Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 12481

 1                           Thursday, 16 October 2014

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.

 5             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Good morning to everyone in and around the

 6     courtroom.

 7             Madam Registrar, could you call the case, please.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  Good morning, Your Honours.  This is case

 9     IT-04-75-T, The Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.

10             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

11             May we have the appearances, please, starting with the

12     Prosecution.

13             MR. GILLETT:  Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.  It's

14     Matthew Gillett, together with Senior Trial Attorney, Douglas Stringer,

15     and legal intern Nika Jurkovic for the Prosecution.

16             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Zivanovic, for the Defence.

17             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Good morning, Your Honours.  For the Defence of

18     Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

20                           [The witness takes the stand]

21             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Good morning, Mr. Strbac.

22             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning to you.

23             JUDGE DELVOIE:  May I remind you that you are still under oath.

24             Mr. Zivanovic, please proceed.  Sorry, Mr. Gosnell.

25             MR. GOSNELL:  Good morning, Mr. President.  Thank you.


Page 12482

 1                           WITNESS:  SAVO STRBAC [Resumed]

 2                           [Witness answered through interpreter]

 3                           Examination by Mr. Gosnell: [Continued]

 4        Q.   Good morning, Mr. Strbac.

 5        A.   Good morning.  Good morning.

 6             MR. GOSNELL:  May we have the witness's statement, please, on the

 7     screen.  It's 1D3652.  And if there is a hard copy, that would be

 8     appreciated for the witness.

 9        Q.   Now, Mr. Strbac, in the very limited time remaining, I just want

10     to ask you about two remaining issues, the first arising from

11     paragraph 47 of your statement in which you describe the Croatian side

12     arresting individuals in order to make up enough numbers to make a

13     one-for-one exchange for the Croat prisoners held by the Serb side, and

14     you describe here in paragraph 47 a particular way in which they were

15     doing that; namely, arresting civilians on the Croatian side.

16             Were there other ways that they increased the numbers of

17     prisoners that they had to exchange?

18        A.   I mention in my statement, and I will repeat it now, that most

19     often these civilians were said to be snipers, especially in 1993.  There

20     were many elderly people and even women about whom we asked when they

21     were brought for exchange.  They told us that they had been shooting from

22     their apartments and houses, from windows, at soldiers and even

23     civilians, men, women, and children.  When they brought elderly people

24     for exchange, I asked why, and they told me, They are snipers.  So that

25     was a bit ridiculous.

Page 12483

 1        Q.   I apologise for interrupting.  My question was whether there were

 2     other ways, aside from arresting elderly people who were civilians, were

 3     there other ways that they increased the numbers to be exchanged?

 4        A.   Well, yes.  They arrested, for instance, ex-officers, retirees.

 5     I remember there was some Pavle Osanica [phoen] in Zadar, born in Serbia

 6     but then moved to Croatia and stayed in Croatia because his wife was

 7     Croat and he had children there.  Twice they brought him for exchange and

 8     twice he returned to Zadar.  The third time they arrested him and we are

 9     still looking for him today.  He didn't come to the Serbian side, but his

10     family received information that he had been on his way to Zagreb when he

11     reached Mount Velebit, and there he went missing without a trace.  We are

12     still looking for him.

13             There were other arrests of shepherds, for instance.  The

14     Croatian army would raid these peripheral areas and they would arrest

15     people who were tending to their sheep and cattle.  We have such

16     information.  There are three ongoing tries.  Croats are trying people

17     who tortured people in jails.  There were rapes.  There were many arrests

18     of civilians, shepherds, women, elderly men.  I wrote a lot about that

19     and published several books.

20             MR. GOSNELL:  May we have 1D3786, please, which is Defence

21     tab 75.

22        Q.   This is a wire report apparently from Reuters, the 5th of

23     November.  At the top there's an indication it's 1993.  It says:

24             "United Nations and Serb officials have accused Croats of

25     abducting rebel Serbs from Croatia's breakaway Krajina enclave.  They say

Page 12484

 1     that those seized are used by the Croats to swell the numbers in prisoner

 2     exchanges.  A UN official said abductions began at the end of last May.

 3     Abduction of Serb settlers by Croats in bordering villages in Sector

 4     South of the UN protected areas is becoming almost a regular practice,

 5     Heather Felsinger, a humanitarian officer with the UN Protection Force,

 6     told Reuters."

 7             And then you're quoted down at the bottom as saying:

 8             "We did not want to talk a lot about this problem as we didn't

 9     want to endanger the exchange of POWs."

10             Now, can I just ask you this question, Mr. Strbac:  How were

11     these abductions possible given that they were in areas that were

12     supposedly protected by the United Nations?

13        A.   Well, very simple.  I explained yesterday that the UN was not

14     deployed along borders.  They only had a few check-points along borders.

15     They were deployed in Krajina along the principle of ink spots -- inkblot

16     pattern, so they were scattered all over.

17             As for UNPROFOR, as far as UNPROFOR is concerned, the Croats

18     could get in freely, the Croat army, police, et cetera.  The Serbs were

19     guarded by UN soldiers, which didn't offer much protection.  I told you

20     yesterday about Mirlovic Polje where seven elderly people were killed,

21     including four women.  This happened in the end of May, when in the

22     village of Donji Baljci, Drnis municipality, they arrested seven

23     shepherds, including two women, and I believe it was on 18 September that

24     convictions were pronounced against some Croats, including one man called

25     Jakovlovic, for torturing and raping the women.  The verdict has not been

Page 12485

 1     written out yet.

 2        Q.   Were you aware and were other Serb officials aware that these

 3     abductions were occurring at the time?

 4        A.   We were aware of them all.  Sooner or later we'd find out.

 5        Q.   If I can just go to my next question.  Why didn't the Serb police

 6     or other forces stop them from occurring?

 7        A.   There were not enough people.  You must realise the length of the

 8     border between Republika Srpska Krajina and Croatia, I don't believe

 9     there is a longer border for such small countries, such small regions.

10     We did not have enough personnel to protect, to defend, every metre of

11     the border.

12             MR. GOSNELL:  I tender this document, Mr. President.

13             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gillett.

14             MR. GILLETT:  Mr. President, Your Honours, we do object on the

15     basis of what this document goes to.  Again, this goes to tu quoque

16     evidence.  It's about the purported abduction of Serbs.  Now, the

17     jurisprudence here at the Tribunal says that in general tu quoque

18     evidence is not admissible, but there are exceptions where it has been

19     shown there is a specific geographic and temporal link to crimes alleged

20     in the indictment or the responsibility of the accused for those crimes.

21     And I'm referring, for example, to a decision from the Prlic case of 17

22     August 2009, and can you see that on page 10, paragraph 23, of that

23     decision.

24             The Defence has not demonstrated how these purported border

25     abductions have any impact on the crimes alleged against Mr. Hadzic.

Page 12486

 1             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell.

 2             MR. GOSNELL:  Let's step back and think about some of the

 3     evidence that was presented by the Prosecution in this case concerning

 4     the mission of the United Nations, whether and how they were able to

 5     defend certain areas, and the reasonableness and the explanation for the

 6     Serb side not disarming.  There was a tremendous amount of evidence heard

 7     about that issue, and it is more than reasonable and perfectly relevant

 8     to present evidence suggesting that there was a real threat, firstly,

 9     that was not being responded to by the UN forces; that the RSK forces had

10     good reason and the RSK government had good reason not to disarm in these

11     areas.

12             And, furthermore, in addition to this, the capacity of the Serb

13     police and the Serb forces even to guard against infiltrations by Croat

14     forces and to prevent crimes in the same areas where the Prosecution is

15     arguing that those same forces could have prevented crimes against Croats

16     and didn't do so for the deliberate purpose of encouraging their

17     expulsion.

18             Now, these matters are relevant, and I would suggest if this type

19     of document, if this information is deemed irrelevant, as the Prosecution

20     seems to wish, then Your Honours will be left with an extremely

21     distorted, partial and incorrect view of the situation and the reasons

22     for decisions by the RSK government.

23             MR. GILLETT:  And just one additional note.  If the Defence is,

24     indeed, conceding that there was a policy on the part of the RSK

25     authorities not to disarm their forces, then we would withdraw the

Page 12487

 1     objection to the admission of this document.

 2                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 3             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Objection overruled.  The document is admitted

 4     and marked.

 5             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 1D3786 will be Exhibit D246.

 6             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

 7             MR. GOSNELL:  May we have 1D2845, which is Defence tab 32.

 8        Q.   Mr. Strbac, just to be clear from the outset, I don't intend to

 9     go into the substance of this document with you in any detail.  I simply

10     want to ask you this:  Are you familiar with the contents of this report

11     in front of you?

12        A.   Yes.  I published it several times.  I made it public.

13        Q.   When did you receive it?

14        A.   I think a few days after it was drafted, and if I remember well,

15     it was written in October 1993.  I received it directly from

16     representatives of UNPROFOR.  As I told you, I was part of the

17     authorities.  In addition to being secretary of the government, I was

18     also chairman of that humanitarian commission of Krajina, or whatever you

19     want to call it, commission for the exchange of prisoners, commission for

20     the exchange of mortal remains, commission for humanitarian issues.  In

21     any case, I co-operated with representatives of international

22     organisations and they insisted that after such a heinous crime such as

23     the one in the Medak pocket, on at least making available to us the

24     documentation they were able to collect if they were not able to protect

25     us.

Page 12488

 1        Q.   And are the contents of this report generally accurate, based

 2     upon what you know about the events at Medak pocket?

 3        A.   I would say that basically, yes.  If we went into detail, I could

 4     tell you about certain things that were different, but basically 99

 5     per cent is correct.

 6             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, I tender this document.

 7             MR. GILLETT:  For the record, again, we'll put our objection

 8     about the tu quoque nature.  And just do I understand correctly that the

 9     witness reads English as we've just seen an English version of the

10     document?

11             MR. GOSNELL:

12        Q.   Mr. Strbac, is there a Serbian translation of this document?

13        A.   Yes.  The UNPROFOR made it and provided it.  But I understand

14     English enough to know that it concerns the Medak operation, and I know

15     this document very well.  I published it several times, both in English

16     and in Serbian.

17             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, again, I tender this document.  I

18     will undertake to attempt to obtain the B/C/S version as well so that can

19     be uploaded, for what it's worth.

20                           [Trial Chamber confers]

21             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Admitted and marked.

22             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honour, 1D2845 will be Exhibit D247.

23             MR. GOSNELL:  That concludes my direct examination,

24     Mr. President.

25             Thank you, Mr. Strbac.


Page 12489

 1             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.

 2             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Welcome.

 3             MR. GILLETT:  If I could just take a minute to rearrange my

 4     affairs.

 5             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Take your time.  Let us know.

 6                           Cross-examination by Mr. Gillett:

 7        Q.   Good morning, Mr. Strbac.  As you're probably aware, my name is

 8     Matthew Gillett.  I'm representing the Prosecution.  I'm going to ask you

 9     some questions.  If any of them are unclear, please ask me to clarify,

10     and I'll endeavour to do so.

11             Now, firstly, yesterday you spoke about the powers of the RSK

12     president under the constitution, and at transcript page 12460, you said

13     that:

14             "In times of the state of war or imminent threat of war, he

15     assumed the powers of the parliament and transferred them to the

16     government."

17             Do you recall saying that?

18        A.   Well, that's roughly it, essentially.  Maybe there are some

19     nuances, but basically that's it.  Perhaps I could tell you in which way

20     he transferred those powers.

21        Q.   We will get to the nuances.  My question was whether you recall

22     saying that, that portion that I quoted from the transcript.

23        A.   I said, yes, roughly, that's it.  Basically that's it.

24             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get L3, page 23 in the English, on the

25     monitor.

Page 12490

 1        Q.   And so this is the RSK constitution which you were shown

 2     yesterday.

 3             Now, Hadzic, he assumed the powers of the assembly in accordance

 4     with Article 78, paragraph 7, of the constitution, as I understand, and

 5     I'll read this paragraph.  It says:

 6             "Under his initiative or under the government's proposal, during

 7     a state of war or immediate threat of war, adopts acts about issues from

 8     the assembly's jurisdiction and is required to submit them before the

 9     assembly as soon as the assembly is able to meet.  Acts adopted during

10     the state of war may limit certain human and civil rights and liberties

11     and change the organisation structure and authority of the government and

12     its ministries, courts and public prosecutor's offices."

