1 Friday, 24 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I understand you wish to say
6 something in the absence of the witness.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Robinson. It has nothing
9 to do with the witness. A few minutes ago, I received your ruling. I see
10 that you made the ruling yesterday refusing my request to go for
11 treatment, medical treatment. I should like to tell you that I consider
12 this a highly unjust decision, because your assertions --
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm not hearing -- I'm not hearing any comments
14 on that. I'm not receiving any comments on that. If that is what you
15 have to say, we'll call the witness.
16 Please call the witness.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, but I want it to remain
18 on the record that I demand that the Appeals Chamber ...
19 [The witness entered court]
20 WITNESS: JAMES BISSETT [Resumed]
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, proceed with the
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
25 Examination by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
1 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Bissett, you mentioned yesterday that your
2 American colleague, Ambassador Zimmerman, had told you that Mr. Baker had
3 told the Prime Minister of Yugoslavia, Ante Markovic, that he would not
4 consider inappropriate any use of the army in Slovenia. Is that correct?
5 A. Yes, that's correct. The --
6 Q. Are you aware that the federal government did send the federal
7 police and the federal army into Slovenia?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Who was this army answerable to; the federal authorities or the
10 authorities of Serbia?
11 A. They would answer to the federal authorities.
12 Q. Yesterday, in response to some questions concerning misinformation
13 about the events in Yugoslavia during those years, you made a couple of
14 points. Can you tell us why, from what you know, there was so much
15 inaccurate information and misinformation about what was going on in
16 Yugoslavia during those years?
17 A. Well, I think, as I said yesterday, right from the very beginning
18 it seemed that the -- the worldwide media took the position that Serbia
19 and the Serbians were responsible for the break-up of Yugoslavia and that
20 Croatia and Slovenia had broken away because they were frightened of
21 Serbian plans for a Greater Serbia. That impression seemed to be
22 reinforced when the media interpreted the attempt by the federal army to
23 put down the secession of Slovenia. And as I said, the media did
24 interpret that as the Serbia-dominated federal army attacking poor little
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, do not cover ground that you've
2 already gone over. Use the time profitably. On three occasions the
3 ambassador has had to say, "As I said yesterday ..." Let's move on to
4 another area.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Mr. Bissett, you mentioned yesterday the role of Germany. Did you
7 have any information as to the ways in which Germany supported Croatia,
8 and how did you view the positions of Germany in the light of preserving
9 peace and geopolitical relations?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the relevance of that? Is this a history
12 Do not answer that.
13 Ask another question.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is not a history lesson. I'm
15 following up on what I received in the form of documents from the side
16 opposite, namely wires sent by Ambassador Bissett.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... that may be
18 relevant, and the position of Germany in the light of preserving peace and
19 geopolitical relations is of no interest to the Chamber.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Robinson. Then tell
21 us -- tell me what is of interest to you and what isn't.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Bissett, in one of your cables, you say that I told you: "[In
24 English] ... threats by Foreign Minister Genscher to recognise Croatia as
25 example of German's 'heavy-handedness.'"
1 [Interpretation] Are you aware of those German threats and the
2 threats made by the German foreign minister at that time?
3 A. Well, I'm aware that Foreign Minister Genscher had threatened to
4 unilaterally recognise Croatia and Slovenia's independence, and it was
5 common knowledge that Germany was pressuring other members of the European
6 Community to -- to recognise both of the countries that were seceding.
7 That was not a secret. It was quite well known. And Genscher himself
8 wasn't -- did not try to hide that.
9 Q. And what do you know about the evolution of the position of other
10 countries, especially EU countries, towards --
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: I will not hear that. No, Mr. Milosevic.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me make this perfectly clear: You have spent
14 15 minutes, and you have not yet asked a question that's related to any of
15 the charges in the indictment. If you continue this way, I will terminate
16 the examination-in-chief. Don't waste the time of the Chamber. Don't
17 waste the ambassador's time either. Bring the witness to evidence that is
18 relevant to the indictment. We have had enough evidence on these
19 background matters.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is not really background. In
21 the indictment and in all the evidence led by the other side, the
22 leitmotif seems to be that the fear was caused among Serbs in Croatia by
23 propaganda from Belgrade, and I wish to ask Ambassador Bissett, who spent
24 precisely those years in Yugoslavia, in Belgrade, about this, because some
25 claim that Serbs used their historical suffering through the centuries in
1 order to justify crimes they committed at the end of the 20th century. I
2 want to ask him what he knows about that.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: But didn't he comment on that yesterday? He
4 commented on that yesterday.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't think he did in full, but if
6 you consider that he already commented on that, I will not insist. I
7 suppose that Ambassador Bissett is capable of assessing himself whether
8 his brief comments of yesterday are sufficient or not.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, I'll allow you to make a brief comment on
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Just before you do, yesterday you said: "The
12 premature recognition of Slovenia and Croatia by the European Union
13 extended under intense German pressure in Maastricht in 1991, was a
14 guarantee that the break-up of Yugoslavia would not be resolved by
15 peaceful means. Once again, Western intervention had exacerbated and
16 complicated a serious Balkan problem." That's a quotation from what you'd
18 Now, that says it all, as far as I can see. There's nothing else
19 to be explored. Why -- why this happened is irrelevant to this trial.
20 The fact that it may have happened is what's relevant.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ambassador, a very brief response.
22 THE WITNESS: Yes. Well, I don't think it was just the historical
23 fact of the genocide that had taken place in 1941 that the Serbian
24 population in Croatia were frightened of activities that were taking place
25 after Mr. Tudjman's party won the election. I think there was also
1 dismissal of Serbs from the public service of Croatia. There was
2 harassment of Serbs. Many of them lost their flats. By -- even before
3 1993, I think roughly 300.000 Serbs had left Croatia. So they had reason,
4 I think, to fear, quite apart from history.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Mr. Bissett, do you know that Serbia's support to the Serbs of
8 Krajina and the Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina was interpreted and is
9 interpreted here as my effort to create a Greater Serbia? Are you aware
10 of that?
11 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
12 Q. And what do you know about that? Was there indeed an objective
13 held by me or the leadership of Serbia to create a Greater Serbia, which,
14 according to what we were able to hear in this courtroom, could have been
15 a reason to break up Yugoslavia?
16 A. My view, the idea that Serbia or yourself had entered into any
17 sort of criminal conspiracy to establish a Greater Serbia is pure fantasy.
18 I think the record speaks for itself that every attempt to negotiate a
19 peace agreement and to stop the fighting and the violence, that you were
20 personally involved in that. There were many initiatives taken by
21 yourself, as well as by the international community, that, without your
22 assistance, would have failed. And this goes right from the first
23 Vance-Owen Plan, the Vance-Stoltenberg Plan, both plans which were
24 subverted not by you or by the Serbian side but by others. And at Dayton
25 itself there is no question that had you not been there, that the Dayton
1 agreement would not have been signed, which finally brought peace to the
2 warfare there. So I think the idea that you were attempting to establish
3 a Greater Serbia is pure fantasy.
4 Q. At the end of paragraph 9 of your telegram that we considered
5 yesterday, you quote my explanation for why -- for what I was advocating,
6 what I was working for as regards the problems of Serbs in Croatia. You
7 wrote in that paragraph: "[In English] He did, however, fully support
8 autonomy for those areas of Croatia where Serbs made up predominant part
9 of population; e.g., Krajina."
10 What you wrote here, briefly, and we discussed it, namely what I
11 was working for then, was that autonomy in case Croatia secedes from
13 A. I'm sorry, I'm having trouble finding the right telegram here.
14 JUDGE KWON: Tab 1.
15 THE WITNESS: Tab 1.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. It's in tab 1, Mr. Bissett.
18 A. Yes. As I -- as I recall it, it was related to the idea that if
19 Croatia secede, that it could probably do so lawfully as long as some
20 absolute guarantees were given to the Serbian population in Krajina and
21 that they would have some form of autonomy and their civil and human
22 rights protected.
23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Bissett. At the relevant time you were following
24 the events, including my actions and the actions taken by the authorities
25 in Serbia. Did you find any indication that we had territorial ambitions
1 against those republics?
2 A. No, I did not.
3 Q. Was there any indication to the contrary, indication that we did
4 not have any territorial claims?
5 A. Well, I think in all of the proposals, the possible peace
6 proposals, there was no suggestion that Serbia would gain territory from
7 the settlements. It seemed to me very clear in all of these negotiations
8 and peace plans that the one concern was the protection of the human
9 rights and civil rights of the Serbian populations in Croatia where they
10 were a majority and had lived for many hundreds of years, and for the
11 Serbs later in Bosnia.
12 Q. Could you tell us, please, from all I told you in our conversation
13 on the 2nd of September and which is partially reflected in paragraph 10
14 of your cable, what was it that destroyed the unity of Yugoslavia? You
15 say the advent of Slovenia's and Croatia's independence.
16 A. Well, I think there's no question of what destroyed Yugoslavia.
17 It was the decision by Croatia and Slovenia to secede from the federation.
18 The unfortunate part of that secession was, as I recall, the federal
19 Yugoslav constitution made provision for secession but only if the
20 constituent nations were agreeable, and that was not the case. It wasn't
21 important in Slovenia, but it was very important in Croatia where the
22 Serbian population, via the constitution, were considered a constituent
23 nation and any break-away or any secession would have had to have been
24 done with their agreement. Therefore, it seems clear to me that both the
25 separation of Slovenia and Croatia, and later Bosnia, were illegal and
1 against the Yugoslav constitution. The fact that the separation -- the
2 secession in Croatia and Slovenia were both done with violence I consider
3 makes it even worse.
4 Q. Were you able, even at that time, to see clearly enough the
5 violent nature of secession that you've just mentioned?
6 A. Well, yes. Even by March of 1991, there had been armed conflict
7 in parts of Croatia. There was fighting that had been -- that was -- had
8 been breaking out in parts of Croatia.
9 Q. Did you have an opportunity of establishing then what the role
10 played by the Yugoslav People's Army was and what it strove for, faced
11 with the situation of that kind, that is to say in this situation of
13 A. Well, the Yugoslav national army was, of course, devoted and
14 dedicated to the preservation of Yugoslavia, and I think it certainly
15 assumed that one of its duties would be to put down armed secession.
16 Q. Mr. Bissett, with respect to the events of which you were an
17 eyewitness yourself, and according to the Croatia indictment and the
18 Bosnian indictment against me, I, the members of the SFRY Presidency who
19 were opposed to the secession, members of the top military echelons, the
20 Serb leaders in Krajina and Bosnia have been termed as participants in a
21 joint enterprise, criminal enterprise.
22 Now, at that time when you were there, these strivings to preserve
23 Yugoslavia and -- was it a joint criminal enterprise or was it a
24 constitutional obligation? How did you see things?
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's not for the witness to comment on. Those
1 are legal issues.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. I won't ask the witness
3 any legal questions.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Bissett, you were in Yugoslavia doing your job when the Vance
6 Plan was adopted. Who, from whom, and why were the United Nations peace
7 forces supposed to protect?
8 A. They were supposed to protect the Serb population in the Serbian
9 areas of Croatia, in the Krajina.
10 Q. And whose duty was it to protect that population from that same
11 source of jeopardy before the United Nations forces arrived?
12 A. Well, as I recall, it was the EC monitors, who were there prior to
13 the Vance Plan being implemented, but ...
14 Q. Do you happen to remember whether there were any difficulties over
15 the adoption of the Vance Plan?
16 A. Over the Vance Plan, yes, I think there was initial difficulties
17 when, as I recall, we were all very pleased -- that is the diplomatic
18 corps in Belgrade were pleased to know that the plan was going to be
19 adopted because it was the first real effort to stop the bloodshed, but at
20 last minute it seemed that the Croatian -- sorry, the Serbian Prime
21 Minister, Babic, backed off and refused to sign.
22 Q. And do you remember from those days what my reactions to that
24 A. Well, I remember you were upset that Babic had -- who had first
25 agreed to sign and then changed his mind, I remember you were upset about
1 that and had an article in the front page of the Politika newspaper
2 condemning Babic. I think as a result of your pressure, Babic finally did
3 sign and the plan went ahead.
4 Q. Do you have in front of you that article of mine that you
5 mentioned a moment ago? And it is number 2. Not in the tab. It's not
6 tab 2, it's just under number 2.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And, gentlemen, that is Exhibit 352,
8 tab 79, exhibits already tendered into evidence.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. I should just like to ask you something with respect to that
11 letter of mine that you mentioned. Do you remember what I wrote?
12 A. Well, I don't remember what you wrote, but I have it in front of
13 me now, yes.
14 JUDGE KWON: Could the usher put it on the ELMO. Page 5.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Did this letter refer to anybody else except for Babic? And would
17 you look at page 6, towards the very end of the translation, because of
18 course you have the English text before you. That very last portion
19 highlighted in darker letters: "Serbia will not stop helping the people
20 of Krajina ..."
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you remember -- not in reading this, but do you remember
23 generally whether this letter referred to any other person except Babic,
24 who at that time had refused the plan which he had agreed to beforehand?
25 A. Not that I recall, no.
1 Q. Now, take a look at the previous paragraph. What does it say
2 there? Would you read it out, please. "It has become obvious ..." That
4 A. "It has become obvious for quite some time that you have been
5 creating an impression among the citizens of Krajina that you make your
6 decisions and take your positions following agreement with the Serbian
7 leadership. Thus, I want the citizens of Krajina to know that this is not
9 Q. Do you know, from those times and from following events, how many
10 such abuses there were, that is to say that something was linked to the
11 leadership of Serbia when it wasn't true, as it was in this case when I
12 have to state publicly that it was not?
13 A. No, I can't really recall other -- other, as you say, abuses that
14 were linked to your leadership when it wasn't true. If you're -- if
15 you're specifically mentioning that other people were publicly saying that
16 they had discussions with you and you said such-and-such, I can't recall
17 any of those incidents.
18 Q. Well, that's what I asked you, whether you remember. If you don't
19 remember, we can move on. It isn't the most important thing now.
20 In paragraph 11 of your telegram, you say that in talking to me,
21 you were interested in learning about the situation with respect to
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and that I told you of the risks involved, the risks
23 that a possible secession would create. Do you remember that part of our
24 conversation? You sent out a brief information about it in paragraph 11.
25 A. Yes, I do recall that, because of course it was the fear of
1 everyone, again among the members of the diplomatic corps and others, that
2 fighting could spill over into Bosnia-Herzegovina, and we were interested
3 to know if Bosnia declared its independence what would happen.
4 Q. And what was the assessment made that we discussed, and do you
5 consider that to have been the right assessment?
6 A. Yes, I do, and I think it simply confirmed the views of most
7 observers at the time, that if there was an attempt for Bosnia to gain
8 independence without the agreement of the Serbs and the Croatian
9 population, there would be bloodshed.
10 Q. In paragraph 11, you say something about that. Where I saw the
11 solution lying "[In English] ... to join in some form of federalism or
12 union with Serbia and Montenegro."
13 Do you remember whether at that time my actions and the actions of
14 the government in Serbia confirmed this assertion that we considered this
15 kind of solution to be desirable?
16 A. Well, yes, I do. I think there was at least one, maybe two
17 attempts to enter into some form of agreement with the Bosnian president
18 that would avoid the bloodshed and keep Bosnia-Herzegovina within the
20 Q. Do you remember those attempts or do you just know that such
21 attempts were made? I'm not going to enumerate them if you can't remember
22 them. You said there were several attempts.
