Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 20394

 1                           Friday, 17 July 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           [The witness takes the stand]

 5                           --- Upon commencing at 9.10 a.m.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Good morning to everyone.

 7             Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  Good morning to

 9     everyone in and around the courtroom.  This is case number IT-06-90-T,

10     the Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Madam Registrar.

12             Good morning, Mr. Sterc.  I would like to remind you that you are

13     still bound by the solemn declaration you have given at the beginning of

14     your testimony.  That is that you will speak the truth, whole truth and

15     nothing but the truth.

16             Ms. Gustafson, are you ready to continue your cross-examination.

17             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes, Your Honour.  Thank you.

18                           WITNESS:  STJEPAN STERC [Resumed]

19                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

20                           Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson: [Continued]

21        Q.   Good morning, Mr. Sterc.

22             I'd like to refer to your evidence on Wednesday, where you gave

23     evidence that your view that the extent of the devastation and lack of

24     infrastructure after Operation Storm made it impossible for anyone to

25     return to the area in August and September, that that was based on your

Page 20395

 1     conclusions as an outside observer, and I believe you referred

 2     specifically to newspaper articles.

 3             And I'd like to direct you to another portion of your statement,

 4     which is in paragraph 9.1 where you stated that the unorganized and

 5     unplanned moving in after Operation Storm by a large number of displaced

 6     person who had lost their homes practically couldn't have been

 7     prevented."

 8             And, first, by "displaced persons," you're referring there to

 9     Croats; is that correct?

10        A.   If I understood your question completely, I did not say

11     explicitly that all -- any movement was impossible and that people did

12     not return.  However, they did not return in an organised manner.

13             As to your question, my answer would be yes.

14        Q.   Thank you.  And your statement that this unorganized and

15     unplanned moving in of these displaced persons practically couldn't have

16     been prevented, in relation to the time-period before you became

17     assistant minister in October, is that also based on your observations as

18     an outside observer to the events?

19        A.   I would say the following.  This was not exclusively about the

20     returnees.  This is about all the people who had to leave Bosnia and

21     Herzegovina under the given circumstances.  They crossed the Sava river

22     at Davor and entered Croatia.

23        Q.   And if could you just answer my question.  Is this observation

24     based on what you perceived as an outside observer in relation to the

25     time-period before you became assistant minister?

Page 20396

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

 2             MR. MISETIC:  I don't object to the question; however, it was

 3     part of her question that these were displaced persons, and I believe the

 4     witness was answering that portion.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And the witness is now invited to complete his

 6     answer so that he fully answers the question of Ms. Gustafson.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.  A newspaper wrote about that

 8     and you could see it daily on TV.  You could see columns of people from

 9     Bosnia-Herzegovina headed for Croatia as a result of the departure

10     from -- for -- of Serbs from Croatia and then entering Bosnia and

11     Herzegovina and the Danube area.

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:

13        Q.   And, again, you're referring here -- the columns of people from

14     Bosnia, these are -- headed for Croatia, these are also Croats; is that

15     right?

16        A.   Yes.

17        Q.   Thank you.

18             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could please turn Exhibit P463, and in

19     particular, page 9 in English and page 14 in the B/C/S.

20        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, this is a record of a meeting between

21     Minister Radic and President Tudjman on the 22nd of August, 1995, so

22     before you joined the ministry.  And I'd like to just read you a passage

23     and ask you a couple of questions.

24             And if we go to the bottom of the English of that page, Mr. Radic

25     says:  "Now, look, have I been looking around this area a bit, the

Page 20397

 1     biggest centres where we should focus on return, regarding the national

 2     interest, I have tried to make a chronological order or some kind of

 3     hierarchy, and in my opinion, I would like to discuss this with you a

 4     bit."

 5             "The map of the whole area is of a strategic importance for

 6     Croatia.  I coloured it with different colours.  This is what has always

 7     been critical for us in the history, not Knin, we'll manage to do that

 8     slowly."

 9             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we turn the page in English.

10        Q.   "If you ask me the first -- I define five priorities according to

11     the urgency of colonising these places with Croats.  If you ask me, this

12     thing right here is the first and the second priority.  We should bring

13     Croats back here urgently and this area should be urgently colonized with

14     Croats, and we should by no means let no more than 10 per cent of Serbs

15     be here again because that's where we got cut off."

16             And the president says:  "Not even 10 per cent?"

17             And Mr. Radic says:  "Okay.  I'm talking about 10 per cent, so

18     the first priority of colonising is this right here in my opinion,

19     Petrova and Zrinska Gora.  That's where we have to establish some kind of

20     a city sooner or later.  We also have Vojnic and Veljun, a somewhat

21     smaller place, but Vojnic is a bigger place.

22             "However, by our companies, opening factories, just as the Serbs

23     did in Licki Osijek, I visited that factory.  That looks marvellous.

24     They built apartments for 4.000 people, where we can bring people right

25     away.  It's just that we don't have anybody, somewhere in this area we

Page 20398

 1     must build ..."

 2             And the president says:  "That has been preserved too?"

 3             And Radic says:  "Everything has been preserved, completely

 4     wonderfully preserved."

 5             My first question to you is, were you aware that Mr. Radic had

 6     defined five priorities according to the urgency of colonising these

 7     places with Croats?

 8        A.   No.

 9        Q.   And these areas that Radic refers to as the first priority,

10     Petrova Gora and Zrinska Gora.  These areas in general included the

11     municipalities of Vojnic, Vrgin Most, Glina, Petrinja, Kostajnica, and

12     Davor; is that right?

13        A.   Yes.

14        Q.   And before the war in 1991, these -- this was an area that was

15     largely populated by ethnic Serbs; is that right?

16        A.   It depends on the municipality.  The Serbs did not prevail in all

17     of the municipalities that you have mentioned.

18        Q.   Well, in Vojnic, they were about 90 per cent; is that right?

19     Vrgin Most about 70?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   Glina about 60?

22        A.   Yes.

23        Q.   Petrinja about 45 per cent?

24        A.   I suppose so, but I don't know for sure.

25        Q.   Kostajnica about 62 per cent.  Does that sound right to you?

Page 20399

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   Sorry have I been asked to repeat my question.

 3             Kostajnica was about 62 per cent Serb; is that right?

 4        A.   Are you referring to the town of Kostajnica or the municipality?

 5        Q.   The municipality.

 6        A.   Yes.

 7        Q.   And Davor was about 85 per cent Serb, that municipality?

 8        A.   Yes.

 9        Q.   Again, I'll remind you that on Wednesday you said you were --

10     your observations on the extent of devastation and lack of infrastructure

11     at this time in August and September, that was based on your views as an

12     outside observer.  And you can see here that Mr. Radic points to an area

13     where he says they can bring people in right away and says it has been

14     wonderfully preserved.

15             If the minister of reconstruction and development took the view

16     at this time that the situation in an area was such that people could be

17     brought in right away, you wouldn't have any reason to doubt that, would

18     you?

19        A.   I watched TV, and I did not see that those areas were that well

20     preserved.

21        Q.   But here Mr. Radic says that he was visited that factory that

22     looks marvellous.  Do you have any reason to doubt his conclusion as to

23     the state of this factory in Licki Osijek?

24        A.   Well, I suppose that he did visit Licki Osijek and that he did

25     observe what he did.

Page 20400

 1        Q.   Thank you.  And just to confirm something you said on Wednesday.

 2     You -- you testified that you didn't know Mr. Radic before you were

 3     appointed, and I just want to make sure I understand exactly that you

 4     went by that.

 5             Before you joined the Ministry of Reconstruction on the 11th

 6     October 1995, have you ever spoken with Mr. Radic?

 7        A.   Yes.  We were members of the Council for Demographic Development

 8     and Reconstructions, and as a member of that council, I came to the

 9     meetings but we never actually talked.  We did not know each other.

10        Q.   So you never had a one-on-one conversation with Mr. Radic before

11     the 11th of October, 1995; is that right?

12        A.   No.  The meetings encompassed all scientists dealing with similar

13     issues, primarily demographic issues.  We had several meetings, several

14     general discussions, but we did not have any particular conversations

15     about anything.

16        Q.   Thank you.

17             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Could we turn now to 65 ter 4628, in particular

18     page 11 of the English and page 20 of the B/C/S.

19        Q.   Mr. Sterc, this is a record of another meeting between Mr. Radic

20     and President Tudjman, and this one was on the 12th of September, 1995.

21     And if you see about three sentences into Mr. Radic's statement there, he

22     says:

23             "We have to tactical this problem.  We also have a problem with

24     the expelled people, all of them, after Operation Oluja, and have the

25     data from the 1991 census.  There were 123.000 residential units in the

Page 20401

 1     liberated area, 123.000 flats and houses, and there are 120.000 Croats

 2     that we want to return to the area, which means one house to each Croat

 3     (yes).  This means that this business of return, which we started before

 4     the reconstruction, must be accelerated, either through legislation or by

 5     employing other measures, because there is not a single family that we

 6     cannot provide accommodation for.  We have enough houses.

 7             "Now, since we do not have damage estimates, it's a bottleneck,

 8     because my experts need to go out in the field with engineers,

 9     et cetera ... between 30 per cent and 35 per cent of the 123.000 is

10     either completely destroyed or heavily damaged, so it won't do.  But

11     there are still some 80.000 houses and flats, which again, I think, is

12     terrible.  Of that number, 16.000 are state-owned or socially-owned, or

13     owned by the railway company, which virtually means state-owned.  It is

14     it a huge potential for highly-skilled people and returnees from abroad,

15     and that is my principal motive for raising this question.  I believe

16     that the time is ripe for you to issue a declaration ... the emigres ..."

17             If we could turn the page in the B/C/S?

18             "Therefore, I could perhaps furnish you with some background

19     information.  But I think we have to, this would be a crucial invitation.

20     What can we offer them?  The current number of returnees is way too

21     small, way too small for populating the area.  The latest information I

22     is that along with those moving from Banja Luka, some 10.000 will soon

23     come from Vojvodina.  They are even headed for Subotica and even for ...

24     however, half of those who arrive either run away or simply disappear.

25     They are afraid or, I don't know, to accept, tentatively speaking, a

Page 20402

 1     Serbian house, and they prefer to stay with ... relatives or some other

 2     persons, or they disappear among the tenants living in rented flats in

 3     Zagreb or elsewhere.  On the other hand, we have been sending out several

 4     invitations a week to highly skilled people willing to come and live in

 5     these new areas, to come forward, and the response was fantastic, really

 6     fantastic.  We have received approximately 12.000 applications for

 7     settling in the area."

 8             Now, Mr. Sterc, were you aware that Radic had taken these steps

 9     to accelerate the population of the area with Croats by, for example,

10     sending out these invitations to people to settle these areas.

11        A.   I didn't know about the conversation, and I did not know about

12     any of those actions that were undertaken.

13        Q.   Thank you.

14             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could now turn to page 17 of the

15     English and page 25 of the B/C/S.

16        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I'd like to direct your attention to the top of this

17     page, about halfway through Mr. Radic's statement, he says:

18             "We have to reinforce this department in the ministry because I

19     have no one in charge of the settlement.  I have talked to two persons.

20     I need an assistant in that ministry of that level, for the spatial

21     strategy.  I don't know if you know Sterc.  He used to work in the

22     institute for applied social research.  He was the youngest at the

23     institute, and he agreed.  I asked him if he would like to be an

24     assistant and he agreed.  He is efficient, rather temperamental, a

25     youngish man, perhaps two to three years my junior."

Page 20403

 1             Now, Mr. Radic is talking about you here, isn't he, when he says

 2     Sterc; that's you?

 3        A.   Yes, he is thinking about me but he didn't even know I was

 4     working.  I wasn't working in the institute for applied social

 5     investigations -- applied social research.

 6        Q.   And here he says that he had asked you if you would like to be an

 7     assistant, and you agreed.  Do you remember Mr. Radic asking if you

 8     wanted to be assistant minister around this time?

 9        A.   Yes.

10        Q.   So when I asked you earlier if you'd ever had a one-on-one

11     conversation with Mr. Radic, and you said no, you did have a

12     conversation, didn't you?  You had a conversation with him about your

13     appointment; is that right?

14             MR. MISETIC:  Your Honour, I'd ask for some foundation --

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.  But this wasn't a

16     conversation.

17             MR. MISETIC:  I -- I don't think the impeachment is complete.  I

18     don't think she has laid the foundation for the -- I mean, I don't want

19     to say it in front of the witness, but ... the question posed was was it

20     one-on-one.  The second question is was he offered an assistant minister

21     post.  She hasn't establish that the second took place under the

22     conditions as in the first question.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  I'm just re-reading the previous answers.

