1 Wednesday, 4 December 2002
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Please call the case, Madam Registrar.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. Good morning Your Honours.
7 This is case number IT-99-36-T, the Prosecutor versus Radoslav Brdjanin.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Brdjanin, good morning to you. Can
9 you hear me in a language that you can understand?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Your microphone is not on.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I hear
13 and understand.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. You may sit down. Appearances for the
16 MS. KORNER: Your Honour Joanna Korner assisted by Denise Gustin,
17 case manager, good morning, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you. Appearances for Radoslav
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Good morning, Your Honours I'm John Ackerman and
21 I'm here with Milan Trbojevic and Marela Jevtovic.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you Mr. Ackerman and good morning to you
23 too. So we will be hearing the testimony of Lord Ashdown this morning.
24 Do you have anyone -- any other witness, too, because I'm informed that at
25 least my secretary prepared me the documents of another witness too.
1 MS. KORNER: Yes, Your Honour, I anticipate that Lord Ashdown will
2 probably take if not the whole of today's session, a goodly part of it and
3 though there is another witness here, I'm not at the moment given any
4 instructions for him to be brought over.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
6 MS. KORNER: But Your Honour I want to deal at the end but I'm
7 anxious that Lord Ashdown should be able to get through his evidence.
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly.
9 MS. KORNER: We have a number of witness problems for next week.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: M'hm.
11 MS. KORNER: But if I can deal with that at the end.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: We will discuss the situation, just mark time and
13 we'll adjust accordingly. See how much time you require and if in the
14 meantime during the break, you think you could perhaps solve some of the
15 problems or --
16 MS. KORNER: No, Your Honour it's not a soluble problem with the
17 Defence. It's a problem of getting witnesses.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Okay. So let's bring in Lord Ashdown.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE AGIUS: Good morning to you, Lord Ashdown.
21 THE WITNESS: Good morning, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I know that you are already familiar with the
23 procedure here. So I ask the usher to hand over to you the text of the
24 solemn declaration that you're required to enter to make before you start
25 giving evidence.
1 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
2 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 WITNESS: PADDY ASHDOWN
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, and Ms. Korner will be conducting the
5 examination-in-chief. Ms. Korner.
6 Examined by Ms. Korner:
7 Q. Lord Ashdown will you be kind enough to give the Court please your
8 full name?
9 A. My name is Jeremy John Durham Ashdown and I'm frequently and most
10 usually known as Paddy Ashdown.
11 Q. Very briefly dealing with as it were your biography, I think that
12 you were a member of the army for some years, subsequently a diplomat,
13 member of parliament, eventually becoming leader of the Liberal Democrat
14 party in Great Britain, then being made a member of the House of Lords and
15 I think currently High Representative for Bosnia?
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Now, Lord Ashdown, as you know, what I would like to ask you about
18 today is a trip that you made to Bosnia in August of 1992, and in
19 particular, in relation to your visit to two camps. I think it's right
20 that throughout this period, you kept a diary?
21 A. It's correct, yes.
22 Q. Just very briefly, can you tell us was it written by you by hand
23 or typed up by you?
24 A. My normal practice and it's certainly the practice that I've
25 followed in respect of the entries which we shall be referring to, was to
1 dictate the night of the events, every night, I dictated my diary in
2 detail. There are some elements of my diary where less important, less
3 interesting things are happening where I might dictate the following day
4 but my normal practices especially in -- during events -- during days when
5 I believe the events would be important to me in the future, I would
6 dictate that night. So these diaries would have been dictated into a
7 dictating machine that night, subsequently sent to my secretary in Yeovil
8 in Somerset who would type them up and the copies then would be placed in
9 the bank.
10 Q. Now, I think you provided to the Prosecution and have got with you
11 photocopies of the relevant pages, relevant to this particular trip, to
12 Bosnia, the 8th through to the 11th of August of 1992?
13 A. That's correct. It would perhaps be helpful to the Court if I
14 were to point out that in respect of these entries which were amongst I
15 believe the most important category of entries to my diary, for these type
16 of entries which would include not just events such as this but for
17 instance meetings with the Prime Minister, meetings with the President, I
18 would then ask my secretary as soon as the pages were typed up to resubmit
19 them to me. I would read them through and make manuscript amendments
20 which is the manuscript amendments that you see here which would therefore
21 have been made within a week or ten days of the diaries being actually
23 Q. I think you've got copies yourself but Your Honour could I ask
24 that they formally be made an exhibit in this case? That would be Exhibit
25 P1534. And I think Your Honours were provided with copies?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, indeed.
2 MS. KORNER: Before we deal --
3 JUDGE AGIUS: They have been admitted.
4 MS. KORNER: Thank you.
5 Q. Before we deal with the detail of the events, could you just tell
6 us how did you come to make this visit to Bosnia in August of 1992?
7 A. Well it sprang out of the first visit that I made I have to say
8 almost my happen stance to Sarajevo in July of this year. Ms. Korner this
9 was a period after the British election when there is not much going on
10 and I have to say I knew very little indeed in fact I knew nothing about
11 Yugoslavia as it then was but a colleague recommended to me that as we
12 drew close to the summer recess, that this was going to be a big issue and
13 that I should go and take a look for myself. So in July of, late July of
14 1992, I first went to Croatia and then flew into Sarajevo and spent
15 sometime in the city. Obviously at that time that event got a good deal
16 of press coverage because there weren't many other people going into
17 Sarajevo at the time and I argued the case on the press as I saw it from
18 inside the siege of Sarajevo, and then I came home and my wife and I were
19 intending to take two weeks holiday. We were in fact in France on the
20 first day of our holiday and I received a message from my office that
21 Radovan Karadzic had said that since I had seen quotes the Muslim point of
22 view, close inverse commas, I should come to see his point of view, the
23 Serb point of view. I consulted with my office about this time the first
24 press reports were appearing in relation to the atrocities at Omarska and
25 Keraterm, and so I agreed with my colleague, sir Russell Johnston who was
1 at this stage, one of our foreign affairs spokesmen that we would make the
2 trip together. But the condition that I put to Mr. Karadzic was that if
3 we were to go on this trip we would have full and free access to wherever
4 we wished to go, making it clear that we would wish to go and have a look
5 at some of the camps which were then being exposed by the press. It was
6 our original intention to take somebody from the Red Cross with us but the
7 Red Cross for reasons which are entirely appropriate decided that the link
8 to any particular side would be a political connection they would not wish
9 to have.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down because of
11 the translation?
12 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Karadzic's
13 invitation on I think I've got the date right, the 8th of August I left my
14 wife in France and went to Budapest where I met Sir Russell Johnston. We
15 drove over land to Belgrade because of course the sanctions were then in
16 place. We had meetings with the Yugoslav leadership.
17 MS. KORNER:
18 Q. Lord Ashdown, I'm so sorry, I wonder if you could just slow
19 down slightly please because the interpreters are having a problem?
20 A. I'm so sorry.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: I think in fact they've missed part of his
22 testimony which probably ought to be repeated.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: Which part, Mr. Ackerman.
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Page 6, line ten it looks like there is a part left
25 out. I'm not sure about that but I think it might have been.
1 MS. KORNER:
2 Q. All right. Can we -- I tell you what I want to come back to?
3 JUDGE AGIUS: It's not important any way I know which point.
4 MS. KORNER:
5 Q. Can I just ask you this, before you began the trip you've spoken
6 of the revelation of the camps. Had you actually seen the television
7 footage of Omarska before you went?
8 A. Ms. Korner I really can't recall. I had certainly -- I -- it was
9 sufficiently in the front of my mind as an image and as an issue that I
10 suspect I must have seen them or at least seen the still photographs of
11 it. I can't believe that this would have been such an issue for me if I'd
12 simply read a press report but I may be wrong.
13 Q. All right. Now, we are going to hear about your visit to the camp
14 called Manjaca. Had you heard about Manjaca before you arrived?
15 A. Not at this stage. It was our intention to visit Omarska, visit
16 Keraterm, see things for ourselves and visit any other similar camps but
17 at this stage, the word Manjaca hadn't -- I'd never heard.
18 Q. All right. Now, as you were starting to tell us, I think you
19 began your trip by going to Hungary and then to Belgrade. I think the
20 only part of that -- of that entry in your diary on the 8th of August,
21 when you arrived in Belgrade, did you meet a journalist and we see that at
22 the end of your entry for Saturday, the 8th, and was that Ed Vulliamy?
23 A. It was -- it's misspelled in the manuscript amendment that I put
24 in here. It's Ed Vulliamy -- Vulliamy. V-U-L-L-I-A-M-Y, perhaps, he
25 wrote a book subsequently and if I recall at this stage was writing for
1 the Guardian.
2 Q. All right. Now, can we move then, please, to the next day, the
3 9th, Sunday, the 9th of August? I think it's right that from Belgrade,
4 you travelled to Pale or Sarajevo?
5 A. I travelled to -- from Belgrade we travelled by helicopter to
7 Q. And did you there have a meeting with Mr. Karadzic?
8 A. I did.
9 Q. If you look I think the third page of your entry for the 9th, you
10 will find?
11 A. I don't need to look at the entry. This carries the detail to
12 know that I had an extensive meeting with Radovan Karadzic, yes.
13 Q. All right. And during the course of that meeting with Karadzic,
14 did he agree that you could inspect the various camps?
15 A. He first of all took me to a what I can only describe as a show
16 camp on the Serb side of the outskirts of Sarajevo near Lukavica camp. I
17 was immediately suspicious that this was a show camp because of a number
18 of things, including the way the prisoners were behaving. But also the
19 fact that he tried to get me to present some freedom certificates to the
20 prisoners which was manifestly a press stunt to get me involved, and I
21 refused to do this. I said that I was not satisfied, I recall I said that
22 I was not satisfied that this was indeed the kind of conditions that most
23 prisoners were being held in and reminded him of the undertaking which he
24 had given in writing through Mr. John Kennedy, his chief spokesman in the
25 U.K., that I could go anywhere and therefore said to him that it was my
1 intention to go to Banja Luka on the following day, and I particularly
2 wanted to look at camps in the area of Keraterm and Omarska.
3 Q. Right. Can we then move, please, to the 10th of August, the
4 Monday, and where you I think were driven to Banja Luka and gave a
5 description of the drive. But could you come to the third, the fourth
6 paragraph on that entry? You stated that you frequently passed through
7 areas where the war had just been, with shot-up houses and a lot of
9 houses in ethnically mixed areas close to Banja Luka.
10 Can I just ask, how did you know they were ethnically mixed, were
11 you told that?
12 A. Yes. I had taken the trouble to discover before we went which of
13 the villages in these areas we are dealing largely with what is now known
14 as the Posavina corridor were ethnicity mixed. The most glaring example
15 of course was Brcko. We drove through Brcko in which I can't remember the
16 population mixes but there were substantial elements of population from
17 all sides. In fact I knew before I went and the devastation there was
18 very obvious to the eye.
19 Q. All right. Then can we come, please, to your description of the
20 army in the next paragraph that you saw? Close to Banja Luka, you
21 described the tanks and the soldiers and then said -- you stated, "I was
22 especially struck by the military bearing of most of the soldiers that I
23 saw. I had expected a ragtag and bobtail gorilla army but they have well
24 disciplined, well turned out and do their job with efficiency. Any idea
25 that the Serb soldiers are not under proper command and control is
2 When you say any idea that Serb soldiers are not under proper
3 command and control, was that something that was being said to you?
4 A. No. I have some military experience I was 13 years in the royal
5 marines including in a number of active service theatres. So I think I
6 can recognise a professional soldier when I see one but all the signs were
7 very evident and I remember being struck by the stark contrast between the
8 what Karadzic would have called the Muslim forces, what I think is a more
9 proper name the Bosniak forces in Sarajevo who were very much a civilian
10 army raised at the last moment inadequately equipped.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down.
12 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... I'm so sorry,
13 Your Honour, uniforms of varying types, some no uniforms at all,
14 classically no wireless communications equipment. Now the road blocks
15 even the smallest road blocks that we saw on the way around were disposed
16 in a professional military manner with appropriate sightings of fox holes,
17 et cetera. The soldiers were well turned out, all in the same uniform,
18 their uniform, especially the leather items which are difficult to keep up
19 in the field were clean, well maintained, shiny, but in particular I don't
20 recall passing through a single checkpoint that was not equipped with
21 communications equipment and that they were conducting these in a
22 professional manner in constant communication with their headquarters.
23 What of course we subsequently know is that the vast proportion of the old
24 Yugoslav national army were of course taken over by the Republic of Serbs
25 and what we were seeing was the ex-Yugoslav national army one of the best
1 equipped most effective, best coordinated Warsaw Pact armies.
2 Q. All right. Now when you got to Banja Luka, I think that you then
3 engaged, as you put it, in a war of nerves with the local military. At
4 that stage, did you know about the military camp of Manjaca?
5 A. Ms. Korner, I cannot remember exactly when I got to hear of
6 Manjaca. I think it may have been the previous night when I was at Pale
7 but certainly by this time, I was very conscious that there was one camp
8 that had large camp which people were talking about that had not been
10 Q. All right.
11 A. And I heard about that obviously from the press. They were saying
12 we must get into Manjaca. We have been into Keraterm and Trnopolje but we
13 hear there are bad thing going on at this camp and we need to get in and
14 take a look. So in these circumstances the press are as much a friend and
15 your lever and instrument as anything else and I agreed that we would
16 combine forces to see if we could build on the promise that Karadzic had
17 made to me to be able to go anywhere and we decided that we would settle
18 on seeking to go to Manjaca. Because that was still a black hole that no
19 one had seen into.
20 Q. All right. Now, you described in your diary negotiations that you
21 had to undertake to get to see this camp. You don't record any names in
22 your diary. I don't expect you to. But do you remember the names of any
23 of the people that you spoke to?
24 A. I regret I don't. Yugoslavia was somewhere which whose geography
25 I was only just coming to terms with and certainly it's language and names
1 is something which was very unfamiliar to me at the time.
2 Q. All right. Eventually then you were driven to Manjaca and at that
3 stage was there also a television crew from CNN with you?
4 A. Well, perhaps Ms. Korner I should explain that the first attempts,
5 the first response to my questions about whether we would -- should go in
6 were met with blank refusal from the senior military people in Banja Luka
7 who I record in my diary as being generals. They said if we went in, we
8 would be shot, and that there was a curfew. I seem to recall the standoff
9 went on for probably two hours. I remember noting in my diary and
10 thinking at the time that this may well have been in order to delay our
11 departure so there was time to clean up the camp a bit but in the end, I
12 said that if they were going to shoot us they would have to shoot us in
13 front of the television cameras and that would not only spoil my afternoon
14 but would not do them very much good in the international community and
15 therefore we would go and that at this stage they conceded so yes there
16 were television cameras with us. I think there were -- I cannot remember
17 precisely, sorry, I cannot remember precisely how many but certainly two
18 to my recollection and quite a large number of newspaper journalists as
20 Q. All right. Before we come on to the conversations that you had
21 and what you saw in the camp, can I ask you this? When you went there,
22 did you have any preconceived ideas of what you were going to find or what
23 you expected to find?
24 A. Yes, I expected Belsen in a word. I mean by that time my entire
25 perception of what was going on was conditioned by the photographs and
1 pictures which by now I knew I had seen of Keraterm and Omarska of the
2 horrors that were going on there. And of the fact that they were, by any
3 standards, camps whose system practice and intention were to my mind
4 extermination. Either extermination directly or extermination of spirit
5 through brutality and horror of an order which has not been seen on the
6 mainland of Europe since the days of the Second World War. That was the
7 mental condition in which I went into Manjaca. It was what I expected to
8 see, it was what I feared seeing.
9 Q. All right. Now, can we then look, please, at how you described
10 that visit to Manjaca? You stated that - and we'll have a look at the
11 video that was made by CNN in a moment - but you stated that "Having got
12 entry, you were taken to a briefing room where the camp commandant who is
13 clearly a very frightened man brought in from the front rather bluff and
14 simple soldier, started shouting to us." What led to you record that he
15 was a very frightened man?
16 A. Well.
17 Q. If you remember?
18 A. He was obviously extremely nervous about your visit. And he
19 adopted immediately a highly aggressive attitude and I recall being
20 subjected to what in memory seems like 20 minutes, maybe half an hour, of
21 shouted propaganda. I drew the conclusion that this was not a man used to
22 running prison camps. I may be wrong. I drew the conclusion that this
23 was a probably a combat soldier brought in to do a difficult job. He, as
24 I recall, produced the Geneva Convention but at the time I remember being
25 told that that was the first time that the Geneva Convention had been seen
1 in the camp. And both then and subsequently, I drew the conclusion that
2 either he had been moved in or he had recently received specific orders to
3 take those from Manjaca and Omarska who I was subsequently to see and care
4 for them would be the wrong word, and ensure that the horrors of Omarska
5 and Keraterm did not continue on the scale that had been seen and observed
6 by the press in Omarska.
7 Q. All right. If we deal with the your diary entry, you state after
8 you mention the Geneva Conventions that he showed you, and you say you
9 asked him one or two questions, all of which he took to be hostile and
10 chiefly, you say, "I wanted to know where the front line interrogation
11 unit for the soldiers was." And he had to eventually admit there was
13 A. Sorry, Ms. Korner, there wasn't one. That should read, I
14 apologise, it does read there was one but there wasn't one. What I was
15 seeking to establish here is were these soldiers? Were we dealing with
16 people who were prisoners of war, which is what he claimed or were we
17 dealing with civilians rounded up and incarcerated and I concluded that it
18 was the latter.
19 Q. All right?
20 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please pause between question
21 and answer.
