1 Wednesday, 7th May 1997
2 (11.00 am)
3 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-94-1-T, the Prosecutor
4 versus Dusko Tadic.
5 JUDGE McDONALD: May I have appearances for counsel,
7 MR NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, my name is Niemann.
8 I appear with my colleagues Miss Hollis, Mr Tieger and
9 Mr Keegan, and Miss Sutherland assisting. Thank you,
10 your Honour.
11 JUDGE McDONALD: Thank you, Mr Niemann. May I have
12 appearances for the defence, please?
13 MR VUJIN: Yes, your Honour. My name is Milan Vujin.
14 With me is today Mr Nikola Kostic and Jelena Lopicic.
15 JUDGE McDONALD: Very good. Mr Vujin, you have been
16 previously counsel of record for the accused; is that
18 MR VUJIN: Yes.
19 JUDGE McDONALD: Mr Kostic has recently joined the team,
20 having been appointed by the Registrar upon the entry of
21 an Order granting the accused's request that
22 Mr Wladimiroff withdraw.
23 MR KOSTIC: Yes, your Honour. I also was at one time prior
24 officially an attorney of record and I have just
1 JUDGE McDONALD: Very good. You were here once before
3 MR KOSTIC: Yes.
4 JUDGE McDONALD: Now you are back. Thank you. Ms
6 MS LOPICIC: I am assistant of Mr Vujin and Mr Kostic in
7 this case now.
8 JUDGE McDONALD: Very good. Welcome. Thank you.
9 I would like to this morning read the remarks that
10 we have prepared. In order to prepare the Opinion and
11 Judgment which is being handed down in this case today,
12 the Trial Chamber has had to consider a great quantity
13 of testimonial and written evidence. The trial itself
14 lasted for more than six months and the transcript runs
15 to more than 7,000 pages. There were more than 400
16 exhibits to consider, along with the testimony of some
17 120 witnesses.
18 In addition, being the first such judgment to be
19 issued by this International Tribunal and the first by
20 such a Tribunal in relation to serious violations of
21 international humanitarian law for more than fifty
22 years, the Trial Chamber has had to explore the relevant
23 factual and legal issues in considerable detail. The
24 written Opinion and Judgment is a sizeable document,
25 with the Opinion and Judgment itself amounting to more
1 than 300 pages, together with one separate and
2 dissenting Opinion and a further 30 pages or so of
4 For this reason we have decided not to read the
5 Opinion and Judgment in full, but to do more than
6 describe its main points, ending with a reading of the
7 judgment itself. The Opinion and Judgment is divided
8 into eight sections.
9 First is a procedural section, setting out the
10 legal steps taken to indict and arrest the accused,
11 Dusko Tadic, and the procedures both before and during
12 trial that have led to today's judgment. It is
13 followed by a section describing the historical
14 background to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia,
15 both in general and in the area of Opstina Prijedor,
16 where the alleged offences are said to have taken
17 place. This section sets the scene for the review of
18 the factual evidence and of the accused's alibi which
20 Various evidentiary issues that arose during the
21 trial are dealt with in the next portion of the Opinion
22 and Judgment, and the following section on the
23 applicable law reviews in detail the law to be applied
24 in this case under the Statute of the International
25 Tribunal, namely Articles 2, 3, 5 and 7, and under
1 customary international law.
2 This in turn leads to the section on legal
3 findings, where the law is applied to the factual
4 findings, and conclusions of innocence or guilt are
5 reached. Finally there is the Judgment itself, in
6 which the counts charged against the accused are dealt
7 with in turn and a verdict pronounced on each one.
8 I will reiterate what I stated at the opening of
9 this trial exactly one year ago today. This is a trial
10 of an individual accused, who entered a plea of "not
11 guilty." Although this is the first trial conducted by
12 the International Tribunal, and thus has some historic
13 dimension, the goal of the Trial Chamber was always,
14 first and foremost, to provide the accused with the fair
15 trial to which he is entitled. This, we believe, has
16 been done.
17 Now a further word or two about each of the eight
18 sections of this Opinion and Judgment. Section one is
19 the Introduction. As most people will be aware, the
20 accused was the first person to be surrendered to the
21 International Tribunal, being transferred from Germany
22 in April 1995, where he was in custody. This
23 procedural section of the Opinion and Judgment
24 summarises the charges of the indictment, which include
25 persecution, inhuman treatment, cruel treatment, rape,
1 wilful killing, murder, torture, wilfully causing great
2 suffering or serious injury to body and health and
3 inhumane acts, all alleged to have been committed in the
4 Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps and at other
5 locations in Opstina Prijedor in the Republic of Bosnia
6 and Herzegovina.
