1 Thursday, 19 February 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.29 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Welcome back, Ambassador. If I
7 could remind you of the affirmation you took at the beginning of your
8 evidence, which still applies.
9 Mr. Petrovic.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon. Thank you,
11 Your Honour.
12 Before I begin, may I just ask the usher, Mr. Usher, to bring me
13 the lectern if possible, since we only have one to go around in the
15 WITNESS: LJERKA ALAJBEG [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Cross-examined by Mr. Petrovic: [Continued]
18 Q. Good afternoon, Ms. Alajbeg.
19 A. Good afternoon.
20 Q. I'll try to ask you some questions that I did not have time to ask
21 the last time you testified before this Trial Chamber.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Can we please briefly go back to your statement, the statement you
25 gave to the investigators of the International Criminal Tribunal,
1 specifically to the portion of your statement referring to the situation
2 concerning the presidency of the former Yugoslavia. In your statement you
3 say that: "As of the 8th of October, it was difficult to imagine that the
4 SFRY would continue to exist in any way, given the fact that among other
5 things the presidency itself had ceased to function."
6 Tell me, Madam, why did Stipe Mesic remain a member of the
7 presidency until as late as the 5th of December?
8 A. Not only the presidency, but also the other federal organs had
9 ceased to function at that time. This also applies to the JNA, to the
10 presidency, to the constitutional court of the SFRY, as well as the
11 parliament. I think the Badinter Commission focused on that in its
12 opinion number 1, ascertaining the fact that Yugoslavia was
13 disintegrating, also due to the malfunctioning of the federal bodies.
14 Q. Madam, my question was a different one. Let us not waste time
15 today. My question was why did Stipe Mesic remain in the presidency until
16 as late as the 5th of December. If you could please focus on my questions
17 and provide accurate answers in as far as you can, Madam.
18 A. Regardless of the fact that Croatia had become a sovereign
19 independent state and regardless of the fact that all action taken by the
20 federal bodies had been taken pursuant to decisions of the parliament and
21 were later declared null and void by the parliament, not only Stipe Mesic
22 but rather also other high officials remained in contact with the federal
23 bodies and Mesic remained as a member of the presidency, precisely because
24 the aggression against Croatia had not ceased. It seemed at the time and
25 certain agreements were made that the aggression would stop and that the
1 JNA would withdraw. It was precisely because of that in late 1991 that
2 the situation was very difficult for Croatia. And that's when the number
3 of victims reached its peak. That was nothing unusual at the time and
4 even President Tudjman himself said on a number of occasions, I would be
5 prepared to deal with the devil himself just for the situation to stop.
6 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, Stipe Mesic, did he remain a member of the presidency
7 of the SFRY until as late as the 5th of December and did he discharge his
8 duties as the president of the presidency of the SFRY? Please answer
9 concisely if you can, yes or no, if you know.
10 A. Formally, yes, he remained in that position but he did not
11 discharge his duties because that was made impossible for him.
12 Q. Can you tell me in the meantime in his position, in his capacity
13 as president of the SFRY he attended international meetings.
14 A. Yes, for the reasons that I've already given. It is indeed
15 possible that he did take part in international meetings. But all the
16 meetings he attended after that date, the sole reason was his attempt to
17 prevent aggression and to make it possible for the army to withdraw from
18 Croatia. Another thing I wish to point out is that on the 8th or on the
19 7th, more specifically, of October, Stipe Mesic spoke in the parliamentary
20 assembly at Strasbourg.
21 Q. Can you please answer my question, Madam.
22 A. Yes, I'll do my best. He spoke on behalf of the sovereign state
23 of Croatia.
24 Q. Can you please tell me whether he signed any documents between the
25 8th of October and the 5th of December in his capacity as the president of
1 the SFRY presidency?
2 A. I can't answer that question, simply because I don't know what he
3 signed throughout that period of time. However, there were documents that
4 had to do with cessation of hostilities against Croatia. He probably
5 signed a number of those, yes.
6 Q. Did he sign any documents in his capacity as the president of the
7 presidency of the SFRY or on behalf of the Republic of Croatia?
8 A. As I said, I don't know which specific documents he signed. That
9 was not within my purview of activity. This is possible. It is possible
10 that he signed some documents, but not to my knowledge.
11 Q. Did you perhaps see in the Official Gazette of the SFRY any
12 documents that were signed by Stipe Mesic in his capacity as president of
13 the presidency of the SFRY in the period that we are referring to, ending
14 on the 5th of December?
15 A. I can't remember that. Nothing occurs to me right now, no
16 document that was published in the Official Gazette of the SFRY at the
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
19 exhibit P20, two binders of documents.
20 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, can you please look at tab 1 in binder 1, tab 1,
21 binder 1. Can you please find the document that has been marked 589,
22 conclusions on the political conditions obtaining -- in the Republic of
23 Croatia. The date of the document is 17th of April, 1991. Is that
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. It was published on the 23rd of April, 1991, wasn't it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Can you please look at paragraph 6 of this document. In view of
4 what paragraph 6 states, is it not obvious that as early as April 1991
5 Croatia was seeking the destruction of the SFRY?
6 A. It is obvious that Croatia at that time was prepared to insist on
7 its total sovereignty as a state, its independence; however, the word
8 "destruction of the SFRY" is I think an inappropriate description. It was
9 not Croatia's intention to destroy the SFRY, but rather to fight for its
10 independence, which was clearly expressed in the Croatian constitution
11 that had been adopted in December 1990, which clearly stated that Croatia
12 was a sovereign and independent state, which through agreements with the
13 other republics and other sovereign subjects could form associations and
14 alliances. This was the question posed at the April referendum also.
15 Q. Can you please provide brief answers so we can finish today. Can
16 you please look at item 7. Can you tell me what was it at that time that
17 was unconstitutional about the presidency of the SFRY? What
18 unconstitutionality are we talking about back in April 1991, as far as the
19 composition of the presidency of the SFRY is concerned, as described by
20 item 7?
21 A. I can't specifically remember what this refers to, but I think it
22 probably refers to the autonomous regions, the autonomous provinces, and I
23 think that's what the problem was about.
24 Q. Was the presidency made up of the presidents of all the individual
25 republics at the time, presidents of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and
1 Macedonia took work in the presidency at the time, didn't they?
2 A. Yes. It comprised representatives of all the individual
3 republics; however, I know that back then talks were being held regarding
4 the composition of the presidency because the presidency had been put
5 together in such a way that there are three members from the then-republic
6 of Serbia, because both the autonomous provinces and the republic of
7 Serbia were entitled to one representative each.
8 Q. Tell me, please, Serbia, you say, had three members. Did this run
9 counter to the constitution of Yugoslavia at that time?
10 A. No, but it probably ran counter to what was being widely debated
11 at the time, so this wording about unconstitutional composition -- I'm not
12 sure if this refers to a legal aspect or to a factual aspect of the
13 situation where a particular appointee was appointed in a way that was not
14 constitutional. I cannot answer this specific question right now.
15 Q. So we have a situation where three members of the SFRY presidency
16 and that is perfectly constitutional. Do you agree with that?
17 A. Yes, it is true that it was in compliance with the
18 then-constitution, because the autonomous provinces were entitled to their
19 own representatives, but there may have been another situation where
20 someone was appointed in a way which was not constitutional, but I can't
21 remember right now. That's why I can't answer your question.
22 Q. A while ago you referred to a number of different institutions
23 that were part of the framework of the SFRY which ceased to exist or
24 function in that year. In continuation of item 7, the item that we're
25 looking at, is it not stated very clearly that the parliament of the
1 Republic of Croatia wants the Yugoslav constitutional court to take
2 certain measures. Does this mean that the constitutional court should
3 adopt decisions and that these decisions will then be regarded by the
4 Republic of Croatia as legal and legitimate?
5 A. This still falls short of meaning, that the Republic of Croatia is
6 not a sovereign state, and it doesn't mean that Croatia does not recognise
7 these institutions at the time. Back then, the possibility of having a
8 confederation was still widely debated and the possibility to deal with
9 the crisis by negotiating on the ground and politically. As I said in my
10 testimony, Croatia and Slovenia were working on a concept of a confederal
11 agreement. This is a fact. This was after all a well-known and published
12 fact. It had eight chapters, this agreement. Croatia was in negotiations
13 with Slovenia but I would say Croatia was more serious about it. They
14 were reviewing a situation where a confederal concept and a smooth
15 transition to a confederal concept would have been possible.
16 Q. Madam, if we keep on talking like this it will take days for us to
17 finish this cross-examination. Please if you can focus on my question
18 which had to do with the constitutional court. Can we partially or fully
19 deny the fact that the constitutional court was legal and legitimate at
20 the time. Did Croatia at that time recognise the legal and legitimate
21 nature of the constitutional court of Yugoslavia or not?
22 A. At that time it still did, obviously.
23 Q. Thank you. Please take a look at this document marked -- it is
24 from the same Official Gazette. It is marked 598. This is a law amending
25 the law on internal affairs.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, unfortunately there is
2 no English translation of this document in the copy which you have,
3 although it does exist in the B/C/S version and we will be providing a
4 copy for you. But I'd like to use -- avail myself of the presence of this
5 witness to deal with this question. But we will be providing the document
6 in English to you shortly. I do not know why this hasn't been done,
7 because the text obviously exists here in the B/C/S version.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. And could I just remind
9 you while we're interrupting you questions of the importance of pausing
10 until the translation finishes before you move on to the next question.
11 Thank you.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. My
14 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, do you see this document, 598, and can you tell the
15 Trial Chamber what this document is? Can you read out the title of the
17 A. Law amending the law on internal affairs.
18 Q. Please be so kind as to read out for the Trial Chamber article 25A
19 of this law.
20 A. Yes.
21 "To discharge duties from article 1 from item 2 of this law, the
22 national guards corps is hereby established. The president of the
23 republic shall determine the number of members and the organisation of the
24 national guard on the proposal of the ministry of defence and the ministry
25 of the interior. Regulations on the training of members of the national
1 guard corps shall be brought by the minister of defence. The national
2 guard corps shall be active throughout the territory of the Republic of
4 Q. Please read the first paragraph of article 25B.
5 A. "The national guard corps is a professional, uniformed armed
6 formation of a military organisation for defence and police duties."
7 Q. And please also read out article 25C.
8 A. "Units of the national guards corps shall be commanded by the
9 Ministry of Defence."
10 Q. And also be so kind as to concur with me in my view that this law
11 was adopted on the 18th of April, 1991, which you can see at the end of
12 the document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Please tell me from the standpoint of the constitution of the
15 Republic of Croatia then in force, was the founding of such an armed
16 formation as this one unconstitutional?
17 A. Well, no, it wasn't, because the constitution of the Republic of
18 Croatia was in force at the time, which was -- which declared itself as
19 being above, senior to the SFRY constitution, so that the founding of this
20 army -- armed foundation was in keeping with the constitution of the
21 Republic of Croatia.
22 Q. Was the constitution -- did the constitution of the Republic of
23 Serbia envisage the existence of such an armed formation. The
24 constitution of the Republic of Croatia?
25 A. I do not have it before me now. I suppose that it did because
1 this was a sovereign state which envisaged -- made provision for all
2 its -- prerogatives of sovereignty, including its right to defence and
3 also its own armed forces.
4 Q. Do you agree with me when I say that the forming of such an armed
5 formation was in contravention of the SFRY constitution at the time?
6 A. I do not agree insomuch as it was not material. It was in keeping
7 with the Republic of Croatia, which was -- which took precedence over the
8 SFRY constitution in the sense that the people in the dense sovereign
9 state exercised their sovereign rights through their republic. So that
10 the constitution of the republic could not be secondary in nature in
11 respect to the SFRY constitution.
12 Q. Are you negating, Madam, the hierarchy of the legal acts in the
13 country which at that time was called the SFRY, where the constitution was
14 the supreme legal act and then only followed all others?
15 A. Yes, but the republican constitution was the supreme legal act in
16 the territory of the republic, and this law pertained to the territory of
17 the Republic of Croatia.
18 Q. If the federal constitution made provision for armed forces as the
19 JNA and the Territorial Defence as the sole armed formations in the
20 territory of the SFRY, do you still assert that in the territory of a
21 member republic there could exist another armed formation and still be
22 legal and legitimate?
23 A. Yes, I do. If it was in accordance with the republican
24 constitution and the republican constitution did exist at the time. This
25 whole thing about the founding of armed and police forces at that time
1 should be observed in the proper context, and Croatia had to expedite the
2 adoption of such regulations because it was attacked by what was called
3 the joint army and it certainly was no joint army, seeing that it had
4 attacked one of its own republics.
5 Q. Please be so kind as to tell me, Madam, who was it that was
6 attacked by the joint JNA army in April 1991?
7 A. It attacked indirectly -- rather, it armed en masse parts of the
8 population in Croatia. And already at that time, in April that is, there
9 had broken out bloody conflicts in Plitvice and that is precisely what
10 contributed to the speedy forming of police forces because we didn't have
11 any weaponry for establishing any armed forces. And of course I'm saying
12 this as a witness who only has indirect knowledge of this because I was
13 not present at the time. I do know there was a large-scale clash at
14 Plitvice at the time where many police forces -- Croatian police forces
16 Q. This is not true, but this is not the subject of your testimony so
17 we shall not dwell on this at this point.
18 Tell me: How is it possible for an armed formation to be set up
19 under the law on the interior, the law on internal affairs?
20 A. At that time Croatia still did not have its own defence law, which
21 it only adopted at a later stage.
22 Q. Distinguished Madam, please be so kind to take the second binder,
23 P20, and take a look at it. The law on general people's defence, document
24 number 1, tab 13. The law on general people's defence brought on the 2nd
25 of February, 1991, and then after that the law on defence brought on the
1 20th of September, 1991.
2 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] All this is in tab 13 of exhibit
3 P20, Your Honours.
4 Q. Are these laws on defence, Madam?
5 A. No. The law on general people's defence is not a law on defence.
6 These were republican regulations which only related to the so-called
7 territorial units and territorial defence which was an institute of the
8 former state which was beyond the law on defence proper. These were
9 republican regulations so they were restricted in scope in terms of
10 dealing only with territorial defence units which were not regular defence
11 forces. So these are not the same regulations. It was only in September
12 that the defence law was promulgated in Croatia. Now this is something
13 else, this is the time when Croatia assumed upon itself to defend itself
14 and formed its own armed forces, whereas the territorial defence is
15 something else.