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I can rephrase, Your Honour.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Please do so.

Page 20404

 1             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 2        Q.   Mr. Sterc, in answer to my earlier question about having a

 3     one-on-one conversation with Mr. Radic before the 11th of October, 1995,

 4     you said no.  And then you said -- you went on to say "we did not have

 5     any particular conversations about anything."

 6             Did you in fact have a particular conversation with Mr. Radic

 7     about your appointment as assistant minister?

 8        A.   I'll answer this question.  It wasn't an tete-a-tete

 9     conversation, and we didn't specifically discuss the kind of work that

10     was to be performed.

11        Q.   When I asked you if it was right that Mr. Radic had asked you if

12     you wanted to be assistant minister around this time, you said yes.  What

13     exactly were the circumstances in which Mr. Radic --

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   -- asked you to become assistant minister and you said yes.  Tell

16     me about that conversation.

17        A.   Some members of the ministry for development and reconstruction

18     were present at the conversation, the secretary and I don't know who

19     else, and it was very brief.  It wasn't possible during that period of

20     time to speak at length with the ministers who were supposedly big fish.

21             MR. GUSTAFSON:  If we could just finally turn to page 4 of this

22     second English translation of this document, and page 30 in the B/C/S.

23     And it's at the bottom of the page in the B/C/S.

24        Q.   And Dr. Radic here is talking again about you.  And he says:

25             "Yes, Klemencic accepted it immediately.  They are also from the

Page 20405

 1     council of demography.  He worked all the time there, both he and Sterc,

 2     and Klemencic is a bit meticulous and Sterc is more operational.  So I've

 3     thought of Sterc.  The two of them were assigned as follows; Sterc as

 4     assistant and the other one as counsellor precisely to study a strategy

 5     of that, and of operational programme and let them be there until the

 6     time for that come."

 7             And if we move down to the -- skip the next paragraph and move

 8     down to the following one.  He says:

 9             "Secondly, the Law on Strategy of Croatian Space - that is a

10     working title.  So, which areas are to be stimulated, especially in term

11     of settlement, which to be exempt from taxes, which were not, everything

12     equal, simply define, and Sterc, Klemencic, and those over there, and we

13     are almost finished.  I think that is something representing a strategic

14     law."

15             And here Mr. Radic refers to you in connection with a proposed

16     Law on Strategy of Croatian Space dealing with the areas to be

17     stimulated, especially in terms of settlement.

18             Is this something that you had worked on before you joined the

19     ministry?

20             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, I'm going to object now.

21     Prosecution objected to paragraph 5 of the statement.  It was excluded

22     based on her objection.  Now she's going into the area on cross when I

23     was precluded from going into it on direct.  So I'm going to object to

24     this line of questioning because it's unfair that we were precluded on

25     the basis of her claim that she was prejudiced by paragraph 5 and now

Page 20406

 1     she's going into that topic.

 2             MS. GUSTAFSON:  First of all, Your Honour --

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  -- it's not clear to me, at least, that this is

 5     the same topic, and, secondly, it's a purely factual question.

 6             MR. MISETIC:  I too thought it was a purely factual question

 7     which the basis why I asked that paragraph 5 be admitted and I be allowed

 8     to explore paragraph 5 and it was excluded.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Not entirely, Mr. Misetic.  Those portions that were

10     purely factual, the Chamber said you can make up your mind.  It's 5.5,

11     5.6, 5.7 that is where the statement talks about not an analysis of -- of

12     the publications, et cetera, but where it is about the programmes that

13     were developed and what they contained, what chapters would be in those

14     programmes.

15                           [Trial Chamber confers]

16             MR. MISETIC:  Well I may go into it then in redirect,

17     Mr. President, if I'm allowed, but if the -- given the connotation that's

18     being ascribed to the programme in cross, then I may wish to explore

19     paragraphs 5.1 -- at least the factual basis for paragraphs 5.1 through

20     5.4, because it's now been --

21             JUDGE ORIE:  I think I said at the time that those paragraphs are

22     not fit for being admitted under Rule 92 ter.  If you want to explore

23     purely factual matters in which the issues are dealt with on a factual

24     basis, there seems to be no problem, and I think the Chamber has never

25     kept you off from putting factual questions.  I think the reasoning

Page 20407

 1     was -- at least I thought our ruling was clear on the matter.

 2             MR. MISETIC:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Please proceed.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 5        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I'll just repeat my question because it was a few

 6     minutes ago.

 7             Mr. Radic here refers to you in connection with the proposed Law

 8     on Strategy of Croatian Space dealing with the areas to be stimulated,

 9     especially in terms of settlement.  Is this something that you had worked

10     on before you joined the ministry?

11        A.   No.

12        Q.   Do you have any idea why Mr. Radic might have referred to you in

13     connection -- in mentioning this law?

14        A.   I don't know why he referred to me.

15        Q.   Thank you.

16             I'd like to move now to another topic, and this is the property

17     law measures that are discussed at some length in your statement.  This

18     is paragraph 9 and 9.1 and 9.2.  And in paragraph 9.1, you refer to the

19     Law on the Temporary Takeover and Administration of Property.  And you

20     state that this was not confiscation of property as it was perceived,

21     rather, at the time it was felt that this property need to be protected

22     from destruction or secured if it was occupied by tenants.

23             And my first question is you weren't involved in drafting or in

24     any way in the creation of this law, were you?

25        A.   No.

Page 20408

 1        Q.   And as you point out in your statement it was passed in

 2     September 1995 before you were appointed assistant minister.

 3             Do you know anything at all about how this law came to be drafted

 4     or enacted?

 5        A.   No.  But I assume that lawyers drafted this law, worked on this

 6     lawyer.

 7        Q.   The Chamber has received evidence of a meeting held on 11th

 8     August 1995 with President Tudjman and other senior members of the

 9     Croatian leadership, including Dr. Radic, Mr. Susak, Mr. Granic, and

10     Mr. Valentic, among other, at which they discussed the purpose and the

11     terms of this law which was then in the parliamentary process, and I'm

12     referring here to P462.

13             Do you know anything about that meeting or what was said at that

14     meeting?

15        A.   No, I don't.

16        Q.   And do you know anything about the views of any of those

17     individuals I just mentioned, about the purpose of this property law?

18        A.   No.

19        Q.   So when you talk in your statement about this law being -- about

20     protecting property from destruction, would it be fair to say that that's

21     more or less your personal view, that you can't speak for the top

22     Croatian leadership as to the purpose of this law; is that right?

23        A.   I can speak about the meaning of the law in the field on site.

24     After we had formed the assembly -- the council when we saw what the law

25     meant for the actions that we subsequently planned.  So these are matters

Page 20409

 1     that I can address.

 2        Q.   So you know, then, that the law -- put the property of the Serbs

 3     who had left the Krajina into the temporary possession of the state and

 4     only gave those Serbs 90 days to return and reclaim their property.  Do

 5     you know that?

 6        A.   I asked about this.  I asked lawyers about this before I came

 7     here because I believed that would be a question put to me, and all the

 8     lawyers said that that 30-day-time limit isn't something that can be

 9     found in the law, isn't stipulated in the law.

10        Q.   In fact, this law is in evidence, and it does provide for a

11     90-day period.  Did you know that?

12        A.   No.  Everyone who worked on that told me that this 30-day limit

13     isn't in the law.  But this is just hearsay information, so I can't

14     saying anything about that.  I can just talk about the consequences of

15     the law and what it meant for us when we started dealing with the entire

16     concept of returning.

17        Q.   So it --

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Is there any confusion about the 90 days and the 30

19     days.  It's my -- is my recollection right that there was a draft which

20     mentioned 30 days and that then 90 days were adopted, and this went back

21     to discussion in late August 1995, if I remember well.

22             If that is the case, perhaps we should perhaps put it to the

23     witness, because he is talking about the 30 days and you're talking about

24     the 90 days, so that upon apparent agreement between the parties - and

25     I'm just now referring to Mr. Misetic nodding - yes, I don't remember the

Page 20410

 1     details under what circumstances the 30 days became 90 days.  I know that

 2     there was a discussion.

 3             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If I may, I believe -- I don't have the exhibit

 6     number at my fingertips, but I believe there was a government decree that

 7     provided for 30 days passed on the 31st of August and then there was a

 8     later law that changed that to 90 days.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Could the parties assist in --

10             Mr. Misetic do you have...

11             MR. MISETIC:  It was an initial government decree that didn't

12     have the power of a parliamentary law, that is correct.  That was then

13     passed as a law at 90 days and then amended again in January of 1996 to

14     have no limitation.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

16             Mr. Sterc, were you able to follow the exchange of views between

17     Chamber, Prosecution, and Defence, in this respect that initially there

18     was a presidential decree which stated that the time-limit would be 30

19     days, that then a law was adopted, which, at least from what I understand

20     was valid during 1995, once it was adopted, and that it was later

21     changed.

22             So when we're talking about 30 days, there apparently was a

23     presidential decree which stated that the time-limit for return was 30

24     days, in order not -- in order to avoid the consequences described in

25     that law, to apply, whereas that was later changed or -- was not changed

Page 20411

 1     but a law was adopted which mentioned 90 days.

 2             Ms. Gustafson, any questions in this respect, then please

 3     proceed.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 5        Q.   Mr. Sterc, did you ever read this law that was passed in

 6     September 1997 on the temporary takeover of property about which you have

 7     given evidence in your statement?

 8             MR. MISETIC:  I believe it's 1995, Mr. President.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

10             MS. GUSTAFSON:  My apologies.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  I take it that that --

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:  1995.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

14             Did you read that law, Mr. Sterc?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I had the opportunity to read it,

16     but I didn't.  And to clarify this misunderstanding that has arisen,

17     lawyers tell me, or told me before I came here, that all the time-limits

18     with regard to the law had to do with the Law on Selling Flats for which

19     tenants had right.  But there was no time-limit for regaining one's

20     property.  That's all I can say.  Unfortunately, I'm not informed of all

21     the detail.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, perhaps you answer the question on the basis of

23     your own knowledge and not on what others told you, unless you clearly

24     indicate that, and that law is in evidence.  We have discussed it and the

25     time-limits - and the parties will correct me if I'm wrong - time-limits

Page 20412

 1     do appear also in legislation which was not exclusively dealing with

 2     tenants' rights of apartments.

 3             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 5        Q.   And perhaps then we could turn to that topic, which is tenants'

 6     rights.  And you discuss this in paragraph 9 and 9.2 of your statement.

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Oh, Your Honours, I apologise, I neglected to

 8     tender the transcript we looked at which was 65 ter 4628.  Could that

 9     please be admitted.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  I see that there are no objections.

11     Madam Registrar.

12             THE REGISTRAR:  Exhibit P2590, Your Honours.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Is admitted into evidence.

14             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

15             If we could turn to 65 ter 3496, please.

16        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I'd like to direct your attention to the title, the

17     Law on the Lease of Flats in the Liberated Territory, which is near the

18     bottom of the first column.

19             Are you familiar with this law?

20        A.   Yes.

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could look at Article 1 of this law.

22        Q.   "This law regulates the leasing of flats for which, in accordance

23     with provisions of this law, the tenants' right terminates over publicly

24     owned property, state-owned property, i.e., property owned by legal

25     entities who acquired this ownership on the grounds of special

Page 20413

 1     regulations and are located on the formerly occupied, now liberated

 2     territories of the Republic of Croatia."

 3             Now, this law, Mr. Sterc, that was enacted on the 27th

 4     September 1995, this law dealt exclusively with tenants' rights in

 5     regards to flats that were located in the territories taken over after

 6     Operations Storm and flash; is that right?

 7        A.   Yes.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could look at Article 2.

 9        Q.    "The tenants' rights over flats defined in Article 1 of this Law

10     terminates by lawful force --" I think it reads, "if the bearer of the

11     tenants' right has abandoned the flat and has not used it for a period

12     longer than 90 days since the day this Law came into force."

13             And if we go down to Article 3, it says that:  "The flats ...

14     under this law which are leased by" your minister, "the Ministry of

15     Development and Reconstruction."

16             And if we go to Article 4, which is on the next page in the

17     English, sets out the categories of people to whom the ministry can lease

18     these flats.

19             And if we go to Article 8, which, again, is on the next page in

20     English, and the next page in the B/C/S as well.  And this states that

21     the person who is -- leased this flat by the ministry has the right to

22     buy the flat under certain circumstances.