23 A. Well, I recall -- I can't recall the details of it, but there was
24 an initiative taken, as I recall, sometime in the summer of 1991, in
25 August, where Serbia and Montenegro - I'm not sure if Macedonia was
1 present - and you invited Mr. Izetbegovic, President Izetbegovic, to come
2 and work out a form of an arrangement that would entail Bosnia-Herzegovina
3 remaining in a new federation. I also think the major effort was, of
4 course, made in Lisbon in March of 1992 when the Portuguese foreign
5 minister, Cutileiro, arranged to have the three constituent parts of
6 Bosnia - Serbs, Croats and Muslims - sign an agreement that would have
7 worked out some form of cantonment in Bosnia, and those -- that effort was
8 seen by -- certainly by myself and many of my diplomatic colleagues as a
9 major breakthrough and a last-ditch effort to prevent the violence from
10 spreading in Bosnia.
11 Q. May I have your comments, please, to what you wrote in paragraph
12 12 of your telegram. You say here: "... expressed view that the majority
13 of Muslims [In English] in Bosnia and Herzegovina realised that they must
14 reach an accord with the Serbs so that both peoples could live in
16 [Interpretation] At the end of that paragraph: "[In English] He
17 expressed the view that a small minority of Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina
18 dreamed of creating a Muslim state in Europe but doubted that many took
19 this seriously."
20 [Interpretation] Do you remember that part of our conversation and
21 how developments followed?
22 A. Yes, I do remember that. And I also recall that, of course, there
23 were thousands and thousands of people in Bosnia, Serbs, Muslims, and
24 Croats who were marching for peace, who were frightened that war could
25 break out there, and I think that what you said probably has come to pass,
1 although it turned out that it wasn't a small minority of Muslims that
2 voted for independence, but I think at the time you gave me that
3 information I thought that it confirmed with my own views that most of the
4 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina did not want bloodshed and violence and were
5 frightened that it was going to take place.
6 Q. In paragraph 14 of your telegram, you say that I told you that I
7 had hoped that it would be the Yugoslavs themselves who would be able,
8 without outside intervention, to solve their problems. To the best of
9 your knowledge and according to your experience, does that confirm the
10 correctness of those hopes or the falsity of them?
11 A. I'm sorry, I don't quite understand the question.
12 Q. In paragraph 14, I'll quote that portion for you from that
13 paragraph. We were discussing the kind of foreign mediators that should
14 come, and it says: "[In English] Such being the case, it was
15 fundamentally important that the mediators be knowledgeable and above all
17 [Interpretation] So I'm asking you now, to the best of your
18 knowledge, those foreign mediators in the Yugoslav crisis, did they have
19 the necessary knowledge and impartiality?
20 A. Well, I think I've already said yesterday that I think that the
21 European Community mediators already started off with a bias against
22 Serbia, and in -- although they were sending observers in to prevent the
23 fighting between Serbs and Croatians in Croatia, they knew at the time, as
24 did everyone else, that the Croatian army had at that time occupied all of
25 Western Herzegovina, and yet nothing was said about that and sanctions
1 were applied to Serbia, not equally to Croatia. So I think there was bias
2 from the very beginning, that the interpretation was that Serbia was
3 responsible for the break-up and the violence.
4 Q. Mr. Bissett, in document 1, which is an exhibit in these
5 proceedings -- that's not important for you, but anyway, there's a report
6 there by the UN Secretary-General, dated the 30th of May, 1992. That is
7 to say -- or, rather, is that -- what you said a moment ago about bias and
8 the presence of -- or, rather, the existence of this, was that something
9 that the United Nations was aware of as to actually happening within the
10 international community and what was actually going on?
11 A. Well, I --
12 MR. NICE: Can we have it on the screen, please, before evidence
13 is adduced about it?
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let it be placed on the ELMO.
15 THE WITNESS: Well, in March of 1991, I think it was fairly common
16 knowledge and reported in most of the media that the Croatian army was in
17 Western Herzegovina. In the document that you've produced - I've had the
18 opportunity of reading it - it's a report to the Secretary-General, it
19 does indicate, I think pretty clearly, that the Croatians had not
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And does it say that the JNA had withdrawn?
23 A. Yes, it does.
24 Q. Well, how do you explain then this: The Croatian army didn't
25 leave Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had practically previously not existed,
1 whereas the Yugoslav People's Army, which had been there for 70 years, did
2 withdraw? So that is the fact. Sanctions are introduced against the
3 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -- or, rather, Serbia and Montenegro,
4 whereas they kept quiet on the situation going on on the other side, which
5 was quite different. Do you have an explanation for that now, or perhaps
6 did you have one then?
7 A. I don't have an explanation. But it simply does, I think, prove
8 that there was bias on the part of some of the international organisations
9 that were trying to bring peace to Yugoslavia.
10 Q. In paragraph 16 of your telegram, you say: "I asked Milosevic if
11 he sincerely felt that there could be a settlement [In English] of these
12 terrible ethnic struggles so rooted in history and bloodshed. He replied
13 optimistically by saying that once the Serb minority problem in Croatia
14 was settled - and it was in the interest of Croatia to do this - then
15 sensible and effective negotiation could begin."
16 [Interpretation] Was that then and now, when you look back, the
17 way to move forward towards resolving the problem?
18 A. Yes, of course it was. And again, I think I said that yesterday,
19 that if there could have been a settlement of the Serbian minority problem
20 in Croatia, then most of the problems and the great tragedy that overtook
21 Yugoslavia could have been prevented.
22 Q. And what about the steps made by the Serbian authorities and my
23 own steps? Did they show that we stand behind a stance of this kind, the
24 kind of position that I explained to you?
25 A. Yes, I think that's -- that's been clear, that you yourself and
1 indeed the official Serbian position was that unless satisfactory
2 protection can be given to the minorities in Croatia, that successful
3 resolution of the problem could not come about.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you ask so many leading questions
5 that one tires of bringing it to your attention. That was a very leading
6 question, and it got the response which you -- which was embedded in the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't understand what a leading
9 question is here if I'm quoting from what Ambassador Bissett wrote in his
10 telegram and then I ask him whether the position was in conformity with a
11 stance of that kind to the best of his knowledge. And he's not a minor
12 for me to ask him leading questions and for me to elicit an answer that I
13 want to hear by doing so.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: The proper question should have been, "What did
15 they show?" Just that.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. In what you wrote, we were discussing security for the Serb
18 minority and then later on negotiations. So those were two points.
19 Security was achieved through the implementation of the Vance Plan. And
20 now I'm going to ask you, did the negotiations ever come about?
21 A. Negotiations for solving the problems for the Serbian minority in
22 Croatia, do you mean?
23 Q. Yes, yes. Did the negotiations take place?
24 A. Well, yes, they did take place. There were negotiations.
25 Unfortunately, they did not -- they did not succeed in the long term.
1 Q. And what, in your opinion, was the cause of the failure of those
3 A. The failure of the negotiations, there's different interpretations
4 of that. I can only give you my own opinion. I think in the Vance-Owen
5 Plan, and later on the other Vance-Stoltenberg Plans failed because of
6 primarily outside influence by the Americans.
7 Q. In connection to what you've just said and mentioning Cutileiro's
8 plan to touch upon the Bosnian crisis now and focus on that for a while,
9 in addition to these attempts and agreements between the Serbs and
10 Muslims, do you know about the relationship of the Serb side in Bosnia
11 towards the peace efforts being made and principally the plan you just
12 mentioned which was popularly known as the Cutileiro Plan?
13 A. Yes, of course I remember it very well because it seemed to be a
14 last-ditch effort to prevent bloodshed, and the -- Cutileiro had gathered
15 the three leaders, Karadzic, Izetbegovic, and Boban, to Lisbon, and they
16 worked out a satisfactory settlement and all three leaders signed it. It
17 seemed a time for rejoicing because it was a solution to a very difficult
18 problem, and it appeared to be a satisfactory settlement.
19 Q. Was this the general standpoint taken by your colleagues among the
20 diplomatic corps in Belgrade, or was it only your own standpoint?
21 A. No, no. I think it was generally acknowledged by certainly the
22 greater part of the diplomatic corps as a great relief; that if the
23 Bosnian problem could be settled, then the Croatian and the Serbian
24 ongoing dispute would probably fall in place. So everyone was relieved,
25 because I think everyone knew that if a referendum was to take place in
1 Bosnia and independence given to Izetbegovic, it would be civil war.
2 Q. Just a little while ago you said that all three leaders, Karadzic,
3 Izetbegovic, and Boban, signed the Cutileiro Plan. What happened after
4 that? Do you have any personal knowledge of what ensued afterwards?
5 A. Well, yes, I do. My neighbour, the United States ambassador,
6 Mr. Zimmerman, flew to Sarajevo and had a meeting with Mr. Izetbegovic.
7 Following that meeting, Izetbegovic rescinded his agreement to the
8 Cutileiro Plan, withdrew his signature. Mr. Zimmerman has written in his
9 book that when he arrived in Sarajevo to discuss the plan with
10 Izetbegovic, Izetbegovic expressed regret that he had signed it.
11 Mr. Zimmerman then said, "Well, if you didn't want to sign it, why don't
12 you withdraw your signature and go ahead with your referendum? If you do
13 that, the United States will immediately recognise your independence."
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Have you written a book, Ambassador?
15 THE WITNESS: No, this is Mr. Zimmerman's book.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, I was asking if you --
17 THE WITNESS: No, no.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: You must be one of the very few.
19 THE WITNESS: I don't plan to write one.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Bissett, was Zimmerman's role well known, the one he mentions
22 in passing in his book? Was it known to you and other members of the
23 diplomatic corps, at least those among the Western diplomats?
24 A. We didn't know what had transpired between Mr. Zimmerman and
25 Mr. Izetbegovic. We suspected something had happened to make
1 Mr. Izetbegovic change his mind, but Mr. Zimmerman never discussed the
2 matter personally with me other than having said that Izetbegovic wasn't
3 happy with the plan.
4 Q. You just mentioned the referendum. What did you know about this
5 referendum on the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
6 A. Well, I think what I knew about it is that if it took place, it
7 was highly likely the Serbian population would opt out of the referendum,
8 that they considered it to be illegal, and that if the referendum went
9 ahead, Izetbegovic would win it, would be granted independence, and civil
10 war would be the result.
11 Q. Would you please look at the second telegram you have here. It's
12 the one dated the 21st of March, 1991. Have you found it, Mr. Bissett?
13 A. Yes. Yes, I have.
14 Q. Please look at page 4. Towards the end, in the last two sentences
15 of point 4, but you can put it aside now and I will read out to you
16 paragraph 94 of the Croatia indictment, where it says that: "In March
17 1991 --"
18 THE INTERPRETER: Paragraph 99, interpreter's correction.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. "-- the members of the Presidency ... resigned on ... [In English]
21 16th of March, 1991, Slobodan Milosevic, in his capacity as president of
22 the Republic of Serbia, declared that Yugoslavia was finished and that
23 Serbia would no longer be bound by decisions of the Federal Presidency."
24 [Interpretation] You have my address in English in the documents
25 before you. Can you find that speech? It's in tab 51 of the exhibits we
1 had with Branko Kostic.
2 Look at page 2 of the text in English and what was used here:
3 "Serbia would no longer be bound by decisions of the Federal Presidency.
4 "[In English] In light of the situation, I wish to announce that the
5 Republic of Serbia will not be recognising any decision of the Presidency
6 of SFRY because any such decision would be illegitimate under the present
7 circumstances." So is it illegitimacy under the present circumstances or
8 what it says here, "no longer"? Do you remember that as you discussed it
9 with me? How long did those present circumstances last, the ones
10 mentioned here?
11 A. Well, they didn't last very long. A matter of a few days, as I
13 Q. You say here in your telegram, on page 4, at the end: "[In
14 English] Milosevic added Serb Assembly may or may not accept Jovic's
15 resignation, but by 21st of March ... there should be Serb representative
16 in Federal Presidency."
17 [Interpretation] As a foreign diplomat, the chief of your
18 country's mission, were you able to conclude in any way that Serbia would
19 no longer participate in the Presidency or recognise its decisions? As it
20 says here, "Serbia would no longer be bound by decisions ..."
21 A. No. I think as a result of the meeting with you, you clarified
22 the position and made it clear that by the 21st of March, Serbia would be
23 back in the Presidency. I might add to that that prior to the meeting,
24 our meeting, there was a great deal of confusion about Jovic's resignation
25 and about your appearance on television. It was turbulent times, and
1 there was a great deal of tension, and many diplomats, including myself,
2 were uncertain as to what was happening with Jovic's resignation. So it
3 was a difficult time and a time of crisis, because it seemed that there
4 might be some effort made to -- at the last minute to try and stop Croatia
5 and Slovenia from seceding. A lot of misinterpretation of your television
6 appearance. And so it was with some degree of relief that when we met
7 with you, you were able to explain that Serbia had withdrawn temporarily,
8 decide whether you should or should not accept Jovic's resignation, but at
9 any rate you would be back in the Presidency by the 21st, and that
10 happened, as you predicted it would.
11 JUDGE KWON: In the meantime, for the record I have to note that
12 the passage appears on page 3, not 4, in the English telegram.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. In my copy it's page 4 point
14 4, but it may be different in the copy you have.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. I hope that we have clarified this part, but now let's try and
17 clarify the first element contained here in paragraph 99 of the
18 indictment, where it says: "Slobodan Milosevic declared that Yugoslavia
19 was finished."
20 Would you please now read on page 1 of the English translation
21 what it says here in this passage. It's a subtitle from a newspaper.
22 "[In English] As to Serbia, she has always been in favour of
23 Yugoslavia --" [Interpretation] Can you find it on page 1 of the
25 A. Yes. Yes, I have it.
1 Q. "[In English] -- and has never tried to hide it. Always in favour
2 of Yugoslavia and has never tried it -- to hide it. It is with profound
3 conviction and a sense of pride that she says this publicly now."
4 [Interpretation] And then at the end of the following passage:
5 "[In English] Yugoslavia does exist, and it may not be annulled by means
6 of unilateral enactments and the policy of fait accompli because the real
7 interests, the achieved freedoms and democratic heritage and the strength
8 of the peoples living there are guarantee of its survival and successful
10 [Interpretation] You had an opportunity at the time while you were
11 there to see me making this speech, to hear me, to understand this. Is
12 this beyond dispute?
13 A. No. I think -- I think it was -- you made it quite clear in your
14 speech that the withdrawal was temporary and that you still -- that
15 Yugoslavia was still existing and that Serbia fully supported it.
16 Q. Do you think anyone can draw this conclusion stated here, that I
17 declared that Yugoslavia was finished?
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, he can't say that. He can't say that,
19 Mr. Milosevic, as you well know.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I will rephrase the
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. From what I said at the time, and you were then the Canadian
24 ambassador in Belgrade, could you or any colleague of yours in any way get
25 the idea that this was activity aimed against the existence of Yugoslavia
1 or declaring that Yugoslavia no longer existed?
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, yes. You can comment on that.
3 THE WITNESS: No. Certainly it seemed quite clear to me what --
4 what your intent was, that you were still supporting the concept and idea
5 of Yugoslavia.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Thank you. Now, let me just take a look at this paragraph 103
8 from the same Croatia indictment, which says: "[In English] Slobodan
9 Milosevic's calls for the union of all Serbs in one state ..."
10 [Interpretation] I'll skip over "... coincided with those
11 agitating for a 'Greater Serbia.'"
12 My call for all Serbs in one state. Please read the middle of the
13 passage on page 1 of the translation from my speech made at the time.