13             That is the provision under which he assumed the powers of the

14     assembly in a state of war or imminent threat of war; correct?

15        A.   Yes.

16        Q.   And the government acted pursuant to the authority that Hadzic

17     delegated to it.  For example, as you said in a decision in

18     September 1993 concerning the appointment of judges in the RSK, that was

19     based on his presidential decree from January; correct?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   And the presidential decree you were referring to was the one of

22     22 January 1993 proclaiming a state of war; is that correct?

23        A.   Yes.

24             MR. GILLETT:  For the record, that's P2742.

25        Q.   Do you recall that after the Miljevac Plateau incident in June

Page 12491

 1     1992, the RSK declared an imminent state of war?

 2        A.   I really can't remember.  I didn't see that document during

 3     proofing.  I allow the possibility that it is so, but I can't be

 4     positive.  If you have the document, please show it to me.

 5        Q.   Is it fair to say your recollection of events in June 1992 is

 6     somewhat faded?

 7        A.   Well, concerning that document that you're asking me about, I

 8     really can't remember.  It faded in my memory.  But as for the other

 9     question, every year my organisation and I organise memorial services for

10     all these events, including the Medak pocket.  And we have published a

11     lot of documents, although I can't remember this particular one.  I'm

12     inclined to think that it was not published because we have a decree from

13     January 1993, and it would have been logical - although I can't remember

14     precisely - that the imminent threat of war had not been proclaimed then.

15             MR. GILLETT:  If we could get P2742, and this is the presidential

16     decree of 22 January 1993, on the monitor, please.

17        Q.   And, sir, if we look at point 1, we see that he says:  "I declare

18     a state of war throughout the state territory of the RSK."  And then at

19     point 2, he says:  "I order a general mobilisation according to the

20     Defence plan."  And do you see his signature there on the document?

21        A.   Yes.

22        Q.   And this was sent out to the Main Staff of the Army of the RSK,

23     the prime minister of the RSK, and the minister of interior; correct?

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   Now, while Hadzic delegated some of the assembly powers to the

Page 12492

 1     government under his war powers, he still issued decrees himself;

 2     correct?

 3             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection.  That assumes facts not in evidence.

 4     The characterisation has been made about -- well, I'll withdraw that

 5     objection, Mr. President.

 6             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you.

 7        Q.   Sir, could you answer my question.

 8        A.   This was adopted on the 22nd of January.  I believe it's the same

 9     date as the decree we just discussed.  So it was the same day that both

10     documents were passed.

11        Q.   Sorry to cut you off, and there was an exchange back and forwards

12     so I'll repeat my question, which is:  While Hadzic, as president,

13     delegated some of the assembly powers to the government pursuant to his

14     war powers, he still issued decrees himself after and on 22 January 1993;

15     correct?

16             MR. GOSNELL:  I do object to that one, Mr. President.  That does

17     assume a fact that is not in evidence because the proposition embedded in

18     the question is that some powers of the assembly are being exercised by

19     the president and that he is issuing decrees in those areas, and that's

20     not been put to the witness.  That particular aspect has not been put to

21     the witness first.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Your Honours, given that the witness is a lawyer

23     and former judge, if we're going to discuss this in further detail, and

24     given that it appears that he does understand some English, I would have

25     to ask him to leave the courtroom.

Page 12493

 1             But to put my answer succinctly, I would say that the preceding

 2     questions did, indeed, establish the basis for this question, and beyond

 3     that, this is cross-examination.  So I'm entitled to put whichever

 4     proposition is based on the provisions that we're seeing in front of us.

 5             JUDGE DELVOIE:  The objection is -- sorry, Mr. Gosnell.

 6             MR. GOSNELL:  I just wanted to say, Mr. President, that even

 7     though it's cross-examination, there still is a need to establish the

 8     predicates to questions.  That's still a requirement and that's the basis

 9     of the objection.

10             JUDGE DELVOIE:  The objection is overruled.

11             MR. GILLETT:

12        Q.   So I'll repeat my question again.  While Hadzic, as president,

13     had delegated some of the assembly powers to the government, he still

14     issued decrees pursuant to his war-time power; correct?

15        A.   Well, I don't know.  I saw some documents.  I cannot remember

16     right now.  I've already told you that this document bears the same date

17     as that decree transferring powers.  Of course, the president could,

18     formally speaking, always take back the powers that he transferred to

19     someone else.  I don't remember that, though.  If you have a document to

20     that effect, I can tell you, as a lawyer.  I'll do my best.

21             MR. GILLETT:  Okay.  Could we get P998.  And this is tab 25, page

22     62, please.

23        Q.   And, sir, while this is coming up, I note that you referred to

24     the removal of the RSK prime minister, Zdravko Zecevic, and his

25     replacement by Bjegovic in your statement.  And this occurred at the same

Page 12494

 1     time that you became secretary of the government; correct?

 2        A.   Yes.

 3        Q.   Now, what we have coming up on the screen are the minutes from

 4     the extraordinary session of the RSK Assembly of 17 -- 27 March 1993.

 5     And on this page, we see Hadzic's decision as president of 17 March 1993

 6     which is read out.  This has been read out by chairman Mile Paspalj and

 7     the decision says:   "The current prime minister of RSK, Zdravko Zecevic,

 8     MA, is hereby removed from office, effective 17 March 1993."

 9             That's correct, that Hadzic removed Zecevic on 17 March 1993;

10     right?

11        A.   According to this document, that seems to be it.  A month later,

12     I became the secretary of the government.  The government itself appoints

13     the secretary.  So once the government was formed, they appointed me

14     secretary.  That was a month after this.

15        Q.   Thank you.  You've answered the question.

16             Hadzic's decision that we see of 17 March 1993 was a war-time

17     decree; correct?

18        A.   It seems to be that way because a state of war was declared in

19     January.

20        Q.   Now, if we could move to page 59 of the English in this, and this

21     is page 49 of the B/C/S on the right-hand side, we see the debates

22     concerning Hadzic's decision to remove Zecevic and we see that one of the

23     assembly members said the following:

24             "Zecevic perhaps wanted to introduce order.  I may not even agree

25     with the president of the republic, but inside this assembly, I have to,

Page 12495

 1     because ultimately Mr. Hadzic is president of the republic."

 2             This member stated that he was compelled to accept the decision

 3     of Mr. Hadzic because of his office of president; correct?

 4        A.   Well, I'm trying to find it.  Where is that?

 5        Q.   In the English, it is the second-to-bottom paragraph.  In the

 6     B/C/S -- do you see it now?

 7        A.   If this is it, so Zecevic is not the one who was supposed to

 8     resolve everything and within that context even the president of the

 9     republic and the president of the assembly are guilty --

10        Q.   Sorry, sir.  It's the --

11        A.   Oh, is it this?

12             "Perhaps Zecevic is the least guilty of all.  Only time will

13     tell.  Zecevic perhaps wanted to introduce order.  I may not even agree

14     with the president of the republic, but inside this assembly, I have to,

15     because after all Mr. Hadzic is the president of the republic."

16             Well, in Serbian, this doesn't sound as if he has to vote for

17     Hadzic's proposal.  In Serbian, it doesn't sound that way.  He says:

18             "I may disagree with the president of the republic, but I have to

19     agree in this assembly because, after all, Mr. Hadzic is the president of

20     the republic."

21             From this, we only see that he respects that high office and

22     nothing else.

23        Q.   Sir, you never met Hadzic, as far as you recall, correct, face to

24     face?

25        A.   As far as I can remember, during the war, certainly not.  After

Page 12496

 1     the war, we went our separate ways as refugees.  Of course, I'd recognise

 2     him anywhere in the world because I saw him in the media a lot, and he

 3     probably saw me quite a bit, too.  I do not remember meeting him,

 4     encountering him, exchanging greetings, saying hello, hello.  I don't

 5     even remember speaking to him on the phone.

 6        Q.   And you do not know what interactions he was having with other

 7     members of the RSK government, do you?

 8        A.   I don't know.  What did not go through me as secretary of the

 9     government or through Savo Strbac as a personality, I really don't know.

10     How could I know?

11        Q.   So you don't know what influence Hadzic was having on government

12     decisions, do you?

13        A.   No.  That would not be right.  I was secretary of the government,

14     and if something would arrive through official channels, then I'd have to

15     know about that.  If you are now trying to ask me whether indirectly he

16     called one of the ministers and influenced him in order to have this or

17     that decision reached, I don't know.  I really do not know, and I cannot

18     answer that kind of question because, after all, that's a hypothetical

19     question.

20             MR. GILLETT:  Could we now get P999 on the monitor, please.  And

21     this is tab 33.  If we could get page 26 of the English, and this is

22     B/C/S pages 56 to 57.

23        Q.   Sir, in your statement and in your evidence, you've described

24     some problems that the RSK government had and you mention this in

25     multiple places.  The document that's coming up in front of us is the

Page 12497

 1     record of the 1st Session of a Conference of the Assembly of the RSK on 9

 2     October 1993, and I'm interested in a portion where Milan Martic

 3     describes some of the problems in the RSK.  His speech starts at page 21,

 4     but looking at page 26, we see, and I quote, starting from, "On the

 5     whole," which is in the middle of the page:

 6             "On the whole, the Serb Krajina republic's president,

 7     Goran Hadzic, stayed in Krajina for one hour every two months, and he

 8     could hardly bear even that one hour so had to run back saying that he

 9     did not have a place to stay there.  I told him that we had rented a

10     house for him.  We were a paying the rent for six or seven months for

11     nothing.  The government paid simply because he could not be in Knin."

12             And then if I skip further:

13             "The reason that the government has not been competent is that it

14     was being obstructed by President Hadzic and the group around him.  It

15     was not the government that has had the Serb Krajina republic's financial

16     resources at its disposal but the group around President Hadzic."

17             That is one of the reasons for the RSK government's problems, to

18     the extent there were problems, correct, the behaviour of Hadzic and his

19     associates?

20        A.   Well, that's the opinion of Mr. Martic who, at the time, was

21     minister of the interior, as far as I can remember, in Bjegovic's

22     government.  So, as for his opinion, I really have no comment on that,

23     except that's the opinion of a minister.  And Hadzic rarely went to Knin;

24     there's no denying that.  Everybody knows that.  I spoke about that, too.

25        Q.   I'm interested in your opinion.  Is it true that the misbehaviour

Page 12498

 1     of Hadzic and his associates was a cause of the problems of the RSK

 2     government?

 3        A.   The Bjegovic government, no.  As far as I can remember, it was an

 4     excellent team, if I may say so.  In, say, 90 per cent of all cases,

 5     decisions were made unanimously.  However, Hadzic was president before

 6     that as well during the Zecevic government, so -- well, Martic was in the

 7     Zecevic government, too, so perhaps something from that period.  I mean,

 8     he could have presented his views.

 9             As far as I can remember, there were ministers from the eastern

10     part, from Eastern Slavonia, where Hadzic lived and worked, but these

11     ministers were very devoted to Prime Minister Bjegovic.  I knew them

12     personally.  They were a very good team and they became even closer

13     because of war and all the trouble that followed.  So in my opinion,

14     there was nothing that would indicate that Hadzic was exerting any kind

15     of pressure on any minister.

16        Q.   Sir, that's not the question that I asked.  You've referred to

17     the prior period during the Zecevic government, but this statement comes

18     from the period during the Bjegovic government.  Are you saying that it

19     is not true that Hadzic's and his associates' behaviour had a negative

20     impact on the functioning of the RSK government during that period?

21             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection.

22             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell.

23             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection; vague.  But now not only is it all

24     behaviour being referred to but also all associates, and that's a very

25     wide range, Mr. President.

Page 12499

 1             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Could you rephrase, Mr. Gillett.

 2             MR. GILLETT:  Indeed.

 3        Q.   Mr. Strbac, are you saying that Martic's claims here at the

 4     assembly in October 1993 that the conduct of Hadzic and the group around

 5     him was having a negative impact on the functioning of the RSK government

 6     is not true?