23             Now, basically, Mr. Sterc, this law extinguished the tenancy

24     rights of the Krajina Serbs to socially owned property if they failed to

25     return to those flats within 90 days of the date this law was enacted,

Page 20414

 1     the 27th of September, 1995; is that right?

 2        A.   As far as I understand this, it applies to everybody who resided

 3     in the areas that had been occupied.

 4        Q.   And those people lost their tenancy rights if they failed to

 5     return within 90 days; is that right?

 6        A.   Yes.  All those who had resided in that area, according to the

 7     1991 census, and I'm talking about the area that had previously been

 8     occupied.

 9        Q.   Now, in your statement, you discussed property laws relevant to

10     tenants' rights in connection with the departure of Serbs during and

11     after Operation Storm.  And, again, that's paragraph 9 and paragraph 9.2.

12             And the law that you specifically referred to was the Law on Sale

13     of Flats in Tenancy, a 1992 law that was amended several times.  When you

14     discussed the rights of tenants in connection with the departure of Serbs

15     during and after Operation Storm, why didn't you mention this law here?

16        A.   I don't know.  I don't have any reason.  I thought that we're

17     talking about a law --

18             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the witness please be instructed to slow

19     down.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sterc, could you slow down your speed of speech,

21     because the interpreters have difficulties in following you.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:

23        Q.   Go ahead, Mr. Sterc.  Can finish your answer?

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the witness be instructed to repeat the

25     answer, please.

Page 20415

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said that, according to my

 2     assumption, that was one of the modifications of the law and the

 3     dead-lines were moved because these people were provided time to ask for

 4     the right to purchase their apartments.  The apartment that they had

 5     tenancy rights to.  But I'm talking about all the people from the area,

 6     not only the Serbs.

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 8        Q.   You said according to your assumption there was one of the

 9     modifications of the law.  But this is a different law, right?  This Law

10     on Lease of Flats in the Liberated Territories is a different law from

11     the Law on Sale of Flats in Tenancy; right?

12             I see you nodding yes.

13        A.   This -- I apologise.  This was one of the derivations of that

14     law.

15        Q.   You say it's a derivation of that law --

16        A.   It's my assumption.  I don't know that for a fact.  Because I'm

17     not a lawyer.  I am not able to use the same terms equally well.

18        Q.   Okay.  In paragraph 9.2, you refer to tenants' rights and

19     negotiations.  You state:  "Negotiations regarding tenants' rights were

20     long and intensive."

21             Now, here are you talking about negotiations with the

22     international community; is that right?

23        A.   Yes.

24        Q.   And these were negotiations about the mechanisms as to whether

25     and, if so, how, Serbs would be allowed back to Croatia?

Page 20416

 1        A.   Not only Serbs, but everybody to their original homes, in

 2     Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

 3        Q.   And this law here, the Law on the Lease of Flats in the Liberated

 4     Territory, that was a law that was a particular concern to

 5     representatives of international organisations; is that right?

 6        A.   Not only that one.  We discussed all the laws.  Even the previous

 7     one, we discussed it, and I never provided my final position as to why I

 8     provided the statement I did.

 9        Q.   I'm sorry, I didn't understand your last answer.  Your final

10     position as to what -- what statement?

11        A.   Yes.  I said that all the laws were discussed, all the laws that

12     were passed by the Republic of Croatia, or, rather, the Croatian

13     parliament.  There were also discussions at our meetings of the Working

14     Group, not about the return of the Serbs but everybody to their homes,

15     and we discussed all the laws that needed to be amended, changed, or

16     improved, not only in Croatia but also in the other parts of the former

17     Yugoslavia.

18        Q.   Thank you.

19             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to Exhibit D419, please.

20        Q.   Mr. Sterc, this --

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I apologise, if I could tender the property law

22     -- the Law on the Sale of Lease of Flats in Tenancy, 65 ter 3496.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Madam Registrar.

24             THE REGISTRAR:  Exhibit P2591, Your Honours.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Is admitted into evidence.

Page 20417

 1             MR. MISETIC:  No objection.

 2             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 3        Q.   And the document that's coming up now, Mr. Sterc, is an OSCE

 4     report from the 8th of September, 1998, and you were referred to it, I

 5     believe, in your direct examination.

 6             MR. GUSTAFSON:  And I'd like to go to paragraph 26.  Thank you.

 7        Q.   It says:  "The resolution of property issues remains crucial to

 8     the advancement of the return process, the establishment of trust and

 9     postwar normalisation.  As called for in our May Progress Report, Croatia

10     has taken some positive steps in this regard.  Parliament has rescinded

11     the 1995 Law on Temporary takeover of Specified Property ... and the 1995

12     Law on Lease of Apartments in the Liberated Areas, both of which had

13     discriminatory effects and contravened international commitments.  The

14     mission had repeatedly called for the recision of these laws."

15             Mr. Sterc does that more or less accurately describe the concerns

16     that representatives of the international institutions expressed about

17     these laws to you?

18        A.   Everything was discussed, but this is it not a realistic

19     presentation of the situation, atmosphere, procedures, and results of the

20     work undertaken by the Working Group.

21        Q.   I'm not quite sure I understood your answer in connection with my

22     question, which was whether this accurately represented the concerns that

23     representatives of international organisation expressed to you about

24     these laws.

25        A.   Yes, there was concern, but this does not reflect the real

Page 20418

 1     situation that we discussed and were -- were able to finally agree upon

 2     at the Working Group.

 3        Q.   Thank you.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to 65 ter 7343 please.

 5        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, these are minutes of a Croatian government

 6     session from the 14th of September, 1995, a closed session.

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to page 11 in the English, and

 8     page 9 in the B/C/S.

 9        Q.   And you see the comments of the president of the government,

10     Mr. Valentic.  He says:

11             "Item 1 is a very important issue, draft Bill on the lease of

12     flats in the liberated area, along with the final draft Bill [sic]."

13             And then he asks the deputy prime minister, Bosiljko Misetic to

14     give an explanation, and you see --

15             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I apologise, I think we're on the wrong page in

16     the B/C/S.  If we could go to the next page in the B/C/S, at the bottom

17     of that page.

18             Oh, I apologise, that was the correct page, it was just at the

19     bottom.

20        Q.   So here we are.  This is right now, the comments of

21     Mr. Bosiljko Misetic, and he says:

22             "After the military and police reintegration of the occupied

23     areas, with the aim of the most rapid possible reconstruction, return and

24     the Croatian people populating the liberated areas, there is, among

25     other, a great number of flats in these now liberated areas which have,

Page 20419

 1     until recently, been occupied."

 2             And if we could go to page 12 in the English and the next page --

 3     or at the bottom of the current page in B/C/S.

 4             It says:

 5             "What is important is there have been proposals of handling those

 6     flats in such a way whereby they would be given directly into ownership,

 7     but out of the reasons why we had and the manner in which we have

 8     regulated in the bill on the sequester, it would not be purposeful for

 9     them to be given immediately into ownership, this also due to abuses.

10             "In addition --" and I think if question go to the next page in

11     the B/C/S.

12             "In addition we believe that we are additionally encouraging

13     people with the solutions offered who will come, use the flats as

14     lessees, stay on in these areas, which would be a long-term demographic

15     and economic and every other Croatian objective.  The lease would amount

16     to the same as the rent.  After a certain period of time leasing the flat

17     the lessee would be entitled, I stress again, under privileged

18     conditions, in accordance with the law in force, to buy this flat from

19     the state and gain ownership of it."

20             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could go now to page 14 in the English

21     and page 15 in the B/C/S.

22        Q.   And you see Mr. Radic speaks.  He says:

23             "I think that we should quite certainly take this law as an

24     integral whole with the decree, that is, the Law on the Allocation of

25     Houses, which had been in private ownership to date, because with both

Page 20420

 1     one and the other we intend to and must resolve the shortages, people in

 2     the liberated area, in particular, so that of the skilled personnel, and

 3     that is why I propose that the possibility of those same commissions

 4     doing the allocation of both those houses and these flats be looked into.

 5     They have been similarly, almost identically formed ..."

 6             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And, finally, if we go to page 17 in the English

 7     and page 20 in the B/C/S.

 8        Q.   These are further comments of Mr. Bosiljko Misetic.  And at the

 9     second paragraph he says:

10             "The purpose of this law is primarily the reconstruction and

11     return to those areas.  That is why Mr. Petrovic's proposal, the

12     immigration minister, should both be supported and recognition should be

13     lent to it; this, moreover in a way that all those institution, all

14     institutions and all ministries, when adopting their programmes of

15     return, primarily take into account, both in view of employment and

16     return, that this is for the immigrants, that is to say, Croatian

17     immigration or the Croatian diaspora, however one labels it."

18             And in the next page in both the English and B/C/S he says:

19             "The purpose of the law is therein, primarily the return,

20     economic, and demographic recovery."

21             Now, Mr. Sterc, I take it you were not aware of this government

22     session at which this law was discussed?

23        A.   No, I wasn't aware.

24        Q.   Thank you.

25             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honours, if could I tender that exhibit,

Page 20421

 1     please.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  No objections.

 3             Madam Registrar.

 4             THE REGISTRAR:  Exhibit P2592, Your Honours.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  And is admitted into evidence.

 6             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 7        Q.   I'd like to turn to another topic, Mr. Sterc, which is the

 8     agreement of the Joint Working Group that you discussed in paragraph 13

 9     of your statement.  And you gave evidence about this as well on

10     Wednesday.

11             And in your testimony you said that:  "It was just one of the

12     steps we made to deal with the whole situation in order to implement our

13     design of the return of everyone to their homes."

14             That was at transcript page 20316.

15             And I'd just like to clarify one point on this agreement with

16     you, which is with respect to mechanisms for return.  And this agreement

17     only set out procedures for a two-way return into and out of Sector East.

18     In other words, it set out mechanisms for displaced Croats to return to

19     Sector East; and for displaced Serbs who were living in Sector East to

20     return to other parts of Croatia, if that is where their homes were; is

21     that right.

22        A.   Yes.  But this is not about displaced Croats.

23        Q.   Well, didn't this agreement provide mechanisms for Croats from

24     Eastern Slavonia to return to Eastern Slavonia?

25        A.   That was the intention of the agreement.

Page 20422

 1        Q.   And at the time this agreement was made, in April of 1997, there

 2     were no corresponding procedures for return for the much larger number of

 3     Serbs from the Krajina who were living outside Croatia; is that right?

 4        A.   There was no former document, but there were talks and there were

 5     procedures aimed at return, until the moment a document could be

 6     formalised.

 7        Q.   And that formal document that provided mechanisms for Serbs

 8     outside of Croatia to return, that was the programme enacted in June of

 9     1998; is that right?

10        A.   That was the final document following all the other preceding

11     documents that we had done in drafting much before they were actually

12     signed and dated.

13        Q.   Okay.  Now, on Wednesday, Mr. Misetic asked you about the reasons

14     why Serbs left Eastern Slavonia between August 1996 and July 1998, and

15     you testified that you thought the main reasons were political and

16     economic uncertainty there.

17             Now, regardless of those reasons, the Croatian leadership was

18     encouraging the departure of Serbs from Eastern Slavonia and viewed their

19     departure as positive.

20             Isn't that right?

21        A.   The Croatian government was not in control of Eastern Slavonia.

22     Everybody knows that.  18.000 Serbs who had left, the rest of the

23     occupied territory of Croatia ended up in Eastern Slavonia, according to

24     our estimate.

25             In order for Croats to come back to the UNTAES territory, we had

Page 20423

 1     to implement the concept of return of everybody to their homes.  I really

 2     don't know, nor was I ever complained -- or heard complaints about

 3     international -- from the international community that Croatian state

 4     encouraged the departure of Serbs from Eastern Slavonia to some other

 5     areas.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sterc, the question was not whether anyone

 7     complained about what the Croatian state encouraged or did not encourage.

 8     It was one step back; that is, quite simple, whether the Croatian

 9     leadership was encouraging the departure of Serbs; and, second part of

10     the question, whether they viewed their departure as positive.

11             Could you please answer that question, not on whether it was

12     criticised or not.  Perhaps that may be the next question.

13             Mr. Misetic.

14             MR. MISETIC:  I would have a Rule 90(H) objection on this

15     question.  Ms. Gustafson cross-examined Ms. Skare Ozbolt and these

16     questions were not put to her, who would have had personal knowledge.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

18             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the witness be asked to slow down.  It's

19     virtually impossible to interpret simultaneously.

20             JUDGE ORIE:  Before Ms. Gustafson responds, Mr. Sterc there is a

21     repeated request that you slow down your speed of speech if you want us

22     to here your testimony, but I do understand that you're missing the

23     guidance of Mr. Misetic.

