1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL Case No. IT-95-18-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Case No. IT-95-5-R61
4 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
6 Friday, 28th June 1996
9 JUDGE JORDA
10 (The Presiding Judge)
12 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
13 JUDGE RIAD
14 THE PROSECUTOR OF THE TRIBUNAL
18 RADOVAN KARADZIC
19 RATKO MLADIC
21 MR. ERIC OSTBERG, MR. MARK HARMON and MR. TERREE BOWERS appeared on behalf
22 of the Prosecution
23 (Open Session)
24 (9.45 a.m.)
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE [In translation]: So we are going to resume our
1 hearing. First, I would like to make sure that everything is working,
2 that you can hear the interpretation. Everyone can hear me? The
3 prosecuting counsel, the people in the visitors' gallery? I would
4 like to hope that the interpreters have recovered from all the strain
5 deployed yesterday, and we are going to try to catch up the time we
6 lost yesterday. The Judges will be doing everything they can to see
7 that we move ahead briskly. I suggest that we leave it like that and
8 move right on to the substance of the matter. We are going to hear,
9 prosecuting counsel, I am quite confident, our witness Professor Garde
10 this morning.
11 MR. BOWERS: That is correct, your Honour. We would like to resume with
12 Professor Garde.
13 PROFESSOR GARDE, recalled.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Professor. You are in tip-top shape, I
15 trust? Great. So the prosecuting counsel is going to go on putting
16 questions to you. You have the floor, prosecuting counsel.
17 Examined by MR. BOWERS
18 MR. BOWERS: Good morning, Professor Garde.
19 THE WITNESS [In translation]: Good morning.
20 Q. Yesterday we ended with your description of the rise of nationalism
21 in the 1980s and a brief review of how the media reacted to that and
22 influenced that. We would like to continue the chronology today. If
23 you could pick up with where you left off and begin describing some of
24 the events in the late 1980s and early 1990s that led up to the actual
25 dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.
1 A. Well, as far as the events in Serbia go, in the regions inhabited by
2 Serbs, at the same time, that is, the second half of the 1980s, there
3 was also the waning of communism in the north west Republics, and as
4 of '86 little by little there was the appearance, it was
5 anti-constitutional, but it was more or less tolerated, that there
6 were parties emerging in Slovenia and there was a certain amount of
7 democracy in that Republic.
8 There was, of course, opposition with what was happening in
9 Serbia because the Slovenes gave their backing to the Kosovo Albanians
10 who were subjected to attacks from the Serbs. So, the conflict
11 between these two Republics, Slovenia and Serbia, became quite acute,
12 and particularly when the Slovenes banned a Serb rally that was to
13 take place and the Serbians retaliated with an economic blockade
14 against Slovenia, and a bit later the same movement of diversification
15 on the political front, the fact that there were opposition parties
16 that were tolerated, that also occurred in Croatia. Consequently,
17 these two Republics were at odds with Serbia.
18 Now, at that point in time, in 1989, there was the fall of
19 communism in all the neighbouring countries, that is to say, the
20 Berlin Wall came down and communism collapsed in Hungary, Bulgaria,
21 etc, Rumania as well at one point or another, and the movement toward
22 pluralism becomes a lot stronger, and the Yugoslav Republics could not
23 disregard this general movement of liberalization.
24 At that point in time there are various events that occurred.
25 First, in early 1990 there is the break up of the communist party,
1 the Yugoslav Communist League. The Slovenes and the Croats on the one
2 hand and the Serbs on the other had taken opposite stances. At the
3 party meeting in early 90, there was the dissolution and Slovenia
4 left the congress followed by the Croats. That was it. That as end
5 of the Yugoslav communist party.
6 Subsequently, in the course of 1990, there were elections that
7 took place first in the north west Republics, Slovenia Croatia, in the
8 spring, in March/April 1990; whereas in the other Republics they took
9 place in December.
10 Now, in March in Slovenia and in Croatia those elections
11 brought to power forces that were opposed to communism. In Croatia,
12 in addition to that, the elections were won by a party that was quite
13 nationalist, the HDZ of President Tudjman.
14 Immediately, this coming to power of the nationalists in
15 Croatia aggravated the tensions, because Croatia had a population of
16 12 per cent and they had already been affected by the campaigns,
17 demonstrations, the threats, etc.. So they had this feeling and to an
18 even greater extent was strengthened by propaganda. So, there was
19 matter to feed such a campaign on the Croat side. One of the slogans
20 was that the Serbs had too many important positions in the
21 administration; so there was a dismissal of certain civil servants who
22 were Serbian which, of course, reinforced their fears and their
23 conviction that they were threatened.
24 Similarly, there was a new constitution for Croatia that was
25 adopted and, unlike the previous constitution which stated that
1 Croatia was the state of both the Croat people and the Serbian Croat
2 people, the new constitution said that Croatia was the state of the
3 Croatian people, and of the other nationalities who lived there such
4 as Serbs, Italians, Hungarians, etc.
5 In other words, the Serbs in this new arrangement were moved
6 out of the first category into the second category. So, they are
7 second class citizens, as it were, even though the constitution
8 granted to them all rights, at least in theory. But, in practice, they
9 did not always actually possess those rights.
10 Now, propaganda from Belgrade and the propaganda disseminated
11 there among the Serbs of Croatia at that time, in particular that
12 propaganda, as I already said yesterday, was constantly stressing the
13 genocide of 1941, and in people's minds the idea is conveyed that
14 genocide is going to happen again, and that this new Croatian
15 government is picking up where the Ustasha left off.
16 So, as of the summer of 1990, in the Serbian parts of Croatia
17 there is some uprising. It starts off with roadblocks, and Croatian
18 policemen were disarmed by Serbian insurgents. Then in the course of
19 the following winter and spring, almost outright rebellion, the first
20 deaths took place on 31st March 1991 at Plitvice. The first massacre
21 that takes place on 2nd May 1991, that is, of Croatian policemen by
22 Serbs, that is, on 2nd May 1991, Borovo Selo, 2nd May 1991, so two
23 months practically before Croatia declared independence.
24 The conflict was also deteriorating because Serbia had
25 embezzled funds that were meant for Croatia. Then Serbia refused the
1 right of the Croatian representative to be elected President. That
2 was on 15th May 1991. There was the rotating Presidency. On 15th May
3 1991 the previous Serbian President's term came to an end. Normally,
4 it was the Croatian who was the party of the nationalist Croatian
5 party who was to succeed him. The representatives of the Serb block
6 hindered that election. So there was no longer a Federal President,
7 and the federal institutions were deadlocked.
8 During that period the Slovenes and the Croatians were
9 preparing their independence. There were referendums in December 1990
10 in Slovenia and then I believe it was in April or May '91, April or
11 May 91, in May, in Croatia and people were very much in favour of
12 independence. Those two countries on 25th June 1991 declared their
13 independence and that was at that point in time that the federal army
14 reacted, and that is when the military phase of the conflict begins,
15 that is to say, with the federal army's intervention in Slovenia.
16 That lasted just 10 days.
17 The federal army's intervention and the war in Croatia lasted
18 some six months, and later on in 1992 there would be the military
19 intervention in Bosnia which has lasted until quite recently.
20 Q. Thank you, Professor Garde. How did the declarations of independence
21 in Slovenia and Croatia affect the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
22 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as we saw, is at the heart of the former
23 Yugoslavia, and the people there, besides the Muslim Bosnians, you
24 have Serbs and Croats there. Now, as a result, the setup in
25 Yugoslavia suited the people in Bosnia, and survey showed that just
1 before the war they were in favour of keeping their Yugoslav
2 federation but on the condition that the federation be balanced, that
3 is to say, that it included Serbia and Croatia as well. Bosnia was
4 right in the middle and there was this desire of seeing this balance
5 maintained, but once the federation no longer included Slovenia and
6 Croatia, Bosnia ended up face to face, as it were, with Serbia and was
7 on unequal terms because there was a lot more Serbs and they have a
8 lot more power.
9 So that solution whereby Bosnia would stay within the new
10 Yugoslav federation that was dominated by the Serbs, well, alone
11 amongst the people of Bosnia was the Serbs who were in favour of that
12 and the Croats. The Muslims of Bosnia were very much against that.
13 So, once the federation fell apart, the majority of the Bosnian
14 population, since Muslims and Croats in Bosnia account for two-thirds
15 of the population, so the majority of the population of Bosnia wanted
16 at that point in time independence to be declared.
17 In Bosnia at that time the elections in December 1990 had been
18 won by the three nationalist parties, the SDS, Radovan Karadzic, that
19 is, the Serbs; SDA of Alija Izetbegovic, that is the Muslim Bosnians
20 and then the HDZ, the Croat party. So the three nationalist parties
21 formed a coalition and ruled. They split up the authority, but that
22 coalition did not last very long precisely because the various members
23 of that coalition had conflicting interests.
24 Two of the parties in question were for the independence of
25 Bosnia; whereas as the third party, the SDS, the Serb party, was
1 totally opposed to that. This is why the conflict came about in no
2 time at all during the second half of 1991, that is to say, while the
3 war was being waged in Croatia, the terrible war, in the course of
4 which the Serbs army, the federal army with the help of the Yugoslav
5 militia, occupied a third of Croatian territory, drove out the
6 Croatians living there and already at the time there was ethnic
7 cleansing going on.
8 So whilst those events were occurring, Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 remained outside of the conflict and, in principle, it was neutral,
10 but President Izetbegovic was careful about that, but the federal army
11 occupied the territory and it was used as a real base against Croatia.
12 The internal tension was quite considerable; everyone felt that the
13 conflict, a conflict was going to break out, and during that second
14 half of 1991 that the conflict was being prepared and that the
15 instruments were set up with a view to the conflict, with a view to
16 ethnic cleansing.
17 Q. Professor Garde, how did the Serbian nationalism manifest itself in
18 the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
19 A. Well, in respect of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so at the time the first
20 pluralist elections were getting underway, those of December 1990,
21 among other parties, there was a nationalist Serb party that was
22 established, the SDS, that is, the Serb Democratic Party. From the
23 outset its head was Radovan Karadzic. Now, this party, unlike the
24 party in power in Serbia, was not a communist party. It was
25 anti-communist, in fact, and it was supported by the Orthodox Church
1 and the Orthodox Church played an important role in the establishment
2 of this party, the SDS.
3 So this nationalist party, the SDS, had as its official aims
4 to defend the interests of the Serbian people in Bosnia and it got
5 involved in the elections and participated in the coalition that won
6 the elections, but subsequently it participated in the government and
7 in the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Presidency of
8 the Presidency went to the main Bosnian Muslim leader, Alija
9 Izetbegovic. The Presidency of the Council, that is to say, Prime
10 Ministership, went to a Croat and the President of the Assembly went
11 to a member of the SDS, a Serb.
12 Radovan Karadzic did not take on an official position, but
13 remained leader of the SDS party. He also acted as President of the
14 national Serb Council which is a non-official body, but which was
15 supposed to be representing the interests of the Serb people in
17 At the same time, the Serb party, just like the other
18 nationalist parties, made sure that it had power in the opstina, in
19 the municipalities, where it had a majority.
20 MR. BOWERS: Your Honours, at this time we would like to start referring
21 to some of the exhibits that are in your binder. They have not been
22 scanned into the computer, but in your binder there will be the
23 Cyrillic version initially. Then there are French and English
24 translations that follow the Cyrillic versions of these exhibits so
25 you will be able to follow them in your binders.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Mr. Bowers, now since you have done with a certain
2 area with Professor Garde, we might see if our fellow Judges have any
3 questions. I just have one question. I am not sure you addressed the
4 matter, but it might be useful: the declaration of independence, did
5 that give rise to any reaction on the part of the international
6 community, and what do you think the significance of those reactions
7 might have been subsequently?
8 A. Yes, the declarations of independence as such did not immediately
9 give rise to any reactions on the part of the international community,
10 but in Slovenia and in Croatia when the conflict broke out that gave
11 rise to some reactions, that is to say, there was a war that was being
12 waged. The international community and particularly the European
13 Union could not put an end to it. In Slovenia, it was easy enough
14 precisely because there was no Serb minority in Slovenia, so the Serbs
15 did not see much point in conquering Slovenia. After a few days they
16 had no trouble accepting to withdraw.
17 In Croatia, things were more difficult because the conflict
18 lasted six months. It was bloody. It was dreadful. The efforts of
19 the European Community to put an end to it were initially in vain, and
20 at that point in time some countries, in particular Germany, but other
21 countries as well, thought that the best solution would be to
22 recognise the independence of Slovenia and Croatia, so that the
23 conflict would be officially recognised as an international conflict,
24 and that would allow for outside intervention and intervention by the
25 United Nations that would be legitimate with the view to ending the
2 Other countries in contrast, for example, France and the UK,
3 thought that it would be best not to recognise the independence of
4 those Republics which would entail recognising the borders. They
5 thought it would be best to wait and to get concessions from those
6 Republics in return for recognising that independence. In particular,
7 what they had in mind was concessions from Croatia in respect of its
9 So there were two opposing ways of viewing the problem. On
10 account of this opposition of views, for six months no decision was
11 taken. During those six months all of the efforts deployed by the
12 international community to put an end to the conflict remained in
13 vain. After six months, finally, that is to say, in December of 1991
14 the decision was taken to recognise the independence of those
16 Now, that decision of a condition of recognition was taken on
17 17th December. The recognition came into effect as of 15th January
18 and Germany jumped the gun -- I do not remember the exact date -- but
19 they went ahead with recognition on their part earlier. At all
20 events, once the recognition did take place it was immediately after
21 that that the fighting in Croatia stopped. They stopped it on 2nd
22 January 1992.
23 You asked me for my opinion, your Honour, it is often said
24 that recognition was premature, that it was one of the causes of the
25 conflict. I read somewhere that that recognition was the actual cause
1 of the war. I think rather the opposite, that the recognition came
2 very late. It was also on account of that recognition that the
3 conflict ended in Croatia.
4 When you say that that is the cause of the war, what you have
5 to know is that that recognition, that decision in December 1991 was
6 taken after some six months of war, rather, there were tens of
7 thousands dead in Croatia. There had already been massacres around
8 Vukovar. There had been dreadful mass murders, mass graves. The war
9 had been lasting for some six months. So to say that it was the
10 recognition that caused the war, it is a bit much because the war had
11 already been going on for six months.
12 Now, recognition, no doubt, did entail recognition of the
13 borders. It crystallised, as it were, the fact that the federation
14 had broken up and, as I said earlier on, this put Bosnia in a very
15 difficult situation. But that is not due to recognition. It is a
16 fact that the federation broke up and I explained the reasons for the
17 breakup earlier on, so it is not by refusing to recognise that breakup
18 by going on and have the federation exist as a fiction when it did not
19 have any further basis in reality that one could have improved things.
20 That is my opinion at all events.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Let me ask fellow Judges whether they
22 have any questions.
23 JUDGE RIAD [In translation]: Professor, earlier on you said that the
24 Yugoslav Army when it attacked Croatia had the support of the militia.
25 Did the militia report to the army? What was their status?
1 A. No, the militia was not under the orders of the army. There were two
2 things that were involved, in fact. There were the local militia,
3 that was made up of the local population of Croatia who played a role
4 in the initial events, the roadblocks, etc. and the initial clashes,
5 but there were also paramilitary groups that came from Serbia which
6 had been recruited by some Serbian extremists, extremists, the Arkan
7 Tigers, the White Eagles, and other groupings recruited in Serbia who
8 came and got involved in these operations in Croatia and played a very
9 active role indeed.
10 But, it can be said that even if officially the two types of
11 militia were not under the army's orders, in actual fact, they
12 operated in a co-ordinated fashion, that is to say, that initially the
13 militia, particularly the local militia, would provoke a conflict with
14 the Croats and then, in the second stage, the army would intervene,
15 that is to say, in actual fact it would occupy territory and see to it
16 that there was no possibility for the Croats to reoccupy that
18 Then later on when war really got going as of July/August
19 1991, then the army attacked such and such a position with shelling
20 and then would occupy the territory, drive out the Croats and then the
21 militia, in particular the militia from Serbia, would come afterwards
22 and proceed with the massacres, pillage etc.. So there were two
23 distinct forces, in fact, three distinction forces, but they acted
24 during this whole period in close co-operation.
25 Q. A question I have had on my mind since yesterday when you talked
1 about ethnic cleansing: you said that ethnic cleansing existed since
2 the time of the Austrian Empire; also that it took place during the
3 Nazi period. Could you maybe tell us really when that policy
4 initiated in the former Yugoslavia and where it came from?
5 A. Well, what happened, for instance, in the 18th century under Austrian
6 rule and in the 19th century in Serbian and Montenegrin territory, the
7 Muslims were driven out. Subsequently, what happened then in Croatia
8 and Bosnia in 1941 for the first time it was ethnic cleansing that was
9 practised by representatives of a Christian people on another
10 Christian people, that is to say, by Croats on Serbs. So that was the
11 first time that ethnic cleansing was taking place without for once the
12 Muslims being the victims. That was also the first time where the
13 proportions were as vast, as systematic, as they were. Of course,
14 this was in tune with the fascist Nazi ideology at the time. It is
15 fair to say that ethnic cleansing, such as practised in Croatia during
16 the second half of 1991 and then in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995, that
17 that was also a follow-up to the same kind of operation. But this
18 time it was carried out in a more systematic fashion and a better
19 organised fashion than had ever seen before.
20 Q. Who practised in the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs this time?
21 A. The Serbs against the Croats and against the Croats in Croatia, and I
22 am talking about Croats and non-Serbs, that included the Hungarians
23 who were also victims and in Bosnia it was practised against Croats
24 and, essentially, against the Muslim Bosnians who were in terms of
25 number the main victims.
1 This does not preclude the fact that in Bosnia you also had
2 ethnic cleansing practised by Croats against Bosnian Muslims and vice
3 versa in 1993. But in terms of numbers or statistics, if you like,
4 ethnic cleansing was practised, essentially, by the Serbs. In the
5 course of the 90s, the Serbs took that initiative. They practised
6 ethnic cleansing in a systematic manner. So, from a statistical point
7 of view, it was in very large, considerable numbers.
8 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Professor.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, if you please, I have just one question
10 in the wake of my fellow Judge's question. How do you define "ethnic
11 cleansing" in terms of its principle and in terms of its method? Then
12 I would have a question on the army, please, Professor.
13 A. Well, ethnic cleansing is a practice which means that you act in such
14 a way that in a given territory the members of a given ethnic group
15 are eliminated. It means a practice that aims at such and such a
16 territory be, as they meant, ethnically pure. So, in other words,
17 that that territory would no longer contain only members of the ethnic
18 group that took the initiative of cleansing the territory.
19 So, in other words, the members of the other groups are
20 eliminated by different ways, by different methods. You have
21 massacres. Everybody is not massacred, but I mean in terms of
22 numbers, you have massacres in order to scare these populations.
23 Sometimes these massacres are selective, and they aim at eliminating
24 the elite of a given population, but they are massacres. I mean, that
25 is the point. So whenever you have massacres, naturally the other
1 people are driven away. They are afraid. They try to run away and
2 you find yourself with a high number of a given people that have been
3 massacred, persecuted and, of course, in the end these people simply
4 want to leave. They also submitted to such pressures that they go
5 away. They are driven away either on their own initiative or they are
6 deported. But the basic point is for them to be out of that territory
7 and some of them are sometimes locked up in camps. Some women are
8 raped and, furthermore, often times what you have is the destruction
9 of the monuments which marked the presence of a given population in a
10 given territory, for instance, religious places, Catholic churches or
11 mosques are destroyed.
12 So, basically, this is how ethnic cleansing is practised in
13 the course of this war.
14 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: In this connection of ethnic cleansing, Professor
15 Garde, when you speak of "Muslims" are you talking about a religious
16 or an ethnic group?
17 A. All right. When I talk about Muslims, when I told you about the 18th
18 and 19th century, of course, I was dealing with a religious group, but
19 now when we talk about the Muslims in the course of the 20th century
20 and, more specifically, in Bosnia, we no longer deal with a religious
22 As I indicated yesterday, in these particular regions and,
23 more specifically, in Bosnia where the different populations all speak
24 the same language, the difference was based on a confessional
25 criteria, i.e. belonging to a given confessional group. Croats are
1 those that by tradition were Catholics. The Serbs by tradition are
2 orthodox. The Muslim Bosnians are Muslims with a capital "M" belong
3 to the muslim tradition, Muslim this time time spelt with a low case
5 That does not mean that these people had a personal faith in
6 that religion, that they practised that religion. It simply means
7 that by tradition they came from families that are Muslim, that their
8 ancestors also belonged to the Muslim community, but it does not mean
9 at all that they themselves practised the Islam religion or that they
10 believed in what Muslims believe in. The same applies to the
11 Catholics or the orthodox.
12 It simply means that these people belong to that particular
13 community by tradition and they considered a sort of heritage in
14 belonging to that community, and by the other people they were
15 considered as belonging to that community too. But it did not imply
16 anything in terms of their personal creed or their religious practice.
17 Of course, even among the Serbs and even those that claimed
18 that they belonged to the orthodoxy, and though they defended the
19 Orthodox Church, still there are many Serbs that are agnostic or did
20 not believe or anything with no creed. The same applied to Croats and
21 to Muslims, spelt with a capital "M". So again it is not a question
22 of personal faith or creed. It is more a question of belonging to a
23 given group, to a given nation.
24 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you.
25 JUDGE RIAD: If you please, Professor, in your presentation about ethnic
1 cleansing you have referred to deportation and massacre and you also
2 alluded to rape. Can rape be used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing
3 purposes? Has it been used as a weapon?
4 A. Yes, yes, it has. It was used for that purpose because, you know,
5 rape, rape is humiliation, humiliation felt by the woman who is raped
6 and by her whole family and the whole group to which she belongs.