 7        A.   I'm just saying that I did not notice any influence over the

 8     members of the government while I was there, that is to say, from April,

 9     I mean when this session was held.  Now, whether Hadzic influenced some

10     other structures of authority -- there's the army, there's the police,

11     like in any other country.  It's not only the government.  They're not

12     only ministers who are members of the government.  There are other

13     structures as well.  Whether objectively he could have exercised any

14     influence, in all sincerity, I don't think so.  I don't think that

15     Karadzic could have influenced anybody or anything.

16        Q.   You said Karadzic.  I believe you mean Hadzic; correct?

17        A.   Hadzic, Hadzic, Hadzic.  I'm sorry, it was a slip of the tongue.

18        Q.   Sir, prior to this quote I've just read from minister of the

19     interior Milan Martic, Martic said about Hadzic:  "He is surrounded by a

20     group so deep into crime that he could absolutely never get away from

21     it."  That's correct, isn't it?

22             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection.  Objection, Mr. President.  It's vague

23     as to whether what's being asked is that that's what said or is that the

24     way it was.  That needs to be clarified.

25             MR. GILLETT:

Page 12500

 1        Q.   I'm asking him whether that's the truth.

 2        A.   You're right.

 3        Q.   Okay.

 4        A.   If Martic said that, if that is what is written here, then that

 5     was it.  I did not attend this session, this assembly, I think.  I don't

 6     know whether Martic said it, but you and I and anybody else can read

 7     this.  If it's written in the record, then it's written in the record.

 8     But it's a different matter whether that is what actually happened in

 9     real life, in reality.

10        Q.   That isn't my question.  Is that true, in reality, or is it not,

11     or do you not know?

12        A.   I don't know.  I know that nobody brought criminal charges

13     against him during the war, and I know that he was not relieved of the

14     duties of president because of some crimes.  I know that where he was a

15     candidate when he ran for the Presidency, he lost, but nobody prosecuted

16     him for crimes.  Both he and I lived in Serbia.  I would have known had

17     criminal charges been brought against him.

18             As for rumours, I've already said that.  After the war I heard

19     these stories that Hadzic was linked to some kind of trade oak wood,

20     whatever, in Slavonia.  This is really just rumours.  You said a moment

21     ago that I'm a lawyer, that I was a judge for many years, and I cannot

22     rely on rumours.

23        Q.   Sir, as secretary of government, your purview did not

24     specifically relate to military affairs; correct?

25        A.   No, no.  I was an administrative person in the government.  I did

Page 12501

 1     not have any ministry of my own.  I was supposed to prepare sessions of

 2     the government, and then when a decision was made by the government, we

 3     should prepare everything to have such a decision published.  And before

 4     that, I headed the government commission for humanitarian affairs, and

 5     that included the exchange of prisoners, the exchange of mortal remains,

 6     and exchanges of civilians, too, and also talking to all international

 7     organisations and --

 8        Q.   You've answered my question.  Thank you, sir.  You don't know

 9     whether Hadzic issued military orders to the RSK forces, do you?

10        A.   I don't know.  I really don't know.  I did not hear of that.

11        Q.   Could we --

12        A.   And at government sessions, that was never brought up, that he

13     had issued any orders like that.

14             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get P182.  This is tab 15, please.

15        Q.   Now, this is an order by Hadzic dated 20 May 1993, so that's

16     while you were the secretary of the government, and it's an order to

17     expand the authority of supervising officers at the level of brigade and

18     higher.

19             Do you see the order on the monitor in front of you?

20        A.   Yes.

21        Q.   This is an exercise of Hadzic's war-time powers; correct?

22        A.   On the basis of this, that would seem be to the case.

23        Q.   Sir, turning to a new topic, you've mentioned your work as a

24     lawyer.  And you were working as a lawyer in 1991 and 1992 and thereafter

25     in the RSK; correct?

Page 12502

 1        A.   Yes.

 2        Q.   One of your previous clients was a Nikola Gagic; right?

 3        A.   Yes.

 4        Q.   And he was convicted of murdering two Croats in Prizren, near

 5     Benkovac, in November 1991 at first instance; right?

 6        A.   The wife was a Serb and the husband was a Croat.  My friends.  I

 7     knew them personally.  While I was a judge at the municipal court in

 8     Benkovac, that man was a lay judge, and while I worked in a company, the

 9     son of the woman was the director of that company.  It was a second

10     marriage for both of them.  I'm speaking about the victims, of course.  I

11     knew them very well.  And, yes, I defended Gagic.

12             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell.

13             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, a correction for the record.  The

14     last document is not from 1993 but from 1992, and it was represented to

15     the witness --

16             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're right, yes, 1992.

17             MR. GOSNELL:  -- represented to the witness ...

18             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes.  I see it now.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gillett, does that change anything to your

20     assertion that this document was from the time Mr. Strbac was secretary

21     of the government?

22             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you for the clarification.  It does affect

23     the fact that he was secretary of the government.  If we could get the

24     document again back on the monitor, and indeed this is from 1992.  This

25     is P182, please.

Page 12503

 1        Q.   Now, would you agree nonetheless that that this was an exercise

 2     of Hadzic's war-time powers?

 3        A.   Yes.  But at that time a state of imminent threat of war or a

 4     state of war had not been declared.  That happened only later in

 5     January 1993 when he transferred his powers to the government.  So that

 6     is a significant difference in respect of what you tried to make me say,

 7     that it was 1993.

 8        Q.   Are you saying that Hadzic could exercise his war-time powers in

 9     May 1992 even before the declaration of a state of war?

10        A.   Well, it seems to be that way.  Well, now, we'd have to take a

11     look at this together, what Article 78 says, whether it pertains to a

12     state of war only or is it part of his regular powers, because the powers

13     of the president of the state are defined in Article 78.  We can go back

14     to paragraph 12 and then we can take a look at this together.

15        Q.   And you'll agree with me that this order says:

16             "In order to eliminate the threat for the vital interests of the

17     Republika Srpska Krajina and the interests of the Serb people on the

18     whole by the fact of the state of war present in Republika Srpska

19     Krajina, I issue the following ... order."

20             Correct?

21        A.   So that the vital interests of the RSK would not be jeopardized.

22     This can be interpreted in legal terms, that there was a war going on,

23     but that does not mean that necessarily there had been a state of war

24     declared.  It is a fact that there was a war, that war was being waged,

25     starting in 1991, but that does not mean that a state of war had been

Page 12504

 1     declared.  Why would then somebody declare a state of war in January 1993

 2     if it had been declared before that?

 3        Q.   And as you mentioned, the order refers to Article 78(12),

 4     clause 12, Hadzic could exercise this power even in the absence of a

 5     formal declaration of a state of war or an imminent state of war;

 6     correct?

 7        A.   We'll agree on that, yes.  But that's a completely different

 8     thing compared to what you asked me before.

 9        Q.   Thank you for clarifying that.  If we could go back to the Gagic

10     case, you were brought in as the defence counsel on the appeal; correct?

11     Together with a Goran Majstorovic.

12        A.   Yes.  As far as I can remember, yes.

13        Q.   And the first-instance conviction of Gagic was overturned and

14     sent back to be re-decided, and then the case was transferred back to the

15     public prosecutor in Knin in July 1993.  Are you aware of that?

16        A.   Knin?  I'm not sure.  But the appeal was successful and a retrial

17     was granted, but I'm not sure whether it was in Knin or Banja Luka.

18        Q.   So you don't know whether the case was transferred back to the

19     RSK courts.

20        A.   It certainly wasn't transferred back to the RSK.  Those were

21     military courts, both the lower and the higher.  Up to May 1992, military

22     courts held trials for crimes committed by soldiers, both in Serbia, in

23     BH, and in RSK, and the military courts deferred cases to civilian courts

24     after the army withdrew.

25             I know that case very well, and the Croats cited it a million

Page 12505

 1     times.  And I know what you're going to ask, so please go ahead.

 2             MR. GILLETT:  Well, first, could we get P3024 - and this

 3     is tab 93, page 6 - on the monitor, please.

 4        Q.   And, sir, this is a letter from the military court in Belgrade

 5     explaining the cessation of the military courts in Zagreb, Split and

 6     Sarajevo.  On page 6, at point number 5, we see a reference to the Gagic

 7     case.

 8             Firstly, do you see that it says, in relation to the victims,

 9     "Miletic Kuzman and his wife Djuka, that they were civilians of Croat

10     ethnicity ..."

11             It's what it says there; correct?

12        A.   Yes, I told you they were my friends.  She was a Serb.  I know

13     her entire family.  This was their second marriage.  They had no children

14     in common.

15        Q.   Sir --

16        A.   It can say whatever it wants.  I know what I know.  Djuka is a

17     typically Serbian name.

18        Q.   If I may then ask you, it says that the case was forwarded to the

19     RSK public prosecutor in Knin after the military court in Belgrade was

20     proclaimed incompetent.  So you were not aware of that, were you?

21        A.   No.  I don't know on what grounds.  You told me a moment ago that

22     the conviction was repealed and the case was sent back for re-trial.  It

23     doesn't say that here.  It says the case was forwarded to the public

24     prosecutor in Knin after the court, the military court, pronounced itself

25     incompetent.  Why?  I don't know.  All I know is that the judgement was

Page 12506

 1     repealed and that at the re-trial I did not represent the Gagics.

 2        Q.   Sir, it's correct that the first-instance judgement was

 3     overturned and subsequently there was no re-trial because it was referred

 4     back to the public prosecutor in Knin.

 5             If we look now to the decision that you've mentioned by the

 6     Belgrade Supreme Court - this is 1D2523, which is tab 87 - and this is

 7     the decision of 7 May 1992.

 8             While this is coming up, does that date sound correct for the

 9     appeal decision that you were the defence counsel on?

10        A.   All right.  19 May 1992 is the day when military courts lost

11     jurisdiction in the RSK.  It fits in, as far as dates are concerned.

12             MR. GILLETT:  If we could go to page 2 of the English, in the

13     middle of the first paragraph on page 2, it's listing the arguments of

14     the defence in this case.  If we could go to page 2 of the English.

15     Sorry, this is page 3 of the English, and the first -- middle of the

16     first paragraph, and this is page 3, third paragraph, in the B/C/S.

17        Q.   And as this comes up, it says:

18             "Defence counsel considers that the conduct" -- this is about

19     halfway down the first paragraph:

20             "Defence counsel considers that the conduct of the accused was

21     not unlawful because he committed the crime against persons whom he

22     rightfully considered to be members of the other party to the conflict

23     and a soldier is never held responsibile for killing an opponent.  It is

24     inconsequential that the injured parties had the status of civilians

25     because we are talking about a civil war and enemy territory."

Page 12507

 1             Do you stand by that argument, that it's permissible to kill

 2     civilians in enemy territory during a time of war?

 3        A.   You see, this is just as -- the supreme military court took

 4     something out of context from my appeal, which was several hundred pages

 5     long.  But this was a statement wherein I, as a lawyer, as a human being,

 6     condemned during the war the makers of that war.  I condemned in my

 7     appeal those who brought that young man, Gagic, who was just doing his

 8     military service, who brought him to the front line and told him, All of

 9     what you see in front of you are enemies.  This young man was painted in

10     camouflage, went to the other side, killed people, playing some Indian

11     dance, shouting yoo hoo hoo, and then he was locked up by the Ustashas.

12     I condemned those who brought that young man to the front line and told

13     him, All you see facing you from the other side are enemies.

14             THE INTERPRETER:  Could the witness please slow down.

15             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Witness, the interpreters ask you, once

16     again, to slow down, please.

17             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will try.

18             MR. GILLETT:

19        Q.   Sir, my question was:  Do you stand by the proposition that it's

20     permissible to kill civilians during a time of war.  Yes or no?

21        A.   It's one thing when you are in the role of defence counsel and

22     another thing if you are a human being.  My view is that it's not

23     acceptable to kill anyone, let alone civilians.  I dealt with

24     humanitarian work but I was also a defence counsel.  I defended people

25     the best I could.  Ultimately, you can see that the Supreme Court - and

Page 12508

 1     the Supreme Court is not just anyone - accepted my arguments and returned

 2     the case for re-trial.  This is taken out of a broader context.

 3             I repeat:  I'm against wars, against the killing of both soldiers

 4     and civilians.  If I had any decision-making power, I would never send

 5     anyone to war.  I lost a 10-and-a-half-year-old son during the war.  I

 6     know what I'm talking about.

 7        Q.   You don't mention the Gagic case anywhere in your evidence or

 8     your statement, do you?