22 MS. KORNER:
23 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... all people who were soldiers
24 or that they -- did he admit that these were civilians?
25 A. To be honest, ten years distance I can't recall precisely but I
1 asked him the specific question and I recall that his answer was something
2 like, "These are all people who are a threat to the security of our
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Ms. Korner.
5 MS. KORNER: Yes, I've seen the -- I've seen it, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Ms. Korner and Lord Ashdown, I've been asked
7 by the interpreters to ask you to allow a very short interval between
8 question and answer. Okay? Thanks. Let's go ahead.
9 MS. KORNER: It's my fault.
10 Q. Now, can we -- when you went round the camp, did you ask to see
11 the people who had come from Omarska?
12 A. Yes indeed. They were my first priority. I had heard that some
13 1.000, 2.000 people had been moved from Omarska a matter of days
14 before. Indeed, if I recall, the commandant told me that, that he had
15 been asked to take in these people. So I asked immediately to see them.
16 As I recall the event, they tried to take us to other prisoner
17 incarceration areas where people had been in Manjaca longer but I insisted
18 ongoing to see the people who had come from Omarska and Keraterm, and
19 after a little confrontation, that was agreed to.
20 Q. I think the simplest thing at this stage before we go back to,
21 Your Honour, is to have a look at the video that was made of at least part
22 of your visit to the camp. It's already been handed to the video -- the
23 audiovisual unit and it's P468. So if the usher could put the thing on to
24 the video and if that could be played?
25 [Videotape played]
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour we are going to come into English.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: It's all right. We have had now.
3 [Videotape played]
4 [Sound quality too poor for transcription]
5 MS. KORNER: Could we pause the video there, please?
6 Q. Lord Ashdown, the commentator said that you were allowed to speak
7 to the men privately. Was that correct?
8 A. That is correct. Again, if I recall, we had something of a
9 confrontation to start with I was taken in there and given the opportunity
10 of speaking to them but with the commandant there, and with the -- with
11 the guards there. So I asked that the commandant and the guards should
12 go. And there was a disputation about this but eventually they agreed
13 they would. And as I recall, kept one television camera behind with an
14 agreement from the journalist that if -- if I did not wish to do -- that
15 the footage that was taken during these private interviews should be shown
16 they would not be shown. In other words I had a complete control over the
17 use of that footage. I naturally didn't want to get a position where
18 somebody would be telling me something which would then be broadcast and
19 put their lives at risk. And the private conversations which then ensued
20 certainly had a considerable bearing on the judgement that I made in this
21 all-too-brief visit.
22 Q. And can you tell us what it was that they said to you which led
23 you to the judgement that you made?
24 A. Well, they said that --
25 THE INTERPRETER: Can a break please be made between question and
2 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... food, they
3 dreaded the winter, sorry.
4 MS. KORNER: It's my fault again, the interpreters are asking for
5 the break between question and answer.
6 THE WITNESS: I'm so sorry.
7 MS. KORNER: It's my fault.
8 THE WITNESS: No, it's my fault entirely.
9 A. They said to me that conditions are very hard, the food was
10 inadequate. Medical coverage was sparse or non-existent. They greatly
11 feared the winter because they were sleeping in the open on the, as I
12 recall it, earth floor, but that things were much better here than they
13 had been at Omarska. They were not being killed in large numbers. They
14 were not being killed. And they were suffering harsh, even brutal
15 treatment but that they were not being tortured. The overwhelming
16 impression, Ms. Korner, that I got was that however harsh, however
17 dreadful conditions were there, they were immeasurably better than the
18 hell from which these people had come. I think I have to be very blunt
19 with the Court and say that in the many intervening years since, I've -- I
20 have often speculated whether or not they actually knew who I was. I'm
21 sure they didn't. Whether or not in the mental state they were in, they
22 might have regarded me as being a Serbian plant, whether or not the
23 presence of the television cameras led them to nevertheless even in the
24 absence of their guards tell me things that would not have got them into
25 trouble with their guards, if I had been in their position, suffering the
1 horrors from which they had come, would I have told some unknown person,
2 parachuted into my midst things which could have caused me to lose my
3 life? I'm aware that of all the influences that made me take the decision
4 I took, the influence and the voices of those prisoners running very loud
5 in my head, but was it right? And I can't answer that.
6 Q. All right. Could we look, then, at the rest of the video,
8 [Videotape played]
9 MS. KORNER: Could we pause again, please, for a moment?
10 Q. Lord Ashdown, you said as far as you could see, the camp was
11 properly run. What did you mean by that?
12 A. Well, please bear in mind that I think I was there for more than
13 half an hour. I think it must have been an hour or perhaps even an hour
14 and a half but what I meant by that was there was a fence around the camp,
15 it appeared to be properly in place, it was guarded properly, there were
16 cooking facilities there, it was not total chaos, as I saw in Trnopolje on
17 the following day. Prisoners were lined up and moved about in a
18 professional military manner. There were rudimentary medical facilities,
19 wholly inadequate in my view but nevertheless they existed. It was not
20 chaos it was certainly not perfect, it was certainly not acceptable but it
21 was not disorganised chaos.
22 Q. Were you intending by that remark to convey anything about the
23 actual conditions of detention, in other words the food, the
24 accommodation, anything like that?
25 A. No, I think I made it very clear, I think, in the interview which
1 I gave. I think I used the words that conditions were detestable. They
2 were not what we would have wanted, not what anybody would have wanted but
3 they were at least better from the hell from which they came. The point I
4 was trying to make was that the fact that this was not Golgotha did not
5 make it perfect but at least it made it better.
6 Q. Yes. If we can just finish off the clip, then, please?
7 [Videotape played]
8 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much.
9 THE WITNESS: Ms. Korner, I wonder if you would allow me, it came
10 across I think very, very, clearly, the Court may not have been able to
11 pick up the first young man interviewed there but the word he used was
12 "bolje" which is "better" and the second one said "fino" which is "okay,"
13 when asked what the conditions were. I think when you make a judgement on
14 this, ten years later, it's very difficult to put this into context but
15 the context in which I think they were expressing and I was expressing was
16 relief and relief that things were better. They were not by any standard
17 acceptable but they were at least better from the complete hell from which
18 they had come and which I expected to see.
19 MS. KORNER:
20 Q. Two things out of what was said there. First, it's mentioned that
21 these were civilians. Did you understand that any of the people that you
22 spoke to were actually military persons who had been captured in the
23 course of combat operations?
24 A. I couldn't see any evidence of anything with the single exception
25 I shall come to in a moment which told me that I was looking at soldiers
1 from the front line. And indeed those photographs showed very clearly
2 these looked more to me like farmers. Now that is not to say that in the
3 turmoil of Yugoslavia some of them may not have taken up arms for whatever
4 reason, to defend their property, to exercise revenge but I would be
5 prepared to be very certain that they were not part of an organised or
6 even disorganised military unit. They had neither equipment nor any trace
7 of uniform left, nor did their possessions -- nor did their meagre and
8 pitiful possessions piled around them, well, piled around them, assembled
9 at their -- the place they slept, tell me if anything else that the
10 possessions of ordinary farming or agricultural people. They consisted of
11 a mug, a scrap of photograph of the wife and the family, some clothes they
12 didn't have to -- happen to be at the time wearing in the intense stifling
13 heat so I'm certain that they were not combatants in the accepted sense of
14 the Geneva Convention. The only exception to that was the Canadian
15 mercenary whom I met, who had been shot in the leg and was in a very
16 rudimentary form of plaster in the medical centre and he clearly had been
17 in combat and admitted that he had been part of a regular unit. Indeed, I
18 should point out that the only conversation I had here which did not
19 require interpreters, and I think that's significant, was my conversation
20 with him. Again out of ear shot of the guards but he confirmed he had
21 told me he had not been to Omarska and Keraterm he had come straight into
22 Manjaca but he also confirmed in English and with nobody else present the
23 story that the prisoners had told me about things being better.
24 Q. The interpreter that you took with you, was that somebody who was
1 A. Yes. And I think that's significant, too.
2 Q. In what way?
3 A. Well I think again it's a matter with which I subsequently I
4 suppose concerned and worried myself but the truth is that to add to the
5 factors I spoke about earlier on he was an interpreter provided about the
6 Serb authorities so the prisoners would have assumed that anything they
7 would have told me in those private conversations would have been passed
8 back to the Serb authorities, self-evidently.
9 Q. Arising from that, the second matter is this: Did any of the
10 prisoners you spoke to tell you about the deaths of two men, Omer
11 Filipovic and Esad Bender?
12 A. No, no, they didn't. I would have thought -- I don't know when
13 those deaths took place. I subsequently heard both from people I had met
14 since who were at Manjaca at the time, in various circumstances, that
15 whilst a very significant amount of killing may have gone on substantially
16 before I arrived, around about the time I arrived, and certainly
17 significantly so afterwards when the Red Cross came in. The killings I
18 don't say they ceased but I know of no killing that took place after that
19 event that isn't to say they didn't happen, but I know of none whereas a
20 significant portion appeared to have happened beforehand. I draw the
21 conclusion subsequently which matches the conclusion I made at the time
22 that either around the time I arrived or shortly before, a substantial
23 attempt had been made to, I don't know how shall we put it, regularise, it
24 seems such an inadequate word, attempt to regularise the conditions in the
1 Q. Now, I want to ask you, please, next, to look at some documents
2 that relate to the camp and which I think you saw for the first time
4 Could you first of all, please, be shown Exhibit P394? This was a
5 report on the visit by the International Red Cross to the Manjaca prisoner
6 of war camp on the 16th of July, and it begins by stating that "At the
7 urging of the Banja Luka-based International Red Cross from Geneva and in
8 keeping with the agreement signed on the 13th of July, 1992, by Mr. D.
9 Kalanic [phoen] from the government of the Serbian Republic of
10 Bosnia-Herzegovina, a visit to the prisoner of war camp in Manjaca was
11 granted." Two things. Were you aware first of all of this agreement of
12 the 13th of July?
13 A. No. I was aware of a general agreement, and I don't believe this
14 is the one, but -- made by Karadzic and by Mr. Izetbegovic at the time,
15 that international officials would be provided access to anywhere they
16 sought to go within the two combat areas.
17 Q. Did you know, when you got to Manjaca, that the Red Cross had made
18 what appears to be an at least a brief visit to the camp in July?
19 A. Yes, I did know that. Indeed it features in the letter that I
20 subsequently wrote to Mr. Sommaruga in -- immediately after my visit of
21 the 12th of August in which I said that conditions in the camp were
22 completely unacceptable and I said that I was surprised to learn that the
23 camp was not the subject of regular visits from the ICRC, indeed that
24 there had been a visit which I describe as having been ten days
25 previously, and that's all. Ms. Korner perhaps I could just say at this
1 stage that I had one aim that day, one aim, and that aim was to see what I
2 could do to save the lives of these people and I believed that that was
3 best done by encouraging the Serb authorities who ran the prison, if
4 indeed things had improved over the last days to continue that improvement
5 and to ensure that the Red Cross paid regular visits. They subsequently
6 did and I believe that -- that improvement, slight, and an improvement
7 from horror into unacceptability continued, and I have to say I think the
8 judgement I made, whether in precise detail right or wrong, nevertheless
9 in the sense that it may have contributed to saving lives, was the right
11 Q. I'd just like you to look at one other part of this document,
12 please, which is on the second page. The report was signed by someone
13 describing himself as the assistant commander for moral guidance, a
14 Colonel Vukelic. Does that name ring any bells with you at all?
15 A. I'm afraid it doesn't.
16 Q. In the third paragraph on that page, they say or he says, "We
17 demanded that in future, they announce their visit at least two to three
18 days in advance, send us a detailed work plan, and do not change the
19 camp's work timetable." Does it surprise you that they, the army, were
20 insisting that there was an announcement two or three days in advance of
21 any visit?
22 A. In what I know now, it certainly doesn't, no. They would have --
23 I mean, the Serb authorities were now at this stage under the most intense
24 international pressure. It was the number one news story on every
25 international news media, and they realised that what had gone on had been
1 completely unacceptable and what was still going on, though better in
2 Manjaca, was unacceptable so I suspect they would have wanted to give
3 themselves as much time to present the face they would wish to have
4 presented to the world before any Red Cross visit.
5 Q. Yes. Thank you. Could you look, next, please, at a document
6 marked P398? And indeed, 399 at the same time, which are two documents
7 from the same date, the 27th of July.
8 A. Thank you.
9 Q. If we look first of all at the one that's marked 398, headed,
10 "Reconstruction of the water supply system in the Manjaca military
11 training area, then request," it deals with the fact that the water supply
12 is unsatisfactory. And then it deals with what has to -- should happen,
13 and states, "Please note that there are enough prisoners of war who can be
14 engaged as labourers for the entire length of the water pipes with the
15 appropriate security." The second document, if you can look at that,
16 please, P399, which talks about stepping up security measures and defence
17 of the prisoner of war camp, could you turn to paragraph 3, please, on the
18 second page? It states that there is a combat order, a combat order with
19 a camp defence plan, et cetera, and then states, "On issuing the order
20 conduct an exercise for the units by no later than 1st of August, 1992.
21 During the exercise make sure that the prisoners do not find out about
22 defence variants. Make fox holes and fully fortified VP for troops and
23 combat equipment and camouflage them. Use the prisoners as labourers to
24 make the VP for combat equipment and take every security measure."
25 Lord Ashdown, from your military experience was it acceptable and within
1 the Geneva Conventions to use camp prisoners described as prisoners of war
2 as labourers for water pipes and building whatever VP may be?
3 A. Ms. Korner I regret I'm not in any sense an expert on the Geneva
4 Convention but as I recall it, using prisoners for labour, I think in
5 particular to help construct defence mechanisms for war, is illegal under
6 the convention.
7 Q. Now, can you look, please, at --
8 A. Sorry, just in case the Court -- it means that I would be more
9 concerned about the second of these two instances than the first. I don't
10 say the first is legal but I'm pretty clear the second is not.
11 Q. All right. Then, please, could you look at Exhibit P405?
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the document be placed on the ELMO for the
13 interpreters, please?
14 MS. KORNER: Yes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
17 JUDGE AGIUS: Do you have the English version of this document?
18 Could you put that on the ELMO, please?
19 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
20 MS. KORNER:
21 Q. Now, this document, dated the 3rd of August, says, again it's an
22 order, from the 1st Krajina Corps command, the local command, "Approval
23 for the visit of the international committee to the detention camps at
24 Manjaca, Trnopolje, Omarska, and Prijedor." It states that on the basis
25 of the verbal order of the Serbian Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, army main
1 Staff Commander, a visit by the international committee and a team of
2 reporters to the detention camps in Manjaca, Trnopolje, Omarska, and
3 Prijedor within the next two days is approved. In this regard, all
4 measures are to be taken to make the condition -- to make conditions in
5 these camps satisfactory. This implies order, cleanliness, functional
6 medical care, accurate record and so on and so forth. Wherever
7 representatives of the detainees have contact with the camp authorities
8 have not been selected this is to be done urgently. Camp wardens must
9 prepare for briefings and escort of the committee and reporters. This
10 assignment is urgent and any barring of visits to the camp is out of the
11 question." I don't imagine that you were aware that an order had been
12 sent out to clean up these camps in advance of the visits but does that
13 surprise you?
14 A. That coincides exactly with the impression that I got at the time
15 and which is recorded in my diary, that a -- an improvement even to
16 totally unacceptable standards but from appalling ones had recently been
17 undertaken and was under way and it was my concern to ensure that that
18 improvement continued as that was the only way to save the lives of those
19 who were there. So I am completely unsurprised. Indeed, I have to say
20 somewhat reassured, that this provides evidence for what I -- for my
21 judgement at the time. Can I just add one thing? I am able to give the
22 Court a judgement based on necessarily rather skimpy evidence of a, as I
23 recall it, an hour's visit, of how things were when I got there. It would
24 be completely inappropriate in my view, indeed it would be extremely
25 dangerous for anybody to assume that the conditions I found were the
1 conditions which that camp had been operating on before I got there.
2 Q. Thank you. Then could you look now, please, briefly at the last
3 two documents, first Exhibit P408? A document dated three days later, 6th
4 of August, selection of prisoners in the Manjaca prisoner of war camp, and
5 it states that, "By processing the war prisoners in the Manjaca POW camp,
6 we realise that a certain [quite large number of them, according to
7 incrimination] do not deserve to be treated as prisoners of war. They did
8 not have weapons. They did not participate in combat. They were not in
9 uniform." And then it deals with there should be a selection of people
10 who can be released. According to our records, in the Manjaca POW camp,
11 there are currently 944 prisoners from the Sanski Most municipality. As
12 you know we have recently been attacked by the European and world media in
13 connection with the existence of concentration camps so this is sufficient
14 reason to carry out a prisoner selection." Now you had these
15 conversations and we saw you on video with Colonel Popovic. Did he tell
16 you that it had been decided that a number of these people shouldn't have
17 been there in the first place?
18 A. No. He did tell me that he had recently received I think he said
19 1.400 people from Omarska and Keraterm and these would of course be added
20 to the 944 mentioned here but he did not tell me that these were not
21 prisoners of war. In fact he, as I recall it, consistently claimed that
22 they were prisoners of war.
23 Q. Do you recall mention by anybody and you may not, of the Sanski
24 Most municipality?
25 A. I remember Sanski Most being one of those names which among so
1 many myriad others were in the press as scenes of horror but beyond that,
3 Q. All right. Yes, thank you. And then finally, please, could you
4 look at Exhibit -- Your Honour this is not yet been made an exhibit. It's
5 the document dated the 7th of August, with the disclosure number 4.55 on
6 it. And it will be Exhibit P1534 -- 1535, sorry. Do Your Honours have
7 a copy of that?