14 What does it say? Or maybe we can even read the whole passage so as not
15 to get anything out of context, to avoid objections that we are pulling a
16 segment out of context. It's the passage where I say: "With the
17 obstruction of work of the Presidency." Can you see that?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. "[In English] ... on the part of those pursuing the policy of
20 disintegration of the country, the plan to break up Yugoslavia has entered
21 its final phase. This plan is being implemented to the detriment of the
22 vital interests of Serbian people in both Serbia and Yugoslavia."
23 [Interpretation] And this is what I wish to emphasise, why I'm
24 quoting this: "[In English] In place of a democratic federation which
25 should provide Serbian people and the other peoples with a peaceful life,
1 that is in joint state but that is one state --" [Interpretation] I say in
2 one state in the Serbian -- "[In English] on an equal footing, these
3 forces of the anti-Serbian coalition have planned the outbreak -- the
4 break-up of Yugoslavia and are now trying to see this through. Yugoslavia
5 does exist, and it may not be annulled by means of unilateral enactment
6 and the policy of fait accompli because the interests ..." and so on and
7 so on. [Interpretation] That's the whole passage.
8 Is there any mention here of a call for all Serbs to join in one
9 state or does it mention a democratic federation which should provide the
10 Serbian people and the other peoples with a peaceful life in "[In English]
11 one state on an equal footing"? [Interpretation] Can one say that what is
12 stated here was actually a call by Slobodan Milosevic for the union of all
13 Serbs in one state?
14 A. No.
15 Q. To your knowledge, was Yugoslavia a state in which all Serbs,
16 Croats, and south southern -- South Slav Muslims lived as well as
17 Macedonians and Slovenians? Was that the state we are talking about?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Just a moment. I'm passing over something I can't
20 find now.
21 Look at the beginning of paragraph 5 of that same telegram. You
22 talk about my views on ways of solving the Kosovo problem. Can you find
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. "[In English] Milosevic elaborated on number of points at
1 ambassadors lunch, including Serbia's democratic tradition since 1918.
2 Kosovo's demographic pressures could be resolved by economic progress. In
3 meantime, Serb government will not allow that part of Serbia to be annexed
4 by [sic] Albania ..."
5 [Interpretation] I'm quoting this for the sake of correctness, but
6 does it say here [In English] could be resolved by what?
7 A. By economic progress.
8 Q. [Interpretation] I'll now put -- just a moment. I'll now put a
9 few more questions to you about the article we've already used in this
10 book by the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, the article you
11 authored. And it refers to Kosovo. It's on page 56, the second passage
12 from the bottom of the page. Please read it out - it's from your article
13 - and then I'll ask you to comment on it.
14 A. "Given the experience of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, it is
15 little wonder that the Albanians in Kosovo realised the most effective way
16 to gain independence was to take up arms and resort to violence. This had
17 been the formula for success before and there was every reason to expect
18 it would work again. Indeed, given the successful public relations
19 campaign that had been waged against President Milosevic and the Serbs,
20 and the record of human rights violations in Kosovo, it was inevitable
21 that Kosovo would be the next part of Yugoslavia to break away."
22 Q. What did you think about the Rambouillet agreement?
23 A. Well, I -- I thought the Rambouillet agreement was an attempt by
24 the United States, primarily, to force Yugoslavia to accept unreasonable
25 terms. And I am also convinced that when the initial terms of Rambouillet
1 were accepted by the Serbian side, the Americans at the last moment
2 attached an Appendix B to the agreement, which called for the permission
3 of NATO troops to enter all of Yugoslavia, not just Kosovo, and as well to
4 have a referendum on independence within three years. I think it's
5 generally known that that Appendix B was attached knowing that any
6 President of Serbia would be unable to accept those terms, and it was a
7 deliberate attempt, I think, to lead to the bombing of Yugoslavia.
8 I am not alone in thinking this. Lord Gilbert, who I think was
9 assistant permanent secretary of the British Department of Defence, in an
10 address to the British House of Commons in July of 2000, in effect said
11 that Rambouillet was a provocation which would allow NATO to use force to
12 try and resolve the Kosovo problem.
13 Mr. Rubin, of the United States, in an article in the Observer - I
14 don't have the dates - as well has admitted this.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we'll take the break now for 20
17 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
18 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Bissett, after Rambouillet, the aggression started against
22 Yugoslavia that they referred to as the bombing. In your insight into
23 that situation and in your public appearances, did you appraise -- did you
24 see that as a war crime or otherwise?
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Did he see what as a war crime? He can't comment
1 on -- the characterisation of anything as a war crime is not a matter for
2 the witness. Mr. Milosevic, you seem to be searching for questions. If
3 you are at the end of the examination-in-chief, then let us stop.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am close to the end of my
5 examination-in-chief, but I'm not searching for questions. I will
6 rephrase this one.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Mr. Bissett, how did you see that attack that followed immediately
9 after Rambouillet?
10 A. I think I've already described my reaction to it. I thought it
11 was a violation of international law, I thought it was a violation of the
12 United Nations Charter, and for me personally, it was also shocking to
13 find that it was a violation of everything that NATO had stood for since
14 its inception. NATO was originally a defensive organisation. As I said,
15 its Article 1 of its treaty said that NATO would never use violence in the
16 resolution of international disputes, indeed would not threaten to use
17 force. So that was my reaction.
18 Q. In your article, in the book published by the Lord Byron
19 Foundation for Balkan Studies, on page 57 you wrote -- please look at the
20 last but one paragraph on page 57. Have you found it?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. What did you write here?
23 A. Do you want me to read the paragraph?
24 Q. Yes, please.
25 A. "President Clinton told the American people that the war was being
1 fought for humanitarian reasons and to contain the fighting so that it
2 would not imperil or destabilise the rest of the Balkans. The bombing was
3 necessary, he said, to stop the atrocities being committed there. This
4 was justification for the violation of Yugoslav sovereignty. In the same
5 vein, Canadian ministers of national defence and foreign affairs assured
6 their citizens that the war was being fought to stop ethnic cleansing. It
7 is, of course, a matter of record that the vast majority of Kosovo
8 Albanians were forced out of Kosovo after the bombing, not before it.
9 Nevertheless, these ministers were not alone in heralding the war as
10 ushering in a new era of diplomacy. Humanitarian reasons --"
11 Q. Thank you. Thank you. So NATO leaders stated publicly that this
12 was designed to stop ethnic cleansing, and you mentioned here the
13 notorious fact that it was after the bombing. It is in cursive here in
14 the text; after the bombing, not before it. How did you see those
15 explanations by NATO leaders? What is your assessment? And finally, what
16 do you believe was the real reason for the NATO bombing of Serbia?
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, that's not a matter -- we're not interested
18 in that, Mr. Milosevic. Let me see whether you can ask the witness any of
19 these questions.
20 NATO leaders stated publicly this was designed to stop ethnic
21 cleansing. What did you want to ask, anything about that?
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I did ask. They did state that, and
23 Mr. Bissett is saying quite clearly that the wave of refugees happened
24 after the bombing, not before. So what was going on really?
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
1 THE WITNESS: Well, I'm on record saying and writing frequently
2 that I think the real reason that NATO bombed Yugoslavia was not at all
3 because of anything that was happening in Kosovo, but it was an
4 opportunity for NATO, on the eve of its 50th birthday, to demonstrate,
5 particularly to the European countries, that NATO was still a viable and
6 necessary organisation. NATO had been under attack and criticised,
7 wondering why it continued to exist, this powerful military force, when
8 the Warsaw Pact armies had long ago gone home. And the situation in
9 Kosovo was ideal, an ideal opportunity for NATO to demonstrate it was
10 still a useful force. That's my own feeling, and it's shared by many
11 observers, but it's an opinion.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: That would make NATO out to be very cynical and
14 THE WITNESS: Yes, indeed. And I think that might have been
15 proven on the 50th birthday party, where Mr. President Clinton announced a
16 completely new role for NATO which he said would permit it to act out of
17 area. In other words, NATO would now, from now on, be allowed to
18 intervene anywhere in the world whenever it felt that it was necessary to
19 do so. That was not the terms of the original treaty, and I would have
20 thought if the terms of that treaty were to be altered, the treaty would
21 have to be renegotiated and signed by all members, but again that's my
22 personal view.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ambassador, you were a career diplomat.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Please look at the next page in your article, 58, the last
2 paragraph, since you mentioned Clinton. What did you write here?
3 A. "The US-led attack on Yugoslavia was designed to improve President
4 Clinton's public image and restore credibility to NATO, whose existence
5 since the end of the Cold War was in jeopardy. This was the real agenda
6 of the NATO war. In terms of Balkan history, it is an old agenda.
7 Traditionally, Western intervention in the Balkans has proven to be
8 disastrous. From the Congress of Berlin to both World Wars, the Western
9 powers have intervened in the Balkans for their own selfish policy
10 objectives. These aims have in the end --" Sorry: "These aims have had
11 little relevance to the issues affecting the peoples of the Balkan
12 countries. What was true of the past has proven true again in Kosovo."
13 Q. And then there is an explanation to be found in the next
14 paragraph, where you say: "Because of the demonic image the Western media
15 had already created ..." Would you please read this.
16 A. "Because of the demonic image the Western media had already
17 created of Slobodan Milosevic, it was not difficult for him to be blamed
18 for committing outrageous atrocities in Kosovo. In fact, prior to the
19 bombing, the total casualties in Kosovo, Serb and Albanian, did not reach
20 beyond 2000, which by any standard was not cause for military
21 intervention. Nevertheless, NATO needed its war."
22 Q. NATO proclaimed that the bombing of Yugoslavia, and primarily
23 Serbia, was a great victory. Do you agree with that?
24 A. No, I don't agree that it was a great victory. I think it set a
25 very dangerous precedent. It now would appear that NATO has taken upon
1 itself the right to intervene wherever it so chooses, without regard to
2 international law and without regard whatsoever to the United Nations, and
3 I think that's a sad commentary on an organisation that was designed to
4 defend democracy and the freedoms and not engage in violence to resolve
5 international disputes.
6 Q. Could you please tell us what you think about Resolution 1244 that
7 ended the war.
8 A. Well, I thought that 1244 was a satisfactory solution to the
9 problem. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have been fully complied
10 with. 1244 guaranteed the civil rights and protection of all people in
11 Kosovo of whatever ethnic origin. The first results of 1244 was the
12 ethnic cleansing of the non-Albanian population from Kosovo, and this was
13 done under the eyes of some 30 or 40.000 NATO troops.
14 1244 guaranteed that the religious sites in Kosovo would be
15 protected, but we've seen that over 130 Orthodox churches have been either
16 dynamited and blasted to the ground or burned.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, this evidence relates to a period
18 not relevant to the indictment.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I think that the entire
20 context is very relevant. If you want to see the whole picture, you
21 cannot neglect this.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Bissett, you were there for a while. In another period you
24 followed all that happened in the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. How can
25 you explain this great bloodshed and ethnic cleansing and violence in
1 general that happened on all sides in the region? Did you write and speak
2 about this? Did you have discussions?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: How -- Mr. Milosevic, I think we are now in the
4 period of diminishing returns. His explanation of the bloodshed and the
5 ethnic cleansing is not going to help us very much.
6 If you don't have any more questions, just let us move on to the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] If you do not allow the witness to
9 answer this question, let me ask another one.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Bissett, in view of all that you witnessed in the years when
12 the conflict started in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and in the
13 years when you followed it from afar, who do you think is primarily
14 responsible for those crimes?
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. No. I'm not allowing that. That is a
16 decision that we will make on the basis of the evidence presented to us.
17 You're in the area now, the period of sweeping generalisations. I take it
18 you have concluded.
19 Mr. Nice, please begin.
20 There is a tab to be -- we will admit tab 3.
21 Cross-examination by Mr. Nice:
22 Q. Trinidad and Tobago was the embassy you went to first, was it?
23 A. Yes, it was a High Commission in the Commonwealth, an embassy
24 position, yes.
25 Q. And then back to Canada and then two years or a little more in
1 Belgrade. Sent there by Prime Minister Mulroney, and at the end of your
2 turn of office or tour of duty, I think you pleaded with the Foreign
3 Minister Barbara McDougall, is it?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. To stay on while other embassies were withdrawing their
6 ambassadors, and you stayed on longer than any of the others, no doubt
7 with the consent of Mr. Mulroney.
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Based largely in Belgrade, doing your two years there?
10 A. Yes, that's correct. I also had responsibility as ambassador for
11 Albania, as I mentioned, and also Bulgaria, so I made trips to both those
12 countries fairly frequently.
13 Q. As an ambassador, or former ambassador, you can have a reasonable
14 expectation, can you not, Mr. Bissett, that your words will be attended to
15 and accorded some weight?
16 A. Yes, indeed.
17 Q. Do you think that with that expectation there comes the duty to
18 check your facts?
19 A. Of course.
20 Q. You published a little between 1992 and 1999, but the real trigger
21 for your life as a publicist was the bombing, wasn't it, because the
22 bombing was something you absolutely disagreed with, as you made clear
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. And since then you have published widely.
1 A. Well, I've written quite a number of articles, yes. I haven't
2 written a book.
3 Q. You've expressed views not only on the role of NATO, which you've
4 repeated, but when you were first called here as a witness and this Court
5 had imposed a counsel on this accused, you sent a letter saying that you
6 thought this was a political court rather than a juridical body operating
7 in the interests of justice and in truth. You said that it had already,
8 this Tribunal, determined the accused's guilt and that the proceedings had
9 the characteristics of a Stalinist show-trial.
10 Now, those were your views then. Are they still your views?
11 A. No, they're not my views now, not all of that. I was reacting to
12 the fact that Mr. Milosevic was not going to be allowed to represent
13 himself, and I thought that was wrong.
14 Q. Well, did that support -- that's why I asked you about checking
15 your facts. Did that support your assertion that this was a political
16 court? The fact that the three Judges made a judicial decision in the
17 course of their duties, does that make this a political court, please,
18 Mr. Bissett?
19 A. Well, I don't think I was the only one who was critical of that
21 Q. Mr. Bissett, I think the question was easy enough to answer. Does
22 the fact that a court, through its Judges, makes a decision with which you
23 disagree make this a political court?
24 A. Well, in my view, it did. It certainly added to some of my
25 previous views that I've also written about the Tribunal.
1 Q. We may come and have a look at those, but just so that we can
2 understand exactly how strong it may be your emotions are, you as a former
3 ambassador, with access to the leading politicians and diplomats of your
4 day, have on your website today - because I'm reading it - a likening of
5 the present Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, to Hitler's favoured prosecutor
6 Roland Fiesler, who presided over the trial of those involved in the July
7 20th plot. Do you think that, in your position, that is a responsible
8 publication to put out for the world at large to read?
9 A. Well, I put it out. It may be considered irresponsible by some
10 but it may not be considered by others.
11 Q. You really -- we are concerned here, Mr. Bissett, as you will well
12 understand, with a ten-year history that involves the consequences of
13 extravagant expressions of opinion by ethnic groups supported by
14 individuals. Do you think likening the Prosecutor here in that way is a
15 responsible thing for a man in your position to do?
16 A. I think I've answered that.
17 Q. Have you?
18 A. I think there's differences of opinion.
19 Q. Well, it's not just this Prosecutor that you have attacked. I'm
20 going to hand you, please, if I can, a selection of your material on your
21 website. I'm only going to take you through a few examples, but I'd ask
22 you, over the break, to cast your eye over the others and to confirm that
23 they are indeed opinions you have published.
