q. So an Assembly, the president of the republic, the government.
6 Those were the bodies envisaged by this proposal.
7 Can you tell us very briefly, who was Adil Zulfikarpasic?
8 A. Dr. Adil Zulfikarpasic was one of the most prominent and very
9 respected intellectuals from Sarajevo who first joined the SDA party of
10 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic but soon made a turnabout, distanced himself from
11 the SDA and formed another party with Mr. Muhamed Filipovic, a Bosniak
13 Q. Why did he make this turnaround from the SDA?
14 A. Because at the first rallies of the SDA that he attended on the
15 eve of the first multi-party elections to the parliament, he had the
16 impression that that party was becoming more extremist, more
17 fundamentalist every day in its policies, and he even says in one of his
18 writings that some of his friends, officials from Germany, from their
19 liberal parties abroad, that he had invited -- he meant to invite to come
20 to Bosnia and Herzegovina but gave up when he saw how extremist these
21 rallies were.
22 Q. Yes. He writes that he cancelled all these visits of his foreign
23 friends when he saw the iconography of the party, the SDA party. He
24 speaks about it at length in one of his interviews that we will not deal
25 with separately here. But do you have that interview he gave to the Nin
2 A. Just let me see if I can find it here.
3 Q. Well, if you can't, I'll ask the following: Are you aware that as
4 he was one of Izetbegovic's sponsors and closest associates for a long
5 time, he came to see me in connection with the Belgrade Initiative?
6 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
7 Q. And that we had a lengthy conversation about all these topics at
8 the time. And could you please put on the ELMO just a brief quotation of
9 his where we can see what he discussed with me, inter alia. I have it
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Which tab number is it?
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the tab number, Mr. Milosevic?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Zulfikarpasic's interview was too
14 long, which is why I did not include it in the tabs. So I will present
15 just a brief quotation from it. It's from the weekly Nin, and the
16 interview is 50 pages long.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Just the part that's been highlighted. Could you please some in
19 on it. And I will ask you to read what he says here about what I
20 suggested to him, the part that's been circled.
21 A. "He proposed that the president of the Presidency of Yugoslavia be
22 chosen in alphabetical order and that Bosnia and Herzegovina provide the
23 first president. Milosevic told me that he agrees that a Muslim be the
24 president of the country for five years, with competencies similar to
25 those enjoyed by the president of France; that is, that he be able to
1 appoint military leaders, diplomats, and so on."
2 Q. Thank you. This was a time where we were trying to find a way to
3 set up Yugoslavia again and have relations as friendly as possible with,
4 first of all, the Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Can you imagine a
5 Greater Serbia of which Alija Izetbegovic would be president for five
6 years with all these powers?
7 A. This is a very important detail, which only goes to confirm what I
8 said at the outset, that there was no intention whatsoever of establishing
9 a Greater Serbia.
10 Q. According to the Belgrade Initiative, this new Yugoslav union,
11 would it have been open to Croatia and Slovenia, those who had left and
12 who might possibly want to join again?
13 A. It was envisaged as open to all, even if they did not join right
14 away. But later on, if they concluded that such a union would suit them,
15 they would still be able to join it. These talks between Mr. Adil
16 Zulfikarpasic and you on the basis of the Belgrade Initiative are well
17 known publicly, and they are referred to as the historical agreement
18 between the Serbs and the Muslims.
19 Q. Who accepted the Belgrade Initiative and who rejected it?
20 A. According to what Mr. Zulfikarpasic himself writes, he didn't come
21 to talk to you in Belgrade on his own initiative. He was authorised by
22 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic to discuss this agreement between Serbs and Muslims.
23 Alija had told him that the Serbs saw him, Alija, in a bad light and that
24 it might be better if it was Mr. Zulfikarpasic who attended the talks.
25 Mr. Zulfikarpasic agreed to this, and he accepted the agreement drawn up
1 in Belgrade. He went back to Sarajevo and informed Mr. Alija Izetbegovic
2 of this. It seems that on that very day or the next day Alija Izetbegovic
3 was to travel to America. He agreed with the agreement but said that it
4 should wait until he got back from the USA. When he did get back from the
5 USA, he said that the agreement reached by Mr. Zulfikarpasic in Belgrade
6 was no longer valid.
7 Q. We saw the document in tab 84. What about the commission of the
8 Presidency which prepared this Belgrade agreement? And you were its
9 vice-president. It's a document of the 5th of September, 1991, and it's
10 in tab 32.
11 A. We've already commented on this document. The Belgrade Initiative
12 and that document of the 5th of September, which is in fact only a
13 communique whereby Mr. Stjepan Mesic spoke at the inaugural meeting in The
15 Q. Was this a document that the entire Presidency headed by Mesic
17 A. Yes, I've already said that.
18 Q. Yes, but now we're looking at it from another angle. What you
19 said in connection with Mesic is one thing. Now we are discussing the
20 Belgrade Initiative and this document in view of the situation in Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina. Zulfikarpasic, at the time, was -- he was not mentioned
22 in your response to my previous question, but now we are discussing
24 I won't dwell on this because I want to get through the questions
25 as quickly as possible. I won't dwell on his standpoints, the description
1 of the political situation.
2 Zulfikarpasic, as you said, speaks of the extremist and
3 fundamentalist nature taken on more and more by the Party of Democratic
4 Action. Before and after all the events mentioned by Zulfikarpasic - and
5 he mentions all those rallies and so on - were there any clear indications
6 of Izetbegovic's fundamentalist standpoints and those of the ruling Muslim
7 leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
8 A. Yes. This was very evident. First of all, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic
9 is the author of the so-called Islamic Declaration, which, although it was
10 drawn up as a platform, represents very extremist standpoints and
11 extremist views on the organisation of a Muslim state. In one place in
12 that declaration, Mr. Izetbegovic expressly states that in such an Islamic
13 state there is no place for any other political or religious option.
14 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic stated in public that everything that happened in
15 Bosnia during the civil war had taken place 20 or 30 years too early,
16 because 20 or 30 years later on, in a peaceful manner, Bosnia would have
17 become a Muslim majority state, and the Muslims could have organised an
18 Islamic state because they were in the majority.
19 Q. Were there any indications that in that independent Bosnia the
20 Serbs would not be equal?
21 A. Yes. There were many indications of this in everyday life. But
22 the grossest indicator was that attempts were made to reach decisions on
23 the most fateful issues in Bosnia by out-voting. The leadership of the
24 Muslims and Croats, against the will of the Serbs and without their
25 presence in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the parliament of
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina, made decisions on all important questions that
2 touched on the position of the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And the
3 constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina - not just of Yugoslavia -
4 literally stated that Bosnia was made up of three constituent peoples;
5 Muslims, Serbs and Croats, and no people could, to the detriment of the
6 two others -- no two peoples to the detriment of the third could issue a
7 decision, least of all on a major issue pertaining to the fate of the
8 peoples. So that in early 1992, the Bosnian Presidency operated without
9 its two representatives of the Serbian people. And it was a collective
10 organ, a collective head of state, just as the Yugoslav Presidency was.
11 Q. The Assembly that issued the decision on a referendum after 2.00
12 a.m., when the Serbs had gone for a break, was it made with or without the
13 Serb representatives?
14 A. Without them.
15 Q. We saw a brief clip where Lord Carrington says this was illegal.
16 Did the Presidency of the SFRY draw attention in a timely manner to the
17 unlawfulness of such an action?
18 A. Yes, it did.
19 Q. What was the standpoint of the Presidency about this and the
20 standpoint of other organs?
21 A. The Presidency of the SFRY and all the other political and state
22 organs pointed out that any attempt to make decisions or adopt solutions
23 to which all three nations in Bosnia had not agreed would lead to civil
24 war. Unfortunately, this proved to be correct.
25 Q. In the Presidency at the time, did you feel it was justified, this
1 fear of the Serbs in Bosnia, that in a unitary and independent Bosnia they
2 would fall under the domination of a political group which one of its
3 founders, Adil Zulfikarpasic, described as extremist and fundamentalist?
4 A. We felt that the Serbs had good reason to fear this, but it was
5 the Serbs in Bosnia who felt it most. The Serbs in Bosnia had many
6 negative experiences from World War II, and it was difficult for them to
7 believe at the outset that the Muslims and the Croats would reach
8 decisions on such important issues without the Serbs, and therefore they
9 were afraid that they would be constantly out-voted and that all issues,
10 including issues pertaining to their status, would be made in the same
11 way. They were afraid of having the status of a minority in Bosnia.
12 Q. Let us look at a brief clip showing the Reis-Ul-Ulema, Mustafa
13 Ceric, which shows what his standpoint was.
14 [Videotape played]
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: What's the word that's missing from the
16 transcript before "Mustafa Ceric"?
17 THE INTERPRETER: Reis-Ul-Ulema, the chief Muslim religious leader
18 in Bosnia.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. Okay.
20 [Videotape played]
21 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] It's God's order to us and human
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. So jihad is God's order and a human obligation. Let's look at
25 another brief clip where Izetbegovic is shown and the Mujahedin formation.
1 [Videotape played]
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. This is sufficient. What could the Serbs in Bosnia think in this
4 kind of atmosphere?
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, first of all, have you a date for this and
6 any indication of what it is? It was absolutely meaningless to me.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is a review of the Mujahedin
8 Brigade --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm asking the witness if he can indicate what it
10 is and when it was.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see any pictures on the
12 monitor. I could only hear the sound.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, so much for that exercise.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, please move to another topic.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Professor Kostic, what do you know about the peace efforts on the
18 part of the international community and cooperation between the
19 representatives of the three sides in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which resulted
20 in the Cutileiro Plan? What do you know about that, and what do you know
21 about the Cutileiro Plan as well?
22 A. Well, about those steps towards peace, I do know something because
23 I was the vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency still at the
24 time, and what I know is this: The international community had launched
25 an initiative with the intention of preventing the escalation of a civil
1 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that the Presidency of Yugoslavia, in its
2 reduced form, albeit, and also the authorities, the state authorities and
3 the political authorities in Serbian and Montenegro, gave their support to
4 the efforts made by the international community unreserved.
5 The Cutileiro Plan provided for a sort of principle of cantonal
6 set-up for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and --
7 Q. Perhaps it would be useful, because we have tab 62, you have a map
8 from the Cutileiro Plan. Perhaps it would be a good idea to place it on
9 the overhead projector and then you can indicate to us what the idea was
10 for this cantonal organisation of Bosnia-Herzegovina for those following
11 these proceedings to be able to have a better idea of this.
12 Here we can see the map, but it's all written -- the legend is in
13 Cyrillic, but the horizontal lines is the Serb area, the white is the
14 Muslim area, the dark area is the Croat area, and the diagonal lines are
15 Sarajevo. So it's only Sarajevo that has these diagonal lines which has
16 special treatment. It is a separate canton. The white area is the Muslim
17 area, the horizontal lines are the Serb area, and the dark areas are the
18 Croatian areas.
19 A. With the Cutileiro Plan, an attempt was made to come by a solution
20 which would in fact mean an end to the civil war.
21 Q. Or Cutileiro's plan came before the civil war broke out.
22 A. Yes, yes, before the civil war. That's right. But the basic idea
23 underlying it was that an organisation should be made for
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina as being a whole, one entity, but on the cantonal
25 principle, in such a way that each community or ethnic community would
1 have its own canton.
2 Q. Yes, it's own canton, and an explanation is given there in the
3 legend. Now, tell us, please, when the negotiations were completed, did
4 all three sides accept the plan?
5 A. Yes. All three sides adopted the Cutileiro Plan, including
6 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic. However, as soon as Bosnia-Herzegovina was -- had
7 become a member of the United Nations, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic withdrew his
8 signature from the Cutileiro Plan.
9 Q. He didn't withdraw the signature then, he withdrew his signature
10 before Bosnia and Herzegovina became a member of the UN, but never mind.
11 Do you know anything about this retraction of Mr. Alija Izetbegovic's
13 JUDGE BONOMY: May I ask the witness, do you know anything about
14 this plan, because that's twice you have had to be corrected by the
15 accused, who is effectively giving evidence here. Did this plan come into
16 existence while you were in the Presidency?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it did, except that we as the
18 Presidency --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: In that case, can I ask you, what was your direct
20 involvement with it as a member of the Presidency?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Mr. Bonomy, I didn't come into
22 direct -- or didn't have any direct involvement with the plan. I didn't
23 work on the plan because the Yugoslav state Presidency was not involved,
24 included in the definition of the Cutileiro Plan. All I know is that as
25 the vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency from those days, that
1 time, when there was mention of the Cutileiro Plan, we were all vitally
2 interested in finding a peaceful settlement to the crisis in Bosnia. And
3 from that point of view I can certainly talk about those times. I do
4 know, for example, that the US ambassador, Mr. Zimmerman, in fact
5 prevailed upon Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and persuaded him not to accept the
6 Cutileiro Plan, for instance.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it seems to me that this witness is very
8 distant from this plan and that it's one that ought to be dealt with
9 through a witness with more direct knowledge, but that's, I dare say, a
10 question of the weight that the Tribunal -- or the Trial Chamber can give
11 his evidence.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, in the drafting of the
13 Cutileiro Plan, we had the participation of the three sides in Bosnia. No
14 one outside Bosnia-Herzegovina and Cutileiro and his associates took part
15 in it. They agreed amongst themselves, and the map was published once the
16 plan had been adopted. And we all applauded the agreement because we
17 thought that they had resolved the problem in Bosnia, and that's a fact.
