1 THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL CASE NO. IT-94-2-R61
2 FOR THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
3 IN THE TRIAL CHAMBER
5 Monday, 9 October 1995
10 JUDGE JORDA
11 (The Presiding Judge)
12 JUDGE ODIO BENITO
13 JUDGE RIAD
15 THE PROSECUTOR OF
16 THE TRIBUNAL
18 DRAGAN NIKOLIC
22 MR. RICHARD J. GOLDSTONE, MR. GRANT NIEMANN and Mme TERESA
23 McHENRY appeared on behalf of the Prosecution
3 Monday, 9 October 1995.
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] The hearing is open.
5 Madam Registrar,
6 please introduce the case for this hearing.
7 THE REGISTRAR: This case concerns the Prosecutor against
8 Dragan Nikolic No. IT-94-2-R61.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] This concerns Rule 61 of the
10 Rules of
11 procedure, so I now turn to the Prosecutor.
12 MR. GOLDSTONE: Your Honours, I appear as Prosecutor with
13 Mr. Niemann and Miss McHenry. Your Honours, as you have
14 just mentioned, this is the first proceeding under Rule 61
15 before this Tribunal. Such a proceeding, a Rule 61
16 proceeding, has been designed by your Honours and your
17 colleagues to cater for the situation where a warrant of
18 arrest issued by the Tribunal against an indicted accused
19 has not been executed.
20 The need for such a procedure arises because the
21 Security Council on the advice of the Secretary-General,
22 wisely set its face against trials in absentia. In his
23 report to the Council in May 1993, the Secretary-General
24 stated in paragraph 101, I quote: "A trial should not
25 commence until the accused is physically present before
1 the International Tribunal. This is a widespread
2 perception that trials in absentia should not be provided
3 for in the statute as this would not be consistent with
4 Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and
5 Political Rights, which provides that the accused shall be
6 entitled to be tried in his presence".
7 Your Honours, I would submit that other convincing
8 reasons could also have been found to justify the decisio
9 not to make provision for trials in absentia. Such trials
10 tend not to satisfy calls for justice and create an
11 impression of being "show trials". The evidence is
12 untested and any conviction and sentence that may follow
13 are empty shells and would be so perceived. If the person
14 "convicted" is later arrested and brought for trial the
15 earlier proceedings would have to be disregarded and a
16 trial would begin de novo.
17 An international tribunal has no police force and no
18 means itself to enforce warrants of arrests issued by it.
19 It must necessarily rely for that purpose upon the
20 co-operation of Member States of the United Nations;
21 notwithstanding the peremptory obligations of States to
22 comply with Chapter VII resolutions of the Security
23 Council, the possibility was foreseen that a Member State
24 might refuse or fail so to comply or the political and
25 military situation might be such that a willing Member
1 State may be physically incapable of making its
2 co-operation effective.
3 The question which, therefore, required consideration
4 by the Judges was whether in the event of the
5 non-execution of a warrant, the Tribunal should allow its
6 process to remain indefinitely suspended or whether there
7 was some action, short of a trial in absentia, that could
8 be taken by it. In that context the Judges fashioned the
9 innovative provisions of Rule 61.
10 Rule 61 provides that a Judge of a Trial Chamber
11 shall order the indictment to be submitted to that Chamber
12 if the Prosecutor has taken all reasonable steps to effect
13 personal service of the indictment, including recourse t
14 the appropriate authorities of the State in whose
15 territory or under whose jurisdiction and control the
16 person resides or was last known to be, and the Prosecutor
17 has otherwise tried to inform the accused of the existence
18 of the indictment by seeking publication of newspaper
19 advertisements pursuant to Rule 60.
20 Upon obtaining that order the Prosecutor is obliged
21 to submit the indictment to the Trial Chamber in open
22 court, together with all the evidence that was before the
23 Judge who initially confirmed the indictment. Additional
24 evidence may also be placed before the Trial Chamber,
25 including the viva voce evidence of witnesses.
1 If, on that evidence, the Trial Chamber is satisfied
2 that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the
3 accused has committed all or any of the crimes charged in
4 the indictment, it shall so determine. The relevant parts
5 of the indictment are required to be read out by the
6 Prosecutor together with an account of the efforts to
7 effect service of the warrant of arrest.
8 If the Trial Chamber is so satisfied, in other words,
9 that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the
10 accused has committed all or any of the crimes charged in
11 the indictment, the Trial Chamber shall issue an
12 international warrant in respect of the accused which
13 shall be transmitted to all States.
14 In addition, if the Prosecutor satisfies the Trial
15 Chamber that the failure to execute the warrant was due in
16 whole or in part to a failure or refusal of a State to
17 co-operate with the Tribunal, the Trial Chamber shall so
18 certify, in which event the President of the Tribuna
19 shall notify the Security Council.
20 Your Honours, as one would expect, the Rules of the
21 Tribunal do not attempt to prescribe appropriate action by
22 the Security Council in the event of a notification to it
23 by the President under Rule 61. The Charter, however,
24 gives a wide discretion to the Security Council in such an
25 event and obviously the imposition of sanctions or at
1 least the threat of sanctions is the kind of action that
2 readily comes to mind.
3 The effect of Rule 61 is to ensure that an accused
4 who decides not to appear for trial cannot thereby prevent
5 the Tribunal from making public the evidence upon which he
6 or she has been indicted. It also enables the Tribunal to
7 take effective steps to ensure that neither an accused nor
8 a Member State may, with impunity, ignore a warrant issued
9 by the Tribunal.
10 I referred earlier to the provisions of Rule 61 being
11 innovative. They are also historic in that they cater for
12 a situation which has never ever before arisen. The
13 Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials are only comparable proceedings
14 in which it was sought to enforce international
15 humanitarian law. Those were military tribunals and the
16 victorious powers were able themselves to execute warrants
17 of arrest and detain those accused of war crimes. This
18 Tribunal is a civil and not a military organ and it is not
19 acting on behalf of any one or a combination of States.
20 Through the Security Council it is truly acting on behalf
21 of the whole international communities.
22 It is for those reasons that the Judges of this
23 Tribunal were faced with the uniquely new situation whic
24 called for an innovative approach.
25 While in no way constituting a trial in absentia,
1 Rule 61 proceedings have other important consequences. A
2 warrant of arrest issued by the Tribunal in consequence of
3 the confirmation of an indictment is directed to the State
4 where the accused resides. If the accused travels to
5 other States new warrants directed to those States have to
6 be issued. It was for that reason that I have made a
7 request to every Member State to inform the Tribunal of
8 any information it receives concerning the travel plans of
9 any person indicted by the Tribunal.
10 In the cases of Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic, I
11 might mention, relevant States have responded promptly and
12 efficiently with that request. However, an international
13 warrant of arrest issued pursuant to Rule 61 is directed
14 to each and every Member State, and Interpol is requested
15 to take efficient steps open to it to ensure that the
16 accused person is arrested and surrendered for trial to
17 the Tribunal. The effect of this, an international
18 warrant, is to confine the accused to the State or area in
19 which she or he is being given sanctuary. The accused
20 effectively becomes an international fugitive.
21 The publication of the evidence before the Tribunal
22 and the issue of the international warrant of arrest have
23 important deterrent effects. I dare say that no sane or
24 rational person would wish to render himself or herself
25 subject to such proceedings. In the future, would-be
1 violators of international humanitarian law will know that
2 such a fate may be in store for him or her and that
3 knowledge may well stop or at least curb criminal suc
5 Then, the evidence will constitute a permanent
6 judicial record for all time of the horrendous war crimes
7 that have been committed in the former Yugoslavia. That
8 public record will assist in attributing guilt to
9 individuals and be an important tool in avoiding the
10 attribution of collective guilt to any nation or ethnic
11 group. Some national truth commissions have been
12 successful in fulfilling such a role by naming accused
13 persons and revealing the evidence reasonably supporting
14 their guilt.
15 At the cost of repetition, your Honours, this is not
16 a trial in absentia and the primary reason for the issue
17 of an international warrant of arrest is to achieve the
18 very objective of bringing the accused for trial. Indeed,
19 these proceedings should be seen as an international
20 challenge to the accused to come forward and either plead
21 guilty or offer a defence before a legitimately
22 established international criminal tribunal. That
23 legitimacy was eloquently confirmed by the Appeal Chamber
24 of this Tribunal in its historic judgment delivered at the
25 beginning of last week. In that judgment the Appeal
1 Judges stated, I quote:
2 "It would be a travesty of law and a betrayal of the
3 universal need for justice, should the concept of State
4 sovereignty be allowed to be raised successfully against
5 human rights. Borders should not be considered as a
6 shield against the reach of the law and as protection for
7 those who trample underfoot the most elementary rights of
9 We continue to submit, that Rule 61 proceedings
10 should convey to those harbouring suspected war criminals
11 that such conduct is anathema to the international
12 community and they should be seen as a plea, in the name
13 of justice, to all Member States to do all in their power
14 to place pressure on those responsible for protecting
15 accused persons and to play their legal and moral role in
16 ensuring that a proper trial be allowed to proceed. The
17 fact that there is no accused sitting opposite me today is
18 in no way the fault of the Prosecution and in no way a
19 consequence of any defect in the Rules of Procedure of the
20 Tribunal or, indeed, of the Statute. The success of these
21 Rule 61 proceedings will depend upon the actions of Member
22 States and the Security Council.
23 I have laid much emphasis upon the rights of an
24 accused and of the primary right to a trial in person.
25 However, there can be no justification at all for ignoring
1 the rights of the victims and of their families. They,
2 too, have a right to be heard and thereby begin their own
3 healing process and that of many tens of thousands of
4 victims who will identify with them. The failure by the
5 accused to come forward and stand trial and the complicity
6 of any Member States or de facto administration should not
7 be allowed effectively to close the mouths of those
9 For all of these reasons the Prosecution has invoked
10 the provisions of Rule 61 in this, the Nikolic case, and
11 it will do so in the future, should that become necessary.
12 Your Honours, these proceedings which commence today
13 are against Dragan Nikolic, also known as "Jenki" Nikolic
14 The Prosecutor satisfied your Honour Judge Odio Benito
15 that all reasonable steps had been taken to effect service
16 of the warrant of arrest upon Nikolic and that the
17 required newspaper advertisements had been published.
18 Your Honour accordingly made the order pursuant to which
19 we are assembled here today.
20 Nikolic was the first person to be indicted by this
21 Tribunal. That indictment was confirmed by your Honour
22 Judge Odio Benito on 4th November 1994. According to
23 information received by my Office, the absence of Nikolic
24 cannot be ascribed to the fault of a Member State of
25 the United Nations. Nikolic is presently residing in that
1 part of Bosnia-Herzegovina which is under the de facto
2 control of the Bosnian-Serb administration in Pale.
3 The indictment alleges that about between 13th June
4 and 30th September 1992, Nikolic was the commander of a
5 camp called Susica. It was situated in the town of
6 Vlasenica in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nikolic is alleged to
7 have participated in the murder of eight persons, the
8 assault or torture of seven persons, and the unlawful
9 confinement, transfer, persecution and inhumane treatment
10 of some 500 innocent civilians in Vlasenica, and with
11 having plundered or otherwise illegally misappropriated
12 their property.
13 10 witnesses who were present at the relevant time in
14 Vlasenica have with great courage decided to come to The
15 Hague to testify in these proceedings. In full knowledge
16 of their rights to witness protection they have further
17 elected to give their evidence openly in public. Theirs
18 will be the first voices of the victims to atrocities i
19 the former Yugoslavia to testify before this International
20 Criminal Tribunal and by so doing their voices will echo
21 throughout the world.
22 The nature of their evidence and that of other
23 evidence that will be placed before your Honours will be
24 described by Mr. Niemann who, with Ms. McHenry, will
25 represent me in these proceedings. Your Honours, with
1 your permission, I will ask Mr. Niemann now to proceed.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Mr. Niemann?
3 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honours, as touched upon by the Prosecutor,
4 the decision that has to be made under Rule 61 is that if
5 the Trial Chamber is satisfied on that evidence that there
6 are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has
7 committed all or any of the crimes charged in the
8 indictment it shall so determine.
9 Your Honours, this is to be contrasted with what
10 happens when an indictment is confirmed under Article
11 18(4) of the Statute, for in that case it is for the
12 Prosecutor to decide that a prime facie case exists before
13 he embarks upon preparing an indictment. Once the
14 indictment is prepared by the Prosecutor, it is submitted
15 to the confirming Judge in order for the confirming Judge
16 to satisfy him or herself that the decision by the
17 Prosecutor that a prime facie case exists is appropriate.
18 Thus, the confirming Judge does not make a fresh
19 determination on whether or not there is the prime facie
20 case but, rather, tests the decision of the Prosecutor, in
21 order to see that his decision is correct.
22 As the primary determination prior to confirmation is
23 by the Prosecutor, where reasonable minds could differ as
24 to whether a prime facie case exists or not, emphasis, it
25 is submitted, should be placed on the reasonableness or
1 otherwise of the Prosecutor's determination.
2 In dealing with the assessment of whether or not
3 there are reasonable grounds for a belief, the evidence
4 should be viewed in the light most favourable to the
5 Prosecutor, all available inferences should be drawn in
6 favour of the Prosecution and apparent inconsistencies are
7 not called for to be resolved.
8 As to the meaning of prime facie case, Rule 47 of the
9 Rules of the Tribunal uses the phrase "... reasonable
10 grounds for believing that a suspect has committed a crime
11 within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal". These words
12 were considered by His Honour Judge Sidwha on 29th August
13 1995 when confirming the indictment against Ivava Rajic,
14 Case No. IT-95-12-1.
15 At page 8 of his Honour's view, he said, I quote:
16 "... the word reasonable is associated with what is fair,
17 moderate, suitable, tolerable, that which is not
18 immoderate or excessive. The expression 'reasonable
19 grounds' is used; not overly convincing, substantial or
20 conclusive grounds. Reasonable grounds, therefore, point
21 to such facts and circumstances as would justify a
22 reasonable or ordinary prudent man to believe that a
23 suspect has committed a crime.
24 To constitute reasonable grounds, facts must be such
25 which are within the possession of the Prosecutor which
1 raise a clear suspicion of the suspect being guilty of the
2 crime. It predicates that all the ingredients of the
3 offence are covered. The evaluation is to be made at the
4 pretrial stage of the proceedings and not what may turn
5 out subsequently in the light of changing facts.
6 It is sufficient that the Prosecutor has acted with
7 caution, impartiality and diligence, as a reasonably
8 prudent Prosecutor would under the circumstances to
9 ascertain the truth of his suspicions. It is not
10 necessary this he has double-checked every piece of
11 evidence, or investigated the crime personally, or
12 instituted an enquiry in any special matter.
13 It is sufficient that from an overall view of the
14 evidence which he has collected and which covers all
15 ingredients of the offence, including the necessary legal
16 implications, which he seeks can be drawn therefrom, a
17 clear suspicion of the accused being guilty of the crime
19 The evidence, therefore, need not be overly
20 convincing or conclusive: it should be adequate and
21 satisfactory to warrant the belief that the suspect has
22 committed the crime. The expression 'sufficient evidence'
23 is thus not synonymous with 'conclusive evidence' or
24 'evidence beyond reasonable doubt'. As stated earlier,
25 the expression 'prime facie case' carries no universal
2 Rule 47, therefore, neither raises the threshold or
3 lowers it; it explains the requirement which the
4 Prosecutor has to meet before filing an indictment and to
5 what extent can be taken as laying down some guidance for
6 the assessment of that expression".
7 That is the end of the quote.
8 If your Honours please, there is no basis for drawing
9 any distinction between the test to be applied by the
10 confirming Judge under Rule 47 and the test to be applied
11 by this Chamber under Rule 61. Indeed, Rule 61(C) uses
12 the same terms as appears in Rule 47(A), namely:
13 "... reasonable grounds for believing that the accused
14 has committed ... the crimes charged in the indictment".
15 In our submission then, it is for this Chamber to
16 look specifically at each of the counts of the indictment
17 and apply the test that I have just spelt out.
18 In the indictment we have charged the following
19 offences under the Statute. Firstly, with the murders of
20 Durmo Handzic; Asim Zildzic, Mevludin Hatunic; Rasid
21 Ferhatbegovic; Dzevad Saric; Muharem Kolarevic; Zekic and
22 Ismet Dedic. They have been charged under Articles 2(a);
23 3 and 5(a) of the Statute.
24 With respect to Mevludin Hatunic and Ismet Dedic, we
25 have charged in the alternative, Inhumane Treatment, Cruel
1 Treatment and Inhumane Acts, contrary to Articles 2(b), 3
2 and 5(i) respectively in the Statute.
3 Secondly, we have charged the accused with Inhumane
4 Treatment, Cruel Treatment and Inhumane Acts against Galib
5 Music contrary to Articles 2(b), 3 and 5(i) of the
7 Thirdly, we have charged the accused with the
8 Torture, causing Great Suffering, Cruel Treatment and
9 Inhumane Acts against Fikret Arnout, contrary to Articles
10 2(b) and (c), 3, Articles 5(f) and (i) respectively of the
12 Fourthly, with the Torture -----
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Excuse me. Do you mean by
14 that amending
15 the presentation of your indictment compared with the
16 initial submission which was made to the Judges -- let me
17 remind you -- that this was the first indictment and that
18 it detailed on a victim by victim basis; it did not
19 globally list the indictments in a global level. So, in
20 the present situation, do you intend not changing the
21 contents, as I understand you, but changing the form of
22 the presentation of your indictment, or will it be the
23 indictment as it was presented, I cannot remember which
24 date, but I think it was some good time ago.
25 MR. NIEMANN: It will be the indictment as was initially
1 presented for confirmation to Your Honour Judge Odio
2 Benito. What I am doing is, in effect, summarising the
3 indictment but making specific reference to the charges
4 themselves and the victims of those charges.
5 Fourthly, with the Torture of Mubin Music, contrary
6 to Articles 2(b), 3 and 5(f).
7 Fifthly, with the Torture, causing Serious Injury,
8 Cruel Treatment and Inhumane Acts against Suad Mahmutovic
9 contrary to Articles 2(b) and (c), 3, 5(f) and (i) of the
11 Sixthly, with causing Great Suffering, Cruel
12 Treatment and Inhumane Acts against Sead Ambeskovic.
13 Seventhly, with subjecting Redjo Cakisic to Inhumane
15 Eighthly, with causing Hansa Cakisic Great Suffering,
16 Outrages Upon Personal Dignity and Inhumane Acts, contrary
17 to articles 2(c), 3 and 5 of the Statute.
18 Finally, with a series of general offences relating
19 to the Wilful Confinement and illegal Imprisonment of
20 civilians, the Appropriation and Plunder of their
21 property, their unlawful Transfer and Persecution,
22 contrary to Articles 2(d) and (), 3(e), 5(e), (h) nd (i)
24 In respect of counts 4, 5, 6, 7, 18, 20 to 24, we
25 have charged criminal responsibility under Article 7(3) of
1 the Statute, and in the other counts our theory of
2 liability is in accord with Article 7(1) of the Statute.
3 In order for you to be satisfied that there is
4 'reasonable belief that the accused has committed the
5 crime', there must be sufficient evidence to enable you to
6 suspect that a crime has been committed.
7 When examining the relevant issues, if your Honours
8 please, it is necessary to look to the various ingredients
9 of the offences under the Statute of the Tribunal.
10 Dealing firstly with Article 2 of the Statute, this
11 provision deals with the grave breach sections of the
12 Geneva Conventions.
13 It would appear that not all elements of these
14 offences may have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt,
15 but that issue does not, of course, arise in these
16 proceedings. However, the components of those offences
17 are that the victims of the crimes are persons protected
18 by one or other of the Geneva Conventions of 1949; that
19 the actions or omissions occurred during an armed
20 conflict, or partial or total occupation, in which the law
21 for international armed conflict applies, such that the
22 conflict or occupation is governed by the Geneva
23 Conventions of 12th August 1949.
24 In dealing with specifically the subparagraphs of
1 Article 2 and, firstly, with wilful killing under Article
2 2(A): The components of this offence consist of the need
3 to show via the evidence that the victim is dead; that the
4 death resulted from an unlawful act or omission by the
5 accused, and that at the time of the act or omission the
6 accused had the intent to kill or inflict grievous bodily
7 harm upon the victim.
8 Turning to paragraph B of Article 2 which deals with
9 the crime of torture, the components of this offence are
10 that the victim was intentionally and unlawfully subjected
11 to the infliction of severe physical or mental pain or
12 suffering by the accused or his subordinate; and that the
13 pain or suffering was inflicted for any of the following
14 reasons, namely, to obtain information, to punish the
15 victim, for the purposes of intimidating or coercing the
16 victim, or for any reason based on discrimination of any
17 kind. It is necessary that the accused or his subordinate
18 acted at the instigation of, or with the consent or
19 acquiescence of, an official ora person acting in an
20 official capacity.
21 Also contained within paragraph (b) of Article 2 is
22 the crime of inhumane treatment. In our submission, the
23 components of that offence are that the accused or his
24 subordinate committed a specified act or omission against
25 the victim; that the accused or a subordinate intended to
1 unlawfully impair the physical, intellectual or moral
2 integrity of the victim or otherwise subject him or her to
3 indignities, pain or suffering out of proportion to
4 treatment expected of one human being to another; and that
5 the physical, intellectual or moral integrity of the
7 victim was impaired or the victim otherwise suffered
8 indignities, pain or suffering.
9 Under paragraph (c) of Article 2, there is contained
10 provision relating to the crime of wilfully causing great
11 suffering. In our submission, the elements of this
12 offence that the accused committed a specified act upon
13 the victim; that the accused ora subordinate committed an
14 act or omission with the intent of unlawfully inflicting
15 great suffering and that this great suffering was thereby
17 Under Article 2(c) also is contained the provision
18 relating to causing serious injury to body or health. In
19 our submission, again it is necessary to show that the
20 accused committed the crime upon the victim and that the
21 accused or subordinate thereby intentionally and
22 unlawfully inflicted serious injury to the body or health
23 of the victim.
24 Dealing then, if your Honour pleases, with Article
25 2(d) of the Statute, dealing with appropriation of
1 property: It is necessary for there to be some evidence
2 that the accused wantonly and unlawfully destroyed and/or
3 took, obtained or withheld real or personal property from
4 the possession of the owner or any other person; that the
5 person or property was protected under the Geneva
6 Conventions; and that the taking or withholding by the
7 accused was with the intent to deprive another person of
8 the use and benefit of that property.
9 If your Honour pleases, appropriation in this context
10 may appropriately mean appropriation, the taking of
11 property from its lawful owner with or without the intent
12 to permanently deprive.
13 Your Honours, dealing then with paragraph (g) of
14 Article 2, unlawful deportation or forcible transfer, in
15 our submission, the elements of this offence are that the
16 accused or a subordinate unlawfully deported or forcibly
17 transferred the victim from the territory where the victim
18 was present to a place outside that territory.
19 Finally, with paragraph (j) of Article 2 of the
20 Statute, unlawful confinement of a civilian: In our
21 submission, the ingredients of this charge are that the
22 accused or a subordinate unlawfully held, confined or
23 otherwise restrained the liberty of the victim; that the
24 victim was a civilian; and that the restraint was effected
25 without affording the victim the procedural and
1 substantive protections prescribed in the above mentioned
3 Your Honours, in respect of Article 2, in our
4 submission, they are appropriate factors that should be
5 applied to the charges when considering whether a
6 reasonable suspicion arises that those crimes have been
8 Now turning to Article 3 which has also been charged
9 in the indictment that I outlined: Article 3 of the
10 Statute deals with violations of the laws or customs of
11 war. Article 3 States that the Tribunal shall have the
12 power to prosecute persons violating the laws or customs
13 of war and specifically states that the enumerated
14 offences in paragraph (a) to (e) of that Article are not
15 exhaustive. Accordingly, in our submission, at a minimum,
16 in addition, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions
17 are also applied.