7 Rape is something that makes it even more difficult, even more
8 intolerable, to live together amongst the different groups. Returning
9 in the region where rape takes place, it is even more difficult. So,
10 undoubtedly, that weapon has been used systematically. This being
11 said, in answer to your question, there are certainly better placed
12 experts than me, so I am only repeating here what has been written on
13 this subject.
14 Q. Thank you. You used the word "systematic" when referring to ethnic
15 cleansing. Who promoted this idea or this policy at the beginning in
16 the present conflict?
17 A. In the present conflict, I mean, this had already been promoted by
18 Serb theoricians before. I mean, there was a text dating back to '37
19 that clearly explained how we should do away with the Albanians from
20 Kosovo. There were orders given by General Mihajlovic in the Second
21 World War that indicated we need to proceed to ethnic cleansing,
22 probably apocryphal orders but that probably emanated anyway from
23 these Chetnik circles.
24 But the point is that the whole idea was floating in the air
25 and this practise had already existed. So in the present conflict, it
1 is difficult to find or, at least, I for one do not know of any text
2 in which it was expressively said that such populations had to be
3 deported. But, however, it is said expressis verbis everywhere that
4 "we cannot live together any more, we must not live together any more.
5 We must not live with the Muslims under the same roofs". The same
6 idea was found, well, I do not have the text in mind, but anyway, I
7 mean, this whole idea had been expressed before and repeatedly and
8 quite frequently. So the practice was extremely systematic and so
9 clearly enough the idea was present.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am not sure that we fully addressed the role of
12 the army at the beginning in the federal structure and then gradually
13 the role of the army that developed. Could you briefly give us some
14 clarification about the JNA?
15 A. All right. The army was basically the only federal institution that
16 survived. Gradually, at the time when authority was given to the
17 Republics and when the federal Presidency disappeared, all that was
18 left was one single federation institution, i.e. the army. The army
19 has several characteristics. On the one hand, the Serbs for
20 historical reasons, from the origin, the Serbs had always occupied
21 dominating positions. I think there were about 60 per cent of Serb
22 officers while the Serbs only represented 36 per cent of the
23 population in Yugoslavia. If you include the Montenegrins, it
24 increases the proportion.
25 So the Serbs had the dominating positions or posts in the
1 army, and then the army was an institution, a federal institution, as
2 I indicated, but lived on the federation, on the communist regimes
3 since in any communist regime the military were privileged. So the
4 army, the army as a whole, wanted to maintain the federation and, as
5 far as most of the officers are concerned, they wanted to maintain the
6 federation which was directly connected with defending the Serb
8 You have General Kadijevic who was the Commander-in-Chief of
9 the army during the crucial times all the way until January '92 who
10 wrote that, when you read him actually you realise that, as far as he
11 was concerned, both objectives were merging into one single objective,
12 i.e. defending the federal institutions and defending the Serbs or
13 defending the rights of the Serbs against all the other peoples.
14 So, when the federal authority disappeared, and it disappeared
15 when the federal Presidency no longer operated on 15th May '91, so at
16 that given point in time you find yourself in front of this rather
17 strange position where you have an army without any Commander, an army
18 that becomes fairly autonomous.
19 So, thanks to the European mediation in July '91, Europe
20 managed to impose the elections of Mesic who is a Croat as a President
21 of the federation. So, theoretically, he was the Commander-in-Chief
22 of the army, but the army never obeyed to him. Mesic, although
23 theoretically the Commander-in-Chief of the army was considered by
24 that army as its No. 1 enemy. So the army did not have any
25 Commander-in-Chief, no superior authority. So the army behaved as an
1 autonomous body and that autonomous body sided with the Serbs and
2 acted in close co-operation with the Serb authorities, that of
4 At that time a Party was created, a Party for Yugoslavia, a
5 Party whose leadership was by Milosevic's wife, Mrs. Markovic, and a
6 few of the commanders of the army. So you see that from that time on
7 the army operates in full autonomy but in close co-operation with the
8 Serb authority.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you. Prosecutor, now how do you want to
10 organise the rest of the day? I think that this morning we started
11 earlier on, we are going to work until 1 o'clock, we are going to take
12 a break, and you also have some exhibits to tender, so what do you
13 suggest, Prosecutor?
14 MR. BOWERS: Your Honour, I think going through these additional documents
15 should take half an hour to 45 minutes possibly. If it is
16 appropriate, we would like to just continue depending on the staff
17 and the court's wishes. We can take a break, your Honour, if this is
18 an appropriate point.
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: All right. I hope everybody will be agreeable, but
20 we are going to continue with this witness until the end and then we
21 will take a break. Then we will hear the second testimony. So
22 Prosecutor, please continue.
23 MR. BOWERS: Thank you, your Honour. Professor Garde and your Honours, if
24 you could turn to Exhibit 4, please? Professor Garde, would you
25 explain to the court what Exhibit 4 is?
1 A. Exhibit No. 4 is a letter sent by Radovan Karadzic to Slobodan
2 Milosevic to congratulate him on his election as a President of the
3 Republic of Serbia. There is no date on this exhibit but I probably
4 think that it dates back to December '90 because this is exactly when
5 the election took place, and which are the basis for these
7 The interesting thing in this letter is the signature; the
8 fact that Radovan Karadzic signs as the President of the SDS, and at
9 the same time as the President of the national Serb Council of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina which is an informal, non-constitutional body which
11 was supposed to represent the interests of the Serb people in
12 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, clearly, here it shows on this exhibit,
13 because of the signature and because of the fact that he congratulates
14 the President of Serbia, he appears as the leader of the Serbs in
16 Q. Thank you. Now if we could move to Exhibit 5, please, if you could
17 explain that exhibit for the court?
18 A. Right, now, Exhibit No. 5 dates August '91. It is a circular sent by
19 Karadzic as the President of SDS and it is sent to all committees,
20 regional committees and municipal committees, of SDS in Bosnia. This
21 document indicates how the communications should be organised between
22 the different bodies of SDS, and how they would ensure the
23 confidentiality of such communications.
24 So you see here even at the time in August '91 and at the time
25 the war was raging in Croatia, but had not started in Bosnia yet, so
1 these were the preparations for not a clandestine action but a secret
2 or military action and to protect and secure communications of the
3 party without being intercepted by the official authorities in Bosnia.
4 Q. Professor Garde, if you could move to Exhibit 6, please, and also
5 explain to the court what that Exhibit is?
6 A. OK, Exhibit No. 6 dates back to March '92. It is sent to the
7 President of the municipality and those that are Serb, since it dates
8 back to March 92, the Serb territories or territories considered as
9 being Serb, contrary to the previous period, had been split up into
10 separate territories. So here Radovan Karadzic signs as the President
11 of SDS. He no longer writes to the committees of the SDS, as in the
12 previous exhibit, he is sending this to the Presidents of the
13 municipalities, those municipalities that were placed under his
14 authority at the time when this country had already been split up. So
15 here again the point is to organise communications between the
16 different municipalities.
17 Q. Professor Garde, would you move to Exhibit 7, please, and explain
18 that Exhibit to the court?
19 A. Yes, Exhibit 7 is a decision, it is a decision in order to maintain
20 the Serb people of Bosnia-Herzegovina within the common state of
21 Yugoslavia. The interesting thing is, well, No. 1, this exhibit is
22 not signed by Karadzic but by Krajisnik, Krajisnik who -- in actual
23 fact, I think the interesting thing would be to look at the previous
24 exhibit which is on the same photocopy. It is a decision aiming at
25 creating an assembly of the Serb people of Bosnia-Herzegovina; a
1 decision of the same date of 24th October '91.
2 So on 24th October '91 it was decided in a first stage, and
3 that is the first exhibit, the one before, the one about which you are
4 asking me questions. So in this previous exhibit, the decision is
5 made to create a National Assembly or, rather, an Assembly of the Serb
6 people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is a sort of higher degree as
7 opposed to the Council that previously existed. So now you have an
8 Assembly which is supposed to rule over the Serb people in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina. So from now on, the Serb people or the Serbs from
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina no longer recognised the authority of the
11 government of Bosnia Herzegovina, the common government, but they set
12 themselves up as a separate entity.
13 That Assembly of the Serb people of Bosnia-Herzegovina is made
14 up of the deputies from SDS and SPO which is another Serb party which
15 were part of the Assembly. So it is a part of the Assembly of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a section of the Assembly, representing these two
17 Serb parties that set themselves up as a separate body. This is why
18 the President of that Assembly is the man, a member of SDS, who
19 previously was a President of the whole Assembly of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Momcilo Krajisnik, and this is why he signs that
21 particular exhibit.
22 So, in the first stage, that Assembly is created. This is the
23 first exhibit. Then the second exhibit, No. 7, means that the
24 Assembly which has just been created on that very day decides that the
25 Serb people of Bosnia-Herzegovina will stay in the common state of
2 The interesting point is that mention is made that the people
3 will stay part of the common state of Yugoslavia. So, they do not
4 state expressively that it is a member of the Federal Socialist
5 Republic of Yugoslavia that existed at the time and no mention is made
6 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which will be created only a
7 couple of months later; they are simply using a word or wording that
8 does not have any constitutional meaning, the common state of
9 Yugoslavia. That means that whatever the form that the state of
10 Yugoslavia will take, the Serbs intend to stay within that state. So
11 it means, it is an act that means that they want to secede secession
12 as from the state of Bosnia.
13 Now, one could wonder why this act is dated 24th October '91.
14 Obviously, this had been prepared for a long time, since before that.
15 You had the autonomous regions, the Serb autonomous regions, so
16 everything had been planned for that particular secession, but what
17 triggered it is the vote that took place on 14th or, rather, 15th
18 October '91, a week before the vote in the parliament of
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina that voted for the sovereignty of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina; a vote that was won thanks to the votes of the
21 Croat and Muslim Bosnians' votes but which was rejected, violently
22 rejected, by the Serb representatives.
23 In the course of that particular hearing of 15th October '91
24 in the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that is when Radovan Karadzic
25 voiced very threatening words concerning what could happen if that
1 vote took place. If you please, I am going it read out what he said
2 at the time. I apologise, but I am going to read this out in English
3 because I do not have the Serb origin nor a French translation; what I
4 have here before me is an English translation published in the book of
5 Laura Silber, "The Death of Yugoslavia" on page 237. So Karadzic
6 said before the parliament of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
7 "You want to take Bosnia-Herzegovina down the same highway of
8 hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia are travelling. Do
9 nothing that you will not lead Bosnia into hell, and do nothing that
10 you will not, perhaps, lead the Muslim people into an annihilation
11 because the Muslims cannot defend themselves if there is war. How
12 will you prevent everyone from being killed in Bosnia?"
13 So that is what Karadzic said on 14th and 15th October 1991.
14 This exhibit, Exhibit 7, is, as it were, the implementation of that
15 policy. It is the first step of it, that is to say, the determination
16 on the part of the Serbs to secede from Bosnia.
17 Q. Professor Garde, both the creation of the Assembly and the
18 affirmation of the Serbian people remaining in whatever Yugoslavia
19 turns out to be, appears on this document known as a gazette. Would
20 you explain to the court what this publication is and its
21 significance, please?
22 A. Now, the publication, the organ in which that is published, this
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. Well, this is published -- it is the official gazette, as it were, of
1 the Serb people in Bosnia Herzegovina. So, the fact that the Serb
2 people publish an official gazette, that is one of the acts in the
3 course of this process of secession, that is to say, the Serb people
4 have set themselves up as a separate entity and they have their own
5 official gazette. But it is worth pointing out that it did not start
6 coming out officially until 15th January 1992, so a bit later.
7 What I was just referring to, 24th October 1991, they were
8 subsequently two or three months later brought together and then
9 published; because in the text itself, in the decision, it says that
10 this decision, this is Article 3, shall be published in the gazette of
11 the people, Serb people, Glasnik. This is a paper that still comes
12 out today. It is a weekly, I believe. It is a normal newspaper.
13 So, initially, once a decision is taken, it is decided that it
14 would be published in the press. Then, subsequently, later on they
15 thought that it would be appropriate to publish it as an official
16 gazette. So a couple of months later they came out with an official
17 gazette and they included all the previous decisions in it.
18 Q. Thank you, Professor Garde. Could we now move to Exhibit 8, please?
19 If you could explain what that document is?
20 A. Exhibit 8, this is a decision giving authority to represent and
21 defend the interests of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, in
22 this exhibit there are five people who are given full powers, who are
23 empowered by the Assembly of the Serb people that has just been set
24 up, because all of this is happening on one and the same day, 24th
25 October, so the Assembly gives full agency to five people to represent
1 it on such and such affairs.
2 So it is worth looking more closely at how the responsibility
3 is broken down, because there are two people who are in charge of
4 international affairs, Nikola Koljevic and another person, the two
5 representatives of the Serbs to the Bosnian Presidency. Then there
6 are three other people who are in charge of relations with the federal
7 authorities of Yugoslavia.
8 Now as the previous decision was based on the Serb aim of
9 staying in the common Yugoslav state, so the relations with the
10 federal Yugoslav authorities were what was most important, actually in
11 terms of the functions of the stay of the people that are going to be
12 working in that capacity; Najdanovic who is in charge of relations
13 with the Assembly, the legislative branch; Miodrag Simovic is in
14 charge of relations with the government, federal government: and
15 Radovan Karadzic is in charge of relations with the federal
16 Presidency. That is to say, he is in charge of relations with the
17 supreme authority of the federation.
18 So at this stage, where the aim of the Serbs in Bosnia is to
19 remain within the Yugoslav federation, Karadzic is in charge of the
20 functions which at that point in time are the most important, that is
21 to say, links with the federal Presidency. He cannot be made a member
22 of the federal Presidency officially, but he is in charge of the
23 relations with it, which is just about the same thing.
24 Q. If we could move to Exhibit 9, please? If you could explain what
25 that document is and its significance?
1 A. Exhibit 9 is a decision on the territories of the municipalities of
2 the local communities and places in Bosnia and Herzegovina which
3 regard themselves as part of the federal state of Yugoslavia. So it
4 is still an ambiguous wording there, the federal state of Yugoslavia.
5 Now, secession on the part of the Serb entity was pronounced
6 in the previous decisions. Here, this is a month later, this is 21st
7 November we are talking about, so secession was proclaimed in
8 principle, but the territory has not been specified. So here it is a
9 matter of specifying what that territory is. It is specified as
10 being the territory in which, when the plebiscite was held a little
11 earlier in November -- one second here -- yes, in the course of the
12 plebiscites, more than 50 per cent of the citizens of Serb nationality
13 came out in favour of remaining within Yugoslavia.
14 So, all of these regions where there is more than 50 per cent
15 of the Serb citizens came out in favour of remaining in Yugoslavia are
16 regarded as part of Yugoslavia. So, quite clearly, that is a very
17 elastic definition, because that referendum had been organised
18 throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout there the majority of
19 Serbs had come out in favour of staying within Yugoslavia. So, I said
20 this was a very elastic formulation that allowed for all kinds of
22 There is something else here worth mentioning. It says at the
23 end of Article 4 that the Serbs cannot oppose the decisions taken by
24 the Croats and the Muslims to set up their own entities, which is
25 something totally arbitrary because at that time the Croat and Muslim
1 people had not indicated they wanted to set up their own entities.
2 There had simply been a decision taken by a majority of the Bosnia and
3 Herzegovina Assembly which was mean to represent all of the people of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina. So there was no desire to secede that had
5 been expressed by the Croat or Muslim communities. In fact, at that
6 point in time, they did not and were not meant to have any separate
7 existence which was quite different from what the Serbs were doing at
8 the time.
9 Q. Could we move to Exhibit 10 now, please, if you could explain the
10 significance of that Exhibit?
11 A. Now, Exhibit 10, 21st November '91 still, this is a decision on
12 verifying the autonomous Serb territory proclaimed in Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. This is a further step, another act, down the road to
14 secession of the Serb territory. It is again a matter of defining
15 that territory.
16 Before the acts we have mentioned here, there had been the
17 setup by the Serbs, by the SDS, of autonomous Serb regions and
18 autonomous Serb districts. That is to say, certain regions had set
19 themselves up as autonomous territories. In other words, they had
20 subtracted themselves from the authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 Here you have a list of the communities in question.
22 So, it is a matter of delineating the territory of the various
23 regions involved. So, there is one that is somewhat bigger, that is
24 the first one, Krajina, and that is quite widespread. That is why it
25 is called the region, the region of Krajina. Then you have the
1 autonomous districts of eastern Herzegovina, Romanija, Semberija,
2 northern Bosnia.
3 So, this is a list here of the territories that had set
4 themselves up as autonomous Serb territories, and had thereby broken
5 away from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Here they are uniting, they are
6 declaring themselves part of Yugoslavia and part of the Serb entity
7 that was being established.
8 So there is this definition of the territory here. It is
9 worth note noting that this decision does not yet lay down any
10 specific borderlines, because the rights, well, since the -- there are
11 some regions, some municipalities where it is indicated that the
12 territory includes only part of it. So, the delineation is not yet as
13 specific as it might be. The previous decision made room for going
14 further, that other territories could be included.
15 Q. Professor Garde, does this creation of the autonomous regions and
16 districts fit into some broader Serbian strategy, in your opinion?
17 A. Yes, what is involved here is a longer term strategy, because the aim
18 is to have these territories, which in the first stage have set
19 themselves up as autonomous regions, to have them unite and then they
20 are supposed to unite with Yugoslavia. This is the same process that
21 had been followed in Croatia, because in Croatia as well the Serbs had
22 first set up two autonomous regions. Then those two autonomous
23 regions are joined, united, and the plan was for them to stay within
25 Q. Thank you. Now if we could have Exhibit 11 which is also R12 shown
1 on the computer screen, please?
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We do not hear the interpretation. There seems to
3 be a problem with the interpretation for the witness. We will
4 straighten that out.
5 THE WITNESS: Yes, now I hear fine. Thank you.
6 MR. BOWERS: Exhibit 11. Professor Garde, would you take a moment and
7 explain to the court what this map represents?
8 A. Yes, that is Exhibit 11, the map. This is the delineation that we
9 were touching on earlier on, that is to say, this was what was spelled
10 out in the previous act, that is to say, these are all the communities
11 which were supposed to be part of the Serb entity which were going to
12 stay in the common Yugoslav state. So you have the geographical
13 delineation that stems or flows from the previous acts.
14 MR. BOWERS: Your Honours, just for accuracy and clarification, I would
15 like to make two observations with regard to this map, one is the
16 municipalities of Bosanska Dubica, Bosanski Gradiska and Bosanski Novi
17 are actually not included in a decision that appears in the gazette.
18 We have included them on the map though because, based on our
19 research and investigation, we have the original minutes of the
20 decision actually made by the Assembly. In those minutes, there is an
21 indication that these three municipalities are to be included. So
22 they are included on the map, but I wanted to make that clear to the
24 Additionally, the red line that goes through the
25 municipalities of Bosanska Krupa, Gornji Vakuf, Rogatica and Sarajevo
1 are only approximate delineations because the text of the decision, as
2 Professor Garde says, is somewhat flexible and only gives limited
3 guidance on those areas where the territory is only described as
4 including part of that municipality. So those are two clarifications
5 for that particular map.
6 If we could move to Exhibit 12, please, which is R13?
7 Professor Garde, when that comes on the screen, if you could explain
8 that to the court, please?
9 A. The map now on the screen is a map showing the military situation on
10 10th November 1992, that is to say, about a year after the previous
11 map. You can see that it corresponds to a significant extent with the
12 previous map since, roughly speaking, you are talking about the same
13 territories. So, as I said, roughly speaking, it is one and the same
14 territory. So the Serbs occupied militarily something that was very
15 much in line with what they had planned a year earlier.
16 I would point out that there is a mistake here actually on
17 this map, because the Bihac region and these three regions in the
18 north west, in fact, were not occupied by the Serbs at that time.
19 They should not be in red. In fact, they were never taken by the
20 Serbs, so those three north western most regions. But the two maps, I
21 said, are quite close. They do not overlap to 100 per cent, because
22 in some cases the Serbs conquered more territory than they had
23 planned. You can see, for instance, that the whole valley of the
24 Drina to the north east, that is to say, the communities of Visegrad,
25 Srebrenica, Bratunac, Zvornik, Gorazde, all of those regions were
1 conquered by the Serbs but they were not included in what we saw
3 These regions happened to be those where some of the most
4 horrible things took place in connection with ethnic cleansing. There
5 are other areas that were conquered that were not planned for, Jajce,
6 that region, or Brcko to the north, north east -- you can see Brcko
7 which was in white on the previous map and now it is in red, Brcko --
8 was also the theatre of absolutely dreadful fighting. That was one of
9 the places where ethnic cleansing was carried out in a horrible way.
10 So there are regions where the Serbs met with more resistance
11 than they expected. That is where you have Muslim Bosnian majority,
12 and they had included that in the northern Bosnian region on the
13 previous map, that is, in the north, as you can see here. On this No.
14 12 around Tuzla, the part going up, that was not planned for on the
15 previous map, that is to say, the Bosnian Muslims put up more
16 resistance than expected.
17 So, in military terms, the situation in November of 1992 was
18 based on what was scheduled a year earlier, but a little bit more
19 territory was taken in some parts and then, of course, there is a
20 little less territory elsewhere and it all very bloody, needless to
22 MR. BOWERS: Additional clarification on this particular map, your
23 Honours: this line that was drawn was taken from the situation
24 frontline map as developed by the headquarters of the combined British
25 forces of UNPROFOR. In addition to the north western section that
1 Professor Garde mentioned, you may notice that the map does not
2 include the enclaves of Gorazde, Srebrenica and Zepa. It was not
3 until February'93 that those areas started to show up on the situation
4 maps, so that is just a clarification with regard to this particular
6 If we could have Exhibit 13, R1-4, just briefly shown? For
7 the court's benefit, this is just the two lines superimposed on each
8 other to show the similarity. I think Professor Garde has already
9 explained the significance of that, so we will move on to Exhibit 14,
10 please. (To the witness): Professor Garde, if you could explain the
11 significance of Exhibit 14 and what the document is.