 9        A.   Why would I mention him?  I defended him.  At one point, as a

10     lawyer, I had 35 clients in Krajina who were murderers.  They were all

11     ongoing cases.  I didn't mention any case in which I acted as defence

12     counsel.  There was never any mention of it.  I wasn't holding anything

13     back.  I wasn't concealing that I worked as a defence lawyer throughout

14     the war, and I can even tell you that I had the honour of being a member

15     of the bar association of Croatia and then the Republic of Serbian

16     Krajina, and later of Serbia, and then the Federal Republic of

17     Yugoslavia.  So, yes, I worked as a lawyer in many states.

18             MR. GILLETT:  I'd tender this judgement, 1D2523.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  To what end, Mr. Gillett?

20             MR. GILLETT:  Credibility.

21                           [Trial Chamber confers]

22             JUDGE DELVOIE:  We will not admit the document, Mr. Gillett.

23             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you, Mr. President.

24             THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

25             MR. GILLETT:

Page 12509

 1        Q.   Sir, you mentioned that this topic came up in the International

 2     Court of Justice proceedings.  Serbia was so concerned about your

 3     reliability in these proceedings that it disavowed you as a witness;

 4     correct?

 5        A.   Who disavowed me?

 6        Q.   The Republic of Serbia.

 7        A.   You are misinformed.  It is the Croats who didn't want to hear

 8     any witnesses from the Serbian side.  The Serbs put me forward and

 9     insisted.  It was at the proposal of the Serbian side that eight

10     witnesses were supposed to be heard.  The Croats didn't want to hear any

11     of them, and we still don't understand why the Croats didn't want to hear

12     them.  And they had special objections to my appearing as a witness

13     because I was supposed to be an expert witness who collected documents

14     and made a statement.  My whole statement was admitted.  I testified

15     because my statement was relayed by a lawyer from the Serbian side.  The

16     Croats could have cross-examined me but they did not wish to for reasons

17     only they know.

18             It's not the Serbs who gave up on me.  The Serbs built their

19     cases primarily on the information that I provided, and it was included

20     in the closing arguments and it was referred to throughout the trial.  So

21     you are misinformed, seriously misinformed.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Could I get 65 ter 6712, and this is tab 64, page 3

23     in English.

24        Q.   Now, sir, this is available on the ICJ website.  It is the

25     rejoinder memorial of the Republic of Serbia, dated 1 November 2011,

Page 12510

 1     volume 1.  If we go to page 3, we have the excerpt, and this is

 2     paragraph 592.  And here's what Serbia said after discussing the Gagic

 3     judgement that we've just discussed:

 4             "Even if the military court interpreted the defence submission

 5     precisely, it should be noted that Mr. Strbac is not a witness, nor an

 6     expert witness, nor defence counsel in this case.  He is merely the head

 7     of an NGO.  It is the organisation and not Mr. Strbac personally that has

 8     collected evidence of the Serb victims in Croatia."

 9             So it's correct that Serbia disavowed your evidence and

10     effectively dropped you as a witness, isn't it?

11        A.   What are you talking about, man?  That's not the way it was.

12     They can write anything.  When this was written -- I don't know if you

13     saw the rest of the material.  The Croats appealed, we counterappealed,

14     and then the Croats responded with the same arguments as you read out in

15     the Gagic case and they wrote -- I mean, the Serbs then wrote what they

16     wrote.  After that, witnesses were proposed.

17             So the Serbs are responding to Croat objections, Croat arguments.

18     I don't see where you draw the conclusion from that they disavowed me.  I

19     think it was on 13 or 14 March - you can open the records of the

20     International Court of Justice - where my statement was presented before

21     the court by Counsel Lukic --

22        Q.   Sir, if I could --

23        A.   You can look at that --

24        Q.   -- just cut in here.  Sorry.

25        A.   -- so we don't waste any more time on this.

Page 12511

 1             MR. GILLETT:  We would tender this as it goes directly to the

 2     witness's credibility, Your Honours.

 3                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 4             MR. GILLETT:  Apologies, I see that we're not ready for the

 5     break.

 6             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Yes, Mr. Gosnell.

 7             MR. GOSNELL:  I object, Mr. President.  I think that this passage

 8     has been mischaracterised by the Prosecution.  There isn't sufficient

 9     context to understand precisely what's being said here, absolutely no

10     indication that the witness was being effectively dropped, so this has no

11     impeachment value.

12             MR. GILLETT:  Your Honours, we included the context, Serbia's

13     argument concerning the Gagic issue, and where my learned friend says

14     there is no indication he has been dropped, we would say that's

15     contradicted by the express terms "Mr. Strbac is not a witness, nor an

16     expert witness, nor defence counsel in this case," which are abundantly

17     clear on their face as to what Serbia is saying.

18             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, that's quite different from saying

19     that someone has been dropped as a witness.  It's a factual statement

20     about the status of a person who, for example, could be submitting an

21     amicus brief, a report, something akin to a Brandeis brief.  And the

22     reason for his status at that stage could have been decided for reasons

23     that have nothing whatsoever to do with his credibility, such as - and

24     this is what the witness has said - that there was no objection

25     apparently to tendering of his report, or there was no need for

Page 12512

 1     cross-examination.  So there's not a sufficient basis for this to have

 2     any impeachment value.

 3             MR. GILLETT:  Just as a note, Your Honours, this is why I said

 4     "effectively dropped," and the context in these surrounding pages makes

 5     it abundantly clear what Serbia is doing and the reasons for which it is

 6     doing this.

 7                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 8             JUDGE DELVOIE:  The objection is sustained.

 9             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you.

10        Q.   Mr. Strbac, you were a member of the Benkovac TO Staff in late

11     1991; correct?

12        A.   From 1977, I was a member of the Benkovac TO Staff.  1977.

13        Q.   And you were still a member in late 1991; right?

14        A.   Yes.

15        Q.   And you were an intelligence officer in the Benkovac TO Staff;

16     correct?

17        A.   Yes.

18        Q.   Zoran Lekic was the commander of the Benkovac TO Staff; right?

19        A.   Lakic.  Zoran Lakic.  Right.

20        Q.   And the volunteers in the Benkovac TO Staff were headed by Zoran

21     Tadic; right?

22        A.   Possibly.  Possibly.  It must have been a short period of time.

23     There was somebody called Zoran Tadic.  We have a lot of Tadics in

24     villages around Benkovac.  I don't know if he was a volunteer or a local.

25     But during those days of war, there was some Zoran Lakic who appeared at

Page 12513

 1     the staff or was attached to the staff.  I don't know if he received any

 2     assignment.

 3             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get 65 ter document 6720.  This is tab 72.

 4     And could we get page 2 of this document.

 5        Q.   Now, if we look at number 26, that's you; correct?

 6        A.   Yes.

 7        Q.   And then if we look number 28, that's Zoran Tadic; right?

 8        A.   Yes.  It says here that he was a commander.  I told you, there

 9     was one Zoran Tadic.  Whether a local or an outsider, I don't know.

10     There are many people called Tadic in my village as well.

11             MR. GILLETT:  We would seek to admit this document 6720, please.

12             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Admitted and marked.

13             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 6720 will be Exhibit P3317.

14             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

15             MR. GILLETT:

16        Q.   The chief of the public security branch in Benkovac was Bosko

17     Drazic; correct?

18        A.   Yes.

19        Q.   And in November 1991, the 180th Motorised Brigade of the JNA was

20     operating in the area of Benkovac; correct?

21        A.   Probably.  I think that's what it's called.  Traditionally there

22     was a large military presence there from pre-war times.

23        Q.   Now, Benkovac is close to the village or town of Skabrnja;

24     correct?

25        A.   Relatively.  About 20 kilometres.

Page 12514

 1        Q.   And Skabrnja is close -- 3 or 4 kilometres from your home town

 2     where you were born of Rastevic; right?

 3        A.   Rastevic.  About 10 kilometres.  If there's 10 kilometres from

 4     Benkovac and 6 from my village, then it must be between 10 and 15.  But

 5     there are two villages in between, Zagradina and then Skabrnja.

 6        Q.   And Nadin is also close to Benkovac; right?

 7        A.   It's all relative, yes.  And it belonged to Benkovac

 8     municipality, Nadin did.  And Skabrnja belonged to Zadar municipality.

 9        Q.   Now, pre-war Skabrnja had about 2.000 inhabitants and was large

10     majority Croat ethnicity; right?

11        A.   There were Croats but I don't know how many.  Since I didn't

12     belong to Benkovac municipality, I don't know.

13        Q.   Do you dispute that Skabrnja was an overwhelming majority Croat

14     ethnicity?

15        A.   I told you, they were 99 per cent Croat.

16        Q.   Serb forces attacked Skabrnja and Nadin on 18 October 1991;

17     correct?

18        A.   Yes.  The JNA led the operation, as far as I heard.  I wasn't a

19     participant.

20        Q.   The Benkovac TO was involved in the operation as well; correct?

21        A.   Some parts.  It's a very broad concept.  Do you mean that these

22     members of the staff participated?  Maybe some of them did, but the

23     majority didn't.

24        Q.   The Serb forces killed several Croat civilians during the attack

25     on Skabrnja and Nadin on 18 October 1991 and thereafter; correct?

Page 12515

 1        A.   Yes.  I turned over the mortal remains to the Croatian side.

 2             MR. GILLETT:  If we could get P2647 - this is tab 12 - on the

 3     monitor.

 4        Q.   And this is a report from Lieutenant-Colonel Simo Rosic of the

 5     180 Motorised Brigade concerning the killings of civilians in Skabrnja

 6     and Nadin.  Now, if we look at page 1, second paragraph, he says that:

 7             "All the collected data shows that the killings were committed by

 8     members of the Benkovac TO Staff special units, or units that fought

 9     under their command.  These were volunteers from Serbia and Opacic's

10     group composed of combatants from the area."

11             Who is the Opacic that he is referring to?

12        A.   As far as I remember, there were several Opacics but you probably

13     mean Goran Opacic.  He was a policeman before the war - I don't know in

14     which place - and he came to Benkovac, as many others who had been

15     expelled from Croatia did.  And allegedly a group of people gathered

16     around him, tough guys mostly.

17        Q.   At page 2 of this report --

18        A.   Let me tell you straight away.  I thought you were going to ask

19     me something else.  In relation to Skabrnja, there were many, many

20     trials, and it was established that Opacic and his group did not take

21     part in that action.  So much for the authenticity of this document.  I'm

22     talking about verdicts by Croat courts, Croatian courts.

23        Q.   So are you sure that this is Goran Opacic that is being referred

24     to?  Are you now sure of that when you're referring to this document?

25        A.   No, there was no other Opacic group, apart from the Goran Opacic

Page 12516

 1     group.

 2        Q.   Now, at page 2 of the report, it notes that a Gjindic mutilated

 3     the body of one of the Croat victims by cutting off the ear and was

 4     showing this in cafes in Benkovac.  You're aware of that, right?

 5        A.   I don't know, but I don't rule out the possibility because there

 6     were lunatics on all sides.

 7        Q.   Sir, you don't mention anywhere in your statement or evidence the

 8     killing of Croat civilians by the Serb forces in Skabrnja and Nadin, do

 9     you?

10        A.   Why would I mention it?  I didn't take part in that operation.  I

11     turned over the mortal remains.  I was already involved in exchanges by

12     that time.  I believe there were 48 sets of mortal remains to the Croats,

13     and the Territorial Defence members pulled out villagers out of that

14     village because the fighting was fierce.  Over 100 women and children

15     were brought to Benkovac in two buses, and the next day I turned them

16     over to Croats --

17        Q.   Sir --

18        A.   -- after we had arranged that exchange by telephone.  And I don't

19     see why I would tell what happened in Skabrnja in this case.

20        Q.   Sir, I see the time.  As a final question, you weren't involved

21     in the Medak pocket operation or the Miljevac operation either, but you

22     choose to mention them in your evidence.  And I put it to you that you

23     don't mention the killing and mistreatment of Croat civilians because

24     you're attempting to minimise the suffering of Croats and exaggerate the

25     suffering of Serbs.  That's correct, isn't it?

Page 12517

 1        A.   That is absolutely wrong.  In many other places, I spoke about

 2     that publicly, and I wrote about victims on the Croat side.  I never said

 3     before but I'm telling you now that I turned over at least 48 victims to

 4     the Croats.  So the Croats knew about all this.  I arranged the hand-over

 5     with them.  That is very well known.  And all these civilians, women and

 6     children, I also turned them over one or two days after the operation.

 7             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you.

 8             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Strbac, we'll take the first break, 30

 9     minutes, and we will come back at 11.00.