18 Your Honours, the provisions of common Article 3 are
19 not set out in the Statute, so I will read that provision
20 out for the assistance of the Chamber. Article 3 provides
21 that, "in the case of armed conflict not of an
22 international character occurring in the territory of one
23 of the High Contracting parties, each party to the
24 conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the
25 following provisions:
1 (1 ) persons taking no active part in the hostilities,
2 including members of armed forces who have laid down their
3 arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds,
4 detention, or any other cause, shall in the circumstances
5 be treated humanly, without any adverse distinction
6 founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or
7 wealth, or any similar criteria.
8 To this end the following acts are and shall remain
9 prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with
10 respect to the above mentioned persons.
11 (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder
12 of any kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
13 (b) taking of hostages; (c) outrages upon personal
14 dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading
15 treatment; (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying
16 out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by
17 a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial
18 guarantees which are recognised as indispensable by
19 civilised peoples". The common element of these charges
20 is that the actual omissions occurred during an armed
21 conflict either international, internal or both.
22 If your Honour pleases, dealings specifically then
23 with the provisions of Common Article 3, again we have the
24 offences charged of murder. I will not proceed to recite
25 all of the ingredients of those charges as most of them
1 are common with the charges of murder under Article 2 of
2 the Statute.
3 However, there are additional elements such as that
4 the victim was a non-combatant or hors de combat, that the
5 death resulted from the unlawful act, which is a common
6 element, and that the accused had the intent.
7 With respect to the charge of cruel treatment under
8 Common Article 3, apart from the common elements, it is
9 necessary for there to be some evidence that the accused
10 or a subordinate thereby intended to subject the victim to
11 cruel treatment.
12 Your Honours, the provision with respect to torture,
13 apart from the common elements applicable to Common
14 Article 3, remain the same as those that I have mentioned
15 in relation to torture under Article 2. Again, outrages
16 upon personal dignity: Apart from the common elements
17 applicable to those charges, there is the element that the
18 accused thereby intended to inflict upon the dignity of
19 the victim or subject the victim to humiliating or
20 degrading treatment.
21 Finally, dealing with plunder under the Article of
22 the Statute, paragraph (e) of the Statute of the Tribunal,
23 it is necessary for the Prosecution to produce some
24 evidence that the accused ora subordinate wasted, spoiled
25 or appropriated certain public or private property; that
1 the property belonged to another person and that there
2 existed the intent to deprive; the acts were unlawful in
3 that they were clearly not required by military necessity.
4 That then leaves, if your Honour pleases, the final
5 Article of the Statute of the Tribunal that has been
6 charged in the indictment and that is Article 5 of the
7 Statute. Article 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal deals
8 with Crimes against Humanity. In our submission, the
9 common element applicable to that charge is that the act
10 or omission was part of a widespread and/or systematic
11 attack directed against the civilian population, and that
12 the accused knew or had reason to know that his acts were
13 part of an attack upon the civilian population.
14 Again there is then listed in the Crimes against
15 Humanity provisions of Article 5 of the Statute the
16 specific offences, the first being that of murder which
17 has also been charged in the indictment. I submit that
18 apart from the specific elements relevant to a crime
19 against humanity, the elements of this offence are in
20 common with murder as charged under Article 2(a) of the
21 Statute or Common Article 3.
22 The next provision that appears in relation to the
23 indictment concerns imprisonment under paragraph (e) of
24 Article 5 of the Statute. The relevant elements, in our
25 submission, for consideration by your Honours in relation
1 to this charge is that the accused or a subordinate held,
2 confined or otherwise restrained the liberty of the
3 victim, and that the restraint was effected without
4 affording the procedural and substantive protections
5 prescribed in the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
6 In addition, there is the charge of torture under
7 Article 5(f) of the Statute of the Tribunal. In our
8 submission, except for the specific elements applicable to
9 a crime against humanity, those elements that I have
10 mentioned in relation to Article 2(b) of the Statute have
11 equal force and application to this provision.
12 The next provision that has been charged under
13 Article 5(h) is persecution on political, racial or
14 religious grounds. In our submission, the relevant
15 elements of that offence for consideration are that the
16 accused committed this specified act against the victim;
17 that the specified act or omission was intended by the
18 accused to harass, cause suffering or otherwise
19 discriminate against the victim based on political, racial
20 or religious grounds.
21 Finally, paragraph (i) of Article 5 deals with
22 inhumane acts. In our submission, the elements of that
23 offence are that the act or omission of the accused was
24 unlawful and included, but was not limited to, one or
25 other of the following acts, that he seized or detained
1 victim with the intent to hold him as hostage; that an
2 outrage upon the personal dignity of the victim by
3 inflicting humiliating or degrading treatment; by
4 sentencing and carrying out the sentence, or (d) by
5 unlawful acts intended to impair the physical,
6 intellectual or moral integrity of the victim or otherwise
7 subject the victim to indignities, pain or suffering
8 grossly out of proportion to the treatment expected of one
9 human being from another.
10 Those then, your Honours, are, in our submission, the
11 elements of the offences for consideration when coming to
13 the determination that you are called upon to do
14 under Rule 61 of the rules of the Tribunal. I have
15 briefly covered the final Articles of Articles 3 and 5 on
16 the basis that they have common elements.
17 Turning, your Honour, to the facts of this case, in
18 our submission, the Opstina of Vlasenica -- "Opstina", in
19 our submission, is a word applied to a municipal region or
20 district in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina -- is
21 located in Eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina, within which the
22 town of Vlasenica is also located. It is about 50
23 kilometres from the Serbian border and about 120
24 kilometres north-east of Sarajevo. It is of strategic
25 importance, being located between Belgrade, Sarajevo and
2 ccording to figures in 1991, both the Opstina and
3 the town had a majority Muslim population. Commencing in
4 1990, increasing nationalism and tension arose between the
5 Serbian and Muslim populations Vlasenica. It was declared
6 an autonomous region within the Federal Republic of
7 Yugoslavia in January 1992 by Serbians from Vlasenica and
8 surrounding areas, and tensions continued to increase into
9 the spring of 1992 with the referendum on the proposed
10 independence of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
11 About 21st April 1994, the town of Vlasenica was
12 forcibly taken over and declared to be a Serbian town.
13 The Federal Army of Yugoslavia, referred to as the JNA
14 soldiers, including soldiers from the Novi Sad corps from
15 Serbian, paramilitary forces and local military soldiers
16 occupied the area without any armed resistance from the
17 Muslim population.
19 Military matters were subsequently transferred from
20 the JNA forces to the local Serbian forces which came
21 about by the mobilisation of local Serbian men. When
22 I say "Serbian", I am referring there the Bosnian-Serbian
24 The community affairs which were prior to the
25 takeover were largely managed by a committee comprising
1 both Muslims and Serbs was now comprised only by Bosnian
2 Serbs, and the Serbians were appointed to all the
3 positions within the town. Conditions for Muslims
4 deteriorated in such ways as terminations of employment,
5 restrictions on travel and the withdrawal of funds and
6 frequent arrests with police interrogations of Muslim men
7 often accompanied by beatings, resulting in many Muslims
8 fleeing the Vlasenica area. Between May 1992 and
9 September 1992 the remaining Muslim population were either
10 forcibly expelled or arrested, leaving virtually no
11 Muslims in this area.
12 Arrested Muslims were first held at a local school or
13 the local prison before the setting up of a camp at
14 Susica, run by the military and local militia. There were
15 always at 500 detainees in the Susica camp and as many as
16 8,000 persons may have passed through this camp. The camp
17 had two main buildings to house the detainees and a small
18 house used for interrogations. The detainee hall was
19 severely overcrowded, no sleeping material was provided,
20 toilet facilities were limited and there were no showers.
21 Beatings were common and the detainees lived in a state of
22 constant fear.
23 From at least mid June 1992, the commander of the
24 camp was Dragan Nikolic, also known as "Jenki" Nikolic,
25 who commanded the 12 soldiers guarding the detainees.
1 Nikolic gave orders such as not allowing any persons to
2 escape, not allowing other persons into the camp to carry
3 out personal vendettas, and not allowing any of the
4 prisoners to be taken from the camp without his approval
5 and of obtaining a signed document.
6 The witnesses will allege that Nikolic, as commander
7 of the camp, was responsible for charges brought against
8 him as detailed in the indictment that I have already
9 outlined to your Honours.
10 To assist your Honours, we have prepared on the video
11 monitor a computer representation of maps relating to,
12 firstly, Europe and then subsequently progressing down to
13 the area of Vlasenica itself. With your Honours leave,
14 I will ask Mr. Dixon to firstly display on the computer
15 monitor a map of Europe which will indicate the location
16 of, firstly, Yugoslavia.
17 If your Honours please, if you press the button on
18 the computer monitor on your consoles you should then be
19 able to see this map shown. Perhaps, your Honour, while
20 that is being prepared, I will continue and then come back
21 to that.
22 Your Honour, it is the intention of the Prosecution
23 to call a total of 15 witnesses; the first witness will be
24 Dr. James Gow, a Political Scientist, from the Department
25 of War Studies, King's College, London, and a research
1 associate from the Centre of Defence Studies, University
2 of London. Your Honour, although technically the
3 non-disclosure order that your Honours have made applies
4 equally to Dr. Gow, as he is a Prosecution witness, we
5 will be asking -----
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] We now have the map on our
8 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. I will turn to the map.
9 Your Honour, this is just a general map to show you the
10 location of Yugoslavia in Europe. I will ask that we now
11 be shown a map of Yugoslavia itself. Dr. Gow will go into
12 greater detail of this area, but I merely show how
13 Yugoslavia prior to its breakup and still exists in
14 relation to its various borders.
15 Perhaps the next map might be shown? Your Honours,
16 this is a map of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The
17 divisions that one can see on that map indicate the
18 various Opstinas of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Might we focus in
19 more directly on the Opstina of Valsenica? As described
20 by your Honours, where the cursor now appears, your
21 Honours, you can see Valsenica. As I mentioned in my
22 address, it is relatively close to the border with the
23 Republic of Serbia.
24 Your Honour, what we have now displayed on the
25 technical vision screen is a larger map concentrating more
1 on the town of Vlasenica, but showing the town's location
2 in the Opstina itself and a number of the towns
3 surrounding the town of Valsenica which maybe referred to
4 from time to time in the evidence of the witnesses.
5 Finally, your Honours, we have a map or a plan of the
6 city of Valsenica itself. Perhaps we could focus in a
7 little closer? This map will also be referred to from
8 time to time and details the town itself of Valsenica and
9 will feature in the evidence of the witnesses and may also
11 be referred to by Dr. Gow.
12 Your Honours, following the calling of Dr. Gow who,
13 I have said, we would be seeking a lifting of the
14 non-disclosure order in relation to, we will then seek to
15 call some 13 witnesses who are eyewitnesses to the events
16 that occurred in the Opstina of Valsenica at the relevant
17 period and, in particular, to what occurred to them at the
18 Susica camp.
19 We will then conclude with the evidence of
20 Mr. Paepen, an investigator from the Investigation Section
21 of the Office of the Prosecutor. Mr. Paepen is also
22 affected by the non-disclosure order in relation to
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] What was the name of the
25 last witnesses
1 -- I did not quite catch it -- the last of the named
2 witnesses you mentioned?
3 M R. NIEMANN: It is "Paepen".
4 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you.
5 MR. NIEMANN: This witness, if your Honours pleases, is a
6 summary witness in a sense. He will speak generally to
7 the supporting statements and additional material that
8 will be provided by the Prosecutor in relation to these
10 With respect to the 13 eyewitnesses, these witnesses
11 will give their evidence in the Bosnian language which
12 will be translated simultaneously into the French and
13 English languages. By and large, these witnesses are
14 unfamiliar with the judicial process of this Tribunal.
15 Some of them are the victims of the crime and, as such,
16 suffer trauma from their experience. The translation of
17 one language to another language can cause some
18 discrepancies to occur, especially when a word or concept
19 in one language has no equivalent in the other.
20 If your Honours please, we have for the assistance of
21 the Chamber been provided with a very useful document by
22 the translation unit which deals with some of the
23 difficulties that can be encountered in the process of
24 translation. With your Honours' leave, in due course
25 I will tender or submit that to your Honours for your
2 Finally, your Honours, as you have seen, we would
3 hope and intend to make use of the various visual aids
4 available in the courtroom. The lay witnesses are not
5 familiar with the use of these devices, although they have
6 been given a demonstration on how they might work. But it
7 may occur that from time to time they may become confused
8 or uncertain about these devices. We would ask the court
9 to be patient with these witnesses if we encounter
10 difficulties of this nature.
11 Your Honour, I now wish to call the evidence.
12 Firstly, I would ask that the non-disclosure order in
13 relation to the first witness be lifted. This witness is
14 not a victim witness. He is an expert witness. He does
15 not wish that his name be suppressed or any other matters
16 relating to his identity be non-disclosed.
17 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I would like to explain
18 the situation.
19 This is covered by an order of non-disclosure.
20 Furthermore, the Chamber has taken steps to restrict the
21 number of disclosures made, so we have a public character
22 which is the ultimate aim of the Rule 61 hearing, except
23 for specific measures to be undertaken for the witnesses
24 themselves who, very frequently are the victims. So they are
25 aware of what is going on, so that each witness knows what
1 is going on, and we will have to review it on an
2 individual basis.
3 So, the order taken by the Chamber some days ago
4 means that the identity, the addresses and all the
5 elements of identification are not revealed, unless that
6 particular person wishes the contrary. That is the
7 current state of affairs.
8 Bearing that in mind, this will not be applied to the
9 first witness who will be mentioned as Mr. Niemann has
10 explained to us. That is why for this particular witness
11 the identity of the witness can be disclosed. I ask the
12 court, therefore, to take note of that and include it in
13 our record.
14 MR. NIEMANN: If the Chamber pleases, I call Andrew James
15 William Gow.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Mr. James Gow, on the
17 basis of
18 an order
19 you can provide us with your identification and then make
20 the solemn declaration to the court. I think somebody
21 will be giving you a text of the solemn declaration. That
22 has already been carried out, Registrar, so if you could
23 introduce yourself, tell us who you are, pronounce the
24 solemn declaration standing, then you can sit down and
25 begin your testimony. Of course, be ready to answer
1 questions which the court may ask you or by the Office of
2 the Prosecutor. So the floor is yours.
4 ANDREW JAMES WILLIAM GOW, Sworn.
6 THE WITNESS: My name is Andrew James William Gow. I solemnly
7 declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth and
8 nothing but the truth.
9 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you very much. The
10 Registrar has
11 noted this declaration. You may sit down. Mr. Gow,
12 please begin your statement as you wish to in order to
13 help us in administering justice and in order to help the
14 Tribunal understand what has been happening. The floor is
16 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Gow, are you a political scientist with the
17 positions of Lecturer in the Department of War Studies,
18 King's College, London, and a Research Associate of the
19 Centre for Defence Studies, University of London?
20 A. That is correct.
21 Q. Formally, were you a Research Officer at the Centre for
22 Defence Studies and before that Lecturer on Soviet and
23 Eastern European Affairs at Hatfield Polytechnic in the
24 United Kingdom?
25 A. That is also correct.
1 Q. Do you hold the Degree of PhD from the University of
2 London where you prepared your doctorial thesis on
3 Yugoslavia at the school of Slovonic and Eastern European
5 A. I did.
6 Q. For the past several years has your work been concentrated
7 on former Yugoslavia, particularly its military-political
8 affairs and have you written and lectured extensively
9 about this area?
10 A. I think it is fair to say that is so.
11 Q. Is your evidence based upon your personal knowledge drawn
12 from your own work and that of other recognised scholars
13 in this field?
14 A. It is.
15 Q. Have you published reports, military and civilian
16 writings, speeches and other official documents from the
17 area of the former Yugoslavia?
18 A. Sorry, could you repeat the question?
19 Q. Have you published reports, military and civilian
20 writings, speeches and other documents from the area of
21 the former Yugoslavia?
22 A. I have published work which is based on materials of that
24 Q. Have you also based your research on conversations with
25 knowledgeable persons and witness statements and documents
1 made available to you by the Office of the Prosecutor?
2 A. I have.
3 Q. Since 1988 have you published numerous books and articles?
4 A. I have.
5 Q. Are the details of those books, monographs, articles and
6 other writings that you have published been presented in a
7 statement that was made available to the confirming Judge
8 in relation to the presentation of this indictment?
9 A. That is correct.
10 Q. Dr. Gow, concerning the former Republic of Yugoslavia, can
11 you tell the court about the political composition of the
12 former Yugoslavia prior to 1991?
13 A. The Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia was a
14 federation of six republics, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina -- Bosnia and Herzegovina comprising two
16 historic areas, Bosnia and Herzegovina -- Montenegro,
17 Serbia and Macedonia. There were also two autonomous
18 provinces which had a high degree of autonomy in place,
19 certain roles at the Federal level, both within Serbia,
20 Kosovo and Vojvodina.
21 Q. Can you tell the Chamber about the ethnic composition of
22 Yugoslavia prior to 1991?
23 A. The ethnic composition of Yugoslavia was a complex mix of
24 populations. The largest population groups were the
25 Serbs, the Croats, the Slav Muslims in Bosnia and in
1 Serbia, the Slovenes, the Macedonians, Montenegrins and
2 also the non-Slav Albanians.
3 Q. Would you look at this document that I now show to you
4 please? (Handed). What does that document represent?
5 A. The document represents information on proportions within
6 the population of the Socialist Federal Republic of
7 Yugoslavia -- if I may say, the SFRY for brevity -- in
8 that as reflected in the censuses taken in 1981 and 1991.
9 Q. From where is it compiled?
10 A. It is compiled from the census data as presented in a
11 memorandum from the United Kingdom Foreign and
12 Commonwealth Office to the Houses of Parliament, Foreign
13 Affairs Committee in London.
14 Q. Who prepared the document?
15 A. This particular document was prepared at my direction for
16 the purposes of Offices of the Prosecutor -- Office of the
18 Q. With your Honours' leave, might I ask Mr. Dixon to assist
19 the witness in displaying this particular document on the
20 video display unit so that the witness may explain the
21 document to your Honours? Your Honours, in order to pick
22 up this, you will need to press the videoing monitor
23 button on your Honours' consoles. (To the witness):
24 Dr. Gow, dealing specifically with the document on the
25 machine, can you just take the court through the document
1 and explain it in relation to your evidence?
2 A. The document shows the share of population of the most
3 significant groups in the SFRY. I should correct the
4 information presented here and note that Montenegrins are
5 missing. The document shows that the single largest group
6 through the territories of the SFRY were the Serbs; that
7 they constituted a little over a third of the population
8 as a whole. So, as the single largest group, they did not
9 form an absolute majority.
10 It goes on to show the proportions of other
11 populations within the SFRY as a whole. It shows that in
12 the period of 10 years between the 1981 and 1991 census
13 there were some small changes but the population levels
14 remained fairly stable.
15 Q. Yes, continue.
16 A. In addition to the populations presented in this table of
17 information, there were, of course, some other smaller
18 groups which do not feature, adding to the very complex
19 mix of populations that were to be found within
20 Yugoslavia. It should be noted that all population groups
21 were found in all -- were found in more than one republic,
22 although, of course, there were concentrations of Serbs in
23 Serbia, Croats in Croatia, Slovenes in Slovenia and so
25 MR. NIEMANN: I tender that document for the record, your
1 Honours. May it be handed to the court?
2 (To the witness): Would you now look at the next document
3 that will be shown to you by Mr. Dixon? Just perhaps show
4 the witness the document, if you would, please? Firstly,
5 do you know what this document is?
6 A. This document shows the single largest group within the
7 population of each of the six republics which comprise the
8 SFRY, and it shows the percentage proportion of the
9 population that the largest group represented.
10 Q. It has not been displayed as yet, your Honours.
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Excuse me, Mr. Niemann, I
12 think we have
13 been given the previous document.
14 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. For the record, I seek to
15 tender that document.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] You wish to tender that
17 document, fine.
18 Please continue.
19 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. (To the witness): The
20 document you have in front of you, who compiled that?
21 A. The information is based on the results of the 1981 census
22 taken throughout the territories of the SFRY. It was in
23 the present form derived from information submitted in a
24 memorandum from the United Kingdom Foreign and
25 Commonwealth Office to the House of Commons Foreign
1 Affairs Committee in London.
2 Q. Would you place the document on the video recording
3 machine, please? By specific reference to it, can you
4 explain the document to the Chamber?
5 A. The document shows the single largest group within each of
6 the six republics of the SFRY. You will note that only in
7 Slovenia was there something that could be described as
9 real ethnic homogeneity, that in all other places,
10 although there was a single largest group, there were
11 large -- other large, a large share of the population was
12 formed by one or more other groups. You will note that
13 whereas in Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia there was an
14 absolute majority of the naming group, in Serbia also that
15 was the case, although the proportion within what is known
16 as "narrow Serbia" rose significantly from 66.4 per cent
17 of Serbia as a whole, including the two autonomous
18 provinces, to 85.4 per cent of Serbs within Serbian --
19 Serbia proper. You will also note that in Bosnia,
20 although the Muslims constituted the single largest group,
21 they were not an absolute majority.
22 Q. Thank you. I tender that document for the record.
23 Dr. Gow ----
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Mr. Prosecutor, it is now
25 quarter past
1 11. I do not want to interrupt the witness making a
2 statement, so do you have a question which would be an
3 overall summary of the statement or would you like to take
4 a break at this point? Would you like to raise a question
5 which would just take a couple of minutes or so to
6 answer? We do not have to stop at 11.15 on the dot.
7 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honours please, I have one question which
8 I think can conclude the witness's evidence at this
9 stage. (To the witness): Dr. Gow, had by 1991 the ethnic
10 composition of the republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina altered
11 at all?
12 A. The evidence of the 1991 census in Bosnia and Herzegovina
13 showed that the proportion of Muslims within the
14 population had increased from approximately 39 per cent to
16 around 44 per cent; that the proportion of Serbs had
17 decreased to 31.5 per cent and that the figure for Croats
18 was 17 per cent. So, although there remained stability
19 within, more or less stability within the levels of
20 populations, there were noticeable growths in the case of
21 the Muslims and reductions in the case of Serbs and
23 MR. NIEMANN: Would that be a convenient time to adjourn, your
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Yes, quite. Thank you very
2 We will come back and continue the testimony from
3 Dr. Gow at 11.30. The session is adjourned.
5 (Short Adjournment)
7 (11.30 a.m.)
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Before giving the floor to
9 our witness,
10 Dr. Gow, I would like to make some comments: I am
11 somewhat concerned that we follow closely and that our
12 work runs smoothly. It seems to me that, on a technical
13 point of view, sometimes we have some hiccups, but I also
14 want to look at the Prosecutor's Office and tell them that
15 the interpreters are facing some difficulties to follow
16 you and that is for two reasons. The first reason is that
17 they do not have sufficient documentation, and since
18 our interpreters, just like all of us, are in a situation
19 of stress, I think it would be very sound management to
20 provide them the maximum of documentation.
21 It will assist the court, it will also assist all the
22 legal participants and also, since it is a public hearing,
23 since the media is following us closely, it is good to
24 provide all the instruments possible to have good,
25 reliable interpretation. If the documents are not
1 available, perhaps, Mr. Niemann, if you could perhaps
2 speak at a slightly slower pace, not quite so impetuous.
