1 Wednesday, 21 January 2004
2 [Open Session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE LIU: Call the case, please, Mr. Court Deputy.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is Case Number
7 IT-02-60-T, the Prosecutor versus Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic.
8 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much.
9 Well, before we have the witness, are there any matters that the
10 parties would like to bring to the attention of this Bench? Yes,
11 Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Mr. President. As you know, Mr. Karnavas and
13 I have been talking about the -- just the upcoming schedule to try and get
14 an idea of where we are so we can arrange the witnesses that are coming.
15 As you know, we have one witness that is here from Bosnia that is -- will
16 be ready to testify tomorrow or Friday, and I know there's different
17 options that were possibilities, including going later or bringing
18 witnesses later. But we -- just any helpful directions you had on that we
19 will clearly take and arrange our witnesses accordingly. And I'm sure you
20 know that Mr. Deronjic has a three-day sentencing scheduled next week,
21 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I don't see his lawyer this morning.
22 JUDGE LIU: Well, yes. Yes, actually we did not expect that
23 cross-examination for Mr. Deronjic will take that long. So, Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. I'm trying to speed it up as much as
25 possible, but I must say, every night I go over the material. There's
1 thousands of pages. Frankly, this is a three-week witness, but I'm not
2 asking for that. The next witness that the Prosecution has is a one-day
3 witness. We can -- I've looked at it, went over it with Mr. Stojanovic
4 yesterday, that testimony. And we anticipate that based on direct and
5 cross, that witness can be on and off the stand in one day. There's a
6 limited -- there's some limited issues on that.
7 With respect to Mr. Deronjic, we are now about to be engaging into
8 areas that are much more -- that are relevant -- much more relevant to
9 this case, but as you can see, the chronology is vital. And we're going
10 to be going over his background and we're going to be going over -- and
11 that is terribly necessary and this has been necessary because at some
12 point we need to be discussing his alleged conversations with
13 President Karadzic outside the presence of anyone else.
14 I should also say that at some point I'm going to ask that we go
15 into private session so that I can discuss the issue of Mr. Nikolic. And
16 just as a heads up for the Court, because I don't want to appear as if I'm
17 trying to be cavalier about what I will be asking Mr. Deronjic. I would
18 like the opportunity to ask him whether he would be willing to repeat his
19 testimony with respect to what Nikolic told him if Mr. Nikolic was here in
20 court and that that could be arranged, for Mr. Nikolic to be here, so that
21 we could have sort of in a civil law procedure a classic confrontation. I
22 see that Your Honour -- you're shaking your head. But I certainly think
23 that it goes to the credibility. And I certainly would like the
24 opportunity to have Mr. Nikolic here and also cross-examine Mr. Nikolic
25 about this.
1 As you can see I'm trying to do the best I can to shed light in
2 this manner. But in any event, I take it with the Courts -- with
3 Mr. President's reaction, that I should not entertain, let alone ask the
4 question, What if Mr. Nikolic would be here -- or could I ask that
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, of course you could make any requests you
7 believe that is proper, but on our part we have to look into the
8 proceedings and the jurisprudence of this Tribunal, whether it's possible
9 to accommodate your request. You haven't told me how long are you going
10 to take for Mr. Deronjic. Is it possible for you to finish the
11 cross-examination for Mr. Deronjic tomorrow?
12 MR. KARNAVAS: If I would -- if we could go all day, all day, that
13 is up to 4.30, I might be able to finish it, I might. This -- I must say
14 that for the first time I feel somewhat constrained having these short
15 days, because just about when I'm getting ready, you know, and we're
16 getting our second wind into the matter, we end for the day. And --
17 because it takes a while to warm up the engine and get it to the point
18 where we're moving at a faster clip. I think if I could have a full day
19 tomorrow until 4.30, I could.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, I could not give you an answer this moment,
21 because I understand the courtroom arrangement is very tight. There are
22 several cases going on. During the break I have to consult with the
23 Registrar to see if there's any possibility for us to sit until 4.30
24 tomorrow afternoon, but we'll do our best.
25 And on the other hand, I think that your cross-examination, which
1 I must say is very good, but there's still a possibility for improvement.
2 For instance, the discussions about language and issues we don't believe
3 is necessary, whether Mr. Deronjic is an expert or not. And we also
4 notice that as you know the list of the documents you are going to use is
5 growing again this morning. So I just want to ask you, try your best to
6 streamline your cross-examination, and meanwhile during the break I'll
7 consult with the Registrar to see whether there's any possibility for us
8 to find a courtroom to sit until 4.30 tomorrow afternoon.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. I would have one
10 request. I would appreciate if we don't make a formal announcement in
11 front of Mr. Deronjic, because then he might get the impression that he
12 can just go on with long-winded non-answers, as he is prone to do. I
13 think the fact that he knows that he may be on for a significant period of
14 time may be reasons for him to be somewhat more forth coming, and of
15 course I will make every effort to be tighter, more streamlined, in my
17 JUDGE LIU: Well, of course we will not tell him about the time
18 limits, but it is also our duty to warn him that he should answer the
19 question --
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I would appreciate that.
21 JUDGE LIU: In very simple and concise language.
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
24 Could we have the witness, please.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE LIU: Good morning, Mr. Deronjic.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE LIU: Are you ready to start?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Deronjic, I think we are pretty satisfied
6 with your testimony the last two days. But there's still some room for
7 improvement. First of all, I believe that your answers could be very
8 concise onward and up to the point. If there's more information that the
9 Defence counsel will need, he will ask you the follow-up questions on that
10 issue. Of course you have the right to explain some matters raised by the
11 Defence counsel.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I agree. And I shall endeavour
13 to be as concise and precise as possible.
14 JUDGE LIU: Thank you.
15 And the second matter is that as Mr. McCloskey raised before you
16 came into the room that your counsel is not present in this courtroom.
17 Shall we proceed without your counsel's presence in this courtroom?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE LIU: So I guess that you give up, waive, your right to have
20 your counsel here for today?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. I do waive this
22 right at this moment.
23 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation.
24 Mr. Karnavas, you may proceed.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
1 WITNESS: MIROSLAV DERONJIC [Resumed]
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Karnavas [Continued]
4 Q. Good morning, Mr. Deronjic.
5 A. Good morning, Mr. Karnavas.
6 Q. During your direct examination, Mr. McCloskey asked you to explain
7 why you might have been less than complete or less than truthful in
8 answering questions to the Office of the Prosecution via -- to your
9 indictment, and you indicated that one of the reasons was out of fear of
10 where the interviews were taking place, at least the initial ones.
11 Correct? That a fair characterisation?
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. And yesterday you indicated that at some point - and I believe it
14 was after you had become a suspect - you dismissed the lawyers that were
15 being provided to you by the government of the RS and began to just meet
16 with the Prosecution as a suspect in order to provide them with the
17 information that they were seeking. Correct?
18 A. Correct.
19 Q. And as we discussed when I began questioning you, prior to your
20 indictment you had approximately six meetings with the Office of the
22 A. It is correct. I had maybe more than six meetings with them,
23 perhaps seven. But I agree, yes.
24 Q. Well, the last meeting which took place on April 8th lasted for
25 two days. So it was April 8th and April 9th, 2002. Perhaps that may
1 account for the additional encounter.
2 A. Excuse me, but there was one meeting which was not disclosed to
3 the public. After that meeting we had another one which was held in the
4 presence of the Prosecutor, Mr. Mark Harmon, which is perhaps what is
5 causing confusion here. The topic of that meeting was to agree on
6 cooperation if possible. That's what I had in mind. On that occasion no
7 interview took place; it was just a meeting during which we discussed this
9 Q. Okay. Now, that meeting to see whether there could be
10 cooperation, was that before or after your indictment?
11 A. Before the indictment was issued. The indictment was issued two
12 days prior to my arrest.
13 Q. Where did that meeting take place, if I may ask?
14 A. In Banja Luka.
15 Q. And was that with Mr. Harmon?
16 A. Yes, Mr. Harmon was present, together with two investigators.
17 Q. Do you know whether that meeting was tape recorded?
18 A. I think it was. All meetings must be recorded.
19 Q. Well, I agree with you, they must, but not necessarily are.
20 How long did that meeting take place, Mr. Deronjic?
21 A. I think it lasted one day.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. We met in the morning pursuant to our agreement, and if I recall,
24 I think we finished in the evening.
25 Q. In -- after you were indicted and after your lawyers were provided
1 with the disclosure material, were you provided with any material related
2 to this meeting, the negotiating session, that you had that obviously was
3 not disclosed to us in this case?
4 A. I have to say that both parties undertook it not to disclose the
5 meeting if necessary. This is what I requested, but you asked me a direct
6 question and I'm bound to give you an answer.
7 Q. Right. And my question is: Aside from the fact that it wasn't
8 disclosed, that's an issue that we can resolve -- I can resolve with
9 Mr. McCloskey, aside from that issue, were you provided as part of the
10 preparation for your own case with any documents relating to that
11 particular meeting?
12 A. No. We didn't ask for any documents. My lawyers are familiar
13 with this. There was no giving of a statement, properly speaking. Facts
14 were not discussed. I just explained to them the essence of what the
15 issue was, and they know what it's all about.
16 Q. Did they tell you during that meeting or was there a discussion as
17 to what they might be indicting you for, that is, Glogova and/or
19 A. No. They didn't tell me at any point in time what I could be
20 accused of.
21 Q. Now, what was the nature of the negotiations? I mean, they must
22 have expressed some -- well, let me rephrase the question.
23 Was this an attempt to get you to turn yourself in to the custody
24 of the Prosecution or was this to see if you could come to some agreement
25 as to what or for which event you should be indicted?
1 A. I cannot give you an affirmative answer to any of your assertions,
2 because there was no discussion about what I might be indicted for. Of
3 course the Prosecutor made no mention at all -- although, I did ask a
4 question at one point as to what I could be indicted for, but nobody
5 answered, nobody discussed it. The objective of the meeting was to
6 discuss whether I would agree on the assumption that I could be indicted,
7 although at no point in time did they tell me that I would, whether I
8 would agree to cooperate with the Prosecution. The term that they used
9 was "substantive cooperation," whatever that meant, including giving
10 testimony, and that there was a very great probability of my being
11 indicted, but it was not directly said to me. All options remained open.
12 Q. All right. So this was a meeting to see whether you would become
13 a cooperative witness for the Office of the Prosecution?
14 A. Yes. We could say that this was the objective of the meeting, but
15 I have to stress that I was in no way familiar with the meaning of the
16 institution of a protected witness or with the term "substantial
17 cooperation." The discussion turned around, what it actually was, what
18 would be required of me, what would the Prosecutor expect from me, not
19 mentioning the indictment which was apparent -- I mean, it was apparent at
20 that point that I would be indicted. But it was not clear at that moment
21 with respect of which events or incidents.
22 Q. Right. And so at that period in time you were facing the
23 possibility of being indicted, both for Glogova and for Srebrenica?
24 A. No one told me either, but I was told, however, that the Office of
25 the Prosecutor has enough evidence to issue an indictment.
1 Q. Okay. But in your own mind - and I'm trying to get to your state
2 of mind - in your own mind you knew or you suspected that there was a
3 great probability that you would be indicted both for Glogova and for
4 Srebrenica, or at least one of the two?
5 A. My feeling was, and it was based on a conversation with
6 Jean Rene Ruez who was the one who questioned me most often and whom I
7 knew was investigating the case of Srebrenica, I asked him whether he
8 would summon me for another interview and whether it was possible for us
9 to draw any conclusion as to my responsibility regarding the Srebrenica
10 events and whether he, or rather, the Prosecution was intending to issue
11 an indictment. And he said, I will quote his words to the extent I can
12 remember, he said: Mr. Deronjic, at this point I do not think that you
13 are guilty of the Srebrenica events; however, I am not in charge of
14 issuing indictments. I have presented the results of my investigation to
15 the Office of the Prosecutor and it is the Prosecutor who will adopt the
16 final decision. However, if I may say, I don't think that you should be
17 concerned too much on the basis of what I know.
18 I, on the other hand, had a lot of things to worry about at the
19 time, my family and so on and so forth, so I wanted to know as much as
20 possible. And I also intended to surrender in case an indictment was
21 issued against me. When I spoke about Glogova during this particular
22 interview, a document was shown to me, a document originating from the
23 military tribunal in Republika Srpska, to which tribunal I gave a
24 statement in which I admitted my guilt with respect of the events in
25 Glogova. And I knew at that point that any future indictment would be
1 based on my participation in the events in Glogova.
2 Q. At a minimum?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Okay. We'll deal with this issue at some other point.
5 But now that we've covered that information, you indicated that
6 after you dismissed your lawyers you began reading with the Office of the
7 Prosecution, at their request and at their designated locations, which you
8 had insisted to be outside of Pale or outside of government buildings
9 because out of fear that there may be some leakage or some tapping of the
10 information, the conversations, and you wished to speak freely to the
11 Office of the Prosecution. And I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's
12 the gist of your testimony, is it not?
13 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. That's a misstatement of the
14 testimony, in that he additionally said that he deliberately avoided -- he
15 deliberately protected himself and Mr. Karadzic. And that is a
16 misconstruction of the testimony, and I think it is improper.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I haven't said anything about Mr. Karadzic. I
18 don't know, maybe he's getting the wrong translation.
19 JUDGE LIU: No, no, no, Mr. Karnavas. I think your question is
20 subject to various interpretations.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll break it down, but it's rather far fetching,
22 the one that I'm hearing from the Prosecution.
23 Q. At some point, Mr. Deronjic --
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, the gratuitous comments I would
1 object to. I don't want to make a big thing out of it, but since time is
2 of the essence, the issue that Mr. Karnavas keeps going over and over
3 again is this one we've talked about where Mr. Deronjic has already
4 admitted that he was not truthful with the Prosecutor and he's tried to
5 protect himself, tried to protect Karadzic. And for various reasons, one
6 including the reason Mr. Karnavas just said, that he was concerned about
7 his security.
8 Now, Mr. Karnavas has gone over and over this issue, and as is his
9 right. But at some point it becomes so repetitive that it wastes time.
10 And I think Mr. Deronjic has shown that he will continue to answer the
11 questions the same way he did to me, the same way he did to Mr. Karnavas.