18 We don't have to go into the details of how it came about. The
19 negotiations took place in Lisbon, where the three negotiating parties
20 from Bosnia-Herzegovina were present, whereas this map --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: All you've just -- it's not for you to give
22 evidence, as you've apparently chosen not to, and all of this is material
23 that plainly there's little point in presenting through this witness. It
24 seems to me that it's a complete waste of the limited time you have to
25 deal with matters that this witness has personal knowledge of.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Professor Kostic --
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well, Mr. Milosevic. It will be a question
5 of the weight that we can attach to this witness's evidence on the
6 Cutileiro Plan in view of the level of his involvement in it. Let us
7 proceed quickly.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. You were shown a map a moment ago of the cantonal division. It
10 was published by the mass media. A territorial distribution of the canton
11 of this kind, or the map, can it represent a groundwork for the
12 territorial expansion of Serbia?
13 A. No. In no case can it do that. As you can see, the cantons were
14 devised in such a way that the large part, that is to say the horizontal
15 lines that -- the area lined that way that should have come to the Serbs
16 in Western Bosnia, was completely cut off, as we can see, according to the
17 cantonal plan; cut off with the cantons and territories under Croat or
18 Muslim control, envisaged for the Croats and the Muslims. And as you can
19 see, this white area here, that was supposed to represent once again a
20 Muslim canton, so that even if you just glance at this map of Bosnia and
21 the proposed cantons, which were agreed upon and accepted and adopted by
22 the Yugoslav side as well with great enthusiasm, indicates that we could
23 not speak about territorial pretensions of any kind on the part of Serbia.
24 Q. Did the Cutileiro Plan envisage Bosnia as an independent state?
25 A. Yes, it did.
1 Q. The Serbs accepted that, did they?
2 A. Yes, they did. The Serbs accepted being an independent state but
3 with this cantonal set-up.
4 Q. Well, let's go on to another subject. How did the JNA come to
5 withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
6 A. The whole scenario as to the position of the JNA in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina followed a similar pattern as it did in Slovenia and
8 especially it resembled the way this was done in Croatia. As we in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina also had a large portion of the military industry there
10 and many barracks during peacetime that were deployed and dispersed across
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, we had a lot of interest in achieving an agreement
12 with respect to the relationship they would have and the attitude to the
13 Yugoslav army and the soldiers in the barracks, because we were very
14 afraid that the scenario of Croatia was not repeated here.
15 Q. All right, Professor Kostic. Now, you in your capacity as
16 vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency and the presiding officer
17 in the reduced Presidency on the 26th of April, 1992, had a meeting with
18 Alija Izetbegovic, did you not?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Tell us, please, where the meeting was held, who attended it, and
21 then we'll go on to discuss it after that.
22 A. The meeting was held in Skopje on the 26th of April, 1992, on
23 behalf of the staff of the Supreme Command. Together with me, General
24 Blagoje Adzic travelled to Skopje, and the host in Skopje was Mr. Kiro
25 Gligorov. Up until that -- or, rather, the meeting came about after
1 several attempts on my part, unsuccessful, to establish communication with
2 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic, and at that meeting in Skopje we discussed how, in
3 what way we could solve the question of the position of the Yugoslav
4 People's Army in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And on that occasion Mr. Alija
5 Izetbegovic told us that the Yugoslav People's Army could stay on for five
6 years in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He did ask that the commanders of that army,
7 of those units in Bosnia-Herzegovina, be Muslims, that is to say to have
8 Muslim officers from the composition of the Yugoslav people's army, and
9 Mr. Blagoje Adzic said as a joke, "Then you can propose me as the
10 commander of the Green Berets, for example."
11 Well, that was a sort of joke, but we did note that the question
12 of the JNA's position in Bosnia-Herzegovina could not be solved
13 successfully until a political solution had been found and until a supreme
14 civilian command had been established over the army, which implied and
15 meant the return of the representatives of the Serbs to the Presidency of
17 Q. All right. Now, let's take a look at tab 5, where we see -- it
18 says here some sound records. So this is something that has been taken
19 from a tape recording, not very successfully, I have to say, and it is
20 found in tab 5. They are records or phonetic notes between Branko Kostic
21 and Blagoje Adzic with the president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija
22 Izetbegovic, in Skopje on the 26th of April, 1992. And the discussions
23 began at 1300 hours.
24 You mentioned Gligorov a moment ago, who was your host. Now,
25 Gligorov was the president of Macedonia, was he not? Before that, that is
1 to say before the 26th of April, 1992, did Macedonia decide to step down
2 from Yugoslavia and to have the army withdraw from Macedonia?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. And did the army indeed withdraw from Macedonia?
5 A. Yes, the army did withdraw from Macedonia without a single bullet
6 having been fired.
7 Q. Were there any outstanding issues to be settled between Belgrade
8 and Skopje with respect to the withdrawal of the army from Macedonia?
9 A. No. We had no contentious issues, and I kept stressing that that
10 two-way communication with Mr. Gligorov was highly successful, very
11 constructive, and this meeting that we organised - that is to say
12 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and I with Mr. Gligorov - was the result of that
13 expression of goodwill and the good communication with we had with
14 Mr. Gligorov.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, what was the date of the withdrawal of
16 the army from Macedonia?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To be honest, I can't give you an
18 exact date now. I can't say. But I can check it out in the documents.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Roughly when? Roughly when?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I can't tell you exactly.
21 Well, by the break I'll be able to find that and give you an answer, to
22 tell you.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Please continue.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Well, let us briefly go through the transcript of an audio
2 recording of the talks. On page 1, in the last paragraph, you emphasise
3 the following: You say, "I think it is a favourable circumstance that we
4 are meeting in Skopje, Macedonia, which until yesterday was part of
5 Yugoslavia and with which we settled all those issues, including the
6 status of the JNA, in a very fair manner without any conflict or bloodshed
7 in a manner that made it possible for us to talk."
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. So that took place before your talks, before these 26th of April
10 talks. And you also say that you expressed the need to have the meeting
11 in view of the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina had been recognised as an
12 independent state by a certain number of countries, and in view of the
13 fact that the Yugoslav People's Army was present there and that most of
14 the military industry we built together was located there, and so on and
15 so forth, and that the question of a political status of the three
16 constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina had not yet been regulated and
17 that to all intents and purposes there was a civil war going on there, and
18 that talks should start and each for their own part should do as much as
19 they can to put a stop to that war there --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Time for a question.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. -- while constituting Bosnia and Herzegovina as independent and
23 autonomous state.
24 So is that the substance of what you on behalf of the Presidency
25 proposed to Mr. Izetbegovic?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Now here when it comes to Mr. Izetbegovic, what does he say?
3 Let's take a look at that. He says that nothing can be finally decided
4 because he doesn't have the competence and authority to do so, but that we
5 could begin the talks.
6 A. Yes, that's right.
7 Q. So that talks can be held but that he couldn't take any
8 responsibility upon himself for doing anything. And he goes on to say in
9 the third paragraph: "A new situation has arisen, not only as a result of
10 the proclamation of Bosnia-Herzegovina but also of Yugoslavia, a
11 proclamation of Yugoslavia."
12 A. That's on page 2.
13 Q. Yes, that's on page 2, but it's Izetbegovic speaking.
14 So those are two facts. Those are two facts that call for the
15 issue of the JNA or, rather, its elements, and he's talking -- referring
16 to elements stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Is there any contention to
18 A. No, nothing contentious there.
19 Q. "Which are in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be solved so that there
20 should not be violence or illegal measures taken. It would be a good idea
21 if they were dealt with through negotiation." That's what he says.
22 He speaks about the need to avoid all sorts of violence, because
23 until then, as far as the army is concerned, they had no conflicts.
24 A. Mr. Izetbegovic even told us at lunch, in the presence of
25 Mr. Gligorov, that in all the places where JNA units were stationed, the
1 situation was calmed and there were no inter-ethnic or inter-religious
3 Q. Now, please, he goes on to say that stage by stage they should
4 leave Bosnia, mainly personnel who are not citizens of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina. Is that what he said?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. It's on page 3: "Gradually, of course, possibly step-by-step so
8 that the personnel who are not citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina should
10 I'll skip a bit and then come back to it. Is that what actually
11 happened under that order of the Presidency, all JNA members who were
12 citizens of Serbia and Montenegro withdrew from the territory of BH?
13 A. On the 4th of May --
14 Q. That's very soon after this meeting. This meeting was on the 26th
15 of April, and your decision was on the 4th of May.
16 A. And on the 19th of May that year, Serbia and Montenegro did not
17 have a single soldier stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
18 Q. But he says, number one, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, among
19 the military personnel, should stay. Number two, the armed forces must
20 accept the authority of the civil government of Bosnia and Herzegovina or,
21 rather, they must recognise the Supreme Command, the Presidency of
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina or another body, depending on what it will be based on
23 under a future agreement.
24 And then in another passage toward the bottom of that page, he
25 says the ethnic composition of the JNA is currently disrupted, of the part
1 of the JNA stationed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is severely
2 disrupted. "I do not blame the army for that," he says. "A lot of things
3 played a part. We also played a part by denying the deployment of our
5 That's what Izetbegovic himself is saying. He's saying in no
6 uncertain terms, "We denied new arrivals from Bosnia into the JNA."
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it seems to me that since quite
9 some time now Mr. Milosevic is giving evidence. He is quoting things from
10 a huge document. He's making comments about what it means, what is quoted
11 there. I don't think that this is the proper way to proceed. This is an
12 extensive document, and we hear from Mr. Milosevic all sorts of little
13 snips of it, and I am not in a position to follow what's really meant at a
14 certain stage, and the witness actually isn't asked anything.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, it is an extensive document. You
16 must put your questions precisely. Focus the witness. Don't read long
17 passages, and refrain from comments while you're reading, because you're
18 not giving evidence.
19 What is the precise question that you have for the witness?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. Robinson. Are you
21 saying that I am not allowed to quote from this document, that the witness
22 should quote from it instead?
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: You can quote for it, but don't make comments
24 while you're quoting. That is what the Prosecutor is complaining of.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I -- can I ask the witness, have you read this
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Have I read it? Is that a question
3 for me?
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I have.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: So it --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's a document reflecting the talks
8 that I had with Mr. Izetbegovic.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: That's what I wanted to be clear about. So it
10 seems a pointless exercise, going through it line by line, when we can
11 read it for ourselves. I'm just wondering why Mr. Milosevic doesn't ask
12 you questions about what you ultimately agreed or disagreed upon with
13 Mr. Izetbegovic, and then we could move on. We can read it for ourselves
14 after that.
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, it seems to us that this is a
17 document that we could admit in its entirety. The witness participated in
18 it. Do you have specific questions to put to the witness?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, this is one of the key issues,
20 why the ethnic composition of the army was unbalanced; what Izetbegovic
21 himself gave as a reason for this unbalance in the ethnic composition of
22 military personnel.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer?
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Yes, please.
1 A. It is common knowledge, and I've said this before, certain
2 national leaderships one by one started refusing to send their recruits to
3 the army any more. First the Slovenes, then Croats, and as I said,
4 Muslims a bit later. In my view, it is particularly pertinent that
5 Mr. Alija Izetbegovic himself notes this disbalance in the ethnic
6 composition of the army and army units stationed in Bosnia, and he says
7 himself that it's a result of the fact that the Muslim leadership had
8 stopped sending their conscripts to the army. It also has to do with the
9 fact that Mr. Alija Izetbegovic later formed his own Muslim army.
10 Q. Is that what we saw on that footage?
11 A. Yes. We saw that on that video. You can see it clearly.
12 Q. Does he say unequivocally they stopped their conscripts from
13 joining the army any more?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Does he say, in fact, that he doesn't blame the army for that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Does he say that it is a real task to re-establish peace and have
18 people return to their homes?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you quote from the second passage on page 5.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: This is actually a fruitless exercise to put
24 to the witness, "Does he say that?" and the witness simply says "Yes." I
25 mean, either it should be just moved on or the witness would have to tell
1 what he remembers from this in addition to what we see here in the
2 transcript. I can't really see what use it is to put -- to go on like
4 JUDGE KWON: Did the Prosecution not follow this practice when you
5 introduced something?
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, you did. You did.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: But that's -- I mean, what should be done and
8 I think what the Prosecution did when you have a document, we quote from
9 the document, giving the passage what we are quoting, and then ask
10 additional questions.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think it is tantamount to the same thing. It's
12 a practice that has been used by both parties. It's not one that I'm
13 accustomed to, certainly coming from the -- from my jurisdiction, but we
14 have endorsed its use here.
15 Mr. Milosevic could, nonetheless, I believe, try to identify
16 issues that arise from -- from this interview and put them to the -- to
17 the witness.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Please, Professor Kostic, look at the second paragraph on page 5.
20 What does it say? "To return to their homes --"
21 A. "Serbs to Serb homes, Muslims to Muslim homes, Croats to Croat
22 homes. People should return home and have their security guaranteed."
23 JUDGE KWON: Could you indicate the English page number?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is page 5.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's in -- yes.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: It is the second paragraph
2 from the bottom, towards the bottom of the paragraph, the sentence
3 starting with: "First of all, it should be made possible for them ..."
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: What page?
5 THE INTERPRETER: Page 5 in the English transcript.
6 JUDGE KWON: Thank you, we found it.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's the third paragraph from the
8 bottom on page 4.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. What people are being referred to here? What people who had been
11 driven out of their homes are being referred to by Alija Izetbegovic?
12 A. Mr. Alija Izetbegovic speaks about all the three constituent
13 peoples of Bosnia; Serbs, Croats and Muslims.
14 Q. Is he talking about them because they are constituent peoples, all
15 of them, or because what they have in common is that they had been driven
16 out from some places?