7 It also sets out in some detail the many and
8 varied interlocutory motions that have been filed on
9 both sides and how they were dealt with. Both parties
10 experienced difficulty in obtaining access to the area
11 where the events are said to have occurred, and to
12 witnesses who still live in the region.
13 The Trial Chamber has been particularly concerned
14 that the defence should have adequate time to prepare
15 its case and acceded to a number of requests for
16 extension of time on this basis.
17 Some witnesses were willing to testify only if
18 their identity was protected. Some were given safe
19 conduct, that is protection against indictment by the
20 prosecution while in The Hague to give evidence, and a
21 number of defence witnesses, unwilling to come to The
22 Hague, were permitted to give their testimony via
23 video-conferencing link. All of these aspects are
24 covered in the first procedural section of the Opinion
25 and Judgment.
1 Section 2, Background and Preliminary Findings,
2 looks at the context of the conflict in the former
3 Yugoslavia, both in general terms and in Opstina
4 Prijedor. It examines the historical and geographical
5 background leading to the disintegration of the
6 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its impact
7 on Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular. It then examines
8 the historical development of the concept of a Greater
9 Serbia and how this idea took root and flourished in the
10 period following the death of Marshal Tito and the
11 collapse of communism in the country. The events that
12 led to the establishment of the Serb autonomous regions
13 are reviewed, as is the formation of crisis staffs in
14 those regions, which effectively took over control of
15 the area.
16 The role of the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA,
17 is then looked at in some detail, how its role changed
18 during the disintegration of Yugoslavia and its
19 transformation from a truly national army that reflected
20 the multi-cultural aspects of Federal Yugoslavia into
21 one whose main aim was to protect the Serb people, both
22 within Serbia itself and elsewhere.
23 The background to the division of the JNA into the
24 VJ and the VRS, the latter being the army of Republika
25 Srpska, is looked at in detail, having, as it does,
1 considerable importance to the applicability of Article
2 2 of the Statute to this case, and is the subject of a
3 separate and dissenting Opinion.
4 Finally, the Opinion and Judgment examines the
5 military action taken in the early 1990s, following the
6 announcement of independence by both Croatia and
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This leads into the discussion and
8 review of events in Opstina Prijedor itself, which must
9 be understood, since they provide the context in which
10 the charges contained in the indictment occurred.
11 The Opinion and Judgment discusses the state of
12 affairs in Opstina Prijedor in the years before the Serb
13 takeover in April 1992, the events leading up to that
14 takeover and the events that followed it, including the
15 armed attack on the town of Kozarac and surrounding
16 villages and the expulsion of their predominantly Muslim
17 population, with men being sent to some camps and women
18 and children to others. There then follows a
19 description of those camps, the brutal treatment and the
20 horrific conditions which the prisoners experienced,
21 recounting how many of the men were killed and women
22 prisoners raped.
23 This section of the Opinion and Judgment ends with
24 a description of the accused himself, his family
25 background in Kozarac, his activities as a karate
1 instructor and cafe proprietor in Kozarac before the
2 conflict, his appointment as President of the local
3 board of the Serb Democratic Party; also his activities
4 after the attack on Kozarac, first as a reserve traffic
5 policeman and later as Secretary of the local commune of
7 In Section 3, Factual Findings, the Trial Chamber
8 then considered the factual evidence before it relating
9 to each count of the indictment. The accused is now
10 charged with offences in 31 counts, each of which is
11 alleged to constitute both a violation of the Laws or
12 Customs of War and a crime against humanity, and
13 additionally in the case of 11 counts a grave breach of
14 the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Two counts are charged
16 The indictment is divided into paragraphs relating
17 to individual incidents. The first three paragraphs
18 are of an introductory nature, and paragraph 4 relates
19 to the charge of persecution. Paragraph 5 was not
20 proceeded with, for reasons which are stated in the
21 Opinion and Judgment. Paragraphs 6-10 relate to
22 incidents at the Omarska camp; paragraph 11 to one at
23 Kozarac; and paragraph 12 to incidents at the nearby
24 villages of Jaskici and Sivci.
25 Due to the cumulative nature of the charge of
1 persecution in paragraph 4, the Trial Chamber reserved
2 its review of it to the end of this section, dealing
3 first with the incidents alleged to have occurred at
4 Omarska in roughly chronological order rather than in
5 the order set out in the indictment, then with the
6 charges relating to the incidents alleged to have
7 occurred during the takeover of Kozarac and then with
8 the incidents alleged to have taken place at Jaskici and
10 In respect of each paragraph the Opinion and
11 Judgment first reviews the evidence as to the events
12 alleged, then the evidence as to the role of the
13 accused, followed by the case for the defence. It
14 concludes with findings of fact for each count comprised
15 within the paragraph.
