Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 657

1 Thursday, 15 January 2004

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.

5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Could you call the case for hearing,

6 please.

7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-01-42-T, the Prosecutor versus

8 Pavle Strugar.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.

10 MS. SOMERS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your

11 Honours. I would just like to take a preliminary introduction moment to

12 let the Court know to my left, Ms. Lamb, my colleague, will be leading the

13 evidence this morning, and to my right, Ms. Andrea Matacic, a research

14 officer and lawyer, will also be present this session. The first witness

15 for the Prosecution this morning, is Ms. Ljerka Alajbeg.

16 JUDGE PARKER: It was Ms. Martin, was it?

17 MS. LAMB: Ms. Lamb.

18 JUDGE PARKER: Lamb. I beg your pardon, yes.

19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your leave, I

20 would like to address you for a moment.

21 Your Honour, may I say a few words?

22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, indeed, Mr. Petrovic.

23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before

24 today's witness enters the courtroom, I would like to raise an issue which

25 seems important to me, in view of the contents of the testimony of this

Page 658

1 witness. From the statement we received, relating to Ljerka Alajbeg, we

2 will see that this witness will testify about two main points. The first

3 of these is when, in the witness's opinion, Croatia acquired the epithets

4 of an independent state and became a subject of international law; and the

5 second issue which arises from this is the question of the existence or

6 non-existence of an international armed conflict, which is of importance

7 for the application of appropriate instruments, on the basis of which our

8 client has been charged.

9 What concerns me, and what I would like to hear your standpoint on

10 is the following: This witness will testify about two legal issues.

11 These two legal issues are contained in the appropriate counts of the

12 indictment, and they are something that in our view is a legal question to

13 be resolved by the Tribunal. In our jurisdiction, legal issues are solved

14 by the Court. It is the Court that can decide whether an entity is an

15 independent state, and as of which date, and whether there is an

16 international armed conflict. If the Court requires assistance in

17 clarifying either of these two issues, the parties to the proceedings, in

18 our jurisdiction, have to bring in an expert who is able to give the Court

19 information important for reaching this decision.

20 Therefore, the expert can clarify certain points for the Court,

21 and this expert has to have the required knowledge and information and has

22 to be independent. The expert will give opinions in accordance with the

23 rules of the profession and of scholarship.

24 In this situation, we have a witness appearing here as a witness

25 and not an expert, and this witness will testify about two legal issues

Page 659

1 and will give her own interpretation of these two legal issues. This

2 witness cannot be considered to be independent. The principle that I have

3 set out is something that is not peculiar to my own jurisdiction. Before

4 this Tribunal, issues such as the existence or non-existence of an

5 international armed conflict, the date of recognition of a certain entity

6 as a subject of international law, these are points on which opinions have

7 been given by experts in these areas.

8 Let me just remind you of the Prosecutor versus Dokmanovic. In

9 that case, both sides brought in experts who clarified the issue of the

10 existence or non-existence of an international armed conflict. The same

11 time period covered here was relevant and was discussed.

12 Before this witness enters the courtroom and gives her testimony,

13 the Defence raises an objection to this approach and to what is expected

14 to be presented as information before this Bench, because the information

15 we are expecting is supposed to be information that should be independent.

16 It should be the result of something that is the result of professional

17 knowledge and appropriate information. The witness who will be brought

18 before you will testify about the circumstances of an international

19 conflict and the independence of the state, and we believe that this

20 witness is not independent, that this witness has an interest in this

21 matter.

22 Thank you, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic, for raising two

24 interesting questions.

25 Ms. Somers.

Page 660

1 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. First and foremost,

2 Mrs. Alajbeg is a fact witness who was involved in the process, and she

3 will indicate to the Chamber what was done by the Croatian -- by the

4 Republic of Croatia at the time and its reasoning. We understand fully

5 that the legal issue of international armed conflict or not is a matter

6 that is within the sound discretion or finding to be made by the Chamber.

7 There is no attempt to interfere with the triers of fact. The Chamber is

8 entitled to have the information as to what happened at the time, and I'm

9 sure the Chamber recognises that there may always technically be mixed

10 fact/expert witnesses. But this is a person who is indeed a player at the

11 time of the event and will provide evidence to this Chamber of what

12 happened, what the reasoning was, what the events were which triggered.

13 Should the Chamber seek any further expert, dispassionate,

14 disinterested opinion, the Prosecution is always happy to commission said.

15 It is in our view, through a fact witness who, at the time, can explain

16 the hows, whys, whens, and put in context the various events, documents,

17 conferences, that are relevant for the Chamber's knowledge on this issue.

18 It is with this purpose that she is brought, and we believe she is the

19 best person to present these facts to the Chamber.

20 There is ample precedent in this institution for persons who have

21 sat at the time in positions or have played roles in shaping the events

22 that are the crux of the background to the conflict. I bring to the

23 Chamber's attention Mr. Stjepan Kljuc who was the Bosnian Croat member of

24 the presidency, who gave evidence in the Kordic case, President Stipe

25 Mesic, president of Croatia, who has given evidence in the Milosevic case.

Page 661

1 It is not an unusual or unexceptional phenomenon to bring those persons

2 before the Chamber who are best placed to give the information needed.

3 The Defence's position is without merit, and I might add, done

4 beyond the 11th hour, but there is no merit to the position and we believe

5 that this will be helpful to the Chamber. And again, should any

6 additional evidence or type of proof be sought, upon the Chamber's

7 direction we would be very happy to bring in an expert.

8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Somers.

9 Mr. Petrovic.

10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll be very brief.

11 This witness is not a fact witness. Why? This witness did not

12 participate in any of the events that the documents mention. At the time

13 of significance and relevant to the indictment, this witness was not in

14 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. She only

15 joined the ministry in December 1991, which is a time after the time

16 covered in the indictment. So that this witness is in no way directly

17 connected to these events. This witness was not present when any of these

18 documents were drawn up and was not present at any of the meetings that

19 are mentioned here. So this is something that is completely outside the

20 experience of this witness. And this is the reason for our objection to

21 what we expect this witness to testify about before you today.

22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. And I thank both counsel

23 for the clarity of their submissions.

24 [Trial Chamber confers]

25 JUDGE PARKER: It should first be clear that the issues whether,

Page 662












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13 English transcripts.













Page 663

1 and if so, when, Croatia became an independent legal state, and whether,

2 at the time relevant to the indictment, there was an international

3 conflict, are questions of law, as Mr. Petrovic submits, which will be

4 determined as matters of law by the Trial Chamber at the appropriate stage

5 of the hearing.

6 When each of those matters might have occurred, and whether they

7 occurred, are questions that, while of, in the end, of a character which

8 is one of law, each must be determined in light of the factual

9 circumstances that led to those matters occurring, if it is the case that

10 they occurred. The facts which will help the Tribunal to assess whether

11 or not either of those matters has been established are matters that will

12 come from witnesses as to facts and from various documents that were

13 contemporaneous at the time, if those documents exist. They are matters

14 which may properly be the subject of evidence led before this Chamber,

15 with a view then to the Chamber assessing whether, in light of that

16 factual evidence, there is established the critical legal issues.

17 It is our view, Mr. Petrovic, whilst appreciating the importance

18 and the very appropriateness of your submission, that we should hear the

19 evidence of this witness, but please be assured that we well respect the

20 concern that you have that the witness is speaking only as a witness of

21 fact. The witness will not be speaking as an expert witness, so that the

22 evidence given by the witness will be regarded by the Chamber merely as

23 evidence of fact, and whether or not it helps the Prosecution in the

24 establishment of those two critical issues are matters which we will have

25 to weigh at the end of the day.

Page 664

1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

2 JUDGE PARKER: If the witness could be called.

3 [The witness entered court]

4 JUDGE PARKER: If the witness could take the affirmation. Good

5 morning.

6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.


8 [Witness answered through interpreter].

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

11 JUDGE PARKER: Please be seated.

12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.

13 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Lamb.

14 Examined by Ms. Lamb:

15 Q. Good morning, Your Honours.

16 Witness, are you now seated comfortably and can you hear me?

17 A. Yes, I can.

18 Q. Could you please state your name, your nationality, and date of

19 birth for the record.

20 A. My name is Ljerka Alajbeg. I was born on the 9th of April, 1946,

21 in Zagreb. I am a Croat by nationality.

22 Q. What is your current occupation?

23 A. At present I'm the ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, to the

24 Kingdom of Belgium, and to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

25 Q. For how long have you held this position?

Page 665

1 A. Two years now.

2 Q. What did you do before that?

3 A. Before that, I worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the

4 Republic of Croatia. I am still an employee of the ministry. From 1991

5 up until the present.

6 Q. And what was your function or title as an employee of the Croatian

7 foreign ministry?

8 A. From 1991, I worked in the international legal affairs office,

9 first as a legal advisor, then as the chief, and then as the chief legal

10 advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the meantime, I was the

11 ministerial advisor in our embassy in Ottawa.

12 Q. As chief legal advisor of the international law section, what was

13 some of your responsibilities?

14 A. There were very few of us in the ministry at the time. In 1991,

15 there were only 50 employees there, and we had to do everything. The

16 ministry was being set up at the time, and I worked on various

17 international law affairs, ranging from giving my opinion, advice, to work

18 on international treaties, and I worked on this very closely. I was very

19 closely involved. We also had multilateral affairs, contacts with various

20 international organisation. We also dealt in protocol. We did all kinds

21 of work, because there were very few of us with some kind of experience.

22 I was one of those who had some experience in the former Ministry of

23 Foreign Affairs in Yugoslavia and at that time we helped introduce others

24 to the job. So all my work was in the field of international law and

25 international contacts.

Page 666

1 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, encompassed within the scope of those

2 responsibilities, were you frequently called upon to advise on matters of

3 treaty law application and to advise on issues of recognition pertaining

4 to states? A yes or no answer would be sufficient.

5 A. Yes. Yes, certainly. The international law service always gave

6 its opinion on every international treaty.

7 Q. Thank you. Ms. Alajbeg, you commenced your foreign service

8 career, however, as an employee of the Yugoslav federal Ministry of

9 Foreign Affairs; is that correct?

10 A. Speaking of my legal career, this began in the INA Naftaplin

11 company, which was the largest company for petroleum and gas in Croatia

12 and in the Yugoslavia of the time.

13 Q. At what point did you first join the foreign service?

14 A. In 1979, first on contract, when I was preparing to become a

15 consul in Pittsburgh, in the USA, and then an advisor in the Yugoslav

16 cultural centre. And on my return, I was given a permanent job, and as of

17 that time I worked on international law affairs. This was my own wish,

18 because of my legal background.

19 Q. To clarify, Ms. Alajbeg: At that point, this was with the federal

20 Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade; is that correct?

21 A. Yes, correct.

22 Q. So to perhaps summarise this, Ms. Alajbeg, if I am correct, you

23 have almost 30 years of foreign ministry experience on matters of

24 international law; yes or no?

25 A. Not quite 30. I have 35 years of experience all together, and I

Page 667

1 would say I have 25 years of experience in international law matters.

2 Although you know that diplomats are also sent abroad, and I had several

3 appointments abroad at that time when I was not involved in international

4 law affairs, but I was frequently consulted. So I kept in touch with this

5 area throughout this time.

6 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, I'm going to turn now to your whereabouts, where you

7 were located professionally during 1991. Did you remain in Belgrade

8 throughout 1991?

9 A. Not all the time, because at the end of that year, I returned to

10 Croatia, because I was received into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of

11 the Republic of Croatia. Before that, I put myself at the disposal of the

12 Croatian government, because the Croatian government had called upon all

13 those who originated from Croatia and were employed in the then federal

14 administrative organs, and this included us who were in the Ministry of

15 Foreign Affairs. I responded to that invitation and put myself at their

16 disposal. There were a number of circumstances on which the time when we

17 would be transferred depended. These were both objective and subjective

18 circumstances. Some people had their own personal problems which they had

19 to solve, and also objectively, the Republic of Croatia was looking for

20 civil servants, and this is how we came to be transferred from the federal

21 ministries to the Croatian ministries.

22 In 1991, I spent most of the year in Belgrade physically, although

23 my transfer began in the summer, when I put myself at the disposal of the

24 Croatian government, until the end of the year, because there were still

25 matters that I had to attend to, so I was actually in both places at once.

Page 668

1 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, in order to provide you with some form of road map,

2 this morning I will be leading your testimony around four separate factual

3 questions. Firstly, we will examine the process of the dissolution of the

4 SFRY and the emergence of the independent state of Croatia. I will then

5 move to the recognition of Croatia by other states. I will next proceed

6 to the degree of effectiveness of Croatian state organs. And finally, I

7 will be examining documents which speak to the effective date of Croatian

8 succession which have emerged subsequent to these events.

9 Before commencing, however, I would request that all documents

10 contained in Prosecution Exhibit -- in our Prosecution Exhibit binder, be

11 entered into evidence, and assigned an exhibit number.

12 JUDGE PARKER: I take it, Ms. Lamb, these are the black binders

13 that are before the members of the Chamber; is that correct?

14 MS. LAMB: That is correct, Your Honour. And in the course of

15 this examination, I would propose to refer to each of these documents by

16 the tab numbers that appear before you also.