17 A. Those places were the battlefield of very important conflicts, and
18 of course there were many people displaced from all the three ethnic
20 Q. Now, look at the middle of page 6, this very large paragraph.
21 A. You mean the one that starts with, "The idea is acceptable ..."?
22 Q. Let me find it. Yes. It's on page 5, the last large paragraph
23 before "Branko Kostic." That's in English. And could you please read
24 what he says. He accepts to create conditions for hundreds if thousands
25 of people. Will you go on reading this.
1 A. "For hundreds of thousands of people who have left their homes on
2 all sides, because in Bosnia and Herzegovina most of the victims are Serbs
3 and Muslims, and Croats to a lesser extent. So there are a lot of Serbian
4 refugees and a lot of Muslim refugees who have left their homes. First of
5 all, it should be made possible for them to return to their homes, and
6 they should be guaranteed safety. This can only be done by a new force
7 that would not be purely Serb or purely Muslim, but a new force, actually
8 a joint Bosnian and Herzegovinian force that would be so organised from
9 top down; the soldiers, the command officers, the military, the tasks it
10 would set itself as a goal."
11 Q. All right. That's the end of his contribution here. Now, you ask
12 him a question before General Adzic starts speaking. Since he himself
13 said that the -- that force should not be purely Serb or Muslim but must
14 be joint, you ask him: "How do you imagine Joint Command over that army,
15 because you have no Serb representatives in your Presidency?" What did he
16 answer to that? What did Alija Izetbegovic say?
17 A. He says: "No Presidency in Bosnia and Herzegovina could possibly
18 be equal without representatives of the Serb people."
19 Q. All right. Did they have any Serb representatives then?
20 A. They did not.
21 Q. Did they hold a referendum without any Serbs in the Assembly?
22 A. That's correct. They also made their application for recognition
23 to the European Union without any Serb representation.
24 Q. And when he says, "Representation of all the constituent
25 peoples --"
1 A. He says, "All we are saying, we are saying --"
2 THE INTERPRETER: We would appreciate the reference really.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where is this from? The interpreters are trying
4 to find it. Page 6?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. What he just quoted,
6 Mr. Kostic: "No Presidency in Bosnia and Herzegovina without a Serb in it
7 will be able to guarantee equality, without representatives of the Serbian
8 people." That's what he quoted. And then further down in the same
9 passage, although it's a bit disjointed in translation, it's not so
10 compact as it sounds in the original --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He says: "The Presidency is
12 currently deficient because these two are absent," meaning that there are
13 no Serb representatives in the Presidency. "How can we solve that? Can
14 we organise some new additional elections or maybe get those two to return
15 or maybe achieve some sort of agreement in later negotiations? Because a
16 new type of supreme organ is envisaged, a new forum or a new organ, but in
17 each of these bodies there would be equal representation of all."
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. And on the next page, you see you ask him how he sees the future
20 of the peace conference.
21 A. He says: "The last time, I told Cutileiro, Please bring all the
22 parties together. Put forward a solution. We will accept it whatever it
24 Q. How come Cutileiro first made a plan, Izetbegovic first signed it,
25 then went back on his signature?
1 A. It's true that our people say that nothing bad should be said
2 about the dead, but the truth is that Mr. Izetbegovic was a very
3 unreliable partner.
4 Q. He himself characterises the absence of Serbs on the Presidency as
5 a deficiency, a shortcoming.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, please be kind, because I don't want to spend too much time
8 on this. Just tell us as briefly as you can. On page 12, Blagoje Adzic
9 speaks. The first long passage.
10 A. "The territory of BH ..."?
11 Q. Yes, "On the territory of BH there are now fewer than 5 per cent
12 members of the military."
13 A. This means --
14 Q. Is that Blagoje Adzic speaking?
15 A. Yes. "This means that the JNA is fully manned mainly on the
16 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and over 80 per cent of the members of
17 the JNA hail from Bosnia and Herzegovina, from that territory, and as many
18 as 90 per cent are Serbs. That's not our fault, Mr. Izetbegovic, it's a
19 mistake made by you and your leadership, because you told conscripts not
20 to respond to mobilisation calls from the JNA, and you called on active
21 duty officers to cross over to your side, to the Territorial Defence,
22 which they are doing now on a relatively massive scale."
23 Q. Very well.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Page 9, Your Honour. Page 9 in the English,
25 the first paragraph.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thanks.
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. What does he go on to say? He says further: "Apart from that
4 that -- despite that --"
5 A. "Despite that, thanks to its role, its purpose and mission, the
6 JNA carried out its tasks mainly preventing major ethnic clashes. In
7 areas where there were no JNA units and where various paramilitary
8 formations were involved, disastrous clashes took place. For example, in
9 Bosanski Brod, Kupres, Foca, Bijeljina, and so on."
10 Q. So where the JNA did not get involved, what does he say?
11 A. "There were major clashes, although propaganda says otherwise.
12 For example, in Zvornik -- that life, for example, in Zvornik has been
13 brought back to normal very quickly."
14 Q. Very well. Izetbegovic says that no one should drive anyone out,
15 referring to the departure of the JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 And what is being discussed on pages 17 and 18? Who says this:
17 "Mr. President, the siege of all barracks and military facilities must be
18 lifted"? That's Blagoje Adzic speaking, isn't it?
19 A. Yes, Izetbegovic asks, "Are there any barracks under siege?"
20 Q. So Alija Izetbegovic doesn't know if there is a barracks under
22 A. Adzic replies, "Of course there are; Derventa, Travnik."
23 Q. All this is under siege, Travnik, Zenica? All this is under
24 siege? Today an order arrived from Efendic or a man called Siber, but
25 Izetbegovic tries to justify himself by saying, "I read about this in the
1 newspapers." Adzic said, "A person who wants peace shouldn't issue such
2 orders. We can agree. We can discuss. We can coordinate matters, but to
3 make such a decision unilaterally and issue the directive you know about,
4 attacking barracks and so on, this means war."
5 A. About a month before these talks we had in Skopje, a directive had
6 been issued by the Muslim paramilitary formations to lay siege to all JNA
7 barracks on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is what's being
8 referred to here.
9 Q. Adzic said: "If such an order was not issued with your approval,
10 the person who issued it should be dismissed, because it leads to war."
11 Izetbegovic, "Well, it was withdrawn the same moment but they were not
12 dismissed." Well, was that order withdrawn? Were the barracks under
13 siege? Was he telling the truth?
14 A. I don't know whether it was withdrawn or not. It may have been,
15 but the barracks in Bosnia-Herzegovina remained under siege. In Sarajevo,
16 in the Marshal Tito barracks, 300 young men of 16 or 17 remained under
17 siege. They were cadets of a military school and they lived worse than in
18 a concentration camp. We had no possibility of lifting the blockade of
19 that barracks by the Muslim paramilitaries.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's time for the break. We will adjourn for 20
22 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Would you please take a look - and we'll dwell on this only very
2 briefly, we won't go into the entire text - but at the end you refer to
3 various matters that you may explain, if you wish, but please look at page
4 36, which is at the very end, the last passage before Alija Izetbegovic
5 speaks. "If pressure is exerted on us with respect to the status of the
6 JNA --"
7 A. "If there is a wish to exert pressure on us with respect to the
8 status and place of the JNA and animate the international public, you can
9 rest assured of one thing: We on our part will honour our two
10 commitments. In other words, all your citizens, your nationals, we will
11 send them from Serbia and Montenegro back to Bosnia and Herzegovina in a
12 matter of several days, if necessary."
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. What's the question on that, Mr. Milosevic?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I haven't finished quoting yet.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can he just finish reading the
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Just as we will bring back people
19 who are not from that area, who are not your nationals but ours. All the
20 others stay there. You will then have to face the fact that you have
21 Serbian people there armed and with their own army. You have Muslims and
22 Croats armed and with their own army. You face a threat of a terrible
23 civil war and bloodshed in which all will be killed, a total chaos, an
24 all-out civil war there.
25 "I think this is not a solution. We should talk about it."
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Now, please say whether the Presidency of the SFRY actually acted
3 on this and returned all the citizens of the Federal Republic of
4 Yugoslavia to Yugoslavia.
5 A. The Presidency of the SFRY in its reduced composition, on the 4th
6 of May, 1992, issued a decision that all members of the JNA should
7 withdraw from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The constitution
8 of the 27th of April of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had already
9 been adopted. All those who were nationals of Serbia and Montenegro were
10 to withdraw, and we acted on that. All of them were withdrawn. On the
11 19th of May, there were no longer any of our soldiers in Bosnia and
13 Q. Professor Kostic, we didn't have time to go through this rather
14 extensive record in detail. At that meeting, did Alija Izetbegovic make
15 any comments to you about the behaviour of the army or anything that might
16 be seen as reprehensible conduct by the army?
17 A. No, not for a moment. There was nothing like that. As soon as I
18 returned from Skopje, because there was quite a lot of public interest in
19 those talks of ours, which had been postponed many times, I made a public
20 statement in which I said that I was very satisfied with the talks we had
21 had with Mr. Izetbegovic in Skopje and that he had even stated that the
22 army could stay there for five years, if necessary. Unfortunately, a few
23 days later Mr. Izetbegovic held an extraordinary session of his reduced -
24 not to say "Rump" - Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and demanded
25 categorically that the Yugoslav army immediately withdraw from the
1 territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 And may I take this opportunity, because I owe Mr. Bonomy an
3 answer to his question as to when the JNA was withdrawn from Macedonia, in
4 view of the fact that this was settled in agreement with the Macedonian
5 leadership, the withdrawal of the JNA from Macedonia was done gradually
6 and successively, in no great haste, but in March and April the JNA had
7 been already withdrawn from Macedonia.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Kostic.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. You said that on the 4th of May, the Presidency issued a decision
11 on withdrawal from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Presidency of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, without its Serbian representatives, issued a decision. What
13 was it?
14 A. This session was practically held on the same day, and they
15 declared the JNA to be an occupying army. They addressed the
16 international public, even asking for foreign assistance.
17 Q. Eight days previously, he had had no objections to the conduct of
18 the JNA, but on the 4th of May when you issued the decision on withdrawing
19 the army from Bosnia based on the results of your talks with him, he
20 called them aggressors.
21 A. Yes.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you to look at the foot of page 21 in the
23 English, going on to page 22, which is a statement made by Izetbegovic,
24 where he appears to suggest that paramilitary units of the Serbian
25 Democratic Party have certain areas under their control and are holding
1 them with the consent of the Yugoslav People's Army. That sounds like a
2 complaint about the conduct of the Yugoslav People's Army.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Could you please let me see that in
4 the Serbian language?
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. I'll find it for you.
7 A. While I'm looking for the text, Mr. Bonomy, let me say the
8 following: In Bosnia, we had most of the Yugoslav military industry
9 belonging to all the republics of Yugoslavia. Much of this was held by
10 the Muslims and the Muslim units. It was under their control. The JNA
11 did not intervene even there in order to lift the siege of those military
12 facilities and retake them. There were quite a few accusations to the
13 effect that the JNA left weapons for the Serbs. I can assert that the JNA
14 left weapons to all the ethnic groups in areas from which it withdrew, for
15 the simple reason that --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think it's the reference to paramilitary units
17 of the Serbian Democratic Party having all those areas under their
18 control. That's -- I think that is what should be commented on.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Plus it's the -- it's the part after that.
20 "They're holding them with the consent of the Yugoslav People's Army." I
21 understood you to say that Izetbegovic had no complaint to make about the
22 army, but I was suggesting to you that that sounds like a complaint.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Have you found it, Mr. Kostic?
25 A. No.
1 Q. It's on page 33, the second passage in Alija Izetbegovic's speech.
2 A. Yes, I've found it now. "So who is attacking whom ..." is that
4 Q. Yes. That's what Mr. Bonomy was quoting.
5 A. "So who is attacking whom I do not know, but the result is such
6 that at the moment paramilitary units of the Serbian Democratic Party have
7 all those areas under their control. They're holding them with the
8 consent of the Yugoslav People's Army."
9 What I can say, Mr. Bonomy, is that the entire civil war in Bosnia
10 and Herzegovina was in essence a war between three ethnic communities;
11 Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. It was war for territory.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: My question is much more specific than that,
13 Mr. Kostic. It was simply to ask you if that was a complaint
14 that Izetbegovic actually made, because you gave an answer a short time
15 ago that he had no complaints to make about the Yugoslav army's conduct.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to say that I don't see this
17 as a complaint, because the JNA did not enter into any armed clashes
18 either with the Muslim formations or the Serb formations. It's well known
19 that the Serbian Democratic Army -- Party had its armed units and its
20 Territorial Defence there even before we withdrew the JNA from Bosnia. So
21 I did not see this as a complaint against the JNA.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All the more so as --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, please continue.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. What was the attitude of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
2 towards the JNA that they took only a month previously on the day when the
3 independence of BH was declared?
4 A. A month previously the Presidency called on the paramilitary
5 formations of the Muslim and Croat army to lay siege to all the JNA
6 barracks on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this was done and
7 acted upon.
8 Q. And what was the composition of that Presidency?
9 A. The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina - and I will use the
10 correct term that Mr. Robinson used - was in its reduced composition; that
11 is, there were no representatives of the Serb people.
12 Q. So on the 4th of May, you issued a decision that all units of the
13 JNA, which was now the Yugoslav army, should leave Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Did the armed formations in Bosnia-Herzegovina permit the army to withdraw
15 without obstruction?
16 A. On the contrary. In that period while the JNA was withdrawing, we
17 saw the most monstrous crimes committed against members of the JNA on the
18 territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
19 Q. What do you know about the attack on the JNA column in
20 Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo on the 3rd of May, 1992?