10             Court adjourned.

11                           --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.

12                           [The witness stands down]

13                           --- On resuming at 11.01 a.m.

14             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Stringer, we hear that you have a preliminary

15     matter to raise.

16             MR. STRINGER:  Yes, thank you, Mr. President.  Good morning to

17     you and Your Honours.

18             Just a housekeeping matter related to the previous witness.

19     We've been informed by e-mail this morning that the Defence agrees that

20     we can replace Exhibit P03081 with 65 ter 1597.2, and so we're requesting

21     that now P3081 be replaced by 65 ter 1597.2.

22             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Is that the amalgamated document we were talking

23     about yesterday with Mr. Olmsted?

24             MR. STRINGER:  That's correct, Your Honour, yes.

25             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Okay.  That can be done.

Page 12518

 1                           [The witness takes the stand]

 2             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Please proceed, Mr. Gillett.

 3             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 4        Q.   Mr. Strbac, you were still a member of the Benkovac TO in

 5     March 1992; correct?

 6        A.   Formally, yes.

 7        Q.   Are you aware of a visit to this area by Goran Hadzic,

 8     Zdravko Zecevic, Milan Martic, and Arkan Raznjatovic around 13

 9     March 1992?

10        A.   No, no, I cannot remember, especially not that they came that way

11     together.  No, I really don't know.

12        Q.   I'll now turn to a new topic which is events in Ovcara in 1991,

13     November.

14             Now, sir, you're aware that the Serb forces killed over 200 Croat

15     victims on 20 November 1991; right?

16        A.   That's not right.

17        Q.   Which part of that is not correct?

18        A.   Well, that I knew that they were killed then, in 1991, 1992.

19     It's not correct that I knew that.

20        Q.   That wasn't my question, but we'll move on.

21             Sir, the Republika Srpska Krajina had a policy of not recognising

22     responsibility for events occurring prior to the formation of the RSK;

23     correct?

24        A.   Not correct.  Quite frankly, I don't understand that question of

25     yours.

Page 12519

 1             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get 65 ter 6684, and I note that this is

 2     an article that is also contained in Defence document 1D2697.  It's

 3     tab 56.

 4        Q.   And, sir, this is an article from November 1993 in Vecernje

 5     Novosti.  And at page 2 in the second-last paragraph, near the bottom -

 6     this is the middle column in B/C/S - there's a quote from yourself and

 7     it's concerning the events in Ovcara.  Among other reasons, you say, "Our

 8     young state cannot be held responsible because it was still not formed at

 9     that time."

10             You are referring to Republika Srpska Krajina here; correct?

11        A.   Where is that?  I cannot see that actual quote.

12        Q.   It should be the middle column in B/C/S.

13             MR. GOSNELL:  May I request that the column be expanded.

14             MR. GILLETT:

15        Q.   Now --

16        A.   Under my photograph, I don't know whether this has been

17     translated.  Do you see what I'm saying?  It says "Our interlocutor

18     claims that --" well, I don't know.  You're trying to get me so say

19     something about something that I don't know.

20        Q.   Sir, it's the column which is now to the left in bold --

21        A.   All right.

22        Q.   -- and starting:

23             "'Until 3 January 1992,'" it says, "'at the time that the

24     Sarajevo agreement was signed and the decision adopted for the arrival of

25     the Blue Helmets to the former Yugoslavia, the fighting was going on

Page 12520

 1     between the JNA and the Croatian army.  For anything happening at that

 2     time, our young state cannot be held responsible because it was still not

 3     formed at that time, nor did it have its own army,' added Strbac."

 4             Did you state this?

 5        A.   Yes.  And read out the next sentence in bold as well.

 6        Q.   Sir, you've answered my question.

 7             MR. GILLETT:  If we could now get -- and I will come back to this

 8     article.  But, first, could we get P2249.2168.1, and this is tab 45.

 9        Q.   While this is coming up, this is a report from UN CIVPOL from

10     November 1992, and at this time the Ovcara grave had been located and the

11     internationals were attempting to get approval from the RSK authorities

12     to carry out the exhumation.

13             If we turn to page 2, and this is page 1 in B/C/S.  On page 2 of

14     the English, we see that it says, the sentence starting:

15             "On the 28th October 1992, the local police told CIVPOL they were

16     instructed not to investigate any matters which occurred prior to the

17     establishment of the Serbian Republic of Krajina."

18             That's in line with your comments in the previous article that we

19     just saw; correct?

20        A.   You cannot see it on this page of mine, so have them place the

21     second page there as well.

22             MR. GILLETT:  This is at the bottom of the page in B/C/S.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, but then it continues on

24     the next page.

25             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you.

Page 12521

 1        Q.   So this statement that the local police were instructed not to

 2     investigate anything which occurred prior to the formation of RSK, that's

 3     consistent with what you said publicly, that the RSK could not be

 4     responsible for events prior to its formation; correct?

 5        A.   Well, what was I then in 1992?  If you think that somebody drew

 6     such conclusions on the basis of a public statement of mine, I mean, I

 7     really see no connection between the two.

 8             MR. GILLETT:  Could we now get P3065.  This is tab 20.

 9        Q.   Now, this is a letter from Milan Ilic who was the president of

10     the SBWS regional council of RSK, and it's a letter of 28 October 1992

11     responding to the internationals' requests to exhume Ovcara.

12             Now, if we look at page 1, the second paragraph of this letter,

13     he says that the attempts to investigate, and I'm paraphrasing, Ovcara

14     were an attempt to "Satanise the Serbs."

15             Then at point 2, if we jump down to point 2, he says:

16             "The information is from part of the Croatian armed forces

17     Ustasha who committed murder" --

18        A.   No translation.  No translation.  Now it's there.

19        Q.   Let me repeat that quote.  He says:

20             "The information is from part of the Croatian armed forces

21     Ustasha who committed murder against civil inhabitants who have not been

22     suitable for them till 17 October 1991 (till the fall of Vukovar), and

23     buried them at this location willing now to push under our side better

24     say the Serbs, their monstrous crime."

25             He is suggesting that the crimes, the victims at Ovcara were

Page 12522

 1     victims of the Croatian side, isn't he?

 2        A.   I have no idea.  Believe me, I have no idea what he is suggesting

 3     here.  What does this have to do with me?

 4        Q.   Sir, this letter concerns the attempts to exhume Ovcara.  Are you

 5     disagreeing that Ilic's words here suggest that it was the Croats who

 6     were responsible for this?  Do you disagree with that?

 7        A.   Many people lost their lives on both sides in Vukovar.  What he

 8     meant is something that he should be asked or whoever it was that drafted

 9     this.  Many Serbs and Croats lost their lives in Vukovar.  In 1991, the

10     bloodiest war was waged precisely in the Vukovar area.  There are many

11     missing persons to this day.  There were many killings that were

12     committed, Ovcara and other ones.  I didn't know about Ovcara people.

13     We're referring to some kind of Ovcara but nobody knew whether it really

14     existed and what it was all about.

15             In 1997, a Serb was convicted for a killing and Ovcara was marked

16     in a completely different place --

17        Q.   Sir --

18        A.   -- in a different place and --

19        Q.   -- we've gone somewhat off track, so we've gone somewhat off

20     track here.

21             You also said that the Croatian requests and the international

22     attempts to exhume Ovcara were an effort to Satanise the Serb side, and

23     you suggested that this was actually a Croatian conspiracy, didn't you?

24             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Yes, Mr. Gosnell?

25             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, if this is a quotation --

Page 12523

 1             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know what this is.

 2             MR. GOSNELL:  If this is a quotation from the newspaper article

 3     in which the witness is quoted, I would say that that should be put on

 4     the screen for him to review, to see.

 5             MR. GILLETT:  Mr. President, I was first giving the witness a

 6     chance to see if he was willing to recall it off his own memory and then

 7     was going go to the specific quote and read out the quote.

 8        Q.   So first I'd like to ask the witness whether he agrees that he

 9     also alleged the attempts to exhume Ovcara were an effort to Satanise the

10     Serbs and were part of a Croatian conspiracy.  Do you recall saying that?

11        A.   I've just said that I don't know about Ovcara.  People were

12     talking about some Ovcara.  When I say that I didn't know about Ovcara, I

13     didn't know what it contained - Serbs, Croats.  People talked and then

14     Ovcara means that there are some sheep there, and then people were saying

15     that there were some dead sheep there.  I mean, I didn't know what this

16     was all about at this Ovcara.

17        Q.   Sir, if I may interrupt.  If I may interrupt, you're not

18     answering my question.  My question is whether you recall making public

19     statements that the efforts to exhume Ovcara were an attempt to Satanise

20     the Serbs and part of a Croatian conspiracy.  Do you recall that or do

21     you not recall that?

22        A.   I do not recall that.  I do not recall that, really, that

23     anything was said in that sense.

24             MR. GILLETT:  If we could go back to 6684, and again this is

25     1D2697 but 6684 is the shorter version.  Page 2, right at the bottom.

Page 12524

 1        Q.   In the preceding paragraph, it identifies yourself.  It says:

 2             "Our interlocutor claims that the government committee was not

 3     aware whether the Ovcara grave contains what the Croatian propaganda is

 4     claiming.  If there are bodies in it, they could also be bodies of Serbs

 5     because at least 97 Serbs are still missing from those territories.

 6     Speaking about the Vukovar tragedy, he said that the people in Krajina

 7     are convinced that this was a great trick against the Serb nation that

 8     had been directed by the military and state leadership of that time in

 9     order to Satanise the Serb nation in the eyes of the outside world."

10             So you did state that Ovcara was an effort to Satanise the Serbs,

11     didn't you?

12             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection.  Objection, Mr. President.  You'll

13     notice that the formulation of the -- by the witness has now been changed

14     and subsumed under the word "Ovcara" by the Prosecutor's question.  And

15     there are many facets of that and so therefore that's not been put

16     precisely to the witness.

17             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Can we have the next page in English on the

18     screen, please.

19             MR. GILLETT:  Yes.

20        Q.   Sir, if we look to the final paragraph, it says:

21             "Leaving the possibility open that Ovcara might contain bodies,

22     Strbac pointed out that the Serb side will still have a lot to offer to

23     the international committee and that International Justice Tribunal

24     because the Croatian side had shown the face of genocide in this war."

25             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell?

Page 12525

 1             MR. GOSNELL:  The column really should be expanded so the witness

 2     can be reading along.

 3             MR. GILLETT:

 4        Q.   Now, I'll put it to you again, sir, that you did state that the

 5     efforts to exhume and to investigate the crimes at Ovcara were an effort

 6     to Satanise the Serbs.

 7        A.   If it was literally translated, you could see what was said in

 8     the previous paragraph.  I'm saying what people were talking about.

 9     That's what I'm saying.  Talk.  This, that the Croat side saw --

10     demonstrated its genocidal face, well, before the International Court of

11     Justice, we had a case where we tried to prove that.

12             MR. GILLETT:  Your Honours, we would tender 6684 into evidence.

13             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Admitted and marked.

14             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 6684 will be Exhibit P3318.

15             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

16             MR. GILLETT:

17        Q.   Now, sir, in your evidence, you've mentioned -- and in your

18     statement various Croat actions that we've discussed, and you've argued

19     that these jeopardized the Vance Plan.  It was also the Serb side's

20     actions that jeopardized the success of the Vance Plan; correct?

21        A.   Yes, I agree.  It came from both sides.  Who was the first and

22     who was not, we could discuss that for days.  It is a fact that after the

23     Vance Plan, Croatia was always the first one to carry out these

24     aggressions, Maslenica, the Miljevac Plateau, the Medak pocket, and then

25     after that, Flash and Storm.  Those are facts.

Page 12526

 1             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get P2870.  This is tab 21, please.

 2        Q.   Now, sir, this is a cable from Satish Nambiar to Marrack

 3     Goulding - these are UN representatives - dated 8 November 1992 regarding

 4     implementation of the Vance Plan.  And at page 1.1, he says:

 5             "It is amply clear that notwithstanding all their assurances of

 6     co-operation and support for the Vance Plan and other associated Security

 7     Council resolutions, the Serb authorities in the UNPAs have implemented

 8     only those aspects of the plan that suited them and have blocked progress

 9     of further implementation to gain time for furtherance of other political

10     and military objectives."