12 A. Exhibit 14 is dated 11th November 1991 -- December 1991. This is an
13 appeal from the Assembly of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 signed by Momcilo Krajisnik, the President. That was calling on the
15 National Yugoslav Army to defend the territories by whatever means,
16 the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as part and parcel of the
17 Yugoslav state, and places where there have been the referendum where
18 the Serbs in a majority had indicated that they wanted to stay in a
19 Serb state.
20 Things had not been spelt out very clearly, but it was now a
21 matter of turning to the Yugoslav Army to have them provide defence.
22 So it is a matter of reiterating the same process that had unfolded in
23 Croatia, that is to say, to have the Yugoslav Army involved in
24 defending the Serb territories as defined.
25 Q. Do you know how the JNA responded to this request?
1 A. The JNA, of course, responded favourably to this request. What
2 happened subsequently went to show that it was the units of the
3 Yugoslav Army which were rebaptised, as it were, to become the Serb
4 Bosnian Army and it was they who were the spearhead of this war in
6 Q. Professor Garde, when you use the term "rebaptised" are you referring
7 to the point in time when the JNA made an official proclamation that
8 it would be withdrawing from Bosnia-Herzegovina; if so, would you
9 explain that and perhaps contrast the so-called withdrawal in
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina with the withdrawals of the JNA in Slovenia and
11 Croatia before?
12 A. Well, in Slovenia the federal army had accepted to withdraw on the
13 basis of the agreements entered into with the European Community and
14 it did, in fact, withdraw with all its men, its weaponry, its
15 materiel. As far as Croatia goes, the federal army after the
16 cease-fire signed on 2nd January 1992 and the agreement signed
17 subsequently, the federal army withdrew from Croatia and left in the
18 territories of Croatia, they left the forces there but they were
19 rebaptised police forces, but these were the local forces. The
20 federal army did not have to stay there to defend these territories
21 since that task had been taken on by the United Nations.
22 So the federal army did, in fact, withdraw from Croatia, but
23 when it comes to Bosnia, the federal army did not withdraw because
24 what happened was in April and May 1992 the withdrawal was proclaimed
25 but, in fact, all of the units of the federal army, including all
1 their materiel, stayed in Bosnia.
2 Simply what happened was there was a reorganisation of troops
3 so that these units would be made up exclusively, or practically
4 exclusively, of Serbian soldiers from Bosnia so that there was a
5 transfer of men. Soldiers from Bosnia were assigned to units in
6 Bosnia. Those who men who were not from Bosnia were assigned to units
7 in Serbia, Montenegro. Those troops were still called "federal"
9 The troops in Bosnia became the Bosnian-Serb army. So they
10 were meant to be an army of their own, but they kept all their
11 materiel, all their equipment, and they were, in fact, still paid from
12 the federal budget. So while the withdrawal from Slovenia and Croatia
13 did actually take place, when it comes to Bosnia, this was something
14 that was done only theoretically in paper terms. It was just the
15 change of names. That is all that happened and that is why I used the
16 term "rebaptised" earlier on.
17 Q. Thank you. Professor Garde, if we could move to Exhibit 15 now,
18 please, and explain that particular exhibit to the court.
19 A. All right, Exhibit 15, dated 21st December '91. This is a decision
20 with the aim to creating the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
21 Article 1 you have this strange wording, it says: "Preparation is
22 underway with a view to creating the Serb Republic of
23 Bosnia-Herzegovina". So, basically, what it means is that Republic is
24 not yet created and the text here provides for preparation with a view
25 to that creation and the Republic should be proclaimed before the new
1 year, the Serb new year, which is 14th January '92.
2 So you see, the time span is rather short. It is about a
3 month or three weeks, rather, which means it is a further step in the
4 constitution of a Serb entity in Bosnia. In the previous text, it was
5 simply indicated that it was to remain part of Yugoslavia, whilst here
6 they decided they are going to make a separate Republic, that of the
7 Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 Now one could wonder why that decision was made at the time.
9 Well, that is the time when the European Community has just decided
10 to consider recognising the Republics that would ask for such
11 recognition, a certain time is given for these Republics -- I think it
12 was until 27th December -- to table their application for
14 So, in parallel, the Serbs from Bosnia decide that they could
15 set themselves up in a Republic. They allot themselves a certain time
16 to start this Republic. So again it is the same process of secession
17 and creation of separate entities, which is meant to proceed in
18 parallel with the decisions taken by the other party.
19 So, here it says that such a Republic should be created before
20 14th January.
21 Q. Thank you. If you could move to Exhibit 16, please, and explain that
22 Exhibit to the court.
23 A. Yes, Exhibit 16 is a decision with the aim of creating a Council of
24 Ministers of the Assembly of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
25 the same date, 21st December. So it means that that particular
1 Assembly which had been created previously and which operates as a
2 state, which is going to publish its official journal and which is
3 going to be the basis for a Republic, so before it is actually created
4 we see that the Republic already has a government and that government
5 is described in this Exhibit.
6 Q. Professor Garde, one notices that the accused Radovan Karadzic does
7 not appear as one of the ministers in this particular document. Do
8 you have an opinion, could you explain as to why his name would not
9 appear in this formation and selection of the Council of Ministers?
10 A. Yes. Yes, it is easy to explain. Well, Karadzic is not part of that
11 government because he reserves himself for the function of the
12 President of the Republic. The constitution voted by these Yugoslav
13 Republics all provide for a sort of system based on the 5th Republic
14 of the French system with a clear distinction between the President of
15 the Republic having superior authority and the government, on the
16 other hand. We see that Karadzic is always kept away from the
17 government functions, and we have seen previously that he was in
18 charge of the relationship with the federal authorities, not at the
19 level of the government, but at the level of the Presidency. Here
20 again we see that he is leaving such government positions with other
21 people. He reserves himself for the supreme position which he will
22 occupy later on.
23 Q. Thank you. Now if we could move to move to Exhibit 17, please, and
24 if you could explain this Exhibit to the court, taking particular note
25 of Article 1 and Article 2, please?
1 A. This text, we see the constitution given to the so-called Serb
2 Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina. This dates back to -- wait a second
3 -- I am sorry, I am sorry. I think I am a bit confused. This exhibit
4 is a declaration about the proclamation of the Serb Republic of the
5 people in Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, in other words, this is the
6 implementation of the previous act. It was provided for to create a
7 Republic for the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina by 14th January. Now
8 this is 9th January and we see that this Republic is indeed
10 One can see here that in the preamble mention is made of the
11 territorial delineation and the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina which
12 existed so far. This is what they say. So it means here that for the
13 Bosnian Serbs, this is the act of death of the former Republic of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina as it existed before. In the future, in Serb media
15 you always refer to the former Bosnia Herzegovina.
16 You have asked me to look at Article 1. Something is the
17 matter with my earphones.
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, I think we have overrun the time
19 allotted and I am thinking of a break. I think that we may need to
20 take a short break. I wonder whether on the basis of our agreement we
21 could possibly take a break until quarter to 12 and then we will
22 resume with Professor Garde. His explanations have to be provided to
23 the Tribunal, we do not want to cut him short, but we also have to
24 keep in mind the staff working for this hearing. So, we will stand in
25 recess and we will resume at 11.50.
1 (11.25 a.m.)
2 (The court adjourned for a short time)
3 (11.50 a.m.)
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: We will resume the hearing. Prosecutor, you have
5 the floor.
6 MR. BOWERS: Thank you, your Honour. Professor Garde, we were discussing
7 Exhibit 17, in particular Article 1, if you could describe that for
8 the court and explain its significance, please?
9 A. Something is the matter with the microphone.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes. We were having problems before the break, I am
11 afraid. I had hoped that the problem had been solved. Is this any
12 better? Can you hear me? Can you hear the Prosecutor? Can you hear
13 the interpreter? This sort of whistling sound has not disappeared, I
14 am afraid. Turning to the technicians, can they do something about
16 THE WITNESS: OK. You were asking me about Article 1 where the
17 territories are defined, territories that are part of the Serb
18 Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mention is made, an interesting
19 mention is made, they talk about autonomous regions and autonomous
20 districts, and the other ethnic Serbian entities in Bosnia Herzegovina
21 which is something extremely vague. Other Serbian ethnic entities,
22 including the including the regions in which the Serbian people
23 remained in minority due to the genocide conducted against it in World
24 War II. So here mention is made of the genocide.
25 I think that that particular wording is extremely vague, so it
1 could be interpreted in any way and could explain any extension of the
2 territory. It is purposeless, since however bloody the genocide might
3 have been against the Serbs in the course of World War II, demographic
4 studies that were carried out later on demonstrated that it did not
5 significantly change the ethnic makeup of the population. It is one
6 of the major Serb myth. According to it, Serbs might have lost the
7 majority in the Bosnia because of that genocide perpetrated between
8 '41 and '45, whilst in actual fact censuses have demonstrated the
9 majority changed not at the time but 30 years later with the first
10 census that shows that the Serbs no longer have the majority which is
11 that of '71.
12 Consequently, it is not true to say that the Serbs lost the
13 majority because of the genocide. I cannot state that in no region
14 there was no change. If you look at the different regions and the
15 different communes, I cannot state, of course, that there was not any
16 change in one particular region or district because of the genocide;
17 and if there were such cases, there were not that many. So this is a
18 wording that really is meaningless, and which will no longer be used
19 in subsequent text.
20 But, anyway, the purpose here is to make that definition as
21 vague as possible, lending itself to any possible extension and,
22 secondly, they refer to a myth which was extremely powerful in the
23 Serb opinion.
24 Q. Professor Garde, if you could now direct your attention to Article 2
25 and explain its significance?
1 A. All right. Article 2 says that the Republic, the new Republic, shall
2 remain within the Yugoslav federal state as its federal unit. So once
3 again we talk here about the Yugoslav federal state. So here again
4 this is not an official term which could apply to any form of
5 Yugoslavia and this new Republic is no longer part of
6 Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it claims to be part of one of the federal
7 units making up Yugoslavia, as was the case for Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 Q. If we could move to Exhibit 18 which is a combined set of documents
10 involving the constitution? If you would explain to the court what
11 this Exhibit is and tell them if there is anything significant about
12 the date of the implementation of the constitution?
13 A. Right, the constitution referred to here is proclaimed on 28th
14 February '92. Why 28th February? Because the 29th, the following
15 day, the referendum was planned, referendum which meant that
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina was to proclaim its independence. So, in the eyes
17 of the Bosnian Serbs at the time when Bosnia-Herzegovina was to
18 proclaim its independence, at that particular time, the new, newly
19 formed Republic that seceded from Bosnia-Herzegovina should have its
20 own constitution.
21 Q. Would you direct your attention to Article 2 and explain its
22 significance to the court, please?
23 A. Yes, Article 2 is quoting part of the Article that we looked at
24 before as refers to the definition of the territory. So once again
25 reference is made to the territory of the autonomous regions, and the
1 other Serb ethnic entities and then afterwards, it says, including the
2 regions in which genocide was committed against the Serb people in the
3 Second World War. Well, apparently, it repeats exactly the same as in
4 the former Article when in actual fact it is different.
5 Earlier on, we discussed about the regions in which the Serb
6 people found themselves as a minority because of the genocide, whilst
7 here they talk about regions where genocide was committed, which is
8 entirely different. One could think that the authors of that text
9 realised what I said earlier on, which is that the majority had not
10 changed. The demographic majority had not changed because of the
12 Consequently, the previous text was meaningless. This is my
13 assumption, but the point is that the text here is even more general.
14 There are hardly any regions where the genocide changed the majority.
15 However, the genocide was committed practically everywhere. So when
16 you talk about regions in which genocide was committed, that applies
17 to practically any region in Bosnia-Herzegovina. So, as you can see
18 here, the definition of the territory remains extremely imprecise,
19 flexible, lending itself to all sorts of interpretations and
21 Q. Professor Garde, again in the constitution in Article 3 we have
22 another expression of how this new entity views itself with regard to
23 the federal state or federal entity of Yugoslavia. Would you again
24 review that for the court, please?
25 A. Yes. Article 3 says that the Republic is a part of the federal state
1 of Yugoslavia. It is again the same wording as before. This is again
2 the federal state of Yugoslavia, whatever it is.
3 Q. Professor Garde, if you could move towards the end of this
4 collective set of documents and look at the constitutional law for
5 implementing the constitution and, in particular, take a look at
6 Article 5 and explain to the court what that Article provides?
7 A. What number, please? What page, possibly? What exhibit? I cannot
8 find this reference.
9 Q. This is still Exhibit 18. It will be the last part of the gazette
10 for constitutional -----
11 A. Well, the constitutional law, that is what you are referring to? OK,
12 yes, I see now. Article 5, it says: "The first President of the
13 Republic shall be elected by the Assembly of the Serb people in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina under a proposal submitted by at least 20
15 representatives", and then they talk about 18th November '90.
16 Until then the constitution which we refer to provides for
17 universal suffrage election for the President. Here they say that
18 until the election of the President of the Republic, the function of
19 the President shall be carried out by the members of the Presidency
20 elected previously. These members of the Presidency will be Nikola
21 Koljevic and Biljana Plavsic. These two people were to carry out the
22 collective Presidency for that particular time -- at that particular
23 time Radovan Karadzic was not on the forefront and was not the
24 President. His functions were, of course, being the President of the
25 SDS and representing the new Federal Republic within the federal
2 Q. Professor Garde, Article 5 provides for, in essence, a general
3 election. To your knowledge, has there ever been this sort of
4 general election for President in the territory that eventually became
5 known as Republika Srpska?
6 A. Wait a second, no, no, no. There was no general election. The
7 general election was provided for by the constitution, but I forgot --
8 yes, I refer to the second paragraph of Article 5, but I did not refer
9 to the first paragraph of Article 5 in which it says that the
10 President of the Republic shall be elected by the Assembly of the Serb
12 Q. To your knowledge, no such election has ever occurred?
13 A. Can you hear me? Yes. The election, this general election, never
14 actually took place, but there was an election which is a general
15 election provided for by the constitution itself did not take place.
16 However, there was an election by the Assembly which is covered by the
17 first paragraph in Article 5 of the constitutional law which we are
18 looking at now. That particular election did take place several
19 months later and Radovan Karadzic was elected.
20 Q. Thank you, Professor Garde. Now if we could move to Exhibit 19,
21 please? Would you explain what this Exhibit is and its significance?
22 A. This Exhibit dates from 12th May 1992 and it proclaims the
23 mobilization of the Territorial Defence over the whole territory of
24 the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, this is 12th May
25 1992. For a few weeks now the war has started, the siege of Sarajevo
1 had started, the massacres had started and it is really a matter of
2 legalising the general mobilization of the Serb forces, the local Serb
3 forces, for these operations.
4 It is a matter of mobilizing the Territorial Defence, that is
5 to say, that in the former Yugoslavia you had the army, but you also
6 had this Territorial Defence. The army is already at work and the
7 Territorial Defence is being mobilized as well, which means that there
8 is general mobilization of the Serb people to participate in the war.
9 Q. Thank you. Now if we could move to Exhibit 20, and again if you
10 would explain its significance to the court, please?
11 A. Exhibit 20 is -- in fact, there are several amendments here to the
12 constitution of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the
13 document we were just looking at. This also dates from 12th May 1992,
14 that is to say, a few weeks after the war actually started and the
15 amendment -- well, the one that is worth mentioning amongst the
16 several amendments is Amendment 3, Article 1.11: "The President of
17 the Republic is henceforth the Commander-in-Chief of the armed
18 forces", and that was soon to be Radovan Karadzic.
19 Q. Thank you. Now let us move to Exhibit 21 and again explain what
20 Exhibit 21 is and its significance, please?
21 A. Exhibit 21 is a law, an act, supplementing the constitutional law for
22 implementing the constitution of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and
23 Herzegovina. In it you will find Article 1 there that provides for a
24 new way to appoint, a new way in which the Presidency of the Republic
25 is going to be working. This is the third text really that deals with
1 this matter, because in the constitution of what was planned was
2 universal suffrage. Then in the constitutional law we saw, what was
3 planned was the election by the Assembly. Here there is a third, a
4 provisional way of going about this business on account of
5 circumstances, of course, and here what it says is that the Presidency
6 will be performed by a three-member Presidency elected by the
7 Assembly, and that that Presidency will from within itself choose a
9 So, it is a formula similar to what existed in the former
10 Yugoslavia. The Assembly names a Presidency and then the Presidency
11 chooses the President, as it were. So, first, I said there had been
12 talk of universal suffrage, then via the Assembly, and now we have
13 moved up a level.
14 Q. For continuity sake, we will now move instead of to Exhibit 22 to
15 Exhibit 23. We will skip Exhibit 22 and come back to it. Professor
16 Garde, if you could have a look at Exhibit 23 and explain what that
17 particular exhibit does?
18 A. Yes, well this flows from the previous exhibit. There was to be a
19 Presidency that would be elected and then the President would be
20 elected from them. I said, you have three members in the Presidency,
21 that is, Biljana Plavsic, Nikola Koljevic, who already made up the
22 Presidency before that, who were the Serb representatives to the
23 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Then we have seen on a previous
24 document that they made up the Presidency of the Serb Republic, but
25 now we are adding Radovan Karadzic here as the third member, but he is
1 mentioned first in the document. So this means that this is the
2 preparatory stage for Radovan Karadzic to become President of the
4 Q. What, in fact, happens? What does the Presidency do?
5 A. Well, the Presidency, the three-member Presidency, has elected
6 Karadzic as its President.
7 Q. Thank you. Now we will move back to Exhibit 22. Professor Garde, if
8 you could explain the significance of Exhibit 22, please?
9 A. Exhibit 22 has the same date as the previous documents, 12th May
10 1992, a few weeks after the outbreak of the war. What it provides for
11 is the formation of the army of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, that is to say, the Republic now has an army as of this.
13 What is it that we are talking about? It is made up, in fact, of the
14 units of the federal army which was stationed on the territory of
15 Bosnia and Herzegovina. In other words, it is a parcel of the federal
16 army that is given a new title on account of the circumstances. Also
17 this army, Article 3, appoints a Commander-in-Chief and that
18 Command-in-Chief is General Ratko Mladic.
19 Q. So then the official proclamation that makes Ratko Mladic the
20 Commander of the main staff of the army and the official proclamation
21 that makes Karadzic the President of the Presidency, the head of the
22 so-called State at that time, those proclamations are on the same
23 date, May 12th 1992; is that correct?
24 A. The same day, yes, with the difference, as it were, that in the case
25 of Ratko Mladic, it is a matter of him acceding to that position,
1 whereas as far as Radovan Karadzic goes, even though he formally was
2 not the President of the Republic for quite some time, he had already
3 been the unchallenged leader.
4 Q. All right. Now if we could move to Exhibit 24, please? Professor
5 Garde, if you could explain what this document is and then again
6 explain the significance?
7 A. Exhibit 24 is also dated 12th May 1992, like the others. This is a
8 document that dismisses from their function the judiciary. These are
9 people who have been appointed in the former Republic of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, that is to say, that these magistrates will be
11 reappointed in the context of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and
13 What is really worth mentioning here is that this is the first
14 document which is signed by Radovan Karadzic in his capacity as
15 President of the Presidency of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and
16 Herzegovina. So this is the first document that he signs in that
17 capacity as President.
18 Q. Thank you. Now if we could move to Exhibit 25? Again please explain
19 the significance of this particular exhibit.
20 A. Exhibit 25 is a decision signed also by Radovan Karadzic in his
21 capacity as President of the Presidency of the Republic. It dates
22 13th May 1992. This document provides for implementing the rules of
23 international law in the army of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina. So, to a certain extent what is involved is the fact
25 that Radovan Karadzic has subscribed to the international norms here.
1 Q. Thank you. Now Exhibit 26, please.
2 A. Exhibit 26 is significantly later, that is from 17th December 1992.
3 This is a decision. It is a proclamation of the election of the
4 President of the Serb Republic, Srpske. The Serb Republic has become
5 the Republika Srpska. This is the proclamation of the election of
6 Radovan Karadzic as President of the Republic. So far he had been the
7 President of the Presidency, that is the third tier I referred to
8 earlier on, and now he is just simply the President elected at a lower
9 level, that is to say, by the Assembly in accordance with one of the
10 documents we looked at earlier on.
11 Q. Your Honours, with regard to Exhibit 26 we will later provide you
12 with the French and English translations.
13 Professor Garde, we have reviewed these various proclamations
14 and decisions as they appear in the official gazette, but setting
15 aside these formal pronouncements, would you just provide your general
16 analysis of what was occurring here for the court's benefit, please?
17 A. These documents, despite the formal diversity of the decisions
18 taken, which on the face of it look inconsistent because in one
19 document the elections are going to take place, in another document a
20 different way, people in different offices, etc., but if you look at
21 this chronologically and you look at the logic behind it, these
22 documents would tend to show that Radovan Karadzic was always the key
23 player, the unchallenged leader of the Serbs in Bosnia.