16 Q. So you are telling me that the law on total people's defence that
17 you spoke about in detail answering the questions of my colleague when she
18 put them to you during the examination-in-chief is not the law which
19 regulates questions of defence, is not a law --- and is not a law which
20 precedes the law on Defence from September 1991.
21 Would you please be so kind as to take a look in this law on the
22 20th of September, 1991, the transitional and the concluding provisions.
23 Article 201 of the concluding and transitional provisions. Where it says:
24 "After the coming into force of this law, the coming of this force -- the
25 coming of this law into force shall supersede the previous law on defence,
1 meaning that one law ceases to exist and introduces the other law which
2 regulates the same field."
3 A. You obviously do not understand the distinction between the
4 general or total people's defence which is the territorial defence and the
5 law on defence. These are two totally different concepts and two
6 different notions. In the former state of Yugoslavia, there existed also
7 a law on defence which had to do with the armed forces, with the JNA. It
8 never had dealt with the general total people's defence, which was within
9 the republican local competence and the republic's regulated. It involved
10 the rights of the entities, enterprises, civil and legal persons, in case
11 of any imminent danger, but this had to do with Territorial Defence,
12 namely the protection of people and civilian persons. This was not a law
13 treating the armed forces and the military. And if this law on defence
14 which was inaugurated for the first time then in Croatia and was published
15 in September 1991 superseded the previous law and rendered it invalid,
16 that is only logical because there was no need for the former piece of
17 legislation to exist anymore because this law regulated all pertinent
19 Q. If, Mrs. Alajbeg, you say according to the 1991 constitution,
20 Croatia is a sovereign state, the -- the 1990 constitution, why then this
21 same parliament of Croatia which had adopted all the other documents that
22 we are discussing about, why did it bring this law on national defence on
23 the 2nd of February, 1991, which is to say two months prior to this
24 document that we are now discussing from tabulator 2. And the
25 constitutional ground is the same with the constitution from 1990. And
1 you say that there is no continuity between these two legal acts?
2 A. I'm not saying that there is no continuity. What I'm saying is
3 that it was rendered invalid. Put out of force doesn't mean anything.
4 Namely, the law on total people's defence in this early period -- the fact
5 that it was published in 1990, that early, means that only at the time
6 Croatia did not -- it did not occur to Croatia that it could be attacked
7 in any way by the JNA at that -- that is what it shows. We were thinking
8 about a confederal union at the time, about a peaceful negotiated
9 agreement between the sovereign republics. In view of the fact that at a
10 later stage what did happen was an attack on Croatia, which involved many
11 casualties and dead and wounded people. It went without saying that this
12 concept of Territorial Defence was no longer pertinent and that we had to
13 think about forming our own defensive forces. Because not only would not
14 the Territorial Defence function and could not function in such a state of
15 affairs, but in this time, mid-1990, all the weapons of the Territorial
16 Defence had been seized from it under orders of the then-federal minister
17 of defence. Accordingly, that law could not be implemented because not --
18 even the minimum of arms which the Territorial Defence normally had had,
19 had been seized. So it was pointless at that time to have a Territorial
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am compelled to ask
22 for your assistance. I would like to stick to legal regulations and
23 provisions here, the two binders that Madam Witness is talking about. If
24 we start hearing testimony on what went on precisely at the time from
25 Ms. Alajbeg and her views on it, I'll take days to finish my
1 cross-examination. I only wish to discuss documents here, but if the
2 witness goes on providing such extensive answers, I must say that I'll not
3 be able to complete all my documents.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For my part, by your leave,
5 Your Honours, I ask to be allowed to place things into perspective. At
6 this time there was a disintegration of the legal and political system.
7 The text must be interpreted in its proper context, otherwise various
8 misreadings might be possible.
9 JUDGE PARKER: There is a fundamental tension here between your
10 intention as a questioner, Mr. Petrovic, and the view held by the witness.
11 It is at the core of this case, in some respects, and it will be for this
12 Chamber to determine it. I think it would be improper of the Chamber to
13 try and restrict the witness to answering in your context solely. And she
14 may want to answer your question by including her view of the
16 At the same time, though, Ms. Alajbeg, you are doing that and
17 more. You are giving extremely extensive answers. I think you can convey
18 your message much more succinctly than is happening to date. Mr. Petrovic
19 is being placed under time constraints to ensure that you can conclude
20 your evidence today. And it would be to your advantage and his and the
21 Chamber's if you were able to put your viewpoint in answer succinctly and
22 we would be grateful if you would do that.
23 Mr. Petrovic.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, can we now please move on to tab 2 of Exhibit P20.
1 Let us look at document 646.
2 A. Under which number?
3 Q. 646, the decision to have a referendum dated 25th of April, 1991.
4 A. You said binder 2, so that's why --
5 Q. That's tab 2 in binder 1. Can you see that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Madam, can you please tell me the following: This question posed
8 by the referendum, a question that we see here, why was the word
9 "independent" completely omitted from the question? The word
10 "independent." The only terms given here are "sovereign" and
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] And before the witness answers this
13 question, Your Honours, I would like to draw your attention to the
14 translation of the same document, which you have before you I believe. It
15 says: "Sovereign and independent state."
16 In the Croatian text or in the B/C/S language, if you like,
17 "independent" is "independent." And the word "samostalan" is a different
18 word from the word "independent"; it has a different meaning. It would
19 mean roughly self-managing or self-organising; certainly not independent.
20 The equivalent would be perhaps home rule. So the words samostalan and
21 nizavistan [phoen] are not synonymous.
22 Q. Madam, can you tell me, please, with the question posed by the
23 referendum at this point in time, why was the word "autonomous" and
24 "sovereign" completely omitted and the word "independent" only crops up
25 in September 1991 in the parlance of the Croatian authorities?
1 A. I think this is a misinterpretation of the words "samostalan". It
2 means what the word "independent" means in English and it certainly refers
3 to no kind of home rule or anything that counsel is suggesting. It is my
4 submission that "samostalan" means "independent" in English, therefore
5 these are synonymous. Linguistically speaking there may be a slight
6 distinction in terms of nuance, but the English phrase "independent state"
7 means samostalan drzolaj [phoen], exactly as described by the question on
9 Q. Can you please answer my question. Why is the word samostalan
10 being used here?
11 JUDGE PARKER: I thought that question had just been answered,
12 Mr. Petrovic. The witness disagrees with your construction and takes the
13 view that it is a correct use of language. I don't think that you and the
14 witness could debate that for any longer, to any good purpose.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour.
16 Q. Was a clear question ever asked of the citizens of the Republic of
17 Croatia, whether they wished to live in an independent state of Republic
18 of Croatia? This question, as posed here, is not a clear question, which
19 is obvious if you look at the wording of the question.
20 A. This referendum question actually contains two subquestions, one
21 of which refers exactly to this. As a sovereign and independent state,
22 Croatia can enter associations with the other republics. And the latter
23 part, whether the citizens wanted Croatia to stay within the framework of
24 the SFRY as a single and unified federal state. These are not mutually
25 exclusive, needless to say. The essential question is whether one wants
1 independence, and the citizens' answer was yes.
2 Furthermore, the citizens did not rule out the possibility that
3 there might be an agreement with other sovereign subjects and enter
4 possible associations. Croatia did not rule out this possibility at that
5 point in time.
6 Q. But you will agree with me that the citizens of the Republic of
7 Croatia were never asked this specific question: Do you wish to live in
8 the independent state of Croatia?
9 A. No, I can't agree with you on that one, because that's simply not
10 true. The citizens of Croatia were given a choice if they wanted an
11 independent state and they said: Yes, we do.
12 Q. Madam, here it states the following: The Republic of Croatia as a
13 sovereign and independent state guaranteeing full rights to Serbs and
14 ethnic minority may enter associations with other -- with the other
15 republics. Linguistically speaking this question is perfectly clear;
16 there is no two parts to this question.
17 Do you think that the Republic of Croatia as an independent and
18 sovereign state can enter alliances with other sovereign states? I don't
19 see a question there saying: Do you want an independent state of Croatia?
20 So how come you see those two in the same question?
21 A. I think the referendum question consists of both parts. I think
22 you keep failing to read the second part. And the latter part of the
23 question is about the citizens of Croatia, that the citizens of Croatia
24 want a sovereign and independent state. And this state may then choose to
25 enter associations with other states, to form associations with other
1 states, which is a conditio sine qua non without which the Croatian state
2 cannot enter any other alliances or associations.
3 Q. Very well. Tell me about the latter part of the question. What
4 sort of a proposal is it by Serbia and Montenegro that had been proposed
5 at the time? Who defined this proposal?
6 A. As far as I know at the time there was a proposal by Serbia and
7 Montenegro for Yugoslavia to become as unitarian as possible and to have a
8 referendum. As far as I know this was a proposal by Milosevic along the
9 lines of the one man, one vote principle to apply throughout Yugoslavia.
10 So the proposal was for Yugoslavia to become a more unitarian state than
11 it had been up to that point.
12 Q. This proposal was formulated and published somewhere? Anywhere?
13 A. I can't remember that it was specifically voiced or formulated,
14 but there were a number of official meetings where this was discussed.
15 Q. The one man, one vote principle, is that an anti-democratical
16 principle in legal terms?
17 A. No, not under the laws that were in force in Yugoslavia at the
18 time. This is no democratic way to resolve these issues.
19 Q. Can we please move on to tab 3, the same document -- same exhibit,
20 rather. Can you look at this decision, 708 decision, and tell me if you
21 can, please. 708, the 7th of May, 1991. Tell me, please, there are two
22 items, two provisions, in this decision?
23 A. Yes, the one referring to the referendum, and there are two items.
24 Q. Tell me in relation to the latter item, this item, does it
25 correspond with the second question posed by the referendum?
1 A. In order to provide an accurate answer, I would like to go back to
2 the referendum question. I believe this decision was adopted on the basis
3 of the answer provided by the citizens at the referendum; therefore, the
4 decision merely publishes the results of the referendum. In my opinion,
5 it does not have to correspond, but it must reflect the citizens' will as
6 expressed at the referendum, but does not necessarily reflect the
7 questions as asked originally, the original referendum questions. That's
8 my opinion at least.
9 Q. Very well. Tell me: As of the 27th of May, 1991, what did
10 Croatia do in order to achieve -- what was the obligation of the
11 presidency of the Republic of Croatia, based on the results of the
12 referendum? What were the steps that were taken in good will to establish
13 an association of sovereign states, starting with the 27th of May and then
14 over the following months? What steps were taken that you were aware of?
15 A. Perhaps we should turn this question around. What did Yugoslavia,
16 that is Serbia and Montenegro, at the time do to stop that happening? We
17 know that in May there was already the massacre at Borovo Selo on the 2nd
18 of May and there were military operations under way in Croatia. On a
19 massive scale already people were being armed, so there was no possibility
20 to do that. But I do know that Croatia was doing its best at the time to
21 have some sort of negotiations. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia were not
22 in favour of the confederal concept, that Slovenia and Croatia had tabled
23 at the time. They were favouring the so-called asymmetrical
24 confederation. There was no consensus on that, and as far as I know
25 Milosevic categorically refused any possibility of consensus as regarded
1 the issue of the confederation at the time.
2 Q. Fortunately we here are not at all interested in Milosevic. So
3 please tell me, what did the Republic of Croatia undertake to the effect
4 of what the decision of the referendum stated? If you do not know, then
5 please tell me so so we can move on.
6 A. I know that in consultations between the president of the republic
7 at the time, the consultations of the presidents of the republics at the
8 time, that there was a lot of talk about it. That is what I know.
9 Q. Will you now please move on to tab 4, the same exhibit, and take a
10 look at document number 872. This is the constitutional decision on the
11 sovereignty and the independence of the Republic of Croatia. And look at
12 article 2 of this decision, paragraph 2 of this article which reads: "The
13 Croatian republic is instituting procedure for its international
15 Can you see that?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Did at the time Croatia indeed initiate this procedure, as stated
18 in this decision?
19 A. Well, you know we have to bear in mind the fact that the jurists
20 who drew up the decision at the time were not all that precise. For
21 instance, I myself who deal in international law would have never
22 formulated it thus, because this is not a procedure that can be initiated
23 by a state. This is a totally different process. A state itself cannot
24 engineer recognition as it were. This is something which is initiated by
25 others so that from the international law standpoint this is not the most
1 fortunate of formulations.
2 Q. What are the effects, if you know, of this formulation,
4 A. In fact, the recognition procedure evolved outside this framework.
5 The Republic of Croatia could, so to speak, lobby for it. But its
6 recognition on the part of individual states only ensued when those states
7 were fully satisfied and convinced that they should indeed do so. There
8 is no procedure of recognition, no legal procedure of recognition, as
9 such. It doesn't exist.
10 Q. Even though it does not exist, the parliament of the Republic of
11 Croatia was asking for one.
12 A. This was more by way of an instruction to the executive branch, to
13 the officials in Croatia, as to what they should do in terms of working to
14 promote the truth, I should say, about Croatia at the time, and to promote
15 the need to draw attention to Croatia and its problems. In other words,
16 the wish of the Croatian people expressed at the referendum for their
17 autonomy and independence.
18 Q. You said an instruction based on the referendum. Does this
19 instruction refer to the president of the presidency of this SFRY from the
20 Republic of Croatia who -- Stipe Mesic, the prime minister at the time,
21 who was also from the Republic of Croatia, Markovic the minister of
22 defence who was from the Republic of Croatia at the time, Veljko
23 Kadijevic; the minister of foreign affairs who was also from the Republic
24 of Croatia at the time, Mr. Budimir Loncar -- or did this instruction
25 already refer to -- did it refer to all of them or did it not?