21 A. At that time, General Kukanjac detained Mr. Alija Izetbegovic on
22 his -- when he was on his way back from the Lisbon conference. They took
23 him to the barracks in Lukavica, the JNA barracks, and during those
24 negotiations it was agreed that the siege and encirclement in which the
25 army command was being held by the Muslim forces should be lifted so that
1 the command could pull out of Sarajevo. Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and General
2 Kukanjac were in that column together. I think that the UNPROFOR
3 representative was also there, the representative for Bosnia, but the
4 Muslim paramilitary formations did not stick to the agreement.
5 Mr. Izetbegovic was released and allowed to go to the Presidency, and then
6 the Muslim units cut off the column in Dobrovoljacka Street and, according
7 to the information I had then, under the direct command of Ejub Ganic,
8 they slaughtered the column which was not in a combat disposition. The
9 troops were in trucks, ready for withdrawal from Sarajevo, and several
10 soldiers and officers of the JNA were killed.
11 Q. And what happened when the JNA was withdrawing from Tuzla on the
12 15th of May?
13 A. An even worse crime occurred with even more victims on the side of
14 the JNA. While withdrawing pursuant to a decision by the Presidency from
15 the Husinjska Buna barracks of the JNA in Tuzla, the army was ready to
16 move in a column with trucks, and soldiers sitting on the tarpaulins, not
17 posing any danger to their surroundings; however, they were ambushed and
18 slaughtered by the Muslim forces, although they were retreating and were
19 not able to offer resistance. According to information provided by the
20 then command of the Territorial Defence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, about 160
21 members of the JNA were killed on that occasion.
22 There was bestial behaviour. Soldiers were set alight like
23 torches. Even wounded men were liquidated.
24 Q. And this was the 4th of May decision. The army was pulling out,
25 the part that was from Serbia and Montenegro, but when was the army of
1 Republika Srpska formed?
2 A. The army of Republika Srpska was formed on the 15th of May, 1992,
3 or exactly one month after the BH army was established.
4 Q. And the Muslim army, the army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, when did you
5 say that was established?
6 A. On the 15th of April.
7 Q. So a month after that army was formed, the Republika Srpska army
8 was established; is that right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. So there was one army formed, the other army formed a month later.
11 What about the members of the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina? Did they join up
12 with the newly formed armies?
13 A. Well, they did for the most part. The officers and the soldiers
14 and the men, they all joined one or the other army. For example,
15 Mr. Ratko Mladic was a Serb from Bosnia, and he joined the Serbian army in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina and was appointed commander, that is to say the army of
17 Republika Srpska.
18 Others, for example, other generals and high-ranking officers who
19 were also in the Yugoslav People's Army joined up with the Muslim army or,
20 rather, the Bosnian and Croatian coalition, or the Muslim army of
22 And Sefer Halilovic is an example. If I'm not mistaken, I think
23 he was even the army's commander. Sefer Halilovic, Rasim Delic, Jovo
24 Divjak, for example, who was a Serb ethnically but he joined the
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina army. So these were all officers who had previously
1 been officers in the Yugoslav People's Army and later up took up the top
2 posts in one or the other army.
3 Even in the 3rd Army, for example, and the example is that Nojko
4 Marinovic was a high-ranking officer of the Yugoslav People's Army. Later
5 on he came to be the commander of the Defence of Dubrovnik, just to quote
6 another example.
7 Q. With that proviso and difference that Mladic was from
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sefer Halilovic was commander of the Muslim army but
9 he was from Serbia.
10 We're not going to dwell on Alija Izetbegovic now, but just tell
11 us one thing: Were there any consequences? Did this produce any
12 consequences to which the Presidency reacted, apart from what you have
13 described to us, that is to say the massacre of the military column in
14 Dobrovoljacka Street and so on. Did that produce any consequences?
15 A. Well, it did produce fairly significant consequences with regard
16 to the cadres' status. The Presidency assessed that the way in which the
17 agreement was realised, the agreement to pull out the command of the JNA
18 from Sarajevo and to cut across the column in Dobrovoljacka Street and the
19 casualties that ensued, along with the fact that Alija was nonetheless
20 released and he left without an agreement being reached and without the
21 Marshal Tito barracks being deblocked, where we had cadets living, we in
22 the Presidency at the time considered that this was a move, without
23 entering into the details and anybody who was to blame or the mistakes
24 that were made, we considered that this upset the image and -- of the
25 high-ranking officer cadre, and the Presidency made the decision that
1 General Kukanjac should be replaced from his duties.
2 And during the entire operation, General Blagoje Adzic was
3 informed of the situation and kept abreast of it, and he was rather
4 uncritical and supported General Kukanjac and tendered his own
5 resignation, which we accepted, so that Blagoje Adzic stepped down too.
6 He tendered his resignation and to all intents and purposes was pensioned
7 off at the beginning of May. It was the 7th or 8th of May, perhaps.
8 Q. And what do you know about the involvement of the armed forces of
9 Croatia in Bosnia-Herzegovina, before that time and during those months?
10 What was their involvement?
11 A. Well, I've already said that the basic intention of the Croatian
12 leadership was to transfer the flames of war to its neighbouring
13 territory; Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia, to have the
14 conflict spill over. Its attempts to have it spill over into Serbia and
15 Montenegro did not succeed but very soon the flames of war spread to
16 Bosnia engulfed Bosnia. It was easier for them to do that because Western
17 Herzegovina was populated exclusively by Croat inhabitants almost, and
18 before Bosnia was recognised as an independent and sovereign state, for a
19 long time people lived under conditions that prevailed the same as
20 prevailed in Croatia: They had Croatian money circulating, they had
21 Croatian signs and emblems put up. And in Posavina to the north of
22 Bosnia, where the population was also predominantly ethnic Croats, the
23 Croatian leadership succeeded in extending the flames of war to that area
24 and to involve and engage its army in Bosnia as well. And we had to
25 intervene as the Presidency because we knew that at the time on the
1 territory of Bosnia there were about 40.000 Croatian soldiers, members of
2 the Croatian army. So not Croats from Bosnia but members of the Croatian
3 armed forces from the territory of Croatia proper.
4 Q. All right. Fine. Now, Professor Kostic, in paragraph 79 of the
5 Bosnian indictment, it says: "On the 15th of May, 1992 the United Nations
6 Security Council in its Resolution number 752 demanded that all
7 interference from outside Bosnia and Herzegovina by units of the JNA cease
8 immediately and that those units either be withdrawn, be subjected to the
9 authority of the government of the Republic, or be disbanded and
11 Is that what Resolution 752 called for?
12 A. That is only part of what Resolution 752 called for. What you've
13 just quoted to us omits stating that in that same Resolution the same
14 request and conclusion was made and referred to members of the Croatian
15 army on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the need for their
16 withdrawal from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as the members
17 of various paramilitary units. And another thing that was omitted was to
18 emphasise that in the preamble to the Resolution it was stated that the
19 Presidency of the SFRY or, rather, the FRY had already taken the decision
20 to withdraw the JNA units from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Q. And this is what it says: Resolution 752 states the following:
22 "Having considered [In English] the announcement in Belgrade the 4th of
23 May, 1992, described in report of Secretary-General 12th of May concerning
24 the withdrawal of Yugoslav People's Army personnel from republics other
25 than Serbia and Montenegro and the renunciation of authority over those
1 who remain."
2 [Interpretation] And then point 3, paragraph 3 with regard to what
3 you say, which is not contained in paragraph 79 of the indictment because
4 it just refers to the JNA to leave and it had already decided to leave and
5 was leaving: "[In English] Also demands that all forms of interference
6 from outside Bosnia-Herzegovina, including by units of the Yugoslav
7 People's Army as well as elements of the Croatian army, cease
8 immediately ..."
9 [Interpretation] Point 4: "[In English] Demands also that those
10 units of the Yugoslav People's Army and elements of Croatian army now in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina must either be withdrawn, or be subject to the
12 authority of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina ..."
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. So what is the point that you wish the
14 witness to make about the differences between that paragraph in the
15 indictment and Resolution 752?
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. At that time, had a decision already been taken -- well, the JNA
18 was pulling out of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but did anybody take the decision
19 that the Croatian army should enter or leave Bosnia-Herzegovina?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Tell us, please, what is the sense of sending in mid-June 1992 by
22 the Presidency of the SFRY a memorandum to General-Secretary Boutros-Ghali
23 on the involvement of Croatia, Croatian forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
24 The memorandum is to be found in tab 56 otherwise. It is in
25 Serbian, which was published -- the text was published in its integrity by
1 the mass media or, rather, the daily press. It is Wednesday, the 17th of
2 June, 1992, and the translation is there. It is a memorandum by the
3 Yugoslav Presidency on the involvement of Croatia in BH.
4 A. Well, the memorandum was sent out by the Presidency of the Federal
5 Republic of Yugoslavia. The contents of that memorandum in full
6 corresponds to a report by the UN Secretary-General, and of course
7 although to all intents and purposes the process of the JNA's withdrawal
8 was being completed from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the 27th
9 of April we had already constituted the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
10 and we were highly interested in seeing that in our environment, immediate
11 environment, which meant in Bosnia-Herzegovina, too, that a peace be
12 established and a peaceful settlement to the crisis found.
13 At the time, we appraised the situation and thought that no
14 peaceful solution could be found and a political settlement to the crisis
15 in Bosnia-Herzegovina could be found if on the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, as an internationally already recognised state which
17 had already become a member of the United Nations, if on the territory of
18 that state there were 40.000 soldiers belonging to another independent
19 state, and in this particular instance the Croatian army in Croatian
20 state. So we considered that it would be in order to have all the armies
21 pull out. Not only the JNA but also the Croatian army withdraw from
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and only when that had been done were conditions ripe
23 to have the three ethnic groups find a peaceful settlement to the crisis
24 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
25 Q. All right. Fine. We're not going to dwell on that, but what are
1 the main issues raised in the memorandum? The military involvement in
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina. What else?
3 A. Let me just find the text of the memorandum.
4 Q. It's in tab 56.
5 A. Yes, I've found it. Well, another issue was -- actually, we have
6 Croatia's military engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina, then the arming of
7 the Croatian and Muslim population in Bosnia-Herzegovina, although at that
8 time there was an embargo in full force with respect to armaments, and
9 that was one that was brought in by the international community, and it
10 held true for the whole of Yugoslavia, and I think that some prominent
11 international leaders took note of that as well as the UN
12 Secretary-General. They said that independently of the embargo, there was
13 still weapons imports going on unimpeded, both in Bosnia-Herzegovina and
14 in Croatia.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. Then the memorandum also addresses the issue of military and
17 police training and the infiltration of sabotage terrorist groups and also
18 the civilian suffering and civilian victims.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Was there any reply from the Secretary-General to
20 this memorandum?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. As far as I recall, no, there
22 was not. And I have to say that we wrote to them several times. But we
23 weren't used to getting answers from them, responses to our letters.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Just before we move on, perhaps we'll find a part of the answer --
1 not to the letter but an answer to the situation as such in a report by
2 Boutros-Ghali dated the 30th of May, 1992, but before we go on to that,
3 take a look at page 2 of this edition of the Politika newspaper and tell
4 us whether it lists in great detail the Croatian military formations on
5 the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. You have eight -- the 108th, 120 --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please slow down and give us a
7 reference. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the interpreter is asking you to
9 speak more slowly and to provide a reference.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am reading from tab 56. It is a
11 -- the document is the memorandum of the Presidency of Yugoslavia on
12 Croatian engagement in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is paragraph 4.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. It is the second column on page 2. Will you read it. "A.
16 North-east Bosnia --"
17 A. "A. North-east Bosnia, five to six brigades of the Croatian army
18 there: The 108th, 124th, 103rd and 139th Brigade, and parts of the 101st,
19 109th and 131st Brigade, making a total of 10 to 20.000 men.
20 "B. Western Herzegovina and the Neretva River valley, ten brigades
21 there: The 4th, the 115th, the 126th, the 142nd, the 155th and the 156th,
22 the 119th, the 114th, 110th, and 116th Brigade of the Croatian army,
23 totalling about 20.000 men." As I said, totalling about 20.000 men.
24 "C. Sector Livno, Duvno and Sujica, three brigades of the Croatian
25 army: The 106th, 109th, and parts of the 115th Brigades of the Croatian
1 army, and the 1st and 4th ZNG - Croatian National Guards - Brigades, a
2 total of 5 to 7.000 men.
3 "D. Territory of Eastern Herzegovina, three brigades of the
4 Croatian army: 113th, 114th, and 158th Brigade of the Croatian army, and
5 the Plavi Grom and Pustinjska Lisica armoured units. Part of these forces
6 is engaged in the wide area of Dubrovnik. The carrying out of these
7 forces' offensives is in progress, a component of which is the artillery
8 shelling of Trebinje and Nevesinje."
9 Q. All right, Trebinje and Nevesinje, what was the composition,
10 ethnic composition there?
11 A. Mostly Serbian inhabitants. They are towns in Herzegovina
12 predominantly populated by Serbs.
13 Q. Did we see prior reference to members of these units who were
14 taken prisoner, to they were as well as a number of other details about
15 individuals taken captive from various brigades?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Now, we will look at this report by Boutros Boutros-Ghali on the
18 30th of May, 1992. Are you familiar with the contents of that report?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Are the basic elements of that report those that coincide with
21 what you in the Presidency knew?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's tab 83, Security Council
24 Resolution 752.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. So it's the 30th of May. And I will only ask you whether the
2 basic elements of that report coincide with what you knew as
3 vice-president of the Federal Presidency.