3 Even although I know it is because you are moved by your
4 personal conviction, it would be appreciated if you would
5 be more moderate in your tone. Thank you very much.
6 MR. NIEMANN: I will do what I can, your Honour, to assist the
7 interpreters. I understand a copy of the statement of
8 Dr. Gow has been available to the interpreters. I hope
9 that is so; if it is not, I will take steps to correct it.
10 (To the witness): Dr. Gow, prior to the adjournment,
11 you were giving your evidence about the various ethnic
12 groups in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Can you
13 tell the Chamber what languages the various ethnic groups
15 A. The main language on the territories of the SFRY was
16 commonly known as Serbo-Croat. Today, it is frequently
17 called either Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, even
18 Montenegrin. That language was spoken by around 80 per
19 cent of the population on the territories of the SFRY. It
20 was a Slovenic language; it was a language in which there
21 were some regional variations but which was, essentially,
22 as far as I understand, linguists look at it the same
24 Slovenes and Macedonians spoke Slovonic languages
25 that were distinct but related to Serbo-Croat, and a
1 number of other populations, the smaller groups, spoke
2 other languages. For example, the large Albanian minority
3 spoke Albanian and the Hungarians in Vojvodina in the
4 north spoke Hungarian.
5 Q. Dr. Gow, was there any variations in the religious beliefs
6 of the various ethnic groups in the former Socialist
7 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
8 A. The main religions in the area were Roman Catholicism
9 which was embraced predominantly by the Slovenes and
10 Croats; Eastern Orthodoxy, embraced by the Christian
11 populations mostly who were living on the eastern side of
12 a divide in the -- the Serbs, the Montenegrins the
13 Macedonians, and Islam which was adhered to by the Slav
14 Muslims in Bosnia and in Serbia, as well as Islam adhered
15 to by the non-Slavs, that is, the Albanians in the largely
16 Albanian populated area of Kosovo. I might also add that
17 there were Albanians in Montenegro but many of these
18 embraced Roman Catholicism.
19 Q. Dr. Gow, you mentioned something earlier in your evidence
20 about the population distribution of Yugoslavia.
21 Specifically in relation to Yugoslavia, in Bosnia in
22 particular, has there been any variations in this
23 population distribution since 1991?
24 A. The events since 1991 have given rise to substantial
25 movements in the population and the population structure
1 of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Estimates vary, and they run
2 up to around 3.7 million people having been disturbed and
3 forcibly -- and displaced either forcibly or as refugees
4 from the places in which they lived in 1991 and before.
5 Q. Would you look at this document that I now show you?
6 (Handed). Could you just describe what that document is?
7 A. The document is a table which identifies regions within
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It gives a breakdown of the
9 different population groups within each of those areas,
10 and it shows the absolute figures based on the 1991 census
11 for the share of population in that area in 1991 and,
12 finally, shows figures for the summer of 1994 and, in
13 putting the two sets of figures together, gives us some
14 indication of the changes which have taken place in Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina.
16 Q. Who prepared the document?
17 A. The document is based on information from the 1991 census
18 throughout the territories of the SFRY with application in
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on information provided by the
20 United Nations High Commissioner for refugees. It was
21 prepared in this form at my direction for the purposes of
22 the Office of the Prosecutor.
23 Q. Would you now place a copy of that document on the
24 screen? Your Honours, I have a copy here for your Honours
25 to refer to in case your Honours have difficulty in seeing
1 the one displayed on the screen. (To the witness):
2 Dr. Gow, just dealing with the schedule that you have
3 there, can you describe the schedule as it has been
4 presented there?
5 A. The schedule shows the population changes since 1991. If
6 you were to look at the first column, you will see certain
7 regions identified. The second column shows the breakdown
8 of ethnic groups within those regions, in each case Croat
9 and Muslim with the exception of figures compiled by the
10 UNHCR for the safe areas designated in Eastern Bosnia of
11 Srebrenica, Gorazde and Zepa at that time.
12 Q. Perhaps a little bit slower, I think. The column, the
13 third column?
15 A. The third column shows the absolute figures in the
16 population in those areas based on the 1991 census. The
17 final figure shows figures derived from the UNHCR for the
18 situation in July 1994. The figures reveal, if you look,
19 the changes in the composition of the population in each
20 of those areas. As one example, you may look at the first
21 identified region, Western Bosnia, you will note that in
22 1991, according to the census, there were approximately
23 300,000 non-Serbs living in that area, but by July 1994
24 the combined total for non-Serbs was estimated to be
1 Q. That then continues throughout the schedule in relation
2 to, for example, there is Srebrenica, you have a ----
3 A. For Srebrenica, you have almost -- if I may?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. For Srebrenica you get a reflection of the same kind of
6 change but, perhaps, in an opposite direction you note
7 that the Serb share of the population was almost 80,000 in
8 1991, but by July 1994 this had been reduced to about a
9 quarter of that -- of what it had been in 1991.
10 Conversely, the Muslim population had grown by around
11 100,000 reflecting an influx of populations from other
13 Q. The opposite effect can be seen when looking at the Muslim
14 population in Northern Bosnia?
15 A. The Muslim population in Northern Bosnia again, as in the
16 first case I noted as an example of Western Bosnia, shows
17 a substantial reduction in the number of Muslims in the
18 population in that area from 355,000 in 1991 down to
19 approximately 40,000 in 1994. The same goes for the Croat
20 share of the population, 180,000 in 1991, 30,000 in 1994.
21 At the same time you will note a slight increase in this
22 particular area of the Serbs.
24 MR. NIEMANN: I tender that document. (To the witness):
25 Dr. Gow, I would like you now to turn to the historical
1 political background of the former Yugoslavia. When was
2 Yugoslavia first proclaimed?
3 A. Yugoslavia was proclaimed on 1st December 1918 as the
4 Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
5 Q. What followed after that proclamation?
6 A. The newly formed state was consolidated over a period of
7 three years and was finally settled with a constitution
8 established on 28th June 1921.
9 Q. Thank you. From what was the word "Yugoslav" derived?
10 A. The word "Yugoslav" is derived from the Serbo-Croat word
11 "jug" meaning "south" and the word "slav" describing the
12 particular type of people. It, therefore, means South
13 Slavs or the land of the South Slavs.
14 Q. What was sought to be achieved by the formation of
16 A. The formation of Yugoslavia represented the possibility of
17 achieving or accomplishing in reality two ideas which had
18 developed in the 19th century. One was the idea that the
19 Serbs living on Ottoman and former Ottoman territories
20 should all be able to live together spread throughout the
21 region as they were; the other idea developed by
22 intellectuals in the Austro-Hungarian Empire was that the
23 Yugoslavs, the south Slavs, all shared common features and
24 should be able to live together in a manifestation of
25 something which we might call self-determination.
1 If I may make a point of explanation at this stage in
2 case it is not clear to your Honours, that for much of
3 this period in history, Yugoslavia, the lands which went
4 to make up Yugoslavia, were divided between two empires;
5 on the North and Western side the Austro-Hungarian
6 Habsburg Empire, and on the Eastern side the Islamic or
7 Turkish Ottoman Empire, and that this division was made by
8 the borders between Croatia and Bosnia until 1878, at
9 which point Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, and so
10 the border between Bosnia and Serbia became the border
11 between the empires. I think it is quite important maybe
12 as a point as an explanation for what I just said to make
13 that clear.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] The wonderful maps which
16 us, would it be, perhaps, possible to have them? You know
17 the maps you showed us on Yugoslavia?
18 R. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
19 PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Could we have perhaps a copy
21 could follow more closely the statements made by Dr. Gow?
22 NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. Your Honour, I will just
23 enquire as to whether we have a number of copies of those
24 maps. I know that we have one copy, but whether we have
25 more than one, I am not sure. If your Honours excuse me
1 for a moment?
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Gow, what are the major geographical and
4 topographical features of Yugoslavia?
5 A. As diverse as Yugoslavia was in terms of its population,
6 it was also diverse in terms of geophysical features. In
7 the north eastern part, the north eastern and eastern
8 parts of the country there were large plains of the region
9 -- there still are large plains. There are two
10 distinction mountainous regions, one, the alpine region in
11 the north in Slovenia, another in the central areas of
12 Bosnia and Croatia and, of course, there was the Dalmatian
13 coast line with its particular features. These particular
14 features are important in terms of understanding, perhaps,
15 some of the historical divide I just mentioned.
16 The division between the empires included the coast
17 line and the flat lands on either side, and the division
18 came through the mountainous areas reflecting
19 possibilities of defence and border land confrontation
20 between the two empires.
21 Q. I think, flowing from that, would you say that the
22 geographical nature of Yugoslavia has had an impact upon
23 its historical and cultural development?
24 A. I think I would say that. Although, of course, anything
25 like that will always be a combination of features, it is
1 clear that the geography of Yugoslavia has underpinned
2 some of the divisions.
3 Q. Was the impact of these geographical and cultural and
4 historical features more pronounced in any one particular
5 area of Yugoslavia?
6 A. I think it is fair to say that in Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 the complexities manifest in Yugoslavia as a whole in the
8 coming together of these various features were more
9 pronounced. They were more pronounced in part because of
10 the creation of mountains and valleys, people mixing and
11 not mixing, but also because Bosnia and Herzegovina was
12 the area which was transferred from one of the empires,
13 the Austro-Hungarian, to the other in 1878.
14 So, the mix of populations reflected the ancient
15 division between the two halves of the Christian church,
16 Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox church. It
17 then went on to represent the division between Western
18 Roman Catholic Christianity and the Islamic Turkish
19 Empire, meaning that population in the area might be Roman
20 Catholic by religion, might be Eastern Orthodox by
21 religion, or might be Islamic by religion; these factors
22 being overlaid by the history of warfare and the shifting
23 lines between the empires.
24 Q. Dr. Gow, against this background of diversity that you
25 have explained in your evidence, where then did the
1 concept of Yugoslavia come from?
2 A. I think, as I indicated before, the idea of Yugoslavia
3 emerged as such among South Slav intellectuals in the
4 Austro-Hungarian empire. It was the idea that all South
5 Slav people speaking either the same language or a closely
6 related language should be able to live together and gain
7 some sense of common existence, a way of self-expression,
9 At the same time an alternative view of Yugoslavia
10 was that put forward often called "Great Serbia", one in
11 which all these people would live together because either
12 most of them were Serbs in the eyes of certain thinkers in
13 the 19th century, or because most of the Serbs would be in
14 the area and the others would be able to live together
15 with them.
16 Q. Dr. Gow, what, if any, impact did World War I have on the
17 formation of the Yugoslav State?
18 A. The outcome of World War I was quite important in the
19 formation of the Yugoslav State. As I just said, there
20 were these two ideas which had been around in the previous
21 century developing, but the formation of Yugoslavia in the
22 way that it was formed was very much a product of the end
23 of the First World War.
24 A little bit of the history is important. In 1915,
25 Serbia was one of the allies of the Western powers. The
1 allied powers and Serbia was fighting the war with the
2 idea that it would be able to create this Yugoslav or
3 great Serbian State at the end of war. In 1915, the
4 allied powers induced Italy to join with them in the fight
5 and, in doing so, offered them territories which would
6 later become part of Slovenia and Croatia.
7 At the end of the First World War, when the allied
8 powers were victorious over the central powers and the
9 allied powers had clearly decided that the
10 Austro-Hungarian Empire should be broken up, the South
11 Slavs were in a position of some weakness -- the South
12 Slavs from the Habsburg Empire were in a position of some
13 weakness, facing an Italian threat to -- parts of this
14 area had already been annexed and Italy looking to take
15 the other territories. So they decided to form a common
16 State with the Serbs at that stage, and one in which they
17 had largely to accept Serbian terms for unification.
18 Q. What were the major political developments or events in
19 Yugoslavia between World War I and World War II?
20 A. The formation of this first Yugoslav State was not
21 cemented until the constitution was put in place in 1921,
22 on 28th June. That constitution was more or less an
23 extension of the pre-existing Serbian monarchy. It was a
24 constitutional monarchy under the Serbian king. It was a
25 State in which many non-Serbs felt they did not have a
1 real stake. Therefore, the next 20 years were
2 characterised by political nationalist, economic crises of
3 various kinds and the State became politically weak and
5 So that in 1929 King Alexander declared a Royal State
6 of emergency. He renamed the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and
7 Slovenes the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but with this period
8 of a state of emergency became even more unpopular with
9 some of the non-Serbs leading to his assassination by a
10 team of Macedonian and Croat nationalists in 1934. At the
11 end of the 1930s Yugoslavia was politically, socially,
12 economically weak.
13 Q. What were the main features of World War II in Yugoslavia?
14 A. The weakness of this first Yugoslav State meant that when
15 in April 1941 the axis powers invaded it was easy for them
16 to occupy the territory as a whole and to dismember it,
17 breaking it up into different areas. In one of those
18 areas they installed a puppet regime, the Ustasha regime,
19 in the so-called independent State of Croatia. The
20 Ustasha were one of the three main groups to fight the
21 Second World War on the territories of Yugoslavia.
22 The other two groups were the pro-Serbian Royalist
23 Chetniks, loyal to the old King and to the old Serbian
24 army, and the partisans led by communists under the
25 leadership of Yosiv Ros Tito.
1 The main features of this war, which was part a
2 revolution, part a civil war and part a war of national
3 liberation, were that the ethnic exclusivity, and
4 particularly the vicious anti-Serbian campaign of the
5 Ustasha, meant that many people would turn to the
6 partisans who were better organised, who appeared to offer
7 something to everybody without being nationally
8 exclusivist for the future, and began to offer protection
9 to the Serbs against the Ustasha at the same time as they
10 could offer a future in which all the other Yugoslav
11 peoples would be able to have a stake. They promoted the
12 idea of regional or what would become republican
13 government within a Federal structure, thereby giving the
14 non-Serbs the idea that they would have a stake in their
15 place in the new Federal State.
16 Q. Who emerged from World War II as this successful party?
17 A. The partisans emerged as the victors in World War II and
18 were able to establish a federation under communist -- a
19 federation with this structure of six republics, but under
20 Communist rule under the leadership of Tito.
21 Q. How did the Communists go about the task of taking control
22 of Yugoslavia?
23 A. The process I alluded to a moment ago of offering the
24 various groups a stake in the future, promoting the idea
25 of the Federal structure, began to be elaborated from 1943
1 onwards when the partisans began to institute local
2 administrations, regional councils on areas under their
3 control, areas liberated from the control of either their
4 opponents or of the axis occupiers.
5 This became the underpinning for the Federal system
6 which was put in place after the war, making some appeal
7 to all the people, giving all the people some sense that
8 they had their own little bit, their own State within a
9 State which would become part a new Yugoslavia.
10 Q. What was the federation? It was a Federation of what?
11 A. The Federation was established formally in 1946 as the
12 Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia. It was a
13 Federation of six republics. The two autonomous provinces
14 at that stage were identified, but had little formal
15 power. The Federation established of the six republics
16 was under Communist rule, and I think it would be fair to
17 say that the Communists, whilst selling the idea of the
18 Federation, never really intended that it should have
19 meaning in reality.
20 Q. Just remind us again, the name of the two provinces?
21 A. The two provinces established within Serbia were Vojvodina
22 in the North and Kosovo in the South.
23 Q. Where did the constitutional model of the first Communist
24 Yugoslavia State come from?
25 A. The Federal model for the constitution was adopted from
1 that present in the Soviet Union. It was similar in
2 structure; a mixture of different population groups formed
3 into what were designated as sovereign republics
4 constituting a Federation when they joined together.
5 Q. What was the relationship between Yugoslavia and the
6 Soviet Union, what was the nature of that relationship
7 between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union immediately
8 following World War II?
9 A. The relationship between Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union
10 at the end of World War II was very good. The Yugoslav
11 Communists were very keen to emulate what the Soviets had
12 been doing and established very close links with them.
13 However, between 1945 and 1948 the initial enthusiasm gave
14 way to a series of tensions and disputes with the result
15 that by 1948 Stalin, the Soviet Ruler at the time, decided
16 to expel Yugoslavia from the bloc of Communist movements.
17 Q. What was the implication of this expulsion by the Soviet
18 Union of Yugoslavia?
19 A. I think the biggest implication was that the Yugoslav
20 Communists had to protect themselves, and to protect
21 themselves they had to justify the split and in justifying
22 the split they had to prove they were different from and
23 better than the Soviets; that meant they had to find an
24 alternative Communist model. They went away and came up
25 with the idea of socialist self-management.
1 It is important to understand that this idea
2 contained large elements of decentralisation, and it was
3 the move to a model in which there was decentralisation
4 which began to give the Federal structure of the different
5 republics real meaning within the Yugoslav framework.
6 Q. From what you have said, is it true to say that there was
7 a centralising force and corresponding decentralising
8 force in the nature of the Federation of Yugoslavia?
9 A. It would indeed be fair to say that. It is in the nature
10 of Communist rule to centralise authority, but at the same
11 time it is quite clear that when you begin to decentralise
12 a tension will emerge between the centripetal forces and
13 the centrifugal forces, a tension between the centre
14 wanting to draw power into itself and the periphery
15 wanting to accrue power and be protected from the centre.
16 I think it would be fair to say that much of the
17 history of Yugoslavia over the next 40 years could be
18 characterised in terms of the struggle between
19 centralising forces and decentralising forces in debates
20 of political, social, economic policy.
21 Q. When you say "next 40 years", you are speaking from World
22 War II up to the 1990s?
23 A. I am speaking approximately from the split with the
24 Soviets in 1948 through to 1988, approximately at the end
25 of the 1980s when the final dissolution, the period of
1 final dissolution I think began.
2 Q. You made reference to Tito earlier in your evidence. What
3 role did Tito play in the Federal system that was
5 A. As the wartime leader Tito played an extremely important
6 role. He had immense personal authority within this
7 structure of Federal elements, both Communist party
8 elements and administrative elements. In the period of 40
9 years I was describing, through much of that period
10 although there was tension between the centre and the
11 republics, it was also clear that Tito could use his
12 personal authority to resolve differences between the
13 republics, to keep differences at a less than critical
14 level and to provide the way for compromise.
15 I think when Tito died in 1980 an important factor
16 was taken away. He had been appointed President for life,
17 everybody approved of that; without Tito it became
18 increasingly difficult to find compromises.
19 Q. What were the major developments in the constitutional
20 evolution of Communist Yugoslavia?
21 A. Communist Yugoslavia had four separate constitutions each
22 reflecting gradually this process of decentralisation of
23 power. The first in 1946 was based on the Soviet model,
24 as I said, and was highly centralised. The second in
25 1953, I think, reflected the introduction of the idea of
1 socialist self-management and increased decentralisation.
2 That proved to be inadequate for the circumstances, as
3 through the 1950s and into the early 1960s the debates we
4 described between centre and republics continued, and so a
5 further constitution was adopted in 1963, again enhancing
6 the role of the republics.
7 The final constitution was adopted in 1974. At that
8 point the country was renamed the Socialist Federal
9 Republic of Yugoslavia, and that constitution essentially
10 confirmed the arrangement which had emerged in reality in
11 which the republics acted in a quasi-confederal way, each
12 with its own spheres of power and very few powers
13 remaining with the Federation.
14 It was important, as I said before, to note in that
15 structure the role of Tito as President for life because
16 he was able to regulate differences.
17 Q. How were these features reflected in the 1974
19 A. The essential features reflected in the 1974 constitution
20 were the right to self-determination of the peoples of
21 Yugoslavia, including the right to secession; the
22 limitation on that right that it would require agreement
23 of the different peoples, that there would be a
24 distinction between what were called "peoples" or
25 "nations", that is the State forming peoples who did not
1 have another homeland somewhere else and what were called
2 "nationalities" or "national minorities", those people
3 for whom there would be a homeland somewhere else. If
4 I may give one example, for the Serbs Yugoslavia, as it
5 was, constituted the only homeland; for Hungarians within
6 Serbia within Yugoslavia, of course, Hungary provided
7 another homeland. Therefore, they would have this status
8 of national minorities.
9 Finally and most importantly, in my opinion, the
10 constitution established clearly the identification of the
11 republics as States with sovereign rights, and made the
12 distinction between the republics as States with sovereign
13 rights and the provinces which did not have that status.
14 Q. Tell us the name of those States again? I know you have
15 said it earlier.
16 A. I am glad to. These were Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
18 Q. And the two provinces?
19 A. The two provinces within Serbia, Vojvodina and Kosovo.
20 I might also add, if I may, that in the 1974 constitution
21 although they were given a different status, the real
22 power of those two autonomous provinces were significantly
24 Q. What were the political ramifications of this 1974
25 constitution that you have spoken of following Tito's
2 A. As I indicated, while Tito was there he could regulate the
3 differences between the republics. After Tito died
4 through the 1980s it became increasingly impossible for
5 the various republics to agree. There was a growing
6 political, social, economic and constitutional crisis.
7 Various ideas emerged for solutions to that crisis but of
8 course, as you may guess, the ideas were somewhat
9 polarised. The polarisation of ideas was reflected within
10 particular republics within the SFRY, and by the end of
11 1980s it was becoming very difficult to see a prospect for
12 common agreement.
13 Q. What republic was the first republic to react as a
14 consequence of this?
15 A. The first republic to address the question of the 1974
16 constitution and to raise the question of asserting its
17 own sovereignty, was the republic of Serbia. It did so
18 following a memorandum published by the Serbian Academy of
19 Arts and Sciences in 1985 in which the proposition was put
20 that Serbia had been a victim of Tito's Yugoslavia, that
21 it had been unfairly treated, that it was a matter of
22 injustice that only Serbia had these two autonomous
23 provinces limiting its formal sovereignty, that is as a
24 sovereign State it was in some sense curtailed in the
25 scope of its powers by the existence of these two
1 provinces, and that Serbia should reassert its sovereignty
2 first over the provinces and then within the Federation.
3 Q. Concentrating more on this break-up process of Yugoslavia,
4 what steps ----
5 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Mr. Niemann, I would like
6 to ask two
7 brief questions of the witness before we continue
8 discussion of dissolution. The first question is this.
9 The founding peoples Slovenes, Croatians, the founding
10 peoples seem apparently all to have had a territory:
11 Slovenia, Croatia, etc. What about the Muslims? Were
12 they considered as being Bosnians? Was it considered that
14 the Muslims were a founding people of the territory which
15 corresponds to Bosnia?
16 THE WITNESS: When Bosnia and Herzegovina was
17 established at
18 the end of the Second World War, it was established within
19 the borders of an historical territory, the territory
20 which had been part of the Ottoman empire, then part of
21 the Austro-Hungarian empire. The formation of that
22 republic was based largely on the historical identity of a
23 State or a territory in which historically there had been
24 three separate populations: the Slav Muslim, the orthodox
25 Serbs and the Roman Catholic Croats.
1 At that time, although there was some discussion of
2 the Slav Muslims being sent to constitute a State forming
3 people, they were not regarded as a State forming people.
4 It was not until the 1960s that they were formally given
5 the status of a State forming people within the SFRY, and
6 from that time onwards they were regarded as being a State
7 form people within SFRY and within Bosnia and Herzegovina,
8 but they were not the exclusive, not the only
9 State-forming people within Bosnia and Herzegovina I think
10 it would be fair to say. Is that sufficient?
11 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you very much, Dr.
12 Gow. The second
13 question before we go over to the separation process, it
14 is an historical question by the way, I would like to now
15 ask you, at a particular point in time was there a
16 specific expression given to the idea of a concrete idea
17 of Serbia or did it remain a type of mythology for the
18 founding peoples?