24             THE WITNESS:  I'm sorry.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  I will try to take over now and then with my hand

Page 20424

 1     signals.

 2             THE WITNESS:  I'm sorry.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

 4             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, I -- I don't think there is any

 5     reason I shouldn't be able to put this to the witness he has given

 6     evidence about reasons for the departure of Serbs.  I'd like to test

 7     foundations of that evidence.

 8             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, my -- she can test it but to the

 9     extent we're going develop the issue further, the reason we bring persons

10     with personal knowledge is to have these issues addressed directly with

11     people with personal knowledge and not that -- then a subsequent witness

12     comes who doesn't have personal knowledge and then we start trying to

13     admit documents on a particular topic.

14             So I would have a 90(H) objection to that.

15             JUDGE ORIE:  The objection is on the record.  Ms. Gustafson may

16     proceed and we'll see at the end whether we enter into the Rule 90(H)

17     areas, yes or no.

18             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

19             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, I'd like to go a document next that

20     would take a few minutes, so perhaps the Chamber would be prefer to take

21     a break now.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  Then perhaps it's better to first have a break.

23     We'll have a break and resume at five minutes to 11.00.

24             But not until I've asked you, Ms. Gustafson, how much further

25     time would you need?

Page 20425

 1             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Approximately half an hour to 45 minutes Your

 2     Honour.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  May I then take it that we'll certainly be

 4     able to conclude the evidence of this witness this morning.  And, for the

 5     record, Mr. Misetic is nodding yes.

 6             We have a break.

 7                           --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.

 8                           --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, you may proceed.

10             MS. GUSTAFSON:

11        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I'm going to repeat my last question because I don't

12     think we ever got an answer to it, which was that the Croatian -- that

13     the Croatian leadership encouraged the departure of Serbs from Eastern

14     Slavonia and viewed their departure as positive; isn't that right?

15        A.   No.

16             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Could we please go to 65 ter 7252.

17        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, this is a transcript of a meeting of the VONS

18     held on 17th December at -- 1996.

19             And are you familiar with the VONS, the Defence and National

20     Security Council of Croatia?

21        A.   Yes.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we could stay on this page in the English

23     and move in the B/C/S to page 2.

24        Q.   You see President Tudjman asks the meeting to go on to the next

25     item in the agenda, which is report in the course of the reintegration in

Page 20426

 1     Podunavlje.

 2             And Podunavlje, that's another term for Eastern Slavonia; is that

 3     right?

 4        A.   Yes.  Although it's not quite identical, but I don't have time to

 5     go into explanations that concern such geographical concepts now.

 6        Q.   Thank you.  And you see, then, Dr. Ivica Kostovic speaks and part

 7     way down that speech he says:

 8             "The first issue is the treatment of Serbs by the Croatian

 9     authorities, starting from the government all the way to the mayor who

10     comes into direct contact with them, while the second issue are the

11     elections.  I will tell you what is to be done with regards to the issue

12     of the treatment of Serbs.  First of all, --"

13             And if we go to the next page in the B/C/S, please.

14              "First of all, full protection should be given to the two or

15     three Serbs who we are going to encounter in Baranja, as was the case in

16     Nijemci and when we entered Srijem triangle.  That kind of protection

17     cannot be undertaken.  Instead, there ought to be a practical change in

18     the policy of the local authorities of all who are going to go there.

19              "Furthermore, in Baranja, UNTAES does not allow us..."

20             And then the President says --

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we can go to the next page in the English.

22        Q.   "What does it mean, why, what?"

23             And Dr. Kostovic says:

24             "Here is an example:  There were 47 Serbs in Nijemci.  First, we

25     stalled issuing them documents and this and that.  Then, we offered them

Page 20427

 1     everything and all of them left, save Jovanka.  Jovanka remained there

 2     and Budby wrote to the Security Council about her, as initially she did

 3     not get the documents on time and then people came to her and threatened

 4     here.  And so without Klein, now Budby speaks of the return of the

 5     Jordanian battalion to those ... and that is the truth, I am not joking,

 6     that is what is happening.  So, because of a single Serb woman, I cannot

 7     keep what I have won with great effort - Srijem triangle.  It is because

 8     of this that, for example, a meeting of county prefects should simply be

 9     called and they should be told, You are state officials, and whenever any

10     of your people enter any of those settlements which Klein had given you,

11     and if you do not protection, you will be replaced.  And that should, for

12     example, be told to the county prefects, they in turn will pass it on to

13     the mayors and that is it.  I cannot risk the process of peaceful

14     reintegration on the account of a single Serb woman."

15             And President Tudjman says:

16             "Right, that's understood, someone even needs to be replaced.

17     However, let it be clear that this is not -- let it be, I did this ...

18     but as a part of this."

19             MS. GUSTAFSON:  And if we go to the next page in the B/C/S.

20        Q.   Dr. Kostovic responds:

21             "Yes, that's true.  But that we point that out for ourselves as

22     well ... I do not want that.  In Baranja, only four families are in the

23     chasm, and if I cannot pay them off, bribe them, to go away to who knows

24     where, and if that is the price of entering Baranja, then I am neither

25     the Croatian state nor the authority.  There, that is approximately that

Page 20428

 1     message."

 2             And then he goes on and says:

 3             "The second thing that needs to be done - and the prime minister

 4     has already given the green light for it - is the simple compensation,

 5     meaning that we would pay off the Serbs, and that is somewhere between 30

 6     and 50 per cent, those who live around Vukovar, that is more than 50 per

 7     cent, Bilja, while those who live in Baranja are, let's say, 30 per cent.

 8     That is some kind of statistical data which was obtained.  That ought to

 9     be the responsibility of the office for the refugees and the local

10     authorities.  They need to find Croats who will buy those half-destroyed

11     houses of theirs."

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we go to the next page in English:  "Our bank

13     would give a loan to a Croat, he would give that money to a Serb, and the

14     Serb would sign he would not return there anymore.  The Americans are all

15     crazy about that.  And so, if everyone is crazy about it, let us do so."

16             And if we can go to one further page which is at page 13 of the

17     English and page 18 in the B/C/S.

18             And this is Dr. Radic speaking.  And if we go to the bottom of

19     the page in the B/C/S, he says:

20             "Third, the Serbs are the most corrupt people in the world.

21     There isn't a single more corrupt or purchasable nation.  Starting from

22     this fact, I believe that we can achieve much more, as we just said, by

23     buying their property, for which we have created a good ... I believe

24     that the matter can proceed well through the weekend houses, around

25     there.  But, I believe we shall be able to achieve what we need to do in

Page 20429

 1     that space.  Since recently I have spoken quite often to their

 2     representatives, who occasionally visit Zagreb, et cetera.  Stanimirovic

 3     and the others, they are amazed at the fact that, I mean, in individual

 4     meetings with them - but, you need to assign people to do the job, and

 5     they will be able to do quite a lot."

 6        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, do you know about this meeting?

 7        A.   No, I don't.

 8        Q.   And you don't know anything about the comments made by members of

 9     the leadership about bribing Serbs in Eastern Slavonia to go away or

10     buying their houses in order to -- as Radic said, "achieve what we need

11     to do in that space."

12             Is that right?

13        A.   No, I don't know anything about that.

14        Q.   So would it be fair to say that when I asked you about whether

15     the Croatian leadership was encouraging the departure of Serbs from

16     Eastern Slavonia and viewed it as a positive development, that you can't

17     really speak about those views of the top Croatian leadership, about that

18     issue.

19             Is that fair?

20        A.   Naturally I can speak about that, of course.

21        Q.   Thank you.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  I'd like to tender 65 ter 7252.

23             MR. MISETIC:  Your Honour, I believe if we can check the

24     interpretation, I believe it was page 35, line 21, if we can check what

25     the witness's answer was.

Page 20430

 1             THE INTERPRETER:  The interpreter said:  Naturally I can speak

 2     about that, of course.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, if he can speak about it perhaps we should ask

 4     him about it.

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 6        Q.   I'm sorry, Mr. Sterc, I misunderstood the answer.  You said you

 7     can speak about the views of the top Croatian leadership, but you said

 8     you didn't know anything about the meeting or the comments made by the

 9     leadership about bribing Serbs in --

10        A.   I apologise.

11        Q.   I'd just like you, if you could please explain how you reconcile

12     those two remarks?

13        A.   Thank you.  I would like to be allowed to be a little bit more

14     precise when answering questions, because my "yes" and "no" answer do not

15     reflect the situation and the information I had about this matter when we

16     discussed the matter with representatives of the international community.

17     Would the chamber allow me to give somewhat a lengthy answer because in

18     previous conversations, when discussing the issue of tenancy rights, I

19     didn't have the opportunity of explaining what we negotiated on, what

20     sort of agreements we reached with regard to tenancy -- the tenancy

21     agreement issue which was discussed with international community.

22             As far as this matter is concerned, and as far as I'm concerned,

23     the people who are referred to here can say whatever they like.  You

24     mentioned Mr. Kostovic.  For example, Mr. Kostovic was the -- was the

25     deputy prime minister, but he wasn't someone who could in any way issue

Page 20431

 1     orders to me.  To act as he saw fit in Podunavlje, that's what you call

 2     it, I was present with UNTAES every week.  I would see them every week

 3     that, included President Klein, Deputy Srdarijan [phoen] and others,

 4     Piper, Campbell and so on and so forth.  We discussed various actions

 5     that I mentioned the day before yesterday -- yes, thank you.  And apart

 6     from what they thought, well, I can also tell you what my opinion is,

 7     this seems to me as if it's young children playing at war.  Pressure

 8     through the formal bodies and the agreements that we had wasn't at public

 9     sessions -- I apologise.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  You really have to speak more slowly, otherwise

11     we'll miss your testimony --

12             THE WITNESS:  Okay [Interpretation] Very well.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  That's not what this Chamber wishes to happen.

14             Please slowly proceed.

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Therefore, there were weekly

16     negotiations with UNTAES, and during those negotiations we tried to reach

17     agreements, according to which the Serbs who had left the previously

18     occupied territory and who had come to Podunavlje could remain in

19     Podunavlje, in Croatian buildings, while the process of returning wasn't

20     placed within a framework --

21             MS. GUSTAFSON:

22        Q.   I'm go to interrupt you, because I don't believe you've addressed

23     my question.

24             MR. MISETIC:  I'm going to object.  She asked him if he knew the

25     views of the Croatian leadership.

Page 20432

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, and now he starts explaining what happened on

 2     the ground which is --

 3             MR. MISETIC:  Well, I mean -- starting to get after two days some

 4     facts about what the witness may now --

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 6             MR. MISETIC:  -- to explain what the position of the Croatian

 7     leadership was.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, first of all, Mr. Sterc, at the end of your

 9     testimony you can add anything which you consider not to have been dealt

10     with sufficiently; of course, within certain limits.

11             You've told us quite a bit about your dealings with the

12     international community.  Ms. Gustafson, at this moment, is apparently

13     exploring to what extent you were aware of what -- or in what atmosphere

14     the matter was dealt with at meetings with the presidents -- with the

15     president, and that's what she refers to if you're talking about the

16     leadership.

17             If you could give us a further insight, not primarily on what

18     happened on the ground, because I think you told us already that your

19     efforts were aiming at guaranteeing the right of everyone to return if

20     that person had left, it being a humanitarian issue.  But Ms. Gustafson,

21     at this moment, is apparently exploring what you could tell us about

22     these view, as she read them to you, which were aired in these meetings

23     with the president.

24             If you say, Well, I consider this a schoolboys' meeting, then, of

25     course, that -- I wouldn't say so, but at least we have, at this moment,

Page 20433

 1     no reason to believe that it was just schoolboys' conversation.  If you

 2     would like to give us a better insight on what happened there, which

 3     seems to be not fully consistent with your own views on the matter, then

 4     please do so.

 5             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A direct answer with regard to what

 6     they discussed, there is nothing I can say -- I can't provide any details

 7     about what they discussed.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 9        Q.   Thank you.

10             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, I would like to tender 65 ter 7252.

11             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

12             MR. MISETIC:  We object.  We object to the admission of this

13     document, Ms. Skare Ozbolt is listed as having been present for the

14     meeting, under Rule 90(H) it should have been put to her.  I note that

15     the final question was, You weren't present so you don't know anything

16     about the views of the views of the Croatian leadership.  We had

17     Ms. Skare Ozbolt here who could have, perhaps, provided some answers to

18     that.  So to that extent I would object and say that it's improper to not

19     put it to Ms. Skare Ozbolt and then wait for a witness who doesn't know

20     anything about the meeting and then tender the document into evidence.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

22             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

23             First of all, Rule 90(H) doesn't require us put any particular

24     document to a witness.  It requires us to put the general nature of our

25     case.  We certainly put the general nature of our case on --

Page 20434

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Let me just check.