12 And I don't know how many times he has to say that. It seems that we're
13 getting repetitive.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, if I may briefly respond. If the
15 Office of the Prosecution does not wish for lawyers like myself to be
16 repetitive, I suggest when they question witnesses and when they have
17 qualified lawyers such as Harmon or McCloskey at those meetings, they
18 should not be going over the same material over and over and over and over
19 again. Why are they being repetitive. So I'm only working with their
20 information. So if Mr. McCloskey thought it was necessary for their
21 office to go over the same ground of material year after year after year,
22 meeting after meeting after meeting, Mr. McCloskey has no basis and no
23 right to stand here and suggest that I should not go into each and every
24 statement. I'm entitled to this. And I think I've been rather quick to
25 the point and I'm about to go into this area one last time and then we're
1 going to leave it because there's one last statement. And I'm trying to
2 make sure that I understand the witness and that the witness is clear as
3 to why he was meeting the Prosecutor on April 8th and 9th in Banja Luka,
4 the very last time he met with them before he was arrested, the very last
5 time he gave a statement.
6 JUDGE LIU: Well, I think your question is proper, but the matter
7 we raised, it seems to me that there is no dispute about that. Both
8 parties as well as the witness agreed that Mr. Deronjic made some
9 untruthful statement previously, previously. I think that's why the
10 Prosecution asked the witness many times before. So I hope you could
11 conduct your cross-examination in an expeditious way.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
13 Q. Mr. Deronjic, you met with the Office of the Prosecution on April
14 8th and 9th of 2002, did you not?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. That was in Banja Luka in and safe and secure environment that was
17 provided to you by the Office of the Prosecution, was it not?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And by this point in time you had been talking to the Office of
20 the Prosecution since February 4, or even before that --
21 A. Yes, beginning with December 1990.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues]... And so here we are four and a
23 half years later or four years later, you do the math, and you are meeting
24 with them yet once again, but this time in a place where you feel
25 comfortable that you can speak freely to the Prosecution. Is that
2 A. As far as safety is concerned, I did feel safe, certainly. If you
3 meant fear that information may leak, I did get actual confirmation that
4 information did leak, even from that venue. I was even informed that my
5 statements reached the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia and that
6 they were reviewed by Mr. Vujin and studied by the General Staff. So not
7 that I had misgivings, I had absolute certainly that my statements did
9 Q. So they must have been leaking from the Office of the Prosecutor
10 because at least the other statements that you were being given, at least
11 the one in 12 March 2001 was also given - I'm not finished with the
12 question, Your Honour - was given in Banja Luka --
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, that's an allegation. There should be some --
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, I'm not suggesting that they were leaking but
15 he's made the point, Your Honour. He's made the point, so there can only
16 be one other place. Now he's no longer in a government building, he's
17 with the Office of the Prosecution. And I certainly am not alleging that
18 they're leaking information, but the gentleman seems to be making that --
19 JUDGE LIU: The question that you put, you may say that, are you
20 suggesting that --
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I could phrase it that way, Your Honour.
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could go into closed session very briefly, I
23 might be able to help this situation.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll go to private session.
25 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. Now, prior to your meeting of April 8th and April 9th of 2002, you
2 had been gathering as much information as you good about the events in
3 Srebrenica or about what the Office of the Prosecution might have as far
4 as documents that could possibly tie you in to the events of Srebrenica.
5 Is that not a fact, Mr. Deronjic?
6 A. I regularly did that to the extent of my possibilities, to the
7 extent of my ability, in order to prepare as best I could.
8 Q. Right. Because after you had been declared a suspect and after
9 Mr. Ruez refused your request to tell you exactly what portions of the
10 your statement had been responsible or were responsible for the changing
11 of your status from witness to suspect, you began trying to find
12 information in order to have answers for the Prosecution in the event or
13 during the events of your questioning?
14 A. I have already answered this question. I always try to gather as
15 much information as I could.
16 Q. I know. But see, my question -- that question was designed to
17 motive, motive in order to -- you know, one is, yes, this is what I did.
18 The next question was: Why did you do it? And of course if I were to ask
19 you why, I suspect the answer would be because you wanted to have
20 information so you would have time with you and perhaps your friendly
21 contacts to form chronologies or to form coordinated answers in the event
22 you or others were being questioned by the Office of the Prosecutor.
23 A. Well, as far as some events are concerned, I tried to put things
24 together as far as I could. And I had my own reasons. I don't want to
25 repeat them. And I adhered to that position until the bringing of the
1 indictment. And to this day I don't want to say that this was the only
2 reason for my decision, there were several reasons, but the fact is that
3 is what I decided and I am abiding by it. Certain sensitive things that I
4 judged could harm President Karadzic and could perhaps harm my personal
5 status, I decided to keep quiet about.
6 The confusion, if you allow me Mr. Karnavas, the confusion about
7 that second meeting, when I mean that there are things I decided to leave
8 out, they have to do mainly with that second meeting in Pale and my
9 conversation with Mr. Beara, which I could elucidate if you ask me
10 specific questions. But with regard to my second visit to Pale, the
11 confusion was created when I received information from my friends that we
12 had entered Srebrenica on the 14th of July. I will name names:
13 Mr. Petko Pavlovic, chief of the security station in Srebrenica;
14 Bane Katanic [phoen], who later became president of the municipality in
15 Srebrenica; and some other people who all claimed in unison that we were
16 in Srebrenica on the 14th of July and that we set up civilian authorities
17 there. The truth is that they all did enter, but that didn't include me.
18 And the fact that they entered Srebrenica on the 14th of July was
19 something with which I couldn't fit in, my own visit to Pale. And that's
20 the reason why I left that out.
21 Q. Mr. Deronjic, we're going to be here for the next couple of weeks
22 if you continue to answer questions in that fashion. All right. Now,
23 that was not the question that I asked. Let me be concrete about it.
24 Were you not in Belgrade, according to your previous statement, a
25 statement that you gave on 12 March 2001, where you assert, and I'm
1 quoting from page 13, you assert that you accidentally -- you said: "I
2 accidentally got a text where it was stated that this was recorded, the
3 conversation between President Karadzic." And you're referring to your
4 conversation with President Karadzic on the night of the 13th, that
5 intercept. Okay.
6 Now, my question is: Based on your assertions here, is it not a
7 fact that you were in or you claim to have been in offices in Belgrade
8 that were devoted to the investigation of crimes in Bosnia where you were
9 searching for documents trying to find a way to learn as much as the
10 Prosecutor had on you so you could concoct and create and manufacture and
11 fabricate answers that would somehow get them to believe that you were not
12 involved in Srebrenica in any way, shape, or fashion?
13 A. The reply is yes. But in your question you made an assertion that
14 I went to Belgrade in order to get some documents. That is not accurate.
15 I had already told the Prosecution that in Belgrade on one occasion I
16 received an invitation from a person who asked me to refute a piece of
17 news that had been published, and he brought a transcript, in fact a
18 recording of a conversation between me and Karadzic, and asked me to
19 refute it, to deny that it happened. I refused to do that and I had no
20 opportunity to even investigate further in Belgrade.
21 Q. Now, by 2002, when you are being questioned, by this point in
22 time, you know for a fact that the Prosecutor is keenly aware of your
23 participation in the events in Srebrenica and is particularly insistent in
24 getting an accurate account of what happened during those critical days.
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And on this particular two-day session that you had, April 8th and
3 April 9th, 2002, Mr. Harmon, a Prosecutor whom I believe you have come to
4 be -- to spend some -- quite a bit of time with, was asking questions as
5 well as the investigators. Correct?
6 A. Yes. At that last official interview, Mr. Harmon was present.
7 Q. Okay. Well, he was not merely present, he was also asking you
9 A. That's true.
10 Q. I would take it that by the fact that a Prosecutor was asking
11 questions, that might have, at least in your mind, made the questions
12 somewhat more significant?
13 A. I cannot agree with that.
14 Q. Okay. In other words, you were going to be as truthful with
15 Harmon as you had been with Mr. Ruez and all of the others?
16 A. The decisions that I had made earlier I did not change on that
18 Q. Okay. Were you trying to be honest and truthful with Mr. Harmon
19 on that occasion, or were you trying to fabricate and provide false
20 information; which of the two?
21 A. How on earth can I be completely sincere and honest? I am
22 repeating for the umpteenth time that I had decided already to leave
23 certain things out. It is up to you to understand that as you wish.
24 That's your right and I don't want to interfere with it.
25 Q. All right. Now, there's a difference between omitting to tell the
1 truth and deliberately providing false information. Would you agree with
2 me on that?
3 A. I agree.
4 Q. And so if I understand your answer correctly, on April 8th and
5 April 9th, 2002, you were not providing false information, but rather, you
6 were omitting some conduct of yours that might somehow get you involved in
7 a Srebrenica indictment?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. That's compound, which makes it
9 extremely difficult to answer. I have no objection to both questions.
10 JUDGE LIU: Well --
11 MR. KARNAVAS: Why don't we see if the witness can answer the
12 question before Mr. McCloskey jumps up and down. I think the gentleman is
13 quite averse to answering questions and he's quite clever and very, very
15 JUDGE LIU: You know the objections should be before the answer,
16 otherwise it's meaningless.
17 Secondly, as for this question, I don't think it's a compound
19 Mr. Deronjic, do you understand that question? Can you answer it?
20 If you have something that you are not quite clear, you could ask a
21 question to Mr. Karnavas.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understood the question,
23 Your Honour. I will answer.
24 Here it is: I agree with your assertion that I tried to provide
25 accurate information about those things that I thought did not risk to
1 establish a link between me and Mr. Karadzic. I tried, as I say, but I'm
2 not saying that I have indeed told the whole truth at that moment and
3 perhaps it is also true that I didn't even know the whole truth at that
5 MR. KARNAVAS:
6 Q. So it's not that you were trying to protect Mr. Karadzic, because
7 after all he had been indicted; you were trying to protect yourself?
8 A. And Mr. Karadzic, I have already said that. Because the roles we
9 played are in some ways linked.
10 Q. All right. We're going to talk about that. But before, if I
11 could with the -- I could direct your attention now. I'm going to refer
12 to this transcript, and it's page 131. This would be April 9th. I will
13 provide you with the version.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: For the record it's going to be marked for
15 identification as D98/1. And, Your Honours, we do not have the entire
16 translated version of both days, because it was not provided to us. But
17 the segment that I am about to confront Mr. Deronjic with or for which I
18 want him to look at was translated. I would be asking the Office of the
19 Prosecution to translate certain other portions or, at a minimum, we have
20 the tapes readily available so Mr. Deronjic could listen to what he said.
21 And we could talk about this during the break. I will talk to Mr.
22 McCloskey about this.
23 Q. Now, I'm showing you a portion of your testimony -- or your
24 transcript, your statement. This was given on April 9th, 2002. It's an
25 official translation from the Office of the Prosecution. And if you could
1 first look at page 6, line 10, and read it all the way through to page --
2 let's keep it simple, page 7, all the way through page 7. If you could do
3 that. And for --
4 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm going to be looking at, Your Honours, pages
5 131, 132, 133, 134, 135 in this segment of my cross-examination.
6 Q. If you could just look at that very quickly, Mr. Deronjic.
7 A. Yes, I have read that part that I think is of interest to you.
9 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, if -- on page 132, and in your segment it
10 would be page 6 somewhere after line 22, towards the bottom, you say
11 that -- well, let's look at the whole point, the whole paragraph. It's
12 titled -- on the side it's number 28.4.
13 You state: "That was the order appointing me, the civilian
14 commissioner for the region of Srebrenica. That is what is literally
15 written. To be more accurate, that was the decision by the presidency of
16 the Republika Srpska. And you know that that was a tripartite
17 presidency. Mr. Karadzic, Ms. Plavsic and Mr. Koljevic. I heard about
18 that decision at the time when I was with the soldiers in the trenches, in
19 the trenches. As the president of the party, I thought it would be good
20 if I was with the soldiers on the front line. And I received that" -- I'm
21 sorry -- "and I received that through a radio or telephone link on the
22 11th. That decision was previously publicised in the media. When I say
23 "previously," I mean on that day. Two policemen came to pick me up in
24 Bratunac saying that Karadzic insisted on meeting me [unintelligible]
25 Talking to me on the phone --
1 A. To talk with him urgently on the phone.
2 Q. "To talk with him urgently on the phone. Thank you. I think I
3 called him by telephone from the command of the brigade and I think -- as
4 far as I remember now, the president told me on that occasion that that
5 decision was made and that he was going to fax it to me. I don't remember
6 whether that fax came to the SDS office or to the command, but I received
7 during the night. I am talking about the 11th. I said as soon as I had
8 read it I would go to Pale, and that was my physical contact with
9 President Karadzic in those days."
10 Now, let's stick with this at this point. From reading this text
11 after you've had several years now to reflect and to come up with an
12 accurate chronology, are you not suggesting here it was on the 11th that
13 you physically received a faxed copy of the decision that made you
14 civilian commissioner?
15 A. Yes, that's correct.
16 Q. And that would totally contradict what you stated yesterday and
17 the day before, that you did not get it until several days later, three or
18 four days later I believe was your testimony, and that's why you were
19 perhaps not fully aware of your full mandate as it related to the
20 protection of the civilians, pursuant to paragraphs 4 and paragraphs 5 of
21 that document?
22 A. I agree --
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour that's a very nice but there's no
24 question --
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, he was answering the question before
1 Mr. McCloskey interrupted. And I would appreciate if the Prosecutor would
2 try -- would stop trying to obstruct. The gentleman listened, he has to
3 wait for the interpretation as he reminded me and he has to answer the
4 question. The gentleman can certainly say yes or no.
5 JUDGE LIU: But on the other hand, try to make your question as
6 simple as possible. Your question constitutes about five or six lines in
7 the transcript. I understand that your --
8 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well. Fine, Your Honour. I'll switch styles.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, as stated before, a statement such as
11 this -- and I don't disagree with anything Mr. Karnavas is doing
12 subsequently. But the Rules of adversary procedure require him to use
13 this as either something to refresh his recollection or something to
14 impeach him. If he had asked Mr. Deronjic: Were you in the trenches with
15 the troops and Mr. Deronjic had said no, then he can impeach him with
16 this. And I think that -- it would have taken a tenth of the time.
17 That's -- reading a whole paragraph and then offering his opinions about
18 it and asking Mr. Deronjic to comment on his opinions, the same point can
19 be gotten to much more quickly and appropriately.