17 JUDGE PARKER: It's apparent from the nature of it that it may be

18 convenient to treat the binder as one exhibit.

19 MS. LAMB: I would be much obliged, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE PARKER: And there are then internal tab numbers that will

21 serve to separately identify each document within the one exhibit. We

22 should look forward to the possibility, just born out of cautious

23 experience, that you in fact may not prove or may not use one or more of

24 the particular documents. Could I suggest that at the end of the evidence

25 of the witness, if there is one or if there are more than one document

Page 669

1 that has not been specifically dealt with, that they might then be removed

2 from the bundle, so that they are left only with documents that have been

3 properly dealt with.

4 MS. LAMB: I would be happy to advise on that, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE PARKER: On that basis, and subject to that possibility, the

6 black binder of exhibit documents will be received as an exhibit.

7 MS. LAMB: In that case, Mrs. Alajbeg --

8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number P20.


10 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, on this basis, I will then go firstly to the events

11 of the 1991, and I would ask you to turn to the document contained in tab

12 1 of our Prosecution binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, I would ask you to look at

13 this document, which bears the date 23 April 1991, and tell the Court

14 whether or not you recognise it.

15 A. If we're talking about the conclusions on political circumstances

16 in the Republic of Croatia, yes, this is the document which can be found

17 in the Official Gazette, the Official Gazette of Republic of Croatia,

18 issue number 19, dated 23rd April 1991, yes.

19 Q. Could you now then, within that document, kindly turn to the

20 document numbered within it, bearing paragraph number 589, and bearing the

21 date 17th of April, 1991. And as you've mentioned, this is entitled

22 "conclusions of the Croatian assembly." I would refer you in particular

23 to paragraph 6 and 7 of these conclusions. They will be appearing on the

24 screen in front of you. That would assist you as well.

25 Briefly, what conclusions are contained in paragraph 7 of this

Page 670

1 document concerning the legitimacy of the SFRY presidency?

2 A. This document, I have to give you a brief introduction. This

3 document speaks of the state of affairs in the former state, the SFRY.

4 The Republic of Croatia has reacted -- had reacted to those political

5 state of affairs. This document is no exception. In item 7, it is

6 established that the presidency of the SFRY was formed in an

7 unconstitutional manner in terms of the representation of the Republic of

8 Serbia and the autonomous regions in that state body, and the question of

9 legitimacy is therefore rightfully raised. And the assembly of the

10 Republic of Croatia asked that the constitutional court of Yugoslavia

11 immediately issue a decision on that matter. So this is one of the

12 reactions to the unconstitutional composition of the presidency of the

13 then-Yugoslavia, because not everybody was represented in an adequate way.

14 Q. And in paragraph 6, Mrs. Alajbeg, what conclusions are drawn, what

15 statement is made as to the preferred future constitutional relationship

16 between the Republic of Croatia and the then-SFRY?

17 A. In paragraph 6, it says that the assembly of the Republic of

18 Croatia considers it crucial to accelerate the process of disassociation

19 from the present SFRY and the possible membership of the Republic of

20 Croatia in a confederation of sovereign states and express its readiness

21 to cooperate on an interparliamentary level in that process.

22 Q. As a senior federal foreign ministry official, what overall

23 observations did you make during this period concerning the functioning of

24 the federal presidency? Can you give examples of how it appeared to

25 function in this period? I'm not at this point referring to a particular

Page 671

1 place in any document.

2 A. I must react to this "senior" official in the federal organs. At

3 that time, I was just an official, an expert. I was not a political

4 figure. I was not appointed as such. So I cannot give you any crucial

5 political statements. However, as an expert who worked in the Ministry of

6 Foreign Affairs, I obviously noticed the non-functioning thereof. Later

7 on, we would see that the Croatian representative in the then-presidency

8 of the SFRY was prevented from taking over his constitutional duty of

9 president. It was obvious that the organs were not functioning properly,

10 that there were -- that there was no constitutional order in place, and

11 that we were facing a new situation in the then-state which would then end

12 up in the dissolution of the state.

13 The climate, the atmosphere in the federal bodies reflected that

14 and the foreign ministry was no exception to that. As time went on, it

15 became more and more obvious. Everybody was turned towards their own

16 republic, and the joint organs stopped functioning already after that

17 summer. Certain representatives of certain republics started abandoning

18 federal bodies. I remember a group of our colleagues from Slovenia

19 walking out and going back home. We from Croatia did it on an individual

20 basis, and finally it turned out that even those colleagues who did not

21 return did not have any work to do in this particular federal organ.

22 There were also some other problems that we heard of. We were

23 informed about the conclusions reached at various sessions of the

24 then-federal bodies. There was a lot of discord, and this all reflected

25 on our work in our body.

Page 672

1 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm now going to turn to events within Croatia

2 itself in this period, and I would ask that you turn to tab 2 of the

3 Prosecution Exhibit binder. And I refer at this point to the document

4 dated the 2nd of May, 1991. I would ask you whether you recognise this

5 document.

6 A. Yes. This is a decision on calling a referendum, also published

7 in the Official Gazette, issue 21. The date is 2nd May 1991.

8 Q. Thank you. Within this document, could I please refer you to the

9 document numbered 646. What is the title of this document and what

10 subject matter does it refer to?

11 A. Yes. This is decision to call a referendum. This was passed by

12 the president of the Republic of Croatia. And this deals with the

13 referendum which would raise two issues, two specific issues, that

14 mentioned here.

15 Q. Very briefly, what was this referendum to decide?

16 A. In a nutshell, the referendum was supposed to answer the following

17 questions. That is, the citizens of the Republic of Croatia were supposed

18 to answer the following questions. The first one: Are you in favour of

19 the Republic of Croatia remaining in Yugoslavia as a state or not?

20 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, can you turn you now to tab 3 of our

21 binder. Can you mention -- tell the Court whether you recognise this

22 document, and if so, what do you recognise it as?

23 A. Again, this is issue 24 of the Official Gazette, published on 27

24 May 1991.

25 Q. Thank you.

Page 673

1 A. That is the document.

2 Q. And the document contained therein, numbered 708, what is this

3 document?

4 A. This is a decision, a decision passed by the president of the

5 Republic of Croatia after the referendum, which was held on 25th April

6 1991. The decision was passed on the 23rd of May, 1991.

7 Q. And briefly --

8 A. And in this decision, it says that -- what the results of the

9 referendum are.

10 Q. And what were the results of this referendum?

11 A. The result was that the Republic of Croatia would not remain in

12 Yugoslavia as a unified state, but that it would become an independent

13 state which would be entitled to forming alliances with other independent

14 states, independent republics.

15 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, can you now turn to the document at tab

16 4 of the Prosecution binder. Do you recognise this document, and if so,

17 what do you recognise it as?

18 A. Official Gazette, issue number 31, dated 25 June 1991.

19 Q. Document number 872 within this Gazette is what?

20 A. This is the constitutional decision on the sovereignty and

21 independence of the Republic of Croatia. The decision was passed by the

22 parliament of the Republic of Croatia at its session held on 25th June

23 1991.

24 Q. What is this constitutional decision colloquially referred to as?

25 A. Pursuant to this constitutional decision, the parliament of the

Page 674

1 Republic of Croatia promulgated a Republic of Croatia as a sovereign and

2 independent state.

3 Q. Is this document frequently referred to, Mrs. Alajbeg, as

4 the -- to as the Croatian declaration of independence?

5 A. Yes. A corresponding declaration was also published in the same

6 issue, so these two documents combined are considered the Croatian

7 declaration of independence. Pursuant to this same decision, Croatia

8 started a process of dissolution from other republics of the former

9 Yugoslavia, and it also started the process aimed at international

10 recognition.

11 Q. What did you observe about the character of the relationship

12 between the Croatian Republic and the republics of Yugoslavia and

13 Montenegro around this time?

14 A. The character of the relationship. It is a generally known fact

15 that an aggression had been launched against the Republic of Croatia, and

16 that this aggression started in 1991. All these documents are the result

17 of the situation in which Croatia had already been invaded by foreign

18 troops, troops that had come from other republics. I cannot talk about

19 all the republics, of course. It goes without saying which republics

20 those were.

21 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, are you aware of the response by the European

22 communities to this observed increase in tensions between the various

23 republics at this time?

24 A. Of course. The international community realised that something

25 was going on. They tried to preserve the former Yugoslavia in all sorts

Page 675

1 of ways. However, things had stopped functioning. Later on, it turned

2 out that one of the ways by which to preserve Yugoslavia was the proposal

3 by the international community for this decision, which is almost

4 identical to the one that was passed on the same day in the parliament of

5 Slovenia, for Slovenia. So the republics of Croatia and the Republic of

6 Slovenia were working in sync, because they were attacked at the same time

7 and they wanted both to gain their independence at the same time.

8 The international community wanted the effect of both these

9 decisions to be postponed by three months in order to preserve the former

10 Yugoslavia. And this was done, and this was stipulated by a document, the

11 so-called Brioni Declaration.

12 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, let us turn to that Brioni Declaration right now.

13 It is found at tab 5 in the Prosecution binder. Could you summarise

14 briefly who were the main participants within this so-called Brioni

15 Declaration? I apologise. Perhaps firstly you could identify this

16 document, which commences on the page bearing the ERN number 00570261.

17 Does the text which you see in front of you on this page, is this the

18 Brioni Declaration, to which you have just referred?

19 A. Just a moment, please. Yes, this is dated 7 July 1991, and the

20 title is "joint declaration."

21 Q. Who were the participants within that process, as identified

22 within the preambular provisions of that declaration?

23 A. In the preamble of this declaration, it says that the

24 participants -- the document is in English, so I will read it in English.

25 The European Ministerial Troika [In English] With representatives of all

Page 676

1 parties directly concerned by the Yugoslav crisis.

2 Q. Thank you. What impact did this declaration have upon the timing

3 of the Croatian declaration of independence? What was -- in essence, what

4 was agreed at Brioni with regard to the timing of the announcement of the

5 Croatian declaration of independence?

6 A. [Interpretation] Basically, the effects thereof were suspended.

7 Also, this served to introduce some measures and procedures which would

8 help to resolve some discords. And the cessation of initial hostilities

9 is also mentioned. Also, this serves to deal with some other practical

10 issues and introduces the European Monitoring Mission.

11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what was the impact of the cumulative measures set

12 up at Brioni? That is, did it appear to have the desired effect on the

13 ground? Did it appear to bring about a rapprochement between the parties?

14 A. The goal was to stop hostilities and for the army to withdraw and

15 maybe to achieve some sort of agreement that would lead to the

16 establishment of some sort of a union. At the beginning, Croatia was in

17 favour of establishing a confederation that would comprise the former

18 republics.

19 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I apologise. The -- my question was in fact: What

20 did you observe about the quality of the relationship in the aftermath of

21 Brioni? Did you observe -- it is clear that the Brioni Declaration sought

22 this result, but did it in fact achieve it? Did you observe any lessening

23 in the tension between the parties?

24 A. You're correct. On the contrary; tensions continued to grow.

25 Q. Thank you.

Page 677

1 A. And immediately after that, we had a full-blown war.

2 Q. Let us now turn to the relationship that existed between the

3 belligerents within this armed conflict to which you have just

4 described -- just referred. I refer you at this juncture to the document

5 contained at tab number 6. In particular, I would refer you therein to

6 the document bearing the date 8th of October, 1991, and the ERN number

7 01074963.

8 A. 6. Okay.

9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, do you recognise that document, and if so, what do

10 you recognise it to be?

11 A. If I have the right document in front of me, then this is --

12 Q. I apologise.

13 A. I'm sorry. There is also a Croatian version, so I think I will

14 rather read it in Croatian.

15 Q. Yes. I'd be much obliged, Mrs. Alajbeg. And I apologise. The

16 correct page number is in fact 01074958.

17 A. Thank you very much. This is an initiative of the Assembly of the

18 Republic of Montenegro, dated 8 October 1991.

19 Q. Thank you. In the light of the Croatian Declaration of

20 Independence to which we have just referred, what does paragraph 1 of this

21 initiative acknowledge about the border between the two republics?

22 A. In paragraph 1, the Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro, taking

23 into consideration the decision of the Republic of Croatia to become a

24 sovereign and independent state -- so this is clear what the Republic of

25 Croatia wants. The assembly finds this decision to change the status of

Page 678

1 the border between the Republic of Montenegro and the Republic of Croatia.

2 In this document, further on, it says that the state border

3 remains, the land border remains what it is because this was in accordance

4 with all the documents that were in effect within Yugoslavia, and it is

5 emphasised that the land border should become a state border. And as for

6 coast waters, which had been shared and where there had been no

7 international border, this border had to be determined.

8 Q. So if I understand you correctly, Mrs. Alajbeg, the border had

9 issues of contention to be determined, but it was nevertheless

10 acknowledged that in due course it would become an international border.

11 Would that be the gist of your testimony?

12 A. Yes. There was no dispute about any of the borders. It was

13 confirmed that a land border, pursuant to the international law, would

14 become a state border, whereas the border on the sea, which had never been

15 determined between the former republics, had to be determined. So this

16 document calls for the determination of this sea borders between the two

17 newly formed states.