8 Q. The -- there are only two items. This was a more general report.
9 If we look under paragraph 3 in the translation, "Situation in the area,"
10 it talks about fighting and then it says this: "About 1.460 POWs were
11 brought from Omarska to the Manjaca POW camp. There were deaths during
12 transport to the camp." Did Colonel Popovic mention that to you?
13 A. No, Ms. Korner, he didn't. The 1.400 or so he did mention. The
14 deaths, he didn't. What is Manjaca from Omarska and Prijedor? I don't
15 know, 40 kilometres, 30 kilometres, something like that. It's -- yes,
16 well, I think the Court can draw its own conclusion.
17 Q. And then if you look over the page under paragraph 5, please, it
18 is said there that the issue of the POW camp at Manjaca is becoming
19 complex in terms of physical security and especially in regard to
20 supplies, cooking, water and health protection. And so on. I think you
21 told us you yourself saw the basic amenities that were available to the
22 prisoners at the camp?
23 A. Yes, basic would be the right word. Rudimentary, totally
24 inadequate might be another. I did see food being ladled out. It was --
25 it was food. I think the thing that worried me more than anything else
1 was the appalling physical condition of these people, malnutrition and
2 wounds and sores and the bit that worried me the most was this was August,
3 winter was coming, this is a bitterly, bitterly cold part of
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina and lying as they were completely without covering on
5 the bare earth of these -- I thought they were tank maintenance sheds but
6 looking at the pictures it's clear they are in fact cattle sheds, many
7 people would lose their lives not necessarily through deliberate action
8 but just through neglect.
9 Q. Yes. Thank you. I want to move now, please, to the following
10 day, when you paid a visit to Trnopolje. That was on the 11th of August.
11 If we look at your diary entry, you went there, I think, with a military
12 escort; is that correct?
13 A. A police escort. The genesis of this visit was that when we got
14 back from Manjaca, the previous night, I was approached by Penny Marshall
15 of ITN who told me of the existence of what she described as a civilian
16 detention camp. I was any way wishing the following day to go down to
17 Prijedor, passing through the Kozarac area, where I hoped to be able to
18 pay a visit to Omarska and Keraterm but by now these camps were either
19 being substantially emptied or had been emptied as I understood, and I
20 agreed with Ms. Marshall that having visited the authorities in Prijedor,
21 I should then return and join her in Trnopolje because she believed, and I
22 concluded that she was correct, that at this stage, Trnopolje was an area
23 where press attention would save lives.
24 Q. Now, you told us that -- I'm sorry, you stated in your diary that
25 as you drove towards Trnopolje, this is the bottom of the page Tuesday,
1 the 11th, you passed village after village which had been burnt out
2 completely, and you recorded clearly one of the worst areas for ethnic
3 cleansing, this, it looked dreadful and "quite shock me." You told us how
4 you had driven through areas on your way up to Banja Luka which had been
5 ethnically cleansed, as it were. How did these roads around Prijedor
6 compare to what you had earlier seen?
7 A. Well, they were worse, if it's possible to be worse, than what
8 Brcko looked like at the time in the war but they were worse in this
9 sense, that in the other villages I had seen, by and large, individual
10 houses, individual groups of houses, would have been torched and destroyed
11 and it's important to say, Ms. Korner, that this happened on all sides.
12 It wasn't just Serbs doing this to Muslims, it was all three ethnicities
13 doing to each other. What I think, however, made this area the Kozarac
14 area stand out was that here whole villages, without exception, had been
15 torched and destroyed. It was a land completely laid waste.
16 Q. Yes. Now, I think you in fact then went to the Prijedor police
17 and administrative headquarters; is that correct?
18 A. That is correct, yes.
19 Q. And you describe there meeting someone who you thought was the
20 local army commander, "A huge bull of a man, with a very powerful frame,
21 but I thought rather kindly eyes, and then someone who had described
22 himself as the mayor and if there was a villain, I suspect that was it,
23 narrow and cold eyes." You added a comment. I want you to have a look,
24 please, at a photograph of two men. I appreciate it's a long time ago,
25 and just see whether either of these men are recognisable to you?
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour this is not on the list but it's one of
2 the ones that have already been exhibited.
3 Q. While it's being looked for --
4 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, it's Exhibit P1128-24 and we'll have it
5 put on the ELMO.
6 Q. Do either of those two men look familiar?
7 A. They do. It is ten years ago.
8 Q. Yes.
9 A. I think I would be -- I think as my memory recalls it, they are
10 certainly two that I have seen before, I could only have seen them I
11 suspect at this time. As I recall it, Ms. Korner, the gentleman in the
12 military uniform was one of those with whom I had the contention in Banja
13 Luka the night before going to Manjaca. Indeed I think he was almost
14 certainly the most senior one there, the one who was stopping us going to
15 Manjaca but I may be wrong about that. The one on the right is the -- is
16 one of the ones I saw at Prijedor, yes, I'm pretty sure of that.
17 Q. All right. Yes, thank you. You can take that away again.
18 Now, Trnopolje itself. You gave a description in your diary of
19 what you found. You said that it was an indescribable sight of squalor.
20 There were no facilities. The Red Cross were there when you arrived. And
21 then the ITN crew as well. Then you describe that there were a few
22 wounded lying on filthy fly-blown mattresses and you described them in the
23 playing field were camped a miserable heap of humanity people who had come
24 with almost nothing and in some case literally nothing. You -- some were
25 lying out in the sun, others under makeshift awnings, suitable for shade
1 but hopeless when it rained. You stopped and talked to some of them and
2 some -- in one area, there was a rough earth lavatory with a few blocks
3 around it to give some brief privacy. Four of these for 3.000 people.
4 And you then described the conversation that you had with people. Now,
5 that's how you described in the diary. Looking back now, do you still
6 retain an image of Trnopolje?
7 A. Yes. I certainly do. I think it was -- listen, there were
8 terrible things and terrible sights in the Balkans but I can never
9 remember one that I saw in my experience - my experience is limited one
10 needs to remember - worse than this, and I can recall the sight to my eye
11 very easily. It was, Ms. Korner in my view, worse than Manjaca. It was
12 worse for a number of reasons, precisely because there was no order.
13 However brutal and inappropriate the order of Manjaca might have been it
14 was nevertheless order. Here was chaos but it was worse for another
15 reason. At least in Manjaca what I saw were men relatively young men.
16 Here were the old, the infirm, the wounded, women, children, simply herded
17 together on this school playing field, hopeless, futureless, despairing,
18 most had completely lost any dignity. The toilet facilities were such
19 that men and women had to use them. They were completely inadequate.
20 People were defecating on the ground. All the personal privacy which
21 gives people dignity had been robbed from them. At night, as I was told,
22 I can't verify this myself, they were subject to the depredations of
23 Serb extremists who came in, took the women, took them away, as was
24 described to me. I can't verify this. Raped them and either killed them
25 or returned them to the camp the following day, to such an extent that the
1 local Serb population of Trnopolje took pity on the people camped in their
2 midst and sought to protect them from the depredations of these extremists
3 which I found both moving and astonishing. It was an unbearable scene.
4 Q. You say that the local Serbs took pity on them. Who told you
6 A. I was told that by some of the -- by some of those, you can't call
7 them inmates, by some of this what I -- squalid miserable heap of
8 humanity. Those to whom I spoke said to me, as I recall, one of our
9 problems is we don't have a wire fence around us. There is nothing to
10 protect us from the outside. And so at night, the wolves come in and they
11 said the local Serbs who live there are decent people and have sought to
12 protect us from this but what can they do.
13 Q. Do you recall now whether you spoke to anybody who appeared to be
14 in charge of this camp?
15 A. No. I could find no one in charge.
16 Q. Did you see any sign of any guards at all?
17 A. No. I can -- there were military in the area. There were police
18 in the area. Police I think more than military. There was a docile
19 population to the extent to which as we drove there, little knots of women
20 and old men and children were walking the lanes that led to it under the
21 boiling sun, clearly being ordered to go there and docilely obeying that
22 order. I think -- I recall them saying that they were told this was a
23 transit camp from which they would be moved on or moved back or handed
24 over to the Muslim authorities, and of course, as we subsequently know, a
25 matter of a couple or three days or short number of days after I was
1 there, some of them were indeed taken away, up on to the Vlasic and tipped
2 off the cliffs to their deaths.
3 Q. Yes.
4 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I'm going to deal finally with the
5 letters that Lord Ashdown wrote and one press release but it may be this
6 is the appropriate moment.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: We should be having the break in about six minutes
8 time, so if you prefer to stop now --
9 MS. KORNER: I think it would be probably simpler to deal with the
10 documents as a whole.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So we will do that. So we'll have a short
12 coffee break and we'll resume in 25 minutes from now. Thank you.
13 --- Recess taken at 10.22 a.m.
14 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
15 MS. KORNER:
16 Q. Lord Ashdown, I'm going to come in a moment to the letters that
17 you wrote after your visit but I'd like you please to have a look at a
18 transcript that was made of an interview that you apparently gave to Banja
19 Luka Television.
20 MS. KORNER: Your Honours this was marked 7.230. I think you've
21 got a copy and if the witness could be handed the copy?
22 JUDGE AGIUS: This would be Exhibit number?
23 MS. KORNER: 1537. Because I'm going to exhibit the letters as
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
1 MS. KORNER:
2 Q. Lord Ashdown, this is apparently a statement made by you to Banja
3 Luka Television on the 11th of August after your visit. And you made a
4 statement as follows, according to them, or this document, "First of all I
5 have to say that I've been a soldier myself and know that what I have seen
6 are no concentration camps." What did you have in mind when you -- if
7 this is an accurate record of what you said obviously?
8 A. I did give an interview that night to Banja Luka TV, and this
9 appears to me to be an accurate excerpt, may I underline the word excerpt
10 of that in the nature of all television interviews, they tend to be cut
11 and this by my recollection of the interview which was a long one,
12 certainly has been cut, and when I used the word "concentration camp" I
13 was of course thinking of what the accepted term for a concentration camp
14 is which is Belsen, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and indeed, if I may
15 Ms. Korner because it may turn on to the questions you may ask me in
16 relation to my subsequent letters, I refer again to that definition in the
17 letter which I subsequently wrote to Mr. Karadzic which I can explain more
18 in a moment.
19 Q. Right. Then the condition -- you went on apparently to say, "The
20 conditions for life in this camp are hard but with regards to the
21 situation all should try to better the conditions. A lot ought to be done
22 but it is most important that in these detention centres, the Geneva
23 Conventions are complied with."
24 A. Again, you need to put this in the context, as I recall very
25 clearly the previous bits of this interview which have -- appear to have
1 been cut, I described those conditions in considerably more detail and
2 said that they were unacceptable but in this excerpt, the context in which
3 I'm trying to make an essentially a political comment was that these camps
4 appeared to have been subject to a programme of regularisation which was
5 improving them and I wanted that to continue. It would have been
6 unhelpful to that attempt to describe things other than in rather
7 objective -- in these objective terms. The important point about the next
8 sentence is of course that it's important that in these detention camps,
9 the Geneva Conventions are complied with rather than a statement that they
10 have been complied with. This is an attempt to get the Serb authorities
11 to apply the Geneva Convention in the future even if they haven't in the
13 Q. All right. Then you go on to say that "The International Red
14 Cross should be included in the work of the centre and that you personally
15 have tried to make them come as often as possible. The second thing to be
16 done is to provide help but in this case, the conditions for the prisoners
17 would be better than for the people outside the prison." What did you
18 mean by that, if you can recall?
19 A. It would be better for the people, rather than -- the word "than"
20 is I'm sure an intrusion into perhaps the translation here. It would be
21 better for people if they were outside the prison rather than inside.
22 Again, I had two -- I had three aims which I was trying to achieve here.
23 One was to ensure that any improvement that had taken place in the last
24 two to three days would continue. Secondly, to get the Red Cross in.
25 That was I suppose my primary aim on a regular basis. I have been
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 informed by prisoners I've met since that shortly after my arrival, the
2 Red Cross did indeed come in on regular visits and from the next visit, I
3 have been informed by prisoners I've met that they were numbered and after
4 that, conditions substantially improved. And the third was building on a
5 statement, a conversation that I'd had with Dr. Karadzic which you will
6 see reflected in the letter, was to ensure that the exchange of prisoners
7 should take place as soon as possible so that these people were -- got out
8 of these camps and into a safer environment.
9 Q. And then you went on to state, "I also appeal to foreign media to
10 put pressure to show the conditions of Serbs on the other side are
11 subjected to." At that stage, did you consider it important that there
12 should be reporting of what was happening in other areas?
13 A. Ms. Korner, look, the truth is that there were no clean hands in
14 this war, that atrocities took place on all sides. I've no doubt that the
15 mistreatment of prisoners almost certainly took place on all sides. If I
16 am to make a subjective judgement, I believe that the weight of atrocities
17 was very heavily on the Serb side rather than on any other but I don't
18 pretend for a second that there were not black deeds done by all, and my
19 concern was to -- I reasoned as follows: That if all sides could be
20 subjected to pressure to treat prisoners properly, then the conditions of
21 all prisoners would improve, if there was evidence of an even-handed
22 approach from the press, then the Serb authorities would be -- find it
23 easier to respond, and if there was evidence of appropriate treatment on
24 Croat and Muslim sides, then that would produce an improvement of
25 treatment of their prisoners in Serb hands.
1 Q. Yes. Well, I think that's all that I want to ask you about that
2 because I think the rest of it was dealing with effectively the same type
3 of thing. So can we come now, please, then to the letters that you wrote
4 to a number of people, at the end of your visit there? If we can start,
5 please, with the one that was numbered attachment to your letter to
6 Mr. Major, Prime Minister Major who was then in power?
7 MS. KORNER: Your Honour can I ask that all these letters be
8 exhibited under one exhibit number which is P1536? And this will be
9 P1536.1? It's dated the 12th of August.
10 Q. And you set out the background to your visit, and then your views
11 on the western powers having acted or not. Could you come to the second
12 page? You dealt with, in a paragraph, "Let me describe to you why this
13 matter is so urgent." And you describe the conditions at Trnopolje,
14 effectively very much I think as you described them in your diary?
15 A. Entirely.
16 Q. And in fact, you didn't mention in this particular letter
17 Manjaca. I think we will see that you mentioned it in other letters but
18 not in this one?
19 A. The purpose of this letter which I composed on my way back driving
20 from Trnopolje to Belgrade that night was to do two things, was to try and
21 convince the British government and through them western governments that
22 their policy of inactivity in this war was wrong and indeed dangerous, and
23 secondly, to draw particular attention to the conditions of Trnopolje.
24 Please remember that this was the event which I -- is seared on my memory
25 still which was most fresh in my mind when I wrote this letter and when I
1 constructed these letters it seemed to me best to bring these conditions
2 to light in the letters to Dr. Karadzic and Mr. Sommaruga of the
3 International Red Cross. I concentrated on the Manjaca camp because they
4 seemed to be the most appropriate authorities to deal with that.
5 Q. Can we move then to your letter to Dr. Karadzic which was
6 attachment 3 and will become whatever it is 1536.2? And as you say there,
7 you thanked him for making the trip possible. In the second paragraph
8 saying that you wished to look at the effect of the war and see what could
9 be done in the short term to halt or reduce the intensity and to relieve
10 the suffering of innocent people caught in the middle. And then you went
11 on to deal with Manjaca and you told him you were attaching the copy of
12 the letter that you wrote to Mr. Sommaruga and stated in the third
13 paragraph, "I was also pleased to see that the camp commandant appeared to
14 be observing the conditions of the Geneva Convention as far as his
15 resources would allow." I think you've probably explained that but by
16 that sentence what were you referring to?
17 A. Precisely that at the time I was there, an attempt to apply the
18 Geneva Conventions seemed to be in progress. That is not to say that that
19 was the case before I got there, that one of the factors was a limitation
20 of resources and that indeed is reflected in some of the previous evidence
21 that you have shown. But as I continue, food remains at a very low level,
22 especially for those recovering from such a long period of malnutrition,
23 living conditions are sparse and medical provisions rudimentary and
24 inadequate for people who are still very weak.
25 Q. And --
1 A. Sorry Ms. Korner.
2 Q. Yes?
3 A. The impression I'm seeking to convey there is that though the
4 conditions have improved they remain unacceptable and that improvement has
5 to continue.
6 Q. Yes, because if you look at the second page you say exactly that
7 in the first paragraph?
8 A. Yeah.
9 Q. "I believe that from what I was able to see, it would be both
10 irresponsible and inaccurate to call those camps which I visited
11 concentration camps within the meaning that has come to be accepted for
12 that term."
13 A. And here of course, I refer -- that last phrase is intended to
14 mean what is it that we know of concentration camps that they are in the
15 modern parlance have become accepted to mean extermination camps of the
16 kind that Belsen and Auschwitz were and in my view Keraterm and Omarska
17 were and this did not fit that category. Ms. Korner, it's probably
18 important for the Court to realise that it would have been no service to
19 the political aim, i.e., the saving of lives, if I had used stronger terms
20 than the phrase "within the meaning that has come to be accepted for that
21 term." But it's clearly indicating to Mr. -- Dr. Karadzic that although
22 this wasn't Belsen, that did not make it acceptable.
23 Q. And you say in the next sentence, "Nevertheless, conditions remain
24 unacceptable and have to be improved with urgency." You then dealt with
25 the arrivals from Omarska and the prisoner exchange and then in the
1 penultimate paragraph on that it page stated: "Let me add that as I was
2 deeply concerned that as we were driving about we saw Muslim villages
3 totally destroyed. It is insufficient to say that the same is being done
4 on the other side. It is wrong. It is barbaric and ought to be stopped
5 by the leaders of both sides."