24 Now, looking at this document, as the footnote reveals, unless
25 otherwise stated, they are quotations from your own website, and the first
1 one is the letter sent when you were first asked to come here as a
2 witness. But on that same page -- on the first page, page 1, I just draw
3 to your attention this: You said of this Tribunal that it had lost all
4 credibility by its bias in favour of NATO patrons. It had become a
5 political organ of NATO. Its decision to issue indictments against
6 Milosevic in the middle of the bombing campaign was a blatant attempt to
7 gain public support for the bombing. After all, who would not support
8 punitive action being taken against a nation headed by an accused war
10 And with in mind that that relates to the former Prosecutor
11 Justice Louise Arbour, would you go to page 2, please. The first bullet
12 point, new bullet point there. You make various allegations against the
13 former Prosecutor, and then you say this: "There seems little doubt the
14 announcement was timed to bolster sagging public support for the bombing.
15 After all, who would dare oppose the bombing of a country whose leader had
16 been indicted as war criminal? That Louise Arbour would violate the
17 Tribunal's policy is not surprising. Her appointment to the Tribunal was
18 conditional upon receiving the approval of Madeleine Albright."
19 Now, you are quite clearly, in public domain, making allegations
20 of corrupt practices by a woman who happens now to be a United Nations
21 commissioner. Would you please tell us what your evidence in support of
22 those publicly made allegations is, Mr. Bissett.
23 A. Well, I have been told by international lawyers that it was the
24 policy of the Tribunal not to announce or publicise those that were going
25 to be indicted, yet after the bombing of Kosovo had commenced, Louise
1 Arbour, the former Chief Prosecutor, did publicly announce the indictment
2 of President Milosevic, was seen in Kosovo before what was alleged to be
3 mass graves, allegedly of Kosovo victims of crimes, and I thought that was
4 probably inappropriate. The fact that the United States -- it was through
5 United States pressure that the court was established by the Security
6 Council and the fact that Madeleine Albright did interview Louise Arbour,
7 I have my own reasons for suspecting that her appointment to the Tribunal
8 was conditional upon getting Madeleine Albright's approval.
9 Q. Do you know -- have you bothered to research what the process for
10 issuing and confirming an indictment is in this court?
11 A. No, I have not.
12 Q. And you think that the material you have referred to is sufficient
13 to make this sort of public allegation on a website, do you?
14 A. Well, obviously I did because I published it on my website.
15 Q. Tell me this: Have you made any attempt to contact Justice Louise
16 Arbour about your allegations, to check with her, to ask her, to verify
17 from any source the sort of material you put out?
18 A. No, I have not.
19 Q. Let's look at one more example of your decision-making process and
20 then I'll return to what you've given in evidence.
21 On the same page, you deal with Racak.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, yes.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Would you please ask Mr. Nice and
25 Ambassador Bissett to observe the pause. They speak the same language,
1 and it's very difficult for interpreters to follow.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. I'll ask both Ambassador Bissett and
3 Mr. Nice to observe the pause between question and answer in the interest
4 of the interpretation.
5 MR. NICE: If the interpreters are having a problem and I hadn't
6 heard it, I apologise to them.
7 Q. On the same page you deal with Racak, and I'm only concerned with
8 this not for your conclusion but for your reasoning processes.
9 "At the centre of the indictment against Milosevic was the
10 infamous 'Racak massacre.'" You set out the allegation. "Madeleine
11 Albright has described the 'Racak massacre' as the galvanising event
12 leading to the air war ..."
13 You then say: "The final report, published last week by the
14 Finnish forensic experts who examined the bodies of the alleged victims,
15 confirms what many suspected at the time, that there were no evidence to
16 show the bodies discovered in the shallow trench by United States General
17 William Walker were executed at close range."
18 And you then go on to say this: "It seems the victims were armed
19 members of the KLA who were killed in the fighting that had taken place in
20 the hills above Racak the day before. Their bodies had been placed in the
21 trench to simulate a massacre. This would suggest that at least some of
22 the evidence against Milosevic presented by the United States to the
23 Tribunal to support his indictment has been fabricated."
24 Is that still your view?
25 A. Yes, it is still my view about Racak.
1 Q. Is it? Well, help me, please: Have you spoken to any of the
2 survivors from the gully in Racak of their experience?
3 A. No, I have not.
4 Q. Have you spoken to any of the other people in Racak village who
6 A. No, I have not.
7 Q. Have you sought to review the evidence that those people have
8 given in this court?
9 A. I have seen some of the evidence given in this court, yes.
10 Q. Have you sought to review it?
11 A. Not to review it carefully.
12 Q. Have you reviewed the evidence of international observers who
13 spoke of what happened at Racak?
14 A. Yes, I have.
15 Q. Namely?
16 A. I think Maisonneuve.
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. Uh-huh.
19 Q. You disregard all that evidence, do you?
20 A. No, I don't disregard it at all.
21 Q. Have you -- have you examined and considered the forensic
22 scientific evidence in this case, and there is a great deal of it.
23 A. Well, I've certainly read some of the reports of the scientific
25 Q. Well, tell me, then, please, Mr. Bissett, if people are killed in
1 a gully - if - in execution by people standing at the side of the gully,
2 mowing them down, where would you expect to find the bullets that killed
3 the people; in the gully or on the bank?
4 A. You would expect to find them in the bodies of the victims.
5 Q. In the gully. Where would you expect to find the spent cartridge
6 cases if they had been mown down in execution by people standing on a
8 A. Around the bank.
9 Q. Do you know where the bullets and cartridges were found in respect
10 of the gully?
11 A. Well, I've heard reports from German reporters who were around the
12 trench shortly after, the day after the alleged massacre, that there were
13 no empty cartridges found.
14 Q. And you haven't followed the evidence in sufficient detail to know
15 that there is in fact evidence of bullets and cartridge cases being found
16 in exactly those places?
17 A. I have not.
18 Q. Would that perhaps change your mind?
19 A. Well, I think if the forensic evidence could prove that the people
20 were shot at close range and that the empty shells were around the bank
21 and there was no evidence of fabrication, it would probably change my
23 Q. You see, you put out material - and we may look at some more, we
24 may not - you put out material favourable to the Serb side trusting almost
25 everything favourable to them that you hear, don't you? You don't look at
1 things in detail and you don't listen to --
2 A. I don't publish everything in favour of the Serbs, but I will
3 certainly admit that most of my writings have been prompted by the view
4 that the Serbs have been demonised as a people and that this has been
5 guilt by association and has had a dreadfully bad impact on the people of
6 Serbia and the recovery from the war. I have not intended to defend
7 NATO's actions or to defend anyone other than the Serbs and the Serbian
8 people, because I felt they were unable to do so themselves, they had been
9 demonised so badly by the public media.
10 Q. So you accept -- what was it, in the course of those two years in
11 Belgrade, occasionally going to Macedonia and Albania, was it in those two
12 years that you developed this sympathy for the Serbs?
13 A. No, it was not. It was --
14 Q. Before that, was it?
15 A. No, it was not. It was after the accusations that -- made by the
16 media and by others that the Serbs were -- were responsible for the
17 break-up of Yugoslavia and were responsible for all of the crimes that
18 ensued following the conflict there. It was then that I began to feel an
19 obligation to point out that it was not the Serbs or Serbia who broke up
21 Q. That's your opinion, of course. You recognise that --
22 A. Of course it is.
23 Q. -- there are many with a contrary view. And your opinion is based
24 on what, a few meetings with this accused?
25 A. No, not a few meetings with this accused; by the facts that --
1 Q. No. I was going to list things. First of all, you had a few
2 meetings with this accused. A couple, was it?
3 A. I think I had probably four or five meetings with President
4 Milosevic, yes.
5 Q. Open source material that you received in Belgrade?
6 A. Yes, open source material.
7 Q. Contact with your own staff and what they found?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And other discussions with other people in the diplomatic
10 community at the time?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And open source reading since?
13 A. Yes. And it wasn't all open source material in Belgrade.
14 Q. No. I can accept that, as a diplomat, you have access to other
15 material. But it sounds - but correct me if I'm wrong - that you were
16 never at one of the scenes of alleged criminal acts, were you?
17 A. No, I never was.
18 Q. You never spoke, so far as you've said so far, to survivors of
19 alleged criminal acts, scenes, have you?
20 A. No, I have not.
21 Q. You've told us a number of things about 1970 -- 1991. Before you
22 arrived in 1989, we have heard from President Kucan of Slovenia that at a
23 Central Committee meeting on the 30th of January of 1989 -- just -- he
24 gave evidence to the effect that this accused said that things would have
25 to be changed that cannot be changed institutionally, because people don't
1 like them or because they lasted too long, will be changed
2 uninstitutionally; i.e., expressing at that meeting a willingness to use
3 uninstitutional or non-institutional means to achieve results. That fits,
4 I imagine, with your understanding of the man, doesn't it?
5 A. I'm sorry, I don't --
6 Q. Was he prepared --
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, reformulate the question. It's a
8 little unclear.
9 MR. NICE: Yes.
10 Q. Was he prepared, in your judgement, to act outside the law,
11 outside the proper role of the institutions when he judged it necessary?
12 A. You're referring to the --
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. He's referring to Mr. Milosevic.
14 MR. NICE: Yes.
15 Q. To Mr. Milosevic, yes.
16 A. Well, I can't answer that question. I don't know if he was
17 prepared to do that.
18 Q. Well, we'll see a little more about that. That's Exhibit 447, tab
19 2, if the Chamber wants to remind itself of that.
20 You're aware, of course, of the 1989 constitutional changes in
21 Kosovo, aren't you?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. What part do you think they played in the development of events?
24 A. Well, I think they were very important. I think that as with the
25 death of Tito and with the strains on the continuation of the federation,
1 that Serbia found itself handicapped by the fact that two of its
2 provinces, Vojvodina and Kosovo, had veto power over their legislation,
3 and this placed them at a decided disadvantage.
4 Q. Pausing there for a minute, this is a constitution that had
5 operated for a couple of decades. Why do you express your answer in the
6 way favourable to the Serb interest as opposed to the interests of those
7 in the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo who had for a long time had
8 embedded constitutional rights that were taken away from them? Why do you
9 choose the Serbian interest and not the other two?
10 A. Well, because I'm here to represent the -- the accused, not the
11 Prosecutor. I think it was clear --
12 Q. That's an interesting answer, but although I happen to be
13 prosecuting or asking questions on behalf of the Prosecution, I'm here to
14 establish the truth, and my question -- through you, if I can, and my
15 question to you was why in answering the question do you express something
16 favourable to the Serb interest rather than to the interests of Vojvodina
17 and Kosovo, which are not the same as the interests, if any, of the
19 A. Because I think there is a great deal of confusion as to why the
20 autonomy of Vojvodina and Kosovo were taken away. They were taken away to
21 enable Serbia to meet on common ground and equally with the other
22 republics. I think it was clear that -- that Tito created the autonomous
23 regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina to ensure that Serbia would not be able to
24 overpower the other republics in terms of its power and population.
25 Q. So what if he did? What followed was and what existed was a
1 lawful constitutional position which gave to the citizens of Kosovo and
2 Vojvodina rights almost equivalent to that of a republic. Why should they
3 have their rights removed, in a way that you seem to think is justified,
4 by Serbia?
5 A. I didn't say I thought it was justified. I tried to give you an
6 explanation as to why their veto power was taken away.
7 Q. From your knowledge --
8 A. Can I just expand on that? I think that while Tito was alive and
9 Yugoslavia was held together by the -- by his party, the question of
10 whether they had special rights or non-rights was not nearly as important
11 as after his death when indeed they continued to have their rights, but as
12 my understanding of the constitutional change was that the reason for it
13 and the only effect of it was they lost their veto power. I don't think
14 the citizens of Vojvodina and Kosovo lost any other rights.
15 Q. Were you aware -- I'm so sorry.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment, Mr. Nice.
17 Mr. Bissett, are you able to identify any particular law that
18 Serbia sought to make or act it sought to carry out which was prevented by
19 the veto power or were there events occurring at the time that indicated
20 that somehow or other the veto power was being used irresponsibly?
21 THE WITNESS: No, I can't specifically say that, but I do feel
22 that Serbia began to feel, as Croatia and Slovenia and others made
23 indications at the time that they may want to split up the federation,
24 that they felt impotent in their own federal institution because of the
25 veto power from Vojvodina, and especially from Kosovo, but --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: -- I have no specific examples.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 MR. NICE:
5 Q. Have you followed the evidence and the questioning about the
6 evidence on these topics in this court that goes to suggest that there
7 were groups of people going to both Vojvodina, Kosovo, and Montenegro to
8 enforce the overthrow of the then local leaderships? Are you aware of
9 that part of the history?
10 A. No, I'm not aware of that.
11 Q. Very well. Are you aware that as a result of the change of the
12 Kosovo constitutional position, amongst other things, it lost its
13 Constitutional Court and indeed its Academy of Sciences? Are you aware of
15 A. I was not aware that they had lost that.
16 Q. Because, of course, to lose your own court is a pretty major loss,
17 isn't it?
18 A. Yes, of course.
19 Q. Were you aware that it was said at the time that the change in the
20 constitutional position in Kosovo was brought about by force and even by
21 rigged -- by a rigged vote?
22 A. I know that those charges have been made, yes.
23 Q. And of course they've never been resolved because the court by
24 which they would have been resolved, although it made an interim
25 judgement, was then itself abolished. Did you know that?
1 A. No, I did not know that.
2 Q. Because such events, Mr. Bissett, if you'd had the opportunity of
3 learning about them --
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice is completely disinforming
7 the witness. He is posing questions that are completely incorrect with
8 respect to the constitutional amendments and some sort of violence. That
9 is a fabrication. You have heard testimony here, you have documents and
10 stenographic notes from the Assembly meetings where we can see that the
11 Assemblies of Vojvodina and Kosovo in the institutional proceedings
12 enacted these amendments to the constitution. How can he then ask the
13 Bosnia, who came afterwards, questions in which he claims something that
14 is just not true and that has been confirmed here not to be true? Of
15 course he cannot know anything like that.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, your questions are based on what?
17 MR. NICE: The questions are based on documents we've looked at
18 with consequences of the constitutional change which deal with both the
19 topics, documents we've looked at which show the constitutional challenge
20 reached the position of a final -- an interim judgement, I've just
21 forgotten the title of the judgement, which was not able to be perfected
22 because the Constitutional Court was abolished, evidence that's been given
23 as to the existence of tanks and so on, I think it came from Rugova,
24 around the building at the time of the vote, and there is other evidence
25 it may be from Merovci or Bakalli, I'm not sure -- from Merovci. And in
1 any event, we now know that the rumours of this were known to this
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see nothing improper in the question. The
4 Chamber will eventually have to make a determination on the matters.
5 MR. NICE: Let's move on then -- thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Let's move on. You come at the end of 1990, and of course you
7 knew something of Ante Markovic, the Prime Minister, didn't you?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Did you have many meetings with him?
10 A. No, I didn't have many meetings with him.
11 Q. He was an absolutely Western facing -- a modern, Western,
12 democratic facing man, wasn't he?
13 A. Yes, he was.
14 Q. He succeeded in bringing inflation down and had economic reforms
15 that, if they'd been carried through, might have carried the former
16 Yugoslavia through its crisis. Do you accept that?
17 A. Well, there's different points of view on that. There are many
18 who felt that his economic reforms added to the discontent of the people
19 of Yugoslavia because of inflation and that these measures were too harsh
20 and too quickly imposed for the period in the transition from a socialist
21 economy to a private enterprise.