11             That's correct, isn't it?  That's correct, that that was actually

12     happening in fact.  I'm not asking you if it's correct that that's stated

13     there.  I'm just --

14        A.   That's what's written there.  You are showing me things that are

15     written and then you're asking me whether that is written there and then

16     we see that that is written there.  Now, if you're asking me for my own

17     comment in this regard, then that that is completely different.

18        Q.   It is correct, in fact, that the Serb actions were pre -- they

19     only implemented the aspects of the Vance Plan that suited them and they

20     were doing so to gain time for the furtherance of political and military

21     objectives; correct?

22        A.   Generally speaking, one could put it that way, but I explained to

23     you yesterday.  For example, after the Maslenica operation, Croatia did

24     not carry out the Security Council resolution to go back.  And Serbs also

25     reacted in the following way:  They did not want to return weapons to

Page 12527

 1     arms depots, that is to say, those that were under double lock where the

 2     Serb side and UNPROFOR had keys respectively.  And then it could not be

 3     defended.  That is one aspect.  There are hundreds of others.  We could

 4     go on and on enumerating all of that.  It cannot be a mere yes or no

 5     answer.

 6        Q.   During the conflict in Croatia, you stated that the RSK Serbs

 7     refused to live together with Croats in any form whatsoever; correct?

 8        A.   Not correct.  Not correct.

 9        Q.   Can I --

10        A.   My statement is different.  My statement is -- well, we should

11     take a look at it and I know what the essence is, and I have been saying

12     that all the time.  It was a question of living together.  Remember we

13     talked about "suzivot" yesterday and the willingness of both sides is

14     needed.  We could not force the Croats to love us and live together with

15     us.  They were trying to expel us in every conceivable way.  And we said

16     many times that we could not live in the same state with Croats because

17     they did not want to live with us.  And that is the essence of my entire

18     political work, if I can put it that way --

19        Q.   Sir --

20        A.   Croats and Serbs can live together in the Republic of Serbian

21     Krajina but we cannot live together in the same state.

22             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  Could the witness please

23     be asked to speak at a normal pace, slower.  Thank you.

24             MR. GILLETT:

25        Q.   If I could ask you to speak at a slower pace.  Thank you.

Page 12528

 1             So do you confirm that you did state - and we'll get to the

 2     reasons behind this - but do you state -- you confirm that you did state

 3     that the Serbs refused to live together with the Croats in any form.  You

 4     publicly stated this; correct?

 5             MR. GOSNELL:  That's asked an answered, Mr. President.

 6             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not say "refused."  I never

 7     said "refused."  I never said that we refused that and --

 8             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Strbac, if and when a counsel rises to put an

 9     objection on the record, please wait with your answer until the objection

10     is resolved in one way or the other.  That will be helpful.

11             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, really.  I was facing

12     the Prosecutor and I didn't see the other side.  I'm sorry.  I am aware

13     of that rule.

14             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

15             MR. GOSNELL:  It's page 46, lines 18 to 20.

16             MR. GILLETT:  Your Honours, perhaps if we go to the article now

17     to speed things up and to go to his quote that I want to put onto the

18     record.

19             If we could get 6705.  This is tab 57, page -- if we could turn

20     to page 2.  Now, this is an article in the "New York Times" dated 13

21     January 1995.  And if we go to page 2, first line.  And in B/C/S this is

22     page 1, fourth paragraph.

23        Q.   The first line we see:

24             "'We don't want to be in Croatia in any form,' Savo Strbac, a

25     minister in the self-styled government of the Krajina region, said

Page 12529

 1     recently.  'Our wish is to live with the other Serbs of the former

 2     Yugoslavia as we did for the past 70 years.'"

 3             You made that statement; correct?

 4        A.   Yes, yes.

 5        Q.   And, sir --

 6        A.   I assumed that they conveyed it -- well, yes, the essence is what

 7     I talked about a moment ago.  There is no reference to any kind of

 8     refusal whatsoever.  We did not refuse.

 9        Q.   If we could now go to 65 ter 6711.

10             MR. GOSNELL:  Mr. President, I apologise.  I haven't interrupted

11     until now because there were a series of questions, but there are two

12     transcript issues.

13             At page 45, line 13, there was a fourth or at least there was a

14     place mentioned that wasn't recorded on the transcript.

15             And then at page 47 --

16             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Let's do it case by case, Mr. Gosnell.

17             45:9?

18             MR. GOSNELL:  13.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  13.

20             MR. GOSNELL:  I believe that there was one more aggression that

21     was mentioned.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Shall I attempt to clarify with the witness?

23             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Yes, please do, Mr. Gillett.

24             MR. GILLETT:

25        Q.   Sir, in answer to a previous question, you referred to Croatia

Page 12530

 1     carrying out aggressions to, and you mentioned, Maslenica, Miljevac

 2     Plateau, the Medak pocket, and then after that Flash and Storm.  Was

 3     there any additional aggression that you wanted to mention?

 4        A.   Before that, I mentioned Nos Kalik 2nd March 1992.  Smaller than

 5     all the rest but it was the first one.  Nos Kalik, it's a place against

 6     which an aggression has been committed after Krajina was placed under

 7     military protection.

 8             MR. GOSNELL:  The second one, Mr. President, is 47, line 2 -- 47,

 9     line 1.  There is a place name mentioned there that was not mentioned by

10     the witness.

11             MR. GILLETT:  Again, shall I attempt to clarify?

12             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Please do.

13             MR. GILLETT:

14        Q.   Mr. Witness, in answer to another question, you said, "We could

15     not force the Croats to" and it's written "Lovas" "and live together with

16     us."  Was there a place name that you mentioned when you said that?

17        A.   I never mentioned "Lovas."  No, I didn't mention a name at all.

18     What does it have to do with anything?  There's no logic to it.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  I remember the -- the interpreter, the

20     interpretation, where it is written "Lovas," it sounds a little bit

21     similar in English but, of course, in B/C/S, the witness will not have a

22     clue.

23             MR. GILLETT:  Could it mean to leave us?

24             JUDGE DELVOIE:  No, love us, to love us.  That's what the witness

25     said.

Page 12531

 1             MR. GILLETT:  I believe this will be cleared up when the

 2     transcript is cleared up, and if not we could always review the tape.

 3             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Yes, indeed.

 4             MR. GILLETT:

 5        Q.   Sir, if we could go now to another statement that you made

 6     publicly, and if we could get 6711.  This is tab 63 on the monitor.  And

 7     page 2, third paragraph.  Now, this is from Agence Presse France, and I

 8     apologise we only have the English, but I'll read to you what it says:

 9             "'We have no choice,' insisted Savo Strbac, government secretary

10     in the Serb Republic of Krajina proclaimed unilaterally in 1991 following

11     an eight-month armed conflict with Croatia.  'It is out of the question

12     for us to return to Croatia.  Our final goal is union with other Serbs'

13     (in Bosnia and the Republic of Serbia)."

14             Do you remember making that statement?

15        A.   Yes.  It's probably my statement.  I keep repeating all the time.

16     It says here for us to return to the state of Croatia.  If you ask me

17     why, I'll answer.

18        Q.   We will get to the reasons that you're giving for why.

19             MR. GILLETT:  We would tender these two articles, 6705 and 6711,

20     Your Honours.

21             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Admitted and marked.

22             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honours, 6705 will be Exhibit P3319 and 6711

23     will be Exhibit P3320.

24             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

25             MR. GILLETT:

Page 12532

 1        Q.   Now, sir, in your statement on this topic, you acknowledge

 2     stating that the Serbs and Croats could not live together, and you claim

 3     that this meant they could not live in a single state.  You said that you

 4     advocated from the statement "a predominantly Serb entity" but that this

 5     did not imply ethnic cleansing.  Now, the predominantly Serb entity you

 6     were talking was the RSK either on its own or joined with other Serbian

 7     territories; correct?

 8        A.   Yes, I meant primarily the RSK at the time.

 9        Q.   To maintain a predominantly Serb entity, you would have to have a

10     Serb majority ethnically in that territory, wouldn't you?

11        A.   Yes, it existed.

12        Q.   Now, the pre-war population in SBWS - Slavonia, Baranja, and

13     Western Srem - was majority Croat ethnicity, was it not?

14        A.   I don't believe so.  I don't remember all the data because that

15     was not my area.  But in the district where I lived, Krajina, Banja, Lika

16     Kordun and Dalmatia, Serbs were dominant before the war.

17        Q.   Would you accept that in SBWS the Croats had a relative majority,

18     not an absolute majority but a relative majority population-wise, and

19     that Serbs were a considerable lesser per cent of the population.  Would

20     you accept that in the pre-war -- according to the pre-war 1991 census?

21             MR. GOSNELL:  That's asked and answered, Mr. President.  We got

22     the same answer again.

23             MR. GILLETT:

24        Q.   So you dispute that.  Okay.  Well, I'm going to put it to you

25     that was the case and --

Page 12533

 1        A.   I'm not disputing anything.  Please do not put words in my mouth,

 2     words that I didn't say.  I said I didn't live there and I cannot, off

 3     the cuff, remember the numbers.  That's my answer.

 4             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get P2016.  This is tab 35, page 9,

 5     please.

 6        Q.   Sir, I'll translate for you here.  We have a table.  It is on the

 7     B/C/S as well.  And we can see that in Eastern Slavonia, this is the

 8     table at the top, Croats - and this is according to the pre-war

 9     composition - were 91.756, whereas Serbs were 67.742, and that equates to

10     the Croats having approximately 46 per cent of the population.  So do you

11     accept that they did have a relative majority of the population,

12     according to that census?

13             MR. GOSNELL:  Objection.  I don't know what the question is.

14     It's vague.  Is the question that the witness is expected to say his

15     comment on what's on this page?

16             MR. GILLETT:  I'm testing whether the witness, having been shown

17     the statistics, is willing to accept this or whether he still disputes

18     this.  That's my question.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Do you still dispute --

20             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not dispute anything.  I

21     haven't disputed anything so far.

22             MR. GILLETT:  I should have put that in the reverse, whether he

23     would accept that those are the correct figures.

24             JUDGE DELVOIE:  That's a question you may put to him.

25             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Now you would have to explain that

Page 12534

 1     to me.

 2             MR. GILLETT:

 3    Q. Would you accept, seeing this table of the statistics, that the pre-war

 4    population of Eastern Slavonia had a relative majority of ethnic Croats?

 5        A.   I accept only what I see here with my own eyes.  Whether it's

 6     true or not true, I'm not a demographer, an expert, to tell you whether

 7     it was accurate or not.  There were many manipulation with the censuses

 8     and there were problems about defining Eastern Slavonia.  Was it just the

 9     area held by the Serbs or was it something broader?  In some places, UNPA

10     areas were broader than what the Serbs held.  It's difficult to say I

11     accept or not.  I can only accept that there were so many Serbs and so

12     many Croats as is written here.

13        Q.   If these figures are correct, then, in order to maintain your

14     Serb-dominated entity in so far as SBWS is concerned, you would have to

15     remove members of the ethnic Croat community; correct?

16        A.   These are such logical answers.  How shall I put it?  I'm not an

17     idiot.  If you have one majority that you want to turn into a minority in

18     order to create a different majority, then what you say is the only way.

19     Unless you suddenly get the birth-rate of the Serbs to spike very fast,

20     all of a sudden, to make them the majority and you have the Croats

21     disappear, if this data is accurate.

22        Q.   Now, sir, I'm going to ask you some questions about your NGO,

23     Veritas.

24             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Sorry, Your Honours, the last sentence of the

25     witness was not transcribed.

Page 12535

 1             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's note:  The witness has, so far,

 2     not been responsive to any of our pleas to slow down.

 3             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Did you hear that remark from the interpreters,

 4     Mr. Strbac?

 5             MR. GILLETT:

 6        Q.   Sir, I was going to ask a question about your -- a series of

 7     questions about your NGO, which is Veritas.  You're the head of that NGO;

 8     correct?

 9             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Sorry, if the witness could repeat his last

10     sentence on the previous answer, if he can recall.

11             JUDGE DELVOIE:  And if he could answer my question, that would be

12     helpful as well.

13             Did you hear my question, Mr. Strbac?

14             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did.  I don't hear what is said

15     in English.

16             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Do I take it, then - and that's not a question

17     for you, Mr. Strbac - that the interpreter's remark is not translated

18     into B/C/S?

19             Could I have an answer from the booth?

20             THE INTERPRETER:  Well, the English interpreter said what she

21     said, and we don't know if our colleagues interpreted it for the witness.