6 If we can move then to the --
7 A. May I just stop you, one of the most important points for me to
8 make to Dr. Karadzic in this letter was the point made in the second
9 paragraph of that letter which raises the point of which I had by this
10 stage become convinced, that those who I saw were not combatants.
11 Q. Yes. Absolutely. As you say you make that point very strongly.
12 The third letter of that date or the one we have driven as the
13 third, attachment 4 was written to General Nambiar. Was he in charge of
14 UNPROFOR at that stage?
15 A. He was, based in Zagreb and this talks about the very specific
16 position of Gorazde at that stage, subject to a siege.
17 Q. Yes, and I don't think that we need trouble with that. And then
18 finally, so that will be --
19 JUDGE AGIUS: [Microphone not activated]
20 MS. KORNER: .3.
21 Q. Yes and then the final letter to Mr. Sommaruga, the President of
22 the International Red Cross, and in the second paragraph, you say, "In the
23 course of your -- the tour you referred to, "We had the chance to visit
24 the prisoner of war camp at Manjaca, and in inverted commas refugee camp
25 at Trnopolje." What made you use that expression, refugee camp?
1 A. That's how it was described to me at the time. I suppose a more
2 accurate expression might have been internment camp but they were all
3 refugees so I called it a refugee camp, displaced persons camp might be
4 more accurate.
5 Q. Then you go on to deal with the -- what you were told by Colonel
6 Popovic, that the camp had not been visited by the ICRC for more than ten
7 days and went on to express your concerns and then if we go to the next
8 page, the third paragraph, "The Serbian authorities tell me that food
9 shortages in the country and the effects of the international sanctions
10 are limiting the resources that they have at their disposal. I am unable
11 to judge the veracity of this and it must be said that every prisoner to
12 whom I spoke [out of ear shot of the guards] informed me that conditions
13 here are much better than those in the camps from which they came. But I
14 regret that this tells us more about the unacceptability of the camps from
15 which they came than it does about the acceptability of Manjaca. I accept
16 that the Serb authorities are making a serious attempt to put matters
17 right on an urgent basis but that does not mean that matters can rest
19 You mentioned that you'd spoken to the Canadian mercenary but
20 other than that, were most of the people that you spoke to in Manjaca
21 those who had come from Omarska or Keraterm?
22 A. Yes. I think the vast majority. We were there for a limited
23 period of time, although I was -- they sought to persuade me to go and
24 see other prisoners I decided that those from Omarska and Keraterm were at
25 most threat to their lives and I spent by far and away most time there.
1 In fact, my memory may be failing me but I don't recall speaking, apart
2 from those I found in the medical centre, a matter of four or five, of
3 whom one was the Canadian mercenary, apart from those, I don't recollect
4 speaking to anybody other than those who came from Keraterm and Omarska.
5 Q. All right. Yes, thank you. That will then be .4, Your Honour.
6 Finally this, Lord Ashdown, you paid a number of visits to the territories
7 of the former Yugoslavia and you've testified in other cases about that.
8 How would you sum up your visit to those camps in comparison to the other
9 matters, the other times you visited?
10 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Your Honour, I'm going to object to that
11 unless we are a little more specific about what camps and when, what we
12 are talking about.
13 MS. KORNER: I'm talking about -- I'm asking about the visit to --
14 THE WITNESS: Perhaps I can help by simply saying that I don't
15 believe in all my life I've done a better day's work than I did at
16 Manjaca. It's not often given to us that we have a chance to participate
17 in the saving of lives, but I believe, and conversations I've had with
18 Manjaca prisoners subsequently lead me to believe that on that day,
19 because of the improvement of conditions, the consequence was that lives
20 were saved. In respect of Trnopolje, I have to say that I feel haunted by
21 the thought that if somehow or another we could have done more, the lives
22 of those people who were slaughtered by being thrown over the cliffs a
23 matter of a few days later may have been prevented so I suppose I'd say
24 that the 11th -- the 10th of August I regard as the best days work I've
25 ever done, the 11th of August I regard as being one of the most
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Does that answer your objection, Mr. Ackerman?
3 Thank you. Yes, Ms. Korner you may proceed.
4 MS. KORNER: Thank you, Lord Ashdown, that's all I ask.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Do I take it, Ms. Korner, that you're
6 not going to tender as exhibits what was attachment 8 and attachment 9?
7 MS. KORNER: Correct. Sorry, attachment 9 is the diary I've
8 already exhibited that.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, that's but attachment 8 you haven't tendered.
10 MS. KORNER: No. Is that the press reports?
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes exactly.
12 MS. KORNER: I'm not bothering to tender them.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Ackerman will be cross-examining you
14 now. Mr. Ackerman please proceed.
15 Cross-examined by Mr. Ackerman:
16 Q. Lord Ashdown, good morning. My name is John Ackerman. I
17 represent Mr. Brdjanin. I come from the United States and I must say this
18 you're the first lord to whom I've ever spoken for any reason whatsoever.
19 A. Mr. Ackerman I would forget the title. I don't regard it as
20 important any more other than a description of the place I work and my job
21 description. I never use it and I would be grateful if it was used as
22 little as possible.
23 Q. Maybe I'll call you sir or -- but something to -- there is some
24 deference due to you for your position, I'm sure of that. I'm going to
25 try to -- I know that you are a busy man and that you want to leave here
1 as soon as you possibly can and I'm going to try my best to move through
2 this material as rapidly as I can, consistent with what the interpreters
3 need from us, and consistent with you having a -- as full an opportunity
4 to answer my questions as you feel that you need. That would be fair, I
5 think, wouldn't it?
6 A. It would indeed.
7 Q. I want to begin my questions of you with a statement that you
8 gave, of fairly recent vintage, to an investigator from the Prosecution by
9 the name of Richard Dupas on 9 May, 2002. Do you recall that?
10 A. I do recall giving a variety of statements. I don't think I can
11 recall the one on that particular day.
12 Q. Would you like a copy of it just so you can?
13 A. It might be useful, Mr. Ackerman, I don't know. If it's
14 immediately available to me.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Usher, please. Document with ERN number 02193824.
16 Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
17 MR. ACKERMAN:
18 Q. Now, part of what I wanted to ask you about that I think has now
19 been cleared up and that is when you spoke to Banja Luka Television and
20 when you talked about that in your statement to Mr. Dupas here, what you
21 were talking about when you were speaking to Banja Luka Television was
22 what you had observed after you had been to Manjaca and Trnopolje?
23 A. No. After I'd been to Manjaca.
24 Q. Not to Trnopolje?
25 A. I'd not been to Trnopolje. That was the night I came back from
2 THE INTERPRETER: Would the counsel and witness please break
3 between question and answer?
4 MR. ACKERMAN: We have to break between --
5 THE WITNESS: My apologies.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: One of the microphones is not switched on. And
7 perhaps --
8 THE WITNESS: Shall I say that again? No, the statement was given
9 on the night that I returned from Manjaca, the night before I went to
11 MR. ACKERMAN:
12 Q. And the impressions that you gained then, regarding Manjaca, was
13 based basically on a couple of things, your own personal observations,
14 what you saw and heard while were you there, plus conversations that you
15 had with some of the inmates out of the ear shot of the camp authorities?
16 A. Yes. I mean the second is part of the first but that's correct.
17 Q. And in these conversations, out of the ear shot of camp
18 authorities, I take it you did not learn of any deaths from beatings or
19 otherwise that had occurred at Manjaca?
20 A. Mr. Ackerman, the answer to your question is no, I did not learn
21 of them. It would have been surprising if indeed if I had given that my
22 conversation within what the press describe as half an hour I recall as an
23 hour's visit were necessarily brief and confined to their personal
24 conditions rather than the history or what had occurred in recent days.
25 Q. In fact, isn't it the case that some of the men you talked to
1 preferred staying in Manjaca to being released out of fear that they would
2 be pressured to fight for their own ethnic army?
3 A. No, Mr. Ackerman. It's certainly not the case. They certainly
4 expressed the view that if released, they may have been required to go and
5 fight, but though I didn't ask them the specific question to which you
6 refer, I am absolutely confident that if I had said to those people, "You
7 can walk out the gates and fend for yourself," they would have gone
8 immediately and with great relief.
9 Q. If you look, sir, at the last sentence of your statement that I've
10 just given you, where I got that idea was what you're reputed to have said
11 there, "Some of the men I spoke to were afraid that if they left, pressure
12 would be put on them to fight for their own ethnic army."
13 A. Of course. But that does not, I think, infer a preference to be
14 in the camp rather than out. That was a fear that they had if they should
15 leave. But I put it to you that all the evidence that I received was that
16 the fear that they would have had from remaining there would have been
17 greater. They were merely saying to me that leaving here, though
18 infinitely preferable than being here does not make me without risk
19 in this war. A perfectly ordinary belief, I'm sure you would agree.
20 Q. Wouldn't you think that some of them might have felt and might
21 even in the way they expressed to you, that as bad as Manjaca was, it was
22 safer than a trench in a combat zone?
23 A. Absolutely not, Mr. Ackerman. I have to say to you that I am
24 completely confident, if you had given these people the opportunity to
25 leave the hands of the Serbs in the light of their experiences in Omarska
1 and Keraterm and their experiences in Manjaca, they would have gone
2 anywhere on earth and put themselves in anybody else's hands except those
3 in whose hands they currently were. Of that I am completely confident.
4 Q. You also said this, and you've talked about it this morning, and
5 to some extent you've answered the question, you said, "There were very
6 few combatants that I saw but the majority appeared to be civilians." And
7 I think the way you described that in your testimony this morning was they
8 just looked like ordinary farmers to you.
9 A. Well if you recall, Mr. Ackerman, I said to you that it wasn't
10 just what they looked like. I have met many soldiers who looked like
11 ordinary farmers but it was the complete absence of uniforms, the complete
12 absence of for instance footwear of the sort that you need to be a combat
13 soldier, the complete absence of equipment, the complete absence of
14 anything relating to military equipment and above all, the presence of the
15 pathetic possessions of farmers plucked out of the field.
16 Q. So the conclusion you made there was based on the lack of the
17 accoutrements that one would ordinarily see from a military man?
18 A. Accoutrements, bearing, I've been experienced enough in the
19 military to be able to know a soldier when I see one, whether in uniform
20 or out. They were not in a physical condition which showed they'd been
21 subject to any kind of military training. Their bearing was one of an
22 absence of military discipline, their position was absolutely consistent
23 with -- I want to say innocent -- I can't pretend that all of them would
24 have been innocent but ordinary people plucked out of ordinary lives and
25 put into this hell hole.
1 Q. You're speaking, sir, of the kind of military organisation that
2 you were part of or -- and that I was part of in the United States where
3 we in fact have significant training and all of that. Aren't you aware
4 that the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to some extent even the Serb
5 army, was made up of people who were actually literally plucked from the
6 fields, thrown into a uniform given a gun and told go and fight?
7 A. I certainly recognise that description, what I saw of the Bosnian
8 army, it does not apply to what I saw of most of the Serb army but yes, it
9 is perfectly possible. I can only give you the judgement that I made at
10 the time, which was that the majority of people I had seen were those who
11 had been burnt and brutalised out of the houses that I had seen on the way
12 to Manjaca, and that as such, their condition, their language, their
13 bearing, their equipment, was entirely consistent with the fact that a
14 matter of days or weeks before, they had been the inhabitants of those
15 houses I had seen destroyed in such great numbers along the road to
17 Q. Bear with me a moment while I find what I'm looking for. Here we
18 go. Do you still have your diaries in front of you?
19 A. I do.
20 Q. On the 10th of August, and there is a page number at the top, big
21 long number, 02195557, it has a number 14 circled on it. I don't know if
22 yours does or not?
23 A. Yeah, I've got it.
24 Q. You're talking about being at Manjaca. The second paragraph from
25 the top, "I went off to have a look at the medical facilities which are
1 pathetic but then there are a few medical supplies getting through
2 anywhere because of the embargo on medicines." What was the embargo on
3 medicines that you spoke about there?
4 A. Well, there was a point consistently made to me by Karadzic and
5 others, and of course, you'll understand the political importance of this
6 point when I repeat it to you, that one of the reasons you might arguably
7 say one of the excuses, why they were unable to provide full medical
8 facilities, was because of the west's sanctions which also meant sanctions
9 on the provision of medical equipment. I think I recalled discovering
10 later on that the west's sanctions at this stage did not apply to medical
11 equipment but that is the argument that was consistently being made to me
12 so you find it reflected in my diaries.
13 Q. Did you -- you of course didn't during your visit have an
14 opportunity to go to the hospital in Banja Luka and compare the medical
15 supplies available there with those that you saw in other places, did you?
16 A. No, I didn't, but on the other hand on a subsequent visit, I did
17 go -- Your Honour I'm afraid I can't lay my hands on this but I could
18 certainly do so if I'm given access to my diaries, I did go to the
19 veterans prison in Pale which was the Serb headquarters close to Sarajevo
20 and saw medical facilities there, and although I wouldn't claim that they
21 matched those in modern western hospitals, they were of a substantially --
22 substantially better sort than I saw in Manjaca operating equipment,
23 nurses, doctors, the provision of medical facilities. So although on this
24 occasion, I didn't look at Banja Luka, within, I think, five or six months
25 of this, if I recall during my visit in December I was able to see Serb
1 military hospitals, Serb civilian hospitals in Pale and I can tell you
2 there was no comparison.
3 Q. But you didn't see that same facility at the same time in August,
4 did you?
5 A. Self-evidently not but I have absolutely no reason to believe that
6 what I would have seen in Banja Luka at the beginning of the war, when
7 supplies were more plenty full would have been worse than what I saw in
8 Pale several months later when medical supplies were later in the war much
9 less available.
10 Q. Were you -- were you aware that the Banja Luka region, that
11 Krajina region, basically became an island that was cut off from its
12 normal source of supplies of all kinds?
13 A. Well --
14 Q. Let me finish my question. The border with Croatia was closed,
15 the Croats closed -- the Croats and Muslim forces closed that corridor
16 that connected the Krajina and Serbia, that was another source of
17 supplies. The opportunities for air supply were limited because of the
18 no-fly issues. So that getting supplies into that area was very, very,
19 very difficult at that period of time, including food and medicine?
20 A. There were UN supplies coming in and certainly, the offer of UN
21 supplies, in much the same way as to Sarajevo but the answer to your
22 question is, yes, I was. It was difficult enough for us to get from Pale
23 through the Posavina corridor which was subject to ambushes from all
24 sides, very narrow corridor, and I'm sure conditions were not easy for
25 that element of the Republika Srpska as we now know it though I venture to
1 say that Banja Luka being the capital town, being in an area of far larger
2 geographical population density than the other portion of Republika Srpska
3 around Pale was nevertheless in a far better condition than Sarajevo,
4 which at that stage was subject to a siege. I could accept, and I will
5 accept, that medical supplies and other facilities were not as you would
6 see them in a western country. I could not accept, however, that this
7 early in the war, the conditions you described had only been in place for
8 a month or so, there were insufficient medical supplies to be able to
9 provide better facilities for Manjaca in what was the largest remaining
10 territory of Serb occupation -- occupied areas and within two miles of its
11 capital city.
12 Q. The UN supplies that you say were coming in, I'm operating totally
13 off the top of my head here, sir, so you may correct me --
14 A. I think we both are, Mr. Ackerman.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please not overlap.
16 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... UN supplies
17 were coming in at that stage I recall most of them however being refused
18 by the Serb authorities under those circumstances. They built up to
19 greater intensity later when the conditions of Serbs within the
20 Serb-occupied areas were considerably depleted by the length of the war.
21 But this, let me remind you, was within two months of the start of the war
22 and five miles of the capital city.
23 MR. ACKERMAN:
24 Q. My memory is that UN convoys trying to come into that area from
25 Croatia, from Zagreb, were only being allowed in if they were giving as
1 much as 80 per cent of that to the Croats as sort of a fee for getting
2 across the border. Do you recall anything about that at all?
3 A. Mr. Ackerman I think we are both on area which we are not terribly
4 certain about here. I certainly am. Let me say that before I came in
5 here in July, I went through Croatia and the war had by and large stopped
6 then. All the supplies moving in to Bosnia were coming through Zagreb and
7 I remember seeing them, in fact I flew in with a collection of supplies
8 going into Sarajevo in July, and I do not recall anybody saying to me that
9 the Croats were taking a cut on the way through.
10 Q. Prior to the time that you went to Manjaca and Trnopolje, you were
11 aware of journalistic activity and that camps in that area had been
12 portrayed like World War II vintage concentration camps by some media,
13 weren't you?
14 A. They were portrayed and by all the evidence I knew and now know
15 they were like World War II extermination camps.
16 Q. You told Karadzic in your letter to him regarding at least what
17 you saw at Manjaca and Trnopolje and Ms. Korner asked you about this, "It
18 would be irresponsible and inaccurate to call those camps which I visited
19 concentration camps within the meaning that has come to be accepted for
20 that term." And I fully accept everything you've already said about
21 that. I don't see any necessity for you to repeat it unless you want to
22 comment a little further regarding my question?
23 A. I think I've explained what I was seeking to achieve.
24 Q. I take it there is no reason for us to believe that you were not
25 able to see at Manjaca and Trnopolje, the same things that the journalists
1 were able to see?
2 A. Sorry, Mr. Ackerman, I don't quite understand the question.
3 Q. Well, you went --
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Before you answer that question, Lord Ashdown, I
5 think you have to put it in a time frame, Mr. Ackerman. We need to know
6 for sure that the journalists you were talking about saw what they saw and
7 what you're asking Lord Ashdown about, on the same day or approximately
8 the same date. Because otherwise, there could be a great difference even
9 on the basis of what Lord Ashdown said earlier on this morning.