24 Chronologically, you can distinguish three phases. Up until October
25 1991 officially you have the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina operating
1 with three constituent peoples, and you have a coalition of the three
2 national parties in power. They distributed power amongst themselves,
3 as we have seen. The Muslims had the Presidency, a Croat was in
4 charge of the government and a Serb was in charge of the Presidency of
5 the Assembly. So the Serbs left the executive branch in the hands of
6 the two others, and satisfied themselves with the legislative
7 authority, that is to say, the Presidency of the legislative branch,
8 which is to say that they did not want to get too heavily involved in
9 the workings of that Republic because they are already thinking of
10 breaking away from it. The person they have appointed to act as
11 President of the Assembly, it is not the leader, their leader, the
12 leader of their party, Radovan Karadzic, it is a different character
13 who is not without importance or responsibility, but he was not the
14 boss, as it were, Krajisnik. But Radovan Karadzic holds the key
15 position as leader of the party, that is to say, the leader of one of
16 the three parties in the coalition. He is the leader of the dominant
17 Serb party and at the same time he is in charge of the Serb Council,
18 the National Serb Council, which is the formal body of the Serbs in
20 So up until October 1991, that is to say, up until the
21 Bosnian parliament in that memorable session I referred to earlier on
22 when Karadzic said those threatening words I quoted for you, there is
23 the sovereignty of Bosnia that is adopted and then the plan for
24 succession, for the breaking away of the Serb entity that is already
25 getting under way. During this period the decision is taken by the
1 Serbs that, despite the decision that has been taken by the
2 parliament, their territory, which they start delineating at that
3 point in time will stay part of Yugoslavia as an entity.
4 So what is the main position then? It is the relations with
5 the federal authority, and that is the position that Radovan Karadzic
6 takes on. We saw that in one of the documents we looked at. Later
7 when it comes to the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the
8 secession of the Serb territories to establish a Serb Republic of
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina, when that actually takes place, then Radovan
10 Karadzic has himself elected by various procedures to the office that
11 he set aside for himself from the outset, that is say, the office of
12 President of the Republic. So there is some continuity through these
13 events. They look inconsistent on the face of it, but there is this
14 continuity that is quite logical that runs throughout them and goes to
15 show that at no point in time Radovan Karadzic was not the boss.
16 I would also like to draw your attention to something else.
17 These decisions on the face of it would seem not to have any
18 implications when it comes to the conduct of military operations and
19 ethnic cleansing that start taking place as of March 1992, but what
20 you have to bear in mind is something of quite some significance, that
21 is the Croatian precedent, because the process unfolding here that you
22 can see through these documents is exactly the same process that had
23 been carried out by the Croatian Serbs a few months earlier, roughly
24 speaking a year earlier. That is to say, first the territories with
25 Serb majorities are claiming such, establishing themselves as a
1 separate entity, as an autonomous region, then they unite to form a
2 Republic. It is the Krajina Republic that was set up in Croatia and
3 you have the Serb Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina, later on Republika Srpska there. So they established
5 themselves on that basis. They planned to stay in Yugoslavia, and
6 then at the end they go ahead with cleansing their territory, with the
7 ethnic cleansing of their territory, in that very bloody fashion. So
8 the process unfolded in Croatia. It started in Croatia in mid-1990 and
9 the bloody period of ethnic cleansing in Croatia took place in the
10 second half of 1991.
11 So, at the time when the Bosnian Serbs go ahead with the first
12 stages of this process, that is to say in October 1991, it is already
13 known on the basis of the Croatian precedent where it is going to all
14 end up. It is going to end up in a lot of blood and ethnic cleansing.
15 It is exactly the same itinerary that was to be followed a little
16 later by the Bosnian Serbs under the leadership of Radovan Karadzic.
17 With regard to these documents we have pursued, on the face of
18 it they are quite innocent, even though they point to something very
19 serious, that is to say, the delineation of the territory, but they do
20 not say that the delineation of the territory must entail the
21 deportation of the non-Serbs living there. That is not on paper
22 anyway, but we know on the basis of the Croatian precedent that that
23 is how things happened.
24 I would add in regard to ethnic cleansing, that is not a
25 necessary logical consequence to the delineation of the territory.
1 That is to say, you have to set up a Serb state, you have to set up a
2 state dominated by the Serbs, all the Serbs will be there, etc. In
3 logical terms that does not necessarily mean that there should only be
4 Serbs living in that territory. So, conceivably, there could be a
5 greater Serbia or a Serb state that would have been established but
6 which would have tolerated within it the presence of minorities. That
7 is what you have in other Balkan countries. I do not know, take
8 Romania, Bulgaria or even Serbia itself, there are people there who
9 are dominating, but there are also minorities which are tolerated. In
10 addition, in Serbia itself there are people who are in favour of a
11 greater Serbia but who are also in favour of co-existence within that
12 greater Serbia of various peoples. You can think of the Serb leader
13 Vuk Draskovic and his party, the Serb Renewal Movement, which as of
14 the 80s was one of the main exponents of having all the Serbs in one
15 state, in a greater Serbia, but at one and the same time always
16 affirmed that in that state the Serbs should live alongside with the
17 Muslims and the Croats. So, in other words, was always opposed to
18 ethnic cleansing, and little by little went into opposition, even
19 violent opposition, with the other victors of Serbian nationalism as
20 ethnic cleansing went ahead.
21 So a greater Serbia does not necessarily in logical terms mean
22 that there is going to be ethnic cleansing, but the Croatian example
23 went to show that, de facto, that is what it would mean. At the time
24 the Bosnian Serbs started up the process that we have just been
25 running through on the basis of the documents, they already knew that
1 that process would lead to ethnic cleansing, and they also made use of
2 the same people who had been involved in ethnic cleansing in Croatia.
3 So, behind the strictly legal and apparently innocent documents,
4 there is this process that is very logical, that is very methodical
5 and which would lead to ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and which began a
6 few weeks before the last documents we have looked at, since it began,
7 roughly speaking, in March 1992 and the last documents we have
8 reviewed date from May 1992.
9 MR. BORROWS: Thank you, Professor Garde. That concludes the questions
10 from the Prosecutor. We would tender all of these exhibits to the
11 Court as evidence for the Rule 61 hearing.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, prosecuting counsel. Fellow judges,
13 Judge Odio Benito, do you have a question? You have the floor, madam.
14 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Professor, I would like to know if you could give us
15 your opinion about the administrative personnel or political links, if
16 any, between Radovan Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic?
17 A. Well, I think that at the time we are talking about those links were
18 very close indeed. The whole process which we have surveyed, that is
19 to say, the process of secession on the part of the Serb territories
20 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, their desire to stay part and parcel of
21 Yugoslavia, that was done in close co-operation with the Serb
22 authority. That is proven best by the fact that this division, this
23 nominal division splitting of the army with the assent and the
24 participation of both parties, that is to say the Serb authority of
25 Milosevic and then of the Bosnian Serb authority on the other. So
1 there was this friendly separating of the ways between these two
2 fragments which were in fact closely linked, the fact that the army
3 went on being paid by Belgrade. It is quite clear that at that time
4 there were extremely close links. Subordination was practically
5 entire between the Bosnian Serb authority and Serbian authority.
6 Later on, much later, there were some differences of view and a bit of
7 friction, but at the time we are talking about here, that is to say
8 when the war started, I think the subordination was entire.
9 JUDGE ODIO BENITO: Thank you. No further questions.
10 JUDGE RIAD: Professor, I understand there was a sort of inconsistency
11 between two documents, No. 20 and No. 22, regarding the
12 Commander-in-Chief of the army in Exhibit 20. According to your
13 translation it says that the President will soon become the chief of
14 the army. This is what you said I think. Then you said that that
15 particular President was Mr. Karadzic. Then later on in Exhibit 22 it
16 states that Mladic is the Commander-in-Chief of the army. So, I
17 wonder whether there is a commander and a chief of the army. The army
18 was under the authority of whom?
19 A. Well, I suppose that like in most countries in the world you have a
20 military commander of the army. However, the head of state in its
21 capacity is also the commander of the army. It is the same in France.
22 It is the same in many countries in the world. So in the Serb
23 Republic of Bosnia they applied exactly the same principle. You have
24 a military commander who has to report to the President of the
1 Q. In this case then, in practical terms, in concrete terms, where did
2 the orders come from in this particular instance and according to your
4 A. I believe, well, you know, I am not a military expert, but I suppose
5 that as in many similar cases the general orders come from the
6 Presidency of the Republic, and as far as implementing orders they
7 are taken by the military Commander.
8 Q. So there is a sort of hierarchy in the different orders?
9 A. Yes, indeed. Yes indeed. So the great strategy is designed by the
11 Q. Now if you please, you have demonstrated that this was a logical
12 process in terms of ethnic cleansing and a plan that was implemented
13 in Croatia was also implemented in Bosnia in a systematic manner.
14 Since we are dealing with a strategy here, who was the master mind
15 behind this strategy?
16 A. I think that as regards Bosnia the main responsibilities were
17 incumbent upon Karadzic in general terms, but at the same time I
18 believe there was a very close tight team. There were people, well,
19 as far as we can judge of course, there was a unity of view between
20 the main leaders whose names are known and we have seen them before
21 like Radovan Karadzic, Biljana Plavsic, Nikola Koljevic, Momcilo
22 Krajisnik, and many others. All these people made up a very close
23 tie, General Mladic of course as well. In general terms, all the
24 operations, and I include here what took place in Bosnia but also what
25 had taken place before in Croatia, I think that one of the master
1 minds, one of the main people, is Slobodan Milosevic.
2 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you, Professor.
3 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Professor, we are not going to keep you much longer,
4 longer than is necessary, but before the end of your testimony we have
5 referred to the military role taken by Mr. Radovan Karadzic.
6 According to you, was there a political role played by General Mladic,
7 or was General Mladic only a military subordinate, at a very high
8 level of course, but did he have any political agenda? Was there a
9 political career as regards Mr. Mladic which could explain a certain
10 number of things. I would like to get your view on that?
11 A. In the case of General Mladic, I think that he had his own strong
12 political convictions. General Mladic for one before he was the
13 commander in Bosnia was a Commander in Croatia. He in '91 was
14 Commander in Knin in Croatia, in this region where Serbs inhabited
15 that part of Croatia. So General Mladic participated in the first
16 phase of the war and of ethnic cleansing that took place in Croatia in
17 '92, but also participated in the second stage in Bosnia from '92
18 through '95. So he fulfilled, if you like, the same functions,
19 probably at a lower level of authority in Croatia, still he was
20 commanding. So undoubtedly he -- well, honestly, I do not know whether
21 we can make any difference between a military responsibility and a
22 political responsibility. The two are closely tied.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Professor, I think the time has come to end your
24 testimony. I have just one last question, if you please. Have you
25 got the feeling that you were able to express your complete view
1 before this Tribunal? I would have liked to ask you if there was
2 something you wanted to add beyond or outside the questions, or
3 something that was not covered by the Prosecutor's questions or our
5 A. No, your Honour, I have the feeling I was able to express myself
6 fully. Sometimes some of the questions I am afraid I was not able to
7 completely answer. I think I was in a position to answer some of the
8 questions expressing my own views, but I am afraid I am not sure if I
9 was able to sufficiently answer the questions, but sometimes I had the
10 sufficient documents to support my views.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you very much, Professor. We are very
12 grateful for your long testimony, probably very tiring for you. Now
13 that we have completed your testimony we would like to thank you very
14 much. Prosecutor, I think that we can usher out Professor Garde and
15 we could possibly introduce the following witness. Thank you.
16 (The witness withdrew).
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecutor, it is 10 to 1. We are going to try to
18 stick to our timetable. So we are now going to introduce the
19 following witness and, if you please, we are going to start only with
20 preliminary questions with the witness at this stage.
21 MR. HARMON: That will be fine your Honour. Your Honour, before we bring
22 in the next witness we have prepared three binders with exhibits for
23 the convenience of the court, so that it can follow the testimony of
24 Mr. Ralston who will be our next witness. Perhaps they can be sent up
25 to the court.
1 Mr. John Ralston, called.
2 Examined by Mr. Harmon.
3 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I will introduce the next witness in just a
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Yes, Prosecutor. We were just receiving the binder.
6 I think we are ready to listen. We are going to turn to the witness.
7 Can he be given a head set, yes? Can you hear yes?
8 THE WITNESS: Yes.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Very good. Mr. Ralston, I think you are now going
10 to take your oath, as is the case for any witness.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you. I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth,
12 the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, please be seated.
14 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, before Mr. Ralston starts his testimony, as
15 you are aware the Office of the Prosecutor has been conducting a
16 wide-ranging criminal investigation into the events in Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina. In the course of these investigations we have collected
18 an enormous amount of evidence. Mr. Ralston has been called to
19 testify today to describe some ----
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Sorry.
21 MR. HARMON: Mr. Ralston has been called as a summary witness to describe
22 some but not all of the findings of the Office of the Prosecutor.
23 Obviously, this is an immense task in the short amount of time that
24 Mr. Ralston has to testify before this Court. In order to provide the
25 Court with the most comprehensive answers on a wide-ranging
1 examination of subjects, Mr. Ralston has prepared written answers to
2 many of my questions. He will be reading into the record some of his
3 answers to those questions. I would propose, your Honours, that I
4 start the examination of Mr. Ralston by asking him questions about his
5 background and then we break, because I am going to go straight on
6 from there into a fairly large examination of the Serbian Democratic
8 So, if I could start by asking you, Mr. Ralston, to state your
9 name please and spell your last name for the record?
10 A. My full name is John Hunter Ralston, R-A-L-S-T-O-N.
11 Q. Are you employed by the Office of the Prosecutor?
12 A. Yes, I am.
13 Q. Before being employed by the Office of the Prosecutor, where were you
14 employed and what did you do?
15 A. I commenced in employment in 1972 as a Police Officer in Australia.
16 I worked as a Detective with the New South Wales police with the
17 Homicide Squad. I then worked as a Senior Project Officer with the
18 New South Wales Department of Consumer Affairs. Later I worked for
19 the Commonwealth Attorney Generals Department as a senior investigator
20 in that Department's Nazi War Crimes Investigation Unit. Following
21 that I worked with the National Crime Authority in Australia which is
22 the body responsible for investigating organised crime. From that
23 position I came to the Office of the Prosecutor here in The Hague.
24 Q. How long have you been employed at the Office of the Prosecutor?
25 A. I have been employed with the Office of the Prosecutor since 16th
1 June 1994.
2 Q. What are your duties and responsibilities at the Office of the
4 A. I am an Investigations Commander with the Office of the Prosecutor.
5 Initially my duties were to lead an investigation team within the
6 Office, and from November 1995 I have held the position of
7 Investigating Commander. My duties have involved the responsibility
8 for overall co-ordination of investigations in relation to Dr. Radovan
9 Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic.
10 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, if the court wishes me to continue with my
11 examination I am prepared to do so. Otherwise I will leave it to your
12 Honour's discretion.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Thank you, Prosecutor. I think we are going to
14 stand in recess now until 2.30.
15 (1.00 p.m.)
17 (2.30 p.m.)
18 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting counsel?
19 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, your Honour. The first subject that Mr.
20 Ralston will be testifying about is the Serbian Democratic Party, its
21 structure and evolution. He will also describe for you Dr. Karadzic's
22 role in the party. In the course of my examining Mr. Ralston, I will
23 be referring to the Serbian Democratic Party as the SDS. So, Mr.
24 Ralston, let me turn to you and begin by asking you what is the SDS?
25 A. The SDS, a political party. As a result of the November 1990
1 elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serbian Democratic Party of
2 Bosnia-Herzegovina emerged as the dominant political force among the
3 Bosnian Serbs.
4 Of the 240 seats in the two chambers of the Bosnia-Herzegovina
5 Assembly, after the 1990 elections, the SDS won 72 or 30 per cent of
6 the seats, with the most of the rest of the seats going to the Muslim
7 SDA or the Croatian HDZ parties. Only about 15 per cent of the Serbian
8 members of the New Assembly were not members of the SDS (13 in total).
9 Q. Why is the SDS important in the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
10 A. The SDS is important because it became the political vehicle through
11 which Karadzic emerged as the paramount leader in the Bosnian Serb
12 administration. Before the conflict started, it was the political
13 entity through which the majority Bosnian Serb political will was
14 exercised, and it remains so today.
15 Q. When was it established, Mr. Ralston?
16 A. The SDS was established at a conference in Sarajevo in July 1990.
17 Q. Can you tell the court how it was established?
18 A. As I said, it was formed at a conference (attended by all prospective
19 members). The conference adopted a "democratically inspired"
20 approach, and Karadzic welcomed into the ranks of the SDS all those,
21 including "democratically" oriented members of the League of
22 Communists, who accepted it. The party was organised on the republic,
23 regional, sub-regional, municipal and local commune levels.
24 Committees at the regional level and below were to be autonomous in
25 regard to local political evaluations and personnel decisions.
1 Q. Was the SDS active throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina?
2 A. Yes, it was. The party was established in eight regions, Bosanska
3 Krajina, Central Bosnia, Eastern Bosnia, Eastern Herzegovina, Northern
4 Bosnia, Western Bosnia, South-eastern Bosnia and Western Herzegovina.
5 The regions were divided into sub-regions, municipalities and local
7 Q. Could you please identify the leaders of the SDS before the conflict
9 A. Leaders of the SDS included Dr. Radovan Karadzic, the President,
10 Aleksa Buha and Momcilo Krajisnik.
11 Q. Can you please explain if the SDS was well organised throughout
12 Bosnia and Herzegovina throughout -- I am sorry, before the war?
13 A. Our research indicates it was a well organised political body.
14 Q. Mr. Ralston, I think we lost you on the audio.
15 A. Our research indicates it was a well organised political party.
16 Q. Mr. Ralston, would you please refer to Exhibit No. 27 in your binder
17 as well as Exhibit No. 28? I would ask you to identify each of those
18 exhibits and explain the significance to the court.
19 A. Firstly, this document dated 15th August 1991 sets out operating
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Excuse me, prosecuting counsel, these documents have
22 not been translated into French, is that the case?
23 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, they have not been, apparently.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I would simply like to point out that the presiding
25 Judge happens to be French and I would just point out that French is
1 an official language of our Tribunal. I understand, in so far as
2 possible, the difficulties and we do have a limited number of
3 interpreters and I know that a lot of work has been done on this
4 score. But, as far as the documents go that we received this morning,
5 along with Mr. Garde's documents this morning, they had been
6 translated, but I would just like to remind you that this is one of
7 the official languages of the Tribunal that we are talking about. So
8 I would like this to be recorded in the transcript. I would to ask
9 that, in so far as possible, we abide by this fundamental principle of
10 the Tribunal, that is to say, we have two official languages, English
11 and French. Please continue, sir.
12 MR. HARMON: We apologise to your Honour for any convenience in not having
13 this document in French, but due to the translators working on the
14 previous documents, we were unable to complete all of the
15 translations. (To the witness): Mr. Ralston, would you please
16 continue with your testimony, please?
17 A. Yes. As I was pointing out, this document dated 15th August 1991 to
18 all SDS municipal board sets out operating instructions for the
19 municipal boards.
20 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you also refer to Exhibit No. 28, please, and
21 explain to the court its significance?
22 A. I refer to this document again later in my testimony, but the
23 significance of the document, again it is addressed to all Presidents
24 of the municipalities. It is dated 23rd March 1992. The main effect
25 of this document is setting out how the communications system would
1 operate, and setting out the organisation of communications systems
2 between the various municipalities, the SDS representatives there.
3 Q. Mr. Ralston, let me ask you, what were the goals of the SDS and what
4 was the position the SDS in the event of the SFRY disintegrated?
5 A. In his report to the founding conference, the party's new President,
6 Dr. Radovan Karadzic, decried what he saw as the unfavourable
7 economic, demographic and political position of the Serbian nation.
8 Recalling the genocide to which the Serbs had been subjected during
9 World War II, he claimed that they had continued genocide against
10 themselves when peace came, destroying their own national and cultural
11 identity by devoting themselves, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, to
12 a system which seemed to have been created specifically for the
13 purpose of their national destruction.
14 The important part: under these conditions Dr. Karadzic
15 stated the SDS was being created with its main goal as the complete
16 and unconditional civil, national, cultural, religious and economic
17 equality of the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its most important
18 political goal was a federal Yugoslavia and within it a federal
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina. In case this should not be possible, Karadzic said
20 the goal of the SDS would be the enablement of democratic methods as
21 the response of the Serbian people to any new situation.
22 Q. Mr. Ralston, did Dr. Karadzic ever express what would happen if
23 Bosnia declared independence and withdraw from the SFRY?
24 A. Yes, he did in a public statement to the Assembly of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Around midnight on 14/15th October 1991, he made
1 a speech from the podium during an address regarding moves towards
2 independence by the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3 This address provided an insight into probable SDS reaction to
4 independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
5 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, a portion of this was described this morning in
6 the testimony of Professor Garde. We have a film clip of that speech,
7 or a portion of that speech, which we would now like to present to the
8 court, so if we could please play Exhibit No. 29, clip 1?
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: Prosecuting counsel -- well, the technician has
10 answered the Judge's question about this matter.
11 MR. HARMON: OK.
12 (Exhibit 29 was played)
13 Mr. Ralston, were non-Serbs allowed to join the SDS?
14 A. In theory, yes. According to the party statutes, adopted on 12th
15 July 1990, membership in the party was open to all adult citizens of
16 Serbian nationality as well as members of other nationalities who
17 voluntarily accepted its programmes and statutes. However, it must be
18 noted that the main point of the programme of the SDS at this time was
19 to remain in the SFRY, at a time when it was becoming increasingly
20 unattractive for other nationalities to do so. This was at the time
21 Croatia and Slovenia were well on the road to independence.
22 Q. In the areas where the Bosnian Serbs did take control, were
23 non-Serbs required to pledge allegiance to the newly formed Bosnian
24 Serb state?
25 A. Yes. In the areas where Serbs took control, non-Serbs were asked to
1 sign a pledge of allegiance to the Serbian authorities. Often this was
2 necessary to remain in their former positions. However, as our
3 investigations have shown, this pledge did not allow them to remain in
4 their positions for long. Our research has shown that after a few
5 months they would have been summarily dismissed.
6 Q. Mr. Ralston, at the time the conflict started in Bosnia and
7 Herzegovina, was there any significant participation of non-Serbs in
8 the SDS?
9 A. No, judging by the names of these people, all the leading members
10 were either Serbs or Montenegrins.