20 JUDGE LIU: Well, essentially I understand Mr. Karnavas's
21 question. We see some contradictory statements yesterday and as well as
22 on this document. So the question is to give the witness an opportunity
23 to us why there is a contradiction.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Precisely, Your Honour. And if I were in the
25 United States, I would be doing my cross-examination totally differently,
1 but we're not. We're in an International Tribunal. I'm new at this game.
2 Mr. McCloskey has been around a lot longer. I would suspect he would know
3 that we don't apply American rules. But anyway.
4 JUDGE LIU: Let the witness answer that question.
5 MR. KARNAVAS:
6 Q. Would you please answer that question.
7 A. I understand your question -- I'm sorry, I'm being interrupted by
8 the interpretation. Yes, I understand your question. It is true that it
9 follows from what I have been saying and what I said here in the
10 interview, that there is a contradiction. You're right about that. With
11 your permission, I would like to explain. I mean, you didn't ask a
12 question about that but I expect that you want me to explain the
14 Q. Well, before you explain the contradiction, let me inject a
15 question and then please feel free to explain all you want. You would
16 agree, would you not that based on your answer here, that one could draw
17 the conclusion that in fact you were fully aware of your mandate on the
18 night of the 11th, because you had physical -- you had physical possession
19 of the document; and moreover, you had physically gone to Pale and you had
20 spoken with President Karadzic?
21 A. I couldn't possibly agree with your assertion, Mr. Karnavas. It's
22 interesting that first you say that what we establish is full of mistakes
23 but if, however, correct. And then you're referring to something else
24 that is erroneous and saying that it is accurate. It is your right to do
25 that, but let me explain where this contradiction comes from. It is
1 understood that what I said and what I have been saying, and -- or rather,
2 compared with what I said in my last interview is correct and what I said
3 in my previous interviews is not. And let me explain why.
4 Now, I did not have this decision with me. It was not in my
5 physical possession for a very long time. When I met with the Prosecutor,
6 I found it, and for the reasons we've discussed -- we've been discussing
7 over the last several days, because part of that documentation from the
8 SDS was removed. You know that for a while I had an office in Srebrenica
9 and that the institution of civilian commissioner and the president of the
10 War Presidency functioned for a while. So we had a portion of the
11 documentation there as well. You know that the Bosniak party won the
12 elections, I don't know which year it was, and the documentation was
13 removed as a result of that and so on and so forth. So I did not have the
14 opportunity of finding -- of getting my hands on those decisions. When I
15 saw it again, I realised -- I found out when it was adopted. And as for
16 the conversation with Mr. Karadzic on the 11th of July, that is not in
17 issue, I kept asking him to send me a document, the relevant document,
18 with an explanation if possible. And we were discussing my -- the
19 possibility of my visiting him at Pale.
20 So this is what I was trying to remember. And at one point I
21 thought that perhaps I did go to Pale that evening. I mean, I keep
22 repeating this encounter. I was sure that during those days I went to
23 Pale. However, when I found the document I believe that pursuant to the
24 agreement that the president and I had, because he said, I would send you
25 tonight or fax you tomorrow this decision, because I wanted the president
1 to send me this decision so I was able to tell anyone, including
2 General Mladic, that I had been formally appointed. When I came here and
3 when it was decided -- when I decided that I should tell the whole truth
4 without concealing anything and testify to the best of my knowledge, we
5 still had to do some investigative work. I'm sorry that my lawyer is not
6 here because he would be able to confirm that. I was able to remember a
7 number of things, including how it was that I went to Pale, when exactly
8 this could have been. And the way I remember it is because on the 14th I
9 left with the Srebrenica people concerning an issue that they brought up
10 on the 11th of the evening, and they protested --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked to slow down, please.
12 We're not getting everything.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may explain please --
14 MR. KARNAVAS:
15 Q. Slow down.
16 A. So my intention was first to remember the reasons of my visit.
17 And then it would be perhaps possible to me to remember when I went. So I
18 was with the Srebrenica people, and I contacted the person by the name of
19 Dane Katanic. Later he became the president of the municipality of
20 Srebrenica. And he confirmed that he had been with me at the meeting at
21 Pale on the 14th. So we were able to establish the right date of my visit
22 to Pale and my encounter with Karadzic.
23 I asked him about the details of the meeting, but I also asked him
24 whether I had travelled alone or together with the delegation. And he
25 said, No, you did not travel with us. So that's how things started to
1 tally. And I remember certain things concerning this meeting. At this
2 meeting at Pale, the president handed me this document, a copy of this
3 document on my appointment. And it was on the basis of that that I was
4 able to reach the right conclusion as to how it all happened.
5 During the previous period of time for various reasons, people
6 were not willing to cooperate, nor was it possible for me to go and see
7 the president to ask him, Please, can you tell me when it was that you
8 sent me this decision, if this is really relevant and important for you.
9 Maybe it is. I have nothing against your believing this other version.
10 I'm not taking issue with that. But once again, the president and I
11 discussed the contents of the decision at that time. So I was familiar
12 with my competences, although I had not received the decision on time. I
13 insisted on an additional document, whereby my precise competencies and
14 responsibilities would be defined, but such a document I never received.
15 Q. Mr. Deronjic, had you received that document, hypothetically
16 speaking -- in other words, if what you're saying on the 9th is true and
17 not a lie, that would be one more physical, concrete piece of evidence
18 that would tie you closer into Srebrenica. Is it not a fact?
19 A. I never disputed the fact that I was appointed with this decision.
20 But I'm not a lawyer. I can make mistakes. The issue doesn't seem
21 relevant to me. I always maintained that I was appointed on the 11th. I
22 was given the decision subsequently. It contained my tasks. But the
23 majority of that was cleared up in my conversation with the president.
24 Formally, whether it was on the 11th or the 14th, as far as I'm concerned,
25 I'm not a lawyer, is not important, is not relevant. But it may be
1 relevant and important for you.
2 Q. Mr. Deronjic, when I have been pressing you on the point of the
3 fact that you were in charge for the safety and well being of the
4 civilians, have you not in this court under oath said, I didn't know the
5 extent of my competency because I didn't have that document? Isn't that
6 one of the arguments that you're raising here in this trial? Isn't that
7 the fact?
8 A. Yes, I agree.
9 Q. Okay.
10 A. But please, allow me to explain. You're talking about the
12 Q. The question was regarding the decision. Repeatedly you have said
13 since you didn't have physical possession of that decision to read it, you
14 didn't know your exact competencies, the exact orders that Karadzic had
15 given you.
16 A. I am saying this from my present position, in view of my present
17 position. When I decided -- when I realised that I was given that
18 decision directly by the president, unfortunately I cannot ask him, but it
19 is from that position, in view of that circumstance, that I'm maintaining
20 that I was given that decision on that time. Whether it arrived on the
21 11th or the 12th, that doesn't change anything. It does not contain
22 enough information anyway. I wanted an accompanying document whereby it
23 would be spelled out clearly what my responsibilities were, how I could
24 use various instruments to implement the decisions that I adopt and so on
25 and so forth. However, I never received a document to that effect. But
1 it's a question that I should perhaps ask of the people who adopted that
2 decision. It was not my intention to cause you problems concerning this
3 issue, but I'm still maintaining that by and large I was familiar with the
4 nature of my role. But that role was not explained in any better terms
5 than it had been directly by President Karadzic over the telephone.
6 Q. Okay. So everything that you state in this statement with respect
7 to going over -- going to Pale on the night of the 11th and speaking to
8 Karadzic, who was in the presence of Mr. Krajisnik, who then -- he had
9 left and you had a private tete-a-tete with the president, and everything
10 that you discussed about General Mladic, all of this never occurred, as
11 you have described it to Mr. Harmon?
12 A. You're talking about the 9th?
13 Q. No. I'm talking about -- according to your statement here, if we
14 go on to page 7, line 15, you say: "I found President Karadzic in front
15 of the presidency. He was accompanied by Mr. Krajisnik."
16 Now we're trying to implicate somebody else in the.
17 "But soon he left. Mr. Krajisnik did not ask me anything. I
18 talked to the president about the essence of the decision that he had
19 forwarded to me. I told him that the decision was very difficult for me
20 and did not provide me with the means to carry out."
21 Now, it's time for the break. I think it might be useful if you
22 could use -- read all the way to page 9, because I will put to you when we
23 come back the question: Do we not get the essence from these pages that
24 what you're trying to suggest is that you had a piece of paper but no
25 power to carry it out, and therefore you could not be held responsible for
1 the fate of all those citizens of Srebrenica that you were mandated to
2 protect? That's the question I will be putting to you after you have a
3 chance to read it.
4 A. I agree, though you have already put it to me. You said we're
5 going to have a break now?
6 Q. We're going to have a break -- I'm not controlling the court, but
7 it's breaktime and I think the President would like to have a break. But
8 I would like you to read those pages carefully because I will be putting
9 forward the proposition that you were trying, in the best way you could,
10 to show that you had absolutely no de facto or de jure powers to protect
11 the citizens, in spite of that piece of paper. Okay.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, we'll have our break. We'll resume at 10 minutes
13 to 11.00.
14 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.
15 --- On resuming at 10.51 a.m.
16 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
18 Q. Mr. Deronjic, during the break did you have an opportunity to read
19 the passages that I asked you to read or I suggested that you read?
20 A. Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
21 Q. And the passage that I pointed out to you, which is from what has
22 been marked as D98/1 for identification purposes, it was an interview you
23 had and this is from the 9th of April, 2002. Correct?
24 A. No.
25 Q. Was it from April -- 8 April -- or 9 April 2002, or you're not
2 A. Yes, yes.
3 Q. All right. And during that time you were being questioned by
4 Mark Harmon, were you not, or someone by the initials of MH?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And in the portions I showed to you, does it not conflict with
7 your earlier testimony that you did not go to Pale on that evening, that
8 is the evening of the 11th of July, 1995?
9 A. What earlier testimony are you referring to? I mean, generally
10 speaking, I'm not sure about the dates in all statements.
11 Q. All right. In this particular statement, do you not state that
12 you went to Pale on the 11th and that you met President Karadzic in front
13 of the presidency with Mr. Krajisnik? Does it not state that? And this
14 can be found in the English version on page 133.
15 A. Correct, yes.
16 Q. And then it states, does it not, that you had a private
17 conversation with Mr. Karadzic, that is, it was just a one-on-one with no
18 one else present there to listen in to that conversation?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. And during this conversation you state to Mr. Harmon that you had
21 expressed to President Karadzic your reservations with respect to being
22 able to carry out the mandate, as it had been given to you and as you had
23 reviewed. Correct?
24 A. Yes. Correct.
25 Q. And earlier, as you spoke before the break, you admit, at least in
1 this document, that -- and during this statement, that you had received
2 the document, physically you had received it, via fax either through the
3 office of the SDS or from the command post of the Bratunac Brigade, which
4 is where you made contact with President Karadzic via phone.
5 A. Yes. This is what I say in this document. The answer is yes.
6 Q. And in fact, one of the reasons you state for going to Pale on
7 that particular day immediately upon receiving the text is because you
8 wanted to have clear guidance on how you would implement your functions as
9 the commissioner of Srebrenica. Correct?
10 A. I have not noticed this particular allegation, but I accept it,
11 that this is what I stated as being the reason for that. But I cannot at
12 this point find the sentence.
13 Q. But you wanted clarification of -- let me rephrase it. In the
14 passages that you read, you appear to be telling Mr. Harmon that, one, you
15 had a rather difficult relationship with General Mladic. Correct?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And you were somewhat apprehensive as to whether you would be able
18 to carry out your mandate, given that the document that designated you
19 commissioner of Srebrenica did not give you authority over the military.
21 A. Correct. I was concerned about that.
22 Q. And at some point Mr. Karadzic assured you that -- or first urged
23 you to just go and try to arrange some understanding with General Mladic.
25 A. Correct.
1 Q. And he even indicated that he would be sending an order to
2 General Mladic?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. I assume, since this was -- assuming that this indeed took place,
5 that is, the meeting in Pale on the 11th and your concerns and
6 President Karadzic's assurances to you that he would be sending an order,
7 assuming that that is correct, would it not follow logically that given
8 your new position and your status as president of the SDS, that
9 President Karadzic would have copied you with that order if an order was
10 sent to General Mladic?
11 A. Yes. That is logical. It's a logical assumption.
12 Q. And I'm not assuming that everything that was done in those days
13 or those years were done with any degree of logic. But logically if we
14 were to follow Aristotelian logic, we could come to that conclusion could
15 we not?
16 A. Again, the answer is yes.
17 Q. And at no time do you ever state anywhere that you had been copied
18 with an order that might have been given by President Karadzic to
19 General Mladic?
20 A. Correct.
21 Q. And I can assume then that no such order, written order at least,
22 was ever provided to General Mladic, as far as your understanding is
24 A. That wouldn't be my conclusion. I don't know anything about it.
25 The fact that I didn't see it doesn't rule out the possibility that such
1 an order does exist.
2 Q. Right. But if we could just deconstruct that a little bit. Is it
3 not a fair characterisation that President Karadzic and General Mladic did
4 not get along very well during that period?
5 A. I do not have enough information to be able to confirm that.
6 However, I do have some knowledge that the relations were not that good.
7 Q. Okay. Well, you in fact -- and I don't have the passage here, but
8 I will be -- I will find it and confront you with it. Is it not a fact
9 that you have told the Office of the Prosecution in one of your interviews
10 that there was friction and that often Karadzic would visibly and openly
11 sort of get angry with General Mladic and his behaviour?
12 A. Yes, I remember that. However, I cannot conclude on that basis
13 only what you suggested earlier.
14 Q. Okay. Well, after the fall of Srebrenica, General Mladic is
15 kicked off his position, is he not?
16 A. I am aware with the events after the fall of Srebrenica and the
17 rift between the President Karadzic and him, yes -- to some extent.
18 Q. Well -- and the president did dismiss him, did he not, from his
19 position of being, you know, the top general?
20 A. Well, you can look at it that way, too. As far as I am aware of
21 the order, it was to a point him coordinator between the Army of Republika
22 Srpska and the Army of Srpska Krajina. I could not agree that he was
23 replaced; he was replaced in a sense. But according to the order, he was
24 appointed to a higher position, which as far as I am aware he refused.
25 And all I know about it is from the press and from second-hand sources.
1 Q. And you are aware, are you not, that several generals signed a
2 protest letter, one of them being also General Krstic, protesting the
3 approval of General Mladic from his position? Are you aware of that, yes
4 or no?