10 MR. ACKERMAN: I understand that. My question was imprecise and
11 I'll make it more precise.
12 Q. When you went to Manjaca and Trnopolje, you went in both places
13 there were journalists with you?
14 A. There were.
15 Q. And my question is just this: You have no reason to believe that
16 the journalists were able to see anything that you weren't able to see, do
18 A. No. Those journalists who were with me saw what I was able to
19 see. I'm just -- I have a recollection, and it does appear in the video,
20 that at some stage, probably before I left but maybe only five minutes,
21 ten minutes before I left, the journalists were hustled out. You did
22 in fact see that on the video. It may be that I saw more than they did
23 but I have no reason to believe that they saw more than I did.
24 Q. I'm looking at your diary now from the 8th of August and that
25 would be a three circled. Do you have those numbers circled on yours?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. So it would be page 3, I guess?
3 A. Yeah.
4 Q. And at this point you're at the Intercontinental Hotel in Belgrade
5 and about halfway down through that paragraph, that middle paragraph
6 there, you say this: "CNN has been publishing words about concentration
7 camps and all the press are pretty frightened by this since that is
8 exactly what they are not, and the press believe that this will make the
9 trip even more dangerous."
10 A. You will see, Mr. Ackerman, that there is a manuscript amendment
11 to that. It may not be very clear on yours but I should remind you that
12 these manuscript amendments were made within days of the diary being
13 dictated, which is -- it says that is exactly what the Serbs say they are
14 not. There is a small manuscript amendment.
15 Q. I see that now, yes?
16 A. There was very considerable nervousness, the press were saying
17 these were concentration camps, the Serbs were extremely angry about this
18 description on so they believed, the press believed, that this would make
19 the trip even more dangerous. Perhaps if would help the Court if I were
20 to say that diaries are inevitably done late at night, pretty tired, and
21 so the words you choose aren't either necessarily molten prose or indeed
22 precisely the words you would have chosen. That's why in this case, as in
23 a very small number of others in my diary I called for the diaries to be
24 returned to me as soon as they were typed and I made the manuscript
25 amendments which then formed part of the diary.
1 Q. Those words were chosen on the day of the events and your words
2 today are ten years after the events?
3 A. No, by no means, those words are included in the manuscript
4 version --
5 Q. I understand that.
6 A. A matter of days afterwards.
7 Q. I'm talking about your testimony today is ten years after the
9 A. It is indeed ten years after the event.
10 Q. Whereas your diaries were made almost contemporaneously with the
12 A. Correct.
13 Q. As long as we are on that page, you had an occasion there to meet
14 a journalist who you've told us today was actually Ed Vulliamy and who you
15 now know wrote a book about his experiences there, correct?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. And in your diary what you said about him was, "He strikes me as
18 being thoroughly cut up by the whole affair. That's not going to make
19 life easier. We need people who can make rational judgements in this
20 situation." That implies that you arrived at a conclusion that Vulliamy
21 was not able to make rational judgements. True?
22 A. Mr. Ackerman, it may imply that. I don't think it means anything
23 as heavy as that but let me say this to you. Mr. Vulliamy is somebody I
24 met late at night and for the first time on this occasion. He was
25 extremely emotionally disturbed by what he was seeing, what rational human
1 being would not be? I made a judgement of him that night, which implies,
2 as you correctly say, that somehow or other, his objectivity might have
3 been affected by this. It was an admonition to myself as much as anything
4 else, that whatever I saw ought not to disturb my objectivity but I'm
5 bound to say that from everything I've known of Mr. Vulliamy since, and we
6 have become I won't say friends but frequent discussers of events in the
7 Balkans, there is nothing that leads me to believe that he is not a
8 journalist of the very highest calibre whose objectivity has not and would
9 not have been disturbed by any such thing.
10 Q. I want to go now to page 8 of your diary, and this is Sunday, the
11 9th of August, when you're in Pale and you're taken to Kula, which you
12 described as a show camp?
13 A. I think this -- yes.
14 Q. And down near the bottom, you talk about having a chat with one or
15 two of the prisoners and then you say this: "A German reporter from Der
16 Spiegel said that she had privately been told by the prisoners that they
17 had been kept inside for four months, that they had not slept where we
18 were shown they had slept and they had not had any food." Then you
19 commented about that: "If this is true, then they didn't look like it.
20 There was no sign that these -- of these people had not been out in the
21 sun a good deal nor any sign that they had not been reasonably well fed."
22 A. For sometime. I add at the bottom.
23 Q. Yeah, for sometime. I think what you were saying there, and you
24 correct me if I'm wrong, and I know you will, that whatever these people
25 had told this German reporter, if they had told her the things that she
1 told you they told her, did not appear to you to be correct?
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. You then, if you over a couple of pages to page 10 --
4 A. I think Mr. Ackerman it would be worthwhile not just going over a
5 couple of pages without drawing attention to the fact to the first
6 paragraph on page 9. This is clearly a show camp. That's what I was
7 brought there for. I was brought there for a propaganda exercise to a
8 show camp and I think it's important just to underline that fact.
9 Q. I think I said that when we started, what you called a show camp.
10 Go please, now, to page 10. You talk about having a meal with Karadzic
11 around 1.00 in the morning?
12 A. M'hm.
13 Q. You found him refreshingly honest, saying that of course, Serbs
14 had committed atrocities, as others had, but these were all Serbs who were
15 out of control. He could not control every single Serb in the whole area.
16 That's what he told you?
17 A. Correct.
18 Q. In your letter to him, which --
19 A. Again, Mr. Ackerman, I have no wish to add things you would not
20 wish me to touch on but that was the claim. I must say what I saw about
21 the Serb military forces who were in control of the area through which I
22 passed led me to a totally different conclusion.
23 Q. Well, we are going to come to that pretty soon, we will talk about
24 that in greater length in a little while. On the 12th of August, you
25 wrote a letter to Mr. Karadzic. On the second page of that letter, I
1 assume you have it there?
2 A. I do.
3 Q. It's the third paragraph down, and you were talking about the
4 prisoners you'd seen from Manjaca: "I believe that the very best thing
5 that can happen to these prisoners is that they are exchanged as soon as
6 possible." Correct?
7 A. Correct.
8 Q. Were you aware of any impediments to that happening, to those
9 people being exchanged?
10 A. Yes. The mechanisms for exchange had not at this early stage of
11 the war been set up. And each side was blaming the other for not setting
12 it up, not an uncommon practice in the Balkans incidentally.
13 Q. I want to go back to your -- let's see if I can -- I'm going to go
14 back to your diary again we are going to go to the 11th of August,
15 please. And it would be page 16. You are talking about the trip you were
16 taking from Banja Luka to Trnopolje where you were escorted by police and
17 you say that you were escorted up to a point where there was a
18 crossroads, they stopped there, said they couldn't take you any further,
19 because they didn't know where Trnopolje was. And that you'd have to wait
20 until some police came who did know where Trnopolje was to escort you
21 further. Essentially that's correct, isn't it?
22 A. It's what they said, Mr. Ackerman, yes. I have to tell you that
23 knowing the Balkans a little better than I did on my second visit, I think
24 it is simply inconceivable they didn't know where Trnopolje was.
25 Q. You made another comment there and this comment must have been
1 based on something more than just that event. You said, "I am constantly
2 amazed," which means you've been amazed more than once I assume, "I am
3 constantly amazed at how little people travel here and how much they do
4 not know of their next door area even quite senior people." Right?
5 A. That's certainly what I said.
6 Q. And that was something you apparently had found to be kind of
7 universally characteristic of the people you had met in Bosnia up to that
9 A. If I thought it was universally characteristic I was universally
10 wrong. Please remember that this is my second trip to the Balkans
11 it is a very, very complex area indeed. Not all the judgements you make
12 about any country are going to be accurate and that one was an inaccurate
13 judgement. Let me say this: That it is true that one of the features of
14 the Balkans I find amazing is that ordinary people travel very little.
15 They probably haven't been up the mountain that so excites a westerner to
16 climb which has been neighbouring their village all their lives. They
17 probably many of them won't have been to their capital but the idea that
18 those who run these countries do not know them or travel extensively
19 across them and that applies to the police as I think -- if I gained that
20 impression it was incorrect.
21 Q. One of the comments that you made in your diary about Trnopolje,
22 and I'm now on page 17, in a paragraph that begins with the language, "In
23 the sleeping areas themselves," you say, "In fact such as the pitiable
24 nature of their condition," you probably meant such is, "that some Serbs
25 had actually protected the area themselves from the depravations of the
1 Serb extremists who came at night robbing, beating and raping the women,"
2 so you were told, and then you add, "But there was a terrible breeder of
3 exaggerations." In other words you left room there for some of those
4 stories being exaggerations, don't you?
5 A. I take you back Mr. Ackerman to that conversation with
6 Mr. Vulliamy. I'm trying here to be as objective as I can. The one thing
7 I very soon discovered is that not all things that you are told by any
8 given nationality in the Balkans is an exact representation of the facts
9 and I know from personal experience that the horror and terror of war does
10 breed exaggeration so of course, I'm leaving myself room for doubt here
11 and I am doing what I suppose in the Court would be saying this is hearsay
13 Q. I will also come to that issue in a little more detail later too.
14 I want to talk now about your letter to John Major.
15 At the time, John Major of course was the Prime Minister, correct?
16 A. He was.
17 Q. And you were the leader of the Liberal Party?
18 A. The Liberal Democrats, yes.
19 Q. Had you run against him in the immediately preceding election?
20 A. The date is 1992. Had I run against him? Not in his own seat but
21 yes I'd been the leader of one party and he was the leader of another.
22 Q. Yes, in other words if the voting had gone the right way, you
23 would have been Prime Minister instead of him?
24 A. I think the voting would have had to have gone a long way the
25 other way.
1 Q. You're right but it was possible?
2 A. I don't think there are many political commentators in Britain who
3 would have thought it was possible, Mr. Ackerman but it's fair to say that
4 I tried to pretend it was.
5 Q. You spoke of your visit to Trnopolje when you wrote to him, and I
6 think it would be fair to say that you were his political opponent?
7 A. I was a member of the opposition party, yes.
8 Q. What they call the loyal opposition?
9 A. Yes, the word "loyal" may or may not be attached to the way I
10 behaved but that's --
11 Q. We are going to come to that too. There is a lot coming here.
12 What I want to know is when you addressed him about Trnopolje, what you
13 were trying to do is persuade him to take some action?
14 A. Correct.
15 Q. That you thought needed to be taken?
16 A. Absolutely.
17 Q. My question is: Did you in any way exaggerate your report to him
18 regarding Trnopolje for that reason, to make it sound worse than what
19 you'd really seen in an effort to goad him into action?
20 A. The answer is, Mr. Ackerman, I must let history be the Judge of
21 that, compare the letter with my diary I think you'll find they match in
22 tone and fact. I made it a habit, after every visit that I made to the
23 Balkans, both in the Bosnian war and in the Kosovo war to submit a private
24 report to the Prime Minister, which was not published, and which carried
25 my impressions and recommendations. That report was in no way a political
1 instrument. It was a private report, as we return to the word "loyal,"
2 as a British subject to his Prime Minister about what is happening, and my
3 report submitted after this. I don't have it immediately handy would have
4 reflected these facts. Can I also say for fear that you think that this
5 is being done for as it were electoral political purposes, that at this
6 voice -- at this time, I was a completely lone voice calling for greater
7 action in Bosnia? My repeated attempts to drag Bosnia on to the public
8 scene in Britain were hugely derided. I was a loan voice not only in the
9 House of Commons where I was booed and shouted at when I tried to raise
10 these matters but I was very nearly a loan voice even in my own party on
11 the matter. So I think -- I think that the claim that this would have
12 been done for political purposes does not accord with my recollection of
13 the facts.
14 Q. I must say it's a bit frustrating how you are able to know where
15 I'm going next with my question and answer the question before I ask it.
16 A. I'm sorry, to be unhelpful to you, Mr. Ackerman.
17 Q. I think it's helpful it's just that you're getting there before I
18 do. I think it's fair to say that you were frustrated by the inaction of
19 John Major and that were you trying to goad him into some kind of action
20 by making a public case about this matter?
21 A. I was trying to goad not only him I was trying to goad the entire
22 western powers who sat by and did nothing while this happened or at least
23 not enough, yes --
24 Q. Do you recall a time where he became sufficiently frustrated by
25 your efforts in that regard that he accused you of "having done nothing
1 but grandstand on this issue from the commencement of the matter? If he
2 really understood a little more about it he might say a little less about
3 it." Do you recall him saying that about you?
4 A. Many years later I do recall in the heat of exchanges in the House
5 of Commons when I may have goaded him I think on the issue of, if I
6 recall, of Kakanj power station outside Sarajevo, he said those words. I
7 don't think anybody would say that every word said in the heat of the
8 exchanges in the House of Commons are ones that people would stand by
9 later on and indeed John Major has been generous enough, it's part of his
10 personality, to acknowledge later on, that what we were seeking to do,
11 what I was seeking to do at the time, was something which turned out to be
12 the right thing to do.
13 Q. I now want to talk about this -- this issue of exaggeration that
14 we've been talking about. We were talking about it a little earlier -- in
15 a little more detail. At one point you made this statement, "I stress
16 that these claims," referring to claims of people you had talked to, "Are
17 claims in a war that is thick with claims and exaggeration." And I take
18 it that when you make that statement you are basing it on a pattern of
19 things that you were told which you learned later were exaggerations?
20 A. In all wars there are exaggerations and in this these wars I think
21 there as many as any other.
22 Q. Isn't it the case though that the Balkans tends to be a bit unique
23 about this sort of thing?
24 A. Mr. Ackerman, I really don't think the Balkans is unique when it
25 comes to over exaggerating what happens in war. It happens there as much
1 but no more than anywhere else.
2 Q. I assume you've read Lord Owen's book Balkan Odyssey?
3 A. Do you want me to be honest Mr. Ackerman? I got a few pages into
4 it but found it wasn't very compelling reading after a while.
5 Q. I think only a Lord could say that about another Lord, perhaps.
6 But in any event, he said -- if you got a little ways into it you at least
7 got through the introduction. And in the introduction he said this
8 with regard to his experiences there, and I'm just going to ask you if
9 you agree with him. "Never before, in over 30 years of public life, have
10 I had to operate in such a climate of dishonour, propaganda, and
11 dissembling. Many of the people with whom I have had to deal in the
12 former Yugoslavia were literally strangers to the truth."
13 A. Do I agree with that?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. I have disagreed with Lord Owen about many things and many of them
16 about the Balkans. I disagree with the blanket nature of that statement,
17 yes, thoroughly disagree with it. There are honourable decent, truthful
18 courageous people of all ethnicities in the Balkans and that statement
19 seems to deny the existence of such people who I meet every single day I'm
21 Q. You also in your letter to?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please keep the interpreters
23 in mind?
24 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes, we will keep the interpreters in mind, we are
25 being told to keep the interpreters in mind so we must go slower.
1 Q. In your letter to General Nambiar, you referred to this again.
2 You said this to him. "There are stories from the Serb side" I better
3 tell you where I am. I am on page 2 the second paragraph. "There are
4 stories from the Serb side of the bodies of their own people being
5 floated, tied together, past their own positions and of the cries of their
6 people being tortured in the night. There are similar blood curdling
7 tales of Serbian atrocities to Muslims in Gorazde, which I heard from
8 Muslims on their side in Sarajevo. As you will know as well as any, war
9 is a great manufacturer of exaggeration and this one is certainly no
12 A. Mr. Ackerman, let me tell you this: That I don't think even in
13 our wildest imagination decent people like you and I could have believed
14 that some of the things that we now know went on in these camps, in this
15 war, on all sides, went on. I think it is the reaction of the decent
16 ordinary person brought up in a civilised society to believe these tales
17 when they are told must be exaggerations because no human beings could
18 reduce themselves to such deprivation, but I think any one of us who
19 dismisses all the tales we have heard in the light of the evidence that we
20 now know went on in Omarska, Keraterm, and elsewhere as mere exaggerations
21 must now be a judgement that they would reconsider. I certainly do. I do
22 not claim that every story -- I do not claim that every story that we hear
23 is correct. I do, however, say that some of those things that decent
24 people thought must be exaggeration we now know to have been the truth but
25 we said they were exaggeration because they were beyond our imaginings.
1 Q. Well, we come together, you and I, there pretty closely, I think.
2 I've been here since 1997 looking at these cases, trying these cases, and
3 of course it's true that many of the claims that are made are absolutely
4 the case and they are in many cases revolting. That doesn't remove from
5 one's consideration, however, what you correctly observe when you were
6 there, and that is in any kind of a war situation, the exaggerations go
7 on. The concern that I have and one that I'm sure you also share is to
8 what extent that culture, that tendency, permeates into the courtrooms
9 of this Tribunal and that's why I ask you that question?
10 A. I think it's a perfectly fair question.
11 MS. KORNER: I'm not at all sure, forgive me Lord Ashdown, that it
12 is, actually.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Go to the next question, Mr. Ackerman.
14 MS. KORNER: I'd say it's more of a speech.
15 THE WITNESS: The point I was trying to make is that the language
16 I use here is not the language I use in this courtroom it's the language I
17 recorded in my diary at the time. These are my objective observations and
18 I think it is fair to say that anybody reading these diaries might
19 conclude not least from the passages we have had our attention drawn to by
20 Mr. Ackerman that I was making an attempt to be objective and not to
22 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Mr. Ackerman, next question, please.