11 Q. I would like to turn to a series of questions related to how the SDS
12 was structured. Can you, please, inform the court how the SDS was
13 structured, Mr. Ralston?
14 A. The 1990 Statutes created the following central party organs: the
15 Party Assembly, the Party President, the Main Board, the Executive
16 Board, the Supervisory Board and the Court of Honour. In 1991, these
17 organs were all redesignated as the Assembly etc., of the SDS
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Court of Honour was eliminated and a Statutes
19 Council and other Councils of the SDS Bosnia-Herzegovina were
20 simultaneously added. Radovan Karadzic was the Party President.
21 Q. Could you please explain to the court the purpose and functions of
22 the Assembly?
23 A. The Assembly was the highest party organ. It was originally to
24 consist of all party members until their number exceeded a thousand,
25 after which the Main Board would devise a principle of
1 representation. The 1991 Draft Statutes supplied such a principle by
2 providing that the assemblies of municipal and city organisations
3 would send representatives, the total number of which was not to
4 exceed 300.
5 Q. How often was this Assembly supposed to meet?
6 A. The Assembly was to meet once a year. Originally, only more frequent
7 meetings were to take place at the decision of the Main Board, but in
8 1991 it was stipulated that any decision on convening the Assembly was
9 to be made by the Main Board at the President's proposal. At the same
10 time, the President was obligated to convene the Assembly at the
11 request of at least one third of all the representatives or 15
12 municipal organisations. The Assembly had to be convened by the
13 President or someone authorised by him.
14 Q. What were the functions of the Assembly?
15 A. The Assembly was responsible for adopting and amending the party
16 Programme and Statutes. The other functions of the Assembly were of a
17 strictly organisational character. The most important of these were
18 the election and recall of the President and the members of the Main
19 Board, Supervisory Board and Statutes Council.
20 It also had the final say in financial matters, including
21 fixing the amount of dues and the manner of their distribution. The
22 Assembly thus only had an indirect influence on the party's policy and
23 day-to-day operations. It was even empowered to transfer part of its
24 business to the President or the Main Board.
25 The Assembly which convened in July 1991 was the second and
1 last SDS Assembly before the outbreak of hostilities in
3 Q. Mr. Ralston, you mentioned earlier that the SDS created party
4 Presidency and that Dr. Karadzic was its President. What was his
6 A. The President, Karadzic, represented the SDS. He could also
7 designate someone else to perform this function, although the 1991
8 Draft Statutes specified that this must be a member of the Main Board.
9 The President was in addition ex-officio chairman of the Main Board.
10 The term of office was originally set at two years but later extended
11 to four, with the right of re-election in either case.
12 Q. What were his responsibilities as the President of the SDS?
13 A. His responsibilities, or his most important responsibilities, were to
14 co-ordinate the work of the party organs, to see to the realisation of
15 the programmatic tasks and goals of the party and to represent the
17 Q. Were his duties as President of the SDS ever expanded?
18 A. Yes. In 1991 this list of rights was expanded to include making
19 political and other decisions in the name of the SDS
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina in so far as they are not within the competence of
21 other organs and bodies of the SDS Bosnia-Herzegovina, and performing
22 other matters which the Assembly of the SDS or the Main Board of the
23 SDS places within his competence and having, in extraordinary
24 situations within society, extraordinary powers within the competence
25 of the Assembly and the Main Board.
1 The President was responsible for his work to the membership,
2 to the Assembly and to the Main Board of the SDS.
3 His powers were accordingly considerable. They were
4 susceptible of such broad extension in "extraordinary situations" as
5 to be practically open-ended, and in normal times they were limited
6 only to the accession of authority in "other matters". The President
7 had more than enough scope for initiative and independent action to
8 make him far and away the leading figure in the party. His actual
9 power was thus likely to be a function of his only personality and
10 standing within the organisation.
11 Q. Mr. Ralston, did Dr. Karadzic insist on strong central control of the
13 A. Yes, he did. The need for their actions to be well planned and
14 controlled is apparent from his address to the Presidents of the SDS
15 controlled municipalities in a speech in November 1991 during the
16 campaign for the "Plebiscite of the Serbian People".
17 Q. Do you have a transcript of that speech, Mr. Ralston?
18 A. Yes, I do.
19 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, I would like to refer you to Exhibit No. 30 in
20 the binders. Mr. Ralston, could you please read from that exhibit
21 relevant portions of the speech?
22 A. This is a lengthy document, but I will go to a paragraph towards the
23 end, part of the penultimate paragraph on page 10. In his speech,
24 among others things, Dr. Karadzic said: "I am asking you to be
25 energetic and strict; to get ready and establish your authority in
1 your territories; in municipalities; regions, local communities, and
2 to prepare yourselves for restructuring and regionalising the
3 municipalities. But I am begging you here, that you should in no
4 situation think that someone else has to do the job and that you leave
5 a job unfinished, but to control it to the very last moment. To
6 control it to the very end, not to be sloppy and careless".
7 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you also please to refer to Exhibit No. 28? Can
8 you identify that document, please?
9 A. Yes, this is the Exhibit I spoke about previously. It is a document
10 addressed to the Presidents of the municipalities dated 23rd March
12 Q. Whose signature appears on that document?
13 A. Dr. Karadzic.
14 Q. Could you read to the court the relevant portions of that document?
15 A. Yes. I will start midway, I will start with the second paragraph of
16 the document: "Taking into consideration that one of the essential
17 conditions for the protection of Serbian people in the situation that
18 has been created requires rapid and timely transfer of data and
19 information relevant to defence and security, as well as transfer of
20 decisions, directions and instructions by the government bodies. We
21 have established a Republic operation centre and decided that, in
22 addition to the regional centre in Banja Luka, the municipal centres
23 take over the function of regional centres; Sekovici for the
24 autonomous region of Bihac; Trebinje for the autonomous region of East
25 Herzegovina; Sokolac for Autonomous Region Romanija; Bijeljina,
1 Autonomous Region Semberija; also, a municipal centre ought to be
2 formed in the municipality of Petrovo which would take over the
3 function of the regional centre for the Autonomous Region North
4 Bosnia. Regional centres in Banja Luka, Trebinje, Sokolac and
5 Bijeljina are already connected with the Republic centre of TT", I am
6 advised that that means telegraph and telephone, "and radio
7 communications, while the regional centres of Sekovici and Petrovo
8 will be connected until March 26th 1992".
9 Taking that a bit further, the municipalities now face an
10 obligation to urgently connect their own information centres with the
11 regional centres, if it has not been done so far, and provide for the
12 personnel and other requirements in order to monitor the situation in
13 the field.
14 Keeping in mind the current situation of the Republic, it is
15 necessary to co-operate with the SJB, which is the Public Security
16 Service, by providing the centres with a duty shift and ability to
17 convey and receive information 24 hours a day non-stop Saturdays and
19 Later in the same document he says: "With regard to the
20 above, it would be useful if you personally inform yourself on the
21 state -- in the information centres in your municipality as well as on
22 their performance capability".
23 Q. What is the significance of that document, in your opinion, Mr.
25 A. The significance of that document, in my opinion, is it shows
1 planning, it shows co-ordination and provision for information to flow
2 both up and down from the highest levels of the SDS to the lowest
4 Q. OK. Mr. Ralston, now let me turn to the Main Board. You have
5 testified earlier that the SDS also established a Main Board. Could
6 you please tell the court what that is?
7 A. The Main Board was the highest organ of the party between sessions of
8 the Assembly. It was originally to have 57 members, including at
9 least two from each of the regions and one from each sub-region and
10 members were to be elected for two years with the right of
11 re-election. However, in 1991 the size was reduced to 45 members,
12 elected from among the Assembly's representatives with account being
13 taken of territorial representation. The term was increased to four
14 years with one third of members being eligible for re-election.
15 Q. What were the functions of the Main Board?
16 A. According to the 1990 Statutes, the Main Board had numerous
17 functions, including the following: electing the members of the
18 Executive Board of the Party; preparing drafts of all acts and
19 decisions which the Assembly adopts; adopting decisions which the
20 Assembly gives its authorisation for; seeing to the correct execution
21 of the Assembly decisions; electing members of temporary or
22 provisional Party bodies and preparing the electoral programme of the
24 Q. Were those functions ever expanded?
25 A. Yes. In 1991 the Main Board was entrusted with "especially handling"
1 several matters including electing the chairman and two thirds of the
2 members of the Executive Board of the SDS Bosnia-Herzegovina;
3 preparing drafts of all acts, documents and decisions which the
4 Assembly of the SDS adopted; deciding on the territorial organisation
5 of the SDS; electing temporary and permanent working bodies and
6 commissions and establishing their competence; executing decisions of
7 the Assembly of the SDS; examining and adopting reports on the work of
8 the municipal and city boards; setting out guidelines and adopting
9 decisions for the work of the municipality and, as necessary, the
10 local boards of the SDS; to examine, as necessary, reports on the work
11 of organs and bodies of the SDS Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 Q. Mr. Ralston, now I would like to turn your attention to another
13 component of the SDS, that is, the SDS Crisis Staff. Can you please
14 explain to the court what they were and what was their significance?
15 A. The Crisis Staff was an organ which was supposed to be established on
16 all levels of society in the SFRY in times of war or other serious
17 emergency in order to coordinate the security activities on that level
18 of society. The SDS established Serbian-controlled crisis staffs
19 outside the jurisdiction of the legitimate republic, municipal and
20 local commune authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 This dramatically reduced the control of legitimate republic
22 authorities in Sarajevo, and significantly contributed to the
23 effective abolishment of legitimate government control altogether in a
24 high number of municipalities with a Serbian demographic and political
1 Q. Did the SDS establish Crisis Staffs in the areas that were taken
3 A. Yes, Crisis Staffs were more or less established openly several
4 months before the war started in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the
5 headquarters of the SDS and in municipalities with Bosnian-Serb
6 political majority and control. In Bosnian municipalities with a
7 non-Serbian majority, Crisis Staffs were normally established
8 underground by the SDS long before the armed conflict in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina started, and when the Bosnian Serbs took power in
10 such municipalities the Crisis Staff surfaced as the supreme
11 co-ordinating organ of the municipality. This happened, for example,
12 in Prijedor on 30th April 1992 and Kotor Varos on 11th June 1992.
13 Q. Can you, please, provide to the court some examples of how the SDS
14 operated in practice?
15 A. Yes, I will provide examples from Foca and Prijedor. In Foca, when
16 the new national parties were formed, both the SDA, the predominantly
17 Muslim party, and the SDS held large rallies. The SDA rally was held
18 in August 1990 with the SDS rally coming two weeks later in September
19 1990. Several persons who would later become key personnel in the
20 Bosnian Serb leadership attended the SDS rally. Dr. Radovan Karadzic
21 and Biljana Plavsic both attended, along with Vojislav Maksimovic,
22 Velibor Ostojic, Miro Stanic and Peko Cancar.
23 Maksimovic had been a teacher in Foca, later he became a
24 professor of literature at the University of Sarajevo, before becoming
25 the first president of the SDS Club of Deputies in the
1 Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly. Velibor Ostojic, the current Minister of
2 Education and Information of "Republika Srpska" and the President of
3 the Executive Board of the SDS, was formerly Minister of Information
4 and an SDS Deputy from Foca. Before the war he worked at the Sarajevo
5 radio and television station. Peko Cancar, a local attorney, was also
6 in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly.
7 Q. What was the local SDS's role in the Foca Municipal Assembly?
8 A. In the local Municipal Assembly in Foca, the SDS held about 30 seats
9 of a total of 70. Prior to the takeover, the Serb members of the
10 local Assembly started boycotting assembly meetings in order to delay
11 decisions that had to be made on the municipal level. Soon
12 thereafter, the SDS started to separate from all aspects of municipal
13 life and establish their own institutions. Simultaneously, the Serbs
14 started to arm themselves with the support of the JNA.
15 After the parties were formed in 1990, Ostojic and Maksimovic
16 moved to Sarajevo, while Cancar remained in Foca. As leading members
17 of the SDS, all three visited Foca several times to organise meetings
18 and make speeches. In the beginning of April 1992, the three men
19 reportedly established a Serbian Crisis Staff and a Serbian Police
20 Force. The head of the Crisis Staff, Miro Stanisic, was the President
21 of the SDS in Foca. Following the takeover, Karadzic was seen meeting
22 with representatives of the Serbian Crisis Staff.
23 On 6th April 1992, Ostojic and Maksimovic reportedly held a
24 meeting of the SDS staff in the Orthodox Church in Foca; a meeting
25 which was also attended by a group of JNA officers. After that
1 meeting, an ultimatum was issued to the SDA district committee
2 representatives for the entire Muslim population of Foca to hand over
3 their weapons, gather under the escort of the Serbian army and police
4 and leave town.
5 After the takeover, Maksimovic and Ostojic were responsible
6 for arming the Serbian population in and around Foca, holding meetings
7 were local Serbian leaders and organising military training for
8 volunteers. Speeches by Maksimovic and Ostojic were broadcast on the
9 local radio station. Coincidentally, a weeks before the attack on
10 Foca, one witness read a letter by Ostojic addressed to the SDS,
11 entitled: "What to do in case of war". The letter stated that the
12 radio station and then the police station should be taken over.
13 Q. How did the SDS operate in Prijedor, Mr. Ralston?
14 A. In the 1990 elections in Prijedor, the Muslim SDA won a plurality of
15 seats in the Prijedor municipal assembly. Nevertheless, during the
16 succeeding months, Bosnian Serb officials who had previously dominated
17 key positions in the municipality, resisted a reallocation of power
18 consistent with the electoral results.
19 In the spring of 1991, Serbian politicians in Banja Luka, the
20 regional centre approximately 45 kilometres from Prijedor, proclaimed
21 a separate Serbian regional community of municipalities which was
22 transformed into the autonomous region of Krajina in September 1991.
23 The municipalities in north western Bosnia, with the exception of
24 Prijedor, Sanski Most and Kotor Varos, gradually decided to join the
25 community. Late in 1991, Serbs in Prijedor and elsewhere in Bosnia
1 were directed by the central SDS leadership to assemble a shadow
2 government. Local Bosnian Serbs leaders were instructed to ensure
3 their ability to control all levels of municipal life, including
4 police, finance and communications and to ensure co-operation with the
6 Q. When did the Bosnian Serbs seize power in Prijedor?
7 A. On 30th April 1992, the Serbs seized power in Prijedor and the Crisis
8 Staff of the municipality of Prijedor became the supreme power in the
9 municipality. The Crisis Staff was made up of persons from the
10 military, the police, as well as the civil administration. The most
11 powerful positions in the Crisis Staff were held by the SDS
12 leadership, the military and the police.
13 Q. Can you identify some of those members of the Prijedor SDS Crisis
15 A. Yes. Simo Miskovic was President of the SDS and head of the Crisis
16 Staff in Prijedor. He was seen by a number of witnesses in the
17 detention camp, Omarska and Keraterm, during their operations.
18 Colonel (now General) Vladimir Arsic, a JNA officer before the
19 conflict in Prijedor, was appointed commander of the Prijedor
21 Major Radmilo Zeljaja became the field commander for Colonel
22 Arsic and led many of the operations relating to ethnic cleansing in
23 the villages. Zeljaja directed the attack against Kozarac,
24 participating in negotiations leading up to the attack and played a
25 leading role in the surrender of civilians from that town. The name
1 of the town of Kozarac was later changed to Radmilovo, in honour of
2 Zeljaja's conquest. Later, Zeljaja visited the Omarska came with a
3 delegation of Serbs from Banja Luka and Prijedor in July 1992.
4 Major Slobodan Kuruzovic, a former school teacher, was a
5 member of the Crisis Staff and the Commander of the Trnopolje camp.
6 He also took part in rounding up of civilians living in villages on
7 the left bank of the Sana River in July 1992.
8 Simo Drljaca, another significant figure, became the Chief of
9 Police of the Prijedor municipality after the takeover. Following the
10 takeover and arrest and detention of thousands of non-Serbs -- sorry,
11 became the Chief of Police following the takeover and arrest and
12 detention of thousands of non-Serb civilians.
13 Drljaca played a key role in the administration of the
14 detention camps and was repeatedly seen in all three detention camps
15 in the area, Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje. Since co-ordinating the
16 takeover of Prijedor, Drljaca was promoted to Deputy Minister of
17 Interior of the Bosnian Serb Republic.
18 Dr. Milomir Stakic unlawfully replaced Muhamed Cehajic as the
19 President of the municipality Prijedor after the take-over by Serbian
20 forces on 30th April 1992. In interviews with the media, Stakic
21 acknowledged the existence of the camps at Omarska, Keraterm and
22 Trnopolje. A number of persons saw Stakic visiting these camps during
23 their operations.
24 Srdo Srdic was an SDS Deputy in the Assembly of
25 Bosnia-Herzegovina and later in the "Republika Srpska" Assembly. He
1 was also seen in the Omarska and Keraterm camps.
2 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, Mr. Ralston will now testify about the Bosnian
3 Serb administration and describe Dr. Karadzic's role and authority in
4 it. (To the witness): Mr. Ralston, when did the Bosnian Serb
5 administration come into existence?
6 A. The Bosnian Serb entity has gone through different phases in its
7 evolution, culminating with the establishment of Republika Srpska.
8 Already on 21st December 1991, the Assembly of the Serbian people in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina decided conditionally to establish the Republic of
10 Serbian Bosnia and Herzegovina before 14th January 1992.
11 On 9th January 1992, that Assembly adopted a declaration on
12 the proclamation of the Republic of the Serbian people of Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. The 28th February 1992 constitution adopted by the same
14 Assembly referred to the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
15 and stated in its Article 3 that the entity was "a part of the federal
16 state of Yugoslavia".
17 The constitution entered into force on day of its adoption
18 according to its own implementation legislation. Key legislation on
19 government, defence and internal affairs was also adopted on 28th
20 February 1992. So by that date the foundation of the Bosnian Serb
21 legal infrastructure was in place, and during the following two to
22 three months the central administration entity was set up.
23 Vice Presidents, Biljana Plavsic and Nikola Koljevic
24 functioned as President of the entity between 28th February and the
25 time Karadzic became President. On 12th August 1992 the entity change
1 its name to "Republika Srpska" or "the Republic of Srpska" which it
2 has gradually become known as.
3 Q. Mr. Ralston, has the investigation shown any relationship between the
4 leadership of the SDS and the leadership of the Bosnian Serb
6 A. Yes, it has.
7 Q. Would you please refer to Exhibit No. 31 and explain the
8 significance of Exhibit 31 to the court?
9 A. If you look at this Exhibit, we have on one side the structure of the
10 SDS and on the other side the structure of the administration of
11 Republika Srpska. You will see in common, Radovan Karadzic is both
12 President of the SDS and also the President in the Presidency. The
13 Main Board, you will see Aleksa Buha, member of the Main Board. He
14 was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Assembly. There is a
15 list of names of members of the Assembly; 14 of the members of the
16 Assembly were members of the Main Board. I think from that you will
17 see it is a significant mirroring of power between the SDS leadership
18 and the leadership of the Bosnian Serb administration.
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ralston. What was the role of Dr. Karadzic in the
20 newly formed Bosnian Serb administration?
21 A. Dr. Karadzic was the President.
22 Q. Did he retain his leadership role in the SDS after becoming the
23 President of the Bosnian Serb administration?
24 A. Yes, he did.
25 Q. When he became president of the Bosnian Serb administration, he was
1 vested with a number of powers. Do you have some exhibits, Mr.
2 Ralston, that describe those powers? Specifically, let me refer you to
3 Exhibits No. 18 and 20, Exhibit 32 and Exhibit 33.
4 A. Yes. I do not have 18 and 20 but I am familiar with those documents.
5 I have Exhibit 32. I might add that Dr. Karadzic's position as the
6 leader gave him authority and control over both the civilian and
7 military administration. This, in effect, gave him supreme authority
8 over the police, the Territorial Defence and the Bosnian Serb army.
9 In Exhibit No. 32, which is the law on National Defence, if
10 you go to Article 6 of that Exhibit, it sets out, amongst other
11 things: "The President of the Republic shall ensure unity and
12 indivisibility of the national defence system in the republic;
13 supervise the Territorial Defence both in peace and wartime". It goes
14 on further to say: "He shall issue orders for the utilization of the
15 police in the case of war".
16 If we go later to Article 39, I think it is, Article 39 sets
17 out: "The President of the Republic shall order deployment of
18 Territorial Defence units for the maintenance of law and order in
19 cases of immediate peril of war and other emergency situations".
20 If I now go to Exhibit 33, which is the law on internal affairs,
21 if you go to Article 25, Article 25 sets out, amongst others things:
22 "The President of the Republic shall evaluate the execution of the
23 work programme of the national security service on the basis of a
24 report by the Minister and shall inform the National Assembly
1 Later in the same document, Article 33, it sets out that, "The
2 Ministry of Internal Affairs shall activate the reserve police in
3 emergency cases as ordered by the President of the Republic".
4 Q. Mr. Ralston, what was the effect of these legal documents that you
5 have just testified about?
6 A. The effect of these documents is that it gave Dr. Karadzic de jure
7 authority and control over all the official Serb forces in time of
9 Q. In respect of those powers that you have described, can you provide
10 the court with some examples of his exercise of those powers?
11 A. Yes, I can. He exercised those powers throughout the conflict, an
12 example as late as July 1995, as reported in the media, Bosnian Serb
13 television prime news, set out: "The President of the Republika
14 Srpska and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Dr. Radovan
15 Karadzic, has extraordinarily promoted Major General Milenko
16 Zivanovic, who until recently was the commander of the Drina Corps,
17 into the rank of Lieutenant General. The Republika Srpska Bureau for
18 Press Contacts announced that General Zivanovic has been promoted due
19 to his retirement from active military service".