5 A. I am not aware of the details. I did hear about it, though.
6 Q. But at that period of time when there was in controversy with
7 Mr. -- with General Mladic and President Karadzic, you were still a
8 high-ranking member of the SDS. Correct?
9 A. At that point I was a member of the main board, and I discharged
10 those functions in Srebrenica.
11 Q. Right. And being -- we're going to talk about your background
12 just shortly. But being a member of the main board is rather a
13 significant position, is it not?
14 A. It is exactly what I said. The main board consists of 100 or so
15 persons. It is up to you to judge how important the position is.
16 Q. Well, were you happy to be promoted to the board after spending so
17 many years as merely the president of Srebrenica -- president of the SDS
18 of Srebrenica?
19 A. I was promoted to the main board, or rather, elected or loaned to
20 the main board in the summer of 1993 after the party renewed its activity,
21 after a one-year break. And since the member of the board from that area
22 had been killed, Goran Zekic, that is, I was loaned to the board to
23 replace him. I was not elected properly in summer 1993. Maybe,
24 Mr. Karnavas, you meant my position as vice-president, to which I was
25 elected in 1996, and I did spend one year in that position.
1 Q. No, I didn't mean that.
2 How many years were you on loan to the board?
3 A. You mean how long I remained in that position? From 1993 to 2000
4 or 1999, when I resigned. I'm not sure. In any case, my written
5 resignation exists somewhere.
6 Q. Okay. And for that entire period of time, you were on loan, as
7 you put it?
8 A. Yes. In the meantime one party elections were held. And at those
9 elections, my membership in the SDS was confirmed. And after I was
10 replaced from all the other positions, I withdrew from the main board as
11 well. But I have to add, and this fact can be verified, that in 1997 I
12 did not attend main board sessions at all. You can ask why I didn't
13 resign from that position as well. I was told that elections were coming
14 soon and that it was impossible to loan somebody else, and that's why I
15 stayed. But I didn't go to sessions anymore.
16 Q. Now, from this -- the passages that we have read -- that you have
17 read, one would get the impression that what you are insinuating to
18 Mr. Harmon was that you had this document, which was a piece of paper, but
19 actually no power to carry out those functions?
20 A. When you say "I insinuated," I suppose you mean that I was trying
21 to make things look better for me. I don't see how really. Maybe there
22 is some confusion, and if the Trial Chamber allows me, because this seems
23 to be a key argument of yours, I would like to take five minutes to
24 explain the matter and to remove any inclarity. If the Trial Chamber
25 allows me, I would like to clarify this once and for all.
1 Q. I would like to go to the next question, Mr. Deronjic, as opposed
2 to giving you the floor for five minutes, and then you can clarify it at
3 some other point in time.
4 You were complaining to Mr. -- President Karadzic that you did not
5 have the necessary means to carry out his mandate, the mandate that he had
6 given you. Correct?
7 A. Correct. And that was the truth. I don't see how I can make you
8 see if you won't allow me to explain. We were talking about this on the
9 phone on the 11th in the evening --
10 Q. Mr. Deronjic, I don't mean to interrupt, but we're going to go
11 question, answer, question, answer --
12 A. Well, please. How can I tell you if you imply that I'm talking to
13 Karadzic at Pale? I can't say yes to that. If you are implying some
14 other possibility, then the answer would be, yes, we talked on the phone,
15 and that's true. And if you want me simply to say yes, that would be
16 untrue, because that would imply that we met. We've talked on the phone.
17 If you don't allow me to remove this inclarity, I don't see how I can
18 establish the fact.
19 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: I would object to any insinuations that
21 Mr. Deronjic cannot explain his answers, though I would agree with
22 Mr. Karnavas that perhaps five minutes is not appropriate.
23 JUDGE LIU: Maybe the word you used, Mr. Karnavas, is not correct,
24 that is insinuated.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: I understand, Your Honour. I understand. It was a
1 conclusion perhaps that one wishes to draw on cross-examination, but I
2 will rephrase.
3 Q. From your -- just from the answer you just gave us, I take it the
4 passages that you read during the break because you claim that this is
5 a -- this is what happened in Pale with Karadzic, who you saw, with
6 Krajisnik, and all the other matters that are related to these pages are
8 A. They are not true, yes. I have to make a distinction. It's not
9 true that I was at Pale. What is true is that the conversation took
11 Q. Okay. All right. So when you told -- well, here you're trying to
12 convey to Mark Harmon in the best way you can that you were telling
13 President Karadzic that what he was asking you to do was virtually
14 impossible. Isn't that the conclusion that you wanted him to draw?
15 A. Yes, that is true. And I told President Karadzic that much, but
16 not in a meeting but in a telephone conversation. And I can tell you more
17 things about our comments regarding Mladic that we exchanged during that
18 conversation. We used --
19 Q. Excuse me. I just asked a simple question; you answered it.
20 Thank you.
21 Now, the next question is: Would it not be logical for us to
22 assume that if you tell Mark Harmon that you were there physically in
23 person talking to President Karadzic, looking into his eyes, having a
24 tete-a-tete with him, that it would be more convincing that you were
25 really trying to stress the point that you could not carry out his mandate
1 than if you were trying to tell him, You know, I had this conversation, we
2 had to speak in code, we had to worry about being intercepted, but here's
3 all the detail. Doesn't it make more sense, if you were trying to be
4 convincing, that at this point, close to five years after you had been
5 initially -- had been approached, that you would want to convey to Mark
6 Harmon, the Prosecutor, that you tried your best and that you merely had
7 was a sheet of paper that in essence was meaningless, as far as you were
8 concerned, because you could not carry out that impossible task that he
9 had put on your shoulders. Isn't that logical?
10 A. I agree, sir. And I really wish to assist. I agree that is
11 logical, but logical is not always necessarily what happened. There are
12 certain things that you seem to infer, and I cannot say that your
13 inferences are illogical. However, there are other possibilities. I'm
14 not saying -- I don't know exactly when this happened. I'm telling you
15 about the substance of my statement, and never did I say "tete-a-tete,
16 looking into his eyes," et cetera. I'm making no comments about that. In
17 all statements I'm talking about the substance of our conversation. In my
18 view, the substance matches much more than whether it was on the 11th or
19 whether it was in direct contact or not. I agree, this is important and
20 that it may cause some confusion. But it was a telephone conversation
21 from the command of the Bratunac Brigade with an officer present. I don't
22 know if there is a recording of that telephone conversation. I don't know
23 whether the army taped such conversations at the time. I don't think this
24 leaves much room for improvisation.
25 If I can assist you further, I will tell you that I now remember
1 the words concerning Mladic. He said, You know about number one, you know
2 that my relationship with number one is disrupted. And there were many
3 other details that I recalled later in the context of this conversation.
4 But that I talked to Karadzic on the 11th on the phone at night is a fact;
5 there are witnesses to that.
6 Q. Now let's -- happily, let's move on to another subject.
7 In your statement of February 4, 1998, which has been marked for
8 identification purposes as D93/1, you stated, and I'm quoting, this is on
9 page 27 of the English version. But let me just give you -- it's a short
10 quote. You say: "I was not in a position to receive an order from the
12 Do you recall making such a statement to Mr. Ruez?
13 A. Well, I don't remember; it's off-the-cuff. I have to find it. If
14 you can tell me the page, if you are reading from somewhere.
15 Q. All right. I'll read you the whole segment. And on the English
16 version, it's --
17 A. You don't have to read it out loud, just tell me which page it is.
18 Q. Just one second. I apologise for this inconvenience, but I'll
19 read it while we're trying to search the place. You were asked by
20 Mr. Ruez: "Is there anything that you would like to add and we didn't
21 raise during our conversation?"
22 And at some point you say -- you will get it, just a second.
23 A. Just tell me --
24 Q. I will read it and we will search for the page. You state, and
25 this is on page 27, line 9 in the English version: "And I would like to
1 point out that my relationship with the military structures, military
2 authorities, was very complicated because they were dealing with issues of
3 war and I was not in a position to receive an order from the president to
4 give orders to the military authorities in relation to this evacuation of
5 the population. Even if I was authorised to do something like that, I
6 think that would have only aggravated that relation and made it more
8 A. I'll take your word for it. There's no reason for me to read it
10 Q. I'm told that we don't have a translation of that part, but we do
11 have the -- we could get the tape. Okay.
12 So was it correct for you to state back then that you were not in
13 a position to receive an order from the president? Was that a correct
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. That is a -- that's not a complete
16 statement. It -- that takes it out of context. There's a few more words
17 that provide it with the real meaning.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, let me ask the -- let me rephrase the
20 Q. What did you mean when you said that you were not in a position to
21 take an order from the president?
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Again, same objection --
23 MR. KARNAVAS: In this context.
24 JUDGE LIU: Well, Prosecution believes that there is some few
25 words left out by you. Could you please add it.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't know what he's talking about, Your Honour.
2 I'll read it again.
3 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's simple. You're not -- what he says is he
4 wasn't in a position to take orders from the president regarding ordering
5 the army.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Now that we have the Prosecution's version in cuing
7 the witness. I think I can go on to my next question, Your Honour.
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's absolutely unfair for him to leave out the
9 critical part of the thing. It's improper. It's unfair. I don't know if
10 he meant to do it.
11 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I believe if you want to read a
12 statement, you have to read it concretely.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
14 Q. Let me read that portion again.
15 "And I also want to point out my relations with the military
16 structures, military authorities, was very complicated because they were
17 dealing with issues of war and I was not in a position to receive an order
18 from the president to give orders to the military authorities in relation
19 to this evacuation of the population."
20 Can you please tell us, what did you mean by that back on February
21 4, 1998?
22 A. What I meant is this: I had not received any written
23 authorisation, I called it order, that I was appointed to that function,
24 to that position, and that I was entitled to give orders to Mladic and
25 that he was under obligation to obey what I said.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you. If we -- if I could go on to another matter
2 before we -- I ask you questions about your background. In your statement
3 given on 21 October 1999, which has been marked as D95/1 for
4 identification purposes. At one point, and this can be found -- we have
5 the translated version. For you it would be on page P33. I believe it's
6 lines 12 to 20, but I'm only interested in one particular line. In the
7 English version it's page 33, line 18.
8 You state to a question posed by Mr. Ruez: "I am not such a big
9 acquaintance of Karadzic, unfortunately."
10 So I thought before we would go into your background, you could
11 perhaps clarify to us, how is it that in 1999, October 21, you state to
12 Mr. Ruez: "I am not such a big acquaintance of Karadzic, unfortunately."
13 How could you make that statement?
14 A. Will you give me the page number, please --
15 Q. Page 33 --
16 A. -- So that I can place it in context. My version is not
17 paginated; I have to count.
18 Q. Okay. If I could have the assistance of -- Mr. Deronjic, I will
19 help you out here. You were asked a question by Mr. Ruez a few lines
20 earlier: "But the police who are supposed to be loyal to the president
21 and inform the president if others are doing things which are not in the
22 interests of the country might have spoken with you, since you are a close
23 acquaintance with President Karadzic."
24 Your answer: "I am not such a big acquaintance of Karadzic,
1 And then you go on to say: "But I personally haven't talked about
2 it, nor have I had any kind of information. To be straight as a human
3 being, if it really happened, every information I'll get in possession,
4 you know, I'll make available to you."
5 Question: Was it true back in 1999 when you said that you were
6 not a big acquaintance of President Karadzic?
7 A. Mr. Karnavas, I don't know what it says in the English version.
8 And for the time being, I must note that you are not quoting accurately.
9 What you have is a translation, and what I have is what I really said in
10 my native tongue. Jean Rene Ruez is suggesting that I am a close
11 acquaintance of Mr. Karadzic, and I told him: You know what, I am really
12 not a person who knows Karadzic that well. How can you claim that I am a
13 close acquaintance of Karadzic, whom I hadn't even known until the SDS was
14 established? There are so many people who know him much better than I do.
15 I never went to his house; I never socialised with him. It was constantly
16 suggested in interviews and in other contexts that I was a very good
17 friend of Mr. Karadzic, and that is absolutely incorrect. We had a
18 strictly official relationship. I did know him, and we did get to know
19 each other a little better when I became president of the party. And I
20 said, place the emphasis properly, please, I don't know Karadzic all that
21 well. If I had been such a good friend of his, he would have appointed me
22 prime minister or something. You can judge by the function that he did
23 appoint me to how well I knew him.
24 Q. Okay. Well, let me just deal with it one by one. Does it not
25 state, even in your version, that you are trying to suggest that you're
1 not a big acquaintance of President Karadzic? Read exactly what it says,
2 read exactly what your answer is --
3 A. That's what I'm saying.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. He's already done that and it sounded
5 very similar. It's a waste of time.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm entitled to do my
7 cross-examination. And as far as wasting time, I'm entitled to pin this
8 witness down because he's indicated and the Prosecution is going to argue
9 that the reason why he was untruthful before was because he was trying to
10 protect Karadzic and now we hear he hardly knows the man. This was 1995
11 he was being asked of Mr. -- President Karadzic. He just stated that even
12 at that point in time he was hardly acquainted with the man. What we have
13 here is the highest authority in Bratunac, a man who was solely
14 responsible. The Prosecution has gone in front of the cameras and said,
15 We don't have evidence to indict this man. They may have a reason why
16 they wish to protect this gentleman. But I'm entitled to get to the truth
17 and I am entitled to suggest that one of the reasons why he begins to
18 fabricate after he's given his deal. That's what I'm getting at, Your
19 Honour. And that's what I'm trying to -- I'll pin him down. Does he know
20 the man or does he not. And if not, we're going to go through his
21 background next. That's why I wanted him to give me an answer. Because
22 When we go through his background it becomes crystal clear.
23 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I believe the witness has already
24 read that part of his statement already and you have already asked this
25 question before, at least once. So I think the question will be very
1 simple: Does he know this man or not, as you said. It's a very simple
2 question. Why make things more complicated for us?
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I have to warn you
5 about one thing. You have just said -- please, I haven't even answered
6 the previous question --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: I haven't asked a question, Your Honour. I haven't
8 asked a question. I haven't -- there's no question posed to the witness.
9 Mr. McCloskey objected; I responded; there was a ruling. I have --
10 there's no question posed to the gentleman.
11 JUDGE LIU: Let's here Mr. McCloskey.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. Karnavas has had a long response which made
13 some comments characterising certain things Mr. Deronjic had said. This
14 is not generally appropriate for a response to an objection, and I believe
15 Mr. Deronjic appears to be wanting to respond to what he said. And I
16 don't see, given the comments, that that shouldn't be allowed.