23 MR. ACKERMAN:
24 Q. I hope you didn't hear me accusing you of engaging in
1 A. No, I didn't but I understand the reason why Ms. Korner intruded.
2 Q. Well you and I thought the question was appropriate if no one else
3 did. Isn't it your experience, which is broad and -- that people, that
4 human beings, once having made a claim that may very well be exaggerated
5 and untrue have a very hard time backing off of that claim?
6 A. No doubt that's a human failing. It's also my experience that I
7 recall very well, as no doubt you do, Mr. Ackerman, that when the first
8 stories of Auschwitz and Belsen came out they were put down as
10 Q. I'm going to go back to your letter to the Prime Minister now.
11 Another thing you told the Prime Minister about the people you talked to,
12 in addition to the deprivation of Serb extremists at night was also this,
13 I'm on page 3, the first paragraph, last sentence: "They were also under
14 pressure from Muslim extremists who wish to recruit them for fighting." I
15 assume they told you that?
16 A. Indeed.
17 Q. And finally, you tell the Prime Minister this: "You could also
18 keep the men away from the clutches of the extremists of one side who
19 terrorise and those of the other who are seeking to radicalise and recruit
20 them, the Muslims in Bosnia are not religious extremists but they are fast
21 being radicalised. If we fail to act then we should realise that we are
22 creating in these wretched camps, Europe's Palestinians of the future."
23 And that was in connection with your effort to get the Prime Minister to,
24 on his own, in cooperation with other interested states, to establish safe
25 havens where these people could be protected not only from Serbs but from
1 their own people?
2 A. Obviously correct. I mean the -- if the point you're seeking to
3 make or wanting me to confirm is that there were extremists on all sides I
4 readily confirm it. If the point you are seeking to establish is that it
5 would have been better to have taken certain areas out of the combat in
6 which non-combatants can be secured I readily confirm it. If the point
7 you're seeking to make is that is somehow or another those who I saw, saw
8 an equivalence between their own people whether extreme or not and the
9 Serbs then I reject it completely. If they had to be anywhere they would
10 have preferred to be in the hands of their own extremists than in the
11 hands of the Serbs, who had done them such terrible torture and damage in
12 the camps from which they had come and I suspect in Manjaca before I got
13 there too.
14 Q. Your letter to Sommaruga, ICRC, like your letter to Dr. Karadzic,
15 was urging an early exchange of prisoners. Wasn't it?
16 A. It was.
17 Q. And you say this on page 3, "Dr. Karadzic tells me that the Muslim
18 authorities refused to exchange prisoners and are even in some places
19 demanding a rifle, a box of ammunition and a sack of flour from the Serb
20 authorities for every exchanged prisoner." Were you ever able to verify
21 this as to whether what Dr. Karadzic had told you was correct or not?
22 A. No, I wasn't. That was Dr. Karadzic's claim. Let we underline
23 the word "claim." And as you will see in the next sentence to Mr.
24 Sommaruga I ask him if this is correct. I didn't receive a reply.
25 Q. That was my next question. Did you receive a reply to any of
1 these letters, a written reply?
2 A. I did receive a reply from John Major, though I -- I don't have
3 that available. From my memory it would have been the kind of reply which
4 a government minister sends to a member of the opposition, where they
5 don't want to do what the member of the opposition is asking and would
6 have contained I suspect no evidence of interest to this Court. As
7 regards Cornelio Sommaruga, Dr. Karadzic, and General Nambiar, no, not as
8 far as I recall.
9 Q. In addition to your diary and your letters in connection with the
10 materials we were supplied, we were supplied a number of articles,
11 newspaper articles or something of that nature. Do you have any idea what
12 I'm talking about when I talk about those?
13 A. I recall one article that I wrote after this. In fact it wasn't
14 an article at all, one newspaper simply reprinted the letter I wrote to
15 Mr. Major, the guardian newspaper, as I recall. I -- my memory is not as
16 good as it should be. I cannot remember any other articles I wrote at the
17 time but if you have them available I certainly --
18 Q. This isn't one you wrote but it is one you are apparently quoted
19 in. And what I'll do is I'll have the usher hand it to you and put it on
20 the ELMO and then we can all see it?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: What's the ERN number, Mr. Ackerman.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: 02195582.
23 Q. I -- look at it and see if you recognise it at all but the part
24 I'm interested in is where it says, "Bradley, I believe that Geneva
25 Convention is being upheld and from what I can tell, it is being followed
1 to the absolute limits that it is possible to do." Do you have any idea
2 where that came from? Are you actually referring to someone named
4 A. I presume so. It just, however, might mean "broadly." I must
5 say, it does seem to me a -- Mr. Ackerman, this is ten years ago, I regret
6 I just can't provide you with a veracity or otherwise of this report,
7 though there are some things in it which even at that stage I would have
8 known to have been inaccurate but -- I mean to refer to people as the
9 Muslim Slavs and et cetera doesn't seem to me to be the kind of phrase
10 that anybody who knew the situation would have used at that stage. This
11 looks to me like an excerpt from the interview which I gave to the Banja
12 Luka TV which has been previously commented upon but without knowing this
13 I'm afraid I can't help very much.
14 Q. But you'll notice at the top the story is an united press
15 international story, isn't it?
16 A. Indeed but without knowing its provenance I simply can't help you
17 with this. I have a suspicion that this is a -- a -- a lifted sentence
18 from that Banja Luka TV interview, and the difference in the wordings
19 between the two may well be ascribed to the translation.
20 Q. You have?
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Mr. Ackerman, are you going to tender this document
22 as an exhibit? Because it does not actually form part of attachment 8 and
23 goes beyond the enumeration of attachment 8 so if you're going -- if you
24 think it's important enough to tender it into the records as an exhibit
25 please go ahead. If not we'll leave it at that.
1 MR. ACKERMAN: I do not intend to.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't think it is that important.
3 MR. ACKERMAN:
4 Q. In the course of your career, you've given a lot of interviews.
5 You've been quoted a lot. And I dare say you've been misquoted a lot?
6 A. I certainly have.
7 Q. That's not something that a person in your position is a stranger
8 to, the business of being misquoted in print. Correct? And even by
9 journalists we would consider responsible journalists, correct?
10 A. Journalists have a very tough job to do, sometimes at very fast
11 speed and in difficult conditions and that applies most especially to
12 journalists covering a war. I don't think any of them would claim that
13 everything they had written was perfect or even in the light of events,
14 necessarily totally accurate but what you say is correct.
15 Q. And sometimes they will agree that they may have misquoted you and
16 other times they will contend rather vociferously that they did not?
17 A. More frequently the latter than the former.
18 Q. Let me ask you this: Have you found since in the times that
19 you've been spending in Bosnia, and certainly been frequent lately, do you
20 find that you're more frequently misquoted when there is a translation
21 involved? Or have you paid any attention to that?
22 A. I think it's more -- I think it's more frequent most frequent of
23 all that your quotes though accurate are taken out of context. And I
24 think that is more often the case than a deliberate or mistaken
25 misquotation but certainly, the translation question provides a greater
1 opportunity for the misunderstanding, misuse of words, without any malice
2 intended it's just the process. Our languages don't perfectly match.
3 Q. Okay. I'm going to try to find this now. 02195568 is the page
4 and again I'll ask the usher to -- unfortunately I've written on it.
5 Okay. This is another article it's a daily report from the foreign
6 broadcast information service, which I'm not familiar with but you
7 probably are. And it deals with an interview or a statement or something
8 that you said. Speaking about your visit to Bosnia and your visit to the
9 camps, it reports that you said that Muslims had in fact found refuge in
10 the camps and also protection from local -- I don't know whether it's
11 local extremists it's hard to see because I can't --
12 A. It's local extremists, I can confirm.
13 Q. And then you go on to say -- you don't go on to say, the article
14 goes on to say the British delegation did not venture to visit Gorazde
15 because the United Nations protection force could not guarantee safety.
16 Gorazde is a town in southeastern Bosnia-Herzegovina held by Muslims. So
17 the situation that you encountered in August in Bosnia was that Republika
18 Srpska, where Manjaca and Trnopolje were located, were safe for you to
19 visit but Gorazde, where Serbs were held by Muslims under conditions that
20 may not have been all that satisfactory, was not safe for you to visit?
21 Is that a fair statement?
22 A. It is, but you need to know why it's a fair statement. In any
23 area fully in the control of any one of the ethnicities, you could during
24 the Bosnian war reasonably safely visit. In other words, if I was going
25 into a Bosniak area which was behind the front line, or a Croat area
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 behind the front line or a Serb area behind the front line, the
2 authorities who dominated that would provide you with a degree of safety
3 which you would go in, not totally without risk. A wholly different
4 situation, however, from moving into a front line area. Manjaca was not a
5 front line area. Trnopolje was a refugee gathering point, a displaced
6 persons gathering point, miles from the front line. Self-evidently that's
7 a safer area than going to Gorazde which was a front line area and
8 incidentally, the point you presume about Gorazde, Mr. Ackerman, is not
9 entirely correct. The people who were being besieged in Gorazde were the
10 Bosnians, they were the Muslims, the people who were doing the besieging
11 were the Serbs. So Gorazde was held by Muslims in -- the same Muslims -
12 if we call them that - in the same way as Sarajevo was. But around
13 Gorazde was a Serb siege and constant fighting. Indeed, the situation was
14 even more complex than that. Gorazde at this time was like a doughnut,
15 there was a ring of Serbs encompassing a ring of Muslims encompassing
16 a ring of Serbs, around a centre held by the Muslims. There was constant
17 fighting going on. This was the front line. It was an immensely more
18 dangerous place for obvious reasons which I'm sure you'll understand as an
19 ex-soldier than moving into a rear area such as Manjaca and Trnopolje.
20 Q. The last sentence, Ashdown added it was necessary to unblock
21 Gorazde and try to release the Serbs who are being held captive there.
22 A. That's correct but that's the description I just provided to you.
23 If you look at the letter to General Nambiar you'll see a better
24 description of what this comes from. In that letter, I say surely the
25 means of unlocking the problem in Gorazde is to unlock the Muslim siege of
1 the Serb outer ring by moving the Serbs out. You would have then have
2 created a complete Muslim area albeit still circled by Serbs who could
3 then have become a safe area and indeed that is exactly what happened.
4 What happened subsequently you will recall Mr. Ackerman, was that there
5 were three so-called safe havens, Zepce, Srebrenica, and Gorazde. So
6 what I was proposing was a means by which as it were the inner ring of
7 Serb surrounders could be released creating a Muslim area, which could
8 then become a safe haven and could then move towards a resolution
9 of the problem. Does that make the matter clearer to you?
10 Q. Yes, thank you. I'm through with that document now and I don't
11 need to make it an exhibit, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
13 MR. ACKERMAN: I told Ms. Korner I would let her know about my
14 progress. It's my estimate that I have about another 20 minutes which
15 means I'll go for about ten or 15 minutes after the break, I would think.
16 MS. KORNER: Well, then, Your Honour, I don't think it's worth
17 starting the next witness until Friday.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: It's up to you Ms. Korner.
19 MS. KORNER: Well Your Honour, as I say I need to explain the
20 witness problems we have so I don't think we need as it were bust a gut
21 over this one.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. What do you prefer, Mr. Ackerman, stop
23 now and take the full 20 minutes after the break or have ten minutes now
24 and then continue with a further ten minutes after the break? I would --
25 I would dare suggest, if I have the indulgence of the interpreters and if
1 we could possibly go beyond the time that we are allocated before we
2 usually have a break by a further ten minutes and then --
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I've got various matters to raise.
4 JUDGE AGIUS: Then we will have a break and in the meantime Lord
6 MS. KORNER: I see what you mean sorry.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: There is what I mean.
8 MS. KORNER: Absolutely.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Would the technicians and the interpreters agree to
10 that? In other words, we proceed for another 20 minutes from now?
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Well, Judge, that's an estimate. I'm not going to
12 guarantee I'll finish in 20 minutes. I think I will.
13 THE INTERPRETER: If possible, the interpreters would prefer to
14 take their break now, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. So the suggestion that I have is that we take
16 a break now.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: All right.
18 JUDGE AGIUS: And can I suggest to you to shorten it to 20 minutes
19 rather than 25?
20 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. Okay. Thank you.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.22 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Can we go into private session for just a second?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
2 [Private session]
14 [Open session]
15 JUDGE AGIUS: We are in open session.
16 MR. ACKERMAN: Thank you.
17 Q. Back to your diary, Monday, 10 August, the time you were in Pale?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: Page?
19 MR. ACKERMAN: On page 02 -- it's actually page 11, the circled
20 number 11.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: All right. 5554.
22 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah.
23 Q. Pale was the head of the -- the headquarters of the government of
24 Republika Srpska at that time, was it not?
25 A. It was.
1 Q. And also the headquarters of the SDS party?
2 A. I don't know about the headquarters of the SDS party but I can
3 certainly confirm it was Karadzic's headquarters.
4 Q. All right. And what you said about Pale in the first paragraph of
5 that report was, "Pale is a town where apparently --"
6 A. I'm sorry.
7 Q. I'm sorry?
8 A. You'll have to direct me to this in which paragraph are we in?
9 Q. It's the first paragraph?
10 A. Under the 10th of August, page 11.
11 Q. Yes, it starts with "up at six."
12 A. Got you, right. Yes.
13 Q. It's in the middle of that paragraph, "Pale is a town where
14 apparently Muslims are allowed still to live but there is no sign here
15 that they have been subject to any shelling or the kind of deprivations
16 which Sarajevo was subjected to." True?
17 A. Yes, but the two sentences need to be disconnected. Pale is a
18 town where apparently Muslims are allowed still to live. Let me just say
19 to you, Mr. Ackerman, if I may, that apparently means that that's what I
20 was informed, I saw no Muslims living there. Let me also say to you that
21 this would have come directly from my conversations to Mr. -- with
22 Mr. Karadzic. Now I must say to you that of all the people I've met in my
23 life Mr. Karadzic was able to lie to you straight to your face in a way
24 more convincing than any other man I've met. A fact that I discovered
25 later. The second sentence refers to Pale as a whole, in other words, the
1 generality of the people showed no signs of suffering either the shelling
2 or the deprivation than ordinary people Muslim, Serb, and Croat included
3 in Sarajevo, so the two sentences are not connected.
4 Q. You didn't see any burned out residence or residences or things of
5 that nature, I take it?
6 A. I can recall seeing no significant destruction in Pale of the sort
7 that I found elsewhere but on the other hand I can also recall never
8 seeing any Muslims living there although I was told that they were.
9 Q. You talked earlier today about your conception of the Serb
10 forces. You talked about how well the leather was kept on the uniforms,
11 how they seemed to be extremely well organised, all of that. And one of
12 the things that you spoke about with regard to that was the time you spent
13 with the royal marines and how that gave you military training and
14 knowledge with which you could fairly effectively judge the effectiveness
15 of a force by observing them?
16 A. Correct.
17 Q. Didn't you once say this with regard to the Serb forces? And
18 you're speaking of your government. "The massive misjudgement that the
19 government is making is that these people, being the Serb forces are not
20 the IRA, they are not the Vietnamese, I've watch these people, they are
21 local town thugs, they are not trained, they are not fit, they are not
22 prepared to close with the enemy, they run whenever somebody actually
23 fires back at them, they are cowards, most of them." Do you recall saying
25 A. I do recall saying, you'll have to quote the precise -- but I
1 certainly said things like that, yeah.
2 Q. You're familiar with the book written by a fellow Simms, it was
3 published recently, I take it?
4 A. You mean, "The Unfinest Hour"?
5 Q. Yes?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. I take it you've read that?
8 A. I've read bits of it, yes. Including the bits that refer to me.
9 Q. Yes. We are going to talk about some of those. He says that your
10 stance on the Bosnian war was confused and inconsistent?
11 A. Mr. Ackerman, I wonder if I could do you the favour of stopping
12 you there?
13 Q. Please.
14 A. Could I invite you to look at the latest version of that book
15 which perhaps you haven't seen? In the forward in which Mr. Simms gives
16 me a very handsome apology for completely misjudging the statements he
17 made in the previous book and I have indeed letters to that effect which
18 he has kindly sent me in the last few days.
19 Q. Well, the one I have probably is not the latest addition of that
21 A. It is rare indeed for a journalist, for an author to show such
22 generosity but if you would draw your attention to the book I think
23 published about two weeks ago, in which he offers me a very handsome
24 apology for completely misjudging both my actions and my intentions in
25 that. I could quote that to you if you wish but I suspect it may not help
1 your case, Mr. Ackerman.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers please slow down.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Lord Ashdown and Mr. Ackerman please slow down
4 and allow a short interval of time between the question and answer again.
5 Thank you.
6 MR. ACKERMAN:
7 Q. You've left me now with no choice but to basically bring to your
8 attention the things that are published in the book and ask you if these
9 are things that he has disavowed or not?
10 A. I can assure that you he's disavowed that whole piece and if you
11 wish, Mr. -- Your Honour, I can ask for a latest copy of the book to be
12 brought together with the letter that he has written me in the last two
13 weeks, in most handsome manner, and generous manner completely altering
14 that opinion.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think Ms. Korner can take care of that after
16 consulting you later on. That would be useful once this matter has been
17 brought up and answered in the way that Lord Ashdown has. I think it's
18 important that we have the -- at least the clarification that has been
19 made. I mean not necessarily the entire latest edition of the book.
20 THE WITNESS: The preface would do, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay.
22 MS. KORNER: If Mr. Ackerman is going to pursue this line we will
23 certainly make arrangements.
24 JUDGE AGIUS: I don't know if Mr. Ackerman is going to pursue it
25 or not that's his business.