20 According to the announcement, President Karadzic has
21 appointed the recent Chief of Staff, Major General Radislav Krstic, as
22 the new commander of the Drina Corps who, together with General
23 Zivanovic, was a main architect of the Serbian victories in Srebrenica
24 and Zepa. President Karadzic congratulated the VRS General Staff, the
25 Drina Corps command and the police staff within the armed forces on
1 their brilliant victories in Srebrenica and Zepa, as well as their
2 breaking down of the Muslim offensive on Serbian Sarajevo.
3 Q. Did Dr. Karadzic put the police and army under unified command?
4 A. Yes, he did. He stated publicly that the army and the police were
5 put under a unified command.
6 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I would like to show the court now a film that
7 has been prepared in respect of the answer that Mr. Ralston just
8 provided. If we could please play Exhibit No. 29, clip 2, please?
9 (Exhibit 29, clip 2, was played).
10 Mr. Ralston, as the Commander-in-Chief, had Dr. Karadzic
11 repeatedly backed the actions of his military commanders?
12 A. Yes, he had. I give you a June 1995 example: Dr. Karadzic was
13 interviewed by the BBC in relation to the taking of UN peace keepers
14 as hostages earlier that month. Dr. Karadzic said to the BBC that he
15 was wrong to approve the hostage taking of the UN peace keepers, but
16 he said it was a reasonable reaction to NATO air strikes. "We had to
17 do something very drastic to prevent further strikes and to show the
18 international community that we are cornered and ready to defend
19 ourselves by all means. We function as a state, and I am
20 Commander-in-Chief, supreme Commander, and everything my army do, I do
22 Q. Throughout the war, Mr. Ralston, has Dr. Karadzic been dealt with as
23 the leader of the Republika Srpska?
24 A. Yes, he has. In the course of investigations conducted by the Office
25 of the Prosecutor, investigators and researchers have interviewed
1 various officials who have dealt with Dr. Karadzic since the beginning
2 of the conflict. In addition, there has been extensive research of
3 documents and public statements made by Dr. Karadzic. From the outset
4 he has repeated asserted his position as President of the Serbian
5 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, or the leader of the
6 Bosnian Serb people.
7 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, I would turn the court's attention to Exhibit
8 No. 34 which is an affidavit signed by Dr. Karadzic. It is an
9 affidavit that was filed in a civil law suit in the United States,
10 Federal District Court. In that particular exhibit you can see THAT
11 Dr. Karadzic asserts his position as President of the Republika
13 (To the witness): Mr. Ralston, let me ask you then -- were
14 you going to show that document?
15 A. I was going to show that document.
16 Q. Please do.
17 A. I will read the relevant portion to the court. "I, Radovan Karadzic,
18 state as follows: I am the President of the Republic of Srpska". It
19 goes on to describe when he was born. In the third, the last sentence
20 of the third paragraph: "I had not visited the United States for any
21 purpose since 1975 until after I became President of Republika Srpska
22 on May 13, 1992".
23 Q. Mr. Ralston, since the beginning of the conflict, Dr. Karadzic, as
24 the paramount leader of the Bosnian Serbs, has he been involved in
25 negotiations with the other parties to the conflict?
1 A. Yes, he has. It must be recognised that many of these negotiations
2 were conducted by means of shuttle diplomacy, but I can provide some
3 examples of this. On 24th January 1992, he attended a debate on a
4 referendum of independence. The main people in the debate were Mr.
5 Izetbegovic for the SDA, Dr. Karadzic for the SDS and Mr. Kljuic for
6 the HDZ.
7 On 12th April 1992, he was involved in negotiations on a cease
8 fire in Sarajevo. He agreed to the cease fire. On 2nd June 1992,
9 Karadzic was involved in negotiations over the opening of Sarajevo
10 airport. During 1992 and 1993, Dr. Karadzic participated in
11 negotiations conducted under the auspices of the national conference
12 for former Yugoslavia.
13 On 18th November 1993, he signed a joint declaration on
14 humanitarian assistance along with Mr. H. Silajdzic and Mr. M. Boban.
15 On 6th March 1994, he had a meeting with UNPROFOR officials
16 concerning an overall cease fire. From 2nd to 6th June 1994, he was
17 involved in Geneva talks on the cessation of hostilities. An
18 agreement was reached in those talks.
19 In December 1994, he was involved in negotiations on cease
20 fire and cessation of hostilities with former US President, Jimmy
21 Carter. An agreement was reached.
22 Q. Mr. Ralston, I would like to refer you to Exhibits 35, 36, 37, 38 and
23 39. I will give you a moment just to get those exhibits. Let me ask
24 you if you can identify each of those exhibits and explain to the
25 court the significance of those exhibits.
1 A. Exhibit 35 is a document signed by Mr. D. Kalinic, "Representative
2 of Dr. Karadzic, President of the Serbian Democratic Party". The
3 group of people mentioned in the document, a representative of the
4 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a representative -- a further
5 representative of the SDS, a representative of the SDA and a
6 representative of the HDZ met in Geneva on 22nd May 1992 on
7 application or dealing with the "application and implementation of
8 international humanitarian law within the context of the conflict in
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina". They reached an agreement in relation to
10 those topics.
11 Exhibit 36 is an agreement reached on 5th June 1992 on the
12 reopening of Sarajevo airport for humanitarian purposes. This exhibit
13 was signed by Dr. Karadzic.
14 Exhibit 37 is an instruction issued to Serbian forces around
15 the town of Gorazde to begin an immediate unilateral cease fire, again
16 signed by Dr. Karadzic on 16th July 1992.
17 Exhibit 38 is a joint declaration for humanitarian assistance
18 signed by Dr. Karadzic, Mr. Silajdzic, Mr. Boban.
19 Finally, Exhibit 39 is a cessation of hostilities agreement
20 which followed the negotiations with US President Carter -- US former
21 President Carter.
22 Q. You have described, Mr. Ralston, a broad range of agreements that
23 were signed by Dr. Karadzic as the leader of the Republika Srpska;
24 were these agreements implemented, in fact?
25 A. Yes. For example, the agreement on the reopening of Sarajevo airport
1 and the cessation of hostility agreement following the Carter
2 negotiations and also the agreement for one month's suspension of
3 military offensives following the Geneva conference in June 1994.
4 Q. Mr. Ralston, thank you for your testimony in regards to Dr. Karadzic.
5 I would now like to turn for a few minutes to the other person named
6 in the two indictments, General Mladic. Could you please tell the
7 court who he is and give a description of his background?
8 A. Yes. General Mladic received his training at the military academy in
9 the former Yugoslavia and was a career JNA officer before he became
10 the commander of the Bosnian Serb army. His first assignment as an
11 officer in November 1965 was as a platoon commander in Skopje,
13 Between 1989 and 1991, Mladic served as the head of the
14 Education Department of the Third Military District. From January
15 through June 1991, he was the Deputy Commander of the Pristina Corps
16 in Kosovo.
17 In June 1991, the JNA General Staff sent Mladic to Knin as
18 commander of the Knin Corps. At the time the JNA was fighting various
19 Croatian forces. Approximately two months after Mladic arrived in
20 Knin, the JNA promoted him to Brigadier General because of his combat
22 Q. When did he leave the JNA and become the commander of the Bosnian
23 Serb army?
24 A. This occurred in the second half of April 1992. General Mladic and
25 others were formed of this decision by the SFRY Presidency. They were
1 told that they were reassigned from their present posts to new posts
2 at the command of the Second Military District, the Second Military
3 District centred in Sarajevo.
4 The new posts were as follows: Major General Ratko Mladic was
5 appointed Chief of Staff of the Second Military District; Major
6 General Milan Gvero, assistant commander for morale and information;
7 Colonel Gruber, assistant commander for organisational and
8 mobilization and personnel issues, and the late General Djorde Dukic,
9 assistant commander for logistics. Shortly after these posts were
10 transferred to the Bosnian Serb army.
11 This information was confirmed by General Djorde Dukic in
12 interviews with representatives of the Ministry of Interior of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina. He stated to the authorities: "I know that the
14 SFRY Government made a decision in May or June 1992 for all federal
15 reserves on the territory of Republika Srpska to be transferred to the
16 jurisdiction of the Government of Republika Srpska which was then
17 called Serbian Bosnia and Herzegovina.
18 "As regards the consolidation of units and the creation of the
19 Army of the Republika Srpska, I can state that almost all units of the
20 JNA had withdrawn from the territory of Republika Srpska by 19th May
21 1992, and by the end of June even the smallest groups had withdrawn.
22 These did not include individuals of Serbian nationality born on the
23 territory Bosnia and Herzegovina".
24 Q. That is a direct quote from General Dukic; is that correct?
25 A. That is correct. At the time Mladic became the Commander of the
1 District, the commanding JNA Generals, Stankovic and Kukanjac, were
2 returned to Belgrade.
3 Q. What did General Mladic do when he received notice that the JNA was
4 officially going to withdraw from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
5 A. Mladic in interview with a Knin magazine in Belgrade indicated that
6 he had received advance warning that the JNA was going to withdraw
7 officially from Bosnia-Herzegovina. He immediately started to
8 establish his own command structure. In the Knin magazine Mladic
9 described his efforts as follows:
10 "As soon as I took over duty in the Second Military District,
11 I set my aim at gathering people and establishing the Command and the
12 Main Staff, some from people of the Second Military District and some
13 from the people who had come with me from Knin and other areas, who
14 were born in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
15 "As soon as the decision was made on 19th May 1992 for the JNA
16 to retreat from the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina, we met at the highest
17 military and political levels and decided to establish the Serb Army
18 and the Main Staff. The Army was founded at the Bosnian Serb Assembly
19 session in Banja Luka on 11th and 12th May. I went to Banja Luka and
20 met with President Dr. Radovan Karadzic and his representatives. They
21 told me that a decision was made for me to take over the duty of
23 Q. Mr. Ralston, can you briefly describe to the court how the BSA was
24 structured and identify the relevant persons in it?
25 A. Yes. I refer to Exhibit 40. If you look at the structure, the
1 highest position in the army is General Ratko Mladic; immediately down
2 to him is his Deputy, Major Gvero. Underneath General Mladic is his
3 main staff; Major General Milanovic is the Chief of Staff; Major
4 General Martic, the assistant commander for air defence; Lieutenant
5 General Dukic, assistant commander for logistics; Major General
6 Skrbic, assistant commander for mobilization and personnel and Major
7 General Zdravko Tolimir who is assistant commander for intelligence.
8 Immediately also directly under General Mladic were the Corps
9 commands First Krajina Corps led by General Talic; Second Krajina
10 Corps led initially by General Boric and later General Tomanic; the
11 Third Krajina Corps, Colonel Lisica; the East Bosnia Corps, General
12 Simic; the Drina Corps, initially, General Zivanovic and then General
13 Krstic; the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps was initially commanded by General
14 Sipcic, later General Galic and then General Milosevic and the
15 Herzegovina Corps commanded by General Grubac.
16 Q. Mr. Ralston, let me ask you in respect of these Corps that you have
17 described, did they operate in specific geographic regions in
19 A. Yes, I refer you to the second part of this Exhibit. You will see
20 here that the three Krajina Corps, the first, second and third,
21 operated in these districts; the East Bosnian Corps in this district,
22 the Drina Corps in this area here; the Herzegovina Corps here and
23 Sarajevo-Romanija Corps in this area here.
24 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you explain the relationship between Dr. Karadzic,
25 the President of the Bosnian Serb administration, and General Mladic
1 who was the Commander of the Bosnian Serb army?
2 A. Dr. Karadzic was his supreme commander. From interviews with former
3 UNPROFOR officials who, at various stages of the conflict were based
4 in Sarajevo, it is clear that from the outset Dr. Karadzic was the
5 political leader of the Bosnian Serbs and had control over the
6 military. It is also clear that from as early as 14th May 1992,
7 General Ratko Mladic was in effective control of the military.
8 Although Mladic acted and thought independently and demonstrated
9 absolute control over his troops, he would defer to Karadzic as the
10 overall leader.
11 Q. In addition to being the military commander, did he also represent
12 the Bosnian Serb administration in the negotiations?
13 A. Yes, he did. He participated in negotiations and made agreements
14 principally in relation to military matters on issues such as
15 demilitarisation, cease fires and cessation of combat activities and
16 cessation of hostilities.
17 Q. Can you provide the court with some information about the types of
18 agreements he negotiated?
19 A. Yes, I can. On 2nd June 1992, with Dr. Karadzic, he was involved in
20 negotiations on the agreement to open Sarajevo airport. Bosnian Serb
21 forces under his control held the area around the airport. This
22 agreement was subsequently signed and implemented. On 5th June, Dr.
23 Karadzic and General Mladic were involved in negotiations with the
24 Bosnian Serb Presidency over the airport being placed under UN
1 On 30th July 1993, Mladic was involved in negotiations with
2 General Briquemont, Generals Delic and Petkovic and defined an
3 agreement -- signed an agreement to define safe areas. On 11th August
4 1993, Mladic signed an agreement with General -- sorry, on 14th
5 August, Mladic reached an agreement with General Briquemont concerning
6 Mount Igman and the withdrawal of Bosnian Serb forces.
7 On 8th February 1994, General Milovanovic, a representative of
8 General Mladic, met with General Sir Michael Rose in Lukavica to
9 discuss cease fire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and the subsequent
10 demilitarisation of Sarajevo. Milovanovic said that he had the full
11 authority from Karadzic and Mladic to agree to the principles of the
12 cease fire. The following day, General Sir Michael Rose met with
13 Milovanovic who agreed to a cease fire. There was no document signed
14 but the cease fire held.
15 On 15th April 1994, negotiations between Rose and General
16 Mladic were held regarding Gorazde. On 22nd April, General
17 Milovanovic signed an agreement on Gorazde. The agreement was a
18 general cease fire.
19 There were also numerous meetings where his representatives
20 met with others and reached agreement on various issues, including
21 humanitarian convoys and anti-sniping.
22 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, we have provided in your binders Exhibits 41,
23 42, 43, 44 and 39. I will not ask Mr. Ralston any questions about
24 these agreements, but these are examples of agreements that were
25 negotiated and signed by General Mladic.
1 Lastly, Mr. Ralston, let me ask you if the agreements which
2 were negotiated and signed by General Mladic were, in fact,
4 A. Yes, they were. The best example are the Sarajevo airport agreements
5 and the agreements following the Carter negotiations.
6 Q. Thank you for your description and your testimony about General
7 Mladic. I would like to turn to another subject now, Mr. Ralston. I
8 would like to turn your attention to the conflict in Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina starting in 1992.
10 Was the occupation and control of the territory of the
11 Republic of Bosnia by the Bosnian Serbs well planned and executed, in
12 your opinion?
13 A. Yes, it was. The occupation and control of territory of the Republic
14 of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the self-styled "Republika Srpska" was
15 well-planned and co-ordinated. The planning by the Bosnian Serb
16 political leaders of the SDS and others was executed in coordination
17 with the military and paramilitary forces, the police and local
18 Bosnian Serbs. The goal was to secure complete control over the
19 territory which they considered to be Serbian in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Q. Mr. Ralston, has the investigation revealed any patterns of
21 pre-takeover and post-takeover conduct by the Bosnian Serb forces
22 under the direction and control of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic?
23 A. Yes. In those portions of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
24 controlled by the Bosnian Serbs, a consistent pattern of pre- takeover
25 and post-takeover conduct emerged. This pattern reflect a high degree
1 of central control and planning by those responsible for the
3 In areas where the Bosnian Serbs represented a large majority
4 of the population, control was achieved quickly and with limited use
5 of force. In other areas, where Bosnian Serbs did not have such a
6 majority, it was achieved by the use of substantial force, including
7 heavy shelling of villages and towns follow by infantry attack.
8 In either case, what followed for the non-Serb population was
9 brutal and swift repression and persecution on discriminatory grounds.
10 Thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats were rounded up,
11 detained in internment facilities run by the Bosnian Serb military,
12 the police or both.
13 The conditions in these facilities were brutal -- detainees
14 were murdered, tortured, physically abused, raped and sexually
15 assaulted. Daily food rations and hygienic conditions were grossly
16 inadequate. For those non-Serbs who did not end up in the detention
17 facilities, life in their communities included systematic dismissal
18 from employment, restraint on freedom of movement, appropriation of
19 property, destruction of their homes and businesses, physical abuse,
20 including murder, rape, and torture, arbitrary arrest, deportation and
21 other conditions that made remaining in their homes precarious at
22 best. Muslim and catholic places of worship have been damaged or
23 destroyed in significant numbers throughout the occupied territories
24 as well.
25 These patterns I have described have been substantiated by
1 in-depth investigations conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor in
2 regard to the Bosnian Serb takeovers that occurred in the
3 municipalities of Sarajevo, Foca, Bosanski Samac, Vlasenica, Brcko and
4 Prijedor. The patterns are further supported by information provided
5 to the OTP in relation to events that occurred in Kotor Varos,
6 Bijeljina, Zvornik and other areas.
7 Throughout the conflict, tactics used by the Bosnian Serb
8 military have included both indiscriminate and direct targeting of
9 civilians. The siege of Sarajevo typifies these tactics. Since the
10 beginning of the siege, civilians in that city were subjected to
11 indiscriminate fire by weapons such as mortars, rockets and artillery
12 as well as a systematic sniper campaign that has resulted in a high
13 number of casualities".
14 Q. Mr. Ralston, before the war started in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in
15 the territory that is now occupied by the Bosnian Serbs, were there
16 municipalities where the Bosnian Serbs represented a minority of the
18 A. Yes, as is well known, the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 before the conflict consisted largely of five national groups,
20 Serbians, Croatians, Muslims, Yugoslavs and others. Whilst over half
21 of the municipalities in the area claimed by the Bosnian Serbs had a
22 Serbian majority, many did not.
23 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, Exhibit No. 45 in your binders is a summary of
24 the 1991 census, and it will substantiate what Mr. Ralston has just
25 testified about.
1 Mr. Ralston, I would like you to please turn to Exhibit No. 46
2 and ask you to identify and explain to the court what it represents?
3 A. This map shows you, firstly, confrontation line as at July 1995.
4 Behind that confrontation line is largely the area which was
5 controlled by the Bosnian Serbs. The areas in pink are the areas
6 which had -----
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am very sorry. Maybe we could turn down the
8 lights just a little bit because it is hard really to see what is on
9 the map, so if that were possible? If we could just dim the light a
10 little bit? We all have the same problem indeed.
11 THE WITNESS: I will repeat what I have just said.
12 MR. HARMON: Wait just a minute until the lights are dimmed, Mr. Ralston.
13 All right. Mr. Ralston, please proceed with your explanation.
14 A. As I say, the green line roughly marks the confrontation line as of
15 July 1995. The areas in behind that line are the areas which are
16 controlled by the Bosnian Serbs. Now, the areas shaded in pink are
17 the areas that as in the 1991 census showed a non-Serb majority
19 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you now turn to Exhibit No. 47, identify it and
20 explain its significance to the court?
21 A. Exhibit 47 is a document which is headed "Serbian Democratic Party
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Main Committee, strictly confidential". It is
23 instructions for the organisation and activities of the organs of the
24 Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina in a state of emergency.
25 The significance of this document is on 19th December 1991 a
1 special Crisis Staff of the SDS issued these "strictly confidential"
2 instructions. Noting that certain forces were working to take
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina out of Yugoslavia by force, the Crisis Staff saw
4 the necessity for working out "unified tasks, measures and other
5 activities" for the purposes of carrying out the decision of the
6 Bosnian Serb plebiscite as well as in other circumstances which might
7 arise in the development of the political and security situation.
8 The instructions provided for the conduct of specified in all
9 municipalities in which Serbs lived. This was to occur in two
10 variants depending on whether Serbs formed majority (Variant A) or not
11 (Variant B). In both variants, the municipal committee of the SDS was
12 to admittedly form a Crisis Staff composed of all members of the
13 secretariat of the communal committee of the SDS, leading communal
14 officials or SDS candidates for those positions (chairman of the
15 Assembly or of the Executive Committee, chief of the public security
16 or militia station, Commander of the Territorial Defence staff,
17 secretary of the secretariat of National Defence), deputies to the
18 Assembly of the Serbian people and local members of the Main Committee
19 of the SDS.
20 The commander of the Crisis Staff was to be the chairman of
21 the communal assembly/executive committee (Variant A) or the chairman
22 of the communal committee of the SDS (Variant B). The Crisis Staffs
23 were responsible for monitoring the political situation in the
24 municipality and making preparations to take over all governmental
25 functions, including the gathering of supplies in secret depots and
1 mobilisation of men into the police, Territorial Defence and the JNA.
2 Q. The significance of this document, Mr. Ralston?
3 A. This document contains a number of instructions on the organisation
4 and activities of Bosnian Serbs and the municipal and Local Commune
5 levels. The instructions were given by the Crisis Staff of the SDS.
6 The instructions would basically prepare the Bosnian Serbs for war on
7 the municipal and commune levels.
8 Q. Mr. Ralston, you mentioned earlier that the Office of the Prosecutor
9 has conducted in-depth investigations in certain municipalities. Can
10 you identify those municipalities?
11 A. Yes. Sarajevo, Foca, Bosanski Samac, Vlasenica, Brcko and Prijedor.
12 Q. Can you inform the court what the strategic significance of those
13 municipalities is?
14 A. Yes, I can.
15 MR. HARMON: Perhaps we need the lights dimmed once again, your Honour?
16 A. Firstly, the municipalities of Foca, Bosanski Samac, Vlasenica, Brcko
17 and Prijedor all had substantial non-Serb majority population. If you
18 look at the map of Bosnia-Herzegovina, firstly, you will notice that
19 the terrain is extremely rugged. Because of the ruggedness of this
20 terrain, the transport thoroughfares were particularly significant.