16 In Section 4, the Accused's Defence of Alibi, the
17 Trial Chamber considers the accused's defence, which
18 consisted in essence of a denial of all the allegations
19 against him, supported by an alibi which relies both
20 upon his own testimony, given under solemn declaration
21 at trial, and that of a number of witnesses, and also
22 upon some documentary evidence.
23 Section 5, Evidentiary Matters, is devoted to a
24 discussion of eight distinct matters relating in one way
25 or another to the evidence in this case, its reception
1 and the weight to be given to it.
2 Then follows Section 6, Applicable Law, which
3 discusses the law relating to the offences charged.
4 This necessarily includes a lengthy and detailed
5 consideration of the relevant Articles of the Statute of
6 the International Tribunal and of those aspects of
7 international humanitarian law which they invoke.
8 In Section 7, Legal Findings, the law described
9 earlier is then applied count by count to the facts as
10 already found.
11 Finally, in Section 8, the Judgment, the Trial
12 Chamber states its findings, guilty or not guilty, in
13 respect of each count.
14 I will read that section aloud, but before doing
15 so, should say that immediately following it in the
16 Opinion and Judgment there appears my own separate and
17 dissenting opinion regarding the application of Article
18 2 of the Statute. That in turn is followed by certain
19 annexes, consisting of the indictment, a map and a
20 number of photographs.
21 I read now Section 8, being the Judgment of the
22 Trial Chamber.
23 Mr Tadic, will you please stand?
24 (Defendant stands up)
25 JUDGE McDONALD: For the foregoing reasons, having
1 considered all of the evidence and the arguments, the
2 Trial Chamber finds as follows:
3 (i) by a majority, Judge McDonald dissenting,
4 decides that the charges brought under Article 2 of the
5 Statute of the International Tribunal were in the
6 present case inapplicable at the time in Opstina
7 Prijedor, because it has not been proved that the
8 victims were protected persons, which is an element of
9 those offences charged, and therefore finds the accused,
10 Dusko Tadic, not guilty on Counts 5, 8, 9, 12, 15, 18,
11 21, 24, and the alternative charge under Count 27,
12 Counts 29 and 32;
13 (ii) unanimously finds on the remaining charges as
15 Count 1, guilty.
16 Count 6, not guilty.
17 Count 7, not guilty.
18 Count 10, guilty.
19 Count 11, guilty.
20 Count 13, guilty.
21 Count 14, guilty.
22 Count 16, guilty.
23 Count 17, guilty.
24 Count 19, not guilty.
25 Count 20, not guilty.
1 Count 22, guilty.
2 Count 23, guilty.
3 Count 25, not guilty.
4 Count 26, and the alternative charge under Count
5 28, not guilty.
6 Count 30, not guilty.
7 Count 31, not guilty.
8 Count 33, guilty in respect of Beido Balic, Sefik
9 Balic, Ismet Jaskic and Salko Jaskic; not guilty as to
10 Ilijas Elkasovic, Nijas Elkasovic, Meho Kenjar and Adam
12 Count 34, guilty in respect of Beido Balic, Sefik
13 Balic, Ismet Jaskic and Salko Jaskic; not guilty as to
14 Ilijas Elkasovic, Nijas Elkasovic, Meho Kenjar and Adam
16 Mr Tadic, having been found guilty by the Trial
17 Chamber of 11 of the counts on which you are charged,
18 you will remain in custody at the United Nations
19 Detention Centre, pending the completion of the
20 sentencing proceedings and of any appeal that may be
21 lodged. You may be seated.
22 (Defendant sits down)
23 JUDGE McDONALD: The Trial Chamber has scheduled sentencing
24 for July 1st at 10.00 am. If either party wishes to
25 provide written submissions, they are to be filed by
1 Monday, June 9th.
2 If either party wishes to offer any oral testimony
3 prior to sentencing, you should advise the Trial Chamber
4 in your written submissions, and we would then hear
5 those statements on either June 17th, 18th, 19th or
6 20th. We need to know, of course, what your plans are
7 in terms of offering any statements and how long you
8 will need for that purpose, but we will set aside those
9 four days, if needed. However, you need to advise the
10 Trial Chamber. Sentencing then is set for July 1st at
11 10.00 am.
12 Are there any other matters that should be brought
13 to the attention of the Trial Chamber at this time?
14 Mr Niemann?
15 MR NIEMANN: No, your Honour.
16 JUDGE McDONALD: Mr Vujin?
17 MR VUJIN: No, your Honour.
18 JUDGE McDONALD: The Trial Chamber then will adjourn.
19 (11.25 am)
20 (Hearing adjourned)