1 A. The parliament of Croatia addressed this call to all whom -- and
2 those who thought that the call did refer to them in fact followed --
3 acted accordingly. And those who didn't did not. While I did say
4 instructions, but it was rather a call addressed to all these factors to
5 work along these lines, all those who should engage -- be engaged along
6 those lines.
7 Q. So may I conclude that none of these factors that I mentioned,
8 including you, did not consider that there was any scope for any work
9 along those lines on that basis in fact?
10 A. But in a way we had already started working on that, because when
11 the armed conflicts broke out and the first victims fell, one could not
12 remain passive. We were all involved in some sort of a procedure, because
13 we sought to spread the truth about what was going on. And this is the
14 effort that we who were working outside Croatia also shared in.
15 Q. Do you agree with me that as of the 25th of June, as federal
16 regulations ceased to be applied in the territory of the Republic of
18 A. Well, I would say yes, had it not been for the moratorium or the
19 suspension of that decision. Namely, I've already put forward here my
20 thesis that in fact I considered sovereignty and independence for Slovenia
21 and Croatia to have already started on the 25th of June. But we also know
22 that the Brioni declaration suspended that decision for a period of three
23 months and that later the date of the succession or in translation of
24 independence in the broader sense was only reckoned after the three months
25 had elapsed.
1 Q. In the context of what you've just said please take a look at the
2 article 4 of the same constitutional decision which reads: "In the area
3 of the Republic of Croatia are valid laws which have been brought by the
4 parliament of Croatia and until the end and the disassociation of
5 republics, also federal regulations which have not been put out of
7 A. Yes, put out of force for the Republic of Croatia. Because not
8 only at that time but also later while passing its own legislation, the
9 Republic of Croatia often accepted and applied federal regulations. But
10 as its own pieces of legislation. Meaning federal regulations that had
11 been accepted by the Republic of Croatia. So this are -- these are the
12 pieces of legislation which are meant there, not meaning that the federal
13 legislation was applicable at the same time in Croatia as well.
14 Q. Distinguished Madam, we are jurists. We are here interpreting
15 juristic acts and I'm asking you for an interpretation of this document
16 which does not provide this clarification which you have given us but
17 rather says: "Federal regulations shall also be applied."
18 That is what it says. There is no question, at least in this
19 legal document, of the adoption of these regulations as internal documents
20 or of any other legal procedure. What it says is: "The direct
21 application of federal regulations."
22 A. No, no. This simply is perhaps not adequately phrased here,
23 because this document is very brief. But later practice shows that all
24 regulations, precisely those which were applied in the Republic of
25 Croatia, on the basis of this decision, that article were applied by
1 adopting a special law on the application of the federal law in question
2 in full or in part. So practice demonstrated precisely what that meant.
3 Q. Then in your opinion, practice is one thing and the constitutional
4 law, the supreme constitutional act of a state after the constitution is
5 something else. Or, in other words, practice ran counter to what was the
6 constitutional law at the time, if I understand you correctly?
7 A. No, that is not correct. The constitutional decision may have
8 left something to be desired in terms of precision. But the
9 interpretation of the decision by the parliament, which in fact adopted
10 this decision, showed how the federal laws were to be applied in the
11 territory in -- of the Republic of Croatia.
12 Q. So we agree, the constitutional law is imprecise, but it was
13 implemented and built upon and characterised through practice, if I
14 understood you correctly?
15 A. It is a constitutional decision not a constitutional law, but we
16 cannot say that the entire decision is imprecise. It is just a small
17 portion which is not -- which leaves something to be desired in terms of
18 precision. But it is also quite obvious that it refers to federal
19 regulations which have not been rendered invalid which have not ceased to
20 be inoperative. Meaning the Republic of Croatia is a catalyst for federal
21 laws. It doesn't mean that federal laws are to be applied directly
22 because they are federal laws.
23 Q. All right. Look at Article 5 of the same decision. Tell me in
24 your opinion, Madam, does Article 5 constitute a one-sided decision making
25 on the part of one personality, one fact of whether it is an
1 internationally recognised state or not on its own state boundaries. That
2 is my first question.
3 And my second question is: Can the question of state borders be
4 regulated unilaterally by an internal act of one entity?
5 A. This -- at the moment we are speaking about is an independent
6 state, which became on autonomous independent state on the basis of a
7 referendum and the will of its citizens. So I interpret this article
8 exclusively as the wish of the Republic of Croatia to remain within its
9 existing borders at the time without any claims or pretensions to any
10 other territories or borders.
11 Q. Please explain to me the following: Can state borders be drawn
12 unilaterally? What is the process of the drawing of state borders? Is
13 that a one-sided decision by an entity, by state, by province, whatever
14 you like? Or are state borders fixed in a different way?
15 A. These are not new borders. This is not a change of the Helsinki
16 criteria. This is, in fact, a confirmation of the Helsinki criteria.
17 Q. Will you please explain for us. What are the Helsinki criteria?
18 A. As part of the OSCE we know that there exists the Helsinki
19 criteria which have to do with the not changing of borders by force. So
20 these are established -- we just noted the existing borders of the
21 Republic of Croatia, which on the basis of the will of its people and the
22 right exercise by its people was proclaimed to be an independent state,
23 which remained in its former or existing borders which it had before as a
24 state that had joined the former Yugoslavia of its own volition.
25 Q. Would you be so kind as to tell the Trial Chamber, to what do the
1 Helsinki charter, the Helsinki criteria refer? Do they refer to
2 administrative units within states, or do they refer to the principle of
3 the unchangeability of borders between internationally recognised
5 A. Yes. It does refer to states, but at the time Croatia was a
6 state. And that is a fact.
7 Q. Thank you. Can we please move on to document 875 at the same
8 tabulator number. Declaration of independence and sovereignty of the
9 state of Croatia. So please, if you look at item 1 or paragraph 1, which
10 says, starting with 13 centuries of legal and state tradition between the
11 Adriatic the Drava and Mirna rivers. Please tell me, the Croatian
12 parliament in this declaration does it imply also Bosnia-Herzegovina
13 territory to be included, if we bear in mind the geographical location of
14 these rivers being referred to here?
15 A. No, I don't think so. Even nowadays Croatia has the Adriatic and
16 the rivers Drava and Mirna. These rivers run through Croatian territory.
17 Q. When someone says "soil," or rather "territory" between the Drava,
18 which is the border between Croatia and Hungary and the Adriatic on the
19 other hand with the state territory of another state lying in between in
20 its entirety. Can you explain how this is possible.
21 A. I don't think this requires any sort of explanation. To the north
22 of Croatia you have the Drava river and in the south of Croatia there is
23 the Adriatic sea. I'm not sure if there is any other way to describe this
24 since they decided to describe it this way. Personally I would have done
25 it in a different way perhaps. But since they started described things in
1 this way, describing territory, then I don't think this constitutes a
2 problem. Because we know that to the north we have the Drava river, then
3 we have the Mora river, and to the south we have the Adriatic Sea.
4 Q. And what is there in between?
5 A. The best part of Croatian. Croatia has an irregular shape but
6 that falls short of meaning anything specific here in this context. It
7 does not mean that everything that there is in between is simply Croatian.
8 That is not stated anywhere here, not unambiguously, and I don't see a
9 problem here.
10 Q. Can you please look at paragraph 4 of the same decision -- or
11 rather, section 4, paragraph 3. My question to you is the following: You
12 said in January when we had the same sort of discussion that the
13 conditions for sovereignty and independence had been met already in June
14 1991. But here I can see the following words: "The declaration of a
15 constitutional decision initiates the process of disassociation."
16 Initiates the process, that's what it says.
17 A. As I said before, this is not necessarily a matter of wording,
18 especially if you look at declarations. The wording is not always
19 accurate. The main thing was that Croatia declared its independence. The
20 main thing was that Croatia had determined its fate in terms of
21 sovereignty and autonomy. It had its own regulations and its own laws.
22 So my interpretation of this is: There was an agreement. Croatia was
23 ready to enter an agreement with the remaining republics in order to
24 possibly resolve their even, perhaps, shared fate through a different kind
25 of arrangement, a confederal arrangement, or something like that. But
1 remaining at the same time sovereign and independent. That's the essence
2 of the whole thing.
3 Q. This decision on independence initiates the process of
4 dissociation. Do you perhaps believe that the legislators were not
5 wording their position with sufficient accuracy?
6 A. That's precisely what I said. Because in initiating the process
7 of dissociation, I would say through dissolution of relations or severance
8 of relations we became a state and independence had been proclaimed and
9 the state had its own constitution. This does not necessarily imply that
10 all other kinds of relations with other entities in the area had been
11 dissolved. We still have the question of state succession, even nowadays
12 and a number of other problems that have not yet been resolved. So this
13 refers to the process of disassociation, in terms of legally dealing with
14 what remained there to be dealt with at the time.
15 Q. Madam, the supreme organ in the Republic of Croatia which is in
16 charge of authentically interpreting the legal documents of the
17 parliament -- of the Croatian parliament, is that body the Croatian
19 A. Yes, the body which adopted the law should authentically interpret
20 the law, however this is not a matter of interpretation. The decision
21 itself is crystal clear. This is merely a declaration which in a very
22 extensive fashion explains the situation surrounding the declaration of
23 independence. It talks about historical connotations. It talks about a
24 vision of a new state. Therefore, the character of this act is not that
25 of a constitutional decision. This is in itself clear, perfectly clear.
1 This is a declaration of an independent state.
2 Q. Isn't this the third time in the last 15 minutes that you keep
3 talking about inaccuracy in the wording of acts adopted by the supreme
4 legislative authority of Croatia, and you attempt to provide your own
5 interpretation of what the legislator wanted to suggest, but which is in
6 stark contrast to the linguistic wording which is now before this Trial
8 A. No, I believe that linguistically speaking, everything is crystal
9 clear. And everything that counsel has adopted -- every time he has
10 adopted to twist an interpretation his way, to suit his needs, I don't
11 think that was correct and authentic. I'm talking about these two norms
12 here, not three norms but rather two norms, but this makes the decisions
13 no less important, or the act in question for that matter.
14 Q. Can you please look at the next paragraph in section 4, which
15 reads: "The proclamation of the constitutional decision on independence
16 is a prerequisite for the Republic of Croatia to be recognised as an
17 international entity. The president of Croatia and the Croatian
18 government will take all necessary steps to achieve this."
19 Do we here see the legislator wording himself in an inaccurate
20 way, just like we said in reference to document 872 a while ago? Does it
21 not seem that this is a bit superfluous perhaps?
22 A. This is a very clear provision. There is nothing to be challenged
23 here. It is only natural that everyone shall take steps to initiate this
24 process. It doesn't mean anything in itself. Nothing special at least is
1 Q. But if some conditions are in place and if what you say is true,
2 that this was a fact and not a matter of something being officially
3 declared, then why the whole thing? Why all this?
4 A. Because each state wants to have as much recognition in terms of
5 declaration, even though the Badinter Commission stated that the creation
6 of a state was a questio facti but every state wants to have it in terms
7 of declaration and recognition done expressed by international factors and
8 international entities.
9 Q. Is it not true that a full seven months after this decision,
10 Croatia was granted its first formal recognition if we discount at the
11 moment the recognition granted by entities that themselves were not
12 recognised at the time, such as Slovenia and Latvia?
13 A. I think this is wrong because Latvia proclaimed its independence
14 in March 1991 and it was recognised as a full-fledged UN member in
15 September of the same year. So Latvia was not exactly an unrecognised
16 state. Before it was admitted as a member of the United Nations, there
17 had been international agreements that had been concluded on diplomatic
18 relations which had been in place before that time with the United States,
19 with Germany, and with some other states that are part of the -- this
20 Western world of ours. Therefore, Latvia and all the remaining Baltic
21 countries had been granted full recognition by the time.
22 Q. Madam, which month are we talking about?
23 A. We're talking about June. Here specifically, the recognition late
24 July, on the part of Latvia. Latvia at that time had developed
25 international relations and it was a fully-recognised entity by that time.
1 Q. Let's leave this issue aside for the time being. We will talk
2 about that later. Let us not tire the Chamber with this now. Tell me now
3 please: In addition to Latvia, who else?
4 A. I think we talked about Croatia's recognition at such great length
5 the last time we talked about it. I'm not sure we should go into this
7 Q. I don't think there's any need to go into the issue of Croatia's
8 recognition again. I think we've been through that. But what I want to
9 know as I see that in the meantime you have prepared yourself for this
10 testimony, you have refreshed your memory of events. Have you been able
11 to ascertain in the meantime whether there was anyone else who granted the
12 Republic of Croatia recognition in the same period of time under
13 discussion here. If you don't know, please say so?
14 A. I've talked about this before.
15 Q. Thank you. Can you please look at document 876, "Charter on the
16 rights of Serbs and other ethnic groups in the Republic of Croatia".
17 A. Which one is that?
18 Q. That's tab 4 also, the last document. Madam, can you please tell
19 me --
20 A. 87 --
21 Q. 876, my apologies. Tab 4, the last document and the last page in
23 THE INTERPRETER: Can the speakers please be asked not to overlap.
24 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Just look at it and then I'll ask you my question.
1 A. I have the document in English here.
2 Q. Can we worked based on that?
3 A. Yes, we can go ahead.
4 Q. Tell me, please, was this document a sufficient basis for the
5 Republic of Croatia in terms of dealing with minority rights, ethnic
6 minority rights. We are talking about a document dated June 1991?
7 A. No, this was not sufficient basis. Croatia knew that it had to
8 adopt this legal act, but obviously it had to go through a number of
9 different revisions, which was subsequently done.
10 Q. What is it about this document that is still missing?
11 A. I'm not sure what you have in mind.
12 Q. This document in front of you, 876, what are its shortcomings, its
13 drawbacks? What causes you to say that it had to undergo a number of
14 revisions and amendments?
15 A. I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong about this
16 document. The requirements of the international community in Europe kept
17 increasing, and Croatia had to follow those requirements because we wanted
18 to make sure that all the minorities enjoyed the same rights in a
19 sovereign state like ours.
20 Q. Were any criteria established, criteria that a state should comply
21 with in order to become a state in relation to the -- its treatment of
22 ethnic minorities?