19 THE WITNESS: : There have been various expressions
20 of the idea
21 of a Great Serbia. The idea originally emanated in the
22 thinking of Ilija Garasanin, a Minister in the developing
23 independent Serbian State in the 19th century, and that
24 was the idea that all the territories inhabited by
25 orthodox populations should be incorporated within a
2 The line usually associated with this idea of Great
3 Serbia later given definition by others is the line
4 running along the axis Karlobag, Karlovac and Virovitica.
5 This is a line running from the Dalmatian coast through
6 parts of Croatia to the border between Croatia and
7 Hungary. Would that be an adequate answer?
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Yes, very largely. So,
9 there was no
10 concrete expression given, historically speaking, to the
11 idea of Great Serbia?
12 THE WITNESS: : May I ask what would constitute a
14 expression? I think the idea of the line drawn between
15 Karlobag, Karlovac and Virovitica, these three towns, is
16 the line which would designate the concrete expression of
17 a Great Serbia which would include the lands otherwise
18 between present -- between the then Serbia, and including
19 the territory of Serbia as it is now, the lands of
20 Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and those parts of
21 Croatia which would fall within the line on the map.
22 If your Honour wishes, I could possibly indicate, if
23 I were given a copy of a map, I could possibly indicate
24 where this line would run?
25 MR. NIEMANN: Perhaps that map could be brought up on to the
1 computer screen, your Honour.
2 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] What I meant by my question
3 was a
4 political concrete expression. So, in actual fact, in
5 political terms, there was never any Great Serbia?
6 THE WITNESS: : In political terms, an entity
7 called "Great
8 Serbia" never existed. It was only ever an idea and a
10 MR. NIEMANN (To the witness): Just looking at the plan that now
11 appears on the television screen, are you able to expand
12 upon your answer to His Honour's question?
13 A. Yes, if I could ask for the indicator to be moved to the
14 Adriatic Coast first? Could you move it along the coast
15 line, please, back a little bit. From a point
16 approximately here, running across, if you would move
17 across and move towards -- if you could go back to the
18 coast and hold it there for a moment, if you can move the
19 indicator first across the sea between the "C" and "R" of
20 Croatia and then through to the Hungarian border near the
21 "B" of Zagreb? That would be approximately the line
22 which the map of Great Serbia envisaged -- that would be
23 the border established under the historic idea of a Great
25 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you. I would like to know, Dr. Gow,
1 the role played by the Muslims during the Second War; did
2 they support one specific side in that war or were they
3 neutral? What happened?
4 THE WITNESS: I am not sure that they could be
5 said to be
6 neutral, but they did not support one specific side.
7 There were Muslims who were formed by the axis powers into
8 something called the Sandzak division, one of the
9 auxiliaries of the axis powers. There were Muslims who
10 fought with the partisans. It is not clear to me that
11 there are precise figures, but it seems to me fairly clear
12 that the majority of Muslims in some areas lined up with
13 the Ustasha and with the axis powers, and in other areas
14 they lined up with the partisans. Few of them were
15 aligned, if any -- I am sure there probably were a few,
16 but no significant numbers of Muslims were aligned with
17 the Chetniks, with the Serbian Royalist movement.
18 Indeed, it may be worth pointing out that the single
19 large -- the population group which had the single largest
20 loss in the Second World War were the Muslims, the Slav
21 Muslims, in Bosnia and in the Sandzak area, losing
22 something around 80 per cent of the prewar population by
23 the end of the war on the basis of the best figures which
24 can be derived now -- many of them in massacres carried
25 out by the Chetniks.
1 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you.
2 JUDGE RIAD: I would like to know to what extent does the
3 difference in religion reflect an ethnic dichotomy? Thank
4 you so much.
5 THE WITNESS: : If you are referring to the Slav
6 Muslims in
7 Bosnia and in Serbia, then I would say there is, first, a
8 difference on the basis of religion which extends into a
9 cultural difference. That kind of difference is regarded
10 by sociologists and anthropologists as constituting an
11 ethnic difference, defining a different ethnic group by a
12 process of self-identification and identification by
13 others. It does not constitute a racially distinct group;
14 race being defined by genetic features.
15 The Albanians in Kosovo area and within parts of
16 Macedonia are Muslim or Islamic by faith, share some of
17 those elements with the Slav Muslims of culture. They
18 have a different linguistic base for their ethnic
19 identity, and I am not sure whether or not anybody could
20 say one way or the other whether they had a separate
21 racial characteristic -- I would say probably not, but
22 I would not pretend to the expertise to make a final
24 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you.
25 MR. NIEMANN: Dr. Gow, you mentioned earlier in your evidence
1 when speaking of the breakup of the Socialist Federal
2 Republic of Yugoslavia the 1986 Serbian Academy of Arts
3 and Sciences memorandum; do you recall that? What steps,
4 if any, did Serbia take, the Republic of Serbia take, to
5 address the issues that were raised in this memorandum?
6 A. Under the leadership of President, at that time the
7 President of the League of Communists of Serbia, later to
8 be president of the Republic of Serbia, Slobodan
9 Milosevic, Serbia began a process by which the two
10 provinces would be reintegrated within Serbia, that is,
11 the autonomy of the two provinces, if I may remind you,
12 Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo in the south, the
13 autonomy of these two provinces would be removed.
14 Serbia has set about carrying out this process, and
15 in March 1989 accomplished the process in the province of
16 Kosovo, partly in response to assertions of sovereignty by
17 the Albanian majority in the area, but using methods of
18 suppression, including the use and presence of interior
19 ministry troops and elements of the Yugoslav People's Army
20 while that process of reintegration took place, although
21 I should also point out in technical terms the
22 reintegration was accomplished through legal means.
23 Q. Perhaps if we can have the map of Yugoslavia on the screen
24 again, please? Could you just direct the cursor to where
25 Kosovo is in relation to Belgrade?
1 A. If you can pull the cursor down to the point where
2 Montenegro, the "O" of Montenegro leads to the border,
3 around there, if you then, before you move it, can imagine
4 a slightly -- something not quite a diamond or square
5 shaped which would move out slightly into Serbia and then
6 down to the border with Macedonia, and now down, that very
7 approximately would be the area covered by the republic --
8 by the province of Kosovo.
9 Q. Dr. Gow, did the events that occurred in Kosovo have any
10 influence over what happened in other parts of Yugoslavia?
11 A. The Serbian actions in Kosovo politically asserting
12 Serbian sovereignty and with other means suppressing the
13 autonomy of the local leadership in Kosovo sent signals to
14 the leaders in other parts of Yugoslavia that they would
15 need to look to protect themselves. There was the sense
16 that what Serbia could do to the majority Albanian
17 province of Kosovo, it could try to do in other parts of
18 the SFRY, the sense that what Serbia would do to
19 Kosovo could happen to Slovenia or to Croatia or to Bosnia
20 and Herzegovina, and this was a very strong force in
21 political developments in the late 1980s; the sense that
22 Serbia would want to do the same kind of thing that it had
23 done within these provinces in the republics themselves.
24 Q. What happened in the other republics?
25 A. In 1989 Serbia was able to continue the process of,
1 effectively, taking control in areas which it had
2 accomplished first in the two provinces of Vojvodina and
4 Kosovo by working to secure a change in the leadership in
5 Montenegro, so that the Montenegrin leadership,
6 effectively, became an ally -- some would say a puppet --
7 of the Serbian leadership. This was the first
8 manifestation of the kind of thing which was putting fear
9 into the minds of other Yugoslav leaders.
10 In response to this, the other Yugoslav leaders in
11 Slovenia, in Croatia in particular, began to assert their
12 own sovereignty to revert to the question of the
13 constitutional structure of the SFRY, and to say that
14 really the SFRY was a matter of mutual relations between
15 republics, and that Serbia had no right to interfere and
16 to try to take control of events in the other republics.
17 One particular manifestation of this occurred when
18 Serbia tried to organise a big meeting, a big rally,
19 against the Slovene leadership, but the Croatian and
20 Slovenian authorities stopped the Serbian groups that were
21 going to Slovenia from actually reaching Slovenia by
22 stopping them at the Croatian borders.
23 This gave rise to strong ideas and to actions by
24 Slovenia, in particular, to reassert its own sovereignty,
25 making some changes to its constitution and constitutional
1 law to establish more firmly its sovereign status and to a
2 series of arguments between the various Yugoslav
3 republican leaders, particularly between Slovenia and
4 Serbia over the future of the joint federation.
5 Q. What happened after that, followed from that?
6 A. The two poll positions, one taken by Serbia, the other by
7 Slovenia, were that the future of Yugoslavia, of the SFRY,
8 lay in a variety of reforms, particularly constitutional
10 reform. Serbia advocated a more centralised system, a
11 return to something which there had been in the past.
12 Slovenia said that the status of the republics under the
13 1974 constitution had to be reformed and had to be
14 formally codified in a new constitution which would
15 establish a confederal set of relationships between the
17 For Serbia, the idea appears to have been a stronger,
18 more centralised communist control; in Slovenia, the idea
19 appears to have been to move toward a West European style
20 system of competitive party politics. These two positions
21 became very difficult to reconcile.
22 Q. Were these positions reflected in elections that were
24 A. In 1990, first Slovenia, then Croatia moved towards
25 holding competitive multi-party elections. The outcome of
1 those elections resulted in a former -- in the former
2 communist President being re-elected as leader of Slovenia
3 with a government composed of a coalition of opposition
4 groups. At the same time the elections in Croatia saw the
5 election of a strongly nationalist party, the Croatian
6 Democratic Union, under the leadership of the man who
7 became president, Tudjman. Tudjman was a former partisan
8 in general -- in Tito's army. He had been imprisoned as a
9 nationalist and then now returned as a political figure.
10 Q. What happened in Bosnia?
11 A. Elections were held in Bosnia towards the end of1990.
12 The results of those elections went largely along the
13 lines of the ethnic composition of the republic -- I think
14 we identified earlier in one of the documents you were
15 given -- slightly less than the proportion of population,
16 in each case voted for what was largely identified as an
17 ethnic party. So, around 30 per cent of the vote went to
18 the -- over 30 per cent of the vote went to the party of
19 democratic action identified largely with the Muslim
20 leadership of Alija Izetbegovic. Around 20 per cent, I
21 think -- I am trying to recall these figures; I do not
22 know them accurately -- went to the Serbian Democratic
23 party organised by Radovan Karadzic, and a smaller
24 proportion in the teens went to the Croatian Democratic
25 Union, the branch of the Tudjman party which operated in
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 A further 13 per cent or so of the votes went to
3 parties who were looking for a Yugoslav perspective. But
4 the outcome of the elections was to see a Bosnia divided
5 at least on a superficial level politically between
6 different ethnic communities.
7 Q. Just dealing with the letters by which these respective
8 parties are often referred to, the Muslim party of
9 Democratic Action, is that referred to as the SDA?
10 A. It is referred to as the SDA, Stranka Demostratska Akcija.
11 Q. The Serbian Democratic party is the SDS?
12 A. That is correct, Srpska Demokratska Strana.
13 Q. The Croatian Democratic Union is the HDZ?
14 A. That is right, that is Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica.
15 Q. You may have mentioned this, but were there elections also
16 in Serbia and Montenegro?
17 A. Elections were held in the remaining republics. In
18 Macedonia, the election result went again to a mixture of
19 -- produced a government of reformed communists mixed
20 with some more nationalist groupings; in Serbia and
21 Montenegro, the elections resulted in the substantial --
22 in a substantial victory for Slobodan Mlosevic and his
23 Serbian socialist party and in Montenegro for his protege,
24 Momir Bulatovic.
25 Q. In your opinion, what did the results of these elections
1 mean for Yugoslavia?
2 A. The results of the elections in the various republics was
3 confirmation of the polarisation of the republics within
4 the SFRY. On the one hand, the communist parties, newly
5 renamed communist parties, in Serbia and Montenegro were
6 elected strongly, giving a strong popular base for the
7 positions taken by the Serbian leadership. At the same
8 time, the outcome of the elections in Slovenia and
9 Croatia, at the other extreme, showed a very substantial,
10 local popular support for the policies being advocated
11 nationally and within the federation by the victors in
12 those cases.
13 The results in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in
14 Macedonia, I think, reflect to some extent the divisions
15 within those countries and the relative weakness in which
16 the two republics found themselves within the federation.
17 Q. What was the next stage in the process of disintegration
18 of Yugoslavia?
19 A. As the -- at the same time as these elections were taking
20 place in 1990, different ideas about the future of the
21 Federation were being advocated. The Serbians with a
22 proposal put forward by Borisau Jovic, the Serbian
23 leadership's representative to the collective Federal
24 presidency, Yugoslavia's highest Federal body with a
25 collective presidency with a representative from each of
1 the republics and the autonomous provinces; Jovic put
2 forward the idea of what he called a modernised
3 federation. This was the idea of a more strongly
4 centralised Federation in which power would be
5 concentrated in Belgrade, which was the capital of both
6 Serbia and the federation and would be concentrated in the
7 hands of people who still adhered to the communists'
8 socialist vision for the SFRY.
9 The counter proposal to this was put forward by the
10 leaders of Slovenia and Croatia. For Croatia, I mentioned
11 Franjo Tudjman already, and Slovenia was President Milan
12 Kucan. They advocated a new set of relationships between
13 the republics which would reflect the idea of a
14 confederation; the idea that the sovereignty and
15 independence of each of the republics would be formally
16 and clearly recognised, but that there would continue to
17 be a common existence and the series of common areas in
18 which they would act in common.
19 Between these two proposals, a third proposal
20 emerged. This was put forward by the leaders of Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina and Macedonia. In Bosnia's case Alija
22 Izetbegovic, in Macedonia's case, Kiro Gligorov. This
23 idea was somewhat more akin to the Slovene and Croatian
24 proposal, but reflected the essential weakness of the
25 positions in which Bosnia and Macedonia found themselves,
1 and it called for an asymmetric grouping which would be
2 part confederal, part Federal, depending on the degree of
3 relationship each republic would want to have with the
4 other republics, but still retained the idea of a common
6 framework, but it was a framework in which Bosnia and
7 Macedonia would be able to feel more secure.
8 Q. What was the Serbian reaction to the confederalist
10 A. Serbia regarded the confederalist proposal as a cover for
11 the idea of breaking up the SFRY completely and
12 establishing wholly independent States. Serbia asserted
13 that if there was a movement towards the confederal
14 option, then Serbia and the Serbs would have the right to
15 retain unity, and that all the territories on which every
16 place where a Serb lived should be regarded as being part
17 of Serbia in that case, and that the areas inhabited by
18 Serbs would then be withdrawn in some way from the
19 republics of Croatia and Bosnia should the confederal
20 option develop.
21 Q. Up until this stage you have been speaking about, the
22 proposals and counter proposals of the various heads and
23 authorities in the republics themselves, such as Serbia,
24 Slovenia, Croatia and so forth, what was the position
25 during this time of the Federal authorities in Yugoslavia?
1 A. There were two elements in the Federal authorities. The
2 Federal presidency, I mentioned before, comprised
3 representatives from each of the republics and the
4 autonomous provinces was becoming increasingly irrelevant
5 because it was itself a microcosm of the divisions.
6 Within Yugoslavia there was stalemate within that
7 presidency because half favoured one option, half favoured
8 the other or was somewhere in between.
9 The Federal Government under Prime Minister Ante
10 Markovic was arguing to retain a Yugoslav framework,
11 obviously preferred the Federal option but would have been
12 happy with a confederal option, provided that the common
13 Yugoslav economic space was retained. To try to ensure
14 that the federation preferably but certainly a common
15 Yugoslav space could be retained, Markovic in 1990 -- in
16 1989 and 1990 introduced a very strong radical programme
17 of economic reform in tying the currency of the denar to
18 the German deutschemark and trying very rapidly and
19 quickly to suppress rampant inflation.
20 Q. How successful was the Prime Minister Markovic's
22 A. At one level the Markovic programme was very successful.
23 Within a space of six months inflation, for example, was
24 reduced from something like 2,600 per cent to about zero.
25 But, really, I think we have to say the programme was not
1 successful, because following that six-month period it was
2 increasingly undermined by each of the republics asserting
3 its own position, apparently, none of republics having any
4 real interest in supporting the Federal Government and
5 sustaining the continuation of the Federation in the way
6 that Markovic would have wanted.
7 Q. By the end of the year, 1990, what was the State of the
8 Federation by this stage?
9 A. I would say that by the beginning of the 1990s the
10 Federation was in need of critical renewal; that it was
11 very difficult to see how there would be any possibility
12 of renewing the Federation as it had been; that the only
13 options were to find a new way of keeping a common
14 Yugoslav existence for the various republics; that the
15 differences between the republican leaderships was
16 increasing translating to differences in the social and
17 ethnic fabric of the territories of the SFRY, and that the
18 country was in probably a final and critical state leading
19 towards dissolution.
20 Q. When you use the letters "SFRY", that means the Socialist
21 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia?
22 A. I use the letters "SFRY" to designate the Socialist
23 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia as designated under the
24 1974 constitution. I use it as a technicality to refer to
25 that particular form of Yugoslavia with that structure of
1 sovereign republics prior immediately to the dissolution
2 of the SFRY, or of the joint, common body of the
4 Q. Did the Federation actually cease to function?
5 A. I believe that the Federation can be said to have ceased
6 to function on or about 15th May 1991, although for a
7 period before that it was clearly heading towards a
8 critical point at which it would cease to function. That
9 was the day on which the Croatian representative to the
10 Federal presidency Stipe Mesic should have been rotated by
11 an automatic procedure to become the President of the
12 presidency, that is, chief of the ruling Council of the
14 This procedure established under constitutional laws
15 pursuant to the 1974 constitution should have been an
16 automatic procedure. It had been in all the years prior
17 to this, but it was blocked by the Serbian grouping on the
18 Federal presidency. You will recall I said before the
19 presidency had become largely ineffectual because it was
20 divided between those under the Serbian control, that is,
22 Serbia, the two autonomous provinces, and Montenegro on
23 the one side and the other four republics.
24 Because of this division, Serbia was able to block
25 the rotation of Mesic and at that stage, I think it can be
1 said, the Federation ceased to function. It became clear
2 that the Federal elements no longer had the will to
3 sustain the federation.
4 Q. What, firstly, was Croatia's response to this blocking of
5 their Prime Minister becoming Prime Minister of the
7 A. If I may correct you -----
9 Q. President, I am sorry?
10 A. It was -- yes, Mesic was the Croatian representative to
11 the Federal presidency. Croatia had already begun
12 discussing the possibility of seeking full independence at
13 some stage if a confederal arrangement could not be
14 established. It had already taken the decision to
15 organise a referendum on the possible independence of
16 Croatia if the confederal proposals were not accepted.
17 That referendum was held four days later, four days after
18 the issue in the Federal presidency with Mesic on 19th May
19 1991, and resulted in overwhelming support -- a vote of
20 overwhelming support for the idea of Croatia
22 I should also point out that prior to this in
23 December 1990, in Slovenia, a similar referendum had been
24 organised and had been held on the issue of independence
25 in the eventuality of an agreement not emerging on
1 re-establishing arrangements between the republics along
3 confederal lines.
4 Q. When did the final phase of dissolution begin?
5 A. The final phase of dissolution may be said to have begun
6 in a number of places. Some people might argue with the
7 memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences in
8 the late 1980s. Some would argue with the Serbian
9 assertion of control over Kosovo in 1989, possibly with
10 the elections in 1990, or with the possibility that in
11 Croatia, as the Croatians tried to restructure the former
12 communist elements, Serbs in a number -- in area in
13 Croatia began to rebel during 1990. But I think it could
14 be at the point I already indicated, when the Mesic
15 rotation was blocked, but I think it can absolutely be
16 said to have taken place on 25th June 1991 when Slovenia
17 and Croatia on the basis of the referendums held declared
18 that the Federation no longer functioned and that they
19 would be independent henceforth.
20 Q. What happened following the declarations of independence?
21 A. Immediately after the declarations of independence, an
22 armed conflict began on the territories of the SFRY, and
23 the international community initially in the guise of the
24 European Community began to become involved in the
25 Yugoslav problems.
1 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I would like to ask Dr.
2 Gow as regards
3 this final dissolution process the following question:
4 What was the reaction, what was the international
5 reaction, was there an immediate recognition of these
6 different countries because Slovenia held its referendum
7 in December 1990 and the declaration of independence came
8 in Croatia in 1991? What happened during that period?
9 What was the reaction of the international community?
10 Secondly, from a legal point of view, which countries were
12 THE WITNESS: If I may answer the first question,
13 and then
14 I may be permitted to clarify? The referendum in Slovenia
15 was held in December 1990 and the referendum in Croatia
16 was held in May 1991, but it was on the same day in 1991,
17 June 25, that both Slovenia and Croatia announced that
18 they would henceforth be independent.
19 So, it was from that point, the 25th June 1991, that
20 we look at the question of the international response to
21 the independence of Slovenia and Croatia. The immediate
22 response to those declarations of independence was that
23 nobody in the outside world accepted or recognised the
24 independent international personality of those two
25 republics. That was not to happen until by -- no outside
1 country was to recognise the independence of those two
2 republics until -- at least not to recognise it formally
3 -- until diplomatic relations ban began to be established
4 in January 1992.
5 On the second question, I think it would be fair for
6 me to say that you asked as a legal question, I do not
7 think I am qualified to give a legal answer, but if you
8 would like me to reformulate the question in a way that
9 I can give an answer as a matter of fact or opinion,
10 I would be happy to do so. Sorry, for being so precise.
11 I do not want to seem to be -- to do the wrong thing.
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] When were those countries
13 recognised or
14 admitted within the European communities or within the
15 bodies of the United Nations?
16 THE WITNESS: If I may, I shall give a slightly
17 more expansive
18 answer than the question you just asked. It seems to me
19 it is what is required. The States were formally
20 recognised by members of the European Community, by the
21 United States and, broadly, by other countries in January
22 1992. Prior to that, in October 1991, as part of a
23 conference on Yugoslavia organised by the European
24 Community, the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, had
25 agreed in principle to the independence of the republics
1 within borders. This was on 4th October. I should point
2 out that he was later to say -- to retract some of this
4 On the basis of that 4th October decision to
5 acknowledge the right of the republics to independence
6 within borders, on 6th October the European Council of
7 Foreign Ministers, that is, the Council of Ministers of
8 the European Community, at a meeting decided that the
9 prospects for the development for the future of the
10 Yugoslav territories would be within the perspective of
11 the right to independence of the republics, but that this
12 should be through a procedure organised by the conference
13 at the end of which there would be agreement between all
14 parties on exactly what the relationships would be.
15 They asked Lord Carrington, the Chair of this
16 conference, to draw up a convention, a draft agreement for
17 relationships between the republics and at a later
18 meeting, I think, on 16th or 18th October agreed that if
19 this document were not to be agreed by all the Yugoslav
20 parties by the end of the year, then the EC would continue
21 to deal with those republics co-operating in this process
22 on the basis of their right to independence.
23 It is in that context that you have to understand the
24 decision in January 1992 to begin to establish diplomatic
25 relations with those Yugoslav republics seeking
2 MR. NIEMANN: Does your Honour have any further questions that
3 you wish to direct To the witness at this stage or shall I
5 (To the witness): Dr. Gow, you have mentioned the
6 commencement of the armed conflict in Yugoslavia. Turning
7 to that armed conflict, under the constitution, what was
8 the position of the armed forces in Yugoslavia at the
9 commencement of the armed conflict?
10 A. As a matter of procedure, may I just ask a question to the
12 Q. Perhaps you might ask ----
13 A. If I may go back to the previous answer and add one point
14 to it?