 2             90(H) and 98 are easily confused.  I see on the transcript that

 3     Mr. Misetic was understood to refer to 90(H), although from what I

 4     thought and also in view of his earlier observation, that it would be 98

 5     or is it --

 6             MR. MISETIC:  90(H).

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  90(H) okay.

 8             MR. MISETIC:  Yes.

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  Okay.  So that has been, at least any confusion in

10     my mind, is there.

11             MR. MISETIC:  If I may respond to that.

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Oh I'm not finished, Your Honour.

13             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, then we first ask Ms. Gustafson to finish.

14             MS. GUSTAFSON:  We certainly put our case to Ms. Skare Ozbolt on

15     the views of the leadership with respect to the -- the presence or

16     absence of Serbs in Eastern Slavonia.  Furthermore, the fact that we

17     didn't put that to her shouldn't be a bar to putting to this witness to

18     test his knowledge of those views.

19             And, lastly, Your Honour, if we had unlimited time to put

20     documents to witnesses, might have put this document to Ms. Skare Ozbolt.

21     We have to make discussions as to what to focus on.  With regard to that

22     witness, we focussed on the focus of her testimony on this issue which

23     was the negotiations that led up to the Erdut Agreement.  And we put

24     those documents to her.  So I don't think the objection is warranted for

25     that reason.  And the fact that no one who was present at this meeting

Page 20435

 1     has testified in this case should -- is a matter that should go to the

 2     weight that the Chamber assigns to it, not its admission.

 3             Thank you.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

 5             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, I would remind the Chamber that when

 6     this issue came up with Mr. Rajcic, we had to go through an entire

 7     procedure of calling Mr. Rajcic back because a document was put to a

 8     different witness and he had to be re-called for that purpose.

 9             Now, the difference being that the document that we tendered

10     through that -- a different witness later wasn't Mr. Rajcic's own

11     document.  He didn't participate in any meeting.  He had no firsthand

12     knowledge of that document.  Nevertheless, he was required to be

13     re-called to address that document.

14             This is a situation that's even more -- I think, clear, in that

15     Ms. Skare Ozbolt is actually present at the meeting.  I would also note

16     that in her statement, which is now in evidence -- I believe it is

17     paragraph 7 of her statement.  If I can find the D number.

18             D1471 at page 7 she said:

19             "During the peaceful integration of Eastern Slavonia when I would

20     receive information that the Serbs wanted to leave a certain area, I

21     would personally go into -- go to the area in order to negotiate with

22     them in order for them to remain in the area."

23             Now, it was put in issue, it was clearly flagged for the

24     Prosecution that that was an issue with respect to her testimony.  If we

25     use the Rajcic example where he had to be re-called about a document that

Page 20436

 1     he wasn't the author of and had no firsthand knowledge of, then here in

 2     this case I think -- certainly in the worse case scenario, the same

 3     procedure should be applied, and I think it should be excluded because

 4     clearly this should have been put to her.

 5             Whether it's top -- or this particular document or more

 6     importantly the general topic of what Ms. Skare Ozbolt said in her

 7     statement, even that wasn't addressed with her regardless of the specific

 8     document.

 9             Thank you.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, the last 30 seconds for you.

11             MS. GUSTAFSON:  It's just that the comparison with the Rajcic

12     document isn't an apposite one, Your Honour.  These matters depend on the

13     nature of the document.  Most of the presidential transcripts have been

14     admitted from the bar table by both parties.  They're documents that are

15     suitable to admission from the bar table.  It's not necessary to have a

16     witness who has personal knowledge of the document for them to be

17     admitted.

18             Thank you.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Ms. Gustafson.

20             I'm just trying to get a better impression on the presence and

21     the participation of Ms. Skare Ozbolt in this meeting, which I find on

22     page 11.

23             The document will be -- will be marked for identification.  Both

24     parties will have an opportunity to make further submissions on this

25     issue, not later than Monday, close of business.  And the parties are

Page 20437

 1     then invited to give exact references on what was dealt with, where, and

 2     what pages, et cetera.  Parties are also invited to consider whether it

 3     is a matter which goes to admissibility only or whether a re-call of

 4     Ms. Skare Ozbolt would be a remedy under the circumstances.  Not to say

 5     that the Chamber has formed any opinion about whether there's anything to

 6     be remedied, but, nevertheless, the Chamber would invite the parties,

 7     that in case there would be, then to see to what extent this would be a

 8     remedy.

 9             Mr. Misetic.

10             MR. MISETIC:  Just to ask is it, do we have 3.000 words or is it

11     less?

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, no.  I would say if would you start with two

13     pages or two and a half pages, and if there's a clear matter you say,

14     This issue needs another ten page, indicate there, and then the Chamber

15     will consider whether those other ten pages will be allowed, yes or no.

16             If we have not received anything by Monday, close of business,

17     then, of course, the Chamber will proceed to consider the matter on the

18     basis of the oral submissions.

19             Madam Registrar.

20             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, exhibit number is P2593, marked for

21     identification.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  And it will keep that status for the time being.

23             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you, Your Honour.

25        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, I'd like to move on now to the Programme for

Page 20438

 1     Return that you discussed in your statement that was passed in -- or

 2     enacted in June of 1998.

 3             And my question is this.  There was a great deal of pressure

 4     placed on Croatia and the Croatian leadership to enact mechanisms to

 5     allow the return of Serbs to Croatia and to ensure its effective

 6     implementation; isn't that right?

 7              And I mean -- by "pressure," I mean pressure from the

 8     international community.

 9        A.   Correct.  There were pressures from the international community

10     from the very outset for all of our moves, the moves of the Croatian

11     government, and, of course, there was a lengthy discussion about that.

12     The programme of return was preceded by several documents that were

13     signed with the international community, and the return was the Crown of

14     a concept of everybody's return to their homes.

15             Since I did not have the opportunity to say the following, and I

16     believe that this is important, let me say this.  When it comes to the

17     programme of return which was coordinated with all the representatives of

18     the international community or the leading people thereof in Croatia,

19     that programme defines the right of tenancy over the apartments, and this

20     is defined very clearly, unambiguously with the conclusions and

21     co-signatures by everybody.  The tenancy rights was on the agenda and was

22     the subject of a lengthy discussion, and this was the key document of the

23     entire procedure.

24        Q.   Thank you.

25             MR. GUSTAFSON:  I'd like to go to 65 ter 7344 and page 59 of the

Page 20439

 1     English and the third attached translation in B/C/S.

 2        Q.   Now, Mr. Sterc, this is a report of the non-governmental

 3     organisation, Human Rights Watch, from March of 1999, and I'd like to

 4     direct your attention to the passage under the title, "The European

 5     Union."

 6             Where it says:

 7             "Closer integration into so-called Euro-Atlantic structures,

 8     including European Union and NATO, are key elements of Croatian foreign

 9     policy.  The European Union, therefore, plays an influential role in

10     Croatia.  EU relations with Croatia are governed by the Union's regional

11     approach to countries of South East Europe which conditions granting of

12     trade concessions, reconstruction assistance, and other relations with

13     all countries in the region on a comprehensive set of human rights

14     criteria, including the creation of conditions for the return of refugees

15     and displaced persons and respect for the rights of minorities."

16             And then it goes on to refer to a six-month review done by the EU

17     council of ministers.  And in the next paragraph it says:

18             "At the last review in October 1998, the council decided that

19     relations should remain unchanged, citing a discrepancy between

20     statements of intent and their practical implementation, as well as

21     problems with respect to the treatment of minorities and a very slow

22     return process.  Croatia currently enjoys autonomous trade measures with

23     the EU but was suspended from the fair reconstruction assistance

24     programme soon after it originally became eligible in 1995 due to the

25     military actions Storm and Flash."

Page 20440

 1             And if we skip to the following sentences:

 2             "The threat by the EU to suspend ATMs is widely regarded as

 3     instrumental in the decision of the Croatian government to adopt the

 4     mandatory instructions for the procedure on individual return in May and

 5     the return programme in July."

 6             And if we go to the next page in the English, and the next page

 7     in the B/C/S, I believe, as well, under the United States:  "The United

 8     States maintains a close relationship with Croatia."

 9             And then if we go down, a few lines down it says:

10             "The US has indicated a willingness to support Croatia's

11     admission to the NATO partnership for peace programme, provided that

12     progress can be made on refugee returns, Dayton implementation, and

13     internal democracy."

14             Is that passage consistent with your understanding of the types

15     of pressures placed on Croatia and the Croatian leadership to enact and

16     implement a programme to return Serb refugees to Croatia?

17        A.   This doesn't look like pressure to me.

18        Q.   Well, it says here:  "The threat by the EU to suspend ATMs is

19     widely regarded as instrumental in the decision of the Croatian

20     government to adopt the mandatory instructions in May and the return

21     programme in July?"

22             Are you saying that that doesn't seem like pressure to you?

23        A.   No.  I can explain.

24             On the previous page, you see a threat that the reconstruction

25     conference on Croatia will be put on hold.  That conference was held at

Page 20441

 1     Westin hotel in Zagreb.  All the high representatives of the

 2     international community attended.  I personally attended the conference

 3     and delivered a speech there.  Similar threats which included the

 4     introduction of functions for Croatia were heard during the conversation

 5     when the programme was being adopted.  And one more sentence, please,

 6     this will allow to understand the whole situation.

 7             At one point after all such pressure, I spoke to the

 8     representatives of the international community and told them, Okay, as of

 9     tomorrow, please impose sanctions on Croatia, although I did not even

10     know how the Croatian government would react to that, although I was a

11     member of that same government.  After half an hour break, we reached

12     agreement on all points as if there hadn't been any threats prior to

13     that.

14             What I'm saying is this is my experience.  I'm talking from

15     experience.

16        Q.   So just to go back to one part of your answer.  You talked about

17     the threat of sanctions.

18             There were threats of sanctions on Croatia in relation to the

19     return of Serbs; is that right?

20        A.   Again, your question is not very precise.  It applied to

21     everybody's return to their homes and the adoption of the programme.  The

22     position was that we didn't wanted the Croats from Bosnia to return to

23     Bosnia.  And I repeat what our position was:  Our position was the return

24     of everybody to their own homes, because that was the only solution to

25     the complicated situation in the whole area.

Page 20442

 1        Q.   And these threats of sanctions by the EU and pressure by the

 2     United States, that created a dilemma for the leadership, didn't it,

 3     because while the leadership wanted to integrate into these structures

 4     and benefit from that integration, they did not want to allow for the

 5     return of Serbs to Croatia which was one of the conditions of that

 6     integration, right?

 7        A.   I apologise, I didn't understand your question.  I apologise.  I

 8     really did not understand your question.

 9        Q.   I apologise.  The question was that these international pressures

10     created a dilemma for the Croatian leadership, because on the one hand

11     they wanted to integrate into EU and into NATO, and, on the other hand

12     they did not want to allow for the return of Serbs to Croatia, which was

13     one of the conditions of integration; isn't that right?

14        A.   There was no dilemma present at the Croatian government.  At that

15     moment, fortunately -- or unfortunately, as you will, I was the one who

16     represented the Croatian authorities as the president of the Working

17     Group.  And, of course, we all knew that the threats were only

18     rhetorical.

19        Q.   There were discussions by representatives of EU and EU

20     institutions and the United States and the leadership in Croatia that

21     took place at a much higher level than you, right, on this issue?

22        A.   I must admit that I was not interested in that higher level, and

23     I don't know what was discussed at that higher level.  I only know what

24     our interest was, what the interest of the international community was,

25     and we wanted to bring that matter to an end.

Page 20443

 1             MS. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to 65 ter 7345, please.

 2             And if I could tender 65 ter 7344.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  In the absence of any objections, Madam Registrar.

 4             THE REGISTRAR:  Exhibit P2594, Your Honours.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Is admitted into evidence.

 6             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 7        Q.   Mr. Sterc, this document is the record of a meeting between

 8     Mr. Sarinic and President Tudjman on the 4th of May, 1998.

 9             And did you know that Mr. Sarinic was the chief negotiator of the

10     Republic of Croatia in representatives -- in discussions with the

11     internationals.  Did you know that he had that role.

12             MR. MISETIC:  [Overlapping speakers] ...  some foundation on time

13     and ...