4 A. What is stated in the report made by Secretary-General of the
5 United Nations not only coincided with our knowledge but coincided to a
6 great extent with what we stated in our memorandum.
7 Q. I will only quote a few points and you will tell me whether they
8 coincide. Paragraph 5: "The bulk of the JNA personnel [In English] who
9 were deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina where citizens of that Republic and
10 were not therefore covered by the Belgrade authorities decision of 4th of
11 May to withdraw JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most of them appear to
12 have joined the army of so-called 'Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina.' Others have joined the Territorial Defence of Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, which is under the political control of the Presidency of
15 that Republic. Others may have joined various irregular forces operating
17 [Interpretation] Is that the same description as what you have
18 just stated about the course of events during the retreat and everything
19 that was happening at that time?
20 A. It's the same description, and it's what I said to Mr. Alija
21 Izetbegovic in Skopje as to what they will be faced with during the
22 withdrawal of the JNA from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: It doesn't seem to say anything about units of the
24 Croatian army, or does that come later?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In point 10, Mr. Bonomy: "[In
1 English] As regards the withdrawal of the elements of the Croatian army
2 now in Bosnia, information currently available in New York suggests that
3 no such withdrawal has occurred. UNPROFOR has received reliable reports
4 of Croatian army personnel, in uniform, operating within, and as a part
5 of, military formation in Bosnia-Herzegovina."
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But it goes on to say that Croatian
8 authorities consistently take the position that Croatian soldiers in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina have left the Croatian army and are not subject to
10 their authority, but it says: "International observers do not, however,
11 doubt [In English] that portions of Bosnia-Herzegovina are under control
12 of Croatian military units, whether belonging to the local Territorial
13 Defence, to paramilitary group, or to the Croatian army."
14 [Interpretation] So it is stated here. Now, in point 8, it is
15 stated: "Uncertainty about who exercises political control over the Serb
16 forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina has further complicated the situation. [In
17 English] The Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency had initially been
18 reluctant to engage in talks on these and other issues with the leadership
19 of the 'Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina' and insisted upon
20 direct talks with Belgrade authorities instead."
21 [Interpretation] Those Belgrade authorities mean you and
22 Izetbegovic talking on the 26th of April, and we saw the result.
23 "Senior JNA representative ... General Nedeljko Boskovic, has
24 conducted discussions ... but it has become clear that his word is not
25 binding on the commander of the army of the 'Serbian Republic of Bosnia
1 and Herzegovina,' General Mladic. [In English] Indeed, as indicated in
2 paragraph 6(b) above, Serb irregulars attacked a JNA convoy withdrawing
3 from barracks at Sarajevo on 28 May under arrangement negotiation by
4 General Boskovic. It also appears that the heavy shelling of Sarajevo on
5 the night of 28/29 May took place on the orders of General Mladic in
6 direct contravention of instructions issued by General Boskovic and the
7 JNA leadership in Belgrade."
8 [Interpretation] Are you aware about this point that withdrawing
9 convoys were being stopped?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Why?
12 A. They not only stopped the convoys, but I have to say they made it
13 difficult for us to negotiate with the Muslim side the lifting of the
14 siege from army barracks. The army of the Muslim Federation had been
15 already established, very massively equipped, whereas the Territorial
16 Defence of the Serb side did not have enough weaponry, and it was in their
17 interest. They were anxious to take over the weaponry of the withdrawing
18 JNA. And they even made it difficult to start the process of lifting the
19 siege from the barracks, making it a condition that officers and personnel
20 should withdraw but to leave their weapons behind.
21 This was typical not only of Serbs but also Croats and Muslims.
22 Everywhere where the JNA was withdrawing, people would put up roadblocks,
23 come out en masse into the street to stop JNA convoys from withdrawing.
24 And the JNA if it wanted to pull out its weapons as well, they had to roll
25 over those people in tanks. And as I said, General Nedeljko Boskovic
1 visited Sarajevo, and he reported to me in my office, saying that he was
2 going to try to liberate the barracks that held those 300 cadets captive.
3 Q. Now let us just look at one last thing, item 9 of the report of
4 the UN Secretary-General. "Given the doubts that now exist about the
5 ability of the authorities in Belgrade [In English] to influence General
6 Mladic, who has left JNA, efforts have been made by UNPROFOR to appeal to
7 him directly as well as through the political leadership of the 'Serbian
8 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.' As result of these efforts, General
9 Mladic agreed on 30 May to stop the bombardment of Sarajevo. While it is
10 my hope that the shelling of the city will not be resumed, it is also
11 clear that the emergence of General Mladic and the forces under his
12 command as independent actors apparently beyond the control of JNA greatly
13 complicates the issues raised in paragraph 4 of Security Council
14 Resolution 752. President Izetbegovic has recently indicated to senior
15 UNPROFOR officers at Sarajevo his willingness to deal with General Mladic
16 but not with the political leadership of the 'Serbian Republic of Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina.'"
18 [Interpretation] Do you know anything about this and about
19 Izetbegovic's position that he should independently negotiate with Mladic,
20 that he did not accept a talk with Radovan Karadzic who was at that time
21 the president of what was then called the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina, otherwise his rejection of political contacts?
23 A. I really don't know, so I can't say.
24 Q. What we read in the report by UN Secretary-General Boutros
25 Boutros-Ghali of the 30th of May, is that approximately the same thing
1 that you knew in the Presidency?
2 A. Yes. And in my view it's an objective assessment of the situation
3 in Bosnia. That's one.
4 And second, later on, when I had already retired from the
5 Presidency, various solutions were sought for the situation for Bosnia in
6 Belgrade whereas that should have been done in Sarajevo.
7 Instead of -- in fact, I -- I already said we have -- we had
8 pulled out all the JNA on the 19th of May, and we publicly stated that we
9 have no longer any responsibility or any powers over the remaining armed
10 forces in Bosnia.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, did you not refer to this report
12 in the Prosecution's case?
13 JUDGE KWON: No, it's --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: This one? I remember a report you referred to.
15 JUDGE KWON: Yes. This report was admitted as D91.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I was now trying to establish the
17 relationship between what the Presidency wrote in their memorandum and
18 what Mr. Kostic discussed with Mr. Izetbegovic, and I compared all of that
19 to what the Secretary-General chose to put in his report.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: And you consider this to be an important part of
21 your case relating to the question of your responsibility, individual
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Robinson, you were telling
24 me yesterday that I should go into specific details, and you see that
25 Mr. Kostic, even while he occupied his post at the top of the whole SFRY,
1 didn't know anything about those details. So how could I, who was only
2 President of Serbia, know about these details, apart from conducting an
3 investigation on the scale that the people on the opposite side are
4 carrying out?
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: No doubt we will have some assurance as to the
6 significance of this report in the final briefs.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. In paragraph 7, it says that the joint criminal enterprise existed
9 from the 1st of August, 1991, until the 31st December, 1995, and I am now
10 going to ask you -- in fact, paragraph 47 says the entire time to which
11 this indictment refers there was a state of international armed conflict
12 and partial occupation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
13 When was the independence of Bosnia proclaimed? When was it
14 recognised by some countries of the European Union? When did the
15 referendum of the Bosnian people take place?
16 A. I believe the referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina took place on the
17 29th of February, 1992. I think. The independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 was proclaimed and simultaneously recognised on the 6th of April, 1992.
19 Q. The 6th of April is the anniversary of the bombing of Belgrade by
20 Hitler in 1941.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Now, you as a participant in this joint criminal enterprise, how
23 do you view the allegation that there was an international armed conflict
24 and partial occupation in Bosnia for all of eight months prior to the
25 proclamation of Bosnian independence and prior to the outbreak of the war
1 in that republic? Maybe you as participant in this joint criminal
2 enterprise can see it more clearly than a regular observer.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, I think the question that was
4 just asked, that's a question to answer for the Judges in their findings.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: I was going to say, tell the witness: Confine
6 your answer to issues of fact that will assist the Chamber in determining
7 the question of an international armed conflict. You're not to pass
8 judgement on that yourself, but you can provide information which is
9 relevant to that question.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm not a lawyer, after all,
11 and I don't feel called upon, even if the Court allowed me to make such
12 assessments, but from all that we have discussed so far regarding the
13 events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I can only recall all the talks and all
14 the agreements we had reached regarding the status of the JNA in Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina, our talks with Mr. Izetbegovic concerning the withdrawal
16 of JNA from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the fact that after the 19th of
17 May we didn't have a single soldier left there. What remained were three
18 armies, three peoples, each led by their own leadership and despite all
19 the attempts to find a peaceful solution, a fierce war started raging.
20 That's one part of the answer.
21 Second, I really cannot explain, but the authors of the indictment
22 might be able to, how come that this large number of participants in the
23 joint criminal enterprise from August 1991 until 1995 is possible if we
24 recall that Mr. Veljko Kadijevic, who is also mentioned, resigned on the
25 8th of January, 1992, and went straight to be hospitalised. On the 8th of
1 May, 1992, Blagoje Adzic submitted his resignation. I as vice-president
2 of the Federal Presidency handed over my duties to the first elected
3 president of Yugoslavia on the 15th of June and I completely retired from
4 political life.
5 Those are just some details that I would like to recall, and maybe
6 the Prosecution can explain our participation in the JCE and what it
7 consists of.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Well, here is what it consists of: You are not on trial here, nor
10 is Kadijevic. It says here in paragraph 28: "Generals Blagoje Adzic
11 and --"
12 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters missed it.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. "Generals Veljko Kadijevic and Blagoje Adzic, who directed and
15 supervised the JNA forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina, were in constant
16 communication and consultation with the accused."
17 Now, I want to ask you: Did Kadijevic and Adzic lead the forces
18 in Bosnia and did they supervise them when the war broke out?
19 A. Veljko Kadijevic couldn't have.
20 Q. Very well.
21 A. Veljko Kadijevic couldn't have been in charge of the forces in
23 Q. So is this evident, the person who consulted me was retired when
24 the war broke out in Bosnia. Did I participate in this and issue
25 instructions to someone who was retired, a pensioner?
1 A. Well, there is a lot of nonsense being reiterated here again and
2 again. We've already seen it in the Croatia indictment. So I see no
3 reason to go into it yet again. All the more so as it is evident here
4 that with regard to events in Bosnia, some of these highest-ranking people
5 from the JNA had already retired or resigned.
6 Q. But here they are mentioned as a link to me. So according to what
7 is stated here, I was supposed to have influenced -- influenced this, that
8 is the situation in Bosnia, through pensioners such as Kadijevic and
9 Adzic. We're talking about issues of fact here, not law.
10 A. I cannot assert whether you ever had any communication with
11 Kadijevic and Adzic, but if we take into account the statement made by
12 General Vasiljevic, who knew about all these links better than I did and
13 who stated as a Prosecution witness that you could not influence General
14 Kadijevic even while he was active and while he was the federal secretary
15 of defence, so how could you have influenced him after he retired and
16 after he was admitted to hospital? I myself visited him in hospital, so
17 how could you have influenced the events in Bosnia through him I don't
19 Q. Very well. I won't dwell any longer on this. Have you read the
20 Bosnia indictment?
21 A. Yes, I have.
22 Q. Have you established to what extent it corresponds to the Croatia
24 A. It's almost cut and paste.
25 Q. Did you find a single statement here that might be linked to any
1 activities of the President of Serbia - that is, me - anything that
2 indicates a connection between the leadership of Serbia and my activities
3 and these events?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the question is far too wide. I'm
5 not allowing it. I told you to ask questions that were focussed and
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. I'll put a specific
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. What do you know about my activities regarding the situation in
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina?
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, that's just as wide. We'll get a
13 one-hour lecture from the professor. You have to be -- you have to be --
14 don't answer that. Don't answer that question. Mr. Milosevic is to be
15 more focused in his questions, and he knows that.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Which of my activities linked to Bosnia and Herzegovina are you
18 aware of?
19 A. During the period I was in the Presidency, that is until the 15th
20 of June, what you did was to use your political authority to advocate a
21 peaceful solution and the acceptance of the Cutileiro Plan.
22 Q. Thank you. I have no further questions.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have completed my
24 examination-in-chief, Mr. Robinson, even before I had planned it, in order
25 not to go through the same charges that are found in the Bosnia as well as
1 in the Croatia indictment.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
3 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour. Just one
5 administrative question, more or less, about the tabs that we talked
6 about. I assume they will all be admitted, however, I would have an
7 objection against admitting this video clip, this second one with this
8 huge military whatever one would call it, because we don't have no
9 reference to the date or the purpose on what we are really seeing.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will admit the other documents but not the
12 video clip.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just the second video clip. The
14 statement by the Reis-Ul-Ulema, who says it's God's order that jihad be
15 waged, will you exhibit that?
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will exhibit that one.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Do you understand, then, that what
18 he says has to do with the Mujahedin Brigade being reviewed by
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: But nobody could see anything on that clip,
21 Mr. Milosevic. It wasn't -- it wasn't intelligible.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And there was no translation, at that.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: We couldn't make any sense of it.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's mostly shouting in the Arabic
25 language of a religious nature, a militant religious nature.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: But how are we to know that? You are not giving
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will have the tape examined and
4 then I will tender it once again. Very well. Thank you. I thought you
5 could distinguish between the Arabic language and other languages,
6 Mr. Robinson.
7 JUDGE KWON: No, no. The witness was not able to see it, and we
8 skipped that part.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't know that the witness's
10 monitor wasn't working. That's not something I can control.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
12 Cross-examination by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:
13 Q. Mr. Kostic, during your testimony, you commented on several pages,
14 paragraphs of the Croatia indictment. You know it well; right?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You know that it deals with crimes committed between the 1st of
17 August, 1991, until June 1992; correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So -- so, Mr. Kostic, you know that the population figures that
20 you gave us here comparing the data from 1991 with the data of 2001 do not
21 assist this Court. It cannot assist this Court. You know that; right?