22 Q. There were equally others who took the opposite view?
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. And we've had evidence, you see, from Mr. Markovic that he was
25 told that the accused was saying that he shouldn't be allowed to get his
1 programme through because it would be difficult to remove him. Now, you
2 had conversations with this accused. In his conversations with you --
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson. Mr. Robinson.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, is there any sense in this
6 question? Markovic said that somebody told him that the accused said. I
7 said, you said, he said, we said, and now he's asking Ambassador Bissett
8 the question of what Markovic told him that somebody said I had said.
9 Now, if that is nonsense, then yes, it's nonsense.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, just formulate the question so we can
11 hear it.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honours, I'm certainly happy to re -- to formulate
13 the question, but --
14 JUDGE BONOMY: He hadn't completed it.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. The question is to be formulated.
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. We've heard from Mr. Markovic, Mr. Bissett, of it being said that
18 the accused didn't want Markovic's reforms to go through, because if they
19 did it would be difficult to remove Markovic. And my question to you is
20 that did this accused express that sort of hostility to Markovic to you?
21 Did he say he didn't want Markovic in, first of all; and, if so, give his
23 A. No, I can't recall him ever saying he didn't want Markovic in. I
24 do recall him expressing disagreement with Markovic's economic reforms.
25 Q. Because of course at this time, without any doubt, the accused was
1 still an old-fashioned communist, really, wasn't he? Would that be your
3 A. Well, I'm not sure if he was an old-fashioned communist. I think
4 I have myself described him and all of the leaders in Yugoslavia at the
5 time as being -- perhaps I did say old-fashioned communist. I'm not sure
6 of that. I did find all of the leaders were former communists, and I
7 think were not used to Western ways, and that this was part of the problem
8 in the country.
9 Q. Were you aware that following the 14th Congress of the Communist
10 Party in January 1990 that Communist Party had been working through a
11 reduced quorum? Were you aware of that?
12 A. What Communist Party?
13 Q. For the former Yugoslavia, with the withdrawal of Slovenia and
14 Croatia from it.
15 A. That's when I think the League of Young Communists actually
16 expired at about that time, if I'm right.
17 Q. And is it --
18 A. Or dissolved.
19 Q. Very well. Is it your recollection that as we see the
20 democratisation of the various republics, Slovenia and Croatia were the
21 first to have multi-party elections and Serbia was the very last?
22 A. Well, I wasn't aware of that, but that's -- I'm not challenging --
23 Q. Very well. Were you aware, because it's in your time of office
24 and again it comes from Ante Markovic's evidence, were you aware of the
25 raid on the federal reserves that was done by the Bank of Serbia, the
1 money ultimately having to be repaid? Were you aware of that?
2 A. Yes, I remember that.
3 Q. When I spoke earlier of this accused being prepared to act in an
4 uninstitutional or indeed unconstitutional way, thinking back, is this one
5 example of the sort of things he was prepared to do to get his own way?
6 A. I don't know the circumstances under which the reserves were
7 taken, but ... Perhaps Mr. Milosevic can explain that. I can't.
8 Q. We've also heard from Mr. Markovic - and your comments on this
9 before I move forward - that it was after the Kosovo crisis in the end of
10 1989, beginning of 1990, when this accused wanted to send in the army to
11 Kosovo, and Slovenia refused in its vote to allow that to happen, that
12 things took a downward turn. Do you accept that, that Slovenia stopped
13 this accused, in the interests of Kosovo, sending in the army?
14 A. I wasn't aware of that.
15 Q. We'll look at the notion of confederation or confederal models
16 shortly, but you suggested to us, I think - correct me if I'm wrong - that
17 federal institutions were thwarted because of Slovenian and Croatian
18 independence and moves towards independence. Is that your evidence?
19 A. I don't think I said that, but I think there's no question that
20 the federal authority was --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Nice is asking Ambassador
24 Bissett whether he knew that I sent some kind of army to Kosovo. As I
25 need this for my redirect, I'd like to know what sort of army I'm supposed
1 to have sent to Kosovo. Mr. Bissett hasn't heard about it but neither
2 have I. So could Mr. Nice explain what sort of army I'm supposed to have
3 sent to Kosovo, what sort of army I could have sent to Kosovo? This was
4 supposed to be Markovic's time, I assume.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: I will not require Mr. Nice to do that, but if he
6 wishes he can.
7 MR. NICE: Yes. I'll come back to it in detail. It's a matter of
8 evidence and what's being suggested is that in the desire to have
9 emergency powers to go to Kosovo, this accused was thwarted by the
10 disinclination to vote by Slovenia. Kucan in particular, and it comes
11 from his evidence.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Just a minute, Mr. Nice.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, you should provide the transcript page
15 reference of the evidence.
16 MR. NICE: Very well. And I'm just finding that. I've got the
17 other ones, and if I haven't got that one I'll turn it up for you in a
18 second. Perhaps I'll come back to that. No. I'll get you that page
19 reference in a minute. It's, I think, in the range T30878. Yes.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, have --
21 MR. NICE: 30878, but I'll try a get a more precise figure for
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: That will assist the accused in his
25 MR. NICE: And I can give the other ones that I'm going to come to
2 MR. KAY: Could the date be given, which is an easy way of
3 tracking it?
4 MR. NICE: I'm afraid not. I can possibly dig it out, but on this
5 occasion I've done it the other way -- or, rather, I've been fortunate
6 enough to have it done the other way.
7 Q. Dealing with the cessation or the interruption in the functioning
8 of the federal institutions and your evidence, Mesic has told us, amongst
9 other things, that it was the accused who created the conditions for
10 disintegration because Mesic was blocked access to his position as
11 president of the SFRY. That's to be found at 31307 to 31314.
12 You were there at the relevant time and most of your time in
13 Belgrade, with your ear to the ground. It's right, isn't it, that Mesic
14 was -- your ear to the diplomatic ground, as it were. It's right, isn't
15 it, that Mesic was rendered incapable of performing his functions even
16 after he was eventually elected?
17 A. I think there was a great deal of concern on the part of Serbia
18 that Mesic should become the president at a time when his own republic was
19 trying to separate from the federation, and it seemed ironic for many
20 people that this would happen, but that was the way the constitution
21 worked. I know there was opposition to his assuming his duties, and I
22 think his credibility as the president was damaged, there's no question
23 about that.
24 Q. Could you now perhaps help me with my question. Is it right,
25 maybe as a result of the factors that you've helpfully identified, that it
1 was actually made very difficult or dangerous for him to attend meetings
2 where he could perform those functions?
3 A. I couldn't say that I knew anything about him being inhibited from
4 attending meetings or dangerous for him to do so.
5 Q. We now move on rather more specifically to the topic that you
6 touched upon with tab 1 of the accused's exhibits, that diplomatic cable
7 of September 1991. Before we look at it again, because there's no need
8 to, The Hague proposals, the Carrington proposals, were for a confederal
9 system, weren't they?
10 A. I'm sorry, I can't recall exactly what his proposals were,
12 Q. So that I don't waste your time and ours, you can't remember the
13 Carrington proposals. Can you remember the Vance proposals, the
14 Vance-Owen proposals, and the Cutileiro Plan?
15 A. Yes, those proposals, and the Carrington proposal was really, in
16 my view, an attempt to have a cease-fire and stop the fighting and to
17 bring the negotiating parties to the table to try and resolve their
18 disputes. Whether it was a federal proposal or confederal, I don't
20 Q. Well --
21 A. And quite frankly, I'm not sure I know the difference, really.
22 Q. You come from Canada. How is your constitution organised?
23 A. Well, we think we have a confederation but we really operate as a
24 federation, so ...
25 Q. I suspect, Mr. Bissett, if there is any nationality to whom we
1 should be turning for an understanding of the distinction between the two,
2 then it is to you or to another Canadian. But passing over from that,
3 what I want your help with is this: In the period of time of 1991 and
4 until The Hague Conference, is it your understanding that approval of a
5 system of confederation, that is something looser than a federal system,
6 was one way of holding the former Yugoslavia together?
7 A. Yes. I think that's correct, and I think that the concept of a
8 looser federal system was -- was broached on more than one occasion.
9 Q. Is it your understanding that this accused was at all times in
10 favour of that?
11 A. I don't -- I don't think he was in favour of that, but I could be
13 Q. Is it your understanding and evidence that he was at all times
14 opposed to the departure of Slovenia and Croatia?
15 A. I would have to qualify by that. I think he was certainly trying
16 to keep Yugoslavia together. He was not unhappy about the departure of
17 Slovenia. I think he felt that that was a fait accompli, but I do feel,
18 and I've said this before, his major concern, as any Serbian President
19 would have to take into account, the position of the Serbian minority in
20 Croatia, and he felt that they had to have protection.
21 Q. When did he first make it plain to you that he was happy for
22 Slovenia to depart?
23 A. He never said that to me, but --
24 Q. How did you infer it?
25 A. I inferred it from the fact that for the most part when Slovenia
1 left and the army was pulled back from there, it was pretty well accepted
2 that Slovenia would go its own way. And since there was not a minority
3 problem in Slovenia, this did not present a problem that might lead to
5 Q. It's a function of political leaders sometimes, isn't it, to say
6 one thing in public and to mean something else inside their heads;
8 A. Correct.
9 Q. And so far as diplomats are concerned, when politicians are
10 talking to diplomats, it's almost, or can be, like talking to the public
11 because the diplomat -- the politician cannot know where the information
12 will go.
13 A. Yes, I suppose that's right.
14 Q. So that if we look at the one paragraph of tab 1 that we were not
15 taken through, I think, by the accused, tab 17, on page 8, on this date in
16 September to you, a comparatively public audience for the reasons I've
17 given, the accused says -- perhaps Mr. Nort would be good enough to place
18 it on the overhead projector for those viewing. Paragraph 17 of tab 1,
19 page 8 of tab 1. There's a copy for Mr. Nort. While it's being found
20 I'll read.
21 "He outlined his own vision of what future settlement would look
22 like - a federated union of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and
23 Macedonia with some form of association with autonomous Serbian regions of
24 Croatia - linked in loose fashion with sovereign states of Slovenia and
25 Croatia for purposes of business and trade."
1 Does that look to you something like a confederal plan?
2 A. Yes, it does.
3 Q. So that if I'm right, and I realise you don't know this and the
4 Judges will have to decide this for themselves later, but if I'm right and
5 The Hague Conference proposal that was rejected was a confederal plan, we
6 have this position that in September the accused is announcing a
7 confederal system as his preferred option, but in October he's rejecting
8 it. My first question on this topic is: Did he ever explain to you why
9 he rejected it?
10 A. He did not.
11 Q. Was it ever published why he rejected it?
12 A. Not that I'm aware of.
13 Q. Have you followed the evidence in this court as to why he rejected
15 A. No, I have not.
16 Q. Let's go back a little earlier in 1991 and we'll just play a
17 little clip -- we've got the transcript. On the screen at the moment is a
18 transcript of part of the video of 447, tab 6, the parliamentary speech
19 given by this accused on the 25th of June of 1990, produced by the witness
20 President Kucan at transcript 20883. And if I can enlarge it a bit.
21 Yes. You see, if you look at this passage here, this is the
22 accused speaking, eight lines up from the bottom: "Should the state
23 system in Yugoslavia be changed; i.e., should Yugoslavia become a
24 confederation, all constitutional issues would be opened. A confederation
25 is not a state but a union of independent states, therefore the
1 confederation would not be a reality even in the case that all political
2 subjects in Yugoslavia would accept it in the existing, administratively
3 set, borders among the republics. In that case, that is in the case that
4 the federal Yugoslavia is rejected, the issue of borders of Serbia becomes
5 an open political issue."
6 Now, I suggest to you that the reading of that is clear, that the
7 accused at that time, distinguishing between federal and confederal, said
8 if it's confederal, then Serbia's borders are an open issue. Did he make
9 that position clear to you at all?
10 A. No, he did not.
11 Q. No. And you, of course, have never considered, for example, this
12 evidence before, have you?
13 A. I have not seen it before.
14 Q. No.
15 A. I have --
16 Q. I'm just drawing that to your attention. We've also heard from
17 Milan Kucan - reference is 20890, 91, 93, and 20923 - that at a Presidency
18 meeting in January 1991, of -- attended by republican authorities,
19 Slovenia and Croatia explained that they were in favour of a confederation
20 of states, and indeed they'd already prepared a concept for a
21 confederation, but that the accused was against it then.
22 Were you aware of a history of Slovenia and Croatia favouring
23 confederation and of this accused at that sort of a meeting opposing it?
24 A. No, I was not.
25 Q. Thank you. Indeed, we hear that in the course of that, the
1 accused argued that any plans to divide the Serbs into different states
2 would not be accepted. Did he ever make that position clear to you?
3 A. Well, not directly, although his position always was very clear
4 that the Serbs in Bosnia and the Serbs in Croatia must have protection,
5 and -- but it was not in this context.
6 Q. There's another piece of evidence that's been given in this court
7 and I want you to consider, because I'm looking at your earlier expressed
8 opinions, you see. Milan Babic, at 13011, 12, 19, and then 13802 to 805,
9 explained that this accused said that all Serbs had the right to remain in
10 a single state and that sometime in April or May, when he discussed the
11 Slovene-Croat proposal for a confederation, explained he didn't mind if
12 they left Yugoslavia provided the Serbs could remain in a single state.
13 Now, did he ever make clear to you in your -- one of your five
14 meetings that his true position was that he didn't really care if Slovenia
15 and Croatia left the former Yugoslavia?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Can we look next, please, at Exhibit 613 -- ah. Tab 34 I was
18 going to suggest, but -- no, I don't think I -- would Your Honours just
19 give me one minute.
20 [Prosecution confer]
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. Can we look at -- beg your pardon for this administrative error of
23 mine -- Exhibit 613, tab 9, please.
24 Now, of course, you've never had access to -- you've never had
25 access to intercepted telephone calls, and you -- I wouldn't expect you
1 to, so this is not material that you could have researched unless you
2 heard it in the course of the trial proceedings. This is an intercepted
3 telephone call of the 17th of June of 1991. And if you'd be good enough
4 to look at page 2, and if Mr. Nort, if there is a spare copy, lays that on
5 the overhead projector. If there is a spare copy. If there isn't, it
6 doesn't matter. This is a conversation between this accused and Karadzic,
7 and the relevant short passage says this -- thank you very much. That
8 will do. That's fine.
9 "How is Koljevic ..."
10 Then: "... not [sic] very pleased, we're going to Banja Luka ..."
11 The accused: "No, nothing, I expect to see what he will tell me
13 And then Karadzic: "There are, I suppose, information from the
14 head of the General Staff that they will not let Croatia and Slovenia do
16 The accused says: "... that's why I'm preparing this amendment -
17 to enable them to do it."
18 Karadzic: "That would be presented at the Assembly session,
20 And then it goes on: "This man of mine is late, and what is most
21 important ..." and so on.
22 The next sentence: "This man of yours cannot escape ...
23 "Yes ...
24 "And if he does not escape, they step out anyway. And if he
25 escapes from his statement, then he does not have a state."
1 Now, if we look at that passage and we then look at the next one,
2 and I'll ask you to look at these two together, 613, tab 15, of course it
3 will be for the learned Judges in due course to decide on the particular
4 meaning of these intercepts, but if -- this one is a little later. This
5 is the 1st of July of 1991, and it's at the bottom of the first page. And
6 it says this: The accused says: "There have nothing more to do, now we
7 are the ones making the moves, it's time for our move now. Gligorov and
8 that man can do whatever they want, they won't ... the thing is clear
9 there we can't discuss it in detail now. They want to separate.