18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, were armed hostilities ongoing between the Republic

19 of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro around this state?

20 A. The problem is that aggression on Croatia was also waged from the

21 territory of Montenegro, not necessarily by Montenegrin bodies. But it is

22 well known that the JNA also acted from the territory of Montenegro.

23 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I would now ask you to turn to the document

24 contained at tab number 7. Do you recognise this document, and if so,

25 what as?

Page 679

1 A. Just a moment, please. This is a document published in the

2 Official Gazette, number 53, of the 8th of October, 1991. It's called a

3 decision, and the decision is also dated 8th of October, 1991. And it

4 pertains to breaking the relations of public law between the

5 then-republics, or rather, with the former state of SFRY.

6 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, to clarify: The document to which you have just

7 referred, does it bear the number 1265? Just for the purposes of the

8 record.

9 A. Yes. Yes.

10 Q. Thank you. I would turn now to the document contained at tab 8.

11 Do you recognise this document, and if so, what do you recognise it to be?

12 A. Number 8, the Official Gazette, number 66, of the 9th of December,

13 1991.

14 Q. Could you refer therein to the document numbered 1681.

15 A. Yes. This is a conclusion.

16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... What --

17 A. This is a conclusion of the parliament of the Republic of Croatia,

18 of the 8th of October, stating that on the 8th of October, Stjepan Mesic's

19 function, as member and president of the Presidency of the former

20 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia shall be terminated as of 8th

21 October 1991.

22 Q. Briefly, who is Stjepan Mesic and what position did he hold at

23 this time?

24 A. Stjepan Mesic was then a member of the Presidency of the SFRY, and

25 he was the president of the Presidency. After the Brioni Declaration, he

Page 680

1 was --

2 Q. Thank you. What date does this decision bear?

3 A. The conclusion bears the date 5th of December, 1991.

4 Q. Nevertheless, when -- at what date does this declaration purport

5 to take effect?

6 A. This is not stated in the conclusion itself, although it was

7 published.

8 Q. Perhaps if I could --

9 A. It was promulgated in the Official Gazette of the 9th of December,

10 but I think that it came into effect on the date it was made, it was

11 issued.

12 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg --

13 A. Or rather --

14 Q. -- Rephrase my question. Within this document itself, from what

15 point --

16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic -- could I ask you to wait, please, a

18 moment.

19 Yes, Mr. Petrovic.

20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object. The witness

21 answered the question very clearly. The witness stated that this

22 conclusion came into effect on the date it was issued. I don't see why my

23 learned friend continues to insist and why she is about to put the same

24 question again, after receiving a reply. Of course, the witness can

25 clarify, but the question was put and the answer was given.

Page 681

1 MS. LAMB: Perhaps I could --

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may --

3 JUDGE PARKER: If you would wait a moment please, Ms. Lamb.

4 You're quite right, Mr. Petrovic. We've noted the question and we've

5 noted the answer. I believe Ms. Lamb is now to rephrase and put another

6 question, but that doesn't overcome the fact that there has already been

7 an answer given, and we've noted that. Thank you.

8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Ms. Lamb.

10 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.

11 JUDGE PARKER: And could I mention that I've noticed a couple of

12 times you have moved on to another question whilst the interpretation is

13 still continuing to the witness. It requires a little bit of patience

14 until the interpretation is finished before you move to your next

15 question. We applaud your desire to get on quickly, but I think it would

16 only confuse the witness to try and listen to two people at once.

17 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm much obliged.

18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you kindly read the first sentence which

19 immediately follows the word "conclusion" within this document.

20 A. I have to go back to this conclusion. I think that it is so clear

21 in itself, it speaks for itself. Because the conclusion pertains to the

22 date when the function of Stjepan Mesic is terminated. The conclusion

23 itself states that this date is the 8th of October. I only said that the

24 conclusion was made on the 5th of December, but its effect is as of the

25 8th of October, because that is the date when all public law connections

Page 682

1 were broken. So whatever anyone did on behalf of the Republic of Croatia

2 after that date would have no effect. We cannot speculate about when his

3 function ceased, because the conclusion says it was on the 8th of October.

4 There may have been a misunderstanding, because the conclusion was issued

5 on the 5th of December but the effective date is 8th of October.

6 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. May we now proceed to the documents

7 contained at tab 9 within the Prosecution binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, do you

8 recognise these documents, and if so, what are they collectively referred

9 to as?

10 A. Yes, I do recognise them. This is a set of opinions of the

11 arbitration commission, popularly referred to as the Badinter Commission.

12 Q. Can you describe briefly what the Badinter Commission was?

13 A. The Badinter Commission was a body of the then-European Community,

14 which tried to solve the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and established a

15 conference on Yugoslavia, and within the scope of this conference, the

16 Arbitration Committee was set up to give answers to the legal issues and

17 the issues of contention between the sides.

18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you kindly read the paragraph of the

19 Badinter Commission's opinion number 1 of 29 November 1991, which is

20 contained at the page bearing the ERN number 01171655. I apologise.

21 That's 1656. In particular, I refer you now to paragraph 2A. Can you

22 simply read out the conclusions contained in the first clause of this

23 paragraph.

24 A. The text is in English, so I will read it out in English. [In

25 English] "The Arbitration Committee notes that although the SFRY has until

Page 683

1 now retained its international personality, notably inside international

2 organisations, the Republics have expressed their desire for

3 independence."

4 Q. Thank you. Can you now turn to the following page, at paragraph

5 3. And again, could you read out the first conclusion of the arbitration

6 committee.

7 A. Number 3. In paragraph 3, the first conclusion is [In English]

8 "Arbitration Committee is of the opinion that the Socialist Federal

9 Republic of Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution."

10 Q. I would like to refer you to the conclusions of a later opinion of

11 the same commission, opinion number 8, which is dated the 4th of July,

12 1993. It is found further on in the same -- tab of documents, at ERN

13 number 00359855.

14 A. Please excuse me. Could you tell me again the number of the

15 opinion?

16 Q. Yes. It's opinion number 8, and the specific page to which I

17 would like you to refer is the page bearing ERN number 00359855. In

18 particular, I would refer you to paragraph --

19 A. Yes, I've found it.

20 Q. -- paragraph 4, the final paragraph of that opinion, and ask you

21 to read that out, please.

22 A. Paragraph 4. [In English] "The Arbitration Commission is

23 therefore of the opinion that the process of dissolution of the SFRY

24 referred to in Opinion 1 of 29th of November, 1991, is now complete, and

25 that the SFRY no longer exists."

Page 684

1 Q. Thank you. And finally, can I refer you to the last of the

2 Badinter Commissions, number 11, which was rendered on the 16th of July,

3 1993, and which you will find as the last -- which you will -- which is

4 the last document under tab 9. And I refer you in particular to the third

5 and final page of that opinion, bearing ERN number 00359858.

6 A. Yes.

7 Q. When does the Arbitration Commission therein determine the

8 effective date of Croatian independence to have been?

9 A. In paragraph 10 [In English] "... takes the view that the dates

10 upon which the states stemming from the SFRY succeeded the SFRY, 8th

11 October 1991, in the case of Republic of Croatia and the Republic of

12 Slovenia.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, just to give you an indication

14 of where we are in this testimony, we have now concluded the first section

15 that I referred to at the outset, and I am now going to consider the

16 recognition of Croatia by other states during this period. I would refer

17 you at this point to the document contained at tab 10 of the Prosecution

18 binder.

19 Mrs. Alajbeg, do you recognise this document, and if so, could you

20 briefly describe it.

21 A. This document is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and

22 it's found on our website. It gives the dates of recognition and the

23 dates of establishing diplomatic relations with other countries in

24 alphabetical order.

25 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could I now refer you to the documents contained at

Page 685

1 tab 11. The various documents at tab 11, Mrs. Alajbeg, can you describe

2 briefly, in general terms, what they are?

3 A. These documents in tab 11 are documents on the recognition of the

4 Republic of Croatia, not all of them, of course, just some examples of

5 such documents, from which it is evident how Croatia came to be recognised

6 in the international community. These are relatively early documents of

7 recognition.

8 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, from a survey both of these individual statements of

9 recognition to which you have referred and the list showing the overall

10 pattern with regard to recognition, could you comment briefly, could you

11 briefly describe to the Court, the dates upon which the earliest

12 recognitions of the state of Croatia occurred, just approximately.

13 A. The first recognitions of the Republic of Croatia began on the

14 date of its declaration of independence, that is, on the 25th of June,

15 when Croatia and Slovenia recognised each other. Then we have the 30th of

16 July, when we see that Latvia recognised Croatia. Then we have

17 recognition by other Baltic states, up until December. I'm trying to find

18 the document now. This is the Lithuanian one, but I know that we have

19 documents from other Baltic states in the same year. Then we have

20 recognition by Ukraine. I know that the Vatican recognised Croatia on the

21 12th of December, 1991. And finally, on the 13th of January, then we

22 have -- just a moment, because there are also translations here. We have

23 Latvia, on the 14th of December, 1991; Estonia, on the 13th of January,

24 1992; San Marino, on the 14th of January. These are all countries that

25 recognised Croatia before the European Community as a whole recognised

Page 686

1 Croatia. We have the Ukraine, on the 11th of December; Iceland, before

2 that date. I'm trying to find Iceland. It was certainly before the 15th

3 of January, 1992, when all the countries of the European Community, as it

4 was then, recognised Croatia.

5 These are just some examples of recognition.

6 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. Could I ask you to clarify for the

7 record the date on which Latvia recognised the state of Croatia.

8 A. The 14th of December, 1991.

9 Q. And what about Lithuania?

10 A. Just let me find it. The 30th of July, 1991.

11 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, from your survey of the totality of the

12 recognition statements in front of you and the list in front of you, when

13 would you say that momentum with regard to Croatian recognition started to

14 build, and when would it be fair to say that most states recognised the

15 state of Croatia?

16 A. With respect to Europe and a good part of other countries in the

17 world, the process started on the 15th of January, 1992, when all the

18 countries of the European Community recognised Croatia. There were

19 instances of recognition both before and after that date, but the general

20 recognition is viewed as having taken place when Croatia joined the

21 United Nations, and this happened in April 1992.

22 Q. Thank you. Did your duties as head of the international law

23 section of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs include advising your

24 foreign minister on whether or not to accord recognition to particular

25 states? This question isn't asked in reference to any document at this

Page 687

1 point. Perhaps if I may clarify my question.

2 In general terms, did your duties as a legal advisor to the

3 foreign ministry extend to giving advice on issues of recognition?

4 A. All the documents on recognition arrived in our department,

5 because we had a collection of international treaties and intersection

6 documents. Not only this, but every document, for the purpose of

7 responding to it, passed through our department. As for the acts of

8 recognition themselves, each act of recognition at that time was extremely

9 welcome. So we didn't have to give advice on whether to accept this or

10 not, because we accepted all these documents and recognition. But as for

11 other states, we were happy to recognise them if they met all the

12 requirements for their own sovereignty. But of course it was more others

13 who recognised us than we them, because we were a newly created state.

14 Q. Let's follow on from this, Mrs. Alajbeg. In providing advice on

15 according recognition to others, even acknowledging that you were

16 infrequently called upon to do so, what types of advice would you seek to

17 provide in such a situation to your foreign minister? What would you aim

18 to avoid in giving such advice, or to ensure in giving such advice?

19 A. We endeavoured, with respect to our legal infrastructure, to solve

20 issues as quickly as possible. One such issue was establishing diplomatic

21 relations, because Croatia wanted to become an international legal

22 personality as soon as possible and enter into diplomatic relations with

23 others. So that we would immediately establish diplomatic relations after

24 recognition, in order to raise our relations to a higher level, and this

25 would include an act of recognition.

Page 688

1 Q. In according recognition to a state or advising that such

2 recognition ought to be given, would such advice be given casually or

3 lightly?

4 A. If a country met the requirements, we advised that that state be

5 recognised. That's how we accorded recognition to other states that arose

6 on the territory of other composite states, on the territory of

7 Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, for example. But we did not

8 accord recognition to the Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Turkish

9 Republic of Northern Cyprus, which did recognise Croatia.

10 Q. Why not?

11 A. Because that state did not meet the requirement for international

12 legal recognition, and it is not an international legal entity today.

13 Q. What particular requirements did this entity not meet, in the view

14 of your government?

15 A. I just want to go back and establish that according to

16 international legal theory, the prevailing theory, the act of recognition

17 is not a constituent but a declaratory act. A state is -- what I want to

18 say is that recognition is a factual and not a legal act. This is the

19 prevailing theory today. Therefore, if a state meets the fundamental

20 requirements, that is, it has its own territory, its population, and its

21 organised government, and it desires to function as an international legal

22 entity, then that state is an international legal entity. Recognition

23 only confirms this.

24 JUDGE PARKER: I wonder, Ms. Lamb, whether that's a convenient

25 moment.

Page 689

1 MS. LAMB: It would indeed be a convenient moment to break.

2 JUDGE PARKER: You've had an hour and a half there, Ms. Alajbeg,

3 and I think it would be convenient for us now to have a morning break.

4 The break will be for 20 minutes.

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

6 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.


8 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.