17 JUDGE LIU: Let's hear what the witness is going to tell us.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas is using every
20 opportunity to make assertions. He says, for instance, a moment ago he
21 said: Mr. Deronjic, in his statement, says that he hardly knew Karadzic.
22 Let me read the sentence once again. I'm not going to say that it's just
23 an insinuation. Let's say it's an omission.
24 In this sentence I say: "You know what, and you realise how
25 people get nervous when they say, you know what." So what I say is: "I'm
1 not such a big acquaintance of Karadzic," and so on and so forth. And you
2 are trying to say that I hardly knew Karadzic. Could you please identify
3 those words for me? I cannot allow such qualifications, qualifications
4 which have nothing to do with what I actually said in the statement.
5 MR. KARNAVAS:
6 Q. Okay. Mr. Deronjic, I want to be very fair from you. I was
7 reading from the text. The text here says that you know note to the
8 question, Mr. Ruez, who is a trained investigator and whom we had the
9 opportunity to meet here in court. He poses a question. He insinuates
10 perhaps in his question, where he says: "You are a close acquaintance
11 with President Karadzic." The question is why did you control the police
12 and why are the police not responding to you since you were a close -- a
13 big -- acquaintance. And your response, and I quote, is: "I am not such
14 a big acquaintance of Karadzic, unfortunately."
15 That's what it states in English. Does it state that in Srpski?
16 A. No. It says as follows: "You know what, I really don't know
17 Karadzic all that well."
18 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you very clarifying that. Now -- and I
19 apologise, because I'm reading the English version. I'm not trying to
20 trick you.
21 Could you please explain to us what you meant when you said you do
22 not know him that well, given that the -- right now we're talking about
23 1999. You're being asked about events in 1995. And as we will learn when
24 we go into your background, you had been closely associated with the SDS,
25 almost from its inception several years earlier.
1 A. I will answer your question, but please, Mr. Karnavas, you keep
2 asking questions and then you proceed with qualifications of that
3 question. So I don't know what I have to give an answer for. But let me
4 try. With respect to numerous statements concerning myself that I had an
5 opportunity of seeing, in a number of articles published during the war
6 and after the war in the media, in particular in Bosnia, I was able to
7 read all kinds of descriptions of myself. There was one that occurred
8 often, which I remember very well. Miroslav Deronjic is Karadzic's right
9 hand. What does it really mean? Legally, of course it doesn't mean
10 anything. What does a right hand mean? What does a right arm mean?
11 Also I read descriptions to the effect that we were close friends.
12 I know what the truth is. And when you come to that, I will tell you
13 exactly how the relationship between Mr. Karadzic and myself evolved. Now
14 I'm skipping this because we haven't yet touched the subject. Here I
15 became very irritated, and you can see this from the beginning of my
16 sentence when I say: Now let me tell you, I'm not -- I don't know
17 Karadzic very well. So this is what I said, and not what you're trying to
18 suggest that I said to Mr. Ruez, that I was a big friend of Mr. Karadzic.
19 I never went to see him at his home, nor did he ever come to my house, but
20 we did meet from time to time. And I hope I will have an opportunity to
21 explain that.
22 Q. So are you suggesting that we should accept the answer that you
23 gave, that you did not know Karadzic very well? Should we accept that as
24 being a truthful and complete answer?
25 A. No. That's not what I said. I'm just trying to say that we
1 should agree as to the extent to which I knew Karadzic. I will tell you
2 precisely when we come to that. But I have never said that I did not know
3 Karadzic enough.
4 Q. I'm using your own words, Mr. Deronjic. You say: "I did not know
5 him very well." My question is: Is that true? Is it a fact that you did
6 not know him very well? Is it a fact?
7 JUDGE LIU: Well, yes, Mr. McCloskey?
8 MR. McCLOSKEY: It's been asked and answered several times. The
9 answer I most remember was that he was business colleagues with him, that
10 they didn't go over to each other's house. This is a very typical
11 response for such a normal question. And this beating this one phrase
12 into the ground is a waste of time.
13 JUDGE LIU: Yes, I agree with Mr. McCloskey.
14 Mr. Karnavas, you may move on. And you promised the witness to
15 ask some background questions. Maybe after those questions we could get a
16 good sense of how well this witness knew Mr. Karadzic.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour. I was trying to get a
18 solidification of that before we went on.
19 Q. But let's talk about your background.
20 Now, Mr. Deronjic, as I understand it, you are from the Bratunac
21 area. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes. I was born in that municipality, and I spent most of my life
24 Q. And I take it at some point after graduating from secondary
25 school, you went on to university. Correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. If I am correct, that was in Sarajevo?
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Where you completed your studies and you earned a degree?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And what was that degree in, sir?
7 A. My title is professor of Serbo-Croatian language, that was the
8 official name of the language at the time. Changes have occurred in the
9 meantime. So I'm a teacher of the Serbo-Croatian language. I also have a
10 degree in the history of literature, A and B. It was a double major. And
11 also history of the literature of the Yugoslav peoples. I'm trying to
12 remember the exact name.
13 Q. Okay. Now, do you have a Ph.D., a doctorate degree, or were you
14 double majoring or triple majoring when you were going to university?
15 A. No. I attended graduate studies, though. And I completed some
16 exams, but I never finished, I never obtained a degree in post-graduate
18 Q. Now, I take it after you finish your university education in
19 Sarajevo, you went back to Bratunac to take a position as a teacher. Is
20 that correct?
21 A. No. For a brief period of time, for about two years, I worked in
22 Sarajevo. And I continued with my studies at the same time. After that,
23 I served my -- I did my military service, whereupon I returned to
24 Bratunac. I worked as a librarian in the grammar school in Srebrenica for
25 a while.
1 Q. Okay. And what year was that when you started working as a
3 A. I entered on duty in September 1979, but I then went into the
4 army, that is, I did my military service, my compulsory military service,
5 because I wanted to get it over with. After I finished my military
6 service, which was in the autumn of 1980, I went back to teaching, to this
8 Q. Okay. So -- well, were you teaching in 1980 or were you a
9 librarian? Which is it?
10 A. You see, officially I was employed as a librarian. At the time
11 the institution was already called a secondary education centre, but
12 because I was a teacher I was often hired to do some teaching, which I did
13 gladly. I used to like to teach. I don't remember exactly how long I did
14 that. I think I followed through a whole generation, but I cannot exactly
15 recall how long, how many years, I spent teaching.
16 Q. Now, did you hold any other jobs before you came involved in
18 A. If we take into account the jobs that I had in Sarajevo, yes, but
19 they were not, strictly speaking, linked with teaching. For a while I
20 worked at the local Sarajevo radio, then I worked at Ilidza in the local
21 grammar school there, and then after that I went back to Srebrenica, so
22 that's all. Yes, I forgot one thing. Between 1983 and 1985, I was in
23 France. And I taught children of Yugoslav seasonal workers in France.
24 Q. Okay. So -- and after -- between 1985 and 1990, did you hold any
25 other jobs, other than being a teacher?
1 A. Could you specify the year? I mean, I didn't get the years.
2 Q. Well, when did you become involved in SDS politics?
3 A. Again, I don't know the exact date, but it was in August 1990.
4 Q. 1990, okay. And that's when the SDS party was being formed, was
5 it not, if I'm not mistaken?
6 A. No. The party was established on the 12th of July, 1990, and
7 preparations were underway in Bratunac until mid-August. But I didn't
8 take any part in these preparations.
9 Q. Okay. Now, we're going to get to that. But before -- between
10 August 1990 and the time that you returned from France, 1985, did you hold
11 any other jobs other than being a teacher and/or a librarian?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Now, in Bratunac, I understand, the SDS was formed in or around
14 August 1990. Correct?
15 A. The exact date is the 2nd of September. That is the official date
16 when the founding assembly met. Preparations, however, were underway from
17 May and June. At the same time, preparations were taking place at the
18 level of the republic.
19 Q. And who was elected as the first president of the SDS in Bratunac?
20 A. Miroslav Deronjic.
21 Q. Yet, Miroslav Deronjic was not involved in the preparation for the
22 establishment of the SDS party in Bratunac. Correct?
23 A. Correct. I was elected president at the first meeting I attended.
24 Q. And how is it, I guess -- and I would like a your full and --
25 explanation. How is it that a teacher/librarian, with a couple of years
1 out in France teaching workers, how is it that somebody like you who is
2 not even involved in the formation of the party rose to the position of
3 president of the SDS at its inception?
4 A. Well, I myself am not fully clear as to how it all happened. I
5 toyed with the possibility of establishing another party, and I spoke of
6 that with the Prosecutor. I sort of hesitated between the SDS and Serbian
7 renewal movement. I paid a visit to the leadership of those parties in
8 Serbia as well. However, these concepts were not -- could not live in
9 this area.
10 Then I accepted an invitation of a friend to attend a meeting in
11 Ljubovija in a nearby town in Serbia, where a party was apparently being
12 established. And I knew it was about the SDS, which had already been
13 established. I was curious and went there for information. I had never
14 been a member of the League of Communists and I paid a high price for
15 that. So, at that moment I wanted to become politically involved,
16 politically active. So I went to this meeting in Ljubovija. The agenda
17 had also the item of the appointment -- election of the president, or
18 rather the representative of this party. I did not know the majority of
19 the people there, and -- but however, they asked me whether I would be
20 willing to accept this role. I was somewhat surprised, but I said, Why
21 not. I must admit that I was quite ambitious at the time.
22 So they voted on this proposal. I had one opponent, but I think I
23 got all of the votes. And I was elected president of the SDS, or rather,
24 the president of the coordination committee, which was on the agenda. But
25 soon we had our assembly, our founding assembly, and this appointment was
1 accepted. And I became president of the local SDS.
2 Q. May I ask who was the friend that suggested that you go to this
3 party, this party meeting, or this meeting in Ljubovija?
4 A. Yes. Mikan Katanic is his name. He is a fisherman as well. We
5 know each other as fisherman, and it was from the Drina that we went to
6 this meeting in his car.
7 Q. And prior to that, as you indicated, you were not involved in the
8 League of Communists. Correct?
9 A. No, never.
10 Q. And as I understand it, military officers were viewed to have been
11 associated with the communist party, correct, or the JNA?
12 A. That is how I viewed them, not all of them, of course.
13 Q. Not all of them, but -- and I don't want to interrupt the flow of
14 your background, but since we're here, during the years, during those war
15 years, that was one of the reasons why there was constant conflict between
16 the military and the civilian government was because the SDS was primarily
17 non- and anti-communist, whereas the military was viewed as part of that
18 old system. Correct?
19 A. By and large, yes.
20 Q. Now -- moving along. At that point in time when you were voted in
21 as president of the SDS in Bratunac or for the Bratunac municipality, who
22 was the president of the SDS of the Republika Srpska?
23 A. Mr. Karadzic.
24 Q. Can we assume that Mr. Karadzic would have learned of your
25 selection or election to that particular position?
1 A. When I was elected president of the party on the 2nd of September,
2 yes. He could have learned of that at the time, because there is written
3 notification of that. As to the election, pre-election activities and
4 various initiatives that preceded it, no, I don't think so. Because this
5 was all based on the initiative of other members of the party.
6 Q. And before we go on, you mentioned that you were quite ambitious
7 during that period. Would it be correct to assume that given your rise in
8 that party, given your involvement over the years, that ambition never
9 ceased from the period that you were elected president to after the fall
10 of Srebrenica?
11 A. No. No, it would not be correct to assume that. I lost my
12 ambition very early on. I can explain. I think I even gave an interview
13 in which I took it upon myself to leave -- abandon all political functions
14 once the war is over.
15 Q. Well, I'm not talking about once the war is over. The war was
16 over after the fall of Srebrenica. So my question was: Did your appetite
17 for ambition to move up the ladder in SDS politics, did it cease during
18 that period of time or did it remain constant, if not ever so increasing?
19 A. Quite the contrary. My ambition became extinct in 1992. The
20 interview that I mentioned was given in 1992. The name of the local paper
21 is Nasa Rijec. It is based in Bratunac. I was disappointed with the
22 events that took place in 1992. And I said -- I took it upon myself to
23 leave politics by the end of the war, which gives you a clear indication
24 as to how ambitious, in terms of politics, I was in 1992.
25 Q. All right. Well, we'll talk about that as we go down your
1 background. But when you say -- when you refer to the events of 1992, are
2 you referring to the events in Glogova in 1992?
3 A. All of the events that took place in 1992, from April, perhaps
4 even before April, up until late June when this period was over.
5 Q. We're going to talk about it right after the break. We'll move on
6 next and we'll discuss the period of 1992 somewhat extensively. But isn't
7 it a fact, Mr. Deronjic, that after the sacking and the burning of
8 Glogova, you went to Pale where, in essence, after giving a report about
9 what had occurred under your leadership, you were congratulated?
10 A. What do you mean I was congratulated? I had an applause when I
11 said that, but please be precise as to the reasons why I went to Pale. I
12 didn't go there to get an applause; I went there to tell what had
14 Q. Right. And I was trying to get you to come up with the
15 appropriate language, which was that you got an applause from the audience
16 that was there listening to you describe your victorious campaign in
17 Glogova when it was sacked and burned under your leadership as the
18 president of the SDS at a time when, you now state, you were losing your
19 appetite for SDS politics?
20 A. Again you have made certain qualifications with which I cannot
21 agree. You used the term "victorious campaign." That is certainly not
22 correct. I went there to say what had happened. And it is true I was a
23 local leader, a leader from Bratunac, and I thought that it was necessary
24 for me to tell them what had happened. I didn't go in the spirit that you
25 have described. I was very concerned. I went there to tell the people
1 what had happened. And the minister -- the president of the government,
2 that is, Mr. Djeric was very angry. I wanted all of the relevant
3 structures to be familiar with what had happened and if I were
4 responsible -- even if I were responsible. And this is what happened and
5 this is what I wanted to say, to tell them.
6 Q. We're going to continue with your background. And then at some
7 point when we get to 1992, we'll extensively discuss Glogova and you'll be
8 given every opportunity to discuss your full involvement in those events.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We'll resume at 12.30.
10 --- Recess taken at 12.01 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 12.31 p.m.
12 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. Karnavas.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, Your Honours.
14 Q. Mr. Deronjic, I believe we left off where you had just been
15 appointed president of the SDS for Bratunac municipality. If you could
16 please give us a description as best as you can as to the powers that are
17 accorded to or were accorded to the president of the SDS party in a
18 municipality at that time.