21 If you look at Foca, you will see that it stands at the
22 junction of the major highway which connects between Montenegro and
23 Belgrade, Herzegovina and the coast. If you go to Brcko, sorry, to
24 Vlasenica, you will see that Vlasenica is the main road and rail link
25 between Serbia and Sarajevo. The rail link comes to the border and
1 then there is the road link through Vlasenica to Sarajevo.
2 Brcko stands in probably the most critical area for the
3 Bosnian Serbs. This area, as I said, was a non-Serb majority area,
4 but it was through this road network here that Serbs in Eastern Bosnia
5 and Serbia could connect with Serbs in Western Bosnia and the parts of
6 Croatian Krajina which at that stage were controlled by the Serbs. So
7 it is a complete -- it is a very significant military objective.
8 If you come across just a little bit further to Bosanski Samac
9 which is about here, it also stood on the edge of the Posavina
10 corridor, which is the area through Brcko, and the same road and rail
11 links. If you come across to Prijedor, you will notice that the rail
12 link between the east Serbia and the western areas go straight through
13 Prijedor, as does the major highway.
14 So, for each of these municipalities, in addition to being
15 predominantly non-Serbs surrounded by Serb controlled areas, they were
16 also particularly important because of the transport thoroughfares
17 that went through them.
18 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you turn to Exhibit No. 49 as well and put that on
19 the screen? Mr. Ralston, after the war started, can you tell me what
20 happened in the municipality that you have just described?
21 A. As I said, these were particularly significant municipalities, and
22 you can see that each of these municipalities was taken over by the
23 Serbs very early in the conflict, Foca on 6th April, Bosanski Samac on
24 17th April, Brcko -- sorry, then Vlasenica on 21st April and then,
25 finally, Prijedor on 25th May.
1 Q. You have mentioned that the Office of the Prosecutor has conducted
2 in-depth investigations in many of those municipalities. Could you
3 please describe to the court what happened in Sarajevo?
4 A. Yes, I can. Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Before
5 the conflict, Sarajevo had developed as a flourishing multi-ethnic
6 city. On 5th April, following demonstrations and peace marches,
7 fighting broke out with gun fire and explosions heard throughout the
8 city. On 6th April, sniper fire was reported originating from the
9 Holiday Inn near the centre of the city. The Holiday Inn at that time
10 was the headquarters of the SDS party and was occupied -----
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: I am sorry to interrupt you, but perhaps before
12 discussing Sarajevo, we could proceed to a recess, unless there is a
13 very short answer, but I have the feeling that we are being to be
14 talking about this for sometime so maybe we could have a recess first.
15 As it is 4 o'clock, it would be a good time. I am very sorry, Mr.
16 Ralston, to interrupt you. So the session is adjourned until 4.15.
17 (4.00 p.m.)
18 (The court adjourned for a short time)
19 (4.20 p.m.)
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: First, I would like to turn to the Prosecutor and I
21 would like to inform him that the Chamber accepts the documents you
22 tendered so far as exhibits. We will make sure that we do the same
23 for the forthcoming exhibits.
24 Still dealing with some concrete or material problems, I was
25 told by the interpreters that they find it difficult hearing the
1 Prosecutor because he stands up far away from the microphone. These
2 may be sound like a small problem, and yet they make the
3 interpreters' work more difficult. So when the presiding Judge makes
4 the interpreters' job difficult, he apologises, he does whatever he
5 can. Now it turns out that the Judges have nothing to do with that.
6 Apparently, these problems have been mentioned since the
7 opening of the Tadic case. It is probably a technical thing that can
8 probably easily be fixed, but it appears that if you have to bend over
9 it will be very difficult for you, Prosecutor. But, anyway, we simply
10 wanted to point out that we should make sure to have the appropriate
11 working conditions for everybody. As far as the Judges are concerned,
12 all conditions are very good, but that should apply to everybody.
13 So I will ask the representatives of the Registry to make sure
14 that if it does not involve too much work, could that be fixed as soon
15 as possible? I am speaking here on behalf of Mrs. MacDonald who is
16 the Presiding Judge for the Tadic case and on our behalf. So,
17 Prosecutor, I think we can resume now.
18 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, your Honour. (To the witness): When we
19 had left off, Mr. Ralston, I had asked you whether or not the Office
20 of the Prosecutor had conducted in-depth investigations in certain
21 municipalities and you answered that they had and you had identified
22 those municipalities. My next question was to ask you what had
23 happened in those municipalities. You started out with a description
24 and a brief summary of what occurred in Sarajevo. Could you please
25 continue your answer as to what occurred in Sarajevo?
1 A. Yes, I will, I will repeat the last couple of sentences that I said.
2 Before the conflict, Sarajevo had developed as a flourishing
3 multi-ethnic city. On 6th April 1992, sniper fire was reported
4 originating from the Holiday Inn near the centre of the city. The
5 Holiday Inn at that time was the headquarters of the SDS party, and
6 was occupied by party officials and body guards, as well as a number
7 of international journalists and UNPROFOR members.
8 A number of people were killed and injured by this initial
9 fire. The following day, 7th April 1992, the Republic of Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina was recognised as an independent state by the European
11 Community and the United States. From May 1992 until the end of the
12 conflict, Sarajevo was subjected to a siege by the Bosnian Serb
14 During the siege, the civilian population suffered greatly
15 from the continued and systematic sniper attacks by Bosnian Serb
16 forces and from the indiscriminate and intensive use of mortar and
17 artillery fire. As a result, thousands of civilians, regardless of
18 age or gender, have been killed or injured. Shelling attacks have
19 directly targeted civilians engaged in clearly non-combat activities.
20 Hospitals, cemeteries and cultural buildings have regularly been
21 targeted, as have the personnel and property of humanitarian aid and
22 peacekeeping bodies.
23 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you please summarise what our investigations have
24 shown in relation to the municipality of Foca?
25 A. Yes, Foca municipality, as I indicated previously, was an area which
1 had a majority non-Serb population. According to the 1991 census, of
2 the population of 40,513, 51.6 per cent were Muslim, 45.3 per cent
3 Serb and 3.1 per cent classified as "others".
4 The political and military takeover of Foca started in early
5 April. The first military actions in the town were reported on 6th
6 April 1992 when Serbian military units took over Foca section by
7 section. The occupation of the town of Foca was complete by 16th or
8 17th April. The surrounding villages were under siege until some time
9 in July 1992 before they were also overtaken.
10 During an after the takeover, a number of the non-Serb
11 population were detained, interrogated, beaten and held in inhumane
12 conditions in detention facilities run by the Serbian authorities.
13 Women were separated from the men and were held in different detention
14 centres where rapes were frequently committed by guards and other
15 Serbs. Later, many of the non-Serbs were taken from these facilities
16 and exchanged in so-called "prisoner exchanges" or deported, mainly to
17 Montenegro. Many non-Serbian residents were murdered.
18 During the months after the takeover, the living conditions,
19 including the fear of being killed, became so unbearable that many
20 non-Serbs, who had managed to avoid detention, decided to leave the
21 area. Those people who left were forced to sign papers saying they
22 were leaving Foca of their own volition and that they were voluntarily
23 handing over all their possessions to the Serb authorities. By
24 admission of the Serbian authorities, as of August 1993, there were
25 only nine Muslims left in Foca.
1 Q. Mr. Ralston, would you please describe what the Office of the
2 Prosecutor's investigations have shown in Bosanski Samac?
3 A. Yes. Bosanski Samac, as you will recall, was at the edge of the
4 Posavina corridor. Before the war, the population of Bosanski Samac
5 was made up almost evenly divided between Croats and Serbs, with
6 Muslims making up a small minority. According to the 1991 census,
7 the municipality had a total population of 32,835 people, of whom 45
8 per cent were Croats, 41 per cent Serbs, 7 per cent Muslims and 7 per
9 cent "others".
10 Before the war, most of the Croatian residents lived in
11 several predominantly Croatian outlying villages. Muslims constituted
12 the majority in the town of Bosanski Samac, and there were some
13 villages with ethnically mixed populations.
14 Early on the morning of 17th April 1992, Serbian military
15 forces seized control of Bosanski Samac. Shortly after the attack
16 members of these units went from house to house with lists of
17 non-Serbian residents and ordered all non-Serbs to turn in their
18 weapons. Irregular forces swept through the town looting homes. Some
19 homes, community buildings and villages were destroyed. Many
20 non-Serbs were immediately arrested and detained in detention
21 facilities set up in several different locations around the town of
22 Bosanski Samac, including one in the local police station.
23 In those detention facilities, beatings and mistreatment were
24 a daily occurrence. Some of the detainees were killed, others were
25 subjected to humiliating sexual assaults.
1 Overnight, Bosnian Serbs took control of all businesses and
2 government offices, and assumed all positions of authority. As it
3 occurred hundreds of kilometres away in Foca, the Serbian authorities
4 proceeded to reduce the civilian non-Serbian population by imposing
5 brutal conditions. Non-Serbs were arrested, detained, beaten,
6 tortured, murdered and humiliated. Those not arrested or detained
7 lived in fear, under such oppressive conditions, that many chose to
8 leave the area to escape the intolerable situation.
9 Many civilians were used in "prisoner exchanges". By March
10 1995 it was estimated that about 10 Croats and 250 Muslims remained in
11 the municipality. As of July 1995, 98 per cent of the non-Serb
12 population had either left or been deported.
13 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you summarise for the court what the Prosecutor's
14 investigations have shown in relation to the municipality of
16 A. Yes. With regard to Vlasenica, again non-Serbs were the majority
17 population. The municipality had approximately 33,817 citizens, of
18 whom approximately 55 per cent were Muslim, 43 per cent Serb and 2 per
19 cent described as "other". The town of Vlasenica is located in the
20 municipality of the same name. In 1991, the town of Vlasenica had
21 approximately 7,500 citizens, of whom approximately 4,800 or 64 per
22 cent were Muslim.
23 In the months leading up to the takeover of the municipality
24 of Vlasenica, there was considerable tension between Bosnian Serb and
25 non-Serbian officials. The tension related primarily to SDS demands
1 for various forms of political control. Ultimately, the SDS demanded
2 that Vlasenica be divided into Serbian and non-Serbian areas.
3 Significantly, just before the takeover, Serbs had begun to set up a
4 separate administration and police force. Serbian paramilitary groups
5 moved into the area and the Muslim population was ordered to hand over
6 their weapons.
7 On 21st April 1992, the Bosnian Serb takeover of Vlasenica was
8 effected by members of the Novi Sad Corps of the JNA assisted by
9 paramilitary units. Following the takeover of the town of Vlasenica,
10 the remaining Muslim villages in the municipality were also captured
11 and civilians were arrested, mistreated, detained in camps or
12 deported. Many of the civilians' homes were destroyed.
13 After the takeover, detention warrants and criminal charges
14 were drawn up against the Muslim leaders and SDS members of the area
15 -- SDA members of the area, I am sorry , but by that time 95 per cent
16 of the Muslim officials had fled. On the day of the takeover of the
17 town of Vlasenica, Serbs in a police car forced a Muslim religious
18 leader to give an ultimatum to the non-Serb population in which they
19 were instructed to hand over all weapons.
20 During and after the takeover, non-Serbian villages were
21 attacked and the Muslim residents rounded up and detained. In
22 addition, the Serbian forces destroyed and looted much of the Muslim
24 Once the civilians were detained, the men and women were
25 separated. The women were deported and the men were detained for
1 extended periods of time in inhumane conditions. The men were
2 interrogated and beaten for no apparent reason. After being released
3 from detention, some of the men were used for "prisoners exchanges".
4 Many of the civilians detained were subsequently sent to the Batkovic
5 camp in north east Bosnia where they were detained for lengthy
7 Most of Muslim women, driven by fear, were compelled to sign
8 documents stating they were leaving the area of their own free will.
9 Prior to leaving, however, the people had to obtain permission to
10 leave from the Serbian run Crisis Staff and had to sign over all their
11 property to the Serbs.
12 Q. Mr. Ralston, did similar events occur in Brcko?
13 A. Yes, they did. In Brcko, the population was approximately 87,000
14 with 43,000 inhabitants residing in the town of Brcko itself. The
15 population of the municipality was 45 per cent Muslim; 20.7 per cent
16 Serb; 25.9 per cent Croat; 5.5 per cent Yugoslav and 3 per cent
17 "other". So it can be seen that the Serbian population was the
18 significant minority in this area. However, as I have previously
19 stated, control of this area was vital to the Bosnian Serb programme.
20 The war in Brcko began in the early morning of 30th April
21 1992, when powerful explosions destroyed the two bridges across the
22 Sava River. Immediately thereafter, the SDS Crisis Staff assumed
23 power in the municipality. On 1st May 1992, the post office, radio
24 and television stations and the police station were taken over by
25 soldiers wearing the uniform of the JNA. Residents who tried to leave
1 the town were turned back at checkpoints manned by Serbian soldiers
2 and paramilitary soldiers known as Arkanovci or Seseljevci, which were
3 controlled by Zeljko Raznjatovic "Arkan" and Vojislav Seselj
5 On 2nd May 1992, shooting began in the predominantly Muslim
6 neighbourhoods of Dizdarusa, Kolobara and Klanac as Muslim fighters
7 organised a resistance to the Serbian soldiers in the town. An
8 artillery bombardment began in the Muslim neighbourhoods and residents
9 sought shelter in the basements of their homes. Houses were damaged
10 severely as a result of the shelling.
11 On 3rd May 1992, Serbian soldiers began moving through the
12 city, forcing residents to leave their homes and to "evacuate to safe
13 areas". Muslim and Croat residents were separated from Serbs and
14 taken to collection centres. Women, children and the elderly were
15 separated from the men and bused out of Brcko to Brezevo Polje, a
16 village a few kilometres east of the town of Brcko. While at the
17 collection centres, Muslims and Croats were subjected to verbal
18 harassment, physical beatings and some were killed.
19 A large percentage of the non-Serbian male population was
20 detained at the Luka camp in the town of Brcko where beatings, torture
21 and murder were common place. The camp authorities executed detainees
22 on a systematic basis during the first weeks of Luka's operation. In
23 July, all male detainees were bused to the nearby Batkovic detention
24 camp. Other non-Serbian males, who had previously been detained and
25 released, were later re-arrested and also taken to Batkovic. As a
1 result of the climate of fear and terror created by the Serbian
2 actions, the overwhelming majority of non-Serbian residents who were
3 not killed or detained left the area by any means possible.
4 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you describe what the Prosecutor's investigations
5 have shown in relation to Prijedor?
6 A. Yes. The Prosecutor's office has conducted extensive investigations
7 in relation to events in the Prijedor area. Prijedor, before May 1991,
8 was almost evenly divided between Muslims and Serbs. According to the
9 1991 census, the municipality had a total population of 112,470
10 people, of whom 44 per cent were Muslim, 42.5 per cent Serb, 5.6 per
11 cent Croats, 5.7 per cent Yugoslav and 2.2 per cent described as
12 "others". I am told the "others" are often made up of Ukrainians,
13 Russians and Italians.
14 On 30th April 1992, Bosnian Serb forces seized power in the
15 town of Prijedor. There was no meaningful resistance, as non-Serb
16 police surrendered their arms to their Serbian colleagues. The
17 following morning, Serbian flags flew from all official buildings and
18 Radio Prijedor broadcast that Serbs had taken over the municipality,
19 which was henceforth to be called "Serbian Municipality Prijedor".
20 Over the next three weeks, Radio Prijedor repeatedly broadcast
21 demands that non-Serbs surrender all remaining arms, even licensed
22 hunting weapons. Muslim officials met with Bosnian Serb authorities
23 to negotiate a peaceful co-existence. During this time, travel for
24 non-Serbs was increasingly curtailed and communication lines from
25 predominantly Muslim villages to the outside world were cut.
1 Before and after the Bosnian Serbs seized power, they supplied
2 arms and weapons to the Serbian villages in the municipality. Heavy
3 weapons were also introduced into the area.
4 Military attacks in the Prijedor municipality began on 23rd
5 May 1992, after an incident at a checkpoint near the village of
6 Hambarine. Military attacks on Hambarine and Ljubija were followed by
7 attacks on Kozarac and Prijedor town. Beginning on 20th July 1992,
8 villages on the left bank of the Sana River were attacked by Serbian
9 forces. As in most of the other attacks, the left bank villages were
10 subjected to heavy shelling, followed by a mass round up and killings
11 of non-Serbian civilians. Many homes and villages were destroyed
12 during and after the attacks, making it impossible for people to
13 return to the villages.
14 Those who were arrested and detained endured long term
15 detention in facilities marked by the cruel and inhumane treatment of
16 inmates. Many thousands of non-Serbian civilians suffered in the
17 infamous detention camps of Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje. From
18 these centres the detainees were later either transferred to the
19 Manjaca camp and from there to either Batkovic camp or to other areas
20 outside Bosnia-Herzegovina.
21 Those who were not detained lived under such oppressive
22 conditions and in such a state of fear that most eventually left
23 Prijedor. By June 1993, 88 per cent of the Muslim population of
24 approximately 49,000 had been killed or forced to leave the area.
25 Today the majority of the previous non-Serbian population in the
1 Prijedor municipality has been expelled.
2 Q. Mr. Ralston, you have testified that as a result of the events that
3 took place in those respective municipalities, the ethnic composition
4 of each of those municipalities changed. Would you please refer to
5 Exhibit No. 50? I would ask you, once it is put on the elmo, to
6 please identify and explain its relevance to the court.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Perhaps we could have the lights down at this point?
9 A. In the municipalities of Prijedor, Foca, Vlasenica, Brcko and
10 Bosanski Samac, of which I have just spoken, the population changed
11 from being a Serbian minority to being almost totally Serbian. A
12 research indicates that this occurred in other areas taken over as
13 well, for example, Kotor Varos, Sanski Most, Doboj, Visegrad and
14 several of the areas along here. I will also indicate that Bosnian
15 Serbs also took control of these areas in here.
16 Q. Mr. Ralston, you have described a number of the methods that were
17 used by the forces that took over these particular municipalities.
18 Could you please explain what common features you found, what patterns
19 you found, in terms of those methods?
20 A. The common features include initially ultimatums, to hand over
21 weapons, to swear allegiance to the Bosnian Serb administration and
22 the surrender of certain individuals. There were military attacks
23 followed by wholesale destruction of villages. It was indiscriminate
24 murder, separation of men from the women, children and the elderly,
25 incarceration in various forms of detention facilities. These
1 detention facilities were either run by the police, military
2 authorities or both. At these facilities interrogations, beatings,
3 murder, sexual assault were commonplace, as was torture. Many of the
4 those incarcerated were later subjected to deportation, as were
5 civilians who were not detained.
6 Q. Those methods, Mr. Ralston, before we turn to them specifically,
7 occurred in municipalities that were located all throughout the
8 territory occupied by the Bosnian Serbs; is that correct?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. You mentioned one of the patterns that has emerged in the course of
11 the Prosecutor's investigations is that ultimatums were a common
12 feature in takeovers; could you please explain to the court what you
13 mean by that and give the court some examples?
14 A. Ultimatums were frequently issued by the SDS, the members of the
15 Bosnian Serb army, or the police, to representatives of the Muslim
16 villages to surrender their arms. To illustrate this, I will provide
17 you with an example from Prijedor: on 22nd May 1992, a car with five
18 men, four Serbs and a Croat, were stopped at a checkpoint in the
19 village of Hambarine near Prijedor. When the Serbs were asked to
20 surrender their weapons, one of the Serbs opened fire with his machine
21 gun. The commander at the checkpoint was wounded and later died of
22 his wounds. The other non-Serbs at the checkpoint returned fire and
23 killed two of the Serbs. The Serbs then asked the non-Serbs to
24 surrender themselves and the checkpoint.
25 After the shooting incident, the SDS Crisis Staff in Prijedor
1 delivered an ultimatum over Radio Prijedor in which they demanded that
2 the men who they held responsible for the shooting at the checkpoint
3 be handed over to them, and that all weapons in Hambarine be
4 surrendered to the Serbs. If the ultimatum was not met by noon the
5 following day, the Serbs said they would attack Hambarine.
6 When the ultimatum was not met, the Serbs commenced an
7 artillery bombardment of Hambarine. When the artillery fire ceased,
8 the village was attacked by tanks and infantry and houses were set on
9 fire. When the attack on Hambarine started, large numbers of
10 villagers fled to other nearby Muslim or Croatian villages. Others
11 took to the woods and remained there until they thought the immediate
12 danger was over.
13 Q. After the ultimatum was issued by the Prijedor Crisis Staff, what
14 happened to the village of Hambarine and other nearby villages?
15 A. Well, as in the above example, ultimatums were delivered both by the
16 SDS run Crisis Staff, civil officials and members of the military
18 In relation to Hambarine, later that day negotiations between
19 Major Radmilo Zeljaja and Becir Medunjanin, a representative of the
20 Muslim community of Kozarac, were monitored on the police radio in
21 Kozarac. Zeljaja issued an ultimatum that the people of Kozarac
22 either sign a pledge of loyalty to the Bosnian Serb Republic and hand
23 over all weapons or Kozarac would be attacked. Zeljaja informed
24 Medunjanin that he had until noon for the ultimatum to be reached.
25 About noon on 24th May 1992, Becir Medunjanin asked for more
1 time, but Zeljaja told him that time had run out. Shortly thereafter,
2 Kozarac was attacked by local Serbs from Lamovita and Omarska and
3 troops from the Banja Luka Corps under the command of Colonel Vladimir
4 Arsic and Major Zeljaja, the commander in the field. Kozarac town and
5 the villages of Kamicani, Jakupovici and Kozarusa were subjected to
6 heavy bombardment by artillery, and from tanks and smaller weapons.
7 On 27th May 1992, Bosnian-Serb army tanks and infantry moved
8 into Kozarac and, as the local population had not organised any real
9 resistance to the attack, the Serbs moved in virtually unimpeded.