14             MS. GUSTAFSON:  That's fine.  I can rephrase.

15        Q.   Do you know who Mr. Sarinic was?  I see you nodding yes.

16             Did you know he was an advisor to President Tudjman?

17        A.   Yes.

18             MR. GUSTAFSON:  If we could go to page 8 of the English and page

19     14 of the B/C/S.

20        Q.   And I believe near the bottom of the page in the B/C/S it's the

21     president speaking.  There we go.

22             And he says:  "By what logic Budisa or the HSS, instead of

23     accepting collaboration, and we do invite them to collaborate with us, I

24     personally invite them, and they don't want to, they don't want to ...

25     with the party.  I'm telling you at the next elections the HDZ will not

Page 20444

 1     receive less.  I guarantee you that."

 2             And if we go to the next page in the B/C/S to where Mr. Sarinic

 3     speaks.  He says:

 4             "I'm not sure about Budisa.  Budisa's Croatian national awareness

 5     is not questionable."

 6             And President Tudjman responds:

 7             "It is not the issue to what extent the Croatian national

 8     awareness -- an individual Croatian national awareness should be

 9     restored.  He said that all Serbs should be returned."

10             And Mr. Sarinic says:

11             "That's what Susak co-signed with Talbot, dear president.  Don't

12     tell me or in that case I am being foolish, and I do not understand a

13     thing.

14             And President Tudjman says:

15             "But if Susak signed it, being ill as he was, however, we have

16     never said that we'll return all Serbs."

17             Sarinic says:

18             "Mr. President, read that text and you will see.  There was one

19     thing here that tied our hands.  We did say that."

20             And President Tudjman responds:

21             "We have never said that we'll return all Serbs."

22             Sarinic:

23             "Mr. President, read Talbot --"

24             And President Tudjman says:

25             "We have never said that.  Don't you tell me Susak-Talbot.  What

Page 20445

 1     did they say?  Christopher told me what America can do for us.  And then

 2     he listed Fare, partnership for peace, et cetera, and they didn't do a

 3     thing.  Let us be reasonable yes, open-minded, but it is not our goal to

 4     go to Europe at any cost, to be pushed to go to the western Balkans,

 5     et cetera."

 6             Sarinic says:

 7             "I am in favour of the civic option?"

 8             The president:

 9             "I am also in favour of the civic option, and we have too much of

10     it.  No other country has as much liberty as we have in Croatia.  That

11     Albright woman said so, herself.  That's disgusting, et cetera."

12             I take it you don't know about this conversation; is that right?

13        A.   Not only do I not know of what conversation, but I also don't

14     know Mr. Sarinic.  I only knew his position, I never spoke to him

15     personally.  There was no need for me to do so.  I know what he was from

16     reading newspapers.

17        Q.   So would it be fair to say, then, that you don't really know to

18     what extent President Tudjman viewed agreements to return Serbs to

19     Croatia as a price to pay for integration into Euro-Atlantic

20     institutions; is that fair?

21        A.   I don't know anything about those things.  I was personally not

22     interested in that.  All of us who worked hard on this matter, we knew

23     what the interests of Croatia -- Croatia's interest was, what would --

24     what was happening with the migrations, what was happening then, what was

25     happening -- what would be happening in the future, and what's happening

Page 20446

 1     today.

 2        Q.   Thank you.

 3             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Could I tender 65 ter 7345, please, Your Honours.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  In the absence of any objections, as I can

 5     establish, Madam Registrar.

 6             THE REGISTRAR:  Exhibit P2595, Your Honours.

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  Is admitted into evidence.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:

 9        Q.   We just have one very brief topic left, Mr. Sterc, which is the

10     topic of the UNHCR poll that you mentioned on Wednesday in your evidence.

11             And you stated that there was an UNHCR poll that concluded that

12     two thirds of Serbs did not wish to return to Croatia, at least in the

13     short-term, and that a little over 50 per cent did not want to return to

14     Croatia at all, and you said:  "Because in their answers they had set

15     conditions for return.  They were unequivocal.  They did not wish to

16     return to Croatia until the authorities changed in Croatia."

17             And that was at transcript 20358 to 59.

18             When was that UNHCR poll conducted.

19        A.   I can't remember.  I only know that this was discussed at our

20     meetings and that they informed us about their opinion polls that they

21     conducted.

22        Q.   So did you ever see the written results of this poll, or was it

23     just something that you heard about.

24        A.   I can't remember whether I ever saw the written results.

25     Unfortunately, I can't answer your question because I don't remember

Page 20447

 1     whether I saw them or not.

 2        Q.   Do you remember whether it was a poll of all Serbs, Croatian

 3     Serbs outside --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  The -- Ms. Gustafson.

 5             One second, please.  Could you -- no, there is a -- your answer

 6     has not been recorded to the previous question, and again I'm not as

 7     effective as Mr. Misetic was in slowing you down.  But could you please

 8     repeat your answer, not to add anything, but so that is on the record.

 9             When Ms. Gustafson asked:

10             "So did you ever see the written results of this poll or was it

11     just something you heard about?"

12             I think you said that you couldn't remember whether you had seen

13     it or had not seen it.  Is that -- is that fairly reflective of your

14     answer?

15             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, you understood me very well.

16     I don't remember whether I ever saw them or not.

17             JUDGE ORIE:  Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

18             MS. GUSTAFSON:

19        Q.   And do you remember whether it was just a poll of the group of

20     Croatian Serbs who had left Croatia during -- left the Krajina during and

21     following Operation Storm or whether it was a poll of Croatian Serbs

22     outside Croatia in general?  Do you remember that?

23        A.   I can't remember.  However, there's no single poll that can

24     embrace the entire population.  When an entire population is comprised,

25     then you're talking about a census.  This was a poll.  The sample was

Page 20448

 1     stratified and based on that stratified sample and results of the poll,

 2     conclusions were reached.  That's what a poll is.

 3        Q.   But you don't remember which, if any, specific categories of

 4     Croatian Serbs outside of Croatia were polled; is that right?

 5        A.   Yes, according to them, they had tried to take a representative

 6     sample that would cover all the different categories.

 7        Q.   Do you remember if this poll asked the respondents -- sorry.  So

 8     I understand that the poll asked the respondents about their current

 9     intentions regarding return at the time the poll was taken; is that

10     right?

11        A.   Yes.

12        Q.   And do you remember, or were you ever shown, to your

13     recollection, any of the questions that were asked in the poll or the

14     options that were given to the respondents in answering?

15        A.   I can't remember.  I can only assume.  And since one of my

16     scientific tasks was also polling, I would like to say that when we

17     discussed the issues that should be subject of the -- that particular

18     poll, that was one of our discussions with UNHCR.  I remember that our

19     proposal was for one of the questions, in addition to all the other

20     customary questions in the poll, should be whether they wanted to return.

21     Another one should have been this.  In case their house was occupied, did

22     they wish to accept an alternative accommodation in Croatia, what

23     conditions would they accept with regard to the return, and those were

24     mainly the questions that we were interested in.

25             However --

Page 20449

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Let me stop you at this point.

 2             It seems that there may be confusion.  Ms. Gustafson is asking

 3     you questions about the poll that was held by the UNHCR and the outcome

 4     of that.  Now, you are talking about, apparently, negotiations that took

 5     place before that poll was held, because you explained to us what

 6     questions should be included or not.

 7             Could we clearly distinguish between your discussions about what

 8     should or should not be in the poll, and what questions were in the poll,

 9     and what the results actually were.

10             Could we clearly distinguish the two in both question and answer.

11             Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

12             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

13        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I believe you answered my question at the beginning of

14     your answer when you said, "I can't remember, I can only assume."  And

15     then you went on to talk about questions that you thought should have

16     been included, and you referred to:  "In case their house was occupied,

17     did they wish to accept an alternative accommodation in Croatia."

18             Was that a concern as far as you were aware of --

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson, before we continue on that.

20             Could I ask you, Mr. Sterc, you, in the Working Group, discussed

21     the results of the poll.  You did that without having read the results,

22     you, as someone, as you told us, have some special expertise.

23     Nevertheless, you went to the Working Group, discussed the outcome of the

24     poll without having seen the results on paper?

25             Is that your testimony.

Page 20450

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.

 3             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Thank you.

 4        Q.   Again, you talked about questions that you thought should have

 5     been asked, and you said:  "In case their house was occupied, did they

 6     wish to accept an alternative accommodation in Croatia?"

 7             And my question is, based on your understanding of the situation

 8     at the time, was that a concern of some of the Croatian Serbs outside

 9     Croatia, the occupation of their house by somebody else?  Was that one of

10     the concerns that was expressed in relation to their return?

11        A.   It could have been.  It could have been occupied or damaged, and

12     our task was therefore - but I'm providing additional explanations now,

13     so I think I should stop there.  Thank you.

14        Q.   My question is whether you were aware of the occupation or damage

15     of a house belonging to a Croatian Serb, being of concern to such a

16     Croatian Serb, in relation to their return.

17             Are you aware of that?

18        A.   Yes.

19        Q.   So I take it your answer is yes, you were aware that that was a

20     concern of some Croatian Serbs, the fact that their house was occupied by

21     someone else?

22        A.   Yes.

23        Q.   Thank you.

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, I have no further questions for the

25     witness.

Page 20451

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Ms. Gustafson.

 2             Mr. Misetic.

 3             MR. MISETIC:  Yes, thank you, Mr. President.

 4                           Re-examination by Mr. Misetic:

 5        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I'm going to ask you a few questions on the basis of

 6     the cross-examination by the Prosecution.

 7             You were asked and shown a series of transcripts and documents

 8     for which you indicated that had you no personal knowledge, particularly

 9     transcripts from a time that you -- that preceded your arrival as

10     assistant minister for reconstruction.

11             Discussions ranging from whether people would be allowed across

12     the border, what the terms would be for them coming across the border,

13     colonisation, other types of discussions that were discussed.

14             When you came to the ministry on the 11th October, did any of the

15     plans or discussions about plans that were shown to you by the

16     Prosecution, were they ever put into operation as far as you know, from

17     your position as assistant minister?

18        A.   No.  I wasn't aware of those discussions.  I wasn't informed of

19     them.  And no one assigned me the task of acting in accordance with the

20     discussions held.

21        Q.   Now, if there had been a -- an executed plan to colonise - and

22     I'm using the word "colonise" - parts of, let's say Sector North, would

23     you -- or do you believe that you would have had to know something about

24     that, given your position in the ministry?

25        A.   I assume that the relevant information would have been conveyed

Page 20452

 1     to me.

 2        Q.   Well, given your role concerning the return of both Croat and

 3     Serb refugees and displaced persons, would there have been another

 4     section of the Croatian government outside of your portfolio that would

 5     have been moving in Croat refugees into Serb homes for the purpose of

 6     colonisation and that you wouldn't know about it?

 7        A.   Well, I think we had know about it.

 8        Q.   Now, you were asked some questions about the agreement in 1997 of

 9     the Joint Working Group which dealt with Croats and Serbs going in and

10     out of Eastern Slavonia, and you were also asked questions about MUP and

11     border control.  I'd like to show you a document which you may know

12     about.

13             MR. MISETIC:  This is Exhibit D690, Madam Registrar.

14        Q.   Mr. Sterc, you've already testified that -- that one of the

15     organisations that was part of the Joint Working Group was the UNHCR.

16     And did you ever have an occasion to meet with Ms. Sadako Ogata.

17             MR. MISETIC:  Madam Registrar, if we could about to page -- well,

18     let's stay here for a minute.

19        A.   Yes.  But I was only a member who did not have the right to take

20     the floor at that meeting, given the level I was at.

21        Q.   As you can see, this is a statement given by Ms. Ogata on the

22     10th of October, so this was a day before you arrived in the ministry for

23     reconstruction.

24             MR. MISETIC:  And Madam Registrar, if we could go to page 4 of

25     this document, please.

Page 20453

 1        Q.   Ms. Ogata is talking about - and I will briefly summarise for

 2     you - what will transpire once there is a conclusion of hostilities

 3     throughout the former Yugoslavia and the specific issue of the return of

 4     refugees.

 5             And if we start at the paragraph that begins, "Secondly."

 6             She says on the 10th of October:  "Repatriation must take place

 7     in an organised phased manner."

 8             The penultimate sentence of that paragraph starts:

 9             "Returning large numbers of refugees to areas which are not ready

10     to receive them can have very serious consequences not only for the

11     refugees themselves but for the stability in the area concerned.  I am

12     thinking particularly of the still fragile situation in the area of the

13     Federation."

14             And then she says:

15             "I envisage the repatriation process broadly taking place there

16     three phases.  The first should be return of displaced persons within

17     Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia."