9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, before the break, we had more or less concluded our

10 consideration of issues of recognition. There is, however, just one

11 matter I would like to canvass before we head on to the next point and

12 that is the issue of national minorities within Croatia. Is Croatia

13 entirely ethnically and nationally homogeneous? And I'm not at this point

14 referring to any document.

15 A. Croatia has over 90 per cent of its populations who are Croats.

16 However, there are other ethnic groups in Croatia. Most of the minorities

17 in Croatia are Serbs. There are also Italians, Hungarians, Czechs,

18 Slovaks. There are Albanians, and other ethnic groups.

19 Q. We have already canvassed the EU response to the break-up of the

20 former Yugoslavia generally. I would like now to turn to the position

21 taken by the Badinter Commission on the particular question of national

22 minorities. And in this regard, could you please refer to the fifth

23 opinion of the Badinter Commission, which is contained at tab 9 of the

24 document binder, at ERN number 02989714. It is opinion number 5, which is

25 the third document within that bundle. And I would refer you in

Page 690

1 particular to the second page of that document, at paragraph 3. Could you

2 perhaps indicate when you have found that paragraph.

3 A. Yes, I've found it.

4 Q. Within paragraph 3, what conclusions does the Arbitration

5 Commission draw about the adequacy of the protections accorded to national

6 minorities by Croatia?

7 A. This opinion refers to the request by the Republic of Croatia for

8 recognition. The opinion describes what Croatia has done with this

9 regard. However, the last paragraph states that: [In English] "The

10 constitutional act of 4 December 1991 does not fully incorporate all the

11 provisions of the draft Convention of the 4th November 1991, notably,

12 those contained in Chapter II, Article 2(c), under the heading special

13 status." [Interpretation] Item 2 of that same paragraph says the

14 following: [In English] "The authorities of the Republic of Croatia should

15 therefore supplement the Constitutional Act in such a way as to satisfy

16 those provisions."

17 Q. So it would therefore seem, Mrs. Alajbeg, that the Arbitration

18 Commission was not entirely satisfied with all details on this matter at

19 this point. But can you nevertheless proceed to the third subclause of

20 this paragraph and their conclusions with regard to the necessary

21 conditions for recognition.

22 A. "Subject to this reservation, the Republic of Croatia meets the

23 necessary conditions for its recognition by the Member States of the

24 European Community in accordance with the Declaration on Yugoslavia and

25 the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in

Page 691

1 the Soviet Union, adopted by the Council of the European Communities on 16

2 December 1991."

3 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to now leave the

4 Badinter Commission findings, and I'm going to refer you back to your time

5 as the chief international lawyer for the Croatian foreign ministry.

6 During this period, did you ever advise your foreign minister to

7 withhold recognition from a state purely because of unresolved domestic

8 minority rights issues that may have existed within that country?

9 A. [Interpretation] No.

10 Q. Thank you. In a similar vein, did you ever advise your foreign

11 minister to withhold recognition from a state purely because its borders

12 may have been contested or because it was suffering from high levels of

13 internal strife?

14 A. The answer is no as well.

15 Q. Thank you. Now, that concludes this portion of my direct

16 examination pertaining to recognition practice. I'm now going to turn to

17 the third element that I wish to examine, and that, in general, refers to

18 the effectiveness of Croatian state organs within this period.

19 I would ask at this point that you refer to the documents

20 contained, the official documents which are contained at tab 12 of the

21 binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, you will see that there are many -- that this tab

22 is extremely lengthy, and there are many instruments contained therein.

23 But in general terms, what are these documents?

24 A. I believe that this is a series of documents passed by the

25 parliament of the Republic of Croatia or some other organs, and these

Page 692

1 documents constitute a number of laws and by-laws and decisions which are

2 all necessary for the proper functioning of a state.

3 Q. And are all of these documents contained in the Official Gazette

4 of the Republic of Croatia?

5 A. Yes. For the most part, although it is not mandatory for all the

6 by-laws to be published in the Official Gazette.

7 Q. Okay. I will refer to each of these instruments in turn now.

8 Could you now go, please, to the first page of this document bundle,

9 dated -- which is the Croatian Official Gazette dated 4th of November,

10 1991, bearing the ERN number 00894321.

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. In particular, I would refer you to the index that you see on that

13 page, and could you tell me the subject areas to which the following

14 document numbers refer: 1552, 1557, and 1558. Could you please take each

15 one by one.

16 A. The first one is the decree on ranks, assignment of ranks,

17 promotion into a higher rank, and uniforms of members of the armed forces

18 of the Republic of Croatia. This is not a law; this is a by-law,

19 actually, it's a decree, which deals with the issues of ranks and rank

20 accorded to the members of the armed forces.

21 Q. And the next document, document number 1557, to what does that

22 refer?

23 A. This is a very interesting document. This is the ratification of

24 the agreement on payment transactions between the Republic of Croatia and

25 the Republic of Slovenia. So this is an international agreement which was

Page 693

1 signed by the two internationally recognised subjects, which had

2 recognised each other as well. And the government ratifies this agreement

3 on payment and transactions, and this agreement then becomes an

4 international agreement.

5 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, before we look at document 1557 in more detail, can

6 you merely read the title of the following document, document 1558.

7 A. Yes. This is the book of rules on military booklet, or military

8 ID.

9 Q. Thank you. Let us now return to the document that you previously

10 mentioned, namely, number 1557. Now, the text of that instrument is

11 contained at ERN number 00894332, and I would ask that you proceed to that

12 page now.

13 A. Yes, I've found it.

14 Q. Again, could you refer -- could you tell us today what generally

15 this instrument is.

16 A. This is an agreement on payment transactions between two states:

17 The Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia. This international

18 agreement was published in both languages, in Slovenian and in Croatian,

19 and the government hereby ratifies this international agreement. This

20 agreement regulates the terms of payment between the two republics; the

21 currency is mentioned here, as well as the ways the whole payment

22 transaction should be carried out between the two states. The document

23 clearly shows that both states act as independent international subjects

24 and enter an international agreement to deal with that part of their

25 mutual relations.

Page 694

1 The wording follows the rules of the wording of an international

2 agreement. It contains all of the necessary clauses which define such an

3 international legal enactment.

4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what date -- at what date did this international

5 agreement come into effect? And if possible, at what date was it

6 negotiated, if that is clear from the text?

7 A. Just a moment, please. Article 7 of this agreement says that this

8 agreement shall come into effect on the day when both parties inform each

9 other that the procedure had been carried out in keeping with the national

10 legislation of each of the republics. This is the wording used in

11 international agreements. And it will come into effect on the 8th of

12 October, 1991, which is the date when both states, according to the

13 Badinter's Commission, became international subjects. And as of that

14 date, they became legal subjects. The date is the date of succession.

15 Q. This instrument itself, in its concluding paragraph, contains what

16 date?

17 A. In Zagreb and in Ljubljana, on the 29th of October. However, it

18 became effective as of the 8th of October.

19 Q. Thank you very much. I would now like to proceed through this

20 same exhibit bundle to the second document. I'm referring at this point

21 to the Croatian Official Gazette of the 4th of December, 1991, the index

22 to which is found at the page bearing the ERN number 00328714.

23 A. The following document -- just a moment, please. 714, yes.

24 Q. Have you found the page to which I refer?

25 A. I have.

Page 695

1 Q. Could you please briefly describe the type and the subject matter

2 of the documents bearing the following numbers: 1663 -- I will allow you

3 to speak to that title first.

4 A. This is the decision on the proclamation of the constitutional law

5 on human rights and freedoms and on the rights of ethnic and national

6 communities or minorities in the Republic of Croatia.

7 Q. Now, document number 1665?

8 A. 1665 is the decision on the establishment of a foreign office of

9 the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa, Canada.

10 Q. 1669?

11 A. This is a decree on promoting officers into active officers.

12 Q. That would be within the Croatian army?

13 A. [In English] Within Croatian army, yes. [Interpretation] Yes.

14 Q. And finally, document number 1770.

15 A. 1770 -- I apologise. Are you referring to the same Official

16 Gazette here? 1670, I believe.

17 Q. I apologise. You are correct. 1670.

18 A. This is a decree on assigning ranks and promoting officers into

19 higher ranks.

20 Q. Again, within the Croatian army?

21 A. Of course.

22 Q. Finally, I would like to proceed to the third and the final

23 document within this bundle. I am referring here to the Croatian Official

24 Gazette of the 8th of October, 1991, whose first page, the index page,

25 bears the ERN number 00894265.

Page 696

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you please describe the types of instruments

3 which are listed down the left-hand column of this index, and what

4 remarks, if any, would you make about the significance of their subject

5 matter?

6 A. On the 8th of October, 1991, when the important decision was

7 passed on dissolving relations between the republics, the parliament of

8 Croatia passed a number of decrees, by-laws, laws, decisions, as well as a

9 number of laws on adopting formal federal laws in their parts. This was

10 done in order for the Republic of Croatia to regulate its legal

11 infrastructure and for it to be able to function normally. Because as of

12 that date, all the formerly existing legal ties with the former state

13 stopped existing.

14 Regardless of the fact that Croatia, throughout 1991, from the

15 time when the constitution was passed in 1990, throughout 1991, the

16 legislative activity was very busy. There was a very busy time around the

17 date of the declaration of independence in June 1991. However, the whole

18 procedure had to be completed before the 8th of October. On that date,

19 Croatia became an international legal subject and had all the functions

20 like any other state.

21 For that reason, in this Official Gazette - and I believe that

22 several issues were published on the same date - you'll find a number of

23 legal acts, laws and by-laws which regulated different spheres of life.

24 Q. Could you elaborate on what some of these difference spheres are?

25 A. For example, I can read some titles.

Page 697

1 Q. That would be very helpful. Thank you.

2 A. For example, there is a decision on ratifying the decree on the

3 recognition of the Republic of Estonia. This is just one example. So

4 Estonia and Lithuania, which were recognised at the same time, and there

5 is the law on Croatian citizenship, the law on residence and temporary

6 residence of citizens; the law on travel documents held by Croatian

7 citizens; the law on personal identity card; the law on foreign affairs;

8 the law on entering and implementing international agreements; then the

9 law on public accountancy system; the law on customs; the law on market

10 inspection --

11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg --

12 A. -- and similar laws.

13 Q. Thank you very much. Within the list you have just provided, I

14 would like now to refer your attention particularly to two of these

15 instruments, numbered 1276 and 1277. Before we begin, can you reiterate

16 what is the subject matter of these two documents.

17 A. These two documents deal with foreign affairs and entering in and

18 implementing international agreements and contracts.

19 Q. Now, what involvement did you personally have within the

20 preparation of these two instruments?

21 A. My role was to draft these documents. Since I was among the rare

22 persons who had worked in the former federal foreign ministry. We

23 prepared these drafts, since none of us had any other experience, by

24 compromising between the former federal law on foreign affairs and the law

25 on entering in and implementing international agreements, and the

Page 698

1 constitution that was then in effect. Every law had to be in accordance

2 with the constitution. So we had to adjust the law to the constitution,

3 because the role of the former parliament in the former state differed

4 from the role of the parliament in Croatia, because president had some of

5 the roles that the parliament had in the former state.

6 Q. You have just mentioned, and indeed you have previously mentioned

7 also, that the Croatian assembly during this period frequently

8 incorporated certain laws of the SFRY within Croatia. As somebody who was

9 closely involved in this process, can you explain why this approach was so

10 frequently taken?

11 A. I would say that that was a procedure that made part of internal

12 succession. The whole legislative infrastructure that existed in the

13 former SFRY, irrespective of whether this was a federal legislation or a

14 republican legislation, dealt with a number of issues in great detail, so

15 we did not have any reason not to adopt some of those solutions which

16 conformed with our system. We wanted to make things as simple as possible

17 when dealing with this problem. That is why the Croatian parliament

18 incorporated in their entirety or most of the legal text as their own

19 laws, until the moment entirely new regulations were to be passed. This

20 bought us some time when it came to dealing with Croatian legislation.

21 The same thing applied to the international sphere. Based on the

22 succession, we adopted international agreements that had been entered into

23 by the former state. The foundation for that was a decision passed on the

24 8th of October, as well as the declaration which was passed on the 25th of

25 June, 1991. Both of these documents said that Republic of Croatia would

Page 699

1 continue to honour all of its international obligations that arose from

2 the international agreements entered into by the former state if those

3 obligations applied to the Republic of Croatia and if they were not

4 contrary to the constitution and the legal system of the Republic of

5 Croatia.

6 In that way, we could adopt most of the former agreements, and

7 there were about 3.000 of them. We incorporated those into our system.

8 When it came to bilateral agreements, we entered into those with

9 particular states, and those were agreements on the succession of

10 particular former agreements.

11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I apologise for interrupting. The -- we will indeed

12 return to the issue of succession to treaty obligations at a later point.

13 I wonder, however, at this juncture, if I could return to domestic

14 Croatian legal instruments for one moment longer.

15 Many of the instruments which have been admitted today seem to be

16 decrees, or else quite sparse in their content. Again, on the basis of

17 your involvement in the process at the time, could you elaborate as to why

18 much of the early Croatian legislation often took this form? That is, why

19 was there --

20 A. Are you referring to decrees?

21 Q. Yes. Both decrees and also very brief pieces of legislation which

22 appears to be scant elaboration. Are there any reasons for why this may

23 have been the case?