10 Many of the inhabitants of the area fled to the nearby forests of the
11 Kozara Mountain.
12 Q. What happened to those individuals, Mr. Ralston, who fled into the
14 A. After the shelling stopped, the surrender of thousands of the
15 inhabitants of the Kozarac area was negotiated by a number of the
16 former Muslim police and Major Zeljaja. Many people, men women and
17 children, took advantage of this surrender, formed columns and moved
18 towards Prijedor town under the guard of the Serbian forces. As the
19 column was moving along the road many of the men were taken from the
20 column and killed on the spot. The Muslim commander of the police in
21 Kozarac and a number of his officers were killed after they were
22 surrendered. At a checkpoint along the road the column was met by
23 Bosnian Serb forces and the men were separated from the women and
24 children. The majority of the men were then placed on buses and taken
25 to the Omarska and Keraterm camps. The majority of the women and
1 children were taken to Trnopolje camp.
2 Q. Mr. Ralston, you mentioned that one of the patterns that the
3 investigations have revealed is a pattern of murder of civilians by
4 the police and military personnel. Can you please expand on this?
5 A. In the municipalities mentioned, summary execution of civilians both
6 inside and outside of the detention facilities was commonplace.
7 Perhaps the best or most graphic examples of this occurred in Brcko
8 where a photographer happened to be on the scene and captured
9 photographs of the murder of two apparently civilian people. These
10 photographs were later published in international media.
11 Q. Could we have the lights dimmed. Your Honour, we are going to refer
12 now to Exhibits 51A, B and C. If they could be shown now. Could you
13 explain, Mr. Ralston, please what is shown in this Exhibit as soon as
14 we get a focus on it?
15 A. You see here two civilians being escorted by an armed man in what
16 appears to be a police uniform and another armed man in what appears
17 to be a military uniform. If we move to the next photograph ----
18 Q. Let me ask you, those photographs were taken in Brcko?
19 A. Those photographs were taken in Brcko.
20 Q. All right. Could you move to the next photograph, please.
21 A. You will see in this photograph that the gentleman in the apparently
22 police uniform has raised his weapon. What has occurred here is he
23 has fired into the back of the civilian in front of him.
24 Q. Will you please show the next exhibit.
25 A. This photo graphically depicts what happened to the civilian. I
1 might also add that the other gentleman who is shown, the other
2 civilian shown in the first photograph was murdered at the same time.
3 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Ralston. If we could have the lights back
5 A. I think there is the next.
6 Q. In that case we will not have them up. Let me now turn to the next
7 pattern that has been revealed, and that is the destruction of Muslim
8 villages. Is there another photograph?
9 A. Yes, there is another.
10 Q. I am sorry. Let me go back then to one more photograph in that
12 A. On the same day that that last series of photographs were taken, this
13 photograph of a mass grave near Brcko was taken. You can see that
14 bodies in the grave are all wearing civilian clothes. It is Exhibit
15 No. 52.
16 Q. All right. Now we can have the lights up. Mr. Ralston, let me turn
17 your attention to another feature in the patterns that the
18 Prosecutor's investigations have revealed, and that is the destruction
19 of Muslim villages. Can you please explain to the court what you mean
20 by that and we will turn to some exhibits in just a minute?
21 A. Yes. In general as the Muslim population had been removed from
22 villages, Bosnian Serb forces would come through and destroy their
23 houses to prevent their return. In Vlasenica the attack started, as I
24 said, on 22nd April. Following the official departure of the JNA
25 troops and their replacement by Bosnian Serb troops, Bosnian Serb army
1 troops, Muslim villages continue to be destroyed. The attacks on
2 these villages met with little or no resistance. In many cases people
3 had turned in their weapons. In the Prijedor municipality the
4 following villages suffered from bombardment or total or partial
5 destruction by Serbian military, paramilitary and police units:
6 Hambarine and Ljubija on 22nd May, Kozarac, Alici, Brdjani, Donji
7 Forici, Gornja Forici, Hrnici, Jakupovic, Kamicani, Kevljani,
8 Kenjari, Kozarusa and others, and Prijedor, Tukovi and Stari Grad on
9 30th May. In a further wave of attacks on 20th July the following
10 villages suffered widespread destruction: Biscani, Karakovo,
11 Rizvanovici, Sredice, Zidovi, Brisevo, Donji Ljubija, Gornji Ljubija,
12 Raljas and Lisina.
13 Q. Mr. Ralston, let me ask you to refer to Exhibits 53, 54 and 55, and
14 please expand on your testimony using those exhibits, if you would.
15 Before you start, Mr. Ralston, we need to get it on the video screen.
16 Perhaps the lights could be dimmed on this as well. No, they had
17 better stay as bright as they can. Go ahead.
18 A. I will refer you firstly to the colour coding on the map. The blue
19 indicates populated areas, the yellow destruction from shelling, and
20 the red destruction from fire or explosives. You will see here heavy
21 concentration of red. This red correlates with the Muslims villages
22 of Prijedor which I have just spoken about. You will see in this area
23 here there is also a heavy concentration of red showing large numbers
24 of homes have been destroyed. Our evidence shows that the majority of
25 these houses which have been destroyed from either fires or explosives
1 are on areas which were previously predominantly Muslim.
2 If we move to the next exhibit, if I can show that more
3 graphically in relation to this area here and later this area here.
4 Now this map is a portion of eastern and central Bosnia. The areas in
5 green are the areas which are shown in the 1991 census has been a
6 predominantly Muslim population. You will see in those areas you have
7 indicated by red again where the houses have been destroyed from
8 either fires or explosives. You will see the concentration of
9 destruction of houses by fire and explosives is extremely high in the
10 predominantly Muslim areas. If we move to the next exhibit it will
11 show us something similar which occurred in the Prijedor area.
12 Q. For this we need the lights dimmed. If we could have them dimmed.
13 A. OK. This map here is the area in north western Bosnia and it
14 encompasses the Prijedor area which I have previously given evidence
15 about, part of Banja Luka and Sanski Most. What these concentrations
16 here show are what are called ethnically cleansed towns. The blue
17 occurred from mid-April to mid-May. You will see here, here and
18 Prijedor town. In May you see the concentration of villages outside
19 of Prijedor I spoke to. From late May to early June you will see that
20 these villages in this area here suffered from ethnic cleansing, and
21 from late July you will see the concentration in these areas here.
22 Q. Mr. Ralston, in many of these villages there were Serbian people who
23 lived, Bosnian Serbian people who lived next to Bosnian Muslim people.
24 Did it frequently occur that portions of the Muslim community were
25 essentially obliterated and portions of the community that were
1 Bosnian-Serb remained intact?
2 A. That is correct.
3 Q. In that regard, Mr. Ralston, I would like to show you, please,
4 Exhibit 56A and B. I would ask you once it gets put on the elmo to
5 explain what this is an example of.
6 A. OK. This is an aerial photograph. What it shows you, and this is in
7 the city of the Foca which I have previously given testimony about,
8 this area here is described as the Serb section of Foca. A short
9 distance away you have a Muslim section. It is not quite so clear
10 from this photograph, but I will show you in a moment. There is no
11 destruction in this area whilst all the buildings in this area have
12 been destroyed. I have two further photographs which show, sorry, a
13 further photograph which shows a focus on these two areas. So in the
14 main this photograph shows their proximity. On this photograph you
15 can see that the Muslim homes are totally destroyed and the mosque has
16 been damaged. In the Serb section a short distance away you see the
17 Orthodox Church totally intact and all the buildings totally intact.
18 Q. Mr. Ralston, would you now refer to Exhibit 56C. Your Honours, we
19 will be asking the usher to pass to your Honours copies of these
20 photographs which you do not have in your collection. That, your
21 Honours, is 56C.
22 Mr. Ralston would you explain what 56C represents?
23 A. Yes. This is a photograph of a village near Crska. You will see in
24 this photograph the signs of houses which have been totally destroyed.
25 I am advised that these houses were Muslim houses. Nestled in the
1 middle of them here and here are two Serbian style homes which have
2 suffered no damage at all.
3 Q. Mr. Ralston, I would now like to turn your attention to Exhibit No.
4 57, and ask you to identify what Exhibit 57 is?
5 A. Exhibit 57 depicts for us the fate of many of the Muslim mosques
6 throughout the Serb controlled areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Brcko
7 in this site in early July 1992 we see a mosque.
8 Q. That is a graphic depiction of the mosque, is that correct?
9 A. That is correct, of the mosque and the accompanying minaret. By May
10 1994 that area had been levelled completely. Not only had the mosque
11 been destroyed, but any of the remnants of the mosque had been totally
12 removed. I think the next exhibit will show that a little more
13 graphically. This is the same area as I was pointing to in the
14 previous exhibit, and this is the area where the mosque had stood.
15 All traces have been removed.
16 Q. Mr. Ralston, was there systematic destruction of religious sites in
17 some of the locations that you have testified about?
18 A. Yes, there was.
19 Q. Let me refer your Honours to Exhibit No. 58. We will display that on
20 the elmo in just a minute. I will ask you, Mr. Ralston, to identify
21 it and explain what it is once it comes up on the screen?
22 A. This exhibit is a graphic representation of the Banja Luka area. It
23 is significant in that Banja Luka was a Serbian majority population
24 and, as such, there was no armed conflict in the area. Despite the
25 fact there was no armed conflict in the area, many of the Muslim
1 mosques were destroyed. This graphic plots the Muslim mosque
2 locations and showed the ones that had been destroyed by September
3 1993. There are 14 depicted here in total, and since that graphic was
4 prepared I am told that three further mosques have been destroyed and
5 I am also told that that means the sum total of mosques in the Banja
6 Luka area have been destroyed.
7 Q. Mr. Ralston, I would like now to turn to another feature of the
8 pattern that you have identified in the municipalities where the
9 Prosecutor's Office has conducted investigations, and that is the
10 separation of men from women. Can you please explain that feature?
11 A. Yes. I have mentioned before in my testimony that men were separated
12 from women. The men once they were separated were taken to detention
13 facilities where they were held for weeks, months and even years.
14 Some were then either deported to moved to other facilities or used in
15 prisoner exchanges. The women were also often placed in detention
16 facilities for various periods of time. In these facilities they were
17 often subjected to persistent rape and sexual assault by camp
18 officials and guards and soldiers, and on occasions civilians who came
19 into the facilities. On other occasions people came into the
20 facility, took women out, took them to various homes and locations
21 where they were raped also. Other women were allowed to return to
22 their homes. These women were often in an extremely vulnerable
23 position. They were alone or with small children and no other
24 support. They were at the peril of individuals and groups of soldiers
25 who would visit unannounced and subject them to rape and sexual
1 assault. They were also subjected to other types of threats and
2 harassment which led many of them to take all the steps they could to
3 escape from the area and the constant harassment.
4 Q. Did this pattern or this method of separating men from women occur
5 only in 1992?
6 A. No, it did not, and this pattern repeated itself to certain extent as
7 late as July 1995 when the Bosnian Serbs captured the Srebrenica safe
8 area. After the fall of Srebrenica male refugees were separated from
9 women and children. The women were then transported towards Tuzla.
10 The males were taken to other locations and thousands of them were
12 Q. Mr. Ralston, would you please refer to Exhibit No. 59, identify it
13 and explain its significance to the court?
14 A. OK. This exhibit depicts in yellow the municipalities I have given
15 testimony about. It shows the also the takeovers of the areas of
16 Srebrenica and Zepa which were as late as July 1995. These
17 municipalities, together with control of these municipalities which I
18 have not give testimony about, or control of these municipalities,
19 meant that the Bosnian Serbs controlled the area behind the
20 confrontation line, and not only did they control it, they had a
21 considerable ethnic majority in each of the municipalities.
22 Q. You testified, Mr. Ralston, that many of the men and the women who
23 were collected by the people who had taken over these communities were
24 placed in detention facilities. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. Would you please refer to Exhibit No. 60 and I will ask you to
2 identify that and explain what it represents.
3 A. This exhibit shows the location of some of the detention facilities
4 that were set up in the areas controlled by the Bosnian Serbs. In the
5 Prijedor area we have the Keraterm, Trnopolje, Omarska camps. There
6 are also facilities in Sanski Most, Kljuc, Jajce, Kotor Varos. These
7 camps tended to run by the civilian authorities and the police,
8 although there was some involvement of the military. Manjaca was a
9 totally military run camp. In this area again you have camps run by
10 either the police or the military, and you have the Batkovic camp
11 which is run strictly by the military. The arrows depict the movement
12 of prisoners. Following the public outcry on the discovery of these
13 camps, individuals were moved to the Manjaca camp. In relation to
14 camps in this areas, as they closed down the detainees were moved to
15 the Batkovic camp.
16 Finally when Manjaca closed down in December 1992 some of the
17 prisoners, I think about 500, from Manjaca were transferred to
18 Batkovic. What this indicates is that the camps were not run in
19 isolation. They were interconnected and people moved between each
20 other. It also shows that detainees from the camps were moved from
21 different areas of military control, from the area of the Drina Corps
22 to the area of the Eastern Bosnia Corps, from the Krajina Corps to the
23 Eastern Bosnia Corps.
24 Q. Now are these camps still in existence, Mr. Ralston?
25 A. To my knowledge these camps have now been closed.
1 Q. I would like you now to focus your attention on those camps and ask
2 you to describe the general conditions of the camps and what happened
3 to the detainees who were inside them?
4 A. The detainees in the camps, some were tortured, others were killed.
5 Some were beaten during the takeover and held as human shields against
6 possible resistance by armed Muslim groups. Women and men were
7 separated in the camps, as I have testified. In Foca many of the women
8 were being held around the partisan hall in various motels and
9 apartments where they were subjected to rape an sexual assault. Our
10 evidence shows that every evening the younger women and girls were
11 taken out of the partisan sports hall in Foca, in the Foca high
12 school, and were raped or ganged raped in rooms or apartments in
13 neighbouring buildings.
14 Q. You have just described, Mr. Ralston, camps that were in the Foca
15 municipality, is that correct?
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. And that is what happened to the detainees in those camps?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I would like to turn your attention, please, to the camps that were
20 located in the Vlasenica municipality and ask you the same question.
21 Please describe the conditions of those camps and what occurred to the
22 detainees in those camps?
23 A. Yes, in Vlasenica people started to be detained between 2nd and 13th
24 June. The main centre of detention was Susica camp. At Susica
25 detainees were tortured, interrogated and beaten at random. Some died
1 as a result of their beatings. The camp was located at the site of a
2 former Territorial Defence storage centre. It ran from June 1992 to
3 September 1992. There were so-called specialists who came in the camp
4 and participated in the torturing of the detainees. When people
5 arrived at the camp they were beaten, some so severely they died.
6 Food was insufficient and most of the time inedible. As I have said
7 before, the detainees in this camp were later transferred to Batkovic.
8 I am told that in September 1992 when Susica camp closed about 200
9 detainees who remained there were killed.
10 Q. Mr. Ralston, could you please also describe to the Court what the
11 conditions were like in the Prijedor camps?
12 A. Detention of civilians in Prijedor commenced shortly after the
13 various military attacks. Civilians were rounded up the police, the
14 military and the paramilitary forces. Detention facilities were run
15 by the civil authorities staffed by police with some military guards.
16 As I have said before, there were three main detention facilities:
17 Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje. The conditions at the first two were
18 particularly brutal.
19 The Omarska camp opened at the end of May after the first
20 attacks. It is a site of an iron ore mine. The camp was extremely
21 crowded. Detainees were not permitted to move around freely. There
22 was little water and what water there was often contaminated. The
23 detention occurred in the summer. It was often very hot and the
24 cramped the conditions and the heat compounded the human misery.
25 There was no bedding provided for the inmates and there were few
1 sanitary provisions. Those who ventured to use the sanitary
2 provisions were beaten in the course of the attempt. Hygiene
3 deteriorated and lice, diarrhoea and dysentery became prevalent. For
4 the first three or four days in the camp there was little or no food.
5 A small piece of bread and a small amount of a soup-like fluid are
6 described as the main fare. All the detainees in Omarska lost a great
7 deal of weight while at the camp.
8 On arriving at the camp there were they were normally
9 searched, their private possessions taken from them and not returned.
10 They would then have to run the gauntlet of a cordon of guards who
11 beat them with batons, clubs, rifle butts, kicking and punching them.
12 Periodically guards demanded money and other valuable items from the
13 prisoners. If they could not provide them beatings followed swiftly.
14 There were a small number of women incarcerated at Omarska.
15 With the exception of one, they were required to clean the
16 interrogation rooms after inspectors had left for the day. They report
17 that the rooms they were cleaning were often covered in blood and hair
18 and skin which would have to be cleaned from the floor and walls.
19 Weapons such as clubs electric cable, batons and similar instruments
20 were kicked in the rooms. On an almost nightly basis some of these
21 women were called from those rooms by the camp commanders, supervisors
22 or guards, mistreated and sexually assaulted.
23 I am told that the interrogations that were conducted in
24 Omarska would involved somebody asking questions and at various stages
25 through the interrogations other men coming into the room and
1 inflicting brutal beatings on the person being interrogated. There
2 were incidents of special terror which occurred. For example, on the
3 eve the Petrovdan, a Serbian religious holiday in early July, to
4 celebrate this festival the guards built a huge bonfire and engaged
5 in a drinking spree. The detainees were dragged from their rooms, some
6 were thrown alive into the fire, others were beaten severely. The
7 screaming and crying of these victims created sheer terror for those
8 people who were detained but fortunate enough not to be called out.
9 In the latter part of July 1992 a large number of detainees
10 who had been captured in the area of the left bank of the Sana River
11 arrived in Omarska. This area was the last significant pocket of
12 non-Serbs in the Prijedor municipality. After arrival in the camp they
13 were subjected to brutal beatings and many of them were killed. As a
14 result of the investigation carried out in relation to the activities
15 of the guards in the Omarska camp two indictments have been issued by
16 this Tribunal.
17 Q. Mr. Ralston, can you describe the conditions in the Manjaca detention
19 A. Yes. The Manjaca detention camp which was located 25 kilometres
20 south of Banja Luka was run by the military. It was established in
21 the summer of 1991 as a prisoner of war camp for Croatian prisoners of
22 war of the war between Croatia and the FRY. From April to May 1992
23 the camp was used to detain non-Serbian Bosnia-Herzegovina citizens.
24 The camp was allegedly closed on 18th December 1992 when the last
25 prisoners were moved to Batkovic or released to Karlovac in Croatia.
1 The military ran the camp. The commanders were high ranked officers:
2 a Lieutenant Colonel nicknamed Spaga and his successors, Lieutenant
3 Colonel Bozidar Popovic, Lieutenant Colonel Petrovic and Lieutenant
4 Colonel Bojic.
5 Between June and August 1992 at least 3,600 people were
6 detained at Manjaca camp. Almost all the detainees were men aged
7 from their mid-teens to over 60. In December 1992 when the camp was
8 closed approximately 2,500 people were released and 532 moved to other
9 camps. From May to July the prisoners came from Doboj, Gornja Sanica,
10 Sitnica, Stara Gradiska, Kljuc, Sanski Most, amongst others. After
11 Omarska was closed in August 1992 prisoners came from that camp to
12 Manjaca. After Jajce and Kotor Varos fell people were brought from
13 those places to Manjaca.
14 After August 1992 as a result of international media exposure
15 and agreements concerning treatment of prisoners, many detainees were
16 released or exchanged. On several occasions up to 1,000 people were
17 moved to or from Manjaca. To move these large numbers of detainees
18 across regional and municipal boundaries required significant
19 organisation and co-ordination between police and military
20 authorities. Many of the movements of detainees were as a direct
21 result of agreements made by Karadzic and show the extent of command
22 and control he exercised in relation to the detention facilities.
23 Q. Mr. Ralston, I have asked you to prepare selected film clips showing
24 the condition of detainees in Omarska and Trnopolje. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Then if we could, please -- actually before we slow the clip, Mr.
2 Ralston, would you please inform the Court what they will see on the
3 film before it is shown?
4 A. Yes. This film was taken at the beginning of August 1992 shortly
5 after the international community became aware of the existence of the
6 camps. You will see clips taken at Trnopolje and Omarska. The
7 footage taken at Omarska will depict emaciated detainees hungrily
8 attacking food which I have been told was in access of that normally
9 provided to them. You will observe them almost eat the enamel off the
10 plate they are eating from. In contrast you will see an armed and
11 apparently well-fed guard overseeing the detainees while they eat.
12 From that clip we move to a clip of the Trnopolje detention facility.
13 The detainees depicted in this clip had recently been transferred
14 from Omarska and Keraterm.
15 Q. Now if we could show, please, film clip No. 3 Exhibit No. 29. Can we
16 dim the lights as well. Thank you.
17 (Exhibit 29 clip No. 3 was shown).
18 Your Honour, I notice it is a little past 5.30. I have one
19 more question to ask Mr. Ralston and then I will conclude my
20 examination for the day.
21 Mr. Ralston, did Dr. Karadzic ever comment about the images
22 that have been shown on these films?
23 A. Yes. Dr. Karadzic has repeatedly been asked about these camps. An
24 example of his response to such questions was published in the
25 Independent Magazine in London. Karadzic said: "When they started
1 talking about the concentration camps I happened to be in London. I
2 told them, 'I don't know what the condition are like in those camps.
3 We do keep prisoners. We do not kill them. We must keep them. It is
4 war. So, Penny Marshall, an ITN journalist, came to Ormaska and
5 picked out a few very skinny guys who will never look better. When I
6 was 30 I too looked like them. She presented that to the world."
7 MR. HARMON: We have no additional evidence for the day, your Honour. We
8 have concluded our presentation.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: All right. Thank you very much, Mr. Ralston. Thank
10 you Prosecutor. So we will stand in recess this Friday evening. We
11 will resume Monday at 10 o'clock.
12 (The court adjourned until Monday, 1st July 1996)