18             If we go to the last sentence in that paragraph:

19             "The second phase would involve repatriation from other republics

20     within the former Yugoslavia, and the third, return from countries which

21     have granted temporary protection or resettlement."

22             Mr. Sterc, in terms of what ultimately transpired through your

23     work in the Joint Working Group, et cetera, over the course of several

24     year, did this three-step process Ms. Ogata describes, is that in effect

25     how the repatriation and return of refugees process transpired; in other

Page 20454

 1     words, in three phases?

 2        A.   Yes.  But what Ms. Ogata stated, well, it took us a very long

 3     time to adopt what she stated as a principle.

 4        Q.   Okay.  But is the answer, if I understood you correctly, yes, it

 5     took place in three phases?

 6        A.   Yes.

 7        Q.   So the issue of the return of refugees in Eastern Slavonia, would

 8     that have been part of phase 1, phase 2, or phase 3 in this process?

 9        A.   Podunavlje?  I can't be 100 per cent certain, but I think so.

10        Q.   Was it the first phase, because it's refugees moving internally

11     within Croatia?

12        A.   Yes.  That was always the first phase.

13        Q.   Okay.  There was some questions put to you about plans to return

14     emigres or Croats from South America and other parts of the world.  Were

15     you ever familiar with any plan that was actually put together and

16     implemented to return Croats from outside of Croatia and settle them into

17     the liberated areas?

18        A.   It was in fact a rhetorical discussion about the matter, academic

19     discussion, but I believed that, among other things, all those who

20     intended to return to Croatia should have been taken care of in the same

21     way and that includes, naturally, the diaspora.

22        Q.   Mr. Sterc, on this topic, you were asked or shown some statements

23     on presidential transcripts regarding bringing people into the area,

24     et cetera, after Operation Storm, including Croats, and in paragraph 5 of

25     your statement is the reference to the National Program for Demographic

Page 20455

 1     Development of the Republic of Croatia.

 2             Can you explain to the Trial Chamber, from the perspective of the

 3     Croatian government at least as of the 11th of October when you took your

 4     post, what issues or difficulties arose as a result of having this

 5     approximately 10.000 square kilometres of territory being virtually

 6     uninhabited?

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, I think this matter was addressed in

 8     direct examination.  I don't think it has anything to do with the

 9     programme, and it's not the proper subject for a redirect.  Thank you.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

11             MR. MISETIC:  Mr. President, if I may, he was shown a lot of

12     transcripts, including discussions about the need to settle people in the

13     area.  While he wasn't present for the meetings, he also wasn't offered

14     an opportunity, based on his knowledge of what transpired next, of why

15     there have been discussions about the need to settle people in the area

16     quickly, to the extent he has information for the Chamber, it flows out

17     of the cross, and I believe it's relevant for the Chamber to hear this

18     evidence.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  You may start questions in this direction, and we'll

20     closely follow how it develops.

21             MR. MISETIC:

22        Q.   Mr. Sterc, as assistant minister for reconstruction and

23     development as of the 11th October 1995, were there any problems posed

24     for the Republic of Croatia by having this area of approximately 10.000

25     square kilometres being virtually uninhabited?

Page 20456

 1        A.   It was always a problem.

 2        Q.   What specific problems do you know of concerning this 10.000

 3     square kilometres being uninhabited?

 4        A.   That area wasn't functioning economically in any sense, and with

 5     regard to the regional development of any country, and that includes

 6     Croatia, if you had areas that are relatively rich in resources, well,

 7     they can't remain without a function.  To make such areas functional, as

 8     a rule, it is necessary to have young, educated, and capable people

 9     living there, creative people, whose activity might be of benefit to the

10     area and to all those living there.  Might benefit the organisational

11     structure, transport structure of the area, and so on and so forth.

12        Q.   Now when you took up your post on 11th October, 1995, had you

13     been told what foreign diplomats such as Mr. Galbraith had predicted

14     about how many Serbs ultimately would return?

15        A.   No.

16        Q.   Okay.  Mr. Sterc you were asked about the Law on The takeover of

17     Flats and that on the 27th September a law was passed which made it a

18     three-month period within the liberated areas that if someone didn't come

19     back to return to their flat for three uninterrupted months, they would

20     lose their tenancy rights.

21             Are you familiar with what the law stated up to that point, as to

22     what would happen if a tenant left for some uninterrupted period of

23     time -- let me rephrase my question.

24             Prior to that law, what was the law, if any, as to the issue of

25     how -- how long a tenant had to come back into the apartment before the

Page 20457

 1     tenant would lose tenancy rights?

 2        A.   Unfortunately, I can't really answer that question precisely.

 3             MR. MISETIC:  I would like to show the witness a document via

 4     Sanction.  This is the 1985 law from the Socialist Federal Republic of

 5     Yugoslavia -- I should say the Socialist Republic of Croatia within the

 6     Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

 7             JUDGE ORIE:  Ms. Gustafson.

 8             MS. GUSTAFSON:  The witness has said he can't answer any

 9     questions on this topic.  It's leading now to show him a law.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  That's not what he said.  He said that -- he said

11     that he can't answer that question precisely.  And the question was

12     specifically on how long a tenant had to come back into the apartment

13     before the tenant would lose tenancy rights.

14             Now, may I be quite simple.  If that law is available to the

15     party, I take it that the time-period could be agreed upon, isn't it,

16     before we have another 40 pages of 1985 legislation in evidence which at

17     least the witness did not refer to.  I think he referred to legislation

18     adopted in the early 1990s.

19             But do we have to look at that law, unless there is any other

20     reason that you would like him to look at it.  Just for him to read what

21     the time limit is, give it to us and perhaps we can read it as well.

22             MR. MISETIC:  If he has any comment or if it refreshes his

23     recollection, we would bar table that as well as the amended law, which I

24     can tell you is 1986, 1992, and 1993.  So there is four laws, actually,

25     on this the topic.  This is the original and there are three subsequent

Page 20458

 1     amendments to prior to the 1990 --

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  If you have any questions, I take it, Ms. Gustafson,

 3     that if Mr. Misetic would tell the witness, Take it from me that in 1985

 4     the term was two months or six months or a year or three months or -- and

 5     then to ask him whatever question the witness could answer in relation to

 6     that?

 7             MS. GUSTAFSON:  First of all, Your Honour, we haven't seen the

 8     law and we haven't been able to look at -- whether it was, for example,

 9     in place in 1995 [sic].

10             Secondly, if there is a further question Mr. Misetic wants to

11     ask --

12             MR. MISETIC:  There is.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON: -- then perhaps I wouldn't have an objection.  But

14     to just show the witness the law is --

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Okay.  Let's -- would you agree with me that it is

16     worth taking the risk that Mr. Misetic would not correctly state the

17     time-limit.  Just talking about the time-limit, because I take it that he

18     would be embarrassed by wrongly stating such a time-limit.

19             So let's be very practical.  Mr. Misetic puts to the witness what

20     the time-limit was, and if he has any question to this witness who has

21     shown not to be -- well, not to -- to be the one who is very fond of

22     reading long legal texts, if I may say so.

23             MR. MISETIC:  I do have --

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic, if we do proceed in that way.

25             MR. MISETIC:  I do have some questions to follow up after I show

Page 20459

 1     him.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  And without any need to read the text of the

 3     legislation.

 4             MR. MISETIC:  That's fine.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Please proceed.

 6             MR. MISETIC:

 7        Q.   Mr. Sterc, I can tell you that the law in the Republic of Croatia

 8     from 1985, through the passage of the law in September of 1995 was six

 9     months.  In other words, if a tenant continuously was absent from his

10     apartment for a period of up to six months, they could -- or would lose

11     the tenancy rights, except in certain situation such as military service,

12     hospitalisation, or other valid grounds.

13             My question to you is, can you explain to the Trial Chamber - and

14     we see in the law, portions of the law were shown to you regarding that

15     these flats after three months could be used by police, et cetera - what

16     was the purpose, or what purpose would be served, in terms of freeing up

17     socially owned housing in the liberated areas?

18        A.   Well, the purpose in my opinion, the purpose of such time-limits,

19     and I believe that these are limits -- these time-limits were even

20     extended.  As far as I can remember, the purpose was that those who had

21     tenancy rights should return and request to buy out the flat.

22        Q.   I'm asking about a different --

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Misetic.

24             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction:  To lease the flats.

25             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  What interest could be served is for a little

Page 20460

 1     [phoen] to be easily invented.  Let's ask the witness whether he knows

 2     anything specifically, because he started -- his answer is "The purpose

 3     in my opinion," and then he gave that answer.  Let's ask him whether he

 4     knows anything from what was considered in the legislative history or

 5     whatever way.  I mean what service it could -- and I could answer that

 6     question.

 7             MR. MISETIC:  I'm asking -- I'm asking a different question so --

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Please do so.

 9             MR. MISETIC:  And I apologise because it's my inartfully phrased

10     question.

11        Q.   Mr. Sterc, with respect to services like policemen,

12     fire-fighters, hospital workers, administrators, things of that nature

13     that had to come into the liberated areas after Operation Storm due to

14     the departure of so many people from that area, do you know how such

15     administrative, police, governmental staff that was coming into the area,

16     where they would be housed?

17        A.   They could only be provided with accommodation in such flats and

18     no where else.

19        Q.   So let me give you a hypothetical situation.  But Martic's police

20     officers in Knin would have had the right to the socially owned

21     apartments in Knin for police officers until the 4th of August, 1995;

22     correct?

23        A.   That's correct.

24        Q.   Now if the Croatian police came into Knin after that, how would

25     they get to use the apartments that Martic's police officers had used

Page 20461

 1     prior to that?  Do you know?

 2             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Your Honour, that's -- that's a very leading

 3     question and it also presumes that --

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  It certainly is.  Hypothetical questions in this

 5     respect.  I could put five hypothetical questions, one clearly going in

 6     one direction and five other ones clearly in another direction.

 7             As I said before, let's ask the witness not what could be the

 8     reasons because that's not difficult to imagine.  I could imagine simply

 9     four or five, but what he knows about it, whether he has any statistics

10     on how it happened, whether he has any knowledge of the parliamentary

11     documentation on the matter, so that -- and the start of his answer:  "In

12     my opinion," I think tells us enough.

13             I do not prevent you from entering into the area Mr. Misetic but

14     I would rather stay out of the area of hypothesis and opinions.

15             Please proceed.

16             MR. MISETIC:  Yes.

17        Q.   Mr. Sterc, if there had been -- let me ask a different question.

18             Were you aware of any decisions to create administrative hurdles

19     to the return of Serbs to Croatia?

20        A.   No.

21        Q.   In your time as assistant minister working on issues of refugee

22     returns, did anyone, whether Minister Radic, President Tudjman,

23     Mr. Kostovic, anyone else, send you the message that you should take

24     steps to slow down the return of Serbs to Croatia?

25        A.   No.

Page 20462

 1        Q.   In terms of the steps that you were taking to facilitate the

 2     return of all persons to their own homes, did you ever receive any

 3     criticism for the efforts and steps that you were taking?  And I'm

 4     talking about from members within the Croatian government.

 5        A.   No.

 6        Q.   Mr. Sterc, thank you very much.

 7             MR. MISETIC:  I have no further questions, Mr. President.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you, Mr. Misetic.

 9             The position as far as the other Defence teams are concerned

10     remains the same.

11                           [Trial Chamber confers]

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Judge Kinis has one or more questions for you.

13                           Questioned by the Court:

14             JUDGE KINIS:  Mr. Sterc, I would like focus your attention to

15     your statement in paragraph 9.1 and -- actually paragraph 9, but

16     subparagraph 9.1 as well, and particularly about Law of Temporary

17     Takeover and Administration of Specific Property.

18             I wanted to ask you which legal procedure was applied for

19     registration of abandoned property, and further sequestration,

20     compensation of this property.  Did you check also previous legal status

21     of property; for instance, whether that was state owned or publicly owned

22     property or private, and legal status of applicants which submit the

23     claims for returning back or asking back some compensation?

24        A.   I am sorry, I'm not in a position to give you a direct answer

25     because the law was passed because -- before I came.  I wrote this

Page 20463

 1     because we subsequently discussed the law, and subsequently we saw what

 2     the consequences of its passing were during the very procedure.  So I

 3     can't tell you how the property was registered, whether it was segregated

 4     into private and social.

 5             JUDGE KINIS:  Sorry, Mr. Sterc, I'm not asking about preparation

 6     of this law.  I'm asking about real implementation process of this law.