23 A. All the international criteria, criteria in terms of international
24 law are enshrined in this document. That's not the problem. The problem
25 was -- is that there was an attempt to make sure down to the smallest
1 detail that the rights of minorities in Croatia at the time were respected
2 and that the rights were granted, especially as regards the Serbian
3 minority which was the largest single minority in Croatia. And that's why
4 the international community kept asking for more and more and more. So
5 there followed a number of documents that superseded this one and that
6 were a good deal more extensive than the original document.
7 Q. Do you mean that no clear criteria were presented by the
8 international community but rather that these criteria were changed as we
9 went along and that Croatia meanwhile always treated its minorities in the
10 same way?
11 A. No. Croatia always declared that it wanted to protect its
12 minorities according to the highest possible European standards. But
13 Croatia was required to work on even the smallest details so that there
14 was nothing at a later stage to cause any possible conflict.
15 Q. You as the Croatian Ambassador in Brussels even today are still
16 being asked about the status of the Serb minority in Croatia, even 15
17 years later. Isn't that the case?
18 A. Yes, this is not only about the Serb minority. They are asking
19 questions about minorities in general. This is always the case in areas
20 where you have minorities. And ours is one such area. In each of the
21 former republics which are states, independent states today, there are
22 ethnic minorities and this a problem that these new states are facing.
23 There is always the possibility of unrest. And that is why an attempt is
24 being made, not only in relation to Croatia but in relation to all other
25 states in the area to have a regulatory system that would eliminate
1 tension in the area.
2 Q. Can you please look at tab 9 of the same exhibit, the arbitration
3 opinion number 5. Madam, please tell me -- please tell me, based on
4 what's written in the arbitration commission opinion number 5: At the
5 time -- in the period of time preceding this opinion, had the Republic of
6 Croatia already met the requirements governing the recognition of new
7 states in Europe and the former Soviet Union in reference to such issues
8 as national minorities? I'm talking about the time before the arbitration
9 commission opinion number 5.
10 A. As I said, these criteria were increased and it has been
11 established here that the constitutional law -- and we're not talking
12 about the charter because several other legal acts had been adopted in the
13 meantime. The constitutional law on the rights of minorities at the level
14 of constitution and not merely at charter level, as we have seen. It is
15 stated here that not everything that was contained in the draft convention
16 of the 4th of November was embodied or incorporated by Croatia. This
17 relates especially to the special status of Croatia. This is not about
18 human rights, this is not about minority rights. This is about requests
19 that were made to Croatia, peculiar requests, for -- and in reference to
20 municipalities where we had the majority Serbian population. So that's
21 what this was about; this was about special requests that were made at the
22 time in terms of governance, in terms of education, but this overwrote --
23 of the general standards, I would say. So Croatia was being asked to make
24 its constitutional law even better, even more detailed, which when asked
25 to do so by the European Union, and Croatia duly complied.
1 Q. So the constitutional law was imperfect and it needed
3 A. Well, can you name any provision or regulation that you think is
4 perfect at all. But Croatia was making a huge effort at the time. At the
5 level of constitutional law there was an extensive law on the protection
6 of minority rights. I would dare even to suggest that it's more extensive
7 than any other such law in Europe in any other European state
8 Q. One of the main criteria for the recognition of new states in
9 eastern Europe was the treatment of ethnic minorities. When did the
10 Republic of Croatia adopt a constitutional law governing the rights of
12 A. The minority rights were regulated through a number of different
13 legal acts and regulations, not necessarily only by this constitutional
14 law dated the 4th of December, 1991. This was not the first document
15 adopted by the Croatian state to protect the ethnic minorities. This is
16 just a very extensive and complex document that was perfected over time.
17 But we started out speaking about the charter, which in its own way
18 granted protection to the ethnic minorities and granted them rights.
19 There were other such documents at the time. I can't remember now how
20 many specifically, but I know that a great deal of care and attention was
21 devoted to this issue.
22 Q. European countries and the United States in the period of time
23 under discussion until December 1991 considered that the conditions were
24 not met with regard to ethnic minorities, and that as a result of
25 noncompliance with that particular request the Republic of Croatia in its
1 desire to become an internationally recognised state adopted the
2 constitutional law on the 4th of December, thereby removing the drawbacks
3 and shortcomings that had been pointed out by all civilised countries of
4 the world?
5 A. No. This 4th of December constitutional law did not remove any
6 drawbacks. It is clearly stated here that even this constitutional law
7 has failed to fully incorporate all the requirements. There were further
8 amendments made to this law, too. These amendments were a continuous
9 process and this was continually pursued by Croatia over the years, but
10 the requirements were becoming bigger and bigger and more precision was
11 required in terms of defining protection for the ethnic minorities. But
12 this was perfectly understandable in view of the situation on the ground
13 at the time.
14 Q. There were the requirements were regretting bigger and bigger,
15 more ambitious while the situation on the ground and the standards of the
16 protection of minority rights in Croatia on the ground did not follow
17 suit. Is that your point?
18 A. No. The situation on the ground showed that the ethnic minorities
19 were easy to manipulate and it was necessary to define in detail the
20 protection of minority rights. And that's why I said that the Croatian
21 law on minority rights is perhaps the most extensive or -- and the most
22 detailed that exists in Europe today or perhaps it is among the most
23 comprehensive and most detailed laws. This reflected the need to allay
24 the tensions between the minorities -- between the majority population and
25 the ethnic minorities at the time.
1 Q. You say that this is not a result of dissatisfaction felt among
2 the international entities with regard to the Croatian minority law?
3 A. Well, this is perhaps a possibility, but there was a desire to
4 prevent any undesirable developments at the time.
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, is this a convenient
6 time to have a break?
7 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, it is indeed. We will break for 20
9 --- Recess taken at 3.59 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 4.26 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, please look at tab 5. Declaration of the European
14 union -- on the European Community, rather, on Yugoslavia from the 26th
15 of -- from the 6th of March, 1991. Paragraph 6 -- 2. Does this decision
16 state that according to the opinion of the European community a single and
17 democratic Yugoslavia had the best prospects of integrating into the new
19 A. It is no secret that the international community wanted to
20 preserve Yugoslavia and that it wanted to see the crisis reconciled in a
21 peaceful way. That is a matter of common knowledge.
22 Q. Did this attitude about a single Yugoslavia, was it also repeated
23 in their declaration of Yugoslavia of the 8th of May?
24 A. Yes, for the most part.
25 Q. Now please take a look at the declaration of the 7th of July,
1 1992, appendix 1. Take a look at the second -- no, rather the first
2 section of this appendix, which reads: "Supervision of control of border
3 crossings shall be assumed by the police of Slovenia."
4 Is it true that this never, in fact, occurred, that this item 1 of
5 appendix 1 was never carried out in practice?
6 A. This about it being assumed -- this duty being assumed by the
7 Slovenian police, is that a question?
8 Q. The question is whether it is true that this particular point,
9 item 1, appendix 1, of the joint declaration of the 7th of July, 1992,
10 which refers to the assumption of supervision of border crossings by the
11 Slovenian police which was to act in accordance with the federal
12 regulations was never carried out in practice?
13 A. I know that Slovenia did take over the border crossings. Now,
14 whether it acted in accordance with federal regulations, I could not say
15 that with precision.
16 Q. Please take a look at paragraph 2, which deals with customs. And
17 reads that: "Customs will remain a federal revenue source."
18 Was this particular item of the joint declaration appendix abided
20 A. All this refers to Slovenia. So it is hard for me to say what
21 indeed had happened. I suppose that Slovenia did act as an independent
23 Q. Was Croatia paying customs proceeds as a federal revenue source at
24 that time?
25 A. As regards the financial sphere, in view of the fact that the
1 federal organs were not functioning, I believe that there existed
2 formidable problems. Because at the end of 1990 and the beginning of
3 1991, Serbia had raided, as it were, the financial system of the entire
4 country with 1.700.000.000 being appropriated by it without the consent of
5 the other republics. It simply illegally took that sum and this is known.
6 Q. Did Croatia pay its customs proceeds into the federal coffers?
7 A. I couldn't say that with precision. I don't know.
8 Q. Was Croatia a part of the payment operations system of the
9 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia throughout this period we are
11 A. Until the decision on independence, it had been. After that, I am
12 not quite sure how these financial flows went.
13 Q. What was the currency used in the Republic of Croatia?
14 A. It was the dinar until the fall when the Croatian dinar was
16 Q. What currency was used in Croatia for -- say in November 1991?
17 A. I'm not quite sure when the Croatian dinar was introduced, whether
18 it was in November or December. But at that time more or less it was
19 introduced -- it was introduced more or less at that time precisely.
20 Q. So at the beginning of November, the Yugoslav dinar was the
21 currency in circulation?
22 A. I suppose so. It probably was, which of course could mean
24 Q. What, for instance, could it mean? Could the fact that the
25 currency in Croatia on the 1st of November was the Yugoslav dinar, what
1 could it mean?
2 A. It could mean that there was no joint payment system. I already
3 said it had been significantly disturbed by this incursion of the
4 republic's -- individual republics, notably Serbia, into the payment
6 Q. What do you -- what does the fact that the currency in the
7 Republic of Croatia was not a Croatian currency, but a Yugoslav currency,
8 what does it exactly mean? In the period in question, of course.
9 A. The fact that the state or the Republic of Croatia was using this
10 currency does not mean that it cannot be an independent state. We have
11 had instances with currencies being still operative in states that had
12 become separated or independent states from other states.
13 Q. Tell me, what was the phone code for the Republic of Croatia,
14 telephone code?
15 A. You're asking me too much. I cannot remember exactly whether it
16 was the same or different or -- really, at that time I cannot recall these
17 technical details. I do know, however, that already in 1992 on the
18 international level we had already resolved all these matters pertaining
19 to communication links, et cetera, and all these such systems. But of
20 course this was an exercise which was ongoing and couldn't be solved
22 Q. What were the registration plates or licence plates on cars in the
23 fall of 1991 in Croatia?
24 A. I believe that there was not a single car without a CRO or at
25 least a CR licence plate, although it had not already -- it had not been
1 determined internationally by that time. But -- in this way it
2 demonstrated their allegiance to Croatia.
3 Q. Madam, I'm asking you about the regulations which were in force at
4 the time. What was the licence plate like at the time? It was just like
5 the ones that were being used in 1990 or 1989?
6 A. I replied to you -- I do not own an automobile. I personally
7 never used a licence plate and I could see that people were using these
8 plates that I referred to earlier. It hadn't been officially verified,
9 that is true.
10 Q. Please look at tab 6 of the document which is in front of you.
11 Please take a look at the document marked as "Initiative of the assembly
12 of the republic of Montenegro". And now take a look at the preamble of
13 that document which reads: "Proceeding from the conclusions of the from
14 the assembly of the republic of Montenegro, the assembly of the republic
15 of Montenegro in accordance with principles of Article 4, Article 5,
16 paragraph 4 of the constitution of Montenegro is instituting a --
17 launching an initiative for the fixing of the sea border".
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was this initiative launched in the way envisaged under the
20 constitution of the SFRY?
21 A. I suppose it was.
22 Q. Is Article 5 of the constitution of the SFRY, the article which we
23 discussed last time, which is the one which regulates by negotiation and
24 agreement the relationship between states, i.e. Republics when it comes to
25 the question of their shared borders?
1 A. Yes, of course. Agreement is the criterion.
2 Q. How come that you concluded that this act, which is based on the
3 constitutional procedure of the existing state, constitutes an act of
4 recognition of the Republic of Croatia on the part of the Republic of
6 A. I said that this was an implicit recognition, because at the time
7 Montenegro was neither an independent state -- it wasn't an independent
8 state. And this implied the recognition is obvious in item 1 from the
9 simple fact that Croatia had decided to become a sovereign independent
10 state is a fact which is taken into consideration. And it is stated so in
11 item 1. So the fact that a state existed -- the state of Croatia, and
12 then the fact that Montenegro felt that there was some unresolved issues
13 pertaining to the issue of border which needed to be settled is referred
14 to. Of course this was something that was not resolved at that point and
15 certainly no changes of the borders took place. But my idea was to
16 emphasise that Montenegro was aware of the fact that Croatia had become an
17 independent state, and that is why it wanted to resolve precisely with it
18 some of the relations which it felt were not settled.
19 Q. Are you saying these things as a jurist or as a politician and a
21 A. I'm speaking as a juridical -- jurist, because this is actually
22 circumstantial bit of evidence.
23 Q. Was -- what Montenegro did was it strictly within the confines of
24 the SFRY constitution?
25 A. No one ever said that it was not within the confines of the SFRY
1 constitution, that initiative of Montenegro that is.
2 Q. And from the fact that someone is undertaking a certain
3 initiative, a certain action on the basis of the constitution, how can you
4 conclude on that basis that someone is recognising something which is
5 contrary to that same constitution?
6 A. We are not talking here at all about something -- recognising
7 something which is contrary to the constitution. Here we have Montenegro
8 instituting a procedure, launching an initiative, on the basis of its own
9 constitutional powers.
10 Q. And in this you see an implicit recognition, which was in
11 contravention with the very fundaments on which this initiative is being
12 launched --
13 A. I see the recognition of an existing state of affairs which is
14 obvious from item 1.
15 Q. Then look at tab 7 now, please. So now please take a look at item
16 3 of this document contained therein, which reads: "The Republic of
17 Croatia does not recognise as valid a single legal act which is --
18 represents anyone on behalf of the former federation of the SFRY."
19 Tell me, why were not all the representatives of the Republic of
20 Croatia withdrawn at that point if this was the attitude which was
22 A. I cannot respond to your question, because I did not take any
23 decisions as to the withdrawal of appointed persons. But I believe that
24 this was a good-faith effort on the part of the Croatian side in order --
25 aimed at overcoming the situation, which by that time had become a
1 veritable war. In order to resolve this also by way of these persons who
2 were holding these posts.
3 Q. Which percentage of Croatian territory was then under the control
4 of the authorities in Zagreb in October 1991, specifically?