15 Q. By all means do that.
16 A. Yes. This would be simply to add that you were talking
17 about the, I think, or we were talking about the
18 dissolution of Yugoslavia and the independence of
19 republics and the completion of the breakup, this would
20 just be to point out that that process can finally be said
21 to have come to a conclusion on 27th April 1992 when the
22 last of the republics declared -- Serbia and Montenegro
23 declared a common future, thereby effectively pronouncing
24 the SFRY completely no longer to exist. It is arguable
25 that it did cease to exist before that, but there can be
1 no doubt from that point onwards. Sorry.
2 Q. Going on to the commencement of armed conflict in
3 Yugoslavia, under the constitution, the Federal
4 constitution, what was the position of the armed forces?
5 A. Under the 1974 constitution of the SFRY, the Yugoslav
6 People's Army was one of two elements in a binary defence
7 system. The Yugoslav People's Army, commonly known as the
8 JNA, the JNA was designed to be the first element of
9 defence, the element which would block an attack for a
10 period of 48 hours or more while the second element was
11 mobilised. The second element was a structure of
12 territorial defence forces, some kind of levy en masse in
13 which all the people would become armed.
14 The idea of this system was to deter any potential
15 invader of the country from attacking. It was to persuade
16 them that it simply would not be worthwhile.
17 The JNA was organised by a Federal Secretariat for
18 Defence in Belgrade within the Federation, and the
19 territorial defence organisations were organised by
20 Republican Secretariats for Defence. This two-tier system
21 created a large number of people with arms throughout the
22 territories of the SFRY.
23 In political terms, the JNA was charged with a very
24 pronounced political role under the 1974 constitution.
25 First, it was given the task of being guardian of the
1 territorial integrity and constitutional order of the
2 SFRY. Secondly, under the constitutional laws pursuant to
3 the constitution within the governing framework of the
4 SFRY, that is, the league of communists of Yugoslavia, the
5 set of communist parties ruling Yugoslavia, it was given
6 equal status with the autonomous provinces. So, it was
7 given a clear formal role in the political life of the
8 country within the ruling central committee of the league
9 of communists of the SFRY.
10 Q. This two-tiered system of armed forces that existed in
11 Yugoslavia, is there an historical explanation for that?
12 A. The idea of having a widely armed population, able to
13 retreat into the mountains and to undermine any invader
14 has some historical precedent in the area. It could be
15 said to go back to the thinking of about Chetnik movements
16 within the Royal Serbian army, but most obviously in terms
17 of Tito's Yugoslavia, the thinking was looking back to the
18 wartime experience in which the partisans as a guerilla
19 force had been able to retreat into the mountain to
20 undermine the occupying powers and gradually transform
21 itself into a formal army which would be victorious in the
22 Second World War. So, there was a strong influence of the
23 partisan thinking from the past in the elaboration of this
24 two-tier system of armed forces for the defence of
1 Q. Did the 1948 split with the Soviet Union have any impact
2 upon the military thinking of Yugoslavia?
3 A. Having ended the Second World War as allies of the Soviet
4 Union, a newly ruling communist party leading a would be
5 communist country, relationships between the Soviet Union
6 and Yugoslavia were very good. However, after the split,
7 there developed the very strong prospect that the Soviet
8 Union might want to invade Yugoslavia. This was enhanced
9 at various stages through the 1950s and the 60s when the
10 Soviet intervened in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. This
11 reinforced the Yugoslav's sense that they needed to be
13 able to defend themselves, that they could not rely on
14 anybody else for the defence and, therefore, they began to
15 make preparations though this type of organisational
16 structure I identified, and underpinning that through
17 preparations for conducting this type of long, partisan or
18 guerilla warfare. That meant securing a large -- making
19 preparations to conduct a war in retreat in the mountains,
20 particularly in Bosnia. So there would be large weapon
21 supplies already in place, and it also meant the
22 elaboration and creation of a Defence industry within the
23 SFRY, the largest part of which was located in Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, because that was envisaged as being the most
25 vital territory in which defence would be carried out.
1 Q. What was the ethnic balance in the JNA?
2 A. The JNA, we should look at the JNA in three layers. At
3 the lowest level, it was a conscript force and the ethnic
4 composition represented the ethnic structure of the
5 18 plus year old population throughout the territories of
6 the SFRY. At the highest level, there was a mechanism
7 known as the national key which ensured that all the top
8 positions within the JNA were allocated as far as could
9 possibly be managed on the basis of ethnic
11 However, in the middle layer, representing the bulk
12 of the professional or volunteer soldiers in the officer
13 core and non-commissioned officers, the majority were of
14 Serbian origin. Around 60 per cent of the -- 60 per cent
15 or more of the officer core comprised Serbs, and I think
16 it is fair to say this was a reflection of the experience
17 of the partisans, where the Serbs had formed the core
18 through much of the war through 1943 and 1944 where the
19 fighting was in Bosnia and the core of the partisan
20 movement were the Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia,
21 comprising in 1943 something like 75 per cent of the
22 partisans, although by the end of the war the partisans
23 were far more representative.
24 This is important, I think, to understand because it
25 creates a legacy as you move into the JNA in which there
1 is a tendency for the predominant group, for the largest
2 group within the JNA to be Serbs and for the largest group
3 within those Serbs probably to be Serbs from Croatia and
5 Q. What role did the JNA have in the constitution of 1974
6 that you mentioned earlier?
7 A. The role with the JNA, the first level was to preserve, to
8 protect, to be guardians of, the constitutional order of
9 the SFRY and the territorial integrity of the federation.
10 As I said before, I think, there was this further
11 political role established under the constitution through
12 the constitutional laws affecting the role of the league
13 of communists of Yugoslavia in which the JNA was given a
14 strong, formal political role in the political
15 decision-making processes of the SFRY.
16 Q. Why was the JNA given a political role?
17 A. The JNA was given this political role because after some
18 problems of nationalist tension in Croatia in 1971, Tito
19 had formed a reliance with the JNA to restore some sense
20 of Federal order, removing the Croatian leadership, moving
21 on to remove national and liberalising leaderships in
22 other republics.
23 Tito saw the JNA -- I think probably quite rightly --
24 as being the only body in the SFRY with a clear loyalty to
25 the SFRY as a whole. He, therefore, saw the SFRY -- he
1 saw the JNA within the SFRY in some senses as being his
2 successor. Tito was looking to the possibility that when
3 he died, the JNA would be able to carry on the role of pan
4 Yugoslav arbiter between the various republics within the
6 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I note -----
7 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I did not quite follow;
8 what was the
9 political role of JNA in the broad framework which you
10 talked about as regards Tito? Did it implement itself?
11 What tangible form did it take?
12 THE WITNESS: The formal role of the JNA
13 manifest in the
14 governing body of the SFRY under communist rule. That was
15 the central committee of the league of communists of
16 Yugoslavia. In that structure each of the republics had a
17 set number of delegates to the central committee, each of
18 the autonomous provinces had a reduced number of
19 delegates. If I recall correctly, each of the republics
20 would have 20 representatives and the autonomous provinces
21 would have 15. In that -- the formal role of the JNA was
22 to be given equivalent status with the autonomous
23 provinces and, therefore, to have a formal role of 15
24 representatives at all stages in the work of the central
25 committee. That was the governing body of the SFRY in
1 real terms.
2 It was also -- it should also be noted that although
3 it was not formally established, the Defence Minister,
4 that is, the top general, was always present -- was
5 often, if not always, present at meetings of the Federal
6 presidency and would always be there as part of the
7 Federal Government.
8 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I notice the time. Would now be a
9 convenient time to adjourn?
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Yes. This is a very good
11 opportunity to
12 adjourn. We would like to come back at 2.30.
13 (Luncheon adjournment)
14 (2.00 p.m.)
15 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] We can recommence the
16 hearing with the
17 testimony of Dr. Gow.
18 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases.
19 ANDREW JAMES WILLIAM GOW, recalled.
20 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Counsel for the
21 Prosecution, could I take
22 this opportunity to ask you some information? Do you
23 think that Dr. Gow will have completed his testimony by
24 5.30 or before? What do you think is going to happen
25 there? Do you think it is going to be possible to begin
1 hearing the witnesses at some time who will tell us about
2 what has actually happened?
3 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, my best estimate is that Dr. Gow's
4 evidence will be completed this afternoon, and that there
5 is a very good possibility that we will start with the
6 evidence of the first victim or witness, or eyewitness,
7 I should say.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you.
9 MR. NIEMANN (To the witness): Dr. Gow, prior to the luncheon
10 adjournment, you were speaking of the role of the JNA in
11 former Yugoslavia, and you also mentioned in your evidence
12 a reference to the processes of disintegration o
13 Yugoslavia. Did these forces of disintegration have any
14 impact upon the JNA?
15 A. The forces working towards the disintegration of
16 Yugoslavia had an impact on the JNA, quite clearly, in
17 terms of the way in which the army was composed. In the
18 final years of the SFRY, problems began to emerge in
19 securing the service of conscripts, many from some parts
20 of Yugoslavia and very notably from Slovenia, were not
21 following orders to turn up to do their military service
22 in the JNA. Political pressures, of course, were being
23 brought to bear on the JNA.
24 I would advance the opinion that the JNA was finding
25 itself in an increasingly difficult position facing
1 pressures from all sides as to how it would position
2 itself, given its constitutional role to safeguard
3 constitutional order, but at the same time with this very
4 strong element from the Serbian community within the
5 officer corps shaping opinions, making it very difficult
6 for people to understand exactly where they were within
7 the JNA.
8 In this situation, it became very difficult both,
9 I suspect, for people within the JNA and for outsiders
10 sometimes to know quite where the JNA stood. One example
11 might be in the course of 1990 and 1991, when local Serbs
12 in Croatia faced with something that they regarded as a
13 fear from the Croatian authorities looked to the JNA, and
14 the JNA at various stages deployed on what it described as
15 a peacekeeping role, trying to stabilize the situation,
16 but a role which increasingly came to appear as giving
17 assistance to the local Serbs in that area. I suspect
18 that some of the people in the JNA probably were giving
19 assistance, and some of the other people in the JNA were
20 simply wanting to retain and maintain as much order within
21 the SFRY as possible.
22 If I might stress at this point, that in looking at
23 this question, from my own point of view, just to
24 underline that much of what I am saying is directed
25 towards what I understand the court, the Tribunal, is
1 interested in today, which is the Serbian project, the war
2 project, which was eventually carried out by people -- by
3 the JNA and by Serbs pursuing an idea. But at the same
4 time it was a complex situation, and I just indicated in
5 Croatia there was a different situation in which the
6 Croatian authorities may in some cases be said to have
7 been culpable for what was happening. So, just to be
8 clear that although it may seem confusing that, on the one
9 hand, a lot of what I have been saying appears one way,
10 I am now saying: "Here were the JNA doing something to
11 help Serbs who may have had a real question".
12 Q. Were there any changes to the organisational structure of
13 the JNA as a result of these forces of disintegration?
14 A. I do not think we can clearly say there were changes in
15 the organisational structure of the JNA as a result of
16 these forces of disintegration. There were changes in the
17 structure of the JNA at the end of 1988 and the beginning
18 of 1989. Those changes involved the formation of military
19 districts, and there was argued at the time to be a good
20 military rationale for this.
21 Whatever the exact motivation for the changes at the
22 time, it certainly became apparent as the disintegration,
23 processes of disintegration continued that the structure
24 put in place with the military districts and increased
25 local authority for local -- increased authority for local
1 commanders meant that in some cases the type of ambiguity
2 I was pointing to just now in the Croatian case could lead
3 possibly some local commanders to begin to give assistance
4 to local Serbian communities without any clear sense that
5 this was necessarily coming at that stage in the way of
6 orders from Belgrade.
7 Q. What relevance, if any, did these changes that were taking
8 place in the JNA have on the events of 1990 and beyond?
9 A.I think the relevance was that the JNA, given its
10 constitutional position, given its own sense of
11 identification as a pan Yugoslav organisation, but with
12 this, as I said before, very strong Serbian element within
13 it, was under pressure. It was under pressure, on the one
14 hand, to protect the SFRY, but that pressure increasingly
15 seemed to mean preserving what might some people would say
16 was a Serbian version of the SFRY, and increasingly its
17 role appeared to come to be looking back in a sense to the
18 past, to the partisan formation and the corps of Croatian
19 and Bosnian Serbs in that movement, to protecting what it
20 was that the Croatian and Bosnian Serbs through the
21 partisans, through the JNA and the SFRY had created. So,
22 that JNA was being put under a lot of pressure by
23 circumstances to move towards a more Serbian position.
24 Q. What happened to this process of moving towards a more
25 Serbian position after the outbreaks of hostilities in
2 A. After the declarations of independence in June, armed
3 hostilities broke out and the ethnic composition of the
4 JNA changed radically. By the early part of 1992 an army
5 which had been in the conscript, a largely multi-ethnic,
6 which had had the national key principal operating at the
7 top, and which had had representatives from all the
8 Yugoslav communities somewhere in the officer corps, had
9 become largely Serbian dominated, that is to say, most of
10 the non-Serbs in this period left, either disillusioned
11 and trying to seek seclusion or, in most cases, going to
12 join one of the emergent armed forces of the new States.
13 I think this can be clearly seen in terms of the
14 numbers. Of the 180,000 strong JNA in 1991, in May, could
15 be estimated to have around 42 per cent -- approximately
16 42 per cent of it in total could be said to be Serbs. By
17 the end -- by the middle of 1992 the maximum figure could
18 be about five per cent non-Serbs.
19 Q. Dr. Gow, were there any links between the JNA and the
20 other military groups that you have mentioned, the
21 paramilitary groups that were emerging at this time?
22 A. The JNA, or certainly elements from within the JNA, were
23 involved in some of the organisation and armying of
24 paramilitary groups which were to operate on the territory
25 Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 These groups were of two types: Either paramilitary
2 voluntary groups formed by particular leaders, or elements
3 derived from the territorial defence system that
4 I mentioned this morning in areas where Serbs were in the
5 majority. In each case the JNA was involved in the
6 distribution of weapons and the organisation of these
8 Q. What was the name of these paramilitary groups to which
9 you are referring?
10 A. The paramilitary groups which were formed by or were
11 associated with particular figures were formed in Serbia
12 and Montenegro. Examples include the "Tigers" organised
13 by Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan) -- Arkan being his familiar
14 nom de guerre -- the "White Eagles" organised by Mirko
15 Jovic, the Chetniks organised by Vojislavseselj. There
16 were a number of other smaller groups; each would provide
17 a particular role in situations providing troops of a kind
18 who would not be available to do things that ordinary
19 conscripts -- who would be available to do things that
20 ordinary conscripts would not.
21 Q. Who was primarily responsible, in your opinion, for
22 setting up and arming these Serbian paramilitary groups?
23 A. The Serbian paramilitary groups just mentioned, both those
24 identified with particular people I just mentioned and the
25 those based around the old territorial defence structure,
1 were set up and armed either by the JNA or by elements of
2 the Federal State Security Service. The key figure -- or
3 the Serbian State Security Service -- the key figures,
4 I believe to be, in the case of the Federal, at the
5 Federal level, the SFRY, the Deputy Interior Minister and
6 Head of the State Security Service at that time, Mihail
7 Kertes, and the head of the Serbian State Security
8 Service, Radmilo Bogdanovic.
9 There were also elements within the JNA involved in
10 this process. If I may give one example? There were
11 reports attributed to tapes -- obtained, tapes made by the
12 last Prime Minister of the SFRY and Markovic which seemed
13 to reveal a conversation between President Milosevic of
14 Serbia and Dr. Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs in
15 which President Milosevic was instructing Dr. Karadzic to
16 turn to General Uzelac commander of the Banja Luka corps
17 to sort out problems of -- to sort out the issue of
18 weapons provision.
19 Q. You briefly touched on the fact that the paramilitary
20 groups were specifically recruited to do things which the
21 regular JNA army would not do. What role did the
22 paramilitary groups play in the ensuing conflict?
23 A. The first role that they played was provision of
24 additional manpower. I think we can say that in this
25 situation of transition the JNA was facing manpower
2 I already mentioned that most of the non-Serbs were
3 not going to serve in this Yugoslav army anymore. A
4 number of Serbs were not willing to serve in an army which
5 they perceived now to be taking sides in a war but no
6 longer representing a Yugoslav perspective. So the JNA
7 lacked manpower.
8 So the first role that the paramilitaries played was
9 by making additional manpower available. They were able
10 to make this -- they were able to recruit manpower in this
11 way because they represented a Serbian ideal, I believe.
12 They projected an image of Serbdom which meant that people
13 who were reluctant to fight for a Yugoslav army were
14 prepared to fight for a group identified as being part of
15 a Serbian identity. Of course, there were other reasons
16 for people to fight. In many cases it is because they
17 would be well rewarded for fighting. The second role that
18 they played, in a sense, was as the shock troops. As
19 Serbia and the JNA moved towards a new project and a
20 project which would require certain things to be done,
21 these were troops who were prepared -- I use the term
22 "troops" to describe them; I am not sure if it is wholly
23 appropriate -- but these were troops who were used to go
24 into particular areas to carry out acts sometimes of
25 extreme violence in order to take control of a particular
1 area and to drive out elements of the local population.
2 Q. In doing this was there co-ordination between the JNA and
3 the paramilitary groups?
4 A. There appears to have been considerable co-ordination
5 between the JNA and the paramilitary groups. As the war
6 moved into Bosnia, there seems to have been concerted
7 action with the paramilitary groups playing one role,
8 going into towns, and the JNA playing another role,
9 providing -- encircling towns and providing logistical and
10 artillery support.
11 The planning suggests and the distribution of the JNA
12 forces suggests that they were already prepared to assist
13 paramilitary forces in securing control of particular
14 areas when the war came to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Q. You mentioned the new political project, I think, a moment
16 ago in your evidence. What did Serbia hope to secure, in
17 your opinion, from the disintegration of Yugoslavia? What
18 was its goals and objectives?
19 A. As a matter of opinion, I would say, I would estimate,
20 that Serbia originally, or the Serbian President, Slobodan
21 Milosevic, originally hoped to have control of all the
22 territories of the SFRY. I would say with some degree of
23 certainty that after the declarations of independence by
24 Slovenia and Croatia, in June 1991, that situation
25 changed, that there was a project established between the
1 Serbian leadership and, at least from August 1991, shared
2 by the JNA leadership, which was to establish the borders
3 of a new entity, that is, a State or a set of territories
4 which would only have Serbian populations and which would
5 be contiguous. This would be what General Kadijevic has
6 described as a common State for the Serb people. It would
7 carved out of parts what was at that stage (and is now)
8 Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
9 Q. What were the events that then followed in Croatia,
10 particularly after August 1991?
11 A. Well, after the declarations of independence on 25 June
12 1991, an armed conflict began in Slovenia and in Croatia.
13 In Slovenia it was short lived and featured predominantly
14 forces from the JNA. At the same time a series of armed
15 clashes were occurring in Croatia. These armed clashes
16 became something which I think can be called a major armed
17 conflict from August 1991 onwards when the JNA began in
18 conjunction with Serbia paramilitary groups of various
19 types to pursue this project for establishing the new
21 We can take it that this project was decided on
22 probably at that stage from the actions of the JNA,
23 although Kadijevic in the text I mentioned earlier only
24 attributes this decision to some time in the autumn.
25 Clearly, by August the JNA is beginning to pursue the axes
1 of attack which are consistent with the project. That the
2 project did exist and was planned, I think, is confirmed
3 also by the words of General Zivota Panic who was later to
4 become Chief of Staff of the successor Yugoslav army VJ
5 and General Kadijevic himself, both of whom indicates that
6 in Croatia the JNA had to stop sort of its ambitions
7 because of particular pressures at the end of 1991.
8 Q. How did Bosnia fit into this new project?
9 A. Bosnia and Herzegovina was essential to the project
10 I mentioned. The project was to create a set of
11 territories which would be connected to Serbia and which
12 would be for the Serbs and which would be entirely or
13 largely inhabited only by the Serbs. General Kadijevic
14 again makes reference to the keystone position of Bosnia
15 and Herzegovina and the Serbs for this common State. It
16 was essential in doing this to make sure that key items of
17 infrastructure were secured, including parts of the old,
18 military industrial capability, for the new entity and in
19 doing this to make sure also that all or most of the
20 non-Serbs would be removed from the territories.
21 Q. Were any political steps taken to support this plan?
22 A. There were clear and early signs of the development of
23 this plan in September 1991 in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
24 when the local Serbian leadership of the Serbian
25 democratic party, that is, under Dr. Radovan Karadzic,
1 declared a series of autonomous regions in Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina. At that stage the JNA was conducting a
3 series of exercises and movements across the territory of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina in which elements of the
5 territorial defence force and of the reserve element of
6 the JNA were being mobilised into units so that they would
7 be active and on patrol within those areas.
8 At the same time it seems that something called
9 Crisis Headquarters, that is, shadow secret governments
10 were being prepared by the State Security Services and
11 being put in place to underpin these autonomous regions
12 which would be the framework for the eventual structure --
13 the framework for the structure of territories that the
14 Serbs would occupy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 Q. Was there any link between the JNA and the Bosnian-Serb
17 A. There were clearly some links between the JNA and the
18 Bosnian Serb leadership or between elements in the JNA at
19 least. I think on one example I already indicated was
20 that President Milosevic of Serbia was telling the Bosnian
21 Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, to make contact with
22 military commanders in order to make preparations for
23 whatever it was that was to come.
24 Q. Going back to the Serbian plan that you mentioned, was
25 there a military aspect to the implementation of this
2 A. The military aspect involved the, as I think I again
3 I just mentioned, involved the mobilisation of troops
4 either into the reserve element of the JNA or through
5 territorial defence structures. It also meant the
6 provision of arms through the State Security Service
7 networks into both the territorial defence and other
8 paramilitary groups within the area, and it also meant
9 preparation in the sense of trying to disestablish the
10 territorial defence forces in other parts of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina where Serbs were not in leading positions.
12 Q. What was the response of the government of
13 Bosnia-Herzegovina to this activity by the Bosnian Serbs
14 and by the JNA?
15 A. As far as back as 1990, the President of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic, had told Muslims in
17 Bihac that if pressure was put on Bosnia by the Serbs and
18 for disintegration he would look to assert Bosnia's
19 sovereignty and to the prospect and possibility of
20 independence, but what happened when faced -- but this did
21 not emerge. It only emerged in October 1991 when Bosnia
22 and Herzegovina, faced with the declaration of autonomous
23 provinces by the Serbian leaderships in these areas, faced
24 by the activity of the JNA, felt it necessary to assert
25 Bosnia's constitutional sovereignty through a declaration
1 in the parliament. At the same time in the parliament, in
2 September, questions were being asked about the role --
3 about the activities of the JNA in Bosnia about which
4 there were suspicions at the time.
5 Q. Did the Bosnian government make application for diplomatic
6 recognition and, if so, when did that occur?
7 A. As the events within the territories of the SFRY and
8 internationally developed in the autumn of 1991, Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina following the 16th and 17th December 1991
10 meeting of the European Council of Foreign Affairs,
11 Ministers of the European Community, made an application
12 to the EC -- to the EC Council for recognition of
13 independent international personality.
14 Q. Was there a Bosnian Serb reaction to this course of
16 A. The application made by Bosnia and Herzegovina in December
17 met with a Serbian response in Bosnia on 9th January. The
18 Bosnian Serb informal assembly announced that if Bosnia
19 were no longer to form part of the SFRY, then the Bosnian
20 Serbs would declare independence. They then went on on
21 28th February to put in place a constitution and a
22 constitution for the prospective independent territory.