22 A. I don't know that. How can they not be of assistance? The
23 information I provided about the population figures can certainly be of
24 assistance to the Court. We can view the information differently, but --
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, what this information includes are actually the
1 results of the Operation Storm and the Operation Flash, these Croat
2 offensives, and this is what really brought about this big discrepancy in
3 relation to the Serb population. That's a fact, is it not? And that's
5 A. Throughout my testimony we spoke about the atmosphere that
6 prevailed on the territory of Croatia from the very first day. I'm
7 referring to the areas with the majority Serb population. And it seems to
8 me that we have very successfully explained how the beginning of armed
9 conflicts came about on Croatian territory.
10 Q. Let me stop you. Let me stop you here, Mr. Kostic. Mr. Kostic,
11 these figures that you gave to the Judges include the changes in
12 population in 1995, do they?
13 A. They include all the changes from 1991 to 2001. All the changes.
14 That's the final result of everything that happened in Croatia.
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, you are aware, and you have commented on this, that
16 you are in paragraphs 7 and 10 of the Croatia indictment mentioned as a
17 member of the joint criminal enterprise and you are considered to be
18 responsible for the crimes charged in Croatia and also partly in Bosnia.
19 You are aware of this, are you?
20 A. I never said that, that I feel responsible for any crimes. I
21 expect you to tell me today what crimes those might be for which I might
22 be held responsible, but I said I never felt responsible for any crime.
23 Q. That was not my question. I would really ask you to listen to
24 what I'm asking. I asked you that you in this indictment are mentioned to
25 be responsible for these crimes as a member of the joint criminal
1 enterprise. That's what you yourself said.
2 A. I only ask to be allowed to establish the difference between what
3 you said now and your first question. I never for a moment stated that I
4 felt responsible or guilty of the crimes mentioned in the indictment. I
5 did say, however, that in that period I was vice-president of the
6 Presidency of the SFRY, and I also said during my testimony that all
7 decisions that we as the Presidency of the SFRY issued, both in our full
8 and in our reduced composition, were aimed at finding a peaceful solution
9 to the political crisis and not towards war. If you insist on this --
10 Q. Mr. Kostic, let's stop here. It seems that you don't want to
11 understand my question.
12 Given the actions of the JNA, Mr. Milosevic himself said
13 something, and I quote now from transcript 47771 of the 1st of February,
14 this -- at the beginning of the cross -- of the examination-in-chief:
15 "All these events that are mentioned here in the indictment were taking
16 place up until mid-1992. And here we have a witness who was the
17 vice-president of the Presidency, which was the Supreme Commander of that
18 army which had allegedly committed certain things. So that absolutely
19 does not mean that the crimes happened there, the ones mentioned in the
20 indictment. But it does show who had competency and power and authority
21 at that time ..."
22 To put it simple, Mr. Kostic, Mr. Milosevic is basically saying if
23 the JNA committed crimes, it's not his responsibility but yours,
24 Mr. Kostic, isn't it?
25 A. At the time that we discussed, I was the vice-president of the
1 Presidency, which was the Supreme Command. As the Supreme Command, we had
2 authority over the JNA.
3 Q. And you would be the one responsible, then, for the crimes
5 A. If there were such crimes, then I might be held responsible for
6 them, but I neither mentioned those crimes nor did I accept any claim from
7 the indictment that the JNA committed such crimes.
8 Q. Mr. Kostic, you know the place Sarvas?
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honours, I would like to refer you
10 to the atlas. It's Exhibit 336, and we perhaps can put it on the ELMO.
11 JUDGE KWON: Page number?
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's page 23, Your Honours.
13 Q. Witness, you know the place Sarvas?
14 A. I have never been there but I have heard the name of that place
15 from that period.
16 Q. It's south or -- let's say it's south of Osijek.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours --
18 Q. Did you find it, Witness? Do you see it here? It's south-east
19 from Osijek, it's close to Aljmas, Erdut, Dalj, in Eastern Slavonia;
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You know that in Dalj and Sarvas clashes occurred; right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. We actually dealt with an exhibit, a Defence exhibit. It's
25 Defence Exhibit 333, tab 26, from the 8th of August, 1991, where there was
1 a Presidency session dealing with this; right? It mentions that there
2 should be a commission for monitoring cease-fire and that they should have
3 -- they should inquire on what happened in Sarvas and Dalj, isn't it?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And on the 13th of August, the Presidency dealt again with this
6 issue of what happened in Dalj, Sarvas, and Lovinac. Do you remember
8 A. I know that we dealt with that. I don't recall every detail, but
9 I do know we dealt with it, yes.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's actually Exhibit 330, tab
11 11. It's the draft minutes of this Presidency session of 13 of August.
12 Q. And I don't think I need to put it to you, Mr. Kostic, because you
13 know about it, and I only want to relate to one point, because it says in
14 this --
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff has
18 to show the witness the document. He cannot remember something that
19 happened 15 years ago and just be told, "You know about this." He has to
20 be able to see the document in order to answer the question.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We didn't have draft minutes in the
22 Presidency. We only had minutes. What kind of draft minutes are you
23 talking about?
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can it be shown to the witness.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour. I just wanted to make it
1 short because the witness remembered this issue.
2 Q. Would you please have a look at the second page --
3 A. Can I see the document?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you have a copy for the accused?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let it be passed to him.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
8 Q. It's the 133rd session of the Presidency of 13 August 1991, and in
9 the first -- in the preamble, more to speak, above the agenda, it says
10 that you were present as well.
11 Under point 1 -- if you look at the next page, there is point 1,
12 and at the end of point 1, it says the following: "The SFRY Presidency
13 decided to ask the Federal Executive Council to form a mixed expert
14 commission for investigating the facts regarding the events in the
15 villages of Dalj, Sarvas, and Lovinac in Croatia and then inform the
16 public." Do you remember that?
17 A. I don't really recall the details, but as we see here, it was
18 agreed that Vasil Tupurkovski and Bogic Bogicevic should have talks with
19 the leadership of Slovenia. I remember that.
20 Q. But I'm asking you about the commission that were supposed to look
21 into the events in Dalj, Sarvas, and Lovinac. Do you recall that now when
22 you read it?
23 A. I really don't recall about this particular commission. What I
24 can say is that we formed such commissions more than once. There was
25 another commission, a state commission of which I was the chairman when
1 Mr. Mesic walked out of the session because I was elected chairman of that
2 state commission. As for this commission here, I really don't recall it.
3 Q. Witness, do you remember that there were clashes in Dalj, Sarvas,
4 and Lovinac?
5 A. Yes. Not just there, in many other places too, but there also,
7 Q. We actually heard witnesses -- witness evidence on the events in
8 these three places, and I would like to quote from a witness statement of
9 a protected witness.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's C57 and Exhibit 607, tab 1.
11 As this is an exhibit under seal, I would rather not give it to the
12 witness but simply read from it the part that were -- are not under seal.
13 Is that something we could agree upon?
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Let us proceed that way.
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
16 Q. This witness, Mr. Kostic, speaks about -- in paragraph 29 of his
17 witness statement, speaks about capturing Aljmas and the destruction of
18 the Catholic church in Aljmas, and I cannot read to you the full paragraph
19 because I can only read from the public version. It says: "In early
20 September --" and then there is something I cannot talk about. He speaks
21 about the unit that was tasked with attacking Sarvas. That's what the
22 witness mentioned in paragraph 29.
23 He also mentioned attacks on Aljmas. He says in paragraph 30:
24 "Aljmas was completely deserted save for a dozen elderly people and a few
25 married couples."
1 In paragraph 31 this witness speaks about the church of Aljmas
2 being mined by Arkan's volunteers.
3 And then he speaks about the capturing of Sarvas. In paragraph
4 34, he says: "I saw that the village was completely deserted and heavily
5 damaged by tanks and artillery fire. I had assumed this would be the case
6 because fire had been opened at the village from tanks throughout the
8 And finally, in paragraph 88, the witness told us that: "In
9 spring of 1992, Serbs from Western Slavonia started settling in the area
10 where I was located. They moved into Croatian houses in Aljmas and Sarvas
11 and also in Erdut, and at the same time the names of the villages were
12 changed and new Cyrillic signs were put up at the entrances to the
13 villages. So Aljmas was renamed Papuk Dolina, and Sarvas became
14 Jelenovo." Do you remember that?
15 A. Please, don't make me laugh. Do I remember Aljmas and Dalj and
16 Sarvas, in the way you're putting your question. Why didn't you
17 investigate who it was that fired the shots and destroyed the Catholic
18 church? How would I know about these details you're asking me about?
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, stop. I just asked you a simple question, do you
20 remember Sarvas, because I felt you should because you wrote about Sarvas
21 in your book, didn't you?
22 A. Yes, I did. I'll tell you what I wrote about Sarvas. You don't
23 have to ask me about it, I can tell you verbatim what I wrote about it
24 right now.
25 Q. Yes, please. Please.
1 A. In my book, I wrote about Sarvas. You see, we had concluded
2 cease-fires so many times, and throughout my testimony I kept affirming
3 that every cease-fire was always violated by Croatian paramilitary
4 formations. I often had occasion, and I mentioned this in my book,
5 through television and radio --
6 Q. Mr. Kostic --
7 A. Let me answer.
8 Q. Mr. Kostic, I'll let you answer to my question and the question
9 related to Sarvas. You do not need to repeat all the things that you said
10 in the examination-in-chief. Just concentrate on what your book said on
11 Sarvas, if you remember. Otherwise, I'll put it in front of you. I have
12 it here.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Do as the Prosecutor has intimated.
14 Otherwise, we can just have the book placed on the ELMO.
15 Why don't you do that, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff?
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: You're right, Your Honour. I think it's
17 easier to put it on the ELMO. It's --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm sorry, it's time for the break, so we'll get
19 back to that in 20 minutes. We are adjourned.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.19 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.45 p.m.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Before we discover what the witness wrote about
23 Sarvas, let me just clarify the exhibits. We have admitted tabs 32, 5,
24 and 56. Tabs 84, 62, 81 and 83, which were also dealt with by the
25 accused, had already been admitted as exhibits and therefore will not be
2 Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't hear you mention tab 5.
6 That was the audio recording of the Izetbegovic meeting,
7 Izetbegovic-Kostic meeting.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. It's on the transcript.
9 Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, we -- you have now an excerpt from your book, "1991
12 Not To Be Forgotten" in front of you, page 101. I think everybody has now
13 also the translation, and it says here on this page, it says here: "I
14 first met with General Zivota Panic, 1st Army Commander, and a group of
15 his associates, when opening the Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad on 4
16 September 1991. Radio and television were reporting daily on Croatian
17 paramilitaries from Sarvas threatening members of the JNA who were placed
18 as a buffer zone to prevent international conflicts. On that occasion, I
19 asked them, 'Is that Sarvas so well fortified that you couldn't take it
20 and chase away those who are threatening you daily?' And they replied
21 that they could mop that up in a single afternoon but that they should not
22 because of a cease-fire that had been signed and because of a strict order
23 of the General Staff to observe the cease-fire. 'If I were you, I told
24 them, I would tolerate the enemy breaching the cease-fire once, even twice
25 or three times, but after that I would silence them, and I would not wait
1 for authorisation if the lives of our soldiers were threatened.'
2 "On the following week, the Croatian paramilitaries were chased
3 away from Sarvas, but I never found out if our conversation had influenced
4 them taking that action ..."
5 Do you remember that conversation with General Panic?
6 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the witness. Could the
7 witness repeat his answer, please.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please repeat your answer.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember that well. The photocopy
10 of the text is precisely as it is written in my book.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, the Prosecution would like to
12 tender this section of the book. I don't know how to do it. The book --
13 the book has already -- it's tab 72, but just the parts that Mr. Milosevic
14 had provided. I wonder whether we should keep it as tab 72 or whether it
15 should be now a Prosecution exhibit number.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Part of tab 72, yes.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Thank you.
18 Q. So, Mr. Kostic --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you -- before you move on, my tab 72 has
20 nothing in it. Are you saying we already have parts of this book?
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: My understanding is that only those parts
22 that were translated here in -- here in the courtroom are admitted.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, as you have -- as this book shows, you were fully
1 aware of the events in that region Sarvas, and as a member of the
2 Presidency you actually should; right?
3 A. No, I didn't know what was going on in Sarvas. Had I known, I
4 would not have asked General Panic What's going on in Sarvas? And do you
5 allow paramilitaries illegal, irregular members of the Croatian army to
6 jeopardise the units of the Yugoslav People's Army, the only
7 constitutional armed forces. Had I had the details about Sarvas, I
8 wouldn't have asked General Panic that.
9 And everything we've read out here deserves additional comment in
10 the following sense: That if a truce had been agreed and one of the
11 parties fails to respect that truce, the agreement, and violates it once,
12 twice, three times, four times, then in that case the units of the regular
13 army need not wait for anybody's orders to step in in self-defence. They
14 should and can undertake activities to protect their own lives.
15 And one of the things that I have noticed and one of my
16 observations that you could have found in the book that you're quoting
17 from, although I'm not highly trained -- a highly trained military person,
18 I was just a reserve major in the Yugoslav People's Army, nonetheless --
19 Q. Would you please concentrate on short answers. I asked you
20 whether you were -- according to this, you seemed to be quite informed
21 about the region, and you say no, you weren't. That's actually the answer
22 to my question.