19 A. I cannot give you a precise answer to this question because that
20 is regulated by the statute, and that is a well-known document. I don't
21 want to improvise on this. I had the regular authorisations, as envisaged
22 by the statute of the party.
23 Q. How many other parties, political parties, were involved or were
24 in existence and operating during that period of time in Bratunac?
25 A. In Bratunac, in addition to the SDS, if memory serves me well,
1 there was an SDP, the restructured League of Communists; then the movement
2 for Yugoslavia, the full name was the League of Communists' Movement for
3 Yugoslavia; then the SDA, the radical party; and I can't remember any
5 Q. Okay. And do all -- did all these parties have the same power,
6 either it be de jure or de facto, in the Bratunac municipality during the
7 period, say, of 1992 to 1995?
8 A. No. At the 1990 elections, the SDA got the majority of seats,
9 followed by SDS, and the third ranking was SDP, they won 5 per cent. We
10 could say that the rest of the votes in proportion to the composition of
11 the population reflected the ethnic composition, because Bratunac was
12 populated mostly by Serbs and Muslims.
13 Q. All right. I had asked a question with respect to 1992 to 1995,
14 not 1990. But be that as it may, in 1995 how many of these parties
15 exercised power in the Bratunac municipality?
16 A. Two parties: SDP remained in the parliament, representatives of
17 the Serbs, that is; and SDS.
18 Q. Okay. Now, you did not hold, as I understand it, any executive
19 positions throughout the entire period while you were president of the SDS
20 and I say executive positions in Bratunac, in Bratunac municipality. Is
21 that correct?
22 A. Save for my position as president of the Crisis Staff, which was
23 de jure and de facto executive position. In the remaining period, I did
24 not have any executive authority.
25 Q. Okay. And not having any executive authority did not mean that
1 you did not have power. Correct?
2 A. Depends on what you imply, de jure or de facto. De jure, I had no
3 authority; as far as de facto is concerned, it is a matter for debate and
4 that is a complex issue.
5 Q. Okay. Is it fair to say that de facto you had quite a bit of
6 power in Bratunac during those years. Is that not a fact?
7 A. To the extent that that is accurate. Do you want me to elaborate?
8 Q. Not yet. We're going to get to that. Now at what point did you
9 become president of the Crisis Staff?
10 A. In the end of April 1992. Just one more thing. There were two
11 Crisis Staffs, one within the SDS was set up in November or December 1992,
12 I have records here so we can verify, whereas the municipal Crisis Staff,
13 I was appointed president of that staff in April 1992.
14 Q. Okay. And that's the one you were president of, the municipal
15 Crisis Staff. Is that it?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Okay. Now, you said that there was a Crisis Staff within the SDS
18 that was set up in November. Were you the president of that Crisis Staff?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. So both times you were president?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And as president of the Crisis Staff, I would suspect you had
23 quite a bit of -- you had lots of power, both de jure and de facto?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And in addition to that, you were also president of the SDS.
2 A. Yes, but at that time the order had already been taken to freeze
3 the work of the SDS.
4 Q. Okay. But at some point you came back and the SDS was working
5 quite energetically, was it not?
6 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection as to vague. The various organs are so
7 different between 1995 and 1992. If we could just get more clarity on
8 date, I think that would make a better record.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well.
10 JUDGE LIU: Yes. And the question you posed to this witness is
11 too broad. What do you mean by quite energetic? It is subject to many
12 interpretations. It is difficult for the witness to answer, so please be
13 more specific.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour, very well.
15 Q. Well, Mr. Deronjic -- well, let's focus on the period when you
16 were the president of the Crisis Staff. Was it during that period when
17 the incident in Glogova occurred?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And prior to that incident, or perhaps even during that incident,
20 there were also ongoing problems in Bratunac with relations to or as
21 regards to certain volunteers who had come into the municipality.
23 A. Yes, that's correct.
24 Q. And these volunteers, if I understand it correctly, their whole
25 purpose, or at least their main purpose was to create terror in the minds
1 of certain individuals in that municipality, primarily those of -- that
2 were Muslim, in order to get them to voluntarily leave that area.
4 A. Yes. That was their main purpose, to create an interethnic
5 conflict and maybe make them leave, but not to make them leave by force.
6 Q. Right. So it would appear, at least, that this was a voluntary
7 action on their part?
8 A. On whose part?
9 Q. That it was a voluntary action on the part of those leaving, the
10 Muslims, that they were voluntarily leaving as opposed to being forcibly
12 A. There's no question of that; nobody leaves their home voluntarily.
13 People leave out of fear or because the conditions no longer allow them to
15 Q. Now, when the volunteers came, you were the president of the
16 party, correct, of the SDS?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. You were also the president of the Crisis Staff, were you not?
19 A. Of the SDS, yes.
20 Q. Of the SDS. And during that period, as I understand it, and I
21 might be wrong, for the Bratunac municipality there was also a TO, a
22 Territorial Defence, set up?
23 A. The TO had not yet been set up. It was set up when the Yugoslav
24 People's Army arrived in Bratunac.
25 Q. But that was sometime in April when it was set up, was it not,
1 prior to Glogova?
2 A. Yes, towards the end of April, the beginning of May, the staff of
3 the TO was formed out of the people who had remained, mainly Serbs.
4 Q. But the volunteers were still around, were they not, or had they
5 all left by that point?
6 A. No. A group of them was still there. Some had been killed.
7 They -- some came, others left.
8 Q. Now -- and one individual who I believe was a close associate, if
9 not perhaps a friend of yours, was associated with the volunteers, was he
10 not? And I believe you know who I'm talking about.
11 A. No, I don't. Tell me who that is.
12 Q. Goran Zekic, does that name ring a bell?
13 A. Yes, it does ring a bell. He was a close associate of mine. I
14 would even say he was a friend. And he was indeed connected with the
15 arrival of volunteers.
16 Q. Not only was he connected, but he was partaking in some of the
17 acts of terrorisation at the time, was he not?
18 A. I'm not that familiar with events in Srebrenica. It could be
19 concluded from what I know that he had taken part, yes.
20 Q. Well, it was during one of those occasions that I believe he was
21 ambushed by Naser Oric and his organisation or his colleagues, where
22 Mr. Zekic was killed. Correct?
23 A. Correct. I wouldn't say Naser Oric, though. It was a group of
24 Muslims. I don't have any information to the effect that it was
25 Naser Oric precisely. But a group of Muslims ambushed them killing Goran
1 Zekic. It happened the 8th of May. I even know the name of the man. He
2 was even awarded the order of golden lily, posthumously.
3 Q. And Goran Zekic and you were had been associated with and were
4 working together in bringing arms into the Bratunac area, were you not?
5 A. On one occasion, yes.
6 Q. Okay. And when -- Goran Zekic was also, as I understand it - and
7 I might be wrong - I believe he was also involved in the SDS party and a
8 member of the board. Is that correct?
9 A. Correct. At the outset, Goran Zekic was involved together with me
10 in the attempt to establish some other party. And when the SDS was formed
11 in Srebrenica, he was on the municipal board. After 1992, he was a
12 deputy. And from the beginning, he was a member of the board of the SDS
13 in Republika Srpska.
14 Q. And was it his death that allowed you the opportunity to move up
15 the ladder or sort of make a lateral move to also become a member of the
17 A. Well, yes. His death did result in my loaning to the board of the
18 SDS, but only after 1993.
19 Q. Right. Okay. And incidentally, if I could go back to something
20 you said earlier. You said in 1992 your appetite for ambition or your
21 ambition, I should say, for SDS politics was waning, was on the down side,
22 you know. And yet, here we have 1993, you becoming a member of the board,
23 filling in a slot of the late Goran Zekic, a close personal friend of
24 yours with whom you were bringing arms into Srebrenica, who was also
25 involved in acts of terror as you have described in your previous
1 statements. Can you give us an account. How is it that you were losing
2 your appetite, yet at the same time you were accepting positions?
3 A. I hope my answer will satisfy you. The war broke out in Bratunac,
4 in Srebrenica, and in the broader territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
5 And of course when I received the offer to be loaned to the party, I had
6 consultations, and everybody around me thought it would be very useful for
7 Srebrenica and Bratunac, which became the hotbed of that war, if I can put
8 it that way. I accepted the position and I accepted their arguments.
9 Sometimes you accept a position for good, justifiable reasons, and that
10 doesn't necessarily mean that you have the underlying ambition. Let me
11 just add that no one from Bratunac or Srebrenica at the time held an
12 important position on the regional or republican level. And if I had
13 declined the position, I suppose that we would have been left without any
14 contact with the top echelons in the republic in the conditions of war,
15 and that would not have been a good idea, I thought.
16 Q. All right. Now, in 1992, sometime in May, there was an attack on
17 Glogova. Correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And during that attack you, as the president of the SDS and
20 president of the Crisis Staff, was involved, personally involved, in that
21 attack, were you not?
22 A. Well, yes, to the extent that I explained in the factual basis.
23 Q. Right. Well, I guess let me be more concrete. You were at the
24 scene at the time of the attack. Correct?
25 A. If you mean the village of Glogova when you say the scene, that's
1 not quite true. I was several kilometres away from Glogova fulfilling a
2 specific task. That's what I explained in the factual basis.
3 Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, was it not you that ordered that a tank
4 fire into a house and then torch it in order to create panic and fear?
5 Was that not you acting in your capacity as president of the Crisis Staff
6 and president of the SDS?
7 A. Correct. That's what I said, in fact requested, at the meeting
8 that took place just before that operation. Not in Glogova itself, I
9 wasn't there issuing the order, but that's what I requested to be done at
10 the meeting that preceded the attack.
11 Q. And I take it that the house that would eventually -- or that you
12 were asking for to be fired upon was sort of indiscriminately picked. And
13 what I'm trying to suggest is in doing so you were totally -- you were
14 being totally indifferent as to whether there would be men, women,
15 children, elderly in that house. Your point was to make a point to cause
16 terror and perhaps even kill innocent people. Correct?
17 A. You drew the worst possible conclusion, and I agree it's possible
18 to draw it. In all my statements, especially in the factual basis, I did
19 not make a defence case for myself. I can give you the details, if you
20 wish. I told them to shoot at the roof using, if possible, a lighter
21 weapon. I didn't say they had necessarily to shoot at the house itself.
22 I said they could shoot at an auxiliary structure. But it was not then in
23 my mind that they should go out and kill somebody.
24 Q. But you didn't ask or you didn't order that they first try to
25 identify an empty structure, so at least if they were going to make a
1 point, they would make it in a way that there would be no loss of life.
2 Because after all, as a family man, and you know the importance of a
3 family, somebody might in there and might get killed.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
5 MR. McCLOSKEY: Yes, Your Honour. The witness has agreed with
6 Mr. Karnavas's first very clear, descriptive description of this
7 horrendous act. Now, any further goings into this is really not relevant
8 to the case, and it's not appropriate. We -- the details of 1992 Glogova
9 have been pled guilty by this man. And I am not objecting to the high
10 points of these things, but the actual detail and the repetition of things
11 that have already been brought out I don't think are necessary for this
12 particular trial.
13 JUDGE LIU: Well, in this point we tend to agree with the
14 Prosecution. I think there is a factual base attached to the plea
15 agreement or the facts that during that time was there. So there's no
16 need to go into the very details of each instance.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Yes, Your Honour. I was merely trying to make the
18 point that he had the power to order to fire at a house, just as well he
19 had the power to order to fire at a structure that was not occupied, but
20 he didn't do so. In other words, he had a total indifference to life.
21 But I will move on, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, please move on.
23 MR. KARNAVAS:
24 Q. Now --
25 A. Please. May I just state one fact?
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, the Defence counsel agreed to move on, so let's
3 MR. KARNAVAS:
4 Q. Now, when you were questioned by the Prosecutor, Office of the
5 Prosecution, back as late, I believe, as April 8 and 9, 2002, I believe
6 that you were maintaining that at that time you were simply, and merely
7 had the rank of a soldier during that incident. Correct?
8 A. Yes. And I could say the same today. I was an ordinary soldier
9 in a unit which had its commanders.
10 Q. Okay. And at that time the commander of the Territorial Defence
11 was Momir Nikolic. Correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. So if we draw the logical conclusion, as we must, that you as
14 president of the SDS and president of the Crisis Staff during this
15 campaign against Glogova, you were merely subordinate, a mere foot
16 soldier, serving within and under the ranks of Momir Nikolic, someone who
17 was also, I believe, a member of the Crisis Staff?
18 A. Momir Nikolic was not a member of the Crisis Staff, unlike what
19 you said. But by virtue of his position, he attended meetings of the
20 Crisis Staff. Your first question, though, was whether I was a regular
21 soldier. What has changed about my joining in, volunteering, if I was a
22 member of a TO unit obeying the command of that unit, Mr. Mile Bozic was
23 the commander of that unit, which I accompanied on that mission.
24 Q. Okay. The reason I mentioned that he was a member of the Crisis
25 Staff incidentally was in your statement to the Prosecutor back on April
1 8th, and I'm referring to D98/1, when posed a question: "Momir Nikolic
2 was a member of the Crisis Staff?"
3 Answer, page 42, you say: "That is correct. That's the reason
4 But in any event he was attending these meetings because he was he was the
6 A. Correct. It's just a difference in interpretation. Some people
7 were members by appointment and other people attended meetings by virtue
8 of their position, ex officio, so to speak.
9 Q. How is it that you as a member of the SDS and, a president of the
10 SDS, and just a member of the Crisis Staff, how were you able to give a
11 direct order to someone within the Territorial Defence who already had a
12 commander, that is Momir Nikolic, how were you able to give a direct order
13 for them to fire at a house? Were you exercising your de facto powers?
14 A. I did not issue an order to a member of the TO. It was a member
15 of the JNA, Captain Reljic who is captain by rank. In fact, it was not
16 the issuing of an order. I wrote a request for the army to take a firm
17 position, and that's a demand I made from the army.
18 As to the exercise of my powers, the fact that they did not fire a
19 single bullet in Glogova speaks volumes. I tried to get them to provide
20 some encouragement, but the fact is that they did not do as I asked and
21 that JNA unit did not fire a single round.
22 Q. Now, at some point there were atrocities as a result of this
23 incident, correct, that is the attack on Glogova?