23 Q. What I think you mentioned earlier, particularly in answer
24 to a question from His Honour, you touched on this area,
25 what did the European Community do?
1 A. The European Community which had been carrying out the
2 conference on Yugoslavia in the autumn of 1991 and, as a
3 result of the seeming failure of that conference to
4 achieve an overall settlement in December, had decided to
5 open the possibility of those Yugoslav republics seeking
6 recognition of independence to make applications.
7 In doing this, they asked the Advisory Commission of
8 the conference headed by a French constitutional lawyer,
9 I believe, Robert Badinter, to draw up a set of guidelines
10 and then to advise on whether or not it would be -- the
11 guidelines were being met. In the case of Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, Monsieur Badinter advised the Council that
13 the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not -- that
14 the will of the people was not clear, and that it might be
15 advisable to arrange for a referendum to be held in Bosnia
16 and Herzegovina so that the position could be clarified,
17 and the European Council acted on that advice and
18 suggested that the Bosnian authorities conduct a
20 Q. Was this advice taken?
21 A. The advice was taken and the Bosnian authorities organised
22 a referendum which was carried out on 29th February and
23 1st March 1992. The outcome of that referendum was that
24 an overwhelming majority of those who had voted voted for
25 independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that that
1 represented only 63 per cent of the population as a
2 whole. That was because large numbers of Serbs boycotted
3 the referendum or were prevented from taking part in it.
4 Q. Of course, by "Serbs" you mean Bosnian Serbs, of course?
5 A. Of course. Forgive me for not being clear, but I mean
6 Bosnian Serbs who were -- it was Bosnian Serbs who were
7 boycotting the elections, the referendum.
8 Q. What did the Bosnians do following the referendum, that
9 is, the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
10 A. After the referendum results were known on 6th March, the
11 President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic,
12 proclaimed that Bosnia was now independent and sought
13 recognition from the countries of the world.
14 Q. What happened after that?
15 A. On 6th April the European Community Council announced that
16 it would recognise Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as of 7th
17 April 1992 the European Community and its Member States,
18 along with the United States and a number of other
19 countries, proceeded to grant recognition of independent
20 international personality to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 Q. Was there a response by the Bosnian Serbs to this course
22 of events?
23 A. The Bosnian Serbs, going back to the announcements made in
24 January and the constitution established in February that
25 I mentioned before, proceeded to declare an independent
1 Serbian republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7th April
2 1992. In the weeks before that, the end of March, they
3 had also begun a series of military activities in clashes
4 with Croatian forces in two areas of Bosnia and
6 Q. What was the name they gave to that part of Bosnia that
7 the Bosnian Serbs declared -----
8 A. In the proclamation of 7th April, it was known as the
9 Serbian Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- sorry, the
10 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and this was
11 changed simply to what is commonly now called the Republic
12 of Srpske in August 1992. I am sorry if -- I make the
13 record correct. If I just said 1991, I meant 1992.
14 Q. In answer to the previous question you said that a war
15 then followed or military activity then followed. Who
16 were the participants in this military activity?
17 A. The participants in this military activity on the Serbian
18 side were the JNA, elements of the Serbian territorial --
19 elements of territorial defence forces in Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina under Serbian leadership and control, and
21 paramilitary groups which came over the border from the
22 territory of Serbia and Montenegro to carry out a series
23 of attacks on particular areas.
24 Q. I think a couple of times in your evidence you have
25 touched on the role that paramilitary groups play, but
1 perhaps you might expand a little on the co-ordination
2 role that was between the JNA and the paramilitary and the
3 interrelationship between the two, if you would?
4 A. The JNA appears to have provided an overall organisational
5 framework for the project that was being pursued, playing
6 a commanding control role, giving logistical assistance
7 and surrounding particular communities, particular towns,
8 with items of heavy artillery. In this, they were acting
9 in conjunction with some of the local Serbian forces.
10 Some of the local Serbian forces but primarily, I believe,
11 paramilitary groups coming from outside Bosnia and
12 Herzegovina, then became involved in actions where towns
13 -- where the forces went into towns and carried out
14 activities in connection with what is commonly known now
15 as ethnic cleansing.
16 Q. Was there an official response from Belgrade to these
18 A. At this stage we are talking about -- this is in the
19 period April and May 1992 -- the authorities in Belgrade,
20 that is, by that I mean particularly the Serbian
21 leadership, was giving political backing through the
22 forces carrying out this project, and was clearly allowing
23 paramilitary groups, if not organising, paramilitary
24 groups to cross the border. They were also, quite
25 clearly, giving support in terms of the JNA infrastructure
1 that was being used to support their project.
2 However, as the conflict developed and the
3 international perspective on the war appeared to be
4 apportioning blame primarily to Belgrade's forces, the
5 reaction of Belgrade was to try to distance itself from
6 the conflict in Bosnia and to assert that it was no longer
8 The context for this was the prospect that the United
9 Nations Security Council might impose a regime of
10 sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro for its role in
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia was trying to maintain the
12 idea that, although politically it could be said to back
13 the cause of Serbs and Croatia and Bosnia, it was not
14 practically involved.
15 The evidence appears to me that in this period it
16 continued explicitly to be involved, and one manifestation
17 of this was the Security Council Resolution 752 of
18 15th May 1992 in which the Security Council demanded that
19 Belgrade withdraw the JNA forces from Bosnia and
20 Herzegovina. At the same time it also demanded that
21 Croatia withdraw its forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 Q. So what you are saying is that the Security Council made
23 it clear that the forces of one State, namely, the
24 Republic of Serbia should not be involved in and should
25 withdraw from the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
1 A. That is one of the things that I am saying, yes. If
2 I may, a point of clarification, that the military forces
3 of Belgrade, that is, Serbia and Montenegro, not just the
4 Republic of Serbia, should withdraw.
5 Q. How did the JNA and Belgrade respond to this pressure that
6 was being applied by the international community?
7 A. In this period, the JNA began transferring all Serbs from
8 Bosnia within the JNA into units operating in Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina. This was in preparation for the eventual
10 division of the JNA in which part of the JNA was left
11 behind in Bosnia but renamed the Army of the Serbian
12 Republic -- hereafter I will refer to it as the VRS -- and
13 the other half became known as the Army of Yugoslavia,
14 that is, the force, the military forces in Serbia and
15 Montenegro directly organised and commanded by Belgrade.
16 Q. Had the JNA prepared itself in advance for this
18 A. It seems to me that the transfer of Bosnian Serbs between
19 units within the JNA so that the majority of those serving
20 in Bosnia, something, I believe, around 80 per cent at the
21 time of division in late May 1992 would be Bosnian Serbs,
22 so that it could be then be said that these were Serbs
23 from Bosnia and that they were fighting on their own
25 Q. Was there continued support from Belgrade for the Serbian
1 forces in Bosnia after May of 1992?
2 A. The Belgrade military and political leadership, whilst
3 trying to distance itself from the activities of the VRS,
4 seems clearly to have continued to give support; the
5 support coming in a variety of ways, assistance with
6 military medical assistance, for example, wounded Serbian
7 soldiers being taken to the Belgrade military hospital.
8 There also is evidence of both munitions and other
9 supplies going across the border from Serbia into the
10 Serbian held territories in Bosnia, and in some cases
11 evidence of involvement of units from the VJ, that is, the
12 Yugoslav Army.
13 Q. What about the command of the VRS?
14 A. The command of the VRS appears to be under -- the command
15 of the VRS is exercised by General Ratko Mladic. General
16 Mladic was a member of the JNA. He was the last JNA
17 commander in Bosnia before the division. His position was
18 then transferred from being commander of the JNA in Bosnia
19 to being commander of the VRS.
20 General Mladic has maintained contacts with the
21 staff, military staff, in Belgrade where he is judged to
22 have a close relationship with the chief of staff of the
23 VJ, General Perisic. There is also some evidence that he
24 has continued to have contact with the Serbian political
25 leadership of Slobodan Milosevic.
1 Q. Would you, in your opinion, cite this relationship of
2 General Mladic as also being an illustration of the links
3 between Belgrade and the VRS?
4 A. I would interpret the role of General Mladic as follows:
5 I believe that Belgrade has given him broad scope of
6 authority for command and control of operations in Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina, but that, ultimately, Belgrade continues
8 to be responsible for whether or not those operations
9 continue, and that there is some evidence that in the
10 course of this year Belgrade has been saying to General
11 Mladic that maybe this is time to stop the war.
12 So, what I am suggesting, as a matter of
13 interpretation, is that General Mladic on a day to day
14 basis has been running the Serbian military in Bosnia, but
15 that he does not run it without reference to instruction
16 or opinion in Belgrade.
17 Q. Just turning back to the war itself and the nature of the
18 war that was conducted, was there any involvement, for
19 example, in the network of camps that were established
20 ultimately, and Belgrade participation in that?
21 A. One part of the project, that this Serbian project to
22 create a new entity involved the establishment of a
23 network of camps in parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but
24 Belgrade's involvement can be noted simply by the presence
25 of some of those detained, some of the non-Serbs detained
1 by Serbian forces who were taken to camps, to prisons, on
2 the territory of Serbia itself. For example, at the
3 military airforce base by Batajnica.
4 Q. Did the VJ have any involvement in the war in Bosnia
6 A. The VJ has maintained involvement at certain stages,
7 giving assistance to the VRS. One example would be in the
8 early part of 1993 when Muslim forces were attacking
9 Bratunac near the border with Serbia, VJ artillery fired
10 from Serbian territory against the Muslim forces in
11 support of the VRS. In the same period, forces, VJ
12 forces, were reported crossing the border from Serbia into
13 Eastern Bosnia and moving to the Brcko corridor towards
14 the north west. Other examples: In April 1994, elements
15 of the Nis and Uzice corps from the VJ were present in the
16 attack on Gorazde. Perhaps one example of the overall
17 co-ordination between the armed forces of these apparently
18 separate Serbian entities, that is, the army of the
19 republic of Serbia and Krajina, the area in Croatia, the
20 army of the Serbian republic, that is, the VRS in Bosnia
21 and of the VJ is a series -- is the air attack carried out
22 in February 1994.
23 In this case pilots who had been training at the
24 Podgorica air base in Montenegro were transferred to the
25 Udbina air base in Serb-held Croatia from where they flew
1 missions on behalf of the Bosnian Serb army before four of
2 six planes were shot down by NATO aircraft in pursuance of
3 Security Council resolutions on an air exclusion zone.
4 Q. Did the VRS continue to receive support in the form of
5 equipment and things of that nature from either the VJ or
6 from Belgrade?
7 A. There is -- there have been credible reports that the VRS
8 has continued to receive assistance from Belgrade. One
9 clear demonstration of this is the admission himself by
10 President Milosevic himself in an address to the Pale
11 assembly in May 1993 in which he made clear that Belgrade
12 had been giving assistance. Other examples include the
13 presence of particular pieces of equipment which appear to
14 be new and to have come from Serbia and Montenegro.
15 One recent example, I believe, was in the news only
16 in the last few days, or an item it was in the news in the
17 last few days in connection with this, in the early part
18 of this year Belgrade was involved in the transfer of new
19 air defence systems to the Bosnian Serbs. These were
20 later destroyed by NATO aircraft. They were then recently
21 replaced, and I understand there were some attacks in the
22 last few days in an attempt to remove them again after
23 they locked on to NATO aircraft. These are some of the
24 signs of the continuing support coming from Belgrade for
25 the VRS.
1 Q. Dealing with the pattern of the attacks that took place in
2 Bosnia in the spring of 1992, in your opinion, was the
3 spring offensive of 1992 planned?
4 A. In my opinion, the spring events of 1992 was planned. The
5 evidence of the Serbian preparations through the
6 declarations of autonomous regions in the autumn of 1991,
7 through the preparations and mobilisation of the JNA in
8 that period and through the systematic and co-ordinated
9 nature of the attacks in April and May 1992, I would say
10 that this is evidence of a planned and co-ordinated
12 Q. Would other features of the plan be the utilization of the
14 A. The paramilitaries would be one essential part of the
15 plan; the plan with the aim, I would say, of controlling
16 territory and carrying out the act known as ethnic
17 cleansing relied on the paramilitaries to secure control
18 of particular areas, to instil -- to carry out
19 particularly unpleasant acts in some cases and to instil
20 terror as part of the process of inducing populations to
21 leave their homes.
22 Another part of the evidence of planning in all of
23 this is that the bureaucratic capability of this new
24 statelet was put in place immediately. Documentation was
25 available, rubber stamps were available as the
1 bureaucratic and administration process for dealing with
2 the non-Serbian population was put into effect. This,
3 I think, was another sign of planning and organisation.
4 Q. And the establishment of the Crises Committees?
5 A. Indeed. The Crises Headquarters I mentioned earlier again
6 are another sign of this planning shadow government being
7 put in place some months beforehand, ready to appear and
8 take over the administrative control of territories the
9 moment that the declaration of the independence of the
10 Serbian Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina was made.
11 Q. What of the establishment of the camps themselves, would
12 you see that as part of the plan?
13 A. The existence of camps over a widespread part of the
14 Serbian held territory in Bosnia, the way in which the
15 camps were used and the way in which the camps fitted in
16 with the administrative processes for separating non-Serbs
17 from the Serbian populations in these areas for means of
18 either separating and in some cases it is supposed
19 killing, and in other cases arranging for them to be sent
20 away from these territories, appears, quite clearly, to
21 reflect systematic preparation.
22 Q. Is there anything, in particular, that you would refer to
23 to demonstrate evidence of planning by the JNA itself?
24 A. The evidence of planning by the JNA, I think, can be
25 determined from observation of events as they happened at
1 the time, but can also be taken from the words of people
2 in the JNA themselves. In particular, General Veljko
3 Kadijevic, who was the last Federal Secretary of Defence
4 and senior General in the army, who has indicated, as
5 I think I may have mentioned this already, the project of
6 creating a common State for the Serb people, and of the
7 need -- and of the planning and preparation which went
8 into this and, indeed, the JNA providing the backbone and
9 the corps of the VRS as it carried out the project in
11 Q. Thank you. What was the fate of the territorial defence
12 that you spoke of earlier when talking of the two tier
13 structured of the military establishment of Yugoslavia,
14 what happened to the territorial Defence as a consequence
15 or following upon these attacks?
16 A. Well, in the preparation period for the war in Bosnia,
17 different things happened to the territorial defence
18 system. In areas where Serbs were in a dominant position,
19 the territorial defence system was organised for use by
20 the JNA and by the Serbian leadership in this campaign.
21 In other areas, the JNA either disestablished the
22 territorial defence structures or in the process of
23 co-operation with the Bosnian government interior ministry
24 succeeded in disarming territorial defence structures in
25 many parts of Bosnia.
1 There were some parts of Bosnia, for example,
2 Croatian communities in Herzegovina, where the local
3 Croatian authorities managed to hold on to some of the
4 territorial defence weaponry. This was particularly an
5 issue in the early part -- in the period leading up to the
6 outbreak of widespread hostilities in Bosnia.
7 Q. Did the paramilitary units participate in the preparations
8 for the spring offensive?
9 A. The paramilitaries were an integral part of the
10 preparations for the offensives. They were -- I would say
11 they were to be the shock troops leading the fight. Their
12 mission was to assist in securing control and assist in
13 destabilizing Bosnia.
14 The attacks in which they were involved all focused
15 on key communication points, in the first instance, the
16 points of access into Bosnia and Herzegovina which would
17 mean that the Serbian forces either controlled access in
18 or could deny access to non-Serbian elements coming into
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then moving on to try to take
20 control of key communications points throughout Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, that is, to control the movement of traffic
22 and military equipment throughout the country as far as
24 Q. You have mentioned the establishment of the Crisis
25 Headquarters, as such, were there any other sort of
1 non-military steps taken by various groups in relation to
2 the preparation that you know of?
3 A. The Bosnian Serb leadership in one sense, as I have
4 already indicated, was going through a series of
5 pronouncements, declarations, arrangements of political
6 structures for independence for the future. They also
7 took over the administration of areas which quickly came
8 under Serbian control, and before that in the parliament
9 had been suggesting that if Bosnia were to become
10 independent, then, in the words of Dr. Radovan Karadzic,
11 the Bosnia Serb leader, it could mean the end of the
13 Q. Is there any evidence of the local Serb population in
14 Bosnia being informed in advance of what was about to
16 A. There were reports in a number of cases that before the
17 paramilitaries or the JNA attacked particular towns, the
18 local Serbs were given an effective warning by the
19 announcement within some network for the Serbs that there
20 would be an evacuation drill. This meant that the Serbs
21 themselves were not present in the towns often at the
22 times when attacks occurred. I cannot say that this means
23 that no Serb was present in the town, but that very often
24 large numbers of Serbs were taken outside the town.
25 I believe this happened in places such as Prijedor,
2 Q. Prior to an attack upon a particular area, was there any
3 agitation or provocation prior to the commencement of
5 A. There was often what might be described as an act of
6 provocation immediately prior to the introduction of
7 either JNA or paramilitary forces into a town. One
8 example could be a grenade thrown through the window of a
9 Serbian shopkeeper. This was taken as a pretext for the
10 JNA or for the Serbian paramilitaries or both who had been
11 waiting outside the town immediately to step in to impose
12 order, to have discussions with local non-Serbian leaders,
13 often to arrest them, certainly to reach initial
14 agreements on the arrangements for political control
15 within that area.
16 Q. What of the other side of the conflict; were preparations
17 made by the non-Serbian community in Bosnia in relation to
18 these impending attacks?
19 A. There was some limited preparation by the non-Serbian
20 communities. I indicated a little while ago that the
21 Croatian communities, or some parts of the Croatian
22 communities, in Herzegovina held some of the weaponry of
23 the territorial defence system when the JNA was trying to
24 disarm it; that other elements were present armed from
25 Croatia, the Croatian paramilitary groups; that there were
1 to be some elements of the Croatian army present in
3 The Bosnian government, having complied to a large
4 extent in the process of disarmament of the territorial
5 defence force, was left in a weak position. That weak
6 position did not mean it had no armament but that it had
7 very little armament and, in addition, it could look to
8 some small Muslim paramilitary groups, but these were
9 small and pitched against the capability that the Serbs
10 would have in what was to be the VRS was insignificant.
11 So, you were looking at a situation in which, although
12 there were elements in the Croat and Muslim communities
13 which had some armament, in essence, they were in a very
14 weak position vis-a-vis the Serbian forces.
15 Q. Moving on to the beginning of hostilities, or the
16 beginning of hostilities themselves, could you describe
17 for the benefit of the Chamber what the Serbian forces did
18 to the opposition and, particularly, to the non-Serbian
20 A. The attacks tended to include many similar features in
21 each place. We mentioned already the acts of provocation
22 prior to an attack. Once an attacks had taken place,
23 there would be segregation of the non-Serbian
24 communities. Segregation would take place by gender, by
25 age and in many cases by what, for want of a better term,
1 I may describe as intellectual capability. In this
2 process, men of military age and particularly those
3 capable of some kind of leadership were taken separately
4 from women, children and elderly people. In many cases,
5 those intellectuals who might form a political leadership
6 were killed. In other cases, all the men of military age
7 were taken to a particular detention camp. At the same
8 time, women, children and the elderly might be taken to
9 detention camps or they might begin the process of
10 expulsion from where they were.
11 The process of expulsion would involve administrative
12 procedures in which the individuals in question would be
13 asked to sign a document in which they would transfer
14 their property and other rights to the local Serbian
15 authorities. They would then be asked to pay for or
16 offered the opportunity to leave which would require them
17 to pay for a one way exit visa and one way ticket to be
18 transported out of Serbian controlled areas.
19 This process of separation and segregation resulted
20 in communities which were predominantly Serb in all these
21 areas. It resulted in the killing of people in a number
22 of cases. In other cases, the pressure and the processing
23 through this administrative procedure to remove them from
24 the territory which the Serbians wanted to control. That
25 territory -- this programme, integral to the idea of
1 ethnic nicks cleansing and involving the camps which we
2 mentioned earlier, was a mechanism by which through
3 killing or through intimidation the Serbs would secure
4 complete control of the territories.
5 Q. Were there any particular features common to the tactics
6 used to induce terror into the community, I mean the
7 non-Serbian community?
8 A. The process by which this took place had common features.
9 Within towns it could involve, after the segregation, it
10 could involve the demonstrative killing of certain
11 individuals to send a Mesic to the rest of the
12 population. A common feature could also be bombardment
13 from surrounding forces, particularly by elements from the
14 JNA, later the VRS, and it involved in the case of -- in
15 many cases, particularly in those taken to camps, acts
16 which would generally be considered to be of extreme
17 violence. Apart from those places where people would be
18 -- those places where people could be killed, there were
19 numerous places where there was extensive beating and also
20 many reports of areas where there was mass rape.
21 Q. What was the process employed to seize political control
22 in the various towns that were taken by the Serbs?
23 A. The process of establishing political control began with
24 the secret establishment of the Crisis Headquarters
25 I mentioned before. The Crisis Headquarters were usually
1 established in conjunction with the States Security
2 Services, that is, Serbian State Security Services.
3 These shadow governments waiting to take over were
4 pronounced at the moment a takeover occurred. When that
5 happened, the Serbian leaders in the Crisis Headquarters
6 then began to take over local control. They removed
7 non-Serbs from significant positions within the political
8 community. They restricted the movement of non-Serbs. In
9 some cases only Serbs with particular -- only non-Serbs
10 with particular types of work to carry out were allowed
11 permits to enable them to move within the area and
12 movement for them was strictly controlled. The mechanism
13 for controlling movement was the mixture of the issue of
14 permits to allow movement, and a series of check points
15 established in towns and within the areas of the Opstinas
17 Q. Was there any evidence of attacks upon non-Serbian
18 cultural or religious symbols?
19 A. One of the common features of the attacks was that
20 non-Serbian property could be destroyed. In the case of
21 individual properties, in some places such as, I believe,
22 Bosanski Novi, this could involve the identification of
23 non-Serbian households through the marking by the hanging
24 of a white sheet from a window, and then these houses
25 would then be destroyed.
1 In other cases, key items of religious or cultural
2 significance such as Roman Catholic churches for the
3 Croats or mosques for the Muslims would be deliberately
5 Q. You have touched upon, I think, the purpose for which the
6 camps were established. How widespread were these camps
7 that were established?
8 A. The camps were widespread. They were throughout the areas
9 of Northern and Eastern Bosnia under Bosnian-Serb control,
10 and throughout this territory appeared to share many
11 common -- appeared to be part of the same systematic
13 Q. Would you look at this document I am about to show you?
14 (Handed) What does this document represent?
15 A. This document shows the locations where it was reported in
16 1992 that the Bosnian Serbs had established camps of the
17 type we were talking about.
18 Q. Are you aware of who prepared it?
19 A. It was prepared on the basis of information provided by
20 the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United
21 Nations Security Council, and I believe in this form was
22 prepared on the basis of the United Nations Security
23 Council documentation.
24 Q. Could you place the document upon the video machine, and
25 could you take us through the document pointing to the
1 various places that you see there? By all means approach
2 the machine to point to aspects of it.
3 A. You will see, as you look across the map, that all the way
4 from the very north western part of the country through
5 northern Bosnia and down through eastern Bosnia into the
6 south, close to the border with Montenegro, were the
7 locations in which these camps were reported to have been
8 established. Some of the most significant ones, those
9 most well known, were in north western Bosnia, in
10 particular, the camps at Prijedor, Omarska, Trnopolje and
11 Sanski Most, but, as you see, there was an extensive
12 network of camps in other places, including for the
13 purposes, I believe, of the case you were looking at now,
14 Vlasenica in Eastern Bosnia.
15 Q. Wherever there is a name appearing in the territory of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina on that plan, you say that that
17 represents a camp?