5 A. As far as I remember, by that time those areas, independent areas,
6 within the Croatian state had already been proclaimed. It was a
7 well-known fact that those areas comprised about one-third of the entire
8 Croatian territory, and 30 per cent of the population were Serbs. So the
9 areas proclaimed as declared independent were actually far greater than
10 the percentage of the population would have required. I would say about a
11 third of the Croatian territory was under occupation. That's what they
12 called it at the time.
13 Q. Where was the JNA at the time? Was it also stationed in Zagreb as
14 well as in all other major cities throughout Croatian?
15 A. I think it may be very difficult for me to answer these military
16 questions, but as far as I know the JNA was in many different areas and
17 quite many were in Croatia at the time. As far as I know, there was a
18 request for the JNA to withdraw. There was a lot of discussion and many
19 decisions were taken to the effect that the JNA should withdraw. They
20 were also in those occupied areas. There were people from the JNA there
21 who were on Belgrade's payroll. I can't say exactly where the JNA was,
22 but it was at any rate also in Croatia carrying out military operations.
23 Q. Was the JNA plumb in the middle of Zagreb at the time as well?
24 A. I'm not sure, but I think they were still in their Zagreb barracks
25 and probably they were still occupying facilities.
1 Q. What about the Croatian army, did it exist at the time?
2 A. As we have seen, police forces had been established which had
3 military powers.
4 Q. The criterion of territory control, was it satisfied by the fact
5 that Croatia had over two-thirds of its territory under control at the
6 time, having obtained all the attributes of an independent state?
7 A. Yes. That's the best part of Croatia territory, but it's not
8 about the quantity. The essential thing is that the international
9 community recognised this as an act of cooperation. And many calls were
10 issued for the JNA paramilitary units and the paramilitary units to
11 withdraw from those occupied areas and that these occupied areas should be
12 returned to the Republic of Croatia.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for counsel, please.
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Maybe you've been able to establish in the meantime. You say the
16 international community established an act of occupation?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Who, when, why, what, how?
19 A. Yes. I refer to the general assembly resolution 49/43, which the
20 title of the resolution is: "The situation in the occupied territories."
21 And it refers to the Republic of Croatia -- it refers to the areas where
22 there were those paramilitary units backed by the JNA. And where later
23 the peacekeeping forces were installed.
24 Q. When was this resolution adopted, and by whom?
25 A. By the UN.
1 Q. When?
2 A. 1993. I'm sorry, 1994.
3 Q. And it applies to which period of time exactly?
4 A. It doesn't state specifically which period of time. This went on
5 for years since 1991. An attempt was made to prevent the spread of this
6 situation, and that's why peacekeeping forces were sent to the area.
7 There was an agreement that was concluded between Croatia and the UN.
8 There was no third party to this agreement about the deployment of
9 peacekeeping forces. Croatia had been internationally recognised and was
10 in charge of those areas.
11 Q. Which agreement was that and when was it signed?
12 A. That was the agreement on the -- the so-called SOFA, status of
13 force agreement.
14 Q. Which year was that?
15 A. The agreement was signed quite late on, actually, because
16 negotiations had been underway for a long time as to the precise terms of
17 the agreement, but Croatia was the only party in these negotiations.
18 Q. Which year was the agreement signed in?
19 A. Although the peacekeeping forces, pursuant to an agreement reached
20 with Croatia, had arrived a lot earlier, the agreement was only signed and
21 concluded just before they left, which I believe was in 1994.
22 Q. How did the peacekeeping forces arrive in Yugoslavia towards the
23 end of 1991, pursuant to which specific decision?
24 A. There was a series of agreements. There was a series of
25 agreements. It wasn't only one decision that the whole thing hinged upon.
1 It was a Croatian decision, no doubt, but also representatives of the UN
2 wanted all the other parties to agree on that, all the other parties that
3 could contribute to the conflict spreading throughout the area.
4 Peacekeeping forces are usually sent to peaceful areas where there is no
5 conflict, so the first thing was to preserve peace. And that's why other
6 parties had to be included in these negotiations and not only the Republic
7 of Croatia, but it is quite certain that the whole thing was about
8 Croatian territory, about the territory of the Republic of Croatia. And
9 later documents clearly confirmed this, especially documents such as
10 resolution 815 of the UN security council as well as this resolution
11 concerning occupied areas. These clearly indicate that these are Croatian
13 Q. Which resolution of the Security Council was it and when was this
14 resolution adopted, pursuant to which the peacekeeping forces arrived in
15 Yugoslavia? Is there a reference to another perhaps in that resolution in
16 addition to Yugoslavia. What exactly does the resolution say and when did
17 it come into force, this resolution pursuant to which the peacekeeping
18 forces were sent to Yugoslavia and arrived in Yugoslavia?
19 A. In answer to your previous question --
20 Q. Please answer my present question.
21 A. It was pursuant to an invitation of President Mesic. I know that
22 he wrote to them, but there were several factors that decided the matter.
23 I can't specify which resolution it was. I don't remember the number of
24 the resolution.
25 Q. Which year was it adopted in?
1 A. I assume it was early 1992.
2 Q. Is there talk of Yugoslavia in that resolution? Is there talk of
3 the arrival of the peacekeeping forces in Yugoslavia?
4 A. Yugoslavia at the time -- well, Serbia and Montenegro were still
5 called Yugoslavia at the time, therefore the name Yugoslavia was still
6 circulated. But this does not mean that Yugoslavia was the same thing as
8 Q. Pursuant to that resolution, the peacekeeping forces, did they
9 arrive in Serbia and Montenegro or in the part of Yugoslavia called
10 Croatia or referred to as Croatia?
11 A. They certainly arrived in Croatian territory, in the state of
12 Croatia. And there was an agreement that was signed later, which refers
13 to the Republic of Croatia. The state of Croatia signed that agreement
14 and no other state but Croatia.
15 Q. It's the 1994 agreement we are talking about?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Please allow me. I'm talking about the Security Council
18 resolution, pursuant to which UNPROFOR was sent to Yugoslavia and deployed
19 throughout the UNPA zones the Croatia. Were these forces sent to
20 Yugoslavia also or not?
21 A. I can't say for sure because I don't remember the exact wording of
22 the resolution, but what I believe is supremely relevant is that the
23 forces were deployed in Croatian territory in the state of Croatia.
24 Because this agreement -- there were no other parties to it but Croatia.
25 Croatia was the only party to this agreement.
1 Q. Which leads you to conclude -- that one of your conclusions is
2 that even following the arrival of these forces in 1991, Croatia was an
3 independent and sovereign state -- the agreement was signed three years
4 later --
5 A. It is my submission that -- and we know when Croatia became an
6 independent state quite definitively and officially on the 8th of October.
7 And I stick to that in all of my submissions. I stick to that fact. The
8 peacekeeping forces arrived in Croatia. Whatever was being discussed in
9 terms of Yugoslavia was with the sole aim of getting the other players
10 involved in order to help preserve peace and keep the conflict from
11 spreading. But we know that Yugoslavia was greatly involved in those
12 other areas at the time.
13 Q. Does that mean that the Security Council was less than accurate or
14 perhaps unfamiliar with the situation on the ground when sending forces to
16 A. That's not what I mean to say. I don't have the wording in front
17 of me so I can't tell you what it says.
18 Q. If I tell you what it says is that these forces are being deployed
19 in Yugoslavia or being sent to Yugoslavia, does that mean that the
20 security council was less than accurate as well as the Croatian parliament
21 a while ago?
22 A. Frankly I can't say, because I don't have the text in front of
24 Q. Tell me, in what capacity did Stipe Mesic invite UNPROFOR to come
25 to Yugoslavia?
1 A. What I know is that he wrote a letter, but that was not the only
2 document that was sent to the UN at the time in terms of requesting
3 assistance for the situation to be resolved. He may have, but I can't say
4 now because I don't have -- I don't have the document here and I did find
5 this in one of the documents. He was one of the first to address, perhaps
6 even in his official capacity as president of the presidency, most
7 probably I assume, because he himself was not permitted to go about his
8 duties. Nor did he have the power to issue any regulations or orders
9 which the JNA would have followed and obeyed.
10 Q. So Stipe Mesic, as president of the presidency of the SFRY, calls
11 on the peacekeeping forces of the UN to come to Yugoslavia, pursuant to
12 which a resolution was adopted by the Security Council on sending the
13 peacekeeping forces to the Republic of Croatia. Is that how it was?
14 A. No, that's not how it was. He was one of those who sent out
15 warnings and he said that this would be a good idea. But we know that
16 before the peacekeeping forces were sent, there had been a lot of
17 negotiations between mediators and people from the UN.
18 Q. Can I please ask you to answer this in one sentence if possible.
19 In what official capacity did Stipe Mesic call on the UN forces to come to
20 Yugoslavia? Was he speaking as president of the presidency of the SFRY?
21 Please, it's a yes or no question. Yes or no?
22 A. The problem is: I don't have the document in front of me so I
23 don't know what the date is that the document bears. Those were still
24 early days and I assume that he was president of the presidency, but I
25 can't be sure. I can't say with certainty, and dates are of great
1 importance to this matter.
2 Q. So if it was after the 8th of October, 1991, that he called on the
3 UN forces to come to Yugoslavia, what would you say then?
4 A. Well, nothing really. We know that he lingered around for a
5 while. But then following the decision of the 8th of October, some -- the
6 actions taken by the officials on the behalf of the Republic of Croatia
7 were declared null and void.
8 Q. So for example, in December, this call by Stipe Mesic to the UN
9 forces in November was declared null and void. Is that what you're
10 telling me?
11 A. That's not what I meant to say. I am still saying that the UN
12 forces did not come simply because Mesic had invited them. He warned
13 about the possibility of the UN forces being deployed in the area, but it
14 was not merely on the basis of his call. This was pursuant to an
15 agreement between the Croatian president and the officials in the Republic
16 of Croatia, and later on in the game, even Belgrade agreed to play along
17 with this. Pursuant to the Vance Owen Plan there was consensus for this
18 to improve the situation. But the original agreement had been with the
19 state of Croatia, with Croatia.
20 Q. Who were the signatories of the Vance Owen Plan?
21 A. I'm not sure about that, because it's been a long time since I
22 last looked at that particular document, the Vance Owen Plan. Whether it
23 has anything to do with -- whether there are any specific signatories, I'm
24 afraid I can't say who they are.
25 Q. Do you know the date of this plan?
1 A. Yes. This was just before the peacekeeping forces arrived in late
2 1991 and early 1992.
3 Q. Why did Cyrus Vance negotiate with the authorities in Belgrade?
4 A. In order to prevent the clashes from spreading. The peacekeeping
5 forces were deployed pursuant to Article 6, not Article 7, so there had to
6 be peace for the peacekeeping forces to be deployed because they were,
7 after all, peacekeeping, not peace making forces. But the situation was
8 delicate and there were innumerable violations of ceasefire. Agreements
9 had been signed. But the conflict kept on escalating. The tensions kept
10 on mounting and a way needed to be found to pacify the JNA and the
11 authorities in Belgrade who -- which were in control of the JNA for the
12 situation to be kept relatively stable for the mandate of the UN
13 peacekeeping forces to be as brief and as successful as possible.
14 Q. Madam, do you perhaps remember that the chief negotiator on the
15 part of the federal states in these negotiations was the prime minister
16 who originally hailed from Croatia, Ante Markovic, and the foreign
17 officer -- the head of foreign office, Budimir Loncar, that is as the UN
18 forces were being deployed?
19 A. As far as I know it was the Croatian authorities who did most of
20 the negotiations, because the arrival was in Croatian territory. But
21 there was an attempt at the time to get the federal authorities to play
22 along, especially the JNA -- the JNA being the chief reason that war
23 operations had broken out in those areas.
24 Q. Can you please look at tab 9, opinion number 3. If you look at
25 number 3 -- item 3 of opinion number 3 -- item 2, rather, says first,
1 second, and third. So the section marked as third and then the last
2 paragraph of that section.
3 Saying: "This principle," and it's a reference to the principle
4 of resolving border-related issues, "should be that much easier to apply
5 between the republics, pursuant to Article 2, 4, and 5 of the constitution
6 of the SFRY, establishing the inviolability of republican territories and
7 that the borders cannot be changed without consent from the republics."
8 Is this the same document that we discussed as -- in reference to
9 January and the same document that the initiative of the Montenegrin
10 assembly is based upon?
11 A. This opinion speaks of republican borders having become
12 international borders, and this is something that Croatia always advocated
13 and was in favour of.
14 Q. Can you now please look at tab 10. Madam, can you please tell me
15 why the United States of America only recognised Croatia in April of 1992
16 and not earlier?
17 A. We've spoken about recognition and as Badinter said it's a questio
18 facti. Now, why did the United States only recognise Croatia at such a
19 late stage in the process? Well, it's not for me to say. I don't know.
20 I assume there were reasons, but I do not believe that this piece of
21 information is in any way relevant to the status of the Republic of
23 Q. You said that Latvia had recognised Croatia on the 30th of June,
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Well, why were then diplomatic relations only established as late
2 as March, 1992?
3 A. Well, establishing diplomatic relations, this was not exactly the
4 first thing that was done. This very much depended on the situation.
5 There were precious few people working on that at the ministry, very few
6 professionals who worked on these tasks that were essential for organising
7 this new state. They were trying to tackle the most important issues
8 first, the most urgent issues. So this late date at which diplomatic
9 relations were established was -- with Latvia. It doesn't anything in
10 itself. We did not have that many relations with Latvia.
11 Q. Was Croatia perhaps waiting for its diplomatic professionals to
12 return from Belgrade so that they could then proceed and reinforce their
13 own diplomacy?
14 A. I don't think that this was the case because there were very few
15 professional diplomats in Belgrade. Perhaps there were about 20 of us
16 Croatians working in Belgrade at the time. There were also administrative
17 staff and personnel and people and professionals who were not dealing with
18 this kind of issue.
19 Q. If you look at this table here. You have it in front of you now
20 so it should be much easier for you to look at and it shouldn't take much
21 time. How many countries had recognised Croatia by the 6th of December
23 A. This table is not very useful, not very helpful. So now when it
24 look at it, it's very difficult to say. It's in the alphabetic order.
25 Once upon a time, it was chronology that was used to draw these up. Which
1 date did you say?