24 A. Correct.
25 MR. McCLOSKEY: Again --
1 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
2 MR. McCLOSKEY: The relevance of --
3 MR. KARNAVAS: We're going to get there, Your Honour.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: There are so many atrocities in 1992, but we have
5 our own share in 1995, which are clearly directly relevant. But 1992?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Now, Your Honour, I will make it very plain and
7 simple. It may be hurtful to the Prosecution, but it will be plain.
8 Q. During those atrocities in 1992 in Glogova, those are the ones
9 that you have entered a plea of guilty. Correct?
10 A. No, I cannot agree with that. I pleaded guilty to the extent it
11 was accepted by the Prosecution that I did not order, that I did not kill,
12 that I was not present, that I did not know of those events, but that I
13 was responsible, having ordered the action. And I think the phraseology
14 used was that I should have forecast that this could happen. I cannot
15 remember the exact words. I did accept that and I pleaded guilty to that;
16 I confessed to that.
17 Q. I agree. Now, if we are to use logic, would it not stand to
18 reason that Momir Nikolic, who was the commander of the Territorial
19 Defence and was also involved in this massacre, should have also been
20 charged by the Office of the Prosecution for those deaths and those
21 atrocities? Isn't that an extension of pure and simple logic?
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Mr. Karnavas's well-known viewpoints of the Office
24 of the Prosecutor are not relevant to his questioning of this witness.
25 And he's assuming facts that have not been established. It's
2 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, we understand your point in asking
3 this question, but we don't think that is a proper question to be posed to
4 this particular witness.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
6 Q. Now, Momir Nikolic at some point, after the VRS was established --
7 the Bratunac Brigade was established, became a -- the head of the
8 intelligence and security sector of the Bratunac Brigade. Correct?
9 A. Yes, I think it's an established fact.
10 Q. And you knew that at the time?
11 A. At what time? I cannot remember. It was not that important for
12 me to remember the date.
13 Q. Okay. But I'm saying during that period. From the moment that he
14 was appointed all the way until after Srebrenica, you were aware of his
15 status in the community and also within the Bratunac Brigade. Correct?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And in fact, in reading some of your statements, you seem to
18 indicate that it was your opinion that he was in charge of the military
19 police of the Bratunac Brigade. That would be as part of his function?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And as far as I know from reading your documents, there were times
22 during those critical days in July of 1995 when you had requested or
23 ordered the assistance of military police from the Bratunac Brigade, at
24 least that's what I've been able to glean from these documents.
25 A. Yes. Just to be more precise, requested and suggested to them
1 that they requested.
2 Q. But at no time, at no time during that period, perhaps because of
3 your impression that Mr. Nikolic was in charge of the military police, did
4 you ever contact Colonel Blagojevic to make a particular request.
6 A. No.
7 Q. No meaning you never contacted him?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Okay. I just want to make sure that I'm clear. Did you contact
10 him and say: I need you to issue an order for me to use the military
12 A. No.
13 Q. Okay. All right. Thank you for clarifying that.
14 Now, after 1992, what other functions did you have with respect to
15 your political positions in that community of Bratunac? You said that you
16 were president of the Crisis Staff, and of course that didn't last
17 forever. At some point the Crisis Staff was dissolved. Correct?
18 A. Yes. During a period of time in 1992, an order came to the effect
19 that the work of the party was frozen and that we had the power from the
20 government and Republika Srpska as former members of the SDS. I think
21 they simply wanted to shelter us from military obligations, so they gave
22 us this function, which, practically speaking, wasn't a proper function at
23 all. I didn't have a proper function until the work of the party started
25 Q. And when was that?
1 A. This was in the spring of 1993, I think. And I became actively
2 involved in the summer of 1992. A number of things had taken place in the
3 meantime of personal nature involving my family, and I distanced myself to
4 a great extent from those events.
5 Q. From 1993 to 1995, however, you did resume your participation in
6 SDS politics as the president of the SDS in Bratunac. Correct?
7 A. Yes. However, the work was not in full swing. 90 per cent of the
8 membership were mobilised, so we -- only a small number of us met again.
9 But there is a written document to that extent, and the topics of the
10 discussion are contained in this document.
11 Q. Now, as far as executive -- organs of executive authority in
12 Bratunac, can you please list them. Usually you have, you know, the
13 government, the legislature, and the judiciary. So who governed Bratunac?
14 MR. McCLOSKEY: If we could get a time frame.
15 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
16 MR. KARNAVAS: We're in 1993. I don't understand what is
17 Mr. McCloskey's problem. If he would follow and listen to the chronology,
18 we're in 1993. We've gotten through that 1992 period; he's resumed. I'm
19 going step by step.
20 MR. McCLOSKEY: This is a bouncing ball and it bounces everywhere.
21 And it's very unclear where he's been, and I will sit down.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, let's focus on 1993.
23 MR. KARNAVAS:
24 Q. Now, after the Crisis Staff has been dissolved and now once the
25 SDS party is reignited and rejuvenated and back in full swing, 1993, 1994,
1 1995, that period of time what I'm talking about is, what was the
2 executive authority in Bratunac?
3 A. But everything that other municipalities have, the president of
4 the municipality, the president of the Executive Board, chiefs of very
5 departments and affairs. I don't know about the court. I don't think it
6 worked at the time. We had problems with human resources. Maybe it did
7 work. I cannot remember anything. The police, of course, the Territorial
8 Defence, the military.
9 Q. Okay. And you did not hold a position within any of those organs?
10 A. No. Once again, I've said this for ten times I think.
11 Q. But is it not a fact that the president of the municipality and
12 the president of the Executive Board would come to you, to your office, to
13 discuss matters of local politics?
14 A. Yes, that is a fact.
15 Q. And de facto speaking, okay, not de jure but de facto-wise, you
16 had more power in Bratunac than they did during that period?
17 A. Well, I should say yes, yes.
18 Q. Thank you. And you had a budget, I take it, that was provided by
19 the party?
20 A. No. We never had a proper account. That was a unique example in
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina. We closed the account at one point, and we never
22 reopened it.
23 Q. Well, were you getting paid a salary from the SDS?
24 A. For a while I was getting some kind of compensation, which was
25 paid from the budget of the municipality.
1 Q. Did you not have a car and a driver?
2 A. I never had a driver. As for a car, I don't remember when it was
3 that we bought it. It was late in time. A second-hand car was bought by
4 the municipality and it was given to the SDS. I don't know when, 1993,
5 maybe, 1994. 1994 I think it was. And again, I never had a driver.
6 Q. Was not Bratunac in essence, was not Bratunac in essence run by
7 the SDS party with you being above the Executive Board and the mayor?
8 A. It's only natural that during that period when Muslims and SDA
9 left Bratunac and after the participation in the assembly stopped, we
10 established the assembly with the remainder of the deputies. And of
11 course the SDS was the dominant party. As its president, I had influence
12 over the events the Bratunac, pursuant to the statutory provisions. I had
13 influence over certain appointments, things having to do with the human
14 resources, policy. Yes, I agree that that was my function.
15 Q. All right. Who gets to have a job with a salary working for the
16 municipality. I mean you -- it would be fair to say that you were by far
17 the most powerful figure in Bratunac, if not de jure, de facto for sure?
18 A. I must give you a negative answer. Had I been so powerful, I
19 would not have been arrested two times, taken to an execution, beaten up,
20 intimidated and threatened. All kind of things happened to me. How can
21 you then explain this power that you claim I had.
22 Q. Was that happening around 1995, the events that you just
24 A. No. Some of these events, such as physical assaults,
25 assassination attempt, took place in 1992. One of the arrests took place
1 in 1993, another in 1994. A court-martial, that was in 1994, but no, not
2 in 1995.
3 Q. In 1995, in and around the period of July, would it be fair to say
4 that you were the most powerful individual, political-wise that is to say,
5 in the Bratunac municipality?
6 A. I don't know how other people saw me. I cannot give you a comment
7 on that.
8 Q. Well, could the ordinary citizen just drive down to Pale and have
9 a tete-a-tete with President Karadzic, as you did for instance - as you
10 claim - on July 9 -- 8 or 9, 1995?
11 A. Mr. Karnavas, you're an educated man, and you are familiar with
12 the fact that functions imply certain privileges as well. I was the
13 president of the municipal chapter of SDS. Obviously I had the
14 possibility to have an audience with the president and talk to him. I
15 don't interpret this to be a special power. Whether an ordinary citizen
16 could do that, I don't know. There may have been cases like that.
17 Q. All right. But you exercised those privileges, did you not, sir?
18 A. I wouldn't call them privileges, but the possibilities that I had
19 as part of my function. And I did use them.
20 Q. All right. Well, let's speak about on one of those occasions
21 where you did use them. As I indicated, the date is unclear according to
22 you whether it was on July 8th or July 9th, you paid a visit to President
23 Karadzic in Pale. Correct?
24 A. Correct. I would include the 7th as well as a possibility. But
25 we will compare to -- we will -- I will check the date with respect to
1 testimonies in other cases as well.
2 Q. But as I understand it, your frame of reference for the particular
3 date is that on the following day after the meeting, you were able to
4 accomplish one of your goals, which was to have Mr. Borovcanin come to the
5 Bratunac area to assist in the attack of Srebrenica. Correct?
6 A. Yes. I referred to that, although I'm not sure. And I have
7 information the effect that Borovcanin did not arrive on the 10th, but
8 11th in Bratunac. But I did refer to that because I knew that he arrived
9 in Bratunac immediately after that. So it was on the basis of that that I
10 concluded what the date could be. However, today I am almost certain that
11 it was either on the 7th or the 8th.
12 Q. All right. But at some point you said it was the day after
13 Borovcanin arrived, so it could also be the 10th that you met with --
14 A. Before Borovcanin arrived, not after. The day after Borovcanin
16 Q. But if Borovcanin arrived on the 11th, having received an order
17 dated the 10th, then it would be somewhere between the 9th and the 10th
18 that you most likely visited, if you are correct in your -- if your memory
19 is serving you correct that almost immediately Borovcanin arrived. Right?
20 A. No. You see, you say yourself that the order for Borovcanin was
21 dated the 10th. So it had to be earlier.
22 Q. Okay. Be that as it may, according to your testimony in previous
23 cases in your statements, you were in the field where you were able to
24 observe Lieutenant Colonel Pandurevic and I believe the individual who was
25 in charge of the Drina Wolves. Correct?
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. And you as an untrained military officer, but nonetheless a
3 president of the SDS, you had come to the conclusion that the situation
4 wasn't going so well in the field and that they needed some more
5 professional help, a more robust, shall we say, unit. Correct?
6 A. Correct. But I was not alone and I did not make those assessments
7 alone. I was assisted by Mr. Sinisa Glogovac who was with me at the time
8 and he had more experience in that field than I had. And at the end of
9 the day I had opportunity to see with my own eyes an attack of the hostile
10 forces, the Muslim forces from Srebrenica, there were casualties on our
11 side. The events were pretty complex, and I drew the conclusions I drew.
12 Q. Okay. And this individual, by the way, he's not military; he's
13 civilian as well, is he not, Mr. Glogovac?
14 A. He was head of a section of the state security, which is a
15 civilian service. I agree.
16 Q. Okay. So from one civilian to the next - and I'm not disputing
17 whether he had more experience than you in interpreting battles --
18 nonetheless, you took it upon yourself to leave the line where you were
19 observing and to drive, unannounced, unscheduled, unanticipated, to meet
20 with President Karadzic in Pale. Correct?
21 A. Correct. Although, to this day I am not sure whether I had called
22 him up before going there to announce my arrival. I think there's a good
23 chance I went unannounced, as you say.
24 Q. Well, as you said, not as I say. As you have said that you have
25 gone there -- you went there unannounced because Pale is a small town and
1 President Karadzic spent most of his time there during the war, and so
2 chances were that that's where he would have been and that's why you had
3 gone there unannounced. Correct?
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. Okay. And I suspect that if someone can just show up and have a
6 meeting with the president, he or she must be rather important or powerful
7 or meaningful?
8 A. Well, can't you understand, Mr. Karnavas, that the events in
9 Srebrenica themselves gave me importance. I do not dispute that I was
10 president of the SDS with the accompanying authority and powers and that I
11 knew Mr. Karadzic. But the military operation around Srebrenica was what
12 gave me importance, weight, and the ability to see the president, as I
14 Q. But the mayor didn't go or the president of the Executive Board
15 didn't go, they didn't have that same power, that same access to power as
16 you did. Correct?
17 A. We are now getting involved in a very odd discussion. The mayor
18 had his own job, and it was relieved of the conundrum of day-to-day
19 activities running a municipality. How can the president go to a front
20 line? That's why I went to Pale. If he had gone to Pale instead of me, I
21 am certain that he would have been equally received by the president.
22 Q. Incidentally, you could have ordered him to go to Pale, but he
23 could not have ordered you to go to Pale?
24 A. I never said that.
25 Q. I'm saying it. I'm saying it. Based on your de facto powers, you
1 could have ordered him or suggested him and he would have complied, but he
2 could not order you to go there. Correct?
3 A. Mr. Karnavas, you are establishing my de facto power. You are not
4 giving me three days to go into details and see what my actual power was.
5 And I understand why you won't allow me to explain, because it doesn't go
6 in your favour. When we talk about power, we would have to see first how
7 large my power was, how great it was. But since we cannot do that, then
8 it's very difficult for me to have this discussion with you.
9 Q. You had a meeting -- you went to Pale unannounced, and at that
10 point in time as I understand it, you were able to have a private
11 conversation with the president. Correct?
12 A. Correct, whichever way you wish to put it. The question is pretty
13 pointless, if you'll excuse my saying so. You said you had the
14 opportunity to have that conversation. I had it, which means I had the
15 opportunity, yes.
16 JUDGE LIU: Now, Mr. Karnavas --
17 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm moving on.
18 JUDGE LIU: We have already visited this area.
19 MR. KARNAVAS:
20 Q. Based on your testimony, you have indicated that when you went
21 there to have this meeting with President Karadzic, you were totally in
22 the dark as to what the mission was with respect to Srebrenica.
23 A. Right. I had my ideas, but I did not know what the precise
24 objective regarding Srebrenica was.
25 Q. So you as the main man in Bratunac at that period of time had not
1 been given a clue from President Karadzic as to what the mission was going
2 to be in the attack on Srebrenica.
3 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
4 MR. McCLOSKEY: We've been over this as well, Your Honour. And --
5 last time he referred to him as the number one man, I think, and we had a
6 little argument over that. We've been over this.
7 JUDGE LIU: Yes. Mr. Karnavas, I believe --
8 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll go on.