23 A. Would you allow me to finish my train of thought? It's not proper
24 of you to interrupt my train of thought if you've already asked me a
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, she can. She can stop you if you're not
2 answering the question, but all of that is subject to the ultimate control
3 of the Chamber.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
5 Q. According to your book, it sounds as if you wanted Sarvas to be
7 JUDGE BONOMY: I would like to know where you read that from,
8 because the witness told us more than once in his examination-in-chief
9 that he was the one in the leadership that thought the army should be
10 unblocking the various barracks where the -- their colleagues were held,
11 and that seemed to me a perfectly reasonable approach to take. In fact, I
12 think I may have asked a question about it. Now, what is it that you say
13 in here suggests that he wanted to attack civilians?
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I didn't -- I didn't say that he wanted to
15 attack civilians. I'm sorry. I just -- I said it sounds as if he wanted
16 Sarvas to be attacked, the place. I didn't say something about civilians.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, where do you read that in here? It seems to
18 be the paramilitaries he wants to be attacked, to be removed from the
19 blockage they were causing.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I read it actually from the sentence: "If I
21 were you, I would remove --" the sentence that I quoted.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: But only after they have breached the cease-fire
23 three times, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Okay. I think I move on now. I made my
25 point. But I've just -- my colleagues just told me that when I spoke with
1 the witness about Defence Exhibit D333, tab 28, that's the session of the
2 Presidency of the 8th of August, 1991. I was just told by my colleagues
3 that it is actually not tendered. Mr. Milosevic did not tender it, but I
4 would -- oh, I'm sorry, tab 26. I misspoke. Tab 26. The Prosecution
5 would like to tender it, and perhaps we put it to the witness as -- yes.
6 We should put it to the witness so that I can ask you one more question in
7 relation to that.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Yes. Let the document be passed to the
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. The witness should have the Cyrillic,
11 and on the ELMO we should have the document.
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, I would like you to -- to turn to point 4 in this
13 document, where it says: "At 1300 hours today members of the SFRY
14 Presidency commission and three representatives, each of the government of
15 the Republic of Croatia and the Serbian people of Slavonia, Baranja and
16 Western Srem --"
17 A. I apologise, but I don't have that. I haven't got the document.
18 JUDGE KWON: Tab 26.
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
20 Q. Tab 26. Yes?
21 A. Yes, I have it now.
22 Q. Thank you. I was just quoting from point 4 on this document where
23 there is the reference to the commission, and I was quoting who
24 participated here, and it says here: "... will visit the villages of Dalj
25 and Sarvas to resolve the pressing issues there. A working group formed
1 by the Federal Executive Council and representatives of Osijek Municipal
2 Assembly will also participate in the work."
3 And in the following paragraph, it says here: "Persons who have
4 been detained according to lists previously submitted to the commission
5 are to be released by 1800 hours today and activities intended to
6 determine the identities of missing persons are to be continued."
7 Mr. Kostic, I read from what is said here that the Presidency
8 commission dealt with the situation and it was actually a clash that
9 involved victims on all sides or detained people on all sides. Is that
10 what happened?
11 A. From this document, the one you quoted from, all I can see is that
12 an initiative was taken to establish or, rather, to investigate the case,
13 to establish a commission to investigate the case, but I don't remember
14 whether there was a commission report or what its contents were. I can
15 only assume that since we're dealing with the month of August here, that
16 it was the interim period which resulted in the complete blockade of the
17 Presidency, when the Presidency was no longer able to meet. It was at an
18 impasse. So that I don't know whether the working group that was
19 appointed, that was nominated, I can't say anything about that. All I can
20 do is to assume that the commission worked within the commission of the
21 federal government. But I don't remember that we received a report from
22 the commission at the Presidency at all about the results of its work,
23 what the findings were.
24 Q. But --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I be of assistance, perhaps?
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is it you wish to say?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it would probably be clearer
4 if the first paragraph were read out, where you can see who the commission
5 was, the Presidency commission, led by Vasil Tupurkovski and Bogic
6 Bogicevic, and who the members were, then it would be clearer what this
7 was about, because it is about the Presidency working commission, and then
8 we would know what it was all about.
9 So, first of all we have to establish who and then what.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Milosevic.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That can be easily read from the document,
12 and I don't think we need to go into these details. I will come, actually
13 later on, when we discuss crimes, I will come back to this commission.
14 There is no need to dwell on this now any further.
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, as a member of the Presidency and later even more so
16 in your function as the vice-president of the Rump Presidency or, as you
17 call it, reduced Presidency, you were part of the body that controlled and
18 directed the actions of the JNA; right?
19 A. Yes. The Presidency was a collective Supreme Command.
20 Q. When I say "you," I just mean this collective body; I don't mean
21 you only alone.
22 And throughout your tenure in the Presidency, the JNA acted on
23 your orders?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And during the --
1 A. If I might just be allowed to add -- or to explain, rather. The
2 division of competencies between the Presidency of the Supreme Command and
3 the power of the staff of the Supreme Command as a professional organ was
4 precisely determined. So the Presidency --
5 Q. Yes. You have already addressed this issue. We don't have to
6 repeat this.
7 During the second day of your testimony, when you discussed
8 Defence Exhibit D333, tab 69, that's Kadijevic's statement of the 6th of
9 July 1991 on peace and not war is in the interest of all, you confirmed
10 with Mr. Milosevic that the army had never done anything on its own
11 initiative, its constitutional powers and the decisions of the relevant
12 federal organs, in particular the Presidency; right?
13 A. During my testimony, I said that the Yugoslav People's Army was
14 very restrained in its conduct and that it respected the Presidency as
15 being the Supreme Command, but I also reminded you of the division of
16 powers, because the Presidency as the Supreme Command did not have within
17 its competencies and powers, for example, orders -- it wasn't the body
18 that was there to decide how the units of the JNA people's army would be
19 deployed and on what territory and so on. That came under the powers of
20 the General Staff, the professional organ.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, my colleague just reminded me
22 that this -- we wanted this tab 69 to be admitted as ...
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we'll admit it. I'm advised that it's tab
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's tab 26, yes.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Tab 26, yes. We'll admit tab 26. 69 is already
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, yes.
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, as you said, you were a part of the Supreme Command of
5 the JNA. That means that you would be to a high degree responsible if
6 this Court would establish that the JNA and its subordinate forces
7 committed crimes in Croatia and until June 1992 in Bosnia.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, aren't you doing what you
9 advised Mr. Milosevic not to do, asking the -- asking questions that are
10 ultimately matters for the Chamber? It's not for him to say whether he
11 would be legally responsible.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Then I have to reformulate this -- this
13 question. I didn't want to make him that -- I didn't want him to make a
15 Q. Given that situation, you have a very strong interest in the
16 outcome of the trial; right?
17 A. I am interested in having the real truth established. And you
18 haven't made any great efforts to arrive at the real truth. And I have
19 come here principally to assist the Trial Chamber in establishing the
20 truth and the facts.
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, I put to you if crimes would be established here, you
22 would -- it would have an impact on you as a person and your own
23 responsibility. So you did not come here to help this Court to come to
24 the truth but, rather, exonerate yourself and Mr. Milosevic.
25 A. That's not true, not correct.
1 Q. You spoke about the events in Plitvice and Pakrac. This Court has
2 heard evidence in relation to what happened in Pakrac. Would you agree
3 with me that the accounts of what happened in Plitvice and Pakrac are
4 quite different, that people describe what happened different from you, in
5 particular, Croatians? Would you agree to that?
6 A. Well, I couldn't say where the difference lies.
7 Q. I would like to --
8 A. All I can say is that as far as all the details are concerned from
9 Sarvas and Pakrac and Plitvice and other places in Croatia which existed
10 as hotbeds of crisis, I really don't know the details of. And you can
11 insist as much you like. You can insist I tell you the details but I
12 don't know about the details so I can't tell you, and that's why I said
13 it, not in any derogatory sense. If I was in the Supreme Command, I still
14 can't know about all the details, and that's why I made a joke and said I
15 expect that in a while you'll accuse Mr. Blair, for example, of everything
16 that happened in London last night, for the killings and thefts and rapes
17 and so on.
18 Q. Let me stop you here. We are not talking about Mr. Blair. I was
19 just confirming with you that people may have different accounts about
20 what happened in Plitvice and Pakrac, and you wouldn't really be able to
21 tell us because you were not there; right?
22 A. I was not there. That is right.
23 Q. But are you aware that in relation to the event in Pakrac,
24 Mr. Jovic ordered the JNA to intervene without having convened a
25 Presidency -- a Presidency session and gotten their decision? Do you know
2 A. I have to say that I don't know about that, that Mr. Jovic did
3 that. If he did that on his own, the question arises as to whether he
4 needed a Presidency decision or whether he already had a Presidency
5 decision to that effect. If --
6 Q. Mr. Kostic, let me interrupt you. We don't -- it was a simple
7 question. I asked you whether you know that Mr. Jovic ordered the JNA to
8 intervene without convening a Presidency session and you say -- your
9 answer is you don't know that. That's sufficient.
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. Do you know that he did also order the JNA to intervene in
12 relation to the 9th of March, 1991, demonstrations in Belgrade? Do you
13 know that?
14 A. At the time, I wasn't in the Presidency, but I was informed about
15 that as well, and as far as I know, Mr. Jovic conducted consultations with
16 the Presidency members and got their agreement to engaging the army, as
17 far as I know. Perhaps it wasn't a session in the plenary sense, in the
18 plenary hall, but because the situation was urgent and the danger of civil
19 conflicts in Belgrade, he might have consulted them by phone on the 9th of
20 March, the other members of the Presidency, and received instructions.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: At the time of the events in Plitvice and Pakrac
22 were you a member of the Presidency?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, in this mass of dates I would
24 have to remind myself of when the Pakrac situation happened. I can't give
25 you a precise answer.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you put that --
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We're talking about March 1991, and the
3 witness was not in the Presidency. I only asked him whether he knows
4 about these decisions, and at least he knows -- he knew about the later
6 Q. The position of the president of the SFRY Presidency in urgent
7 situation is quite an important one; right? He could start initiative in
8 relation to the JNA; right?
9 A. No. The function of the president of the Presidency compared to
10 the other members of the Presidency in conditions of imminent threat of
11 war is not different, no different than it is otherwise. What is
12 different is that the Presidency as a collective organ can meet even if it
13 doesn't have a simple or two-thirds majority, and can make decisions
14 within the composition that it had met. But the president of the
15 Presidency has no greater powers and authorisations in conditions of an
16 imminent threat of war than he does in a normal situation as president of
17 the collective organ, whether as head of state -- whether the organ is
18 head of state or the organ is the Supreme Command.
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, Mr. Borisav Jovic himself told us here when he gave
20 testimony --
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honour, I refer here to Exhibit
22 596, tab 1, paragraph 60, where Mr. Jovic writes about the events in
24 Q. Mr. Jovic ordered the JNA to intervene without convening a
25 Presidency session and without actually getting decision by the
1 Presidency. And my only question is: At times of urgency, the president
2 had a powerful position and could do something; right?
3 A. Well, I answered that question. To the best of my knowledge, in
4 extraordinary situations the president of the Presidency does not have any
5 greater powers than under normal conditions. Now, what happened in Pakrac
6 at the time, that was not an extraordinary situation, an emergency
7 situation still. An extraordinary or emergency situation is only
8 considered what happened after the 3rd of October 1991.
9 Q. In your testimony you said that in Plitvice and Pakrac there were
10 regular police stations manned by Serbs and that they were part of the
11 Croatian authorities. And that's actually at transcript reference 47661
12 of the 25th of January this year. Do you remember that?
13 A. I don't remember having stated exactly that in Pakrac and Plitvice
14 there were exclusively police forces, but I said that in those areas where
15 there was a predominantly Serb majority population, that police stations
16 did exist as part of the Croatian police, as part of the Croatian police
17 force, and that where there was a predominantly Serb majority, in those
18 police stations there were policemen who were the local population, and
19 that they were predominantly Serbs. I can't answer specifically whether
20 that was in Pakrac or Plitvice and what the situation was like in the
21 police stations there exactly, whether there was a majority of Serb or
22 Croat policemen. I can't say that and I don't think I claimed either one
23 during my testimony earlier on.
24 Q. You were aware of the events in Knin in August 1999, and you
25 yourself have referred to it as log revolution, and you know -- oh, sorry.
1 I said 1999. It's 1990. Sorry. I misspoke. In 1990, the log
2 revolution, and you know that Milan Martic and his police did not accept
3 the Croatian authorities and had actually severed his ties with the
4 Croatian MUP; right?
5 A. I really cannot tell you any details about it, because simply it
6 was 1990 and I was not yet on the Presidency of the SFRY at that time.
7 What I know is that Croatian police units and special units of the MUP of
8 Croatia tried to penetrate the Knin area and other majority Serb areas to
9 take over their police stations and practically disarm the local
10 policemen, who were mostly Serbs.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, I had actually asked you at that point in time when
12 this happened, the local police stations had actually severed their ties
13 with the Croatian MUP. You know that, do you?
14 A. I really don't know whether they severed the ties or not. All I
15 know is that they tried to prevent special Croatian forces and units from
16 arriving. They tried to enter those areas and to take over power. I
17 really don't know who severed ties.
18 Q. Mr. Kostic, we heard evidence to that effect that Milan Martic, as
19 an example, rejected the new uniforms, the new flags, and the authorities
20 in the MUP in Croatia in 1990 when there was the so-called log revolution.