1 MS. KORNER: At the moment I'm not altogether clear what the
2 author's opinions about Mr. Ashdown's views are of any relevance.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: They could be of relevance, of course they could be,
4 but at this point in time, I think taking into consideration the way Lord
5 Ashdown has butted in, stopping reasonably so I would say, Mr. Ackerman
6 from proceeding further at that point in time, I don't know what
7 Mr. Ackerman intends doing but perhaps.
8 MR. ACKERMAN: Neither does Mr. Ackerman, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Pardon? Perhaps you could move to something
10 different, Mr. Ackerman, I don't know. I'm not making suggestions to you
11 but at this point in time I think that would be wise.
12 MR. ACKERMAN:
13 Q. The problem with what you've told me, Lord Ashdown, is that many
14 places when he speaks of you, he cites to various publications that he is
15 quoting from and I take it that he's certainly not in a position to
16 disavow what is contained in those publications?
17 A. I think that's fair, Your Honour. It's his conclusions that he's
19 Q. For instance, the quote that we talked about, the massive
20 misjudgement, the government is making, is that these people are not the
21 IRA, they are not the Vietnamese, I've watched these people, they are
22 local town thug, they are not trained, they are not fit, they are not
23 prepared to close with the enemy, they run when somebody actually fires
24 back at them, they are cowards, most of them, is attributed to Anthony
25 Bevins who is fairly well known, an article British military intervention
1 in Bosnia ruled out, an article from The Independent of, I think, 4
2 December, 1992, if that's the -- the question is, did you actually make
3 that statement?
4 A. If that's quoted in -- Anthony Bevins, who is a highly respected
5 journalist I would certainly have made that statement. I don't deny that
6 fact for a moment but let me point out to you, Mr. Ackerman, the fact that
7 the composition of the Serb army was a core army largely drawn from the
8 JNA. Those are people I would have seen as I moved around Bosnia in the
9 description given in my diaries, supported by irregulars, the most famous
10 of which was Mr. Vojislav Seselj's Tigers, who operated in manners which
11 many of the Yugoslav professional soldiers found distasteful and operated
12 in the manners I've described there but not I believe without command and
13 control. So what I'm referring to there is the Serb irregulars, who on
14 this visit I did not see but on subsequent visits I did.
15 Q. The next one that I draw your attention to is this: And I'm on
16 page 296 of the book now. Referring to another one of your positions.
17 You're quoted as saying, "This is a war of minorities, they are all Serb
18 Croat, Muslims, Orthodox, or Catholic national minorities in
19 Bosnia-Herzegovina which may help to explain why they exercised a local
20 majority they enjoy with such ferocity." Would you agree that you made
21 that statement?
22 A. If that's in quotation marks, I have no reason to believe I didn't
23 make it.
24 Q. Well, according to the note, it's actually from an article you
25 wrote, we are making Europe's Palestinians, published in The Independent?
1 A. And date, Mr. Ackerman?
2 Q. Well, it's the 13th of August, 1992. So that would have been
3 right after you came back?
4 A. And reflects the statement that I put into -- into the Major
6 Q. And then the next quote, same page, same paragraph, I'll tell you
7 where this one comes from, it comes from something called Hansard, which
8 I'm not familiar with?
9 A. Hansard is the record of parliamentary proceedings and always
10 accurate, Mr. Ackerman.
11 Q. Okay. He says in April 1993, he, you, made the extraordinary
12 claim that even if the Serbs were now the principal offenders a powerful
13 case can be made that the aggression in Bosnia-Herzegovina was started by
14 the Muslims as much as by the Serbs.
15 A. Mr. Ackerman I have never ascribed to any party the monopoly of
16 either aggression or of -- or of atrocity. I've always said that dark and
17 unacceptable acts took place on both sides but I have no doubt where the
18 weight of aggression came from. It came from the Serb side and I have no
19 doubt where by far the preponderance of the atrocities came from, it came
20 from the Serb side. If your point is to say were there Muslim units
21 capable of acting in an inappropriate and illegal way of course there
22 were. Some of them have been tried here. I can only report in this what
23 I saw and the conditions of Manjaca at the time and I report that as
25 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please slow down?
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Lord Ashdown, the interpreters would like to
2 you slow down and so would I.
3 THE WITNESS: My apologies.
4 MR. ACKERMAN:
5 Q. You talked earlier I'm going to go back to some of your testimony
6 when Ms. Korner was questioning you. You were talking about your trip
7 from Pale to Banja Luka by way of Brcko through what you say has become
8 known as the Posavina corridor and the destruction of houses, buildings.
9 You know that what was going on there was some pretty heavy fighting?
10 A. Indeed.
11 Q. There was actually a war going on there?
12 A. Absolutely.
13 Q. And much of what the destruction you saw was a result of artillery
14 fire from across the border from Croatia?
15 A. Perfectly possible.
16 Q. All right?
17 A. Let me point out, however, not that I think you need me to that of
18 course in front line areas great destruction is going to take place. That
19 does not reply to the rear areas which I describe in places like Kozarac,
20 the neighbourhood -- in the neighbourhood of Omarska, Keraterm, and
21 Manjaca. Those places had never seen front line fighting. Those were
22 civilian populations.
23 Q. I want you to look again at Exhibit P405. Now you've seen this
24 document earlier today. It's apparently an order from the 1st Krajina
25 Corps command which talks about -- of 3 August, 1992, talking about the
1 visit of the international committee to the detention committees at
2 Manjaca, Trnopolje, Omarska, and Prijedor. And this second paragraph, it
3 says, and we've all -- already dealt with this today but let's do it
4 again, "In this regard all measures are to be taken to make conditions in
5 these camps satisfactory. This implies, order, cleanliness, functional
6 medical care for the detainees" and so on and so forth.
7 A. Indeed.
8 Q. Several questions. First of all this is a fairly strong
9 indication, is it not that each of those facilities was under the control
10 of the military?
11 A. It is both that and an implication that such order and cleanliness
12 had not existed beforehand.
13 Q. Secondly, when you were at Manjaca, I take it no one told you that
14 there had been a massive cleanup and fix-up and change-up over the last
15 two or will three days?
16 A. It was implied in what the prisoners had said to me that things
17 were improving remarkably over the recent period and it was that
18 improvement that I wished to see continued.
19 Q. Thirdly, I don't know if your experience in the military is like
20 mine but I have a hunch that it is. In the American army we had
21 inspections called IG inspections, inspector general inspections. And
22 before those were to happen, there would be an order fairly similar to
23 this and there would be a flurry of activity, cleaning, ordering, all
24 kinds of things, before the inspector general showed up to look at our
1 A. I suspect this is nothing to do with inspector generals and I'm
2 sure you do too, Mr. Ackerman this is to do with the fact that the
3 International Red Cross was coming around.
4 Q. It also had to do with the fact that someone was coming to visit
5 the camp and they wanted it to be in as good condition as it could be in
6 for that visit?
7 A. I think that's a fair implication but let's remember who it was
8 who was coming to visit the camp it was not the regular Serb military
9 authorities it was the international community that was coming, your
10 presumption that this would have been the normal course of events for a
11 regular visit by the Serbs does not from my point of view seem to be borne
12 out. It looks to me as though this is a cleanup ahead of an exceptional
13 and unwelcome visit by an international -- by the international committee
14 of the Red Cross.
15 Q. I suspect, though, don't you -- and don't you agree that if there
16 was going to be some kind of an official visit by the commanding general,
17 that there would probably also be some kind of a fix up, clean up, get
19 A. Your presumption Mr. Ackerman is that ever been a visit by the
20 commanding general I think that's a dangerous assumption to make.
21 Q. I don't think there ever was.
22 A. Or indeed ever intended to be.
23 Q. And that leads me actually to -- we are getting yelled at for
24 overlapping now. Okay. That leads me actually to my next question.
25 You have no knowledge, do you about when the authorities that you visited
1 in Pale, Mr. Karadzic and people associated with him, first became aware
2 of actual conditions at places like Manjaca, Trnopolje?
3 A. I have no knowledge -- I have no knowledge. I can speculate, if
4 you -- if that's helpful to the Court.
5 Q. I'd prefer you not speculate?
6 A. But I suspect that this matter became -- came an urgent political
7 matter when it was revealed by the international press that does not
8 mean that it was not known of beforehand.
9 Q. But the opposite could also be true, that that's when it was first
10 learned about?
11 A. In the realms of speculation, Mr. Ackerman, any of these
12 speculations could be true. I know which one I would prefer.
13 Q. The same could be true with regard to the authorities in Banja
14 Luka, I take it. With the possible exception of the military authorities
15 that might have been in charge of the camp?
16 A. Self-evidently, it's perfectly possible, though everything that I
17 know about the Balkans and that war makes it seem to me highly unlikely
18 that this was not known by the authorities.
19 Q. I'd like to you look at P1128-24 again, please. It's a
20 photograph. You looked at this photograph earlier today and I'm confused
21 as to which person you believed was which. There is a person on the left
22 with a mustache and then a person on the right, and one of them you
23 referred to as a military man. Which one would that be?
24 A. The one on the left, and as my memory recalls, this is reaching
25 back over ten years, so I suppose the Court should not put a huge amount
1 of weight on this but as I recall, this was the man amongst whom -- he was
2 amongst those military people I met in Manjaca on the night before I went
3 in there. On the afternoon that I went in there. The man on the right,
4 as I recall it, was the man who -- one of the two people, I think the one
5 I'm more doubtful about, about whose appearance I'm more doubtful in my
6 diary that I met at Prijedor.
7 Q. You recognised the insignia on the man on the left as we look at
8 the picture with the mustache?
9 A. To be honest I don't but judging by the two bars I would imagine
10 he was -- I don't know the insignias of the JNA.
11 Q. You know that that's a U.S. Army --
12 A. If it was a U.S. Army it would be a Lieutenant.
13 Q. It's a U.S. Army patch?
14 A. So it is.
15 Q. That is for a specialist six, enlisted?
16 A. On matters related to the U.S. Army, Mr. Ackerman, I concede your
18 Q. All right. Thank you. All right. I'm finished with that. In
19 your direct testimony, you said that while you were at Trnopolje, you saw
20 people walking the lanes leading toward Trnopolje who had clearly been
21 ordered to go there. Are you saying you could tell by the way they were
22 walking that they had been ordered to go there?
23 A. No, certainly not, but I think it's a fair presumption, given that
24 they were not under escort from the military or the police, and given that
25 they were heading towards this place which was a hell hole.
1 Q. Are you aware that people went there absolutely voluntarily in the
2 hopes of catching a convoy to get out of that area?
3 A. I think it's entirely likely that having been burnt, brutalised,
4 raped and shot out of their houses they would have accepted instructions
5 to go to an area from which they were told they would be transported to
6 freedom. Frankly, in those circumstances, if I had been so instructed, I
7 probably would have done the same.
8 Q. And I think you accept that as bad as Trnopolje was, that it may
9 have been a safer place than outside Trnopolje?
10 A. No, I certainly do not.
11 Q. In the communities outside Trnopolje?
12 A. No, I certainly do not. Whether you call being burnt out of your
13 house, having your husband killed, and being told to go to a place and
14 then going there, going there voluntarily is a matter for to you decide
15 on. But it is perfectly possible and regrettably it happened frequently
16 and on all sides that people were informed that if they went to a certain
17 place they would find safety, to find out that when they got there they
18 found terror. Let me remind you, if I may, Mr. Ackerman, that the people
19 I saw at Trnopolje that day who were then taken away and tipped over the
20 cliffs, to Vlasic two or three days later and their faces will haunt me
21 were told that they were being moved to Travnik to be handed over to their
22 own kit and kin, the Muslims but they weren't. In much the same way I
23 have no doubt that the people who were driven from their houses and told
24 to go to Trnopolje could well have been told that they were going there to
25 be moved to safer -- because it was safer when they discovered had they
1 got there, sorry, when they got there they discovered something completely
3 Q. You know, don't you, that thousands of people were actually
4 transported from Trnopolje to relative safety?
5 A. I am not at all surprised.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Kindly slow down for the interpreters.
7 THE WITNESS: [Previous translation continues] ... in the
8 remarkable film that was produced by ITN that day, the authorities were
9 required and indeed did respond to international pressure to make sure
10 that people were finally moved to safety but I deeply regret and I often
11 torture myself with the thought that those who I saw did not receive such
12 a happy fate and I often wonder if I'd have done something different, if
13 I'd have stayed in those camps rather than returning to Belgrade whether
14 that outcome might have been different.
15 MR. ACKERMAN:
16 Q. But even before the press went there, even before you went there,
17 don't you know that thousands of people had been transported out of there
18 to Travnik and other Croatia, other places of safety?
19 A. I don't know that. If there is evidence to prove that I would
20 accept that but the word thousands strikes me as being extraordinary. But
21 Mr. Ackerman, however many may have been transported out of there, the
22 fact is that many more or at least many were taken away from there to
23 their deaths. They were civilians, they were women, they were children,
24 they were the elderly, they were the infirm and when I saw them, they were
25 living under conditions which were indescribable, unimaginable, and
1 impossible to exaggerate.
2 Q. Many times in your letters and diaries, you have spoken about the
3 Serb people that were making an effort to protect the people there in
4 Trnopolje from the extremists that were running around the country?
5 A. Indeed.
6 Q. And that's why I asked you, don't you think they may have been at
7 least during those moments, safer there than if they had been out in the
8 country where those extremists were running --
9 A. I'm sure if you had asked any one of them would you prefer to have
10 been in this place or out of it they would have preferred to be out of it.
11 Let me just say this, I have a great admiration for the Serb people. They
12 are brave, honourable, they suffer from amongst their populations in
13 probably the same proportions as we suffer in ours from psychopaths and
14 killers and when they get in charge they can do impossible things,
15 unbelievable things, but the actions of the Serbs in so far as they are
16 true as told me, the local Serbs in seeking to protect these people from
17 the depredations of the irregular gangs we spoke of earlier on was an
18 extremely brave act.
19 Q. Do you know that it was an open camp that people could go in and
20 out of pretty much as will?
21 A. A point that is made in my diary. When you say go in and out of
22 pretty much at will I think every person there would have recognised that
23 if they had left that camp and been found they would have been returned to
24 the camp but yes there was passage in and out of the camp. In much the
25 same way there was in the gulags of the archipelago -- of Soviet Russia.
1 There were no fences around those but people knew leaving those camps
2 would have ended up in them being returned there.
3 Q. You know that they were going out in the daytime to forage for
4 food, to dig in the gardens, to find food in the houses, and things of
5 that nature?
6 A. I am completely unsurprised given that they were given no food
7 while they were there.
8 Q. Okay. Let's go to another question, another issue. When you gave
9 your interview to Banja Luka TV, the evening after you had returned from
10 Manjaca, that I take it was also done through an interpreter?
11 A. It was.
12 Q. And was it the same interpreter that had been with you at Manjaca?
13 A. Oh, Mr. Ackerman, I simply can't remember. If I recall, it
14 wasn't. I think it was in fact the interpreter -- either the interpreter
15 from The Financial Times who I referred to earlier on or it may indeed
16 have been the interpreter who came with the -- with the television
17 interviewer. It's more normal for an interpreter to come with the
18 television interview.
19 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, could the other microphone please be
20 turned on.
21 THE WITNESS: Shall I say that again?
22 MR. ACKERMAN:
23 Q. No I think we got it. Let me ask you this, and you may or may not
24 agree with me. Have you made the observation that there seems to be a
25 kind of cultural natural law in the Balkans, and I think you know what I
1 mean when I say "natural law" that goes like this? It is seen to be legal
2 and appropriate to do to others what they have done to you?
3 A. I don't think you have to be in the Balkans to have such a law,
4 Mr. Ackerman. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is a well known
5 saying and human emotion. Right across the world. But as I think we all
6 recognised in civilised society that's an emotion you should seek to
7 resist. Let me just say if you are trying to make the point that the
8 Balkans were a place of exceptional killing and exceptional unpleasant
9 practices I think we in Europe need to perhaps with some humility
10 recognise that these peoples more than anybody else who over a thousand
11 years have slaughtered themselves in revenge and nationalism and about
12 borders and numbers which are simply incalculable and more than
13 any other nation have no right to say that the Balkans is exceptional in
14 these matters.
15 Q. You couldn't be more right about that.
16 A. The point I make Mr. Ackerman if I may is that we have learned
17 that we have to find different standards and the same applies to the
19 Q. When you were in Manjaca, you told us that the people you were
20 most interested in were the people that had just arrived there from the
21 Omarska and Keraterm facilities. And that you spent very little time
22 looking at, talking with, learning anything from, those that had been
23 there a longer time. You did make the observation, I'm sure, that those
24 that had been there a longer time, who had not just arrived there,
25 appeared to be in a great deal better shape?
1 A. It would be scarcely possible to be in a worse shape without being
2 dead than the people from Omarska. That does not mean to say that the
3 others were in a shape that you would have found to be humanly acceptable.
4 Q. Finally, two questions: During any of the times you visited
5 Bosnia in 1992, did you ever meet with or speak with Radoslav Brdjanin?
6 A. Radoslav?
7 Q. Brdjanin.
8 A. I cannot recall the names of all those to whom I met and spoke
9 Mr. Ackerman but certainly the name doesn't spring out at me, no.
10 Q. Did anyone ever tell you to your recollection that if you wanted
11 to do a certain thing you would have to meet with or talk with Radoslav
13 A. No, not that I recall.
14 Q. Do you know, as you sit here now, that the person who is accused
15 in this case is named Radoslav Brdjanin?
16 A. I do.
17 Q. Okay. That's all I have. Thank you?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you, Mr. Ackerman. Is there a
19 re-examination, Ms. Korner.