2 Q. The 6th of December, 1991.
3 A. Not too many countries at any rate. Perhaps five or six, just by
4 looking at it in very perfunctory way.
5 Q. Can you please have a closer look. It shouldn't take more than
6 several minutes.
7 A. It may prove a bit more difficult. We talked about Slovenia,
8 Latvia. Back in December I know there was Ukraine, Iceland.
9 Q. Madam, please can you look at the table and refresh your memory,
10 this column that says: "Recognition." Can you tell me, who had Croatia
11 been recognised by by the 6th of December, 1991, which specific countries?
12 A. The 6th of December, I'm not sure why the reference is to that
13 specific date, why is this date particularly relevant, I'm not certain
14 about that. My question is why the 6th of December?
15 Q. Madam, can you please answer my question.
16 A. I found Lithuania and Slovenia by the date you gave.
17 Q. Very well, thank you. As you refer to five or six different
18 states, is this table perhaps inaccurate, the statistics given here?
19 A. No. My answer was in reference to December. Perhaps I
20 misunderstood your question, because I know that throughout 1991 about
21 five or six states recognised Croatia. That was how I understood your
23 Q. If you could please look at tab 11. Can you please look at the
24 first document. This document by the Holy See, yes -- no, the first
25 document is -- just a minute, please.
1 So this letter by the Holy See dated the 13th of January, 1991,
2 and another document dated the 20th of December, 1991. Can you please
3 look at the one dated the 20th of December, paragraph 1 of that letter.
4 It reads: "The Holy See is inclined to recognise Croatia as an
5 independent and sovereign state pursuant to international norms on the
6 condition that the conditions listed below are met."
7 Tell me please, Madam, why is it that the Holy See at this point
8 in time conditions its recognition upon the meeting of the requirements?
9 Does that mean that the requirements had not been met by that time?
10 A. No, the Holy See was merely setting out the same conditions as the
11 European Community had before in their rules, the so-called Hague rules,
12 those that had been set out in The Hague rules. Therefore, this is merely
13 a repetition of the same thing that Europe had requested of all the new
14 states coming into being in the area. This does not mean that the
15 requirements had not been met, because had they not been met they could
16 not have possibly been complied with in the few days before the final
17 international recognition.
18 Q. Can you please tell me then why the Holy See did not simply
19 recognise the Republic of Croatia as an independent state, but rather in
20 reply to a letter by the Republic of Croatia later the answer, the reply
21 of the Holy See is that there will be recognition once conditions have
22 been met?
23 A. That's the way they go about these things. They have their own
24 diplomacy and they reiterated the same thing in this letter, that
25 conditions needed to be complied with in order for a state to be
1 internationally recognised. A very short time after Croatia was indeed
3 Q. But certainly they knew full well whether Croatia had met the
4 requirements or not?
5 A. Well, by the time they granted Croatia full recognition, obviously
6 their belief was that the requirements had been met.
7 Q. I'm asking you about the letter dated the 20th of December, Madam?
8 A. Well, I'm not sure what they were or were not familiar with at the
9 time. It's only a matter of my interpretation and your interpretation
10 now, is it? The fact is that Croatia was recognised by the Holy See on
11 the 30th of January, which means that the general belief was Croatia had
12 met all the requirements.
13 Q. Now, please take a look at the supreme council of the Republic of
14 Lithuania of the 30th of July, 1991. Do you treat this letter as a letter
15 recognising the Republic of Croatia, because you mentioned a whole ago
16 that Lithuania recognised Croatia on the 30th of July, 1991. Is this the
17 letter 30th?
18 A. Just one moment, please. Yes, it has been registered as such.
19 This is the fact which has been registered here. Lithuania recognised it
20 on the 30th.
21 Q. Now, look at these decisions here. The supreme council of
22 Lithuania passed a decision to recognise the legitimacy of the aspirations
23 of the Republic of Croatia and a self-determination as an expression of
24 its sovereign power. First of all, to establish contact with a view to
25 reviewing the possibilities for establishing permanent diplomatic
1 relations. So do you treat this aspirations as an intergovernmental act
2 of recognition? Is this the way recognition is carried out of a state in
3 diplomatic practice and language, in these words, in these formulations?
4 A. We already mentioned last time, counsel. You should recall that a
5 higher stage in the conclusion of agreements on diplomatic recognition is
6 actually implied, because if the government of Lithuania was tasked with
7 establishing contacts with the Republic of Croatia, an order to establish
8 diplomatic relations, permanent, and other relations with the Republic of
9 Croatia, that absolutely means that this contains implicit recognition,
10 because this is a much higher stage of relations.
11 Q. So this means again that the text of the supreme council of
12 Lithuania is not precise enough?
13 A. No. That is not true. It is very precise. It in fact reinforces
14 this recognition of the Republic of Croatia.
15 Q. What do these words aspirations of the Republic of Croatia mean?
16 A. It means that it doesn't -- that there isn't -- first of all, it
17 means that there is no doubt at all that this is recognition.
18 Q. Item 1 means what?
19 A. It means that it recognises -- or either the fact that Croatia has
20 achieved its sovereignty is an expression of its legitimate aspirations.
21 Q. What does the word aspiration mean?
22 A. I have already said that it requires no interpretation at all.
23 Q. Please tell me, how was the parliament of the Republic of Croatia
24 constituted in December 1991? What bodies comprised the parliament of the
25 Republic of Croatia?
1 A. It was obviously constituted on the basis of the constitution
2 which was then in force.
3 Q. If I haven't been clear enough, I shall repeat my question. What
4 was the composition of the parliament of the Republic of Croatia? What
5 bodies did it comprise?
6 A. It contained two chambers.
7 Q. What two chambers were these?
8 A. It was the house of representatives and the house of counties.
9 Q. Please be so kind, Madam, as to go back to tab 8 and take a look
10 at, for instance, document 1685. So this is a document, the content of
11 which does not -- is not of the essence right now. But it says: "Decree
12 on promulgating and on the use of flats, I hereby promulgate the law on
13 the temporary use of flats which the parliament of the Republic of Croatia
14 adopted decisions on the chamber of associated labour on the 4th of
15 December, 1991. The chamber of municipalities on the 4th of December,
16 1991. And the sociopolitical chamber on the 4th of December, 1991. The
17 9th of December, President Franjo Tudjman."
18 A. Well, definitely in 1991 there existed a constitution of the
19 Republic of Croatia, and this law was adopted in December 1991. But the
20 law had not been passed on the 4th of December, 1991. So that they worked
21 according to the regulations which were in existence -- no, I'm sorry. It
22 hadn't been passed by the year 1990, and we are now talking about 1991.
23 Q. Is this a law from December 1991 or is it not?
24 A. Well, it obviously states here that it is a law from 1991.
25 Q. And what does it -- what is written on it? What are the bodies --
1 or rather, in it, what are the bodies, what are the chambers, of the
2 parliament of Croatia in December 1991?
3 A. I know that the chamber -- that the constitution of the Republic
4 of Croatia envisaged these two chambers bicameral parliament. Now,
5 whether in the very beginning only these two chambers had been foreseen is
6 something I cannot recall because I don't have the constitutional text
7 before me. I cannot say with precision. I know that in the first text of
8 the constitution there were some provisions, but whether these provisions
9 existed in the first text -- but I do know that very soon the
10 constitutional text envisaged these two chambers, the house of
11 representatives and the house of counties.
12 Q. Madam, is it written here that in December 1991, the parliament of
13 the Republic of Croatia had these three chambers which are indicated here.
14 Just please say yes or no. Let us not waste our time.
15 A. I've told you, I'm not versed in detailing constitutional matters.
16 It is so stated here, yes.
17 Q. Is this the Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia from 1991?
18 A. Yes, it is the Official Gazette, but I really have to see what
19 this is about. Because I'm unprepared to reply in connection with this
20 document. I cannot give you a proper interpretation.
21 Q. Do you think that there is a mistake there in terms of the bodies
22 of the chambers comprised within the parliament of the Republic of
24 A. No, I don't think that there is a mistake, but I would have to
25 consult the constitutional text and the relevant documents which were
1 obtained at the time to be able to give you a proper answer.
2 Q. I will help you now. Please revert to tab 4 and take a look at
3 decision 872. And please take a look at the signature affixed to that
4 decision, and that is the constitutional decision that we have already
5 reviewed. Is there a mistake there perhaps?
6 A. No. Obviously in the first stage of the constitution, these
7 chambers existed; evidently this is so. But what I was saying was that
8 I'm quite certain that there was a provision that existed in the
9 constitution of Croatia for some time until it was abolished and the
10 counties' chamber was introduced.
11 Q. Let us try once again. In December 1991, did the chamber of the
12 republic of -- the parliament of the Republic of Croatia consist of a
13 chamber of sociopolitical communities, of municipalities, and of
14 associated labour?
15 A. Yes. And it is written so here.
16 Q. If you had told me so ten minutes ago, we would have saved a lot
17 of breath and a lot of time.
18 Please tell me: This composition of the parliaments of the
19 Republic of Croatia, had it existed as such since the constitution of 1974
20 and was not changed until the 1991 constitution?
21 A. These chambers had existed before as well, but the manner of
22 elected representatives to these chambers and whether that had changed is
23 something I cannot say. And whether the criteria had changed for
24 election, I cannot say.
25 Q. Was the composition of the chamber of the -- sorry, parliament of
1 the Republic of Croatia the same in 1974 and in 1991?
2 A. What matters is the procedure of elections and the criteria. This
3 has to be taken into consideration. I cannot tell you that it was
4 composed in the same way, but the names of the chambers are certainly the
6 Q. Tell me, why are these chambers the same? Why had nothing changed
7 when a new constitution was taken, if this was a new state, if the
8 circumstances were new and had changed, why did they retain the chamber of
9 associated labour within the parliament of the Republic of Croatia?
10 A. This still doesn't mean anything. The designation of the chamber
11 means nothing. The -- it is a fact that the new constitution had new
12 provisions, and it is also a fact that in a legal system which is
13 evolving, institutes do not crop up overnight. They are also evolving.
14 So if the names of the chambers remain the same, that is not really of
15 some specific gravity in terms of interpretation.
16 Q. Madam, the composition of the chambers in a state parliament, can
17 it only change if a constitutional change is introduced? This is not a
18 matter of evolution. These are the very foundations of the state we are
19 talking about.
20 A. By all means. These chambers were composed pursuant to the new
21 constitution in 1990.
22 Q. Is there any continuity in terms of how the Croatian parliament
23 was organised in relation to 1974? Is there a complete continuity in
24 terms of how the highest supreme state organ was composed, yes or no?
25 A. Not necessarily, because there is no continuity in the way the
1 authorities were organised. We can't only talk about the parliament and
2 the names of the chambers. We know if nothing else the constitution of
3 1990 introduced the -- presidential system, therefore there was no
4 complete continuity in the way the authorities were organised in Croatia,
5 at least not in the same way that you are suggesting.
6 Q. I have to ask you again: Was the Croatian parliament organised
7 the same way back in 1974 and in 1991?
8 A. In terms of the names of the chambers, yes, but I can't say with
9 any degree of certainty that the whole parliament was organised the same
10 way. I should go back to documents to ascertain something like that.
11 Q. What about the names and the composition of the chambers?
12 A. Well, I've already answered this in my previous answer.
13 Q. Can you please explain to the Honourable Trial Chamber what the
14 chamber of associated labour means.
15 A. That chamber is composed of representatives of employees who work
16 for employers of any kind or under employers of any kind.
17 Q. Will you agree with me that associated labour and the relevant
18 terminology is a classic example of how things were organised in communist
19 Yugoslavia after 1974, the very foundations on which the Socialist Federal
20 Republic of Yugoslavia arrested the concept of associated labour that
21 unfortunately was tried only in that country and no where else. But it
22 was still in place in Croatia in 1991, yes or no?
23 A. No. It is the very concept of associated labour that represented
24 a mechanism or a bridge, if you like, a bridge between the communist
25 system and the socialist system later on, for a transition to a more
1 contemporary system. This was the idea, at least. There were to be
2 collective contracts and the representative of the two parties to these
3 contracts, employees and employers, were to agree on terms. That was the
4 idea. It was a different idea back then and it was a relatively modern
5 idea. It is not a communist idea as such. It is quite subversive in terms
6 of communism, in fact.
7 Q. Do we have any such thing as associated labour in Croatia today?
8 A. Not in the same form. You can't find it in the same form anywhere
9 in the area. But it was an interesting idea back then, and the West
10 seemed interested in the idea.
11 Q. Is it your submission that communist Yugoslavia did not rest on
12 the foundations of associated labour?
13 A. Yugoslavia was never actually called communist Yugoslavia, but
14 rather socialist Yugoslavia, at least to the best of my knowledge. And
15 one of the foundations at a later stage, but the stage we are talking
16 about is the stage where local communities -- the importance of local
17 communities is being underlined and the local communities are being given
18 more and more rights. It was in this context that the concept of
19 associated labour gained currency.
20 Q. I hope everyone can understand what you're talking about.
21 Tell me briefly, please, at tab 12. If you look at the last
22 portion of that tab. Tell me, Madam, in your statement and in your
23 testimony before this Court, you talked about there being a discontinuity,
24 as you say, or rather - I shall quote you - "that there are new state
25 structures in the Republic of Croatia and new legislation."
1 A while ago we saw that in terms of the organisation of the
2 supreme bodies of a state in Croatia there was continuity after all. So
3 this discontinuity you're talking about, how did that come about in the
4 area of -- for example, the law on criminal procedure. Does Croatia have
5 a new law on criminal procedure?
6 A. Croatia had kept its republican law until then, and then adopted
7 its own law. Obviously amendments are being made to these laws, which is
8 the case in all states where the legal systems are still evolving.
9 Definitely you can't say there was discontinuity just because you've
10 looked at the names of these three bodies and the names have changed. If
11 nothing, the authorities themselves are set up in a different way in
12 relation to what the executive council used to be in the former period.
13 The role of the president is different and there is a whole series of new
14 bodies, new authorities, that changed. So perhaps there is not a
15 complete -- this is not a case of complete discontinuity, but obviously
16 now we are facing a different system and different state structures that
17 are now in place.