24 A. Like in every other state, under extraordinary circumstances,

25 decrees were passed with legal effect. Those decrees would later on be

Page 700

1 ratified by the parliament. The situation at the time was not normal, and

2 the parliament sometimes could not sit physically.

3 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, you've perhaps quite euphemistically referred to the

4 circumstances of the time being not normal. In fact, the armed conflict

5 was still ongoing in this period; is this correct?

6 A. Yes. These extraordinary circumstances don't necessarily have to

7 be an armed conflict. However, in Croatia, the situation was

8 extraordinary. I wouldn't agree with you that there were so many decrees;

9 the legislative activity was carried out in a normal way. If you look at

10 all these documents, there are more proper legal documents. And as for

11 the decrees which would then be ratified, I believe that there were fewer

12 of those than the proper legal texts.

13 Q. Thank you very much. I would refer you now to tab number 13 of

14 our binder. Again, we see there are many instruments within this binder,

15 but I would be obliged if you could comment, in general terms, on what

16 these instruments are and where in particular they are published.

17 A. This is document 265. I apologise. We are looking at two

18 different binders.

19 Q. I'm referring at this point to tab number 13. Could you confirm,

20 these are official documents published where?

21 A. They were published in the Official Gazette, number 4, on the 2nd

22 of February, 1991.

23 Q. That is indeed the first of the documents to which I will refer

24 you now, and this document -- in particular, within this document, I will

25 refer to that containing the number 86. What is the subject matter of

Page 701

1 this document?

2 A. This is the law on general defence, the expunged version, which

3 shows that there was the original version and some amendments, and that

4 the expunged version was actually published in the Official Gazette. And

5 the document's title is "The law on general defence."

6 Q. Now, this document -- was this document a federal document or a

7 republican law or a federal law, and what date does it bear?

8 A. This is a republican law. This is not a federal defence law.

9 This is the republican defence law. At that time, the republics as well

10 had their respective defence laws, because they had some authorities

11 within the scope of defence, particularly in the field of Territorial

12 Defence.

13 Q. I would now like you, Mrs. Alajbeg, to move to the second document

14 within this bundle, which is published in the Croatian Official Gazette,

15 bearing the ERN number 00894235. It is some way through the documents

16 under this bundle, approximately one half to two-thirds of the way though

17 the totality of the documents.

18 A. This new issue -- different issue of the Official Gazette? I'm

19 looking at the issue number.

20 Q. The version I am looking for -- yes, in particular, number 49.

21 Can you indicate when you have found the first page of that document. If

22 it would assist, I can reread the ERN number and question. Are you now at

23 ERN number --

24 A. 4235. What is the ERN number, please? 4235. This is the law on

25 defence, which was published in the Official Gazette issue number 49,

Page 702

1 dated 20 September 1991.

2 Q. Thank you. And within that document, within that gazette, can I

3 refer you to document number 1230. What is the title of that document?

4 Again, it commences on the first page.

5 A. Yes. Decree promulgating the law on defence. And the law itself

6 is called the law on defence.

7 Q. And when did this law come into effect?

8 A. I have to see, because evidently the decree was dated the 28th of

9 June, 1991. The law was published on the 20th of September, 1991, but we

10 have to see the final provisions in order to see when the law took effect.

11 This law shall come into effect on the date of its publication in the

12 Official Gazette. If the date of publication is the 20th of September,

13 1991, then that is the date when this law took effect.

14 Q. What is the difference between this law and the law on defence, to

15 which we have previously referred?

16 A. The law we spoke about before was passed in the '80s, and then the

17 revised version was published in February 1991. The difference between

18 these two laws is that now Croatia has its own law on defence and is no

19 longer applying the federal law on defence. The former law was the

20 republican law, which was an addendum to the federal law and applied only

21 to the territory of the Republic of Croatia and dealt with the authorities

22 of the local communities in the area of defence, whereas the new law has

23 provisions covering all areas, the rights and duties of all citizens of

24 the Republic of Croatia, the administrative bodies, the defence of the

25 territorial integrity, and the constitutional order of the Republic of

Page 703

1 Croatia. It deals with the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia,

2 compulsory military service, and other issues of significance for the

3 defence system. So this is an independent law of the Republic of Croatia.

4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to now refer you to the final instrument

5 within this bundle, and that is toward the end of these documents and

6 bears the first page number 00894295. I refer -- can you kindly confirm

7 for the record the type and nature of the document that you are now

8 looking at.

9 A. In the Official Gazette number 53A of the 8th of October, 1991, if

10 this is the document in question --

11 Q. And within the index --

12 A. -- the number 1350 is the law on amendments to the law of defence.

13 This is the law on defence that we mentioned before, and now it is being

14 amended, because this is the law on amendments to the law on defence. The

15 legislative activity in the field of defence was very active, as we can

16 see.

17 Q. Thank you very much. I'm now going to refer you to tab number 14

18 within the document binder. Again for the record, can you describe the

19 first page of the document before you, ERN number 00894260.

20 A. Yes. On page 1 again, we have a list of laws and by-laws. The

21 Official Gazette is dated the 3rd of October, 1991, and this is issue

22 number 52. For example, under number 1244, we have an example of the

23 taking over of certain laws from the field of defence, former federal laws

24 which are now applied in the Republic of Croatia as republican

25 regulations.

Page 704

1 Q. And what about document 1247?

2 A. This is a decree on the taking over of assets of the JNA and the

3 SSNO, which was the federal secretariat for National Defence, on the

4 territory of the Republic of Croatia, which were owned by the Republic of

5 Croatia. So there was a decree that these assets would be taken over and

6 would become the ownership of the Republic of Croatia.

7 Q. The process that you have just referred to in these two documents,

8 is this common to the process you have described in relation to many of

9 the other instruments that have been admitted as legislative instruments

10 of Croatia?

11 A. You mean other areas of activity?

12 Q. Not really their subject matter; the process that you describe of

13 laws being adopted and taking over, does this -- is this another example

14 similar to the ones you gave previously on this matter?

15 A. Correct, yes.

16 Q. Thank you. I will now turn you to tab number 15. Could you state

17 what type of document it is and its date, please.

18 A. Again, it's an Official Gazette, number 73, of the 31st of

19 December, 1991.

20 Q. Thank you. I'm going to stay with the first index page of this

21 Official Gazette and refer you in particular to the titles of a number of

22 documents. These document numbers are 1864 through to 1878. Can you

23 comment on what the Croatian assembly sought to achieve via these decrees?

24 A. The first two documents are conclusions, and the next series of

25 documents are decisions on the recognition of the former Soviet republics

Page 705

1 as independent states.

2 Q. On what date did Croatia recognise these states?

3 A. Evidently, this was published in the Official Gazette. We will

4 just look at the date now. The dates are the 28th of December. This was

5 the recognition at the session of the parliament on the 28th of December,

6 1991 --

7 Q. Thank you.

8 A. -- for all the former Soviet republics.

9 Q. Thank you. Now, finally on this issue, Mrs. Alajbeg, would you

10 say that all of the legislative instruments we have been discussing this

11 morning, and the other official documents that we have referred, would

12 these represent all of those produced by the Croatian state organs during

13 late 1991?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. There would be, in your view, no other legislative instruments

16 passed during this period?

17 A. There was a whole series of legal instruments that were passed by

18 various ministries and bodies of government administration, but these were

19 not necessarily published in the Official Gazette. They would be

20 published in the gazettes of these bodies. So the activity was far

21 greater. These were various technical regulations, by-laws, and so on and

22 so forth. All this was part of enormous legislative activity taking place

23 in Croatia at the time.

24 Q. So if I understand your testimony correctly, the documents that we

25 have mentioned today in fact are simply a small sample of the totality of

Page 706

1 instruments that one could find if one looked; would that be correct?

2 A. Yes, correct.

3 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what similarities, if any, could you observe between

4 the state structures that were in place at this time in Croatia and those

5 of the present-day Republic of Croatia, in terms of both their structure

6 and function, if that would assist?

7 A. There is continuity. We still have the constitution of 1990, and

8 many of these laws that we have just mentioned. Therefore, we are

9 functioning or have been functioning as a state since then.

10 Q. Thank you. And overall, Mrs. Alajbeg, what observations did you

11 make regarding the efficacy of the Croatian state organs during this

12 period? How comprehensive was its legislative activity around this time?

13 A. In spite of understaffing at all levels, Croatia simply had to

14 consolidate, and there was an enormous amount of activity. As a civil

15 servant in one of these bodies, all I can say is there were no office

16 hours. We worked under all kinds of circumstances. When Zagreb was

17 bombed, the parliament had its session in the INA company in the

18 basement. They sat there in the basement for days on end, passing laws.

19 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, that concludes, actually, the

20 third portion of my examination-in-chief on this issue.

21 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, if it would be convenient, this would be

22 an ideal time for a break. I'm equally happy to move on to the next

23 point, if required.

24 JUDGE PARKER: I think it preferable that you continue. Our

25 timing is directed not only to our personal convenience, but the needs of

Page 707

1 those who are assisting us outside the courtroom, and it would be better

2 if we continued for a little time.

3 MS. LAMB: Very well, Your Honour.

4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, we've referred to, in great detail, many documents

5 that were produced more or less contemporaneously with the conflict in

6 Croatia. I'm now going to be moving to the final category of issues to be

7 addressed here, and these are instead documents which were produced

8 subsequent to the conflict, and other forms of practice which is

9 noticeable only at a later date.

10 I would ask you at this point to return to binder number 9 -

11 sorry - to tab number 9, the Badinter Commission findings to which we have

12 referred earlier. Would you please indicate when you have found Opinion

13 number 11 of the Badinter Commission, bearing ERN number 00359856.

14 A. Yes, I have found the document.

15 Q. I would refer you in particular to its final paragraph, found on

16 ERN number -- page number 00359858.

17 A. This is Opinion number 11; is that right?

18 Q. That is correct. Again, I'm referring you in particular to

19 paragraph 10. Could you kindly indicate when you have found this

20 paragraph.

21 A. Yes, I've found it.

22 Q. And could you simply recap for the Court the date upon which the

23 Badinter Commission found Croatia to have seceded from the SFRY.

24 A. The date of succession was the date from which Croatia is

25 definitely considered an independent legal entity in the international

Page 708

1 community, the date on which it took over all its rights and obligations,

2 as confirmed by a series of documents in the international community. I

3 would especially like to mention depositories of the secretary-general of

4 the UN. I think there are examples here in the material of various

5 countries recognising that the 8th of October is the date in question.

6 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, we will indeed get to those documents in just a

7 couple of moments. But before we leave paragraph 10 of the Badinter

8 Commission, could you simply indicate the date upon which the Badinter

9 Commission made its ultimate conclusions on the basis of all evidence

10 before it. The date is found on the bottom of Opinion number 11.

11 A. The date is the 16th of July, 1993. That is the date of this

12 opinion.

13 Q. Thank you.

14 A. However --

15 Q. Thank you very much. At this point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I will ask you

16 to move to binder -- tab number 16 within the binder. Are you now at that

17 place in the binder?

18 A. Yes, I have.

19 Q. I refer you to the document numbered on this particular document

20 as number 196. But I wonder if you can identify that document, and if so,

21 describe to the Court what it is.

22 A. Document number 196 contains the General Assembly resolution

23 number 46/238, on admission of Croatia to United Nations membership.

24 Q. And this resolution --

25 A. [In English] Adopted at the 86th plenary meeting, 22nd May, 1992.

Page 709

1 Q. Thank you very much. I would now at this point request the ushers

2 to hand the text which I have here to both the witness, the Bench, and our

3 learned friends.

4 I am referring you now to Article 4 of the United Nations Charter.

5 According to Article 4(1) of this text, to whom is membership of the

6 United Nations open?

7 A. [Interpretation] According to Article 4, paragraph 1, the

8 following can become a member of the United Nations. I will read it out

9 in English. [In English] "The membership in the United Nations is open to

10 all other peace-loving states which accepts the obligations contained in

11 the present charter and, in the judgement of the organisation, are able

12 and willing to carry out these obligations."

13 Q. Thank you. Now, Article 4(1) refers to all other states,

14 presumably because Article 4(2) refers to the initial membership of the

15 United Nations. Very briefly, who comprised the initial -- that initial

16 membership? States of -- the original signatory states of this treaty?

17 A. [Interpretation] All other states, of course, which means any

18 future member, any future state. So these are peace-loving states who

19 accept the obligations mentioned in the charter. Of course, the decision

20 of the organisation is necessary, and this decision was made at a session

21 of the General Assembly.

22 Q. At that point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I would like to perhaps interrupt,

23 because the decision that would have been made in the General Assembly on

24 the 22nd of May, 1992 would have been made on what basis, pursuant to what

25 conclusion of the totality of the membership of the United Nations? This

Page 710

1 doesn't refer to the text of the document.

2 A. Of course, the decision was made on the basis of a request by the

3 Republic of Croatia. Every state has to apply, and Croatia did that. And

4 along with the application, a letter was forwarded from the president of

5 the republic, in which he explains the reasons why Croatia wishes to

6 become a member of the UN and why it should become a member of the UN.