21 You claim you don't know about that?
22 A. I don't know whether Milan Martic refused uniforms or not, but
23 what I have mentioned in my earlier evidence, and I can confirm it in
24 front of you now, is that the Serb population in those areas simply
25 rebelled in fear of what might happen to them. So they undertook to
1 self-organise in those areas and publicly stated they would not recognise
2 Croatian laws and the Croatian constitution that resulted from rejection
3 of Yugoslav laws. They said they would abide by Yugoslav legislation
4 instead. And I can tell you what Mr. Mesic did as president of the
6 Q. Stop here. My question was actually quite simple, and there need
7 not be a long history answer to that.
8 Mr. Kostic, neither the SFRY constitution nor the Croatian
9 constitution foresaw any parallel self-declared Serb police acting outside
10 of the competencies of the republican police organs; right? There is no
11 legal foundation for forming a separate police force, a Serb police
13 A. But it was not a Serb police force, a separate Serb police force.
14 Croatian authorities, including the Croatian MUP and police, simply became
15 renegade in rejecting the governing Yugoslav laws, and that in its turn
16 caused the Serb population to reject the new Croatian laws.
17 I don't think you should go on interrupting me. I wanted to say
18 that Mr. Mesic constantly called those people in those areas Chetniks,
19 bandits, renegades, and I kept sitting next to him and listening to that.
20 Q. You may not like it, but you need to answer my questions, and you
21 are not allowed to just tell whatever you like to say.
22 Let me ask you this: You are aware --
23 A. But I don't have to say things that you want me to say.
24 Q. You have to answer my question, Mr. Kostic. That's all you are
25 asked to do, nothing else.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just answer the questions as briefly as possible.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
3 Q. Mr. Kostic, in relation to Plitvice, was someone killed? Do you
4 know that a Croat was actually killed?
5 A. I don't know such details. I know that every such incident
6 claimed victims, both Serbs and Croats, but I don't know these details.
7 Q. You testified - and that's at transcript 47617, that's from the
8 25th of January - that when in March 1991 the military leadership
9 suggested to the federal Presidency to introduce a state of emergency,
10 four members were in favour of it and four were against it. And actually,
11 Mr. Milosevic also followed this up in further questions and also spoke of
12 this four-to-four deadlock situation. Do you remember that you said that?
13 A. I remember.
14 Q. Do you allow for the possibility that you made a mistake and that
15 in fact the situation of the vote in the Presidency was actually four to
16 three? Four opposing to introduce a state of emergency and three only in
17 favour of it? Do you allow for that?
18 A. I would appreciate it if you could refresh my memory a little,
19 because from what I remember, there were four votes against and four votes
20 in favour. After all, that session lasted three days, and every now and
21 then during those three days there were votings of various sorts.
22 Q. Mr. Borisav Jovic has testified in this case already, and he was a
23 member of the Presidency at that time. Actually, in March 1991, he was
24 its president; right?
25 A. Yes. Yes.
1 Q. And he kept a diary during the events which he later, in 1995,
2 published as the book "The Last Days of the SFRY." Do you know that book?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you read it?
5 A. Not entirely, but some points that relate to the period when I was
6 in the Presidency, I read those passage carefully.
7 Q. And as he wrote the book, as he told us here, he did not base it
8 on memory but based it on his daily notes and on official minutes and
9 other documents. You are aware of this; right?
10 A. Well, all I can tell you about that is my impression. I read
11 carefully that book of Mr. Jovic in the part that covers the period when I
12 was in the Presidency and when we worked together.
13 From what I read about that period, I arrived at the conclusion
14 that after all, Mr. Jovic did not really keep a very precise record in the
15 form of a diary. He probably just took notes and dated them later. I'll
16 give you an example. In that book you are quoting from, he writes about
17 the 15th or the 14th of July - I'm not quite certain at this point -
18 saying that the decision to withdraw the JNA from Slovenia was adopted
19 then. However, it is a well-known fact that that decision was passed on
20 the 18th of July. And from that little detail, I inferred that Mr. Jovic
21 did not really keep a tidy diary.
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, let's return to the book, and let's return what
23 Mr. Jovic wrote in the book in relation to that Presidency session on the
24 12th of March, 1991, this long session of three days. And I would like
25 to --
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, it's an extract from Exhibit
2 596, tab 2, Mr. Jovic's book, and it's his entries from the 12th of March,
4 Q. And, Mr. Kostic, it is quite a lengthy document, and I would
5 simply draw your attention to a few particular points made here. Now I
6 have the English. On page 2, we have Mr. Kadijevic speaking about the
7 situation, and he says: "First that a decision be adopted immediately
8 imposing a state of knowledge in the entire territory of the SFRY and that
9 all normative laws in conflict with the SFRY constitution and federal laws
10 be suspended.
11 "Second, that a decision be adopted raising the combat readiness
12 of the armed forces ..."
13 And a little bit further down, he says: "Third, that the
14 disrupted system of national defence be restored to its constitutional
15 framework ..."
16 That was the proposal that Mr. Kadijevic put to the Presidency at
17 that time. Is that what you also remember?
18 A. I did not attend that session because I wasn't on the Presidency
19 then. I really can't talk to you about it. I can't give you any details.
20 I know very well that that session lasted three days; on the 12th, the
21 14th, and the 15th.
22 On the first day -- on day one, the proposal made by Veljko
23 Kadijevic to the Presidency could not be accepted. There was a break in
24 the session. And I can talk to you about it because I viewed a film from
25 that session that was broadcast several times, and that's how I know about
1 these things. Otherwise, not.
2 Q. Do you know that Mr. Jovic agreed to this proposal?
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's on page 257, Your Honours.
4 Q. Mr. Jovic agreed to the proposal? Yes or no answer.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And Mr. Mesic rejected it?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Mr. Tupurkovski rejected it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And Mr. Bogicevic rejected it?
11 A. Rejected it, yes.
12 Q. And Riza Sapundzija rejected it? That's the representative for
13 Kosovo and Metohija.
14 A. That detail concerning Mr. Riza Sapundzija, I really don't know
15 about it in any precision. I think Mr. Sapundzija had the opportunity to
16 vote twice or three times during that session, but I really don't know the
18 Since we are talking about the first day, the 12th of March, I
19 don't know what his position was. I know that in the course of those
20 three days, in one round of voting, as far as I remember the film, the
21 position of Riza Sapundzija was negative. But it could have been the
22 third day of the session, I don't know.
23 Q. And I would like to quote something from this text of Mr. Jovic.
24 It's page 258 in the English, and it's actually from Mr. Nenad Bucin.
25 That's the member from Montenegro. You have it?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. He says: "I do not challenge Veljko's assessment. If I were to
3 undertake any analysis, my conclusion would probably be gloomy. As I take
4 the floor, however, I am thinking about all the previous declarations, our
5 total paralysis and inability - I would even say unwillingness - to arrive
6 at decisions even in much more innocuous situations than this one now.
7 For me, the only possibility remains acknowledging that we as a Presidency
8 are not in a position to lead this country ..."
9 Actually, this is not agreeing to -- he is not agreeing here to
10 imposition of a state of emergency.
11 A. That's not how I understood Mr. Bucin's position. My personal
12 opinion, although I didn't attend the session but from what I saw in the
13 film --
14 Q. Before -- wait a minute. Before you come to what you think, let's
15 just move a few pages further on, and that's on page 261 of the English.
16 And it's when you have Mr. Bucin again. If you continue a little bit in
17 the text, you have Mr. Bucin again, and he is proposing the following:
18 "He then proposed that our solution be that we not impose but, rather,
19 that we announce the possibility of imposing emergency measures and that
20 we not raise combat readiness, but rather announce that I was surprised
21 -- announced that."
22 Mr. Jovic then says, remarks: "I was surprised by his explanation
23 that he has no mandate from his republics for any other decision. He said
24 literally the following: We must announce the possibility of imposing
25 emergency measures and also announce the need to order the highest raised
1 level of combat readiness. I would not want to cross that line this
2 evening in concrete terms. I do not have a mandate from my republic in
3 that sense."
4 Q. So as we can see here, Mr. Bucin did not agree to the declaration
5 of a state of emergency because his republic had not allowed him to do so.
6 Do you remember that? You were in Montenegro. Do you remember that, that
7 the republic did not want to accept that proposal?
8 A. At that time, I was on the delegation of Montenegro to the federal
9 parliament. That's the post I occupied. I must say -- insist on this
10 session very much, and you insist on the positions taken by various
11 individuals at that session, and I didn't attend it. But you seem to
12 interpret it in one way while I interpret it in quite another. Maybe I am
13 wrong in my interpretation, but from what that film of the session that I
14 viewed several times, I believe that Mr. Bucin had throughout occupied a
15 very constructive position, and what you are reading is maybe his attempt
16 during the deliberations to find a constructive solution and take the
17 Presidency out of an impasse.
18 And I have to say that Bucin was in favour, himself, of accepting
19 the proposal of the General Staff, but because the Presidency seemed to be
20 in a tie and it seemed unable to take the decisions that would make it
21 possible to save Yugoslavia and prevent civil war, Mr. Bucin resigned.
22 I am sorry for taking your time, but I think it was important to
23 be said.
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, the Montenegrin leadership explicitly ordered Bucin
25 not to accept the proposal. Do you know that? I mean, you are from
1 Montenegro, and you were a part of it at that time. You know that, do
3 A. I don't know that. But earlier in my evidence, I have also said
4 that the mandate of a member to the Presidency of the SFRY from any
5 republic is not imperative in nature. In other words, nobody from the
6 leadership of Montenegro could have -- may I finish?
7 Q. No. Mr. Kostic, I simply asked you, you --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just let him finish what he was saying, briefly.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as Mr. Bucin is concerned,
10 nobody from the leadership of Montenegro could have given him orders, had
11 the right to give him orders not to accept this proposal of the Supreme
12 Command. Only the Assembly of Montenegro that appointed him to the SFRY
13 Presidency could have given him that instruction. And as far as I know,
14 the Assembly of Montenegro, which is the only one who had those powers,
15 did not give such instructions to Mr. Bucin.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
18 Q. I would like to continue further in this book of Mr. Jovic.
19 Mr. Jovic actually speaks under his note for the 13th of March, 1991. He
20 refers -- he says the following -- he refers to a meeting with General
21 Kadijevic and Slobodan Milosevic, and it's during this session, ongoing
22 session: "Veljko literally told us in the presence of General Adzic, we
23 are going to stage a military coup regardless of whether or not the
24 proposed decision is adopted. If it is adopted, then it will give us
25 cover for mobilisation only during the first 48 hours, but if it is
1 rejected, we will conduct mobilisation on our own. In that case, however,
2 there is the danger that the Presidency will meet and depose the military
3 leadership. That is why we need a decision."
4 Then after a question of Mr. Jovic what he means by a military
5 coup, he responded: "Deposing the government and the Presidency. They
6 will not touch the Assembly, but neither will they allow it to convene.
7 They will not touch the republican authorities and all the others if they
8 support the coup, otherwise they will be removed as well."
9 Mr. Kostic, that's actually what he refers to as a military coup
10 and a removal of the republican leaderships that do not support that.
11 That means Serbia and perhaps Montenegro if they change their minds. They
12 remain in power, the others not. That was discussed at that time, was it
14 A. I don't think your conclusion is correct. If a military coup had
15 happened, then it would have implied the toppling and detention or
16 isolation of all members of the Presidency of the SFRY from all republics,
17 including Serbia and Montenegro. No distinctions would have been made.
18 But I cannot be asked to interpret here the opinion of Mr. Jovic or any
19 other member of the Presidency. I can only say that if a military coup
20 had been staged, then it would have affected all bodies of authority in
21 all republics. And I've even said earlier in my testimony - but that's my
22 political assessment - it's possible that a military coup would have been
23 more efficient and quicker in resolving the Yugoslav crisis, like what we
24 saw in Greece, the military junta eventually replaced military rule with
25 democracy eight years later, when problems were resolved.
1 JUDGE KWON: For the record, could you give the page number.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The page -- sorry.
3 JUDGE KWON: Veljko Kadijevic's comment.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. It's page 264.
5 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Sorry. And just --
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you -- just one other question: Is the
8 suggestion that Mr. Bucin abstained in the vote?
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. He did not declare this. And
10 actually --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
13 Q. -- what I wanted to put to you, you said it was a four-to-four
14 deadlock, but looking at Mr. Jovic's book, it's actually, and he says it,
15 indeed, he says it on page -- what is the page? In his reference to the
16 14th of March, 1991, Mr. Jovic actually says it was not a four-to-four,
17 surprisingly for him, but he says, "Riza Sapundzija changed his mind and
18 it was three against five." This is what Mr. Jovic says, and it's book
19 page 264.
20 And Mr. Kostic, given that Mr. Jovic was the president and
21 actually present during this meeting, says there was no deadlock situation
22 at that point in time, there was actually a firm majority against
23 declaration of emergency.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: You're putting that to him?
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
1 Q. That's -- that's how it was, was it not?
2 A. Well, I left that as an open possibility in what I said earlier,
3 because I said I didn't know what Riza Sapundzija decided and how he voted
4 in every round. I said it was a possibility, and I suppose that Mr. Jovic
5 is correct in what he says, because he was there. He was the president.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: That would mean, though, that Bucin also voted.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: He did not -- yeah. He did not support the
9 JUDGE KWON: Why don't you read the next sentence. "When we
10 complete the voting and concluded that the decision had not been adopted."
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Sorry, Your Honour, I've put my --
12 JUDGE KWON: Please go on, but it's time to adjourn already.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: At least this is my understanding, that
14 Mr. Bucin was not allowed to vote because he had -- he had this -- this
15 recommendations from his Montenegro president.
16 JUDGE KWON: Is it not in the middle of negotiation? But we'll
17 come to that.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will have to adjourn. We will resume tomorrow
20 at 9.00 a.m.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 8th day
23 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.