18 Q. Can you please tell me, on the 8th of October, 1991, which
19 amendments were made to the federal law on criminal procedure? It's
20 important to underline this, because there was the republican law on
21 criminal procedure and the federal law on criminal procedure. What
22 changes were made, except for the fact where it used to read "SFRY," now
23 it read the "Republic of Croatia."
24 A. I did not write this law and I am not an expert on this law, so I
25 can't talk about any essential changes to this law. But I don't think it
1 really matters. I think minor changes were made and later amendments were
2 added. Sometimes you had to adapt the legal system, were it only in terms
3 of names. It doesn't mean that all the provisions concerning criminal
4 procedure were necessarily bad in relation to the new situations that had
6 Q. What was changed in terms of the law on executive procedure, in
7 addition to the name of the law itself?
8 A. The same question as the previous one.
9 Q. What about the law on litigation? These are key laws, used to be
10 key laws, in the SFRY, these three laws?
11 A. Yes. But I'm not an expert on these branches of the law. I'm
12 sure there were a number of changes. I can't say for sure because I'm no
13 expert on this. Obviously changes were made and some fundamental
14 institutions after all had changed.
15 Q. Would you please be so kind as to look at the title page of the
16 Official Gazette of the Republic of Croatia dated the 8th of October,
17 1991. The ERN 09426265. I'm not sure if an English translation of that
18 document is available, but if you could please have a look. Have you
19 located the document?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Can you look at document 1294, 1295, and further. All these
22 documents seem to indicate -- it says: "Law on the adoption of the
23 criminal law, law on the adoption of the law on criminal procedure, law on
24 adoption of the law on litigation."
25 What sort of discontinuity do you see there in terms of the laws?
1 We see clearly that all of the laws were adopted without any changes being
3 A. This is simply not true. These are not only laws on adoption. I
4 said previously in my testimony that new laws were being adopted, firstly.
5 Secondly, some of the existing laws were being adopted, in part or in
6 whole, depending on the specific provisions, and then there was the law on
7 entry into force. We have -- all three of these examples are here in this
8 issue of the Official Gazette.
9 Q. For example, 1297, the law on litigious procedure, for example,
10 the law on the adoption of the law on litigious procedure. What does it
11 mean that the existing law of the SFRY was renamed as a law of the
12 Republic of Croatia, nothing else?
13 A. 1297, if we had the text --
14 Q. What does it mean?
15 A. Well, at this moment, if I just look at the title, it's very
16 difficult for me to say what it's about. There are quite a number of
17 provisions here. If I look further, I see that things are being adopted
18 but not in full. The entire law, some things are discarded and some
19 things are adopted, some things are reformulated. So this is not adoption
20 in full, by no means. So many provisions are being changed. If you look
21 closely at the wording of the law.
22 Q. What is being changed? What is being discarded, apart from the
23 formal provisions of the law?
24 A. Quite a number of things. There are several items about the
25 adoption. There are 61 paragraphs of the law, and each one addresses
1 changes, provisions being discarded, new wording being introduced. So
2 there was no adoption in full, only in part. But this is perfectly
3 normal. Every time you have a provision or a law that practically governs
4 life in a state, you can't have the whole thing. You change some things.
5 Technically speaking, it would have been impossible to adopt the whole
6 thing in full. You have to adopt these things into the new system.
7 Q. Fortunately we have these things in front of us so it should be
8 relatively easy to ascertain what happened exactly. I have several
9 questions left, and then I'll be over and done with this line of
11 Can you look at binder 2, tab 13 --
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, a time. Firstly, how much longer do
13 you see yourself?
14 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, by your leave I would
15 like to finish before the break -- before the next break that is, if I
16 have your permission. I need five more minutes, I believe.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Five more minutes.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 Q. Can you please look at the defence law dated the 20th of
20 September, 1991. This is at tab 13. Can you please look at Article 190.
21 That's binder 2. Tab 13.
22 Is this not how it reads: "Conscripts, citizens of the Republic
23 of Croatia, shall, as of the date of the entry into force of this law, not
24 be sent for military service with the JNA outside Croatian territory."
25 Does this not mean that pursuant to the law dated the 20th of
1 September, 1991, Croatia still sends recruits to the JNA, to units
2 deployed in Croatian territory?
3 A. I have the text in English. Can you please refer to the article.
4 Q. Article 190, paragraph 1, the law is dated the 20th of September,
5 1991, transitional provisions and concluding provisions. That's paragraph
7 A. I don't seem to have that portion of the text.
8 Q. Does this mean that as late as September 1991 Croatian conscripts
9 are still being sent to JNA units throughout Croatian territory?
10 A. I still can't seem to be able to locate that particular portion of
11 the text, the law on defence.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is at tab 13 and
13 there are two laws there. One is dated January and the other is dated
14 September. The other law --
15 JUDGE PARKER: I don't mean to intrude, Mr. Petrovic. One of the
16 members of the Chamber has found page 01906185. It's actually stamped
17 two-thirds if the way down the page. It's the gazette of the 20th of
18 September, 1991, Article 190.
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, that's right, that's
20 right. Yes, the English translation. 190. That's at the top of the page
21 in the English translation, paragraph 1.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is Article 190, paragraph
23 1. My interpretation is that the JNA stationed outside the Republic of
24 Croatia and that no conscripts will be sent there.
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Can you please repeat this last thing you said, the JNA being
2 stationed outside Croatian territory.
3 A. Yes, that's my interpretation. It says that: "No conscripts will
4 be sent to do their military service with the JNA outside the territory of
5 the Republic of Croatia."
6 Q. Let me give you a hand there. I'll read out the Croatian text to
7 you so that may make it easier for you to understand.
8 "Conscripts who are Croatian citizens as of the date of entry into
9 force of this law shall not be sent to do their military service with the
10 JNA outside the territory of the Republic of Croatia."
11 Does that make it any easier for you now?
12 A. Yes. And what do you expect me to do?
13 Q. I expect you to confirm that pursuant to the law on defence dated
14 20th of September, 1991, conscripts from the Republic of Croatia were
15 still being sent to JNA units that were stationed in the territory of the
16 Republic of Croatia.
17 A. First of all, I think the law was adopted earlier. It was only
18 made public as late as September when the JNA was still around. And it
19 was precisely pursuant to this law that a new Croatian defence law was
20 adopted. Therefore, I see nothing unusual about the fact that this
21 remains the same and that no conscripts were being sent. There were war
22 operations in the territory of the Republic of Croatia underway at the
23 time. And it was out of the question to send any conscripts for service
24 with the JNA outside the Croatian territory. I believe the law was
25 actually adopted in the month of June originally, but it was published in
1 the Official Gazette as late as September.
2 Q. Can I assist you with this, please? Look at Article 202, Madam.
3 A. Yes. That's correct.
4 Q. This law shall enter into force on the day it is published in the
5 Official Gazette, meaning the 20th of September, 1991?
6 A. That's quite correct. But originally the law was passed on the
7 26th of June, at which time every single day mattered, let alone months.
8 The situation kept changing from day-to-day throughout that period of
9 time; therefore, I am not surprised that this sort of wording should be
10 included, "JNA stationed outside Croatian territory". Because the fact
11 was the JNA was still in Croatia.
12 Q. Therefore, in September 1991, pursuant to the provisions of the
13 law and pursuant to a law which was after all published in the Official
14 Gazette on the 20th of September, 1991, does it not follow that conscripts
15 from the Republic of Croatia were sent to do military service with JNA
16 units stationed in the territory of the Republic of Croatia?
17 A. I don't believe that was the case. That was by no means the case.
18 This was indeed stated in this particular provision of the law, but in
19 practice conscripts were not any longer being sent to JNA units outside
20 the Republic of Croatia. I know this from accounts of my friends whose
21 sons were conscripts at the time.
22 Q. Therefore you would say that this provision, like all -- many of
23 the other provisions that we looked at today, and in your previous
24 testimony, is a case of inaccurate wording?
25 A. No. I think you're just misrepresenting the meaning of some of my
1 answers. I'm not categorically stating that the wording of these
2 provisions is inaccurate. I never said that.
3 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
4 I have no further questions for this witness.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. We will then have a break
6 now and re-examination can follow.
7 --- Recess taken at 5.47 p.m.
8 --- On resuming at 6.09 p.m.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Re.
10 MR. RE: I have some questions prepared for re-examination,
11 Your Honours.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Okay.
13 Re-examined by Mr. Re:
14 Q. Madam Ambassador, in cross-examination you were asked some
15 questions about the republican borders of the SFRY. In particular you
16 were asked about the requirement under article 5 of the constitution of
17 mutual agreement before the boundaries can be altered. The question is:
18 Did the Croatian Republic ever seek to alter its land borders?
19 A. No, the Republic of Croatia never sought to change its borders.
20 Needless to say, it was prepared to accept negotiations to clarify any
21 uncertainties in that regard. And in fact, it always sought for these
22 borders of the former republic to be confirmed as international borders.
23 Q. And did that in fact occur after the international recognition of
25 A. Yes. The borders were endorsed in keeping with the opinion of the
1 Badinter Commission. However, there were negotiations about some
2 technical details at some border points and stretches. Because simply
3 speaking, for instance, between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina there were
4 no border disputes but there were some technicalities to be worked out in
5 order to draw the border line in some areas where this was instances. And
6 that was all.
7 Q. Did the borders remain more or less the same as they were when
8 Croatia was part of the SFRY?
9 A. Yes, absolutely.
10 Q. The second area is: In cross-examination you told my learned
11 colleague, Mr. Petrovic, that in particular in the Brussels declaration
12 there was criticism of the violent intervention of the Serbian republic in
13 Croatian affairs. I wish to direct you to a particular portion of Exhibit
14 P20, which is tab 5. Can you please turn to tab 5 of the exhibit bundle
15 in front of you. Is that the declaration to which you're referring, and
16 that is the EU declaration of Yugoslavia of the 27th of August, 1991?
17 About the fifth page in.
18 A. Yes. This is the declaration of the 27th of August. And it
19 explicitly states that the fait accompli situation will not be accepted
20 and that the Yugoslav army was in fact responsible for the situation which
21 was obtaining [as interpreted] in the area. With particular emphasis on
22 Serbia and everything that we already said before. It is mainly a
23 condemnation of the forces of the JNA and of the Serbian forces and a
24 condemnation of the paramilitary units for the situation in the area.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 Madam Ambassador, another area. If you could just turn away from
2 that one now. Defence counsel Mr. Petrovic also asked you whether
3 republican laws were obliged to be in compliance with the SFRY
4 constitution. Now, I want you to answer this as briefly as you possibly
5 can, but in your view was there still a valid and federal
6 constitutional -- sorry, federal constitutional structure in place in mid-
7 to late-1991?
8 A. Evidently, Yugoslavia was in a state of disintegration. That
9 was -- has been noted so we cannot point the concrete date as which
10 something stopped functioning. But generally the federal organs
11 deteriorating in terms of the performance of their duties and functioning
12 generally. This also was true of the laws. The laws were supposed to be
13 in keeping with the constitutions of the republics and of course the
14 federal constitution. However, no one could challenge the republican
15 constitutions because they had precedence.
16 Q. Mr. Petrovic also asked you in cross-examination about the status
17 of the FRY throughout 1991. My question is: Do you recall or know
18 whether the FRY ever sought international recognition in 1991?
19 A. No, in 19 -- not in 1991, but it was quite clear in Yugoslavia and
20 to Yugoslavia that it was falling apart so that various statements inter
21 alia in the memoirs of the then defence minister, Mr. Kadijevic [phoen],
22 were given to this effect that a state was disintegrating and that the
23 army would --
24 MR. RE: I'm told, Your Honours, we have to pause between. And
25 I'm going to ask you to -- we're not recording at the moment, I have to
1 ask you to go over that answer in a moment.
2 JUDGE PARKER: I'm told that it may be three minutes or so for the
3 system to be restored. Rather than go through all the formality of
4 rising, I think we might just sit and wait in patience.
5 Perhaps you might take the witness's attention back to where you
6 were and continue with the evidence, Mr. Re.
7 MR. RE: The answer will actually have been recorded. If
8 Your Honours consider it necessary to have the question re --
9 JUDGE PARKER: No. But I think you interrupted the Ambassador in
11 MR. RE:
12 Q. Ambassador, you were midway through your answer to a question
13 about the FRY ever seeking international recognition in 1991. You said, I
14 think, that they started to do it in 1992 --
15 A. No. In 1991 -- you mean the SFRY, namely Serbia and Montenegro,
16 it did not seek recognition in 1991.
17 Q. When did it seek international recognition, and if so, was it as
18 reported a successor state to the SFRY?
19 A. A very long time Serbia and Montenegro did not seek recognition,
20 but considered themselves to be the only successor to the continuity of
21 the former state. Of course all the other republics challenged this view.
22 And not only that, but at the recommendation of the Security Council, the
23 general assembly adopted a decision to the effect that Serbia and
24 Montenegro had to apply for membership to the United Nations. It could
25 not be the sole successor to the former Yugoslavia. And in the final
1 analysis, they did apply for membership of the United Nations and are now
2 a member.
3 Q. My question actually was: When did Serbia and Montenegro, as
4 purporting to be the successor to the SFRY, seek international
5 recognition? Admission to the United Nations is only one, as you
6 appreciate, the things it could do. When did it start seeking
7 international recognition?
8 A. Well, one can't say for -- for instance, in 1992 when they
9 circulated a letter through the structures of the United Nations, at that
10 point they became a different state, another state. It was the Federal
11 Republic of Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro, rather than the previous
12 SFRY. And at that time they requested to succeed to the SFRY as the only
13 successor. But by that act, they did not seek recognition. They simply
14 considered themselves to be the only successor state. To that effect,
15 Serbia and Montenegro never sought international recognition by the date
16 of succession after the dissolution of the former state, according to
17 Badinter's opinion number one is the relevant date in that regard -- in
18 the opinion number 11. Sorry.