7 The formal application is a conventional text in which Croatia agrees to

8 accept the principles of the charter.

9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, this resolution would nevertheless suggest that

10 Croatia was not -- doesn't suggest, it states that Croatia was not

11 normally admitted as a member until the 22nd of May, 1992. Would it

12 follow from this that Croatia therefore did not meet all requirements of

13 statehood immediately prior to that date?

14 A. Certainly not. Not every state has to be a member of the

15 United Nations. A state may not wish to be a member, or there may be

16 reasons for the UN not to accept such a state. We know very well that

17 such states do exist. We have also established that joining a certain

18 organisation, or the recognition of a state, is not the constituent act

19 for the creation of that state. Therefore, Croatia simply confirmed its

20 desire to participate actively in the international community, and by

21 receiving Croatia, the international community recognised that Croatia was

22 a peace-loving country and that it wished to communicate with Croatia in

23 all the ways provided for in the documents of that organisation.

24 Q. If I understand you correctly, then, while you are saying that

25 admittance of Croatia to membership on this date, although that would

Page 711

1 suggest that the UN membership was satisfied as to Croatian statehood, it

2 is likely that Croatia had satisfied the necessary preconditions for

3 membership at some date prior. Would that be an accurate summary of your

4 testimony?

5 A. We consider that we met these requirements, that is, Croatia

6 considers that it met these requirements when it constituted itself as a

7 state. That is, if not before, then definitely on the 25th of June, when

8 it declared its independence, in 1991. Croatia is considered to be a

9 state since that date, and it has acted as a state since then. The delay

10 of three months until the 8th of October was agreed on, and because there

11 was no improvement of the situation on the territory of the former

12 Yugoslavia, Croatia, on the 8th of October, completely broke all state and

13 legal relations. So we used this date, the 8th of October, in our

14 official documents, although we can consider that the 25th of June is a

15 very important act in the creation of Croatian statehood.

16 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. I would like at this point to move to

17 another issue, and that concerns membership of other international

18 organisations. Around the end of 1991, did Croatia seek membership of

19 international organisations other than the United Nations?

20 A. Yes. After the 8th of October, the government was charged by the

21 parliament to apply to various international organisations in order for

22 Croatia to join these organisations. This was not only an act of

23 recognition of Croatia; it was also a necessity for Croatia, because we

24 had to communicate with a number of organisations, with a view to

25 regulating life, starting from various technical organisations relating to

Page 712

1 traffic, trade, the protection of individual rights, the rights of

2 individuals and various associations. So the activities began.

3 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. I am at this point going to refer you

4 right back, I'm afraid, to tab number 8 of the Prosecution Exhibit binder.

5 Can you confirm for the record the type of document this is and its date

6 and provenance, please.

7 A. Official Gazette number 66, 9th December 1991.

8 Q. Thank you. I'm going to refer you in particular on the index of

9 this gazette to documents number 1678 through to 1680. Can you briefly

10 describe the titles of these documents.

11 A. The title of document 1678 is "Decision on applying to join the

12 Council of Europe," and this is actually misstated as the European council

13 in the Croatian version.

14 Q. So if I understand you correctly, this indicates that Croatia

15 sought admission to these bodies as of the 9th of December, 1991.

16 A. This is an instruction issued by the parliament, which tasked the

17 government on submitting a request.

18 Q. The international organisations to which these instruments refer,

19 are they examples of some of the organisations which Croatia sought

20 membership of during this period? Were there others? I perhaps should

21 rewind a little. Firstly, are these organisations those which Croatia

22 sought membership to in this period?

23 A. These are examples. These are the organisations that were

24 important to Croatia at the time, the Council of Europe, the United

25 Nations, the Central European Initiative. But not all the applications

Page 713

1 made by Croatia were published in the Official Gazettes. We didn't wait

2 for the parliament to tell us to do this. We asked to join certain

3 organisations pursuant to decisions made by the government. At the time,

4 there was a lot of correspondence, a lot of contacts with various

5 international organisations.

6 For example, I remember personally contacting the International

7 Standardisation Organisation, because we had to have car registration

8 plates, we had to have the country abbreviation for these. We also

9 contacted some organisations in connection with maritime activities. So

10 there was a large number of organisations. I remember applying to the

11 International Organisation for the Protection of Intellectual Copyright,

12 and we joined that organisation on the 8th of October, 1991, and became a

13 party to their basic documents.

14 Q. Thank you very much. At this juncture, Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to

15 turn to the very final area that I will canvass and this refers to the

16 technical area of state succession to treaties.

17 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Ms. Lamb, that is a distinct topic. We've

18 now reached a time where it would be convenient for us to have a break

19 before launching into that. It will be a 20-minute break.

20 --- Recess taken at 12.08 p.m.

21 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.

22 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Lamb.

23 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.

24 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, just prior to when we broke for a coffee break, you

25 testified, and the transcript reference in question is on page 55, at

Page 714

1 lines 23 to 24. You were speaking at this point, and I would like to

2 return to your testimony just to clarify one small matter. With regard --

3 you were speaking at this point with regards to organisations that Croatia

4 deemed important to join, and you said at that point, and I quote: "But

5 not all the applications made by Croatia were published in the Official

6 Gazette. We didn't wait for the parliament to tell us to do this. We

7 asked to join certain organisations pursuant to decisions made by the

8 government."

9 In this passage, you seem to distinguish between the words

10 "government" and "parliament," and indeed in Croatian, I understand that

11 the word for parliament is "sabor," while are government is "vlada". Can

12 you explain very briefly for us what both these terms mean.

13 A. Government is actually the cabinet, or the minister and the

14 Prime Minister, and Sabor is our parliament. And that is the difference.

15 However, when people talk about government, very often we refer to

16 government per se, and what we mean is the main state structure. Very

17 often, we refer to the president, to the Sabor, and the government. So

18 when we say our government thinks this or that, then we take into account

19 all the factors, which is not really very precise. However, in our case,

20 the decision on these things, for example, when something -- when an

21 organisation was very important, then it was the parliament to urge us to

22 do as soon as possible. We did it routinely for all international

23 organisations.

24 I don't have a document in front of me; however, I remember that

25 there were some instructions that told us to approach all the

Page 715

1 international organisations. It was a general decision that Croatia

2 should, as soon as possible, become a member of all international

3 organisations, to become an international subject as soon as possible, in

4 all the possible ways.

5 Q. Thank you very much. At this point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I will return

6 to the final matter prefaced before the break, that being the matter of

7 state succession to treaties. You testified previously that in the course

8 of your career as a foreign ministry lawyer, you were once the head of the

9 international treaty section of the federal ministry; is that correct?

10 A. I apologise. I can't hear the interpreters very well. Can this

11 be adjusted, the volume? It is much better now. I believe that I

12 understood your question. Yes, I was in Germany from the beginning of

13 1991 to the moment I joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I

14 was the head of department for international treaties within the

15 department for international legal affairs. In this department, I worked

16 as an advisor. Now it's too loud. I'm sorry.

17 Q. Thank you very much.

18 A. I apologise. I believe it's too loud now. It's better now.

19 Thank you.

20 In that department, I worked even before I went abroad for my term

21 of office there, so I'm familiar with --

22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Would you say that you are, therefore, familiar

23 with the legal regime governing treaties and the contemporary treaty

24 practice of states, contemporary practice of states with regard to

25 treaties in particular?

Page 716

1 A. Yes. Yes, absolutely.

2 Q. Thank you. I will then refer you directly to tab number 18 within

3 my -- within the Prosecution binder. There are two documents contained in

4 this tab. Could you briefly tell the Court whether you recognise these

5 instruments, and if so, what do you recognise them to be?

6 A. Just a moment. I believe that this may be in a different binder.

7 Q. I apologise, Mrs. Alajbeg. I withdraw this question. I meant to

8 refer you instead to tab number 17, not tab number 18.

9 A. [In English] 17, yes.

10 Q. Now, at tab number 17, there are numerous documents, but how

11 collectively could these documents -- firstly, do you recognise what these

12 documents are, and if so, what do you recognise them to be?

13 A. [Interpretation] Yes, I recognise these documents. These are

14 depository notifications, number 1, number 2. Yes, these are depository

15 notifications with regard to the succession of international treaties.

16 Q. Thank you. And the individual -- the treaties to which these

17 instruments refer are far too numerous to require listing before the Court

18 today, but can you nevertheless describe the date upon which each of these

19 instruments indicate as being the effective date of Croatian succession to

20 these instruments?

21 A. In a number of the depository notifications by the

22 Secretary-General of the United Nations, he being the depository of the

23 international treaties passed within the United Nations, one sentence is

24 in common. [In English] "As of 8 October 1991, the date on which Croatia

25 assumed responsibility for its international relations."

Page 717

1 Q. Thank you. And on what basis is that date indicated to be the

2 effective date of succession?

3 A. Again, I am not receiving the interpretation, I'm afraid.

4 Q. Can you hear me now?

5 A. I'm afraid I'm not receiving the interpretation loud and clear.

6 Yes, now I can hear it. I didn't hear it before. It is a bit too loud,

7 but I am receiving it now.

8 Q. Having identified the 8th of October, 1991 as the date upon which

9 the depository notifications declare these treaties to have been binding

10 upon Croatia, I wonder if you can elaborate just slightly further and

11 explain why this date was chosen as the effective date of succession.

12 What is the basis for this date being selected, according to the text of

13 any one of those instruments?

14 A. The basis was obviously the widely accepted position by the

15 international community that Croatia became an international subject and

16 assumed its rights and responsibilities as such, as of the 8th October

17 1991 --

18 Q. Thank you very much.

19 A. -- which was confirmed later on by Badinter's Commission.

20 Q. Thank you very much. I refer now to the final tab within the

21 binder, namely, number 19. This tab contains two documents. Do you

22 recognise these documents, and if so, what do you recognise them as being?

23 A. I believe that this is document 717, 29891277. This is

24 another -- this is a series of international treaties which are known as

25 Geneva Conventions, and in more specifically, this is our request.

Page 718

1 However, behind that, there is also a depository notification. Croatia

2 proposes to become party to Geneva instruments, the four conventions and

3 the two protocols, as of a certain date, the day which has been

4 established, and that is the date of succession. And the depository is

5 the Swiss government, which in the following documents accepts that

6 proposal. I can read this specific sentence. [In English] Republic of

7 Croatia became a party to the conventions and the protocols as of the date

8 of its independence on 8th October 1991."

9 Q. Thank you. To be crystal clear for the sake of the record, let

10 the record note that the witness has indicated that the date of effective

11 Croatian succession to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, in accordance

12 with the depository notification contained in binder 18 is 8th of October,

13 1991.

14 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, that concludes my examination-in-chief.

15 I have two further matters that I would like to raise, with your leave.


17 MS. LAMB: The first of these, Your Honours, refers to a

18 correction that must be made to the transcript. I refer in this regard to

19 page 34 of the transcript, at lines 7 to 10. Therein, the transcript

20 records as follows: "Did you ever advise your foreign minister to

21 withhold recognition from a state purely because its borders may have been

22 contested or because it was suffering from high levels of international

23 strife?" That last -- those last two words, "international strife," need

24 to be stricken from the record and replaced with the words "internal

25 strife.".

Page 719

1 JUDGE PARKER: Your observation is that the -- is it that it is

2 suggested that you used the word "internal," but the record shows

3 "international," or that you've now had a second thought as to what you

4 should have said.

5 MS. LAMB: To the best of my recollection, Your Honour, it is the

6 former, but I will stand corrected.

7 JUDGE PARKER: I must say, it accords with my recollection as

8 well, but nevertheless, very well.

9 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour.

10 JUDGE PARKER: I think we can arrange for that correction.

11 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour. The final matter I'd like to

12 bring your attention to -- to your attention is that I'm aware that in the

13 course of my examination-in-chief today I have tendered an extremely large

14 number of documents through this witness. I have therefore prepared a

15 summary of the Prosecution evidence on this matter, which is not intended

16 as a filing, but if it would be of assistance to the Bench in

17 understanding the structure of the Prosecution case in this matter, I

18 would be happy to put it at your disposal.

19 JUDGE PARKER: I think it would assist us, and no doubt it would

20 be of use to Defence counsel as well.

21 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, I would be much obliged if the ushers

22 could convey copies of this summary both to the Bench and to our learned

23 friends.

24 JUDGE PARKER: Will we turn now to cross-examination? Is it

25 Mr. Petrovic?

Page 720

1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before I

2 start with my cross-examination, I would like to put a question that has

3 nothing to do with the testimony, but the health condition of my client.

4 The Defence can start the cross-examination immediately; however, our

5 client has complained on several occasions of not feeling too well today.

6 I'm duty-bound to draw your attention to that fact and I would kindly ask

7 the Trial Chamber to either adjourn the cross-examination until tomorrow,

8 or maybe limit the time, so as to enable the accused to return to the

9 conditions where he can relax and rest a little, because in addition to

10 all other problems, he hasn't been able to sleep for nights. I believe

11 that you will have understanding for this request and that you will be

12 able to grant our request.

13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, yes, we'd like you to continue now.

14 There isn't a great deal of time to go in today's session. We'll continue

15 to keep under observation Mr. Strugar, and it may be that a convenient

16 time will come earlier than the normal close of the day when we might

17 break. But if you'd carry on now.