22             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Okay.  What the interpreters said, Mr. Strbac -

23     just one moment - is this:  "The witness has, so far, not been responsive

24     to any of our pleas to slow down."

25             So they really have a problem.  And I should think that, as a

Page 12536

 1     former professional judge, and even as a lawyer, you would -- you would

 2     be experienced in this kind of exercise, and you would be able to slow

 3     the pace of what you are saying, even if sometimes - and then I could

 4     understand - you're taken away by what you are trying to convey to us.

 5     But, in general, you should be able, as a professional, to slow the pace

 6     of what you are saying so that interpreters and court recorders can do

 7     their job efficiently.

 8             Now, Mr. Zivanovic, where is it that the witness -- that a

 9     sentence of the witness or a phrase of the witness has been lost in

10     translation?

11             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  It is in -- at page 54, line 6.  The whole

12     sentence was not transcribed, or -- or maybe not -- not translated.

13             MR. GILLETT:  I can clarify with the witness, if you'd like,

14     Mr. President.

15             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Yes, I think you should re-read the entire answer

16     he gave.

17             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Anyway we'll ask the correction of official

18     transcript.

19             JUDGE DELVOIE:  That's perhaps even easier.

20             MR. GILLETT:  As Your Honour pleases.

21             JUDGE DELVOIE:  So now you may continue, Mr. Gillett.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you.

23             Could we get 65 ter 6710 - that's tab 62 - on the monitor,

24     please.

25        Q.   And, sir, this an is interview with Globus in March 2005.  If we

Page 12537

 1     start by showing the front page, you recognise the person shown; correct?

 2        A.   A little, yes.  That's a younger me.

 3        Q.   Do you recall giving this interview to Globus in 2005?

 4        A.   I don't know.  There were hundreds of interviews.  I probably

 5     gave one to them, too, at some point, but it's my photograph, so I

 6     suppose I did talk to them.

 7        Q.   If we could turn to page 3 of the English and B/C/S under the

 8     heading "Manipulation," you were asked whether you'd thought about

 9     registering crimes against Croats as well as crimes against Serbs, and

10     your answer is:

11             "Crimes against Croats were no secret in the first place.  The

12     cases of the suffering of Croats across the area of Knin were being

13     followed by international teams, organisations ..."

14             Do you recall saying that?

15        A.   I stated something like this many, many times, so I suppose I

16     said it to them as well.

17        Q.   Then if we turn to page 6 in the English, and this is B/C/S page

18     4, third column, on page 6 there's a heading "Croatian Policy 's

19     Conscience" in the middle of the page.  And at the end of your answer to

20     that first question, it says:  "Do not attack me - because I have never

21     provided a single incorrect piece of data."

22             Now, that's not correct, is it, that your claim that you never

23     provided an incorrect piece of data is not true, is it?

24        A.   Never intentionally.

25        Q.   In fact, your organisation, Veritas, has and continues to convey

Page 12538

 1     incorrect information, including in terms of the list of Serb victims of

 2     Croatian crimes; correct?

 3        A.   We provided information such as we have with the best intention

 4     of providing correct information.  However, mistakes occur, and even

 5     today, we've made hundreds of mistakes.  You cannot turn these mistakes

 6     into a rule.  If a name is repeated, it could be a technical slip.  You

 7     can't take it as intentional as was done in the International Court of

 8     Justice when two names were repeated out of 135, two names were

 9     duplicated, if that's what you mean.

10        Q.   It was more than two names in that specific proceeding that were

11     raised.  There were at least five examples that were given of persons

12     listed as Serbs killed by Croatian forces who were not, in fact, killed.

13     That's correct, isn't it?

14        A.   Croats objected to two duplicated names in the trial in

15     March before the International Court of Justice on a list of 7.135 names.

16     In preparation for the trial, in these appeals and counter-appeals and

17     responses and replies, a total of ten more objections were made on the

18     Croatian side.  The question was whether they were killed by Croats, by

19     the enemy, or they got killed in the mutual settlement of scores or

20     killing each other.  Croats turned out to be right and we corrected that.

21             At the same time, analysing their lists containing a thousand

22     more names, there were 100 names actually less than -- 100 mistakes.

23        Q.   In fact, you were correct that Croatia pointed out some errors,

24     but some of these continue to feature on your list of Serb victims and

25     I'll mention, for example, Mirko Rajsic.  Now, he's still listed as

Page 12539

 1     there.  He was killed in front of a tavern on 16 October 1993 in a

 2     traffic accident while driving his bicycle; correct?

 3        A.   Well, if I knew that, that he was killed on a bicycle outside a

 4     cafe, I would have certainly placed him somewhere because our list is

 5     divided between direct and indirect victims.  That's what we did in

 6     Veritas, and we were forced to do that by Croat objections in preparing

 7     for the International Court of Justice.

 8             Not all the victims are victims of genocide.  There are victims

 9     of war, casualties of war, people who could have been killed while riding

10     a bicycle, going to the front line or coming back from the front line,

11     and such people are to be found in all lists - in Croatian lists,

12     Serbian, Bosniak, and all sides.  We have direct and indirect casualties.

13     I can tell you what we presented to the ICJ; namely, that about 10

14     percent of indirect victims --

15        Q.   You've answered my question, that your list includes not just

16     victims killed by the Serbs -- by the Croats, sorry, but you also include

17     people who died, as you say, as a indirect cause of war.

18             Now, you said before that you cannot turn --

19        A.   Exactly.  We are no different than other lists in the regions.

20     We are even better, more precise.

21        Q.   If you'd let me ask a question, you said before you cannot turn

22     these mistakes into a rule.

23             MR. GILLETT:  Could we get 65 ter 6726.  This is tab 78.

24        Q.   Now, sir, this is a chapter called "Storm JCE," and it's a

25     chapter in a publication that you wrote, correct, "Storm JCE"?  It's

Page 12540

 1     called -- in fact, the full title is "Storm Joint Criminal Enterprise,"

 2     and this chapter is "Aggression, Scorched Earth Policy."  You wrote this,

 3     didn't you?

 4        A.   Correct.

 5        Q.   Thank you.  If we can go to page 5, heading 2.2.2, and this is

 6     page 6 in B/C/S.

 7             Now, if we look at heading 2.2.2, the last paragraph under that

 8     heading says:

 9             "Analysing Croatia commission's list, Veritas established that

10     there were five living people among those identified as killed (meaning

11     that other persons were buried under their names).  Such a large

12     incidence of mistaken identity throws doubt on the entire identification

13     process by Croatian official organs of those who were killed in Operation

14     Storm."

15             Sir, in relation to your own list, you said that you could not

16     turn these errors into a rule, but when it comes to the Croatian list, in

17     fact, you said the opposite, that they undermine the credibility of their

18     entire processes; correct?

19        A.   Yes, I have to explain to you here that for the first time during

20     Storm and Flash operations, protocols were submitted.  Croatia did that

21     under the pressure of the international community and submitted them to

22     the Serbian side.  The protocols contained a photograph of the person

23     killed, a description, a description of clothing and footwear, and where

24     the person died.

25             In such precise protocols, we find five people who were still

Page 12541

 1     living.  You have a photograph and then you mark it completely

 2     inaccurately.  It's a very specific, very emphatic situation.  We showed

 3     these photographs to the families, and the person is standing there

 4     alive.  And he says, It's not me.  And I answer, Well, if it's not you,

 5     it's somebody else.  This is an idiosyncrasy of the protocols that the

 6     Croats gave us from that operation.  That was not done previously in any

 7     other operation; that is to say, they did not earlier provide us with

 8     such protocols.

 9             And as for the JCE, I consulted the OTP, people from your own

10     house.

11        Q.   Sir --

12        A.   They indicted Croatian generals for Operation Storm.

13        Q.   -- you've gone beyond the question that I asked.  The JCE issue

14     goes beyond my question.

15             Sir, the Office of the Prosecutor has never called you as a

16     witness here at the Tribunal, has it?

17        A.   No.

18             MR. GILLETT:  Okay.  Your Honours, that completes my questions.

19     I would tender the Globus article, 65 ter 6710, for evidence.

20             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Admitted and marked.

21             THE REGISTRAR:  Your Honour, 6710 will be Exhibit P3321.

22             MR. GILLETT:  Thank you very much.

23             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell, re-direct?

24             MR. GOSNELL:  I do have some re-direct, Mr. President.  Could I

25     request the Court's indulgence to take the break now, in particular, so I


Page 12542

 1     can print out the transcript and have it to hand so I can make specific

 2     references.

 3             JUDGE DELVOIE:  And how long would your re-direct take,

 4     Mr. Gosnell?

 5             MR. GOSNELL:  I certainly will not go beyond the end of the day

 6     as regularly scheduled, Mr. President.

 7             JUDGE DELVOIE:  The end of the day, minus 15 minutes for Judges'

 8     questions so that we can finish the witness --

 9             MR. GOSNELL:  Certainly.  Certainly, Mr. President.

10             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you.

11             Mr. Strbac, we will take the break a little bit early.  Still 30

12     minutes.  So we will be back by 12.30.

13             Court adjourned.

14                           --- Recess taken at 12.00 p.m.

15                           [The witness stands down] 3100

16                           --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.

17                           [The witness takes the stand]

18             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Gosnell.

19             MR. GOSNELL:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

20             May we have P998, please.  Prosecution tab 25.

21                           Re-examination by Mr. Gosnell:

22        Q.   And, Mr. Strbac, you were shown this document coming up on the

23     screen of the minutes of the extraordinary session of the RSK Assembly in

24     March 1993.

25             If we could now turn to page 62 in the English and page 64 in the

Page 12543

 1     B/C/S, you were shown this ...

 2                           [Defence counsel confer]

 3             MR. GOSNELL:

 4        Q.   You were shown this decision, and the Prosecutor asked you or put

 5     to you:

 6             "Hadzic's decision that we see of 17th March 1993 was a war-time

 7     decree; correct?  It seems to be that way because a state of war was

 8     declared in January."

 9             Now, reading the first line of this excerpted decision in the

10     minutes, it says:

11             "Pursuant to Article 78, paragraph 1, item 1, of the constitution

12     of the RSK, makes the following ..."

13             Now, is Article 78(1)(i) of the RSK constitution the provision

14     concerning war-time powers?

15        A.   Well, if we look at the constitutional provision, we will see

16     that that is not the case, that it speaks of peacetime.

17             MR. GOSNELL:  At this point, then, could we have L3, page 22 of

18     the English and page 6, going over to 7 of the B/C/S.

19             "The president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, one, nominates

20     candidates for the government members having heard the opinion of the

21     majority in the Assembly ..."

22             Now, having seen that, does that affect your opinion about the

23     basis on which this particular decision was issued?

24        A.   No.  I've already said that this has to do with peacetime.

25        Q.   And given that there's a specific reference to this provision, do

Page 12544

 1     you think that's relevant to understanding the basis on which it was

 2     issued?

 3        A.   Well, I think that it was logical to refer to this article

 4     because - how do I put this? - it would too much if the head of state

 5     would appoint the prime minister-designate and the entire government even

 6     though there is a state of war on.  I think that, in that way, all

 7     branches of government could not be functioning properly.  Although it

 8     was war-time, after all, one should behave at least some moments as if

 9     were peacetime.

10             MR. GOSNELL:  May we return now to P998, please.

11        Q.   And, again, Mr. Strbac, these are the minutes from March 1993 of

12     the assembly session.

13             MR. GOSNELL:  May we now have page 66 in the B/C/S and page 66 of

14     the English.

15        Q.   Now, this is in reference, Mr. Strbac, to a question that was put

16     to you by the Prosecutor at page 10, and the question concerns Article

17     78(7) of the constitution.  And then it says at line 4, this was the

18     question to you, Mr. Strbac:

19             "And the government acted pursuant to the authority that Hadzic

20     delegated to it.  For example, as you said in a decision in

21     September 1993 concerning the appointment of judges in the RSK, that was

22     based on his presidential decree from January; correct?"

23             And your answer was yes.

24        A.   Yes.

25        Q.   Now, first of all, looking at this section of the minutes from

Page 12545

 1     the assembly meeting, it says:

 2             "Moving on to the third item on the agenda, adoption of decree

 3     laws passed in time of war."

 4             And then at the bottom, in English anyway, it says:

 5             "Pursuant to Article 78, paragraph 7, of the constitution of the

 6     RSK, president of the republic shall pass the decree ..."

 7             And then if we could turn over the page in English and in B/C/S.

 8     And Article 1 concerns territorial jurisdiction of the courts and so

 9     forth.