19 Q. Thank you Madam Ambassador.
20 MR. RE: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit D11.
21 Q. Can you -- Madam Ambassador, can you just take a few seconds to
22 familiarise yourself with this document you were shown in
23 cross-examination and is an English language document dated the 18th of
24 October, 1991. It contains certain conclusions about the federal
25 presidency and you were questioned in relation to those.
1 How many members did the federal presidency have by October 1991,
2 just the number, if you know?
3 A. Eight members.
4 Q. Are you able to --
5 A. There were eight members in the federal presidency, those
6 representing all the republics and the autonomous provinces.
7 Q. And by October 1991, was the federal presidency still functioning
8 effectively, that is to the extent it would be able to effectively
9 regulate the affairs of the entire territory over which it claimed
11 A. No, absolutely not. This was a situation -- the situation of the
12 impossibility of the presidents to function dated back to the -- to May
13 1991 when the -- these -- Croatian candidate who was to be appointed as
14 president of the presidency was rejected. And that was because of
15 Serbia's blockade -- rejection of this proposal. That is why the
16 presidency was ineffectual. All the attempts to try and reinstitute some
17 of the institutions were extremely important at that point because the
18 Yugoslav People's Army had already started operating and was increasingly
19 becoming an army of the Republic of Serbia, operating in the territories
20 of other states. And all this in the absence of a functioning presidency
21 and president of the presidency as the supreme commander.
22 Q. Thank you, Madam Ambassador.
23 MR. RE: Your Honours, that concludes the Prosecution's
25 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Alajbeg, may we thank you very much for your --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the President, please.
2 JUDGE PARKER: May we thank you very much for your attendance
3 here. But before you leave I would ask Judge Thelin to ask some questions
4 on behalf of the Chamber.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE THELIN: Ambassador Alajbeg, just two minor questions. One
7 goes to general character. We have been exposed, as you have, through
8 many days now to the Official Gazette, which contains two dates. One is
9 the date when a decision is taken by the institutions effective therein.
10 And the second is the date when the gazette is published. I understand
11 that the decision date is also a date when public coverage through print
12 media or electronic media may happen so that the public would actually
13 know some of the content before it is published in the gazette. That's my
14 first question.
15 A. Yes, this is correct. Very often these documents which are secret
16 were published immediately after adoption, but not in the Official
17 Gazette. This is a known fact.
18 JUDGE THELIN: If we then move - and this is my second question -
19 to the decisions taken on the 5th of December which we find in tab 8 - you
20 don't have to go to the binder - the decisions I'm thinking of is the
21 decision whereby the joint assembly dissociates itself, as it were, from
22 functions in what is called the former federal republic. I'm thinking of
23 the prime minister and of the Croat member of the presidency. Would you
24 say that when that decision was taken, that media coverage of that was any
25 other than decisions taken prior to that date? I'm thinking of the whole
1 events from the referendum, to take a starting part, and then onwards in
2 the autumn. Would that particular day and that decision need more
3 coverage, or was it just covered as some of the other events were?
4 A. Well, perhaps in view of the fact that these were very senior
5 officials in question, the decision did receive wide media coverage, as
6 far as I can remember. But this came as no surprise to anyone because it
7 was a well-known fact that these persons who worked in the federal bodies
8 and hailed from the Republic of Croatia had had problems in their work for
9 a long time before that. So that this only confirmed a situation that had
10 already obtained and it was common knowledge in Croatia that one could not
11 count on these bodies any longer nor any effective participation of
12 Croatian interest in those bodies at that time.
13 JUDGE THELIN: Thank you very much, Ambassador Alajbeg.
14 A. You're most welcome.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I trust that you will appreciate the importance of
16 your evidence being concluded, and therefore the need for you to return,
17 as you have today. May I indicate that your evidence is now formally
18 concluded and you may leave and go about your other affairs. Thank you
19 very much.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I thank the Trial Chamber and the
21 Presiding Judge very much. I believe that we did a useful job.
22 [The witness withdrew]
23 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Re, I look to you with the question in my
24 mind whether it is convenient and practical to continue with the evidence
25 of the part-heard witness at this moment.
1 MR. RE: To which I can only respond I'm entirely in the Trial
2 Chamber's hands.
3 JUDGE PARKER: The witness is here and available; is that the
5 MR. RE: As I understand it, he should be. We of course haven't
6 spoken to him. Mr. Usher should be able to tell us whether he --
7 JUDGE PARKER: We've temporarily lost Mr. Usher.
8 MR. RE: There are two witness rooms. One witness should be in
9 one and one in the other.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic -- oh, it's Mr. Petrovic. I was going to
11 ask whether it would be practical to conduct 25 minutes of
13 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think this question
14 should be answered by my learned friend and colleague. I wanted to use
15 this time to ask a different question, to broach a different subject, just
16 briefly, if I may be allowed. Or perhaps you would like Mr. Rodic to give
17 the answer to the first question first.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as far as I
19 understood -- I did not understand the examination-in-chief of Witness
20 Ciganovic to have been completed yesterday. My learned friend and
21 colleague Mr. Re did not underline that. I think because the time ran out
22 his examination-in-chief was interrupted. So perhaps he would first like
23 to complete his examination-in-chief before I proceed.
24 JUDGE PARKER: How long would you expect to be then?
25 MR. RE: I might finish; I might not. I mean, I'm in the Trial
1 Chamber's hands. If we could use the available time, I'm sure it wouldn't
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, the other matter you had in mind.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. This is a
5 matter on which I believe the Trial Chamber can exercise its authority and
6 make our defendant's life more livable. What am I talking about? The
7 rooms in which the accused, Mr. Strugar, has to stay while we are here in
8 Courtroom II, the air-conditioning in the room is very weak and it's very
9 difficult to switch off. So the fresh air hits Mr. Strugar directly in
10 the neck and he has a lot of trouble with his neck. We would like the
11 Trial Chamber, if possible, to ask the security section during breaks in
12 Courtroom II to allow the accused to stay in the corridor just outside the
13 room or the cell which is not far from here, not to be taken into the
14 room, in other words, but rather to stay outside in the corridor during
15 the break for these 20 minutes, for there to be put a chair that he can
16 sit down on.
17 I have managed to find out that this is indeed a real possibility,
18 but only if the Trial Chamber orders this to be done. Exceptions can be
19 made, I have been informed, in as far as an order has been issued by the
20 Chamber for this to be done. Therefore, I would like to kindly ask the
21 Trial Chamber to allow for this to be done so that the pain of my client
22 can be alleviated and so that he can sit outside in the corridor during
23 the break. Thank you very much, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for bringing that matter to our
25 attention, Mr. Petrovic. It would be unwise of the Chamber to make an
1 order without first receiving some report or advice on the situation. But
2 we will ask the court officer to make inquiries and let us have a view
3 about it.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE PARKER: If the -- we've lost him again. We need the
7 witness, yes.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, Doctor. I'm sorry you've had to
10 wait so long, but we've now concluded the previous witness. If I could
11 remind you of the affirmation you took at the beginning of your evidence,
12 it still applies.
13 Yes, Mr. Re.
14 WITNESS: DJORDJE CIGANOVIC [Resumed]
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 Examined by Mr. Re: [Continued]
17 Q. Dr. Ciganovic, yesterday when we were -- when you were giving your
18 evidence about the death of Pavo Urban, you referred to your diagnosis --
19 of you being able to make a diagnosis on the basis of signs of
20 haemorrhaging on his body. What are the signs of haemorrhaging that
21 enabled you to make that diagnosis? And before you answer, can the
22 witness please also be given access to MFI 70 and 71 from yesterday.
23 A. When haemorrhaging is the cause of death or blood vessels are
24 emptied out -- blood vessels in the body to the extent that this brings
25 about a condition usually known as ischaemia of tissue and organs. And
1 this is the cause of death -- the immediate cause of death. This happens
2 while the body is still alive, because in order for haemorrhage to occur,
3 the heart must still be functioning. When a dead body is injured, blood
4 passively flows out of the injury but the blood vessels in the more remote
5 sections of the body are not emptied out to the same extent as is the case
6 when an injury is inflicted while the victim is still alive and therefore
7 suffers haemorrhage.
8 Q. Can you please have a look at photograph MFI 71, which is photo
9 74, which you told the Trial Chamber yesterday was a photo taken before
10 you performed your autopsy. Are any signs of haemorrhaging visible in the
12 A. In this photograph you can't see any signs of haemorrhage.
13 Q. Your evidence yesterday was of your observation of blood flowing
14 from the wound -- I'm sorry, damaged intestines and other abdominal organs
15 and finding a fragment of an explosive device that caused the damage and
16 haemorrhage as being the cause of death.
17 Are you able, from that photograph, to see any of the blood within
18 the abdomen?
19 A. As I said before, this is a poor photograph. From this particular
20 angle, you can't see any blood in the abdomen and the photograph does not
21 show blood that comes from the wound but dries up.
22 Q. Were you able to make your diagnosis and findings and find the
23 fragment without -- sorry, with an external examination or did you also
24 have to perform a partial internal examination?
25 A. I carried out a partial internal examination in order to ascertain
1 the extent of damage to internal organs and in order to locate the piece
2 of explosive device lodged in the body. I also used other methods in
3 order to ascertain the state that we usually refer to as death by
5 Q. Can you explain to the Trial Chamber in lay terms what you mean by
6 performing a partial examination -- internal examination.
7 A. When you have a partial internal examination, if the wound itself
8 is not wide enough so that you can insert your hand into the body cavity
9 through the wound and look at the internal organs and the damage done,
10 then you use a scalpel to widen the wound in order for you to be able to
11 carry out this kind of examination.
12 Q. I want you to turn to the report which has been prepared, which
13 you told the Trial Chamber yesterday is your report and an accurate record
14 of the autopsy that you performed, and the examination of Mr. Urban which
15 is person number 15. The relevant portion refers to rigor mortis
16 extensive all over the body, skin pale, poorly visible livores mortis on
17 the back. The following injuries were established on the front of the
18 abdomen in the area of hip, which you changed to naval, explosive injury
19 of the irregular shaped 5 centimetre diameter, compressed and torn
20 intestine and abdomen organs, with lots of blood in the abdomen, what is
21 the cause of death.
22 Firstly, can you give the Trial Chamber a brief explanation of
23 what is livores mortis and its significance here.
24 A. Livores mortis occur several hours after death on the lower parts
25 of the body, the lower parts of the body facing the ground. Usually they
1 occur on the back. The red blood -- the red blood corpuscles
2 disintegrate and then haemoglobin penetrates skin. In haemorrhage these
3 livores mortis are usually less apparent because there's less blood in the
5 Q. What did you have to do to find the "compressed and torn intestine
6 and abdomen organs with lots of blood in the abdomen"?
7 A. I had to open the wound and make it wider, and then through this
8 opening I inspected the organs. I looked at the organs and I filled the
9 organs with my fingers in order to ascertain what sort of damage had been
10 inflicted. And I had to locate the device which caused such damage.
11 Q. Your opinion was that there was an explosive injury causing
12 haemorrhaging leading to death. From your examination and your
13 experience, which you outlined to the Trial Chamber yesterday, and your
14 experience of examining many bodies with explosive injuries, was there
15 anything else that you saw in this particular examination that you felt
16 could have caused Mr. Urban's death?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Another examination you performed on the day and is recorded in
19 your report is that of the body of Tonco Skocko. That's number 11. Now,
20 yesterday you were able to give details of the autopsy -- your autopsy of
21 Mr. Urban without having to refer to your report, you said because you
22 remembered who Mr. Urban was. Are you able to give those details to the
23 Trial Chamber without -- in relation to Mr. Skocko without having to refer
24 to your report, or do you need to go back to your report to refresh your
25 memory as to the autopsy you performed? I'm only asking if you need to
1 look at the report, that's all.
2 A. In this specific case, I think I would probably need to look at
3 the report to refresh my memory. I can't remember any details of this
4 particular autopsy.
5 MR. RE: Is there any objection to that?
6 Q. Can you look at the findings, and I also want to show you a
7 photograph which is -- has a number on it which is 70 --
8 JUDGE PARKER: 7-0.
9 MR. RE: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. First, does that photograph with the large number 7-0 on the body
11 correspond with --
12 A. This photograph is the same as the description provided in the
13 document that I wrote.
14 Q. Using the report to refresh your memory, can you please tell the
15 Trial Chamber how you performed your autopsy on Mr. Skocko, what you did
16 and what you found.
17 A. I performed the autopsy in a manner similar to that I applied in
18 the previous case. I widened the opening of the wound, which you can see
19 in this photograph, and I inspected the inside of the thorax.
20 Q. Where is the wound you can see in the photograph?
21 A. It is on the front right side of the chest.
22 Q. And does it correspond with the wound that you have recorded in
23 your report, that is the wound in the photograph?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. What did you find when you inspected the inside of Mr. Skocko's
2 A. I ascertained that the right half of the -- the right lung had
3 been damaged, torn by a fragment of an explosive device. The balance of
4 the lung had been badly contused. The right side of the thorax was filled
5 with blood. Further, I found signs of haemorrhaging on the body.
6 Q. Just to clarify it completely, are you saying that you performed a
7 partial internal examination to make those findings?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And what was your opinion as to the cause of Mr. Skocko's death,
10 based upon your examination and experience?
11 A. Based upon my examination and my experience, I concluded that the
12 cause of death was haemorrhage. This was because I found empty blood
13 vessels on the body's periphery and poorly visible livores mortis. The
14 amount of blood in Mr. Skocko's body was not sufficient for him to go on
16 Q. Your report says at the end "there is a lot of blood in front of
17 the chest. The cause of death: Explosive injury of the thorax with loss
18 of blood."
19 Why did you diagnose an explosive injury?
20 A. The injury itself on the surface and inside the body bore all the
21 characteristics of an injury that had been caused by an explosive device.
22 In the bottom of the injury itself I found a piece of an explosive device.
23 MR. RE: Noting the time, might the photograph of Mr. Skocko also
24 be marked for identification?
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be marked.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Document MFI P72.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient point, Mr. Re?
3 MR. RE: It is, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Doctor, we must interrupt your evidence once more
5 at this point to resume tomorrow.
6 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
7 at 6.59 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
8 the 20th day of February, 2004, at 2.15 p.m.