18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Can you give me just

19 a moment.

20 Will the Trial Chamber allow the accused to address the Bench

21 briefly?

22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.

23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

24 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]

25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Already a long time ago I was very

Page 721

1 clear when I heard what my doctor said, and I informed you of my health

2 condition. In an accident, my vertebra broke in three places. And in

3 addition to that, I, from time to time, regardless of all the drink that

4 I'm taking, I have a problem with coughing. I would have to have some tea

5 to warm me up. I'm been here for days and nobody has been able to provide

6 me with a single cup of tea. I must tell you that this makes me feel very

7 uncomfortable. How is it possible that somebody who is still innocent

8 until proven guilty to be treated like that? Could you please advise

9 those who are looking after my well-being if they cannot provide me with a

10 free cup of tea, I'm perfectly willing to pay. They keep on giving me

11 cold water, which my body will not tolerate. That's one thing.

12 Another thing: I don't know why, but for quite a lot of time now,

13 and my doctor is aware of that, I haven't been able to sleep, and this is

14 nothing new. This is something that I experienced already when I was at

15 the hospital in Belgrade. I was receiving medication, light relaxants,

16 which made me sleep. I would receive half a tablet a night. I continued

17 receiving that; however, I can't sleep. I feel sleepy, Your Honours. I

18 am listening to the witness, but from time to time I doze off, and I

19 really feel embarrassed, thinking that you may notice that I'm dozing off.

20 I may be senile, but I am a proud man. I am a proud human being. So I

21 would kindly ask you either to curtail this testimony or to give me more

22 frequent breaks.

23 This would be all. I'm not asking for any leniency. I know

24 exactly where I am. I'm being tried. But I've been listening to

25 something that I already went through. What happened in Yugoslavia, my

Page 722

1 defence counsel, I suppose, will be able to tell that. However, was I

2 really -- was it really necessary for me to listen to all that has been

3 said today? What has that got to do with my indictment? Why did I have

4 to listen to all that? So much from me. Thank you very much.

5 JUDGE PARKER: I am sure, Mr. Strugar, that it will be possible,

6 and the Chamber now does ask, that arrangements be made for you to be

7 provided with tea, hot tea, during breaks. I don't know why it is that

8 has not been possible until now. If you could take up with the doctor at

9 the Detention Centre your concern about your inability to sleep, I believe

10 it may be possible if some further medication will help, for you to get

11 something extra there. At a time like this, and the stress of an occasion

12 like this, we can certainly understand that your sleep may well be a

13 difficult issue for you, and we can't do anything directly about it. It

14 must be in the hands of the medical people. But I would certainly suggest

15 that you should take that up, and your counsel might reinforce that

16 request by communicating with those in charge of the Detention Centre.

17 The other matter you raised is the evidence. The evidence that's

18 to be tendered here may, I can well understand, appear to you from time to

19 time to have little or nothing to do with what you were doing. A lot of

20 it is in the sense of background and deals with issues that are legal

21 issues, matters of formality, rather than the events on the ground at the

22 time, with which you were directly concerned. But I'm sure that you will

23 come to understand that your counsel and the Prosecution counsel, between

24 them, are watching what matters should be dealt with and what matters

25 should not be dealt with. And if matters that should be dealt with are

Page 723

1 omitted, then that will be a basis for decision by this Tribunal.

2 So you will understand that counsel must look at those matters

3 carefully. In the case of Mr. Rodic and Mr. Petrovic, they must look at

4 it on your behalf and I'm sure you will be understanding of their

5 continuing efforts on your behalf and will come to understand that if

6 they're accepting certain evidence will be led, nevertheless there's a

7 reason for it, even though you yourself might think it's a waste of

8 everybody's time.

9 We will look at the question of the course of adjournments. It

10 may be possible to arrange for an extra adjournment in the course of an

11 ordinary session by shortening the periods. That may create some problems

12 with the tapes and the recording. I'll make inquiries about that. But

13 perhaps at least getting hot tea will help you in giving you an

14 opportunity to move about during the breaks after that.

15 So thank you.

16 Now, Mr. Petrovic.

17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour

18 Cross-examined by. Mr. Petrovic.

19 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, my name is Vladimir Petrovic and I represent

20 General Strugar. I'm going to ask you a few questions about your

21 testimony. Since we speak the same or a similar language, I would kindly

22 ask you to make a break between my question and your answer, since

23 everything is being -- that is being said is being interpreted. Such a

24 break will enable everybody to hear my entire question and your entire

25 answer, which is in our mutual interest.

Page 724

1 First of all, let me ask you: How did you get in touch with the

2 OTP of the Tribunal in this matter?

3 A. As far as I know, representatives of the OTP came in contact with

4 the international legal department, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

5 through their office in Zagreb, and probably they were referred to the

6 department of international affairs in Zagreb. Since after their first

7 contact, they asked somebody to be a witness, somebody who was best

8 informed. Since I was one of the founders of the department for

9 international legal affairs, and probably one of the most senior legal

10 experts in the ministry - all the others joined much later than me - then

11 I was asked to be the one. And one of the things is also that I live in

12 Brussels, so The Hague is close.

13 Q. Can I please ask you: Who is it who informed you about the need

14 to testify in front of the Court, and what did they tell you?

15 A. Yes. It was the head of the office for cooperation with The Hague

16 Tribunal, Mr. Frane Krnic at the time, and after that, my colleague, who

17 is currently the head of the international legal affairs with the Ministry

18 of Foreign Affairs, Andrea Metelko.

19 Q. Can you tell us when that was, approximately?

20 A. It was last year, sometime last year.

21 Q. When? Towards the end, at the beginning? I'm not asking for any

22 precise dates. Just approximately.

23 A. Yes. I'm trying to remember. It was before summer.

24 Q. How were you prepared for this testimony?

25 A. My colleague, Mrs. Metelko, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Page 725

1 told me what would be the interest and what the goal was in order to

2 establish the status of the Republic of Croatia at the time. And since I

3 was aware of a number of those documents that could illustrate that

4 status, obviously I consulted my colleagues in the department, and that's

5 how we were able to pinpoint those documents which might be of interest,

6 and primarily those were international and legal documents, but there were

7 also others.

8 Q. Do I understand you correctly what you have just told us is that

9 documents that are in front of us today, the documents that you commented

10 upon today, they are the result of selection by your colleagues in the

11 ministry?

12 A. No, not all of the documents, especially not those documents that

13 deal with the internal laws and regulations, primarily those international

14 documents.

15 Q. Your colleague, Mrs. Metelko told you that --

16 JUDGE PARKER: Could I just ask you to pause a little longer.

17 I've noticed the poor interpreter is rushing hard to keep up.

18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as you have just

19 realised, at the beginning of my cross-examination, I drew the witness's

20 attention to this mistake, being aware that I am bound to make it myself.

21 So I would like to apologise for making the mistake.

22 Q. You told us that Mrs. Metelko explained to you what the goal of

23 your testimony in front of the International Tribunal would be. What did

24 she tell you?

25 A. It was her first and then the OTP representatives told me. And it

Page 726

1 was exactly like I told you, that the goal would be to establish the

2 status of Croatia at the time. The status of Croatia primarily in the

3 international community or, in other words, the legal state of affairs in

4 Croatia with regard to its international subjectivity, or Croatia being an

5 international subject.

6 Q. In addition to the conversations with my learned friends from the

7 OTP, what other contacts have you had from the moment when you were

8 informed that you will be testifying until today, and who were your

9 contacts with?

10 A. The only contacts I had were with my colleagues from the

11 international department. I mentioned Mr. Krnic, but soon after that he

12 was replaced by Mr. Jaksa Muljacic, and I spoke with him, and I had

13 contacts with the OTP, and those were my -- all my contacts in that

14 respect.

15 Q. Tell me, please: As regards some of the elements of your

16 professional background, in the statement that you gave to the OTP on 19

17 September, 2003, you say the following: In 1979, you were sent to the

18 federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the republican organs. Can you

19 elaborate? Who was it who sent you and what were the circumstances? I'm

20 not prying for any details; just general information.

21 A. The federal ministry of international affairs comprised of

22 representatives of various republics and autonomous provinces, and they

23 were -- they joined in various ways. One of the ways of joining was for

24 an adequate body. At that time in Croatia, it was proposed that somebody

25 should go and work in the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And this

Page 727

1 could be permanent employment or it could be based on a temporary

2 contract. In 1979, I was originally sent by the Executive Council of the

3 parliament of Croatia, and I had a temporary contract, and this was at the

4 request of the federal secretary for internal affairs. They had openings

5 and they dispatched a circular to various republics and they said: We

6 don't have candidates in Belgrade. Can you please send us your

7 candidates. And that's how I was proposed for the post of the consul in

8 Pittsburgh, and later on the advisory in the cultural and information

9 centre. I had a four-year contract to start with.

10 Q. To your mind, what was it that qualified you for that position?

11 Because prior to that, you were engaged in commercial law in INA.

12 A. I was an advisor in the legal affairs department and I was engaged

13 in legal affairs. I represented my company. I worked on various

14 contracts, investment contracts. I worked on joint ventures. I even

15 drafted some international contracts. There were all sorts of things that

16 I did, legal departments. There were all sorts of things. I was a legal

17 expert with a solid base, a solid knowledge.

18 Q. However, the job of a consul and the job in INA, what do they have

19 in common in terms of the character of these two jobs?

20 A. There is a lot in common between these two jobs. A consul was

21 supposed to be somebody with a degree in law. They had to be in touch

22 with the profession. They had to be versed in working with judiciary,

23 with governmental bodies, which I did while I worked in INA. For example,

24 I worked on labour law, I worked on all the issues stemming from labour

25 relations, and I also had a bar exam at the time. I was qualified to do

Page 728

1 this job. This was very important.

2 Q. Another thing that comes to mind is the following: I understand

3 that this may be a good explanation. However, how did you become a

4 cultural attache in your next term of office?

5 A. No. It was in the same term of office.

6 Q. Let's not overlap, please. So in Pittsburgh first you were a

7 consul --

8 JUDGE PARKER: Let the interpreter catch up. She is about half a

9 question behind.

10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will put it in front

11 of me in very big letters, and I hope it will remind me every time I speed

12 up.

13 JUDGE PARKER: We'll get a great flag and I'll wave at you when

14 you can start, Mr. Petrovic.

15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

16 Q. So what I would like to know: I know what your duties were as a

17 consul. What did you do as a cultural attache? Please can you wait just

18 for a moment. What is a link between a consul and somebody who works as a

19 cultural attache in New York? What are the points in common?

20 A. The job in New York lasted for one year. That was my last year of

21 that term of office, which was four years, according to my contract. For

22 three years I was in Pittsburgh, and then I was transferred to the

23 cultural and information centre. I suppose that there were several

24 reasons for that.

25 One of those reasons was that at the time they were downsizing in

Page 729

1 some diplomatic representative offices, and they assigned people to other

2 places where there were openings. At that moment, in New York, there was

3 an opening. There were two consuls in Pittsburgh and we were told that

4 one of us had to be transferred somewhere else, so it was a good solution

5 that there was an opening in New York, and there was nobody there. There

6 are lots of Croats in the United States, and there was nobody from Croatia

7 to look after their needs. There were other people from other areas but

8 nobody from Croatia. So they thought that it would be good if somebody

9 from Croatia worked in that centre.

10 In addition to that, the post I was assigned to also comprised

11 relations with the diaspora, and although this should not have been one of

12 the tasks; however, I had very large previous experience and they told

13 this would be a really good post for me.

14 Before that, I organised a lot of cultural events in Pittsburgh,

15 and I had a month of culture at that time. This was a big event. So I

16 proved myself as the person who was capable of organising cultural events.

17 Q. In addition to some other things, I understand that in the former

18 secretariat for foreign affairs, people were tasked with some categories

19 of emigrants. Croats were in charge of Croats, Serbs in charge of Serbs,

20 Macedonians were in charge of Macedonians.

21 A. No, not necessarily. But very often it would happen to me that I

22 would be tasked with Croatian and Slovenian communities, as two

23 communities which share some similar historical developments. However,

24 this was not a rule. We worked with other communities, other ethnic

25 communities. So this was not a steadfast rule. However, it was taken

Page 730

1 into consideration when thinking about which person in an ethnic community

2 would accept.

3 Q. How -- what kind of verification, what kind of checking would a

4 person aspiring to join the secretariat of international affairs would

5 have to undergo? What security checks?

6 A. I don't know what security checks I had to be subject to. From

7 time to time, I would bump into a colleague or a friend who would then

8 tell me: Somebody was inquiring, made inquiries about you. And then I

9 realised that this was this check, checking procedure.

10 Q. What service was in charge of this checking procedure?

11 A. I suppose that this was done through the Ministry of the Interior.

12 Q. Do you know more specifically which service within the Ministry of

13 the Interior would be in charge of that?

14 A. I really wouldn't know. I wouldn't be able to tell you. At that

15 time, I really don't know who did that.

16 Q. Do you know, speaking from the experience working in your

17 ministry, who is it today in Croatia who is in charge of the security

18 checks of the people who are being posted to responsible places abroad?