9 JUDGE LIU: -- you could come directly to your point.
10 MR. KARNAVAS:
11 Q. Prior to this, you claim, you claim, that you had a conversation
12 with Karadzic sometime in May. Correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. And during that time you claim - we have no substantiation, we
15 have no documents, we have nothing to verify - but you claim at that point
16 in time --
17 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection, argumentative.
18 MR. KARNAVAS: At that point in time -- I don't have any
19 documents, Your Honour. I have nothing from the Prosecution --
20 Q. That would suggest that at that time, Mr. Deronjic, Mr. Karadzic
21 forecasted that something was going to happen in Srebrenica.
22 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
23 MR. McCLOSKEY: Such innuendo is just argumentative and appears to
24 be designed to inflame the situation, which is not necessary and I would
25 object to it.
1 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I think your question is
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: But the question is how to --
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll rephrase it.
6 JUDGE LIU: -- present it.
7 MR. KARNAVAS:
8 Q. You indicated in the past that you had a meeting with Mr. Karadzic
9 sometime in May. Correct?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. And you have asserted that during that meeting President Karadzic
12 told you that something would happen in Srebrenica. Correct?
13 A. Among other things, yes. One part of our conversation regarded
14 the status of General Zivanovic.
15 Q. Right. Because - and I'm glad you mentioned Zivanovic - because
16 you as the president of the SDS of Bratunac were not getting along with
17 the commander of the Drina Corps at the time, General Zivanovic. Correct?
18 A. With what he was doing, rather. I had no problem with him
20 Q. But nonetheless, you kept complaining to Karadzic, and this had
21 been an issue where you were asking President Karadzic to remove
22 General Zivanovic from his post. Correct?
23 A. Yes. Because that disagreement had gone a long way. I insisted
24 and asked President Karadzic to remove him a long time before that. And
25 if you say that I was so powerful, how do you explain that he, Karadzic,
1 hadn't done it much earlier.
2 Q. Now, Mr. Deronjic, at that time you claim that that is when you
3 were told that something would happen in Srebrenica, but you weren't told
4 exactly what would happen. Correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. But you were told, nonetheless, to make provisions for something
7 that you weren't aware of what was going to happen?
8 A. I knew there would be a military operation.
9 Q. Okay. So now you're claiming for the first time that
10 President Karadzic told you, We will have a military operation on
12 A. I don't know what terms I used before, but all the time - and we
13 can look in the transcripts - military operation was implied. We
14 certainly weren't talking about a cultural event. What other operation
15 could be meant?
16 Q. Well, all right. I assume when he told you that some kind of
17 military operation, whether it was implied or direct, I assume you, being
18 responsible for those folks back in Bratunac and given your position, you
19 might have asked, What kind? What exactly do you have in mind,
20 Mr. President, because I need to make some provisions? What are we
21 planning? Did you ask that question directly to the president of the RS
22 at the time, yes or no?
23 A. Around Srebrenica in the period we're talking about from 1992 to
24 1995, there were countless operations involving development of obstacles,
25 attacks, and so on and so forth. We were not sitting in a meeting talking
1 on that particular occasion. We were leaving a building and we were
2 talking about Zivanovic for the most part, and that's when he said there
3 would be a military operation around Srebrenica. And if there's anything
4 you think you should do in terms of preparations, go on and do it. I
5 didn't that I was to mount God knows what in terms of preparations. I
6 understood it to mean help the army and do whatever you think fit, et
8 Q. All right. So nonetheless, on the 9th or the 8th or the 7th or
9 whatever the date is that you went to Pale -- that is to July, not knowing
10 exactly what the goal was, you had nonetheless come to the conclusion that
11 whatever the operation was, it simply wasn't going well and you needed
12 somebody from Bratunac, an acquaintance of yours, Mr. Borovcanin to come
13 and to assist on the attack in Srebrenica. Correct?
14 A. Yes. But let me just explain one thing. When I was on that
15 forward command post observing with my own eyes, I noticed a couple of
16 very strange things. Commander Pandurevic was there, nicknamed Legend;
17 General Krstic, who I saw for the first time there, and I didn't know
18 there was a replacement, either de jure or de facto. I noticed a number
19 of things that I didn't like, so I thought I should go to the president.
20 And I thought that in view of the intensity of the operation which
21 resulted in a number of deaths already, maybe we should involve a serious
23 Q. All right. Well, another way of interpreting your visit could be
24 also - and this is what I'm putting to you - that you chose a personal
25 friend or a personal acquaintance who happened to be from the civilian
1 sector, not the military, and you were making the suggestion as Srebrenica
2 was falling so that the civilian sector could claim part of the victory in
3 the fall of Srebrenica, as opposed to letting the military under General
4 Zivanovic take all the credit. Is that not another interpretation, sir?
5 A. No, absolutely not.
6 Q. Okay. Now, it was during this occasion, as I understand it, this
7 meeting that you had, that there was another conversation that took place
8 with respect to what, if anything, you should do, whether it was you in
9 the plural meaning out of respect or you the members of the executive
10 authority in Bratunac, what you should do with the civilian population if
11 the -- if Srebrenica were to fall. Correct?
12 A. Yes, that was discussed.
13 Q. It would be fair to say, would it not, that we have no other
14 verification of the contents of that conversation, other than you?
15 A. There is another source, and that's Mr. Karadzic.
16 Q. But he's not here?
17 A. I'm sorry.
18 Q. All right. So other than Mr. Karadzic, we would have to accept
19 you for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth with
20 respect to this unsubstantiated alleged conversation?
21 MR. McCLOSKEY: Objection. That's a misstatement of the facts.
22 The civilians were butchered as everyone knows. So I would say it was
23 fairly substantiated to that degree.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour --
25 JUDGE LIU: Mr. Karnavas, I know it's late today, but I don't
1 think those adjectives are necessary.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
3 Q. Can you provide us with some substantiation that this conversation
4 took place? And I'm not referring to the documents that the Prosecutor
5 gave that you reviewed with your lawyers in order to come up with some
6 theory into how you can get a good sentence for yourself. I'm saying, did
7 you have a tape recorder, do you have a note in your diary, do you have
8 something that would tell us that this conversation took place and that
9 this is what President Karadzic told you?
10 JUDGE LIU: Well -- yes, Mr. McCloskey?
11 Okay, Witness, you may answer the question.
12 MR. McCLOSKEY: I'm sorry, Your Honour.
13 MR. KARNAVAS: He wants to answer the question, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE LIU: Well, let's hear Mr. McCloskey is going to say.
15 MR. McCLOSKEY: No witness should ever have to put up, no matter
16 what they have done, with that kind of question.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: What's the problem with the question? I'm asking
18 if he has a tape-recording, he's got a diary, if there's a document,
19 something that would say we had this conversation and this is what the
20 president said.
21 JUDGE LIU: Well --
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: That's a fine question, but the part about his
23 lawyers cooking up deals is so over the top.
24 JUDGE LIU: Yes. We are not satisfied with that phrase in order
25 to come up with some theories into so on and so forth. It is unnecessary
1 to add this sentence there.
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honours --
3 JUDGE LIU: Maybe you want to put some pressures on this witness,
4 but it's really not necessary to mention that.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I don't have the document in front of
6 me where the gentleman does indicate that after going through these
7 documents he's able to now fill in the blanks. I'm not suggesting that
8 his lawyers did anything, but his lawyers provided him with the documents
9 without him getting indicted. He didn't have the disclosure material.
10 The disclosure material as a result of having lawyers was provided to him.
11 He fills in the blanks, not the lawyers. There's no suggestion that the
12 lawyers are doing anything wrong. But as I started by cross-examination,
13 I hit that point very hard as far as him wanting to know, what exactly did
14 I say that caused you to make me now a suspect. Can you give me that
15 information? His own lawyer at that very meeting said, give us the
16 documents so we can study them so he can be prepared. He has to get
17 indicted, he has to get the disclosure material. And there all of a
18 sudden we see a shift of the story, a memory that somehow becomes much
19 more credible than the one before where he's had months and months and
20 years and years to prepare. And by his own admission, Your Honour, he sat
21 around with his friends --
22 MR. McCLOSKEY: Your Honour, I'm going to interrupt at this point.
23 It's absolutely inappropriate for him to demean the witness in his
24 presence. If he wishes to make any demeaning arguments to any witness in
25 the Court, I would ask that the witness be left out of the room.
1 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm putting that to the witness, Your Honour. That
2 is the conclusion of my cross-examination. This is what I will put to the
3 witness. And Mr. McCloskey has cautioned me once that I'm not putting
4 questions to the witness, so that's what I'm doing.
5 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I believe it's pretty late at this
6 stage, so will you please rephrase your question and let us finish the
7 sitting for this morning. I understand that there's another trial waiting
8 for the use of this courtroom.
9 MR. KARNAVAS:
10 Q. Other than you, sir, telling us here that this conversation took
11 place and the contents of the conversation, particularly as to the
12 Western Slavonia principle, do you have anything concretely that would
13 give us some assurances that that conversation did in fact take place, and
14 that if it did take place that President Karadzic told you specifically,
15 exactly what you have claimed he has said?
16 A. I said that I was in a position maybe to add some arguments in
17 favour of that theory. I don't have my lawyer here. I don't want to
18 create an unpleasantry here. But there were a couple of people in the
19 vicinity then whom I ran into again in prison. He asked me why I
20 mentioned that date, and I said, Do you mind? Do you think it's untrue?
21 He said, No. He said according to his notes and documents, it should be
22 the 7th. And this conversation was overheard by another prisoner.
23 I want to discuss this matter further with my lawyers, and then we
24 could perhaps revisit these facts when I testify again. I have no other
25 documents. I don't even understand what you are talking about. What kind
1 of recording could I possibly have, video recording at that.
2 Q. Well, thank you for answering the question at the end, that is
3 there is no other documentation, other than your word?
4 A. For the time being, no.
5 Q. Okay.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Given that answer, Your Honour, I would ask that a
7 caution be issued to the witness that he is not to have any conversations
8 with his lawyers with respect to this. In fact, I would ask over an
9 abundance of caution that he not have any contact with his lawyers at all,
10 because I don't want there to be any problems. Now, if he wishes --
11 another alternative may be for a representative of the Registrar to be
12 there to make sure that they are not talking about the substance of his
13 testimony. Because as I understand it, that's forbidden. That's the
15 JUDGE LIU: Well, Mr. Karnavas, I don't think your request is
16 reasonable or not entirely reasonable. I believe that Mr. Deronjic is
17 entitled to consult with his counsel, especially on the legal issues, but
18 not on the factual issues. And during your cross-examination, I believe
19 that those issues are mentioned.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm not quite following you, Your Honour. Legal
22 JUDGE LIU: I think during cross-examination there are some legal
23 issues that are mentioned on which Mr. Deronjic is entitled to have his
24 Defence counsel. But as to the factual issues as to whether he met with
25 Mr. Karadzic or not, whether on that day and as for the contents of the
1 conversation, I don't think the counsel should be consulted on those
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Very well, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE LIU: So you don't trust the counsel --
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I didn't say that, Your Honour. I don't -- I've
6 been practicing for 20 years. I know and I've represented thousands of
7 clients and they have an overwhelming urge to ask questions.
8 JUDGE LIU: Are you satisfied that if we furnish the transcript of
9 today's proceedings to Mr. Deronjic's counsel, and I think our warnings
10 are there in the transcript. They could read it, and Mr. Deronjic is
11 entitled to consult with his counsel.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, based on your -- I wasn't aware that
13 there were legal issues, and I -- perhaps because it's late in the day. I
14 accept that. And I think Mr. Deronjic has been told now on the record
15 that they are not to be talking about the issues. So I'm satisfied with
17 JUDGE LIU: Yes, Mr. McCloskey.
18 MR. McCLOSKEY: I think for the witness -- I mean, it's pretty
19 clear to me that you just said he could talk with his client about the
20 legal issues.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: That's what I said. I agreed to that. I just
22 agreed to that --
23 JUDGE LIU: No, no, wait.
24 MR. McCLOSKEY: You just said he couldn't --
25 MR. KARNAVAS: He could. I'm getting tired, maybe I'm not
1 annunciating as well. Maybe I'm getting tired. He could talk about the
2 legal issues, as you indicated, but not about the specific facts. I don't
3 have a problem with that.
4 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
5 Well, Witness, you hear the rulings of this Bench and you are
6 entitled to talk to your counsel on the legal issues, but not on the
7 factual issues. You understand that?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand that fully.
9 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you allow me just one question.
11 JUDGE LIU: Yes.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As part of my obligations that are
13 already specified and established before this Tribunal, a hearing is
14 pending regarding the acts I pled guilty to. That's scheduled for the
15 27th, on Tuesday, before another Trial Chamber. Also clear are my
16 obligations regarding testifying. These are very serious obligations, to
17 which I have already agreed. The previous arrangement was that I testify
18 for only two days, and I have nothing against it going on longer. But in
19 view of the fact that I have scheduled meetings with my counsel and the
20 administration of the Detention Unit agreed to allow us to hold
21 consultations on Friday through Sunday in order to prepare properly, I
22 thought it fitting to have some opportunity to rest tomorrow. If it is
23 absolutely necessary for me to come here again tomorrow, I agree. But I
24 am under a certain strain and I do need some rest.
25 I am not quite clear now whether this restriction can be viewed in
1 that light. I don't think that's what it means. I need to meet with my
2 counsel in order to prepare for the hearing.
3 JUDGE LIU: Well, Witness, I apologise for the delay. Originally
4 we arranged the hearings for two days, only for two days, that is the
5 fact. But there are a lot of issues, especially during the
6 cross-examination as you understand it. So I would like to ask for your
7 cooperation that we continue to sit tomorrow. And tomorrow afternoon from
8 3.00 to 4.30 we will add another session. And the -- so that you could
9 have time on Friday to talk with your Defence counsel on another hearing
10 which is scheduled next Tuesday.
11 I apologise for this delay, but sometimes it happens. I hope you
12 could understand that.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will of course accept this. I
14 will be here again tomorrow, of course.
15 JUDGE LIU: Thank you very much for your cooperation on this
16 aspect. And tomorrow morning we'll resume at 9.00 in the same courtroom,
17 and we'll continue to sit in Courtroom I at 3.00 until 4.30. The hearing
18 for today is adjourned.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned
20 at 1.55 p.m., to be reconvened on Thursday,
21 the 22nd day of January, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.