10 "That's clear.
11 "That's clear and they should be allowed to separate.
13 Over the page: "There is only one question left, to have
14 disintegration in the line with our inclinations.
15 "Karadzic: Yes.
16 "Nothing more.
17 "Karadzic: Okay. They cannot wait for that man any more, because
18 they are in a hurry, aren't they?
19 The accused: "Who are they expecting?
20 "The first one expected of them is this man of ours.
21 "Karadzic: Bosnia."
22 The accused: "Well, they mustn't wait for him, no. Concerning
23 Slovenia, I would let them go immediately.
25 "Let them go immediately, and the others as well after they have
1 settled the issues of borders with us. And I cannot let your man, because
2 your man cannot even bring it to you."
3 Now, in all your dealings with this accused, in this middle part
4 of 1991, did he ever reveal to you that he was actually quite happy for
5 there to be disintegration provided it was in accordance with his own
7 A. No.
8 Q. And looking at this evidence, of course it's a matter for
9 interpretation for the Court in due course, but looking at this evidence,
10 this is evidence that has to change, does it not, the view you must form
11 of the man who came and saw you in September, protesting that he wanted
12 Yugoslavia to stay together? It does, doesn't it?
13 A. Well, not necessarily, I think it depends on what he -- by that
14 time what he meant by Yugoslavia. I think when he was speaking to me he
15 had pretty well accepted the separation of Slovenia and Croatia. He
16 certainly wasn't objecting to the separation of Macedonia. I think his
17 major concern was keeping Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia together.
18 Q. I'm sorry, Mr. Bissett, we must go back to tab 1 of the accused's
19 exhibits, the paragraph you and I looked at that he didn't take you to.
20 And you agreed with me that what you reported was the accused telling you
21 he favoured effectively a confederal system.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Loose fashion, nothing there about being happy for them to go. A
24 confederal system. You see, my suggestion to you, Mr. Bissett, is that,
25 amongst other things, you may have been being taken in, as diplomats may
1 be, by politicians who hide their agendas. It's possible, isn't it?
2 A. Of course that's possible.
3 Q. Thank you. Very well. I'm going to move swiftly then.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, could you just explain to me what you see
5 as the difference between the import of these communications and paragraph
7 MR. NICE: These communications are making it clear, and the court
8 has heard other evidence about this, that the accused was willing for
9 Slovenia and Croatia to leave on his terms.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Is that not what paragraph 17 says?
11 MR. NICE: No. Paragraph 7 says he looks forward to a confederal
13 JUDGE BONOMY: I thought it was 17, sorry.
14 MR. NICE: Yes, 17, on page 8. "He outlined his own vision of
15 what future settlement would look like - a federated union of Serbia and
16 Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia with some form of
17 association with autonomous Serbian regions of Croatia - linked in loose
18 fashion with sovereign states of Slovenia and Croatia for purposes of
19 business and trade." And I understood the witness to accept that that is
20 a confederal proposal.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: But it looks like Slovenia and Croatia as
22 independent countries, something like the European Union, for the purposes
23 of trade. It doesn't seem to me to be any different from what's in the
24 communication, but there are we.
25 MR. NICE:
1 Q. As we move through the process at The Hague and the Carrington
2 Plan, are you aware of the steps that were taken -- no. There's one other
3 document I must ask you to look at, because I think it fits in
4 chronologically at this stage.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, we're going to take the adjournment
7 MR. NICE: Thank you.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will adjourn for 20 minutes.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Nice.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Look at this document that's being distributed. There was a man
15 called Bob Djurdjevic. Do you remember that man? He was, I think, a Serb
16 businessman, probably quite a wealthy man, who had access to various
17 people, including yourself, and he spoke to them about matters that were
18 happening at the time. Ms. Tromp tells me that despite the way the
19 matter's noted, on the document it might be Djuretic, but it's recorded as
20 Djurdjevic, and this man met you probably in the 21st, 22nd, 23rd of
21 September and made a note of a conversation with you. You can see it
22 there. This is part of a diary that's, I think, about 800 pages long. Do
23 you remember that man coming to see you?
24 A. Yes, I vaguely do.
25 Q. All right. I'm not going to take much time of yours on this but
1 it's just something that you might be able to help us with. He deals with
2 your personal circumstances, Winnipeg and so on, the current situation on
3 media censorship and give expressions about freedom of press being worse
4 in Croatia. And you said this, though, incidentally, under -- you're
5 recorded as saying this: "As for Serbian press censorship, he said --"
6 that's you, Mr. Bissett -- "said that this weekend you had been to
7 Budapest, saw the pictures there as on the Belgrade Television, but in
8 Budapest you saw the bodies, something which the Belgrade Television had
9 carefully edited out." Do you remember saying something about that?
10 A. I can't say I clearly do remember that.
11 Q. Well, because time is short, if we turn over the page, casting our
12 eyes down the various things that you talked about, then Tudjman and the
13 minorities, and you say how Tudjman should have acknowledged the genocide
14 and reassured the Serbs - this was your opinion - failed to do so, no
15 wonder the Krajina erupted.
16 But it's the next paragraph that I would be grateful for your
17 comment on because you're recorded as saying that you feared most an
18 escalation of violence into Bosnia and that when you talked to Milosevic
19 about the Croatian situation, he told you that he wasn't necessarily for
20 annexing the Serbian districts in Croatia, maybe a part of Slavonia, he
21 said, with the Krajina getting an autonomous status.
22 So if this recording of your words is accurate, and that's a
23 matter I'll ask you to deal with in a second, but you said that Milosevic
24 told you he didn't encourage the fighting for a secession from Croatia,
25 but if this is accurate, then he would appear to have said something to
1 you along the lines of no annexation for districts of Croatia but maybe
2 part of Slavonia.
3 Now, do you remember, first of all, whether Milosevic did say
4 things like that to you?
5 A. Never. He never said anything of that kind to me.
6 Q. Because to say something like that to you would be to make a
7 distinction between his then plans for Croatia and for -- or for one part
8 of Croatia than for another.
9 A. No.
10 Q. The rest of it, casting your eyes over it, would appear to be
11 accurate, wouldn't it?
12 A. Not necessarily so, but I can't --
13 Q. Very well. Well, I wanted you to have a chance to deal with it
14 but if you -- if you can't testify to its accuracy generally, then we'll
15 take no more time with it.
16 A. May I just say that this man has a website as well --
17 Q. Does he?
18 A. And --
19 Q. Very well.
20 A. -- it's not very credible in many areas of what he has to say on
21 the website, and I'm afraid this is the same case here.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: He's testifying to its inaccuracy, I think,
23 Mr. Nice, rather than not able to testify to its accuracy.
24 MR. NICE: As Your Honour pleases. I'm not going to take the
25 matter further in any event, one way or the other. I wanted him to have a
1 chance to deal with it and he's dealt with it.
2 THE WITNESS: I would say clearly before the Court that I never
3 had any conversation with President Milosevic in which he said these --
4 these, or made these remarks to me.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Very well. When we come to the ending of 1991 and The Hague
7 process itself, you've explained that you don't have a recollection of the
8 nature of the agreement beyond what we've already discussed, so I shan't
9 press you further on that, however -- I don't imagine you've taken an
10 opportunity to read Bulatovic's book, have you?
11 A. No, I have not.
12 Q. However, he's written - and we understand we're going to see him -
13 he's written in his book whereas The Hague proposals were going to be
14 agreed to and in -- he got an intermission -- a message in the
15 intermission that this accused had told him not to accept the proposal,
16 that Bulatovic was unable to persuade his own parliament to change mind
17 because they were dealing with its ratification, and so that, in the
18 event, he did vote for it, against this accused's will. There's another
19 part I'm going to come to in just a second, but did you learn from the
20 accused or from anybody else in the former Yugoslavia at the time that in
21 favouring The Hague agreement, Bulatovic was working -- was acting against
22 this accused's will?
23 A. No, I was not aware of that.
24 Q. And he goes on to say in his book, pages 85 to 86, was that the
25 military rejected the plan because the confederal proposal would abolish
1 the SFRY and, by it, the JNA. Now, the JNA was regarded really as a
2 separate republic, wasn't it, in the former Socialist Republic of
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And therefore -- I mean, it didn't have the voting rights and
6 political rights but it was effectively such a large interest. And
7 Bulatovic explains that the army made it plain, he pieced everything
8 together, he says, in his book, that if needed, the JNA would rise against
9 the civil leadership, which would be breaching its constitution in
10 agreeing to The Hague proposals. Basically, the army announced a coup
11 d'etat and that's what forced this accused to vote against The Hague
13 Now, again, you were there, ear on the ground, talking to the
14 accused, occasionally to others. Were you aware at the time of the
15 rejection of The Hague proposal that the army was effectively threatening
16 a coup if it had been agreed to?
17 A. No, I was not aware of that. I must say there were rumours, of
18 course, during that whole period that the army might stage a coup d'etat
19 because it was one of the major institutions of the Yugoslav federation
20 and would have lost a great deal if Yugoslavia did break up. So there
21 were always rumours abounding that one of these days the JNA was going to
22 stage a coup d'etat.
23 Q. So --
24 A. But I wasn't specifically aware of this.
25 Q. So -- very well, I'm not going to take you any further on that.
1 If we go back to the events and we move away from the settlement of
2 Yugoslavia just for a couple of sentences to go back to March of 1991,
3 you've touched on this a little bit yourself with the withdrawal of Jovic
4 from the Presidency and the accused's statement on television. Again,
5 have you looked at Jovic's book - and he's been a witness and given his
6 evidence in line with much of what's in his book. Have you looked at his
8 A. No, I haven't.
9 Q. Or reviewed his evidence here?
10 A. No.
11 Q. Then I want your comment, please, in light of your last answer.
12 He explains that the desire at the beginning of -- well, first of all, we
13 have the -- the demonstration at the beginning of March of 1991. I think
14 it's a demonstration you spoke of yourself. Do you remember?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. That was a demonstration triggered in a peaceful way by people who
17 were concerned at lack of press freedom, wasn't it?
18 A. That was one of the --
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. -- one of the reasons, yes.
21 Q. And it was a peaceful demonstration that would not justify a state
22 of emergency in using the tanks.
23 A. That I could not agree with.
24 Q. Well, it became a violent demonstration, didn't it?
25 A. A very violent demonstration.
1 Q. And --
2 A. I witnessed that myself.
3 Q. And how it was turned from peaceful into violent is something you
4 can't help us with?
5 A. No. All I can say is that the mob was very violent, was smashing
6 windows --
7 Q. Became very violent?
8 A. When I saw them, they were violent.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. They were armed with two-by-fours and sticks, and I think there
11 was no doubt that they were intent on causing trouble.
12 Q. But I think you confirmed that it was initially a peaceful
13 protest --
14 A. Not to my knowledge.
15 Q. Really?
16 A. No.
17 Q. And then the tanks were out with the authority because -- but then
18 the next passage, which is connected, about a week later, the withdrawal
19 of Jovic from the position he held, he explains that there was a plan
20 whereby there would be a military coup if he withdrew from his position as
21 president and the army would take over, but what happened was that the
22 army either lacked the nerve or didn't like what had been done and they
23 didn't have the coup that they'd planned and that's why he went back into
24 his position. Do you remember that being made clear at the time?
25 A. No, I do not.
1 Q. But it's not, again, in light of what said about the army's
2 interests and the possibilities of coup, it's by no means unrealistic, is
4 A. It's not unrealistic, no, but I wasn't aware of it.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honours, this is all dealt with in Exhibit 596,
6 tab 2, and also tab 1, and has been dealt with in evidence.
7 Q. I move very rapidly, for want of time, through to 1992. The two
8 plans that you say this accused agreed to, the Vance Plan and the
9 Cutileiro Plan, both provided for, if you can remember the details, ethnic
10 separation, didn't they?
11 A. No, I don't think the Cutileiro Plan called for ethnic separation.
12 It called for three geographical units in Bosnia, but the population would
13 have been of mixed ethnic origin.
14 Q. But those units would have been determined by essential ethnic
15 dominance, wouldn't they?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Yes. Paving the way so that the Vance Plan, with the UNPAs, were
18 carving out from -- not carving out but identifying within Croatia areas
19 of Serb domination which could, if they became consolidated, ultimately be
20 joined on to other areas of Serb domination; correct?
21 A. Well, that's a hypothesis. I don't know. I suppose that one
22 could interpret it that way.
23 Q. Well -- and I notice that you explained to the Court earlier on
24 that all the agreements seemed ultimately to allow for the increase in
25 Serb territory. Would that increase in Serb territory under something
1 like the Vance Plan have been by joining up connected areas?
2 A. I don't think I did say that all the agreements allowed for
3 increase in Serb territory. I think I said that all of the plans allowed
4 for the protection of the Serb majority populations in Croatia.
5 Q. Very well.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I think you said -- I think they all allowed for
7 the alteration of the boundaries of Serbia. That doesn't necessarily mean
8 an extension of them.
9 MR. NICE: Well, we can --
10 THE WITNESS: I don't recall saying that. I mean, it wasn't part
11 of Serbia. They were talking about Croatia. And these areas that they
12 were talking about were -- had been populated, of course, by majority Serb
13 population for hundreds of years, but ...
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. The -- then the Cutileiro Plan is the three distinct areas with
16 ethnic domination. The Vance-Owen Plan, of course, was less appealing
17 because although it may have broken territory up according to ethnic
18 dominance, there was no contiguity between, for example, Serb or Croat
19 areas, was there?
20 A. No, but the Cutileiro Plan was talking about Bosnia, of course;
21 the Vance-Owen Plan was really to stop the fighting and to give guarantees
22 to the Serbian population and the Serbian majority areas, that they would
23 be protected. As I recall, it even -- it even held them under the
24 Yugoslav federal law at the time and not Croatian law.
25 Q. I think you may be confusing the Vance-Owen Plan with the Vance
2 A. It could be, yes.
3 Q. I see that you don't claim special knowledge on those plans and
4 therefore I'm not going to test you further on that.
5 Just a few other topics, very quickly. I didn't -- oh, yes, just
6 one thing: You've expressed some views about -- you've expressed some
7 views about -- very strong views about the nature of the Rambouillet and
8 Paris agreements, and as you appreciate, those of us working in this court
9 have, as I think the Court made clear, no concern with those overarching
10 political decisions, we are just here to run this court and its trials.
11 But since you deal with the process that led to this happening, can you
12 just have a look at this document, please, in case you can help us with
14 MR. NICE: These are two letters, Your Honour. I'm not sure
15 whether we've looked at them before. They were published in a newspaper.
16 We have the newspaper produced. And we have English translations for both
17 letters, and I'll take them swiftly. They're there in full.
18 Q. There is a translation here of a letter, Mr. Bissett, coming from
19 Foreign Secretary Cook, and Foreign Minister Vedrine of France, and it
20 says this: "We finished the talks about Kosovo in Paris. We send you a
21 copy of the statement co-presiding, explaining the reasons for this
22 decision. The Kosovo delegation signed --"
23 I'm sorry if you haven't found it. It looks like this. There it
25 "The Kosovo delegation signed the complete Rambouillet
1 agreement. It is still not too late for you to accept it as well. The
2 intermediaries are ready to respond to every kind of indication --
3 indication from your side that you're ready for it. The agreement remains
4 on the table. We urge you to take the possibility which is offered by the
5 agreement in Rambouillet to achieve peace in Kosovo in order to make way
6 for a new chapter in the relations between the federal republic and the
7 international community. You will also find a serious warning in the
8 statement regarding any kind of military offensive in Kosovo. Large
9 movements of your security forces are very disturbing. We remind you of
10 your obligations ..."