19 A. I believe again that this is the Ministry of the Interior, but I

20 can't tell you exactly who. I know that in 1991, there was a service for

21 the protection of constitutional order. I know that they were the ones

22 who were consulted every time. But at this moment, really, I can't tell

23 you which service that is. I really -- I'm not interested in that.

24 Q. Would that be the secret police who would be checking who could

25 work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Page 731

1 A. This term, "secret service," is something that I really don't

2 understand. Secret police, what does that mean? Is that the security

3 service that used to exist in the past?

4 Q. Yes.

5 A. I suppose that that service did have an impact on the checking

6 procedure, but I wouldn't be able to say that for a fact.

7 Q. Can we then conclude that you were very successful, that you went

8 successfully through all these checking procedures? Because from a

9 four-year contract, you were given a permanent job.

10 A. I can only suppose that all these checking procedures were not

11 successful, like you put it, but I suppose that they were okay. However,

12 when I became a permanent employee, I was again invited through the

13 Executive Council of the Republic of Croatia, when I returned to Croatia,

14 I was still an employee of INA Naftaplin, and I was again invited and they

15 told me that they had a request from the federal secretariat for foreign

16 affairs to send people who had already had some experience with the job

17 and who wished to continue working on those jobs. Because in the federal

18 secretariat for foreign affairs, there was a serious lack of Croatians,

19 and that's the way it was put to me, and that's how I went to Belgrade,

20 and with the then-federal secretary for foreign affairs I had an

21 interview, and he confirmed that he told me that they requested Croatia to

22 send people who would be interested in permanent employment. Those people

23 should have already had some experience, because there was not enough

24 representation of the Republic of Croatia in the federal body.

25 Q. Tell me: In the period since you have been involved in foreign

Page 732

1 affairs - by this, I mean the period of the former Yugoslavia, from 1979

2 to 1991 - who were the secretaries of foreign affairs, and where were they

3 from, if you can remember? But we all know that.

4 A. I think that at that time -- was it Vrhovac? I think it was

5 Vrhovac when I came. Then it was Mojsov. I even think Mojsov was before

6 that. I even think Mojsov was before that, because I know that in

7 New York we prepared some materials for him. And maybe Vrhovac wasn't

8 there any more when I arrived. So it was Mojsov. In the end, it was

9 Loncar. In the meantime --

10 Q. Who was there before Loncar?

11 A. Well, that's what I'm trying to remember right now. Dizdarevic?

12 Was it him?

13 Q. Very well. Let's move on.

14 A. I can't really remember at this moment, but I do know that the

15 last minister was Loncar.

16 Q. Tell me, please, the following: You returned to the country in

17 1990?

18 A. No. Oh, you mean back to the ministry in Belgrade. You mean

19 that?

20 Q. Yes.

21 A. Yes, that's correct then. It was either in December or January.

22 That's when my term of office in Berlin expired.

23 Q. Until when did you remain in Belgrade, physically?

24 A. Formally --

25 Q. I'm asking you about your physical presence.

Page 733

1 A. Well, how can I explain this? Physically, I was in both places at

2 once. It's very unusual, but that's how it was. This was a time of

3 transition, and there were things I still had to do. One of these things

4 was to bring on this care the international treaty base. This was agreed

5 on. It was done in a formal manner. Because the then-republican ministry

6 asked to have a base of an international treaty database and that this

7 should be given to all of us as a kind of common inheritance. However,

8 physically it was hard to do, because the PCs were not adapted.

9 Q. I have to interrupt you. I'm asking you something very simple.

10 Until when were you physically present in Belgrade? We'll come to what

11 you were doing, but now I want to know until when you were in Belgrade.

12 A. Well, I would say -- I repeat that I was in both places, but until

13 the end of November I was there physically. Formally, my employment ended

14 on the 15th of December, but that was because I still had some unused

15 annual leave left and things like that.

16 Q. When was the last time you were in Knez Milos Street, where the

17 building of the foreign ministry is? When was the last time you entered

18 as its employee?

19 A. Probably to take back my employment booklet.

20 Q. And before that?

21 A. Well, maybe some 15 days before that, approximately.

22 Q. So until the 1st of December you worked in the federal ministry in

23 Belgrade? We are talking about 1991; is that correct? Tell me, please:

24 You say that starting from the spring of 1991, you were in contact with

25 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia. Is this correct?

Page 734

1 A. Yes, it is.

2 Q. When and how did you establish these contacts, and with whom?

3 A. I would that I established contacts even before that, contacts

4 with the first minister of foreign affairs, because I was so-called

5 republican staff member and I felt it was my duty when he was appointed to

6 contact him and to say to him: Well, I am one of these republican civil

7 servants. I have no interest in remaining in a place where you do not need

8 me, and I am prepared to help in any way I can. And then in March,

9 President Tudjman invited all the diplomats in that federal body for a

10 consultation, and quite a lot of us came. The ministry knew about this.

11 This was done quite officially. They knew we had been invited. And we

12 all had a meeting with him, and with the then-representatives of the

13 Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was in the spring of 1991,

14 when we were told that we were expected to be working in the interests of

15 Croatia, which had sent us there, and to remain where we were until the

16 circumstances were created for those of us who wished to, to return to

17 Croatia.

18 Q. What did the president tell you on that occasion the interests of

19 Croatia were, in the spring of 1991?

20 A. He certainly told us that it was in our interest to have our own

21 sovereignty and that, in future, we would see whether we would enter into

22 some kind of community of independent states or in some other way, but at

23 any rate, that at that moment that was the goal of the Republic of

24 Croatia.

25 Q. So you went to Belgrade to work in a federal body with an aim that

Page 735

1 was anticonstitutional in relation to the then-existing state?

2 A. No, because at that time it was very well known that Croatia had

3 already enacted its own constitution and had, by promulgating this

4 constitution, declared its desire for independence. And it was also very

5 well known that we, as republican civil servants -- and this was a very

6 difficult thing to understand in times of transition. At that time some

7 colleagues who came to be prepared for assignments abroad spoke quite

8 openly in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in all the departments, that

9 they would advocate the interests of the Republic of Croatia. And this

10 was public knowledge.

11 Q. Could you please be more concise in your replies, if possible,

12 because I get lost and repeat my questions, and we are wasting our

13 precious time, mine and yours and the Court's.

14 From the viewpoint of the federal constitution that was then in

15 force, was the secession of the Republic of Croatia, such as you were

16 instructed about from the president of Croatia at the time, was this a

17 goal that was opposed to the then-valid constitution of the SFRY or not?

18 A. It's impossible to answer this with a yes or no, because at that

19 time we did not feel we were working against the constitution or the

20 system of the then-Yugoslavia. It was simply something that was

21 complementary to that.

22 Q. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, did it

23 contain the categories of secession? I'm speaking of the Socialist

24 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Was secession, disassociation, or

25 anything similar, provided for in that constitution?

Page 736

1 A. Yes. In the preamble to both the federal and the republican

2 constitutions, it said that the republics had to join together voluntarily

3 on the basis of their right to self-determination, including the right to

4 secession.

5 Q. In the text of the constitution, was there a provision defining a

6 procedure for any republic to secede from the Socialist Federative

7 Republic of Yugoslavia? What article was this?

8 A. No. There was no such article, but there was no -- nothing to

9 prohibit it either. It was simply a gap in the constitution.

10 Q. Does this constitution contain an unambiguous provision which

11 states that any changes of the borders of the Socialist Federal Republic

12 of Yugoslavia could not be made without the consent of all the federal

13 units of that state?

14 A. We have to know that the Republic of Croatia did work on its

15 independence as a legal entity in international law, but at that time it

16 was not certain that the republic wished full independence. It was

17 possibly heading for a confederation, and this was well known. Croatia

18 and Slovenia advocated a confederation at the time.

19 Q. I have to ask you to answer my question. Is there a prohibition

20 in the constitution for the change of the borders of the state without

21 everybody's consent? Yes or no.

22 A. There was no change of borders in this case.

23 Q. Please. If there is a state, and if there are five states there

24 today, how, then, can we say that there were no changes in the borders?

25 Do you understand that? I'm sure you understand my question, so please

Page 737

1 answer it.

2 A. I know what you're getting at. I know what you want me to say.

3 But at that time, Croatia had not declared independence, nor did Croatia

4 at that time secede from Yugoslavia. So we can in no way speak about

5 changing the borders. We can only talk about an order in which Croatia

6 has its own sovereignty. We know that the characteristics of sovereignty

7 was something that the former republics had.

8 Q. Does the constitution contain the prohibition or not?

9 A. Prohibition of what?

10 Q. A prohibition of a forcible change of borders of the SFRY, without

11 the consent of the constituent elements of that state; yes or no?

12 A. Forcible change? I really can't tell you what article refers to a

13 forcible change. But I repeat: At that time, in no way was any change of

14 borders in question.

15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have to apply to you

16 for assistance. I'm asking something very simple: Did the constitution

17 contain such a provision or not? Or does the witness not know this? These

18 are three possibilities. I would like to receive a simple answer.

19 JUDGE PARKER: I wonder if you could assist us there with that. I

20 think you have a reasonable familiarity with the constitution, and I do

21 not have that familiarity. But I would be surprised to find in a federal

22 constitution that there was a provision that expressly contemplated the

23 dissolution or breaking up of the federation. Is there such a provision

24 in the -- or was there such a provision in the federal constitution at

25 that time?

Page 738

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A provision on the dissolution of

2 the state did not exist.

3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] By your leave: Was there a

5 provision on changing the borders without the consent of the federal

6 units?

7 JUDGE PARKER: Border changes. Was there any provision dealing

8 with that, do you think?

9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Of the federal state.

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, the provision on

11 changing of borders between the republics existed, because the republics

12 would have to agree on that.

13 JUDGE PARKER: You understand the point of Mr. Petrovic's

14 question, which is directed to the federal borders, that is, the external

15 border of the Federation. Was there any provision dealing with that?

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Apart from the general principle

17 that the borders were inviolable, I cannot quote any other provision as

18 regards the external borders.

19 JUDGE PARKER: I think we can take the answer, Mr. Petrovic, to be

20 no.

21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, of course, when the

22 time comes, we shall adduce evidence to that effect. Just a moment,

23 please.

24 [Defence counsel confer]

25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]

Page 739

1 Q. Does the fact that you don't know the answer to the question I put

2 to you have anything to do with the instructions you were given when you

3 came to this institution?

4 A. What institution are you referring to?

5 Q. The International Tribunal.

6 A. No. I told you that I did not consult anyone, especially not any

7 other experts, apart from the people I've mentioned, and certainly not

8 with people who are not lawyers.

9 Q. Were you ever a member of the League of Communists of Croatia or

10 of Yugoslavia?

11 A. Yes, long ago, and then we simply all stopped being members. I

12 can't tell you exactly when.

13 Q. When did you enter the Communist Party?

14 A. At the time, it was called the League of Communists of Yugoslavia,

15 and more specifically, of the Republic of Croatia, and that was when we

16 were students, either at university or school.

17 Q. Until when were you a member of the League of Communists of

18 Yugoslavia and Croatia?

19 A. This was up to the '80s, as far as I can remember, when all of us

20 stopped paying our membership dues. That was somewhere in the '80s.

21 Q. Can you give me a specific date?

22 A. No, because I didn't formally ask to cease being a member. I

23 simply stopped paying my membership dues, and this was sometime in the

24 '80s.

25 Q. The late '80s?

Page 740

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. For how long were you a member of the League of Communists?

3 A. Well, from the '60s to the '80s, so it might have been about 25

4 years or so. But I wish to mention that I never held any posts in that

5 league.

6 Q. Were you also within the communist organisation of the Ministry of

7 Foreign Affairs?

8 A. We all were, but I didn't have any special function.

9 Q. Were you ever disciplined as a party member?

10 A. No, I wasn't.

11 Q. After being a member of that party, did you join any other party?

12 A. No.

13 Q. Are you a member of a political party today?

14 A. No, I'm not.

15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in view of the fact

16 that I have completed one topic, I propose that we conclude for today, by

17 your leave.

18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic, I think that's a convenient

19 time.

20 I must ask, Mrs. Alajbeg, if you can return tomorrow. I'm sorry

21 about that. That will be at 9.00 in the morning.

22 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm sorry to interrupt you

23 before you conclude. I just want I thought it might be helpful since a

24 day or two have passed to remind the Chamber that Mrs. Alajbeg does have

25 to leave The Hague tomorrow afternoon, that she is not able to stay beyond

Page 741

1 tomorrow.


3 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.

4 JUDGE PARKER: We're in the hands of Mr. Petrovic there. I'm sure

5 that he's moving on now, and we can hope to finish in time for you to get

6 away.

7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will do my very

8 best. But this depends to a certain extent on the way in which my

9 conversation with the witness proceeds tomorrow. I will focus on only key

10 issues. Thank you.

11 JUDGE PARKER: I think that will be very useful, if you could do

12 that, Mr. Petrovic, and we're starting to get into a pattern now of

13 allowing question and answer to be concluded so that the interpreters can

14 keep up, and overall, that will speed up the process as well.

15 We will adjourn now until tomorrow morning.

16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.37 p.m.

17 To be reconvened on Friday, the 16th day of January

18 2004, at 9.00 a.m.