20 MS. KORNER: Just one question arising out of that Lord Ashdown.
21 Re-examined by Ms. Korner:
22 Q. You told us that your permission to visit this area and these
23 camps came directly from Dr. Karadzic himself?
24 A. Indeed. And it was only the use of his name and that authority
25 which got me past the opposition of the local soldiers, in order to visit
1 the camp. They accepted the authority of their president.
2 Q. As far as you were concerned, did you have to go and talk to any
3 of the as it were, the politicians in the area in which you were?
4 A. Not that I recall. There may have been members of the political
5 nomenclature amongst those whom I met in Banja Luka when I was trying to
6 seek entry into Manjaca but I do not recall them being identified as
8 MS. KORNER: Yes. Thank you very much.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Thank you. Any questions?
10 Questioned by the Court:
11 JUDGE AGIUS: Just one question: This authorisation that you had
12 from Dr. Karadzic himself, I understood it was a verbal one?
13 A. Absolutely.
14 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. How could you communicate it to the
15 authorities of the various camps that you visited?
16 A. Because I had interpreters with me. It was remarkable, Your
17 Honour, because as we passed through the battle areas around Brcko and
18 leading up to Brcko and through the Posavina corridor, on every road block
19 that we were stopped at, the driver and the interpreter said to the people
20 who were manning the road block that Karadzic had given me permission to
21 pass and that was sufficient to allow me to do so.
22 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you.
23 Okay. That brings us to the end of your testimony, Lord Ashdown.
24 I thank you on behalf of my two colleagues and on behalf of the Tribunal
25 for having accepted to come and give evidence in this trial. Also,
1 knowing what a tight schedule you have. Thank you for finding us a slot.
2 You will be escorted now by the usher and attended to.
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, Ms. Gustin will actually go out because
4 there is some people he has to talk to before leaving the building.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. Thank you.
6 [The witness withdrew]
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, before you start, Halilovic.
8 MS. KORNER: Oh, yes.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Halilovic. Our decision which is going to be an
10 oral one is that going through the taped transcripts, we believe that
11 there is a matter that ought to be disclosed. If you prefer to have
12 details, we would hand out details. We have identified in the various
13 tapes and on various parts --
14 MS. KORNER: I wasn't aware Your Honour had any tapes.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: The transcripts.
16 MS. KORNER: You haven't had those either. All we gave you was a
18 JUDGE AGIUS: But in the summary you did refer to tapes and page
19 numbers and this is what I'm referring to. And therefore our decision is
20 that the material that you referred to ought to be disclosed.
21 MS. KORNER: Which? I mean I think Your Honour will have --
22 indicate it.
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I have a list of the pages. I think what we ought
24 to do is we will hand out all the pages that you indicated to us from tape
25 1, starting on tape 1 and then going to other tapes.
1 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I'm just wondering whether or not we are
2 at cross-purposes here. Can I see the document Your Honour is referring
4 JUDGE AGIUS: I have it downstairs in my office. Do you have a
5 copy of it here? Yeah, okay.
6 MS. KORNER: I wonder if I might just check because I'm slightly
7 confused by --
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Basically we are talking of tape 1, page 17,
9 where -- in which Mr. Izetbegovic is alleged to have made a statement, and
10 he is supposedly quoted verbatim. Then there is tape 4, part 1, page 9,
11 regarding the Green Berets, and about the establishment in Stari Gradiska
12 area. Tape 8, part 2, page 8, the importation of Bujadin [phoen] to
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina and that certain Alija Izetbegovic would be in charge
14 of terrorist group known as Sevel [phoen] or however you pronounce it.
15 And then there is tape 25, part 1, page 26.
16 MS. KORNER: I'm sorry, could I have a look at the document for a
17 moment, I'm very sorry, I didn't bring it I didn't know Your Honour was
18 going to refer to it.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: If you want we can hand down a detailed decision as
20 to what we think --
21 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I think I would like it's not so much
22 that I would like I'm pretty certain that those who have the conduct of
23 this particular case would want to have reasons in writing why it needs to
24 be disclosed.
25 JUDGE AGIUS: Then I continue, tape 13, about the patriotic
1 league, tape 2, part 1, about smuggling of weapons, even though does not
2 seem to refer -- specifically to the ARK region. And then finally tape 3
3 MS. KORNER: Your Honour may I put a halt to this at the moment?
4 I think we'd like a written decision, please, reasons for disclosure.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: We will prepare one.
6 MS. KORNER: Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Okay. But be prepared in other words knowing
8 beforehand that our decision is that there is Rule 68 material which ought
9 to be disclosed.
10 MS. KORNER: I hear what Your Honour says but I think weighed like
11 the reasons why Your Honours think it's Rule 68, it's not for us for those
12 who have the conduct of the case as well.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: That will be done. It may take a couple of days but
14 it will be done. So problems with your witnesses.
15 MS. KORNER: Yes, Your Honour, we have no witness for Monday, full
16 stop. I'm afraid. Your Honour, I am going to ask, we haven't actually
17 been yet offered the list of dates for next year. In other words when we
18 are going to be sitting and when we are not going to be sitting. I am
19 very anxious that -- clearly my anxiety is that we sit as much as possible
20 but that if there are to be breaks, they are decided breaks in advance
21 about which we know so that we do not go through what we went through this
22 month over the changes, non-changes, and reverse changes. As a result, I
23 regret to tell Your Honours that we cannot get the witness here for
24 Monday. We have witnesses on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
25 I'll give Your Honours the numbers, 7.3 on Tuesday.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: One moment, one moment. 7.3, Tuesday.
2 MS. KORNER: 7.228 on Wednesday.
3 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
4 MS. KORNER: 7.134 on Thursday. And on Friday, 7.54, who is a new
5 witness and he'll be called in full. In other words, when I say a new
6 witness, he's not somebody who has testified before.
7 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you confident that indeed between Tuesday and
8 Thursday, you will conclude with those three witnesses?
9 MS. KORNER: Your Honour, yes, I was about to tell Your Honour we
10 think it's unlikely we will be sitting a full session on any of those
12 JUDGE AGIUS: All right, are you confident that we will conclude
13 with the witness we had scheduled for today, do you think we will conclude
14 with him on Friday.
15 MS. KORNER: Yes, if not, he will go into Monday and that will
16 fill Monday up because we don't have anybody else. Your Honour at the
17 moment then for after the Christmas break, we have started witnesses on
18 the 13th of January.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes.
20 MS. KORNER: And witness 7.46 will be the second witness, and he's
21 likely --
22 JUDGE AGIUS: 7.
23 MS. KORNER: 7.46. If Your Honour -- I can give Your Honours we
24 have estimated 7.179 for the Monday, because he's testified before in
25 Stakic, 7.46, although he testified in Tadic, I'm going to be calling him
1 in full because it's Tadic testimony is --
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Are you intending to start that witness on Monday
3 the 13th.
4 MS. KORNER: No that will be the Tuesday. And then we have 7.43.
5 JUDGE AGIUS: How long do you anticipate that witness will be
7 MS. KORNER: 7.46?
8 JUDGE AGIUS: Including cross-examination.
9 MS. KORNER: Very difficult to say but he will certainly be a full
10 day, I would imagine, in chief, and I can't say about cross-examination.
11 JUDGE AGIUS: All right.
12 MS. KORNER: But what I'm -- the reason I raise this business of
13 having a schedule and sticking to it is I'm aware that that week of course
14 is the Serb Orthodox or the Orthodox new year, now are we having a day off
15 for that as well?
16 JUDGE AGIUS: No. I think we have to be reasonable now. I will
17 be -- we will be not -- we will not be sitting for the Serb Christmas but
18 I think we need to go ahead then. I mean I think it's reasonable. I'm
19 pretty sure that your client will not take this as an affront or as lack
20 of respect to his -- to his religion. So my intention is to proceed. And
21 then between now and when we pack up for our Christmas holidays, we will
22 discuss the January, February, March schedule. I am still waiting for a
23 confirmation from the bureau as to the dates when each Chamber is
24 sitting. I will verify with my secretary whether that has been
25 concluded. We can take it up from there but my intention is to work hard
1 and give you enough space to ensure that you finish your case --
2 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I'm very keen and at the rate we are
3 going, unless we sit full time effectively, between January the 13th and
4 Easter, which I believe is in April sometime next year, we won't finish
5 before Easter and I think we really should aim to try to finish by Easter.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Another thing is there anyway in which we could
7 utilise Monday even short of having a witness present.
8 MS. KORNER: Your Honour I hesitate to suggest it but one thing
9 that hasn't happened. I won't be here next week but the one thing that
10 hasn't happened is we've hardly looked at a single document from the
11 Prijedor -- because we have not been able to call the witnesses in full to
12 go through the documents. Although we are actually arranging because of
13 this problem that there will be a summary done of each of the documents as
14 to what it relates to, which we will provide, nonetheless, if Your Honours
15 were minded to at least go through or allow the Prosecution to take Your
16 Honours through some of the documents, particularly relating to the
17 background in Prijedor because we've not really heard about any of them.
18 But that's afraid the only thing I can suggest at this time.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
20 MR. ACKERMAN: It won't surprise you that I would object very
21 strongly to that. It's my contention that that process is in the nature
22 of a submission and an improper submission, and providing you with
23 summaries of those documents is absolutely a submission and I think it's
24 totally improper and I would object to that being done. I trust Your
25 Honours to read the documents. When I start putting in documents, I'll
1 trust to you read mine.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: We do read them, we assure you, even though we are
3 literally fighting against time to be able to read the bulk that we have.
4 Ms. Korner, with regard to Halilovic, at this point in time, if
5 you have the transcripts to which the summary that you had handed to us
6 earlier available, readily available, we would like to have them as soon
7 as possible so that our written decision will incorporate textual --
8 MS. KORNER: Does Your Honour want all the transcripts?
9 JUDGE AGIUS: I think what we require is the taped transcripts
10 relating to the parts of tapes 1, 4, 8, 25, 13, 2 and 3. I will leave you
11 one of my -- one of our legal officers will hand down to you the details.
12 MS. KORNER: If you give us the parts that you consider are rule
13 68, of which I say I'm a little surprised as you may have gathered, then
14 we'll get the transcripts available.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I think it's important so that we go into some
17 MS. KORNER: I think it would assist. Your Honour will recall
18 we've had this discussion sometimes more heated than others about what is
19 Rule 68 but I think it would help us and probably would help Mr. Ackerman
20 as well if you could identify in your ruling why you say this is Rule 68.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: Exactly. I mean but it's doesn't take much for
22 example. If there is an allegation that, by the Defence, that there was
23 such a thing as the Patriotic League and that it was active --
24 MS. KORNER: Your Honour we are not denying that there was a
25 Patriotic League so why is it Rule 68. If we were saying there was no
1 such thing then I would accept that.
2 JUDGE AGIUS: Because together with it there are references with
3 regard to the activities of mujahedin and also what is alleged to have
4 been state terrorism activated and maintained by a certain
5 Mr. Izetbegovic. How do you expect that not to be -- not to fall under
6 Rule 68.
7 MS. KORNER: That's Your Honour, I think that's it's the dates
8 that -- as I recall all this stuff but I'll have a look again.
9 JUDGE AGIUS: Yes. This mujahedin and terrorist business we are
10 talking of actually May, 1992, from the details that I have collected.
11 Yes, Mr. Ackerman?
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, this just makes me extremely nervous.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: Calm down.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: Before -- before I have expressed my concern that
15 Ms. Korner does not understand what Rule 68 is and it's been confirmed
16 again today and I just have this fear that there is this huge amount of
17 Rule 68 material out there that she doesn't think is Rule 68 but which all
18 the rest of us would.
19 JUDGE AGIUS: Let's not talk on things that we are not sure of or
20 that we cannot prove. When you brought up the subject, Ms. Korner was the
21 first one to stand up and admit that there had been a shortcoming which
22 she was very much prepared to make up for.
23 MS. KORNER: Well, Your Honour, can I just make clear --
24 JUDGE AGIUS: So I would rather.
25 MS. KORNER: No, no, no -- can I make it absolutely clear we were
1 perfectly well aware that what we had identified was Rule 68 in that
2 interview we merely asked -- our shortcoming was that we failed to
3 disclose it in a timely fashion but Mr. Ackerman is now saying something
4 different. But Your Honour, as I say, rather than go round the houses on
5 this, if we can be given --
6 JUDGE AGIUS: The intention is this, after all you referred this
7 matter to the Chamber because you were yourself not exactly -- you didn't
8 want to take the risk of saying there is no -- so this is why we went into
9 the matter. We have identified certain points that we think are Rule 68.
10 And that you should disclose. We will go into as much detail as we
11 think is necessary for the purpose of the written decision and that will
12 be it. But to if we have the help of the full transcripts that would make
13 our life easier because it puts everything in quotes.
14 MS. KORNER: Yes. Your Honour may only -- I'll see if we can
15 arrange that tomorrow although it's a holiday, because otherwise you
16 wouldn't get it until Monday which may be --
17 JUDGE AGIUS: If we can have it tomorrow it will be much better
18 because then if we are not sitting on Monday we can work with it on
20 MS. KORNER: As much that I will be coming into work tomorrow
21 nobody else will be or very few people will be because it's a holiday
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I will be here tomorrow, Ms. Korner. So anything
24 else you would like to raise?
25 MS. KORNER: No. Can I just mention, I mentioned it to
1 Mr. Ackerman just so Your Honours are aware, because of the vast amount of
2 translation that had to be done, in particular in respect of military
3 court records, the translations that we had done are not authorised
4 translations. And we've asked Mr. Ackerman to consider whether he
5 requires them to be sent in for revision and authorised or if we can just
6 leave the translations that we have subject to if there is anything that
7 they think is clearly wrong then we'll have it sent in for proper
8 translation, I'm just alerting Your Honours to if it comes up in one of
9 the next witnesses.
10 JUDGE AGIUS: Could we live up with that, Mr. Ackerman.
11 MR. ACKERMAN: Yeah, I told Ms. Korner that we are going to look
12 into that and see if we can get by with that. We probably can but I don't
13 want to say we can until we get a chance to look at them and see what
14 condition they are in.
15 JUDGE AGIUS: I would rather you come to some sort of conclusion
16 because if you do not accept that -- that we -- going forward, then of
17 course, Ms. Korner requires time.
18 MR. ACKERMAN: Your Honour, we will do that as promptly as we
20 JUDGE AGIUS: May I remind you of Rule 94 as well.
21 MR. ACKERMAN: I'm getting ready to talk to you about that. I
22 have almost completed the Prijedor Rule 92 bis transcripts I have been
23 reading transcripts the last several days non-stop. I'm halfway through
24 the last one which is the biggest one then I'll start reading the Rule 94
25 transcripts and right behind those are the Bosanski Novi 92 bis issues
1 that are now in a motion that's been filed and we may be moving at a pace
2 that Ms. Korner seems is slow but it certainly is faster than I can keep
3 up with and I seem to be getting further behind every day but I read
4 transcripts until my eyes glaze over and then I wait a while and then I
5 read some more.
6 JUDGE AGIUS: Actually, it was my intention to have it on record
7 that we do think that you have proceeded with the Rule 92 bis process very
8 efficiently. We are quite happy with what you have provided us so far by
9 way of response. Which enables my staff, we discussed it this morning,
10 enables my safe to hand down a decision pretty soon which would help the
11 Prosecution in turn prepare adequately ahead. We have sufficient
12 information from the Defence in that respect, and we should be able to
13 work with it.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: I think there are two left. One I made an inquiry
15 of Ms. Korner about and I think they are accepting a suggestion that I
16 made in that regard so I can give you my answer on that one. And the
17 other one I've got this much transcript left to read and then I'll be able
18 to do that one. So I suppose by tonight that the final motion the final
19 response will be filed.
20 JUDGE AGIUS: I appreciate that, Mr. Ackerman. Any -- anything
21 else? I thank you. And we will meet again, please God, on Friday morning
22 we are sitting, no? Are we sitting in the morning on Friday? Yes. No.
23 Yes, yes, yes. We are sitting in the morning, yes. 9.00 in this same
24 courtroom. Courtroom II. So I thank you.
25 MR. ACKERMAN: Next week we are afternoons.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE AGIUS: Next week we are afternoons, yes. Let me check. We
2 are definitely 12th and 13th I think we are definitely in the morning,
3 12th and 13th. The other days, I think 9th, 10th, 11th, we are indeed in
4 the afternoon.
5 MR. ACKERMAN: Okay. Let me appeal to you not to do anything with
6 the 11th because I have an important --
7 JUDGE AGIUS: No, no, except the 11th we are sitting in the
8 morning, Monday and Tuesday we are sitting in the afternoon. Wednesday,
9 11th, we are sitting in the morning in Courtroom III but then if you are
10 directly -- I know that you are involved but if you are directly involved
11 in it, there is the Appeals Chamber interlocutory.
12 MR. ACKERMAN: Yes.
13 JUDGE AGIUS: You know what.
14 MR. ACKERMAN: The 10th is the day I'm concerned about. If we are
15 sitting in the afternoon of the 10th, I don't have any problems.
16 JUDGE AGIUS: We are sitting in the morning on the 10th.
17 MR. ACKERMAN: Sitting on the morning of the 10th?
18 JUDGE AGIUS: On the 10th we are sitting in the afternoon.
19 MR. ACKERMAN: All right that's all I care about. And I don't
20 care about the Appeal Decision.
21 JUDGE AGIUS: I just mentioned it just in case it --
22 MR. ACKERMAN: I don't think Ms. Korner or either --
23 JUDGE AGIUS: I thank you. We'll meet on Friday.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at
25 1.45 p.m., to be reconvened on Friday,
1 the 6th day of December, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.