10             Now, is this decree relevant to the applicability of the

11     president's decree that was made in January?

12        A.   Obviously not.  I was explaining when I was responding to the

13     Prosecutor's question that when somebody transfers his powers to someone

14     else, he can at any point in time withdraw them.  At least that's what I

15     think.  I'm not an expert.  I mean, I'm not a theoretician as far as

16     constitutional law is concerned.  But by the very logic of things, that's

17     the way it seems to be.  It's like when you retain a lawyer to represent

18     you.  You can still give up on that and you can withdraw power of

19     attorney, and so son.

20        Q.   Do you know whether this assembly meeting in March 1993 was the

21     first assembly meeting after January 1993, when Operation Maslenica was

22     launched?

23        A.   I really don't know.  I don't know.  I wouldn't want to

24     speculate.  But if you're asking me this, since it has to do with

25     territorial jurisdiction of courts, that really does not involve war-time

Page 12546

 1     subject matter, the jurisdiction of courts in a state.  Had it not been

 2     war-time, had there not been a state of war, somebody, I mean, would have

 3     to set the jurisdiction of courts.

 4        Q.   Let's just turn over to the next page, and there it says:

 5             "Who votes for this decree passed by the president of the

 6     republic on the basis of a declaration of war?  Does anyone mind?  Does

 7     anyone offish acknowledging that the decree laws in a time of war are

 8     adopted by the assembly?"

 9             Now, does this procedure --

10             MR. GOSNELL:  We need to turn the page, please.

11             MR. GILLETT:  Yes, can I just get a page reference in English?

12     I'm trying to find it.

13             MR. GOSNELL:  In English, it's page 70 now.  Page 70.

14             MR. GILLETT:  Okay.

15             MR. GOSNELL:

16        Q.   Now, you will remember, Mr. Strbac, and we discussed it, that

17     Article 78(7) of the constitution says that:

18             "Under his initiative," "his" being the president, "or under the

19     government's proposal, during the state of war or immediate threat of war

20     adopts acts about issues from the assembly's jurisdiction and is required

21     to submit them before the assembly as soon as the assembly is able to

22     meet."

23        A.   Meet, yes.  You asked me whether there were any assembly sessions

24     from the decree in January until this, and then I told you that I didn't

25     know.

Page 12547

 1        Q.   I hadn't actually come to my question yet, Mr. Strbac, and the

 2     question is simply this:  Does this procedure that you see in the minutes

 3     accord with what appears to be prescribed and that you confirmed was

 4     prescribed by Article 78(7)?

 5        A.   It seems to that be that way.  If this is the first session - I

 6     assume it is, and I don't know whether there were any sessions in

 7     between - and precisely on the basis of what was done through this decree

 8     declaring a state of war, everything he did as far as courts were

 9     concerned, he gave to the assembly for their confirmation.  That is shown

10     by these minutes.

11             MR. GOSNELL:  Thank you.  I'm done with this particular document

12     now, Mr. President.

13        Q.   Now, at page 17 of today's transcript, you were asked some

14     questions about allegations made by Mr. Martic against Mr. Hadzic in

15     October 1993.

16             Now, may I ask you:  Was there any political background that you

17     can recall that may have been relevant to those remarks?  What was the

18     political context, if any, of those remarks?

19        A.   I said that Martic from the very outset was within the structures

20     of the Krajina government.  In a way, I mean, he is a founder -- one of

21     the founders of the Republic of the Serb Krajina, what was called the SAO

22     Krajina at first.  And it seems to me that he did not like it, the fact

23     that Hadzic was appointed president of the state because now he became

24     his superior, at least in terms of the office held; whereas Martic

25     thought -- well, he'd succeed him later on because you could see that he

Page 12548

 1     had these aspirations to be the person in charge.  I believe that there

 2     were some -- I mean, well, that it wasn't smooth sailing between the two

 3     of them, that Martic simply expressed that at this assembly and once or

 4     twice I think at government sessions when he said, Ah, they are not going

 5     to come to your sessions, to Knin, I mean from the eastern part.

 6                           [Defence counsel confer]

 7             MR. ZIVANOVIC:  Sorry, in line 7, it is said I think -- "I think

 8     at government sessions when he said, Ah, he is not going to come to your

 9     sessions, to Knin ..."  It seems that he said differently.

10             MR. GOSNELL:

11        Q.   Mr. Strbac, I presume you had the intervention of my colleague

12     translated.  Was there something that you would wish to correct, having

13     heard that intervention?

14        A.   Would not come.  Martic was also a member of that government, I

15     think.  It was sort of like that, that's what he said, that he would not

16     come to Knin.  He would not come to Knin from the eastern part.  That's

17     what I said.

18             MR. GOSNELL:  May we have 1D2523, please.

19        Q.   Mr. Strbac, you were asked questions about this document on page

20     26 and 25 of the transcript.  Now, first of all, can you identify what

21     this document is and who is its author?

22        A.   The supreme military court.  Its seat was in Belgrade and it was

23     a court that dated back to the times of the SFRY.  It was in Belgrade

24     then and it was in Belgrade now.  They were involved in proceedings

25     against soldiers who had committed crimes in the area of the Republic of

Page 12549

 1     the Serb Krajina all the way up until 19th May 1992 when they officially

 2     left the area of the Republic of the Serb Krajina.  Then the

 3     authorities -- I mean, well, then UNPROFOR came.  That was part of the

 4     Vance Plan.

 5        Q.   And you said in response to the question by the Prosecutor at 26,

 6     line 16, "Do you stand by that it is permissible to kill civilians during

 7     a time of war?"  And then your answer was:  "This is just as the supreme

 8     military court took something out of context from my appeal, which was

 9     several hundred pages long."

10             Now, can I first ask:  Is it right that this, then, is a summary

11     of --

12        A.   No, not thousands, not thousands.  Not even hundreds.  No.  Tens

13     of pages.  That's how appeals are written.

14        Q.   Okay.  And is it right that this is a summary of the arguments

15     that you made in those other documents?

16        A.   Well, some of that.  I've explained that in this appeal, I mean,

17     that it was a passivist document.  And I attacked the makers of war, the

18     initiators of war, because in this case we can see who the victims are.

19     Civilians are the victims.  And these young people, soldiers, like this

20     Gagic, he had just done his regular military service.  And I said that if

21     I could decide against wars and therefore against killings of soldiers

22     and civilians and anyone else, after all, life is more valuable than

23     anything else.  But I acted as defence counsel there as well.

24        Q.   Mr. Strbac, you said in your answer while being cross-examined by

25     the Prosecutor that the court took something out of context.  Now, as you

Page 12550

 1     sit here, can you think of any comment -- context that would be relevant

 2     to the issue of whether it is lawful to target civilians?  What context

 3     or circumstances might be relevant to that, as you sit here?

 4        A.   If I remember this case correctly, this young soldier was brought

 5     to the front line, and his superiors told him, Everything that is on the

 6     other side is your enemy.  This soldier crossed the front line himself

 7     and whoever he found there, this elderly married couple, he killed them.

 8     And he returned, running, shouting, yoo hoo hoo, I've just killed two

 9     Ustashas.

10             You see, I asked for a psychiatric evaluation to see whether he

11     was competent at all when he committed that crime, and you see that that

12     was also accepted by the court, and they ordered that this evidence be

13     adduced at re-trial.

14             Through my appeal, I defended all of these young people who were

15     forced to shoot and kill somewhere.  I wanted then, and that is my wish

16     to this day, that those who forced them to wage war and kill be brought

17     before courts of law.  That was the essence of my appeal.

18        Q.   At page 53 today, you were asked some questions about the pre-war

19     ethnic composition of the territory that subsequently became the RSK.

20     And I should correct myself.  You were actually asked about the SBWS

21     only.

22             Now, first of all --

23        A.   Yes.

24        Q.   -- can you say whether the pre-war population of the RSK, taken

25     as a totality, had more Serbs or more Croats?

Page 12551

 1        A.   I didn't quite understand.  Do you mean the entire Republic of

 2     Croatia?

 3        Q.   No.  The question was just about the RSK.  And whether or not

 4     taking --

 5        A.   On the whole, the RSK had more Serbs, which could be seen from

 6     that table that was produced here.

 7        Q.   And you were asked a hypothetical about the majority in a

 8     particular region, if they are of a particular ethnicity, about the means

 9     of changing that composition.  Does it also depend on how you define the

10     geographic entity?

11        A.   Yes, that's what I tried to explain.  I think that I succeeded in

12     saying that there were different interpretations as to what a certain

13     region represents in territorial terms, and then everyone paints their

14     picture and then, of course, one has to take into account the population

15     as well.

16             I know Western Slavonia rather than Eastern Slavonia, and I know

17     that according to the Vance Plan, twice as much territory was supposed to

18     be there rather than was actually in the hands of the Serbs.  My counting

19     was that there were only 15.000 in the area that was held under Serb

20     control rather than 30.000.  I did not deal with Eastern Slavonia, and I

21     cannot tell you about that right now because I didn't deal with it.  But

22     I'm giving you the figures at the time of Operation Flash.

23             MR. GOSNELL:  That concludes my examination and re-direct,

24     Mr. President.

25             Thank you very much, Mr. Strbac.


Page 12552

 1             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you, Mr. Gosnell.

 2                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 3                           Questioned by the Court:

 4             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Mr. Strbac, I have one question; perhaps a few

 5     sub-questions.

 6             At the beginning of your testimony, you told us that the Croat

 7     authorities, and I quote, "... asked me to sign some kind of statement of

 8     loyalty to the new state and even worse things were asked," indicating

 9     that asking from a judge for a statement of loyalty to the new state is a

10     bad thing.

11             Could I ask you, who appointed you judge of the municipal court

12     of Benkovac in 1977?

13        A.   The Municipal Assembly of Benkovac.

14             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Okay.  And when you took that position in 1977,

15     were you asked to make some sort of statement of loyalty to the state or

16     to the entity within which you were to function as a judge?

17        A.   Not in that form.  One only took the solemn oath, a solemn

18     undertaking that I would enforce the law, the kind of oath that exists in

19     every country before the president of the assembly.

20             Let me just add that when I became a judge of the district court,

21     then it was the National Assembly of Croatia that appointed me to that

22     position.  It all depended on the ranking of the court.

23             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Okay.  That would have been my next question

24     about, indeed, the district court.  So it's the National Assembly of

25     Croatia.  And then a similar kind of statement or oath?

Page 12553

 1        A.   It was an oath.  The president of the assembly would call however

 2     many we were who were appointed, and after that appointment, we made in a

 3     chorus a solemn declaration that I will honourably comply with and

 4     enforce the laws, et cetera.  But this was something quite different.

 5     The authorities changed.  There were new elections.  And they foisted it

 6     on us Serbs, only Serbs - at that time I had been a judge for two and a

 7     half years - at that time they foisted on us who were of Serb ethnicity a

 8     declaration that we would be loyal to the state of Croatia.  So it was

 9     not asked of everybody.  Just of the Serbs.

10             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Okay.  Now, in the same session and today as

11     well, you told us about the fact that the RSK - and that is either the

12     assembly or the government - also appointed judges.  You remember that,

13     do you?

14        A.   Yes.  We discussed the minutes of the sessions of the government

15     and the assembly.

16             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Now, my question is:  Did these new-appointed

17     judges have to pledge their loyalty to the newly established RSK.

18        A.   Not in that way and not with that document.  It was done in the

19     way we worked.  Whoever elected you or appointed you, you would take a

20     solemn oath only in the sense that you would, in the best possible way,

21     to the best of your ability and honourably, perform your judicial duties.

22             JUDGE DELVOIE:  Thank you very much.

23             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Welcome.

24             JUDGE DELVOIE:  If there are no follow-up questions, Mr. Strbac,

25     we thank you very much for coming to The Hague to assist us.  This is the

Page 12554

 1     end of your testimony.  You're now released as a witness, and we wish you

 2     a safe journey back home.  The court usher will escort you out of court.

 3             THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.

 4                           [The witness withdrew]

 5             JUDGE DELVOIE:  If there's nothing else, court is adjourned for

 6     the week.

 7                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.07 p.m.,

 8                           to be reconvened on Monday, the 20th day of

 9                           October, 2014, at 9.00 a.m.