 7        A.   Unfortunately, I can't even answer that one, because the law was

 8     already in force.  And it also produced its effects.  When we joined the

 9     ministry and when we started talking to the international community, then

10     we also discussed the effect of the law and its significance for our own

11     actions.

12             JUDGE KINIS:  Could you -- maybe you could explain procedure

13     or -- regarding criteria which was used for evaluation of real condition

14     of abandoned property.  At that time, when you were working at ministry,

15     on practical level.

16        A.   We had the list of the property that was compiled in the field.

17     The ownership status of some of the property could not be checked because

18     the Registry books and land books had been banned so the title deeds were

19     not available.  We could only check the title deeds based on the

20     statements obtained from the locals.  The land books that could have

21     confirmed the title deeds simply did not exist.

22             JUDGE KINIS:  Let's presume that person A submit an application

23     to -- for asking compensation to returning -- or returning back property,

24     which institution was dealing with this issue and which criteria was

25     applied for estimation of this issue of compensation?

Page 20464

 1        A.   When the agency was set up, it took over all the compensations.

 2     However, since the property in those areas did not have any real market

 3     value, it still doesn't have any.  If you look at the entire territory,

 4     you will see that the property over there does not have real market

 5     value.

 6             Therefore, we had to negotiate and we had to go back and forth

 7     between looking for the owner pretending that the building was completely

 8     functional, that was on the one hand, and the agency on the other hand.

 9     We entered in a direct conversations and negotiations about that.

10             JUDGE KINIS:  And last question is, you -- you also mentioned the

11     state did not confiscate property but only are you mentioning this in

12     your statement, term "sequestration" actually, actually sequestration

13     means seizing properties belonging to someone else and holding it until

14     profits paid the demand for which it was seised.

15             Are you aware about this legal status or content of this

16     procedure?  What does it mean, sequestration, under Croatian law, in

17     practice?

18        A.   This means that the Republic of Croatia did not become the owner

19     of the property but, rather, that it managed the property and protected

20     the property.

21             In practice, what it means, or what it meant was the following.

22     At the beginning, it seemed to us when we started the proceedings that

23     that was a huge problem.  However, it turned out later that the

24     management of the property gave rise to two rights which, in practice,

25     proved to be very important.  The first right was the right to

Page 20465

 1     reconstruction, since the Republic of Croatia had taken over the property

 2     irrespective of the fact of who had actually damaged the house.  That was

 3     very important, especially in cases involving two physical persons, which

 4     means that the perpetrator was a physical person, so the responsibility

 5     was taken over by the Republic of Croatia.

 6             The second right that was very important was the right for

 7     compensation for the value of the property, irrespective of their

 8     condition.  The compensation applied as if the property had been fully

 9     functional.

10             That was very important for our work in the Working Group,

11     because it meant that we did not have to travel to the field to do the

12     exercise of evaluating each and every object.

13             JUDGE KINIS:  Thank you for those answers.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sterc, I have a few questions for you.

15             I earlier asked you whether you remembered the name of the

16     village where you went, where Serbs had returned, and where there was a

17     disturbance of public order by protestors.  You said you didn't remember.

18             Could I ask you again whether it came into your mind?

19        A.   No.  The only thing I can provide you with is a written statement

20     to that effect.  I really can't remember the micro location or, rather, I

21     can like for the TV clip which would then help me remember the micro

22     location, the names of the people, and the event.

23             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Could it have been by any chance a place which

24     was referred to as Nijemci?

25        A.   No.  I'm sure that it wasn't.

Page 20466

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Could you tell us where Nijemci was?

 2        A.   Nijemci is in Eastern Slavonia, in the close proximity of the

 3     current Republic of Serbia on the banks of the Bosut river.

 4             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Could you tell us as far as protection of

 5     Serbs is concerned, whether you have any recollection of event or events

 6     which took place in Nijemci.

 7        A.   Unfortunately, not.

 8             JUDGE ORIE:  Because in the portion that was read to you from the

 9     - I think it's the VONS meeting - in December 1996, reference was made to

10     the what happened in Nijemci in relation to ineffective -- or at least

11     considered on the long-term ineffective protection of Serbs.  And in

12     that -- it seems that people understood what had happened there.  At

13     least, I do not see any further explanation.  But you are unaware of what

14     may have happened before December 1997 in Nijemci?

15        A.   I believe that Nijemci was part of the UNTAES zone.

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  But that was not my question.  My question was

17     whether you remember any specific event, in relation to protection of

18     Serbs --

19        A.   No, not in Nijemci, no.

20             MR. MISETIC:  Your Honour.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

22             MR. MISETIC:  I did forget to ask for a -- an interpretation or

23     translation check in that passage now that you're referring to, because

24     Ms. Gustafson read many more details of the document, and then I never

25     got back to checking the translation.

Page 20467

 1             But the translation of that presidential transcript, at page 33

 2     in the courtroom transcript today, line 3, a sentence has been translated

 3     as "First we stalled issuing them documents," and if we could get a -- a

 4     translation check on that, I would be grateful.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Since the witness -- I fully agree that there

 6     should be a translation check, if there's any doubt about that.  But the

 7     responses of the witness did not -- if there's any suggestion of

 8     another --

 9             MR. MISETIC:  [Overlapping speakers] ...

10             JUDGE ORIE:  -- translation on which you would think the witness

11     could testify about, then, of course, we would have to have it now, but

12     otherwise we leave it to a later stage.

13             MR. MISETIC:  I believe the witness said he was unfamiliar with

14     the discussion, so ...

15             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Mr. -- let me just check in the ...

16             Mr. Sterc, in the beginning of your testimony, you said something

17     about whether or not -- that people sometimes were registered as having

18     returned, although they did not actually return and would only come to

19     the area now and then for maintenance of their property.

20             You remember that?

21        A.   Yes.

22             JUDGE ORIE:  And then you said, you assumed that they were

23     employed elsewhere and that was the reason why they -- although, having

24     been registered as returned, were only occasionally present in the place

25     of their property.

Page 20468

 1             Now, that was an assumption.  If I would ask you whether that

 2     assumption is any better than an assumption -- as, for example, that they

 3     returned, although did not stay in order to safeguard their property

 4     rights within the time-limits set by the legislation, what would be your

 5     answer?

 6        A.   Once they returned, and once they were registered, their property

 7     was theirs, and no further influence could be possible on the part of the

 8     state, on their property.  That was the practice that was implemented in

 9     the field.

10             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Last question.  The agency that could buy the

11     property -- I think you called it a land bank, or that was how it was

12     often known.  How many transactions, that is, buying the property,

13     actually took place?  If you know.

14        A.   I can't say, unfortunately, because the agency because outside of

15     our own system.  Its director was a different person.  They did provide

16     reports to that effect.  However, as I sit here today I can't tell you

17     anything about those transactions.

18             I only know that the agency's budget was about 120 million kuna.

19             JUDGE ORIE:  Which, at the time was approximately how many

20     Deutschemarks so that we better have an understanding of the [Overlapping

21     speakers] ...

22        A.   It was approximately 30 million Deutschemarks at the time, and

23     currently it would around 16 million euro.

24             JUDGE ORIE:  And that would be a budget for how long?

25        A.   For a year.

Page 20469

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you for those answers.

 2             I have no further questions for you.

 3             Have the questions by the Bench triggered any need to put further

 4     questions to the witness?

 5             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Yes, Your Honour.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Now, I'm looking at you and at the clock,

 7     Ms. Gustafson, because we have ten minutes of tape left.  If we could

 8     avoid having another session, then it might be worthwhile with the

 9     assistance of interpreters and transcribers to see whether we can finish

10     in ten minutes, if not, we'd need to take a break.

11             MS. GUSTAFSON:  It was only one answer of the question--

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  -- of [indiscernible] that I --

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Please.

15             MS. GUSTAFSON:  -- so.

16                           Further Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson:

17        Q.   And Mr. Sterc, in relation to a question that His Honour Judge

18     Orie just asked you about people returning in order to safeguard their

19     property rights, you said:

20             "Once they returned and once they were registered, their property

21     was theres and no further influence of the state could be possible on

22     their property."

23             Now, if someone's property had been taken over pursuant to the

24     Law on Temporary Takeover of Property and had been assigned to a Croat

25     for their use, if a Serb returned outside the 90- day-time limit, they

Page 20470

 1     could not repossess that property, is that right, if a Croat was living

 2     there?

 3             MR. MISETIC:  Objection.  If we could have foundation as to when

 4     this person returned.  It's not in dispute that that requirement was

 5     waived in January of 1996, so.

 6             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, but as a matter of fact, the witness didn't

 7     answer my question.  He gave an answer, but it was not an answer to my

 8     question.  So, therefore, I -- at that moment I decided not to further

 9     pursue the matter and I would not expect the matter to be further

10     pursued.

11             If, nevertheless, if you think of it as specific importance, then

12     I'll not stop you, but ...

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  Well, Your Honour, I was concerned of the

14     statement that the witness made.  If Your Honours don't consider that to

15     be --

16             JUDGE ORIE:  Well, the witness said that once someone had

17     regained their property that that would not change anymore which, of

18     course, leaves 100 questions open on how difficult that would be and how

19     often you would have to return for that.

20             MS. GUSTAFSON:  That's fine, Your Honour, then I won't --

21             JUDGE ORIE:  It was just to find out how solid the assumption was

22     that the witness gave, that is, employment abroad, not to further explore

23     the details of the legislation.

24             MS. GUSTAFSON:  That's fine, Your Honour.  I'll take your

25     guidance.  I have no questions.

Page 20471

 1             JUDGE ORIE:  Mr. Sterc, this concludes your evidence.  I would

 2     like to thank you very much for coming to The Hague, a long distance, and

 3     for having answered the questions that were put to you by the parties and

 4     by the Bench.

 5             Madam Usher, could you please escort the Mr. Sterc, to whom I

 6     wish a safe return home, out of the courtroom.

 7             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

 8                           [The witness withdrew]

 9             JUDGE ORIE:  We have only a couple of minutes left.

10             Ms. Gustafson, in the beginning you reserved your right to ask

11     for further time for preparation of cross-examination.  Does that request

12     still stand?

13             MS. GUSTAFSON:  No, Your Honour.

14             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you.  Any agreement on the Pokaz issue between

15     the parties?

16             Mr. Waespi.

17             MR. WAESPI:  Yes, I think we have found a workable solution.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  That's appreciated, then.  Do we have to know the

19     details about the solution at this moment --

20             MR. WAESPI:  No.

21             JUDGE ORIE:  -- or could we just happily go and --

22             MR. WAESPI:  I think we would report back on Tuesday if we didn't

23     find -- if we find problems we can't address ourselves, but I just would

24     like to state on the record, before we leave, in relation to

25     Witness Cross, that the Prosecution would like to cross-examine him,

Page 20472

 1     obviously that's AG-12.

 2             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

 3             MR. WAESPI:  -- and that we haven't received the exhibits yet for

 4     this witness, and he is testifying next week.

 5             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  Despite these problems there is a workable

 6     situation to be expected, which is appreciated, and you intend to

 7     cross-examine the expert witness.

 8             Mr. Misetic.

 9             MR. MISETIC:  Just for the record, I'm under the assumption,

10     which I will verify, that there will be no documents used that aren't

11     specifically referenced in the report, but we will check that.

12             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.  That's on the record.  Then there was an issue

13     about a missing page 5 in D1599.

14             Mr. Russo, you found it?

15             MR. RUSSO:  Yes, Mr. President.  That was actually a document

16     that our office had provided and we did check in the evidence unit, and

17     the page is missing notice original, so it was our mistake.

18             JUDGE ORIE:  Thank you for that information.

19             Finally, has the Prosecution filed already its notice on the

20     testimony of Witness Cross?

21             Mr. Waespi.

22             MR. WAESPI:  I think you might have misunderstood me.  I first

23     addressed Witness Pokaz --

24             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes.

25             MR. WAESPI:  -- and we haven't formally decided yet on whether we

Page 20473

 1     need to cross-examine Mr. Pokaz.  In relation to Mr. Cross, we would like

 2     to cross-examine Mr. Cross, who is testifying next week.

 3             JUDGE ORIE:  Yes, yes.  You would not expect anyone not to

 4     cross-examine Mr. Cross.  That would be the last thing we could expect in

 5     this world.

 6             I thank you very much for the efficient way you dealt with these

 7     procedural matters.

 8             We will adjourn and we resume on Tuesday, 21st day of July, 9.00,

 9     Courtroom III.

10                            --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.57 a.m.,

11                           to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 21st day of July,

12                           2009, at 9.00 a.m.