11 Now, this is the last-minute offer that was made by those two
12 foreign secretaries. Do you recall that offer being made?
13 A. No, I can't say I recall that.
14 Q. Because I must suggest to you that whatever the rights and wrongs
15 of the negotiations is simply not a matter for us at all. Whatever the
16 rights and wrongs, it would appear that the accused was given at the very
17 last minute a sincere offer. You don't challenge that the foreign
18 ministers would have done that, do you?
19 A. Well, the offer was to sign the agreement.
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. But he'd already rejected it because of Appendix B.
22 Q. And if we now look at the reply, which I'd like you to look at,
23 please, for one particular purpose. I've got it in English and I hope
24 that Mr. Nort has the newspaper article there as well. If you'd like to
25 lay the -- if we just look at the English version first on the overhead
1 projector, please, Mr. Nort.
2 The talks in Paris which you call adjourned, didn't take place at
3 all. Various other paragraphs. I'm happy for that detail to be gone into
4 but time doesn't permit us to, but I do want -- then we go over to the
5 next page, but before we go to the next page, Mr. Nort, if the English
6 readers will look at it in the English, I'm going to ask the interpreters
7 if they can help us from the newspaper article. Could you place the
8 newspaper article on the overhead projector. Next page, please, to make
9 sure there is no problem with translation. Right. Right at the bottom of
10 that page. A bit further down. Down. No. That's it.
11 Now, if the interpreters can see that paragraph there -- back out
12 a bit, we need the end of the paragraph, "stolse" [phoen], whatever it
13 is. The last paragraph, I'm going to ask them, please, if they follow my
14 English translation as I read, if they'd be good enough to follow that
16 In the English there's this passage: "Regarding your threats with
17 NATO military intervention, your peoples should be ashamed of them for you
18 prepare yourselves to use force against a small European nation just
19 because it protects its territory from separatism, protects its citizens
20 from terrorism, and its historical dignity against rats who know nothing
21 about history or dignity."
22 Now, I hope the word "rats" is correctly translated.
23 THE INTERPRETER: There is no such word here. What is written
24 means scoundrels or something like that.
25 MR. NICE: Thank you. I wanted to because this is --
1 Q. Do you accept that he would have rejected that proposal in those
2 emphatic terms?
3 A. Yes, I think I can clearly understand why he rejected the letter,
4 because, as I said, there is no way that he or any other president of
5 Serbia could have accepted Appendix B, particularly the allowing of NATO
6 forces on its sovereign state. You know, Serbia had accepted all of the
7 UN resolutions regarding Kosovo. They had permitted troops from the
8 Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- well, of observers
9 to come in, and I think, as I recall, Serbia had accepted all of the ten
10 factors of Rambouillet, the ten sections. It was the Appendix B that was
11 put on the agreement at the last minute which forced the Russian
12 delegation to walk out, because it was a surprise to them. That was the
13 -- the trigger that --
14 Q. There was an opportunity --
15 A. -- guaranteed the rejection of --
16 Q. But there was an opportunity, right until the last minute, to save
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Can we go back, please, to your published statements. I'm sorry,
20 I forgot to remind you to look at them over the adjournment and you
21 probably didn't take them with you. And I've got just a few questions on
22 those on two different topics, and then we're done.
23 Would you go, please, to page 4. And it's really -- this is to do
24 with you, Mr. Bissett, the third bullet point, you've set out, again on
25 your website, that: "It appears our NATO leaders didn't realise with more
1 care, by supporting Albanian extremists, the scourge of Albanian racism
2 would be unleashed in the Balkans." You don't, I think, make reference as
3 against the Serbs ever to their racism. I'm not sure about Croatian
4 racism. Do you think it's unfortunate for a man in your position to be
5 using words like that?
6 A. Possibly, but that's the word I used.
7 Q. Can we go over two pages, please, to page 6. The first bullet
8 point, four lines down -- no, two lines down, you say this of the Kosovo
9 struggle: "It is true that the Yugoslav security forces used ruthless
10 methods to do so to put down an armed rebellion." What was your knowledge
11 of those ruthless methods?
12 A. Well, I think it was common knowledge -- knowledge and reported in
13 the media that many of the villages accused of harbouring KLA terrorists
14 were shelled, were occupied by Serb troops. There was displacement of
15 people. I think the United Nations said approximately 200.000 people had
16 been displaced because of the fighting.
17 Q. And you accepted that these villages had been shelled?
18 A. Yes, of course.
19 Q. And not just in 1999 but also earlier in 1998?
20 A. Well, I don't now about 1998. I think the beginnings of the
21 fighting took -- started in 1998, but I think the major fighting was
22 taking place in 1999.
23 Q. You went on to say this: "One could argue that it was to
24 Yugoslavia's credit that it didn't pulverise KLA villages by dropping tons
25 of bombs on them from the safety of 15.000 feet." Was it really your view
1 that that would have been a proper way to deal with this terrorist --
2 A. No. I was being sarcastic --
3 Q. Very well.
4 A. -- because that's the way the Americans are doing it and they are
5 doing it in Iraq, and that's what they did to Yugoslavia.
6 Q. A matter of detail towards the foot of the page, the second to
7 last bullet point, you say that: "Milosevic had no reason to look
8 favourably upon NATO. Prior to Kosovo, the biggest ethnic cleansing took
9 place in Croatia. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs who had lived there for
10 hundreds of years were cleansed out of Croatia with the help of NATO
12 Can you explain that? Are you under the impression there were
13 NATO airstrikes at either Flash or Storm?
14 A. In Storm I think there definitely was.
15 Q. Do you accept that that's incorrect?
16 A. If you can show me that it was incorrect.
17 Q. Very well.
18 A. There have been reports to the effect that there were interruption
19 of Serb communications and airstrikes on some of their communications.
20 The fact of the master is I find it a bit ironic that the Serbs are
21 accused of being the great ethnic cleansing, but if we do take a look at
22 the record, there are very few Serbs left in Sarajevo, there are very few
23 left in Croatia, and almost none at all in Kosovo. There are well over
24 300.000 or so refugees still in Serbia. Highly unlikely they'll be able
25 to return.
1 Q. The consequence of these wars are as they are and we are concerned
2 with the offences, if any, committed in the courses of them. Can you turn
3 over, please, to page 9. At the bottom of the page, last couple of bullet
4 points but I shan't bother with your comments about this court. We've
5 dealt with that already. But you said here: "Milosevic was the product
6 of an old communist era elite, driven solely by power and privilege, not
7 the interests of his nation's people." Still your view?
8 A. I characterised all of the leaders in the Balkans as being old
9 former communists, I suppose with the exception of Izetbegovic, who had
10 never been a member of the party, to my knowledge. But with the collapse
11 of the communist ideology, these leaders, including Mr. Milosevic, tended
12 to then use ethnic and religious differences to continue in power, and I
13 found that by their actions many of them were not particularly interested
14 in the -- in anything other than keeping their power, their prestige, and
15 their privileges.
16 Q. Mr. Bissett, your observation here couldn't be clearer. You may
17 have said similar things about the others, but your judgement of Milosevic
18 was that he was driven solely by power and privilege and not by the
19 interests of his nation's people. Is that your view? You published it.
20 A. Can you show me again where I am in this document?
21 Q. Second bullet point from the bottom.
22 A. Oh, from the bottom.
23 Q. It follows the observation that he should face trial, but I'm not
24 going to ask you about that because that's probably a legal question.
25 A. I think I was probably too strong in saying "solely."
1 Q. Can we turn over to the next page, then, and see how you set
2 things out in the last passage that we have here of your writings. About
3 the winter 1996, 1997 demonstrations against Milosevic in Belgrade -- are
4 these the ones over the elections, by the way, Mr. Bissett?
5 A. Yes. These were the elections of 1996, 1997.
6 Q. Those were the rigged elections where eventually he gave in,
7 didn't he?
8 A. Yes, I think that's right, yes.
9 Q. Yes. Somebody actually managed to get some evidence that the
10 elections were rigged and he stood up for a long time, with the support of
11 his wife, and then he finally gave in. But -- I think that's fine. But
12 we'll go on from that. "The people realise now he wasn't really
13 interested in Greater Serbia but in preserving and expanding his own power
14 and prestige and that he would sell them out at any time over any issue in
15 order to keep that."
16 Now, that was your view.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: What year was that?
18 MR. NICE: It's interesting, indeed, Your Honour, because I was
19 going to put that to the witness.
20 Q. You published this before the Kosovo crisis, in 1997 in the
21 Hamilton Spectator.
22 A. I don't think I published that, I think it was an interview.
23 Q. You're quite right, it was an interview, and I apologise for that,
24 you're quite right. But it's a very clear expression of view, and if I
25 may say so, cannot, of course, have been affected or infected by your
1 reaction to the 1999 NATO bombing.
2 A. No, it had nothing to do --
3 Q. No, quite.
4 A. -- with the bombing, but I think I should put it in the context.
5 I was trying to be -- the interviewer was asking me about Mr. Milosevic's
6 designs to create a Greater Serbia, and I was saying that that was not the
7 case, that I didn't think he had any interest in establishing a Greater
9 Q. Quite.
10 A. I said that, if anything, many Serbs had felt that Mr. Milosevic
11 had sold them out in all of the peace plans, and most certainly at Dayton.
12 Q. But --
13 A. He is not looked upon, in my own view, by many Bosnian Serbs or
14 Croatian Serbs as someone who did give them what they fully expected,
15 which was protection.
16 Q. But, Mr. Bissett, remember what I said to you right at the
17 beginning of my questioning. A former ambassador's words carry weight and
18 have to be measured. You were saying this in 1997 about a sitting
19 president, and Kosovo was yet to come. And you said in terms: "... in
20 preserving and expanding his own power and prestige and that he would sell
21 them out at any time over any issue ... to keep that."
22 Is that the truth?
23 A. Well, I mean, if it's an accurate reporting of what I said, and in
24 the context, that's what I was trying to say. I mean, I think I have to
25 make it quite clear that I'm not a personal friend of Mr. Milosevic. I do
1 feel, however, that he was doing his best as the president to solve the
2 problems of the Balkans peacefully and through negotiation, and had it not
3 been for him, none of these peace plans would have worked. Some of them
4 didn't work. But certainly if he had not applied a great deal of pressure
5 on his -- on Karadzic and on the Croatian Serbs, these peace agreements
6 would not come about. And I think that, in my view, clearly indicated
7 that the man was not in the slightest interested in a Greater Serbia and
8 none of his actions indicated that. He was interested in keeping himself
9 in power and enjoying the prestige and privilege of being a president.
10 Q. My last question relates to what's on your website. There is
11 still an article on your website that questions in strong terms whether
12 8.000 people were killed at Srebrenica, links that figure with the general
13 corruption of this court. Are you aware of the concession that's been
14 made by the RS about the number of people who have been killed at
16 A. Yes, I am aware of that.
17 Q. Do you think it's time to withdrew that article from your website?
18 A. No, I don't think it is time yet to withdraw it. I will certainly
19 withdraw it if there is conclusive proof that 8.000 were executed. I
20 followed it very carefully. The 8.000 figure was used initially by an
21 international representative of the International Red Cross who came out
22 of Srebrenica after it had been taken over by Serbian troops, interviewed
23 by a New York Times reporter, in which he said that there were 8.000 young
24 men missing. That was interpreted by the New York Times reporter as
25 though they had all been executed. That figure has stuck with the media
1 ever since.
2 Q. And you don't think that the RS's concession is likely to be
3 relied on?
4 A. No, I don't think so --
5 Q. All right.
6 A. -- under pressure.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, any re-examination? Mr. Nice, any
10 MR. NICE: Yes, sorry. May the witness's statements please be
11 exhibited, from his website. I forgot to get him to deal with them at the
12 break. I would have preferred to have got him to deal with that.
13 JUDGE KWON: This is just a citation from the website.
14 MR. NICE: It is, yes.
15 JUDGE KWON: Not in its entirety.
16 MR. NICE: It's gathered together by topics, as you'll see.
17 [Trial Chamber confers]
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: We'll admit only those parts that were dealt with
19 in evidence.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 955.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I heard the witness say that those
24 matters were taken out of context, and so I don't think it is commensurate
25 that if the witness indicates those quotations were taken out of context
1 that they be introduced into evidence, just like that. Mr. Nice has made
2 objections during the last testimony that there were exhibits which --
3 whereby some short passages were given, taken from documents, whereas this
4 was taken out of context, and that's something the witness pointed out.
5 JUDGE KWON: They were admitted and you can put this into context
6 in your re-examination, Mr. Milosevic.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I can't put it into context if
8 it's something I don't know about, because we had fragments taken out from
9 their context from a website of Mr. Bissett's. So I can't analyse the
10 website now.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: There was no outright denial on his part. He may
12 have disputed some elements of it, but I believe that there was sufficient
13 acceptance for them to be admitted, and if there is any matter that you
14 wish to dispute, you can do so in re-examination. So let us proceed with
15 the re-examination.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm going to challenge
17 something straight away, something that the witness either forgot about or
18 doesn't know about. Anyway, the question was demonstrations in 1996 and
19 1997, where the witness agreed that it was a hand-over of power.
20 Re-examination by Mr. Milosevic:
21 Q. So I'm going to ask the witness now: Do you know, Mr. Bissett,
22 that those demonstrations were staged in connection with -- the local
23 elections and not the federal elections that were held at the same time?
24 A. No. As a matter of fact, I'm not -- I wasn't clear what the
25 elections were all about that were referred to here. I accepted
1 Mr. Nice's explanation that they were the elections that led to your
2 defeat in the elections after, as he said, they were considered to be
4 Q. Very well. So you accepted that considering that -- because you
5 considered that he was stating a fact. Is that the -- is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, do you allow for the possibility, for example, that since
8 these matters that are very transparent, you can't qualify elections in
9 any other way except in the way they were conducted, because at that time
10 federal elections were held at which the coalition which I led won,
11 whereas here we were dealing with local elections, of course in a large
12 number of towns where demonstrations were being staged in protest against
13 elections that were thought to be rigged. Do you allow for the fact that
14 that might be true, might be correct? And I'm saying that publicly here,
15 in television, that the federal elections -- or give or take a few days,
16 the federal elections and the coalition where I won, so it wasn't a
17 question of my leaving power, and that wasn't challenged, but what was
18 challenged was the elections held in a certain number of towns. I don't
19 know if there were 20, 30, 40 of them, perhaps; it doesn't matter.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the specific question, Mr. Milosevic?
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. The question is this: Do you allow for the fact, Mr. Bissett,
23 that the truth is that these demonstrations were staged in connection with
24 the local elections? Might that have been the case?
25 A. Yes, it might have been the case. I'm afraid I can't -- I can't
1 testify about these elections at all. I wasn't there and I wasn't
2 involved in any way.
3 Q. Very well. Thank you. I'm just asking you because a moment ago,
4 when asked by Mr. Nice whether that was the case, he --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's move on, Mr. Milosevic. The witness has
6 answered. Yes.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Now, Mr. Bissett, do you allow that Mr. Nice, in asking you
10 questions, stated matters that were not correct?