18 A. With the exception of the name of the capital of Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina at Sarajevo, I would say that the names --
20 the information on this map for the territory of Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina shows where it was reported that camps
22 were established within the territories under Serbian
23 control in 1992. I believe it does not indicate all the
24 places that were reported to the Security Council by the
25 Bosnian government, and that these are areas in which it
1 is -- that it is believed that there is reasonable
2 evidence to believe that camps existed in those places.
3 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, I am about to move on to a new area
4 now. Does your Honour wish to have the adjournment now or
5 would you prefer me to continue with the questioning?
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you very much. I
7 think that, well,
8 now it is 20 to 4, so, firstly, could I suggest that
9 either you or the witness could tell us how much longer
10 this testimony might last? If we are talking about a
11 testimony which would last, let us say, another 15 to 20
12 minutes, then I would propose that Dr. Gow complete his
13 testimony and then following the break, the pause, we
14 would begin the hearing of the witnesses, eyewitnesses.
15 MR. NIEMANN: I think it is possible, your Honour, that we
16 could finish in 15 minutes, 15 to 20 minutes, so I will
18 (To the witness): Dr. Gow, in relation to your
19 report that you prepared initially for submission to Her
20 Honour Odio Benito in relation to the confirming of the
21 indictment, did you also include in that some reference
22 specifically to the Opstina of Vlasenica?
23 A. I did. In preparing the document for the use of the
24 Office of the Prosecutor, I carried out some work
25 specifically on that area. That information was put into
1 this statement.
2 Q. Just in relation to that Opstina at the period of, say,
3 the beginning of 1991, from your researches, firstly, can
4 you tell us the main industry that was carried out in the
6 A. I believe the main industry in the region concerned
7 mineral resources and mining, particularly the production
8 and processing of bauxite and aluminium.
9 Q. Do you recall approximately what the population of the
10 Opstina of Vlasenica?
11 A. I do, I believe the population was a little over 33,000,
12 of which about 7.5000 were within the town of Vlasenica
14 Q. In percentage terms, what was the largest ethnic group in
15 the Opstina?
16 A. I believe the single largest group within the Opstina was
17 the Muslims and, as far as I recall, they constituted
18 something a little over 40 per cent of the population --
19 nearly 42 per cent.
20 Q. From your researches, were you able to establish who held
21 most of the leading positions in the town in terms of
22 ethnicity prior to the outbreak of the war?
23 A. It appears that most of the leading positions in the town
24 prior to the war were held by members of the Muslim
1 Q. Was Vlasenica part of an area declared to be part of the
2 Serbian autonomous region?
3 A. Vlasenica was explicitly part of an area declared to be
4 within the Serbian autonomous region of Bihac which was
5 declared, not at the time of the others in September 1991,
6 but in January 1992. However, I would say that the status
7 of this autonomous region is a little bit uncertain. At
8 some stages it is referred to -- it was referred to as the
9 Serbian autonomous region of Romanija-Birac. Romanija was
10 one of the areas declared in September. At other times,
11 it is referred to as the Serbian autonomous region of
12 Bihac. Whichever at whatever stage, it seems fairly -- it
13 is clear that it was part of one of the areas declared as
14 Serbian autonomous region.
15 Q. Was Vlasenica attacked as part of these attacks by the
16 Serbian forces that you mentioned earlier in your
18 A. Vlasenica was attacked as part of the Serbian project in
19 April 1992. I believe the attack came at the end of
20 April, on the 30th, and it shared, as we pointed out
21 before, some of the features common to the attacks in all
22 the other places.
23 Q. You mentioned also in your evidence, when you were talkin
24 generally of patterns, that often there was a provocation
25 before the attack occurred. Were you aware, from your
1 researches, of any provocation specifically that took
2 place prior to the attack here?
3 A. I am not able to recall the specific acts of provocation
4 in this case. I do recall that there were acts of
5 provocation and, if you wanted, I could proceed to that.
6 Q. No. From your researches, did the JNA become involved in
7 these attacks?
8 A. It is clear that the JNA was involved in the attack on
9 Vlasenica and in taking control of the area. There are
10 reports of the presence of elements of the JNA Novi Sad
11 corps. Novi Sad is the town within Serbia itself, in the
12 province of Vojvodina. The elements of Novi Sad corps
13 were present at the time of the attack and as the takeover
14 was taking place and, indeed, that they continued to be in
15 the area after the 22nd May, at which point the JNA was
16 supposed formally to have divided, that is, these units
17 from the Belgrade military continued to be in the area
18 after the time at which the non-Bosnian Serbs were
19 supposed to have withdrawn and departed the VJ on the
20 territory of Serbia and Montenegro.
21 Q. What military hardware did the JNA use in the attack on
23 A. The equipment used involved primarily armoured personnel
24 carriers and heavy machine guns. There was also some use
25 of mortars.
1 Q. Were local Serbs mobilised at the same time?
2 A. Local Serbs had been mobilised in preparation and, as the
3 takeover was taking place, I believe more of the local
4 Serbs were inducted into the Serbian -- into the local
5 Serbian territorial forces.
6 Q. What of the JNA, were any mobilised into the JNA?
7 A. I think, as I indicated some time ago, in this process of
8 mobilisation, some Serbs in local communities would be
9 mobilised into the territorial defence forces and others
10 would be mobilised into the JNA reserve, and in this case
11 I think both happened.
12 Q. From your enquiries, what happened to the non-Serbs who
13 held government posts in Vlasenica following the
15 A. Following the occupation, the non-Serbs in significant
16 political positions were removed from their positions; the
17 reports that some were killed, some were taken to a
18 particular point of detention.
19 Q. Were restrictions placed upon the movement of non-Serbs in
20 this Opstina?
21 A. Consistent with the pattern of activity I think
22 I identified a short time ago, in the Vlasenica case as
23 well restrictions were imposed on the movement of
24 non-Serbs. The non-Serbs were either -- in many cases
25 were dismissed from their jobs if they held senior
1 positions. Some of those who were allowed to continue
2 working could only work if they could move. They could
3 only move if they had a special permit because they were
4 allowed because of the special employment -- because of
5 the special nature of their employment.
6 Q. Did the paramilitary groups that you spoke of earlier in
7 your evidence play any role, so far as you were able to
8 discover, in relation to the attack upon Vlasenica?
9 A. There were some reports of the presence of paramilitary
10 groups in the area.
11 Q. Are you aware of the name of those groups?
12 A. I no longer recall the names of the groups, but I do
13 believe that the groups of -- I have a -- I think I recall
14 that the group led by Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan), "The
15 Tigers", was in the area.
16 Q. Also from your enquiries, were you able to establish
17 whether or not a camp of the sort that you described in
18 your evidence earlier established in Vlasenica?
19 A. There was -- a camp of the type I was describing was
20 established and it was named, and the name was given to it
21 was Susica.
22 MR. NIEMANN: Would your Honour excuse me a moment? Those are
23 the questions that I wish to direct to this witness, your
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Judge Odio Benito would
1 like to ask some
3 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Was there a tradition of tolerance between
4 the different religious groups in the former republic of
5 Yugoslavia? Perhaps closely related with this, how did
6 the people of the different republics get along before
8 THE WITNESS: The answer to a question of that
9 kind, I suspect,
10 to be comprehensive would have to be very extensive and
11 very long. If you permit me, I will try to give a brief
12 answer to it which I recognise is likely to be a little
14 The relationships between the different religious and
15 ethnic groups in the SFRY, I think, to a large extent
16 depends on area. For the most part, relationships between
17 the different groups were harmonious. There is reason to
18 suppose that in some parts of Croatia those areas
19 particularly in which there was intense fighting and in
20 which there was massacre of Serbs in the Second World War,
21 that they continued after the -- under Tito's Yugoslavia
22 there continued to be some difficulties, some ethnic
23 tensions in those areas. I find it very hard to say more
24 than that without having been in this place through all
25 that time and experienced it myself.
1 I am aware also that in the province of Kosovo, which
2 I recall I mentioned earlier in the day, with the majority
3 of Albanians in the area but with some Serbs, and with the
4 idea that if it had been a very important place within
5 Serbian culture, they were quite clearly tensions within
6 the community there between the Serbs and the Albanians.
7 For the most part in the rest of Yugoslavia, it would
8 seem to me fair to say that there was a reasonable degree
9 of tolerance in relationships between the differing
10 communities, but that this probably has to be -- in saying
11 this, you probably have to think that what is general has
12 to be pitched against considerations in particular areas
13 and in particular local communities.
14 In the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has often
15 been said that Bosnia could be recognised as a place in
16 which there was great harmony between the different
17 groups, and I think that it is fair to say that for most
18 parts of Bosnia, particularly for the main urban areas.
19 I would add, though, that I am aware that there was
20 some parts of Bosnia, particularly in the course of the
21 1970s and 80s, as there were processes of migration from
22 Serbia into Serbian both by Muslims and by Serbs, that
23 people with a slightly different perspective were changing
24 the balance in some areas. I can say no more than that.
25 It would be very hard to construe any firm conclusion from
1 that, but I do think it is the kind of thing which is
2 worth noting if you want to try to understand and try to
3 get a feel for this question of the tolerance between the
5 There was a considerable degree of tolerance. It was
6 probably never quite the brotherhood and unity in most
7 places that Tito and the communists wanted it to be, but
8 that a lot of the time people were able without much
9 problem to get on with each other and to work side by side
10 where they needed to.
11 JUDGE ODIO-BENITO: Thank you.
12 JUDGE RIAD: Mr. Gow, I gathered at various times in your
13 testimony that there was an undissimulated military
14 participation of Serbian and Montenegro forces in the
15 conflict; is that right?
16 A. Sorry, would you repeat the question?
17 Q. There was an undissimulated participation of the military
18 forces of Serbia in the conflict?
19 A. An un?
20 Q. Undisputed, I mean, it was clear. One of the forces you
21 mentioned, there was -- I quote your words -- a planned
22 and co-ordinated attack in spring 1992. Co-ordinated by
24 A. The plan, in my judgment, was planned and co-ordinated by
25 elements in the JNA and by elements in the Serbian
1 Security Services and in the Federal Security Services of
2 by then the former SFRY. I believe in testimony
3 I mentioned that, in my interpretation, the Deputy Federal
4 Interior Minister in the SFRY, Mihail Kertes, and the Head
5 of the Serbian Security Services, Radmilo Bogdanovic, were
6 implicated in the organisation of these forces, and that
7 elements within the JNA were also involved in organising
8 the paramilitaries and in planning and carrying out the
9 series of attacks.
10 We should note that at the time we are talking about
11 the attacks that it was elements of the JNA which were
12 present in Bosnia, and that were involved in the actions
13 taking place as they had been in Croatia before that, but
14 that in the case of Bosnia it was quite clearly elements
15 of JNA acting under command from Belgrade which were
16 involved in the initial phase of the war in April and May
17 1992 until Belgrade, in face of the prospects of UN
18 Security Council action, decided to carry out this action
19 by which they divided the JNA into the army of the Serbian
20 republic in Bosnia and the army of Yugoslavia.
21 Q. You mentioned May 1992.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Was that after the date Bosnia was recognised as a State?
24 A. That was -- Bosnia was generally recognised as having
25 independent, international personality on 7th April 1992,
1 and it was on 22nd May 1992 that the Belgrade decided to
2 divide the JNA into the army of the Serbian republic in
3 Bosnia and the army of Yugoslavia. So, therefore, it was
4 after the date on which Bosnia was generally recognised.
5 Q. As a State?
6 A. As a State.
7 Q. At another instance you mentioned that there were some
8 kind of detention camps in Serbia for Bosnians?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Was it for military people or for civilians? The
11 detention camps were in Serbia?
12 A. The camps to which I referred ---
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. -- were on the territory of Serbia in Sremska Mitrovica
15 and at Batajnica. As far as I recall, the camps included
16 military personnel. Without checking, I would hesitate to
17 be certain that they involved civilians but I believe they
18 might have done.
19 Q. Were they treated as war prisoners or what was their
21 A. Their status, as far as I can see, their status was not
22 clearly defined.
23 JUDGE RIAD: Thank you very much.
24 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I would like to ask you
25 whether you know
1 whether the concept of ethnic cleansing is to be found
2 somewhere, either officially or less official, in
3 documents or proclamations as organised plans?
4 A. The term ethnic cleansing has been widely used. It does
5 have some history, but it has come to prominence and has
6 been used in a widespread way in connection with the war
7 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, particularly, with the
8 Serbian campaign there.
9 The term is often attributed to one of the Serbian
10 paramilitary leaders, Vojislav Seselj, in the current
11 context. It has also been used by one of the other
12 Serbian paramilitary leaders, Zeljko Raznjatovic (Arkan),
13 and there is some film evidence, I believe, in which Arkan
14 is giving instructions to his troops to be careful in this
15 particular cleansing operation.
16 But to say that there is some official document in
17 which a plan for ethnic cleansing appears, I think, would
18 be to take -- would be to make too strong a statement.
19 I have seen no evidence of an official document in which
20 the term "ethnic cleansing" is used, but the term has been
21 used and it has been used by some of the people involved
22 n the activity that they have been carrying out.
23 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Any other questions?
24 MR. NIEMANN: No, your Honour.
25 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] No. In that case, the
1 court would like
2 to thank Dr. Gow for your complete, compact and detailed
3 testimony. I think you have finished for the moment,
4 Mr. Prosecutor; is that correct?
5 MR. NIEMANN: That is correct, your Honour.
6 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Perhaps one could
7 accompany the witness
8 before we adjourn because I would like the witness to be
9 taken out before we discuss a further point.
10 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases.
11 (The witness withdrew)
12 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] We are going to resume, if
13 you do not
14 mind, at 4.20. We will have a 15 minute break, and
15 I would like to ask you right now whether the first
16 witness will do as we have already arranged, namely, the
17 possibility to disclose his identity, name, address and
18 elements of identification, but he must be informed of his
19 rights that he will be concealed from the cameras. We
20 would like to know how we should call him when he gives
21 his testimony.
22 MR. NIEMANN: If your Honour pleases, I had put in train a
23 process where I was to be informed if the witness had
24 changed his mind in relation to giving evidence in
25 public. I have not received any messages so I can only
1 assume that is the case, but during the course of the
2 adjournment I will check again. If there is any
3 alteration in that position, I will have a Mesic brought
4 to your Honour to that effect. I just might say, however,
5 your Honour, that I would, irrespective of the position of
6 the witness, request that the address of the witness not
7 be revealed in the course of evidence in any event.
8 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] That is what you have
9 agreed with the
10 first witness you are going to call upon?
11 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour. With respect to the question
12 of the address, I would ask that none of the witnesses'
13 addresses be given in public. I certainly will not ask
14 the witness to give his or her address and I would ask
15 that not be asked of the witness.
16 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] We can go along with that
17 completely. So
18 we will meet back here in 15 minutes.
19 (Short Adjournment)
20 4.30 p.m.
21 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] You have the floor, Mr.
23 MR. NIEMANN: Thank you, your Honour. Your Honour, in relation
24 to the next witness that we wish to call, this witness has
25 informed me during the break that he wishes to give his
1 evidence in public. We would, therefore, request that the
2 order of non-disclosure that applies in relation to this
3 witness, and in so for as it applies to this witness, that
4 it be lifted.
5 Your Honour, it is our understanding that the
6 addresses of the witnesses would not ordinarily be given,
7 and certainly it would not be the intention of myself or
8 the Prosecution to ask the witness the address, but if
9 there is any ambiguity about it I would ask that the order
10 for non-disclosure remain in force in so far as it would
11 apply to the address of the witness. Subject to that,
12 I would ask that it be lifted in relation to this witness.
13 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Could you specify for
14 which witnesses,
15 because now we can name them?
16 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, I can specify the name of the witness that
17 I would now seek to call, that witness being Munib
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I look at my colleagues to
20 see if they
21 agree, Judge Riad. We will partially lift and I ask the
22 Registrar to take note that we will lift the order of
23 non-disclosure partially as regards the identification
24 elements, except for the address, and generally speaking
25 to meet the request of the Prosecutor formulated just
1 before the pause, all eyewitnesses which will have until
2 the 18th October we agree that the minimum degree of
3 protection will be the address which will remain private.
4 Therefore, we will take note of this change and amendment
5 and, if you like, we can now ask the witness Munib
6 Ahmetovic that he takes the oath and then answers the
7 questions that you put to him relating to his testimony.
8 MR. NIEMANN: If it pleases, your Honour.
9 MUNIB AHMETOVIC, Sworn.
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Do you hear me? Can you
11 hear the
12 translation, the interpretation?
13 THE WITNESS: [Original in Bosnian] Yes.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Can you hear the translation
15 from French
16 into your language? Could you please remain standing to
17 read the oath which I believe you have before you. We are
18 listening to you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Original in Bosnian] I solemnly declare that I shall
20 speak the truth,
21 the only truth and nothing but the truth.
22 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Please be seated, sir.
23 Please sit down.
24 Before the Prosecutor puts his questions to you which will
25 be the general guideline, I would like to tell you that
1 the court is aware of the conditions under which you wish
2 to testify. It was stated that you have been completely
3 informed of the rights which are granted to you for your
4 own protection.
5 On behalf of my colleagues and myself, and I think
6 also on behalf of the Prosecutor and the Registrar,
7 I would like to tell you that you are here within the
8 legal framework, and that what the Tribunal wants above
9 everything else is that you can relate your testimony as
10 serenely as possible with the knowledge that you are going
11 to be protected by the Tribunal. I would also like to
12 inform you that the Tribunal and all the legal
13 participants are fully aware of all you have done to try
14 to come here in The Hague, far away from your home, to
15 relate to us what you have seen, suffered and often
16 heard. Before starting, I would like to tell you if at
17 any point of time whatsoever you have difficulties,
18 regardless of its nature, do not hesitate to inform us.
19 Mr. Prosecutor, you now have the floor.
20 MR. NIEMANN: As your Honour pleases.
21 Your name is Munib Ahmetovic?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Where were you born?
24 A. I was born in Skugrici, the Opstina of Vlasenica, Bosnia
25 Herzegovina, on 12th August 1960.
1 Q. Where did you live from the time of your birth?
2 A. I lived in the region of Opstina Vlasenica, except for the
3 five years of my education, schooling, and 13 months of
4 working in the Opstina of Travnik.
5 Q. What was your work in the Opstina of Vlasenica?
6 A. In the Opstina of Vlasenica I was a religious official or
7 worker. I was an Imam.
8 Q. Can you for the benefit their Honours give a short
9 explanation of the role that was performed by an Imam?
10 A. An Imam is a person who works in a given area, which might
11 be several housing communities, local communities. He is
12 the leader, a religious leader, of all the citizens who
13 feel as believers in that area. I was that kind of
14 official in Vlasenica, in the town of Vlasenica, which
15 included also several villages, which covered several
16 villages; some 20 hamlets and small villages were also
17 part of my area and they belong under my Jamut, "Jamut"
18 meaning the community of religious people, congregation of
19 faithful. I was working in Vlasenica from 1st February
21 Q. And the religion is the religion of Islam; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Perhaps you might expand just a little for their Honours
24 on where the Imam fits in the hierarchy of religious
25 people that work in the religion of Islam?
1 A. An Imam is a person who is in direct contact with people,
2 with the believers, with the faithful people. He has full
3 authority in working with people in his area. He has a
4 person above him that is the chief or main Imam, so there
5 are several Imams sort of reporting to a main or chief
6 Imam. Above this there is a republican level, the
7 hierarchy goes up, and this is called the Supreme body,
8 the Supreme Court for the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
9 Then there is the Riasset which is still higher, where the
10 main leader of the Islam community is Raes Illuema, that
11 is his title.
12 Q. In Vlasenica did you work in the mosque in Vlasenica?
13 A. Yes, sir.
14 Q. I think you may have mentioned earlier, but did you
15 receive special training to become an Imam?
16 A. Yes, in order to become an Imam one had at least to
17 complete secondary religious school, secondary
18 denominational school, which is the Gazi (indecipherable)
19 Madresa in Sarajevo. At the time when I was at that
20 school it lasted for five years, the education lasted for
21 five years.
22 Q. If you would, I would ask you to cast your mind back to
23 21st April of 1992. Were you then at that stage in the
24 town of Vlasenica?
25 A. Yes, I was, I was in the town of Vlasenica.
1 Q. At about 7 a.m. on that morning of that date of 21st April
2 1992, can you remember what happened on that day?
3 A. Yes, I remember. I woke up around 7 o'clock that
4 morning. I know very well it was a Tuesday on 21st April
5 1992. As I was waking up I felt, I heard rather
6 detonations or explosions. At first I thought that I was
7 dreaming, but then I got up and I went to the toilet and
8 as I was washing in the bathroom I heard explosions very
9 loudly because my bathroom window was open, and I realised
10 at that moment that Vlasenica was being occupied.
11 Q. Were you home alone or were you with members of your
12 family at that time?
13 A. At that time I was alone. My family was in my native
14 village of Skugrici.
15 Q. When you heard these detonations going on, what did you
17 A. I decided to leave the town, because my car was parked in
18 front of my house. At 7.30 precisely I walked towards
19 employ car. Entering the car, or as I approached the car,
20 there was nobody in the street, at least I did not see
21 anybody, and approaching the car I first came with my
22 keys, I tried to open the door, unlock the door, but as
23 I was unlocking the door somebody said, "You by the car
24 there, enter the car and sit down", and I did that.
25 Q. Did you know at that moment where the voice came from?
1 A. I was not quite sure, but I assumed that it must have come
2 from a neighbouring house or building.
3 Q. What did you do?
4 A. Well, I did as told, I entered it, my vehicle.
5 Q. What happened next after that?
6 A. For some 20 minutes I remained in the car and then I tried
7 to get out.
8 Q. What happened when you tried to get out of the car?
9 A. At that moment I heard a voice again which told me:
10 "I told you to go into the car", it was a very sharp
11 voice, "If I don't hit you, if I don't not shoot at you
12 there will be somebody else shooting from the other
13 building." So I raised my head and I looked round and
14 saw, on neighbouring buildings I saw armed people in
15 camouflage uniforms. So I came back to my car.
16 Q. At that moment did you recognise the uniform that the
17 people were wearing?
18 A. Yes, the camouflage uniforms were of the kind worn by the
19 former army.
20 Q. When you say "the former army", what army are you
21 referring to?
22 A. I am referring to the army of the Yugoslav National Army,
23 the JNA, which I had served myself.
24 Q. So you got back into the car. What happened then?
25 A. Some 15 minutes later a car, a police car, came along with
1 three persons in that car, and they stopped near my car.
2 They asked me who I was. When I told them I was an Imam
3 they said that they were actually looking for me and they
4 invited me to come in their own car.
5 Q. Were you armed at the time?
6 A. I had a pistol for which I also had a permit.
7 Q. Did you recognise the people that invited you to get into
8 the police car?
9 A. No.
10 Q. What happened after that?
11 A. When I entered their car they asked me whether I was
12 armed. I said, yes, I had a pistol, and they took it away
13 from me. Then I entered their car. Then they asked me,
14 they told me they were commanders of the Serbian Special
15 Guards and that they are now disarming the Muslims. They
16 told me that since I was the Imam, that I was a
17 respectable a person, and they asked me that I should
18 invite all the Muslims to hand in their weapons. At that
19 moment I told them that that was counter to my vocation
20 and my knowledge and on my position as an Imam, but after
21 that they very crudely and sharply said: "You must do it
22 or you won't be there any more." I saw that I had no
23 chance, stood no chance of resisting, so I accepted what
24 they asked me.