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, that's -- that's a meaningless question. I
12 mean, if you have specific matters to put to him which you say incorrectly
13 stated matters, then you can put it to him.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Now, Mr. Nice quoted certain witnesses, Prosecution witnesses, in
17 connection with the constitutional amendments that were adopted in 1989.
18 Now -- and he quoted what some witnesses said, or he paraphrased what they
19 said. I'm going to paraphrase because I don't have the material to quote
20 them exactly in front of me, but the then-president of the Assembly of
21 Kosovo testified here, Kosovo and Metohija. His name was Vukasin
22 Jokanovic who was chairman. He presided over the meeting of the Assembly
23 of Kosovo and Metohija when the amendments were adopted, and he brought
24 with him the stenographic notes from that particular session, and he
25 showed us that completely institutionally and in conformity with the
1 constitution was the procedure adopted for the amendments and how they
2 were adopted, and he testified that there were no tanks or violence at the
3 time. Now, do you allow for the fact that he was testifying truthfully?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: The witness doesn't have any personal knowledge
5 of these matters, Mr. Milosevic.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Mr. Robinson, you should have
7 told Mr. Nice that when he asked his questions about the constitution
8 amendments of 1989, which were, he said, adopted in the presence of tanks,
9 through violent means, et cetera. You should have told him that. You
10 should have said the witness had no knowledge of that. That's what I
11 expected of you, but as you didn't say that, now I'm asking the witness
12 whether he allows for the fact that the president of the Assembly chairing
13 the meeting was telling the truth. And he even brought with him the
14 stenographic notes from that session and that that was the truth of it,
15 because Mr. Bissett said it was possible, I didn't know about it, as if it
16 was something that actually happened, whereas it's not true.
17 So a competent witness brought documents with him here to show us
18 and showed us how things stood. So I now ask him whether he allows for
19 the fact that what the president of Kosovo and Metohija Assembly testified
20 about is true and correct, and his name was Jokanovic.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are you in a position to answer that question?
22 Are you in a position to answer at that question?
23 THE WITNESS: Well, I mean, in terms of is it possible that it was
24 correct, of course yes, but I have no knowledge one way or the other.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Let's move on, yes.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Mr. Bissett, speaking about sending out the army, you mentioned an
3 example that Zimmerman told you about, about sending the army by Ante
4 Markovic to Slovenia. Do you remember that?
5 A. I remember when Zimmerman told me that during Secretary of State
6 -- US Secretary of State Baker's visit to Belgrade in June of 1992 in a
7 last-ditch effort to try and prevent Yugoslavia from breaking up, where he
8 met on a marathon all-day session with all of the leaders of all the
9 republics, he started off his first morning meeting with Anton Markovic,
10 the federal Prime Minister, and he ended it with Markovic. And Zimmerman
11 told me that it was still United States policy to keep Yugoslavia united
12 and that Baker, the Secretary of State, had told Markovic that if Slovenia
13 did anything overtly and with violence to break away and the army was sent
14 in, the United States would not criticise that decision.
15 Q. Well, do you remember that Markovic called the army to Slovenia?
16 A. Well, I'm not sure who ordered the army into Slovenia, but
17 certainly it was -- it went into Slovenia in order to restore the federal
18 customs posts along the border that had been seized by armed Slovenian
19 Home Guard personnel.
20 MR. NICE: I wasn't listening whether the witness said June of
21 1992 or whether he said a different year. The transcript reads June of
22 1992. It may be an error.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where is that? Where is that, Mr. Nice?
24 Would you like to just clarify that.
25 THE WITNESS: Yes. I think it was June of 1991.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. I'm asking you that because Mr. Nice here quoted Ante Markovic
3 testifying and allegedly saying that I asked that the army be sent to
4 Kosovo. Now, do you know anything dating back to those times whereby I
5 would have asked the army to be sent to Kosovo, and was there any need at
6 all to send the army to Kosovo in the first place, especially bearing in
7 mind the fact that the army already existed in Kosovo, was already there?
8 A. Are we now talking about Kosovo and not Slovenia?
9 Q. We are talking about this: That Mr. Nice quoted Ante Markovic,
10 the federal Prime Minister of the day, about saying that I had asked the
11 army to be sent to Kosovo. Now, from those days, do you know that anybody
12 sent the army to Kosovo? Otherwise, the army was in Kosovo, as it was in
13 all other parts of Yugoslavia, it was present there too?
14 A. Yes, of course the army always had a presence in Kosovo. I can't
15 really comment on who ordered or if there were orders to send the army to
16 Kosovo. Certainly some elements of the army were in Kosovo.
17 Q. Well, he asked you in connection to Markovic's testimony that, and
18 you said, "I didn't know about that," as if it was something that had
19 happened, and that's why I asked you my question just now.
20 Now, my next question is this --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you have to be careful. If you
22 want my advice, this is not the kind of witness that you should re-examine
23 in any great detail. You have the evidence that you wanted from him in
24 your examination-in-chief, and it might turn out to be unhelpful to your
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm going back to certain
2 matters which Mr. Nice presented here as being fact which are not facts.
3 And so, for example, we have this:
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Mr. Bissett, now I'm addressing you. Mr. Nice quoted a witness,
6 Milan Babic, do you remember?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Do you remember that you read out here a quotation from my letter
9 to Milan Babic this morning in which I publicly announce and state that he
10 was creating an illusion with the citizens of Krajina, that he was
11 consulting the leadership in Serbia about what was going on, whereas he
12 wasn't? Do you remember that I said that that was not correct?
13 A. Yes, I do remember that.
14 Q. Well, now, I did that in the papers. I made this announcement to
15 the papers and said that he was lying that he was negotiating with us.
16 Now, I'm asking you the question because he quoted Babic that testified
17 about something that he and I allegedly discussed. Do you consider it to
18 be the proper case that he quoted Babic in connection with my views,
19 bearing in mind my letter and everything else that happened --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, this is getting out of hand. You
21 can't ask the witness whether he considers it to be proper that Mr. Nice
22 quoted Babic in connection with something or the other. That's not the
23 purpose of re-examination.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, you should have
25 cautioned Mr. Nice when he asked his questions of this witness and asked
1 him what Babic had told him, whereas he said he didn't know. He said
2 possibly. Well, everything is possible.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm cutting you off. If there was occasion to
4 caution Mr. Nice, I would have done so. You don't understand. You do not
5 understand the mechanics of the adversarial system, and I've advised you
6 not to pursue re-examining this witness. Live with the evidence that you
7 have adduced through him in examination-in-chief.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, Mr. Nice here showed
9 us a letter by Vedrine and Cook to me, and my answer to them, and the
10 witness answered questions in that regard. So I have to ask him questions
11 connected to that now. You have it in English, and in their letter it
12 says that they completed talks about Kosovo in Paris, and then it goes on
13 to say that: "The Kosovo delegation signed the agreement in its entirety.
14 It is not too late for you to accept it too. The mediators are ready to
15 answer any indications on your part that you're ready to do so, that we're
16 ready to accept the agreement which was signed."
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Now, Mr. Bissett, is it quite clear here that they are just
19 insisting once again that this agreement be signed without any changes?
20 Is that quite obvious?
21 A. That is how I read it, yes.
22 Q. Very well, then. Now, take a look at what my answer was. "I'm
23 sending you the following answer, gentlemen ministers. The talks in Paris
24 for which you say have been completed were never held. The delegations of
25 the government of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of the
1 Albanian separatist and terrorist movement never held discussions, not
2 even once."
3 And then two paragraphs later, the second document that you term
4 an agreement from Rambouillet is not actually an agreement from
5 Rambouillet because neither in Rambouillet nor in Paris those who had come
6 to negotiate did not do so. There was no discussion amongst them, no
7 negotiation, and therefore there could not have been a joint document to
8 reject or adopt.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the question? You are not to give
10 evidence, comment.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Do you know, since Mr. Nice told you that another opportunity was
13 given us to accept the Rambouillet meeting whole-heartedly, do you know
14 that there were no talks, there were no negotiations, and that everything
15 that you said about the Rambouillet meeting was an offer to be signed?
16 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... and I only offer
17 this: If the accused wants these letters in as exhibits, I'm quite
18 content for that to happen. I didn't ask for it to happen because the
19 witness seemed to have no recollection, triggered by seeing them, of the
20 letters themselves certainly, and as that accords with your normal
21 practice, I didn't think you'd admit it, but if the accused wants them in,
22 I'm happy.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: And in any event the question was exceedingly
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. I think this should be
1 included, because I think it's a very good and honest letter, and I would
2 like to tender it into evidence.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Now, just take a look at the last paragraph of that letter, or,
5 rather, the penultimate paragraph and the last one too. "You are,
6 gentlemen, ministers of foreign affairs of two European countries, and as
7 such you are distinguished diplomats. In such a capacity, you have the
8 right to mediate, to negotiate, to advocate goodwill, to strive for peace
9 in Europe for -- and the world and better relations among nations. But
10 you do not have the right to threaten other countries and their citizens
11 nor to arrange life in those countries. We stay with our strong option to
12 solve the problems of Kosovo and Metohija by peaceful means, through
13 negotiations. The fact that negotiations did not take place either in
14 Rambouillet or Paris does not mean that we should give up negotiations, at
15 least from our peaceful and democratic standpoint." And that's the end of
16 the letter.
17 Therefore, can we consider that this is causing war, endeavouring
18 to cause war, or is it an effort to hold negotiations that weren't even
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: It's not for the witness to comment on. We'll
21 read it and make up our minds.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Mr. Nice quoted paragraph 17 of your own telegram as illustration
24 of the fact that I hadn't told you that we had nothing against Slovenia
25 and Croatia seceding.
1 Now, please take a look at what it actually says in paragraph 17,
2 where it says the following: "... vision of what future settlement would
3 look like - [In English] a federated union of Serbia, Montenegro,
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia with some form of association with
5 autonomous Serbian regions of Croatia - linked is loose -- in loose
6 fashion with --" [Interpretation] What does it say here? What does it say
7 after that? Would you please read it out. Can you see that portion, Mr.
9 A. Yes, I can.
10 Q. "[In English] ... loose fashion with ..." what?
11 A. " ... sovereign states of Slovenia and Croatia ..."
12 Q. "... for purposes of business and trade."
13 A. "For purposes --"
14 Q. [Interpretation] So does it say sovereign states there?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Well, was that challenged at all, that I told them that that was a
17 possible vision, or what is the difference between what he explained to
18 you here, saying that I wasn't truthful to you, whereas I told you the
19 same thing? Do you see any difference there?
20 A. No, I don't see any real difference.
21 Q. He said to you that The Hague document was a proposal for a
22 confederation. Do you know that Article 1 of The Hague document read six
23 republics become independent states? Do you remember that? If not, I'm
24 not going to ask you about it. But once they become six independent
25 states, then what is the difference between the establishment of their
1 relations and the relations between Serbia and Croatia and Serbia and
2 Bulgaria to the west and to the east? If they're all six independent
3 states, then where's the difference?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can you answer that?
5 THE WITNESS: There's no difference.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Very well. Mr. Nice also asked you something in connection with
8 your position on the Tribunal, as regards the Tribunal, your attitude to
9 it. Now, this is from Jamie Shea's press conference, NATO spokesman,
10 given on the 17th of May, 1999, in which he says the following:
11 "[Inaudible] is the friend of the Tribunal."
12 MR. NICE: Doesn't seem to me to be re-examination, unless I'm
13 mistaken, but it's up to the Court.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: How does this arise?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it arises from the question of
16 why Mr. Bissett said that this was a political court.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well, yes.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Now, Mr. Bissett, is this Tribunal or did this Tribunal take on
20 the role of covering NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia through this
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, I'm not going to allow that question.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Mr. Nice asked you a question in connection to my alleged
1 intentions to eliminate Markovic. Take a look at page 5 of your telegram
2 now, please. At the very beginning you state the following: "[In
3 English] He was hard on Prime Minister Markovic, claiming Prime Minister
4 was destroying country -- when economy was collapsing one should not play
5 single string -- one should not play single string of tight monetary
6 policy. All republics of like mind with him on this."
7 [Interpretation] And then you go to explain: "Milosevic had been
8 president of Yugoslavia's biggest and most successful bank." Was
9 president. Used to be a president. "[In English] Now all were forced to
10 support even weakest banks."
11 JUDGE KWON: That is tab 3, page 4.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Now, my conversation with you, did it boil down to criticising
14 Markovic's economic policy or did I say that he ought to be done away with
15 or I don't know what? Because we were saying that he had only one lever
16 and that was a restrictive monetary policy. Was that the topic of our
17 conversation, or did I speak about other political topics?
18 A. No. Our conversation was confined to his monetary policy and his
19 approach to resolving Serbia's -- or Yugoslavia's economic problems.
20 Q. Now, once again in connection with the question of the
21 preservation of Yugoslavia, look at point 3 of your telegram, please.
22 Four lines down. If you can find this portion. "[In English] Milosevic
23 said he was doing all he could to keep Yugoslavia together but if parts
24 wanted to separate, they must do so in legal fashion."
25 [Interpretation] So how is that different from what he said I'm
1 talking to Karadzic in what way? Everybody has the right to break away
2 but in a legal way. And then what does it say? "The way to proceed was a
3 multi-party federal election [In English] with new federal parliament
4 adopting new constitution providing secession mechanism. Milosevic wants
5 federated Yugoslavia with common monetary, fiscal, defence policies,
6 customs union and common human rights."
7 [Interpretation] Is that some sort of centralised federation, with
8 a single monetary and fiscal system and defence policy and customs? Is
9 that some centralised federation, in your experience as a career diplomat
10 dealing with matters of this kind, or is that a minimum that I talked to
11 you about?
12 A. Well, there are very many different kinds of federation. I
13 mentioned that Canada calls it a confederation when in fact it's really a
14 federation. And there's various -- the division of powers can differ from
15 one federation to another. I think it's significant that in the Yugoslav
16 federation the central government had very little power. It had foreign
17 affairs, monetary policy, and the army, and the republics had a great deal
18 of power and that, I think, contributed to some degree at least to the
19 desire on the part of the republics to separate. But your version of
20 federation seems fairly typical in terms of my knowledge of federations.
21 And I'm not an expert on federations.
22 Q. Very well. I see my time is up. Thank you. I have no further
23 questions. Excuse me. Just one -- just one more, very brief.
24 He spoke about the Cutileiro Plan being a plan of national
25 division. Did you understand Mr. Nice to be accusing Cutileiro or me, me
1 who did not even participate in the conference? And did you feel that
2 this was a good plan or a bad plan? Just answer this last part.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, just the last part.
4 THE WITNESS: I thought it was a very good plan because it would
5 have stopped the violence and bloodshed that eventually occurred when a
6 referendum was called and independence declared.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: On that note of appropriate self-censorship from
8 Mr. Milosevic, we are going to adjourn, but we have to admit first -- what
9 is it?
10 JUDGE KWON: Two letters.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] For the record -- excuse me. For
12 the record, I said "scoundrels." That cannot be translated as "rats."
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. We took note of that, Mr. Milosevic.
14 And these documents, the replies to Ministers Cook and Vedrine,
15 are to be Defence exhibits, as I understand. What are the numbers?
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the first letter of the 23rd of
17 March, 1999, will be Exhibit D336.
18 And the second letter, or the article of 23rd of March, 1999,
19 appearing in the Politika will be Exhibit D337.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, and we are adjourned until Monday at
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.50 p.m.,
24 to be reconvened on Monday, the 27th day
25 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.