25 Q. Perhaps you could just tell us again, what was it
1 precisely they wanted you to do?
2 A. They actually wanted me as an Imam to invite the Muslims
3 of Vlasenica to return or hand in their weapons.
4 Q. So what happened after that?
5 A. Since I agreed to do this we started driving through the
6 town. They invited people, then they asked me to invite
7 people as well, to repeat their words, to speak them, to
8 speak these words, but also first identify myself to
9 say, "This is your Imam speaking, Munib Ahmetovic".
10 Q. When you said these words, did you say it just with your
11 natural voice or was your voice amplified in any way?
12 A. My voice was amplified. They had a megaphone, the car
13 megaphone, police car megaphone.
14 Q. As you were travelling around Vlasenica, did you see any
15 armed Muslims in the area?
16 A. No, I did not see any and I am sure there were no such
18 Q. Were any deadlines set in order for people to surrender
19 their weapons?
20 A. I remember very well that the first deadline was 9.15 in
21 the morning, 9.15, for the handing in of the weapons at
22 specified points: in front of the department store, in
23 front of the police station and in the hospital, local
25 Q. You said the first deadline, was that later extended?
1 A. Yes. They extended it until 11 o'clock roughly.
2 Q. In the Mesic that you gave to the Muslim people of
3 Vlasenica, were you required to say anything about the
4 position of the Serbian people in the town, in other
5 words, were you asked to make any statements about the
6 position of the army or the position of the Serbian
8 A. I do not quite understand the question.
9 Q. OK. Were you told to tell the people that the town had
10 been surrounded by the Serbian forces?
11 A. Yes. Perhaps I might tell you the kinds of words which
12 they asked me and forced me to utter.
13 Q. If you would.
14 A. They told me that I should say the words which they had
15 first said, roughly like along the following lines: "This
16 is Munib Ahmetovic speaking, your Imam speaking.
17 Vlasenica is surrounded. The authority has been taken
18 over by the Serbian Special Guards and we ask you to come
19 to the collection points in front of the department store,
20 the police station and the hospital to hand in your
21 weapons until or before the particular deadline 9.15 or
22 11 o'clock later. Unless you do this we will destroy the
23 city or the town. We guarantee or the Serbian Special
24 Guards guarantee to you use all complete security if you
25 hand in your weapons." That roughly was the Mesic which
1 I was asked to say.
2 Q. So far as you were aware, was that order to the Muslim
3 people complied with?
4 A. Yes, it was.
5 Q. Did you know where the Serbian headquarters were in
6 Vlasenica at this time?
7 A. Yes, I knew that. As they were driving me through the
8 car, because I was in their car all the time except for
9 short times that I was allowed outside the car, they were
10 the commanders of the forces occupying Vlasenica, so they
11 came to their headquarters which was at the Panorama
12 Hotel. They also entered the police station, the local
13 police station, building.
14 Q. OK. While you were driving around in the car, did you
15 overhear any conversation that was going on between the
16 Serbian policemen that were driving you about?
17 A. Yes, I heard what they were saying to each other. They
18 were giving some orders, or they were saying things are
19 proceeding satisfactorily or not proceeding or something
20 like that. At one point I felt, it was later, I actually
21 felt that they were satisfied that what has been achieved
22 is exactly what they wanted. You could see it in their
23 faces. Also they mentioned the names of the more
24 respectable people, citizens of Vlasenica, so they say:
25 "This is the house of Fadil Turkovic" who until that time
1 had been the local police commander in Vlasenica, and they
2 pointed out some other buildings. Then you could feel
3 that they were sort of expecting some people to return.
4 Fadil Turkovic, the former police commander, they asked
5 him to come back to Vlasenica. They had some contact with
6 him but he did not return.
7 Q. Was Turkovic a Muslim?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. When you speak of prominent citizens of Vlasenica, to what
10 particular ethnic group are you making reference, if any?
11 A. They were only looking for Muslim citizens, Muslim
12 respectable or respectable Muslims.
13 Q. You said earlier in your evidence that the forces that
14 were the JNA forces that were in the town and you
15 recognised the uniform, did you happen to know what Corps
16 the JNA forces were that were involved in the military
17 exercises in Vlasenica?
18 A. I did not know it at that time, but later I spoke to many
19 Muslim citizens of Vlasenica who had been in contact with
20 the soldiers with whom they drank coffee sometimes, and
21 they told me that these soldiers told them they later that
22 they were part of the Novi Sad Corps.
23 Q. In addition to what you told the Muslim people when you
24 were speaking to them, were you also told to tell the
25 Muslim people to gather at a particular point?
1 A. Towards the end of that mission, around 10 o'clock, they
2 started calling up the citizens to come to the square in
3 front of the Civic Hall House of Culture, and they said
4 one of the commanders would address them and that I would
5 address them as their Imam. This exactly happened, at
6 o'clock there was such a meeting.
7 Q. You attended at that place at 11 o'clock, did you?
8 A. Yes, I was there.
9 Q. About how many people had gathered at that spot?
10 A. Some 100 roughly.
11 Q. Can you just tell us what happened there?
12 A. The first to speak was one of the military commanders. He
13 addressed these people, telling them that they are the
14 Serbian Special Guards, that they have taken over all rule
15 in Vlasenica, that they have occupied Vlasenica, and that
16 they had taken the weapons from the Muslims and that they
17 guaranteed security for all citizens of Vlasenica, so that
18 nobody should fear anything or that no one had any reason
19 to flee Vlasenica.
20 They asked me to say the same thing more or less in
21 the same terms, so that I should confirm what they were
22 saying and that is what happened. I actually spoke the
23 words which they had spoken, so I simply repeated those
24 words, which was very difficult for me and hard for me to
25 do because I knew this was not true. I knew that
1 Vlasenica had no security and people had no security.
2 I saw the Muslim police having been disarmed, that in all
3 functions and all services there were only Serbs now, no
4 Muslims, and that in this situation the Muslims citizens
5 cannot hope to have any security. But I had to say what
6 they asked me to say and what they had said. But I added
7 my own sentence which was like this, I said: "Citizens of
8 Vlasenica, residents of Vlasenica, authorities come and
9 go, one another, the third one, but people remain and
10 people will always have to live here regardless of what
11 happens. So you be patient, try to be patient, try to go
12 through this period."
13 In my speech, which was very brief (I spoke for five
14 to 10 minutes perhaps), I had two applauses, heard
15 applause at two points, but it was very painful for me
16 because I knew what I was saying was not true. The
17 applause showed that the Muslims had not expected what was
18 happening, and they were sort of happy. Regardless of the
19 changed of authority they felt, well, this is new
20 authority and they applauded saying that they will
21 continue to live and respect this authority, which was not
22 their authority, which was not democratic, which was an
23 oppressive one.
24 Q. Among the members of the Serbian forces that were there,
25 did you recognise any local Serbian people who were
1 members of those?
2 A. Yes, I did. I recognised Goran Viskovic, nicknamed
3 Vjetar, who was in the same camouflage uniforms as the
4 forces that had occupied Vlasenica. I also saw Danilo
5 Jokic while many were camouflaged, disguised with paints
6 over their face, black, red, blue, green. There may have
7 been other people I knew but I did not recognise them
8 because of the painting, but I did recognise those two.
9 I also saw, not in the same uniforms but in the uniform of
10 the Reserve Force of the Former Yugoslav Army, I saw
11 several individuals.
12 Q. Can you describe in a little more detail for the benefit
13 of the Chamber the type of camouflage that the men had on
14 their faces and how it appeared?
15 A. They were painted with different colours and changed the
16 appearance of their faces completely. There was black
17 colour, green, blue, so you could see only their eyes,
18 everything was painted, everything else was painted over.
19 Q. But apart from that they were then also dressed in
20 military uniform, were they?
21 A. Yes. They had camouflage uniforms, fatigues, worn by
22 soldiers, the same uniforms they wear today, to this day.
23 They are predominantly green, but various other colours
24 too; the type of uniform which is adapted to different
25 seasons and especially to the environment of the area.
1 Q. That is what you described a moment earlier I think as the
2 camouflage uniform.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. These people from the specialised units had said that they
5 had taken over various strategic points in the town of
6 Vlasenica. Did you feel that that was true from what you
7 were able to observe at the time?
8 A. Yes, I did see that it was true, because driving around
9 the town, and I covered the whole town, I saw in front of
10 all important institutions, such as the municipality
11 building, the police building, the hospital, the Hall of
12 Culture, the big companies and enterprises, I saw peoples
13 in uniform, people in uniform, in the same uniform armed
14 with weapons standing there as security.
15 Q. When you were driving around in the car did you see any
16 shooting take place?
17 A. Yes, I saw them shooting, members of those units were
18 shooting, and when they saw that I had seen it the people
19 in the car who with me, who were driving me around, said
20 that it was the Muslims who were doing the shooting which
21 was definitely not true.
22 Q. Did you see any armed Muslims at all in the area while you
23 were travelling around in the car?
24 A. No, I did not. There were no armed Muslims except the
25 ones which were handing over their weapons, mostly just
1 rifles and pistols.
2 Q. What did you do after this?
3 A. You mean after 11 o'clock?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. I went to a Bosnian cafe. I met my colleague there,
6 Mr. Bego Selimovic, who had spent the previous night in
7 the apartment of his cousin and was not able to leave
8 until 10 o'clock because his cousin was working in the
9 bakery and had left before 5 a.m., and since the bakery
10 had been occupied too, his cousin knowing that he was in
11 the flat had sent him, had sent a Serb to open the
12 apartment for him otherwise he could not have gotten out.
13 Therefore, he was prevented from surrendering the pistol
14 which he had a permit for. So he asked me to go with him
15 to the police station so he could hand over the pistol for
16 which he had a permit which is what we did.
17 Q. What happened when you did that?
18 A. When we went to our houses?
19 Q. Yes. Did you hand in the weapons after you had agreed?
20 A. No, we did not. They returned the pistol to me and they
21 did not take his at all.
22 Q. So what you are saying is that the pistol that you had
23 possession of you gave to the Serbian police; they kept it
24 for a while and then gave it back to you, is that right?
25 A. Yes, that is right.
1 Q. Was that the same with the pistol of your friend?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So after this you went back to your home, did you?
4 A. They did not take away his pistol on that occasion.
5 Q. OK. After this what did you do? Did you then go home?
6 A. Yes, we went to our houses for a while.
7 Q. What happened then? What happened next?
8 A. After a certain time aware of the situation in which we
9 were, tried to get in contact with some friends of mine,
10 Muslims. I tried to ring them, many of them. I could not
11 reach them, probably because of the situation, because
12 I myself could not move around much. So I telephoned
13 Redjo Hatunic who was a teacher in the secondary school
14 solely to exchange opinions with him, what to do in such a
15 situation. I greeted him with the Islamic greeting of
16 "Selam". The response was also the same, in very good
17 pronunciation, "Selam", from the person at the other end
18 of the line. I asked if it was Redjo. The response was
19 that this is the Commander of the Special Serbian Guard.
20 Then he added: "You see Ofendija" which is a title of
21 honour, "how well I can say this." I looked for Redjo and
22 he let me speak to Redjo. I asked Redjo how he was. In
23 an excited voice he spoke to me, saying: "What shall
24 I tell you? What can I tell you? You see, they are
25 searching my house. They are looking for weapons and
1 I don't have any." Then he hung up.
2 About two hours after that I again called the same
3 number to try to reach Redjo Hatunic because I was curious
4 what was going on with him. His wife took my call, Nila
5 Hatunic is her name, who told me that he had been taken
6 away. I have never seen him since, and Nila Hatunic,
7 Redjo Hatunic's wife, in 1993 when I went to the Tuzla
8 region where I saw Nila Hatunic I found out from her that
9 Redjo had never returned.
10 Q. What then happened after that?
11 A. That evening we did not dare spend the night in our flats,
12 so we spent the night with our neighbours, Ismed and Amin
13 Gobalic, and this is how the day was spent.
14 Q. The next day, what happened then?
15 A. The day after that we did not have the courage to go to
16 our flats, or we did so very rarely, but still in the
17 afternoon we went to our flat. Of the several Muslim
18 young men in the street in front of the house, these young
19 men told us that eight men in camouflage uniforms, those
20 who had occupied Vlasenica, had been walking around our
21 flat. It was clear to us they were looking for us. So we
22 went into the flat, took some of the basic necessities and
23 then went to a neighbouring flat, the one occupied by
24 Fikret Dautovic where we spent the night.
25 Q. What did you then do after that?
1 A. We made a firm decision to try to leave Vlasenica, but in
2 the beginning we did not know how to. Early in the
3 morning my colleague Bego Selimovic came to the idea for
4 us to call by telephone our colleague the Serbian priest
5 Milorad Golijanin and ask his help, ask for his help.
6 Q. He was the Serbian priest of Vlasenica, was he?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. The priest of what religion?
9 A. Serbian religion, orthodox Serbian, orthodox priest.
10 Q. OK. What happened then?
11 A. Exactly at 7 o'clock Bego, my colleague, telephoned the
12 orthodox priest Milorad Golijanin and told him our wish,
13 about our wish. He said: "I know what you need. Wait for
14 me, I will be there in half an hour."
15 Q. What happened then?
16 A. Exactly at 7.30 the Serbian priest was in front of our
17 flat. I invited him for coffee which he said "No" to,
18 saying that it was not time to drink coffee and that we
19 should immediately go to take care of what we need to do.
20 Q. Did you get the impression from what he said to you and
21 his appearance that he was prepared to help you?
22 A. Certainly.
23 Q. So what did you do then?
24 A. So we went to the former Bauxite company, Bauxite mining
25 company, administrative building, and we heard from people
1 we met there that this was the crisis headquarters for the
2 Opstina of Vlasenica.
3 Q. What happened when you got there?
4 A. There we met Milenko Stanic who until that time, until the
5 occupation, before the occupation, had been the mayor of
6 Opstina of Vlasenica.
7 Q. Was Milenko Stanic a Muslim?
8 A. No, he was a Serb.
9 Q. What happened then?
10 A. We met here also another Stanic, I think his first name
11 was Slobodan, who was in the uniform of the Reserve Forces
12 of the Former Yugoslav Army. I know that his rank was
13 that of a captain and, according to information which
14 I learned later, he was the commander of the Reserve
15 Troops which remained in Vlasenica following the
16 withdrawal of the shock troops which had occupied that
18 Q. Was he wearing a uniform?
19 A. Yes, he was uniformed.
20 Q. You say it was the crisis headquarters in Vlasenica. Why
21 did you go to that place?
22 A. In that building, that was the Bauxite company
23 administrative building, this was the town which had
24 actually been abandoned just before the occupation of
25 Vlasenica, because the Bauxite company was a company which
1 was the largest and economically most solvent company in
2 Opstina of Vlasenica. So just before the occupation of
3 Vlasenica they had left this administrative building
4 knowing that it would be -- they went moved to Milici,
5 that is another village, leaving this building for the
6 occupying headquarters.
7 Q. When you got to this place, did the Serbian priest say
8 anything to the people that appeared to be in charge?
9 A. Let me just say before that, that in addition to two
10 Stanics there was also Danilo Jokic who was in a special
11 uniform. So the Serbian priest addressed those present
12 with a request. He said: "Well, you know, we know that
13 you have special passes allowing people to leave the
14 town. You know these people that I am bringing, which
15 means myself and my colleague. Don't let anything happen
16 to him and, if possible, give them the passes so they can
17 leave the town. I know that they feel uncomfortable in
18 this situation, so please help them." These were the words
19 of the priest.
20 Q. What did the Serbian officials then say?
21 A. The two Stanics were very nonchalant, very jovial. They
22 said there is no need, why would we need the passes, we
23 are not in confinement, we can move freely, that is what
24 they said, but Danilo Jokic spoke in very ugly terms and
25 he was very rude to the Serbian priest, saying there was
1 no need for us, he said: "Why are you advocating their
2 cause? If they need something they should come on their
3 own." However, nobody gave us any pass and they actually
4 notified the priest that the passes were issued by the
5 police station and not by them. They also said that the
6 chief of the police station had been replaced or rather
7 the head of the department of the interior of the city,
8 Rade Bjelanovic, was changed and there was a new name Mane
10 Q. So after this, after you had been told this, what did you
11 then do?
12 A. Well, we left the building and the Serbian priest and my
13 colleague Bego left in his car, and I was in my car and we
14 moved to the interior department of the city.
15 Q. When you say "the interior department of the city", is
16 that often referred to as the SUP?
17 A. Yes, we used to call it SUP.
18 Q. Tell us what happened then?
19 A. In front of the police station we met the new head of SUP,
20 Mane Dzuric, who had a briefcase, and I remember this very
21 well. The Serbian priest approached him and said: "You
22 know these people", because he knew us of course. "We are
23 coming to you" said the Serbian priest "to ask whether you
24 can help." He took us to his office in which the story
25 was the same as in the crisis headquarters. The Serbian
1 priest again asked for the passes for the two of us, and
2 at one point the former head of the SUP, Rade Bjelanovic,
3 also came. So both Rade Bjelanovic and Mane Dzuric were
4 both Serbs. So the previous head of the interior and the
5 second was Serbs. But again they did not give us the
6 passes. They said, "You don't need that".
7 Q. Then what happened?
8 A. We left the office, but in the ante room to that office
9 the Serbian priest was called back then; he was told to go
10 back to the main office. So we waited for him and when he
11 came for the second time, when he emerged, we noticed a
12 great change in his face. As we were leaving the
13 building, walking towards our cars, he told us: "These are
14 the bandits, there is a gang of people," those that he had
15 visited. "I am afraid even for myself, even I don't feel
16 secure any more." So we came to our cars and then he
17 said: "If you wish to go towards Kladanj I will take you
18 in my car and I take that responsibility."
19 He and my colleague Bego Selimovic actually sat in
20 his car, that was Yugo brand. I sat in my car. So they
21 moved, they drove off towards Kladanj and I drove towards
22 my house or my apartment.
23 Q. The colleague that you referred to, Selimovic Bego, was he
24 also an Imam?
25 A. You mean Bego Selimovic?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. Bjelanovic is a Serb. Bjelanovic is a Serb and Mane
3 Dzuric are Serbs.
4 Q. It is my pronunciation that has confused. Bego Selimovic?
5 A. Bego Selimovic is a Muslim.
6 Q. You call him your colleague?
7 A. He is my colleague.
8 Q. My question is, was he like you also an Imam?
9 A. Yes, of course. Yes, he was.
10 Q. I interrupted what you were saying, but you said that you
11 got into the car after the Serbian priest had offered to
12 take you to Kladanj. What happened then?
13 A. I said I would not go to Kladanj because my family was in
14 Skugrici. So the two of them sat in the Serb priest's
15 car, so my colleague Bego Selimovic and the Serb priest
16 sat in the Serb priest's car and they headed towards
18 Q. Where did you go?
19 A. And I headed towards my house, or rather my apartment.
20 Q. What happened then?
21 A. When I came in front of my building I saw in the rear view
22 mirror of my car, I saw another car, that same car which
23 on the first day the police used to drive me round the
24 city, that car now overtook me and stopped in front of me,
25 and the three persons, three men, the three commanders as
1 they called themselves, they came and my colleague Bego
2 Selimovic actually came out of that car, emerged out of
3 the car, because they had been stopped at the first
4 checkpoint outside Vlasenica and they were returned. So
5 I came out of my car and we went to my apartment. They
6 took our guns, my pistols, my pistol and my colleague's
7 pistol, and they searched my apartment.
8 Q. What happened after that?
9 A. Then they took us to the police station.
10 Q. When you got to the police station what happened then?
11 A. In the police station were these three people, these three
12 commanders of the Special Guards, and there was another
13 person there in the same uniform, in the same camouflage
14 uniform. Then there was also myself and my colleague,
15 plus two people who were in civilian clothes and who were
16 local Serbs. They were Zoran Pantic for whom I know that
17 he was married, I knew that he had been married to a
18 Muslim woman, Maria Masmilovic, and there was a second
19 person Ljuban Stanisic of whom I know that he used to work
20 as an administrative clerk in SUP issuing identification
22 Q. When you went to the police station what did they then do?
23 A. They put before us empty sheets of paper, blank sheets of
24 paper, and said: "These are the papers that you should use
25 to write everything that you know about the weapons owned
1 by Muslims, about the main Muslim people, who they are,
2 where they are and so on."
3 Q. Do you remember who it was in particular that gave you
4 this piece of paper?
5 A. I think that paper was handed to me and to my colleague
6 also by one of these three commanders, those from the car
7 who all the time spoke about himself, referred to himself
8 as a commander of the Serbian Special Guards. He had long
9 hair down to his shoulders and if I could see him today
10 I would recognise him.
11 Q. Did you write anything on the paper that you were given?
12 A. At first, no. After a couple of minutes when they saw we
13 were not writing at all, they took away my colleague Bego
14 Selimovic, they said: "Now we'll separate you", and then
15 I never saw Bego Selimovic again until 1994 when I came to
16 the liberated territory. I remained alone in that room.
17 For a long time I did not write anything. I was looking,
18 staring at this paper, saying to myself: I don't know
19 anything, I won't write anything. However, they told me
20 that I know things, that I am one of the main organisers
21 of resistance, that they have all the data about me,
22 alleged data. I denied everything. I said, "All of this
23 is not true, I have nothing. I don't know anything.
24 There is no resistance" I told them.
25 Q. What happened then?
1 A. Seeing that I am not writing anything, at one point they
2 brought in Zoran Surkovic who comes from a mixed marriage
3 and was my friend. They asked him to say that he had
4 acquired weapons from me, a gun, which of course he denied
5 because it was not true. The person who had given us this
6 paper then hit him several times with a heavy military
7 soldier's boot into his chest. The man was actually
8 seated in a chair. He was a very strong and well-built
9 man, but he was hit so hard that he fell from the chair.
10 I told that man that he had not taken anything from me,
11 he confirmed this and was taken away to another part of
12 the building.
13 Q. Do you know who it was that kicked Zoran Surkovic in the
14 chest in the way you have described?
15 A. He was hit by the commander of the Serbs Special Guards,
16 the person who presented himself as a commander.
17 Q. What was the next thing that happened?
18 A. Again seeing I was not writing anything, that I was not
19 admitting anything, that same person, the same commander,
20 hit me four to five times, saying: "We know everything,
21 and you do not want to admit this or confess." At that
22 moment he was so angry he just left the room.
23 Q. What did he hit you with?
24 A. He hit me with his fist.
25 Q. Where did he hit you?
1 A. In the head, on the face.
2 Q. What happened as a result of him hitting you in the face?
3 Did you remain standing?
4 A. I was seated.
5 Q. I see. Did you stay in the chair?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. Was he in a standing position?
8 A. Yes, he was.
9 Q. When he struck you, could you describe what force he
10 appeared to apply when he hit you in the face with his
11 fist, in terms of was it a full blow or a half blow?
12 A. I do not think that these were full blows because I would
13 not have remained in the chair, so he did hit me but not
14 very strongly, not very powerfully.
15 Q. What then followed?
16 A. He left the room, as I have said. He brought in
17 immediately, after a very short while, only a minute or
18 two, he brought into the same office, into the same room,
19 he brought Mevludin Hasanbegovic, a Muslim from Vlasenica,
20 who had been to prison. He could not have been brought
21 from the town because his house was about 10 to 15 minutes
22 distance from SUP. On his face one could see that he had
23 been maltreated, that he had been beaten, and he was asked
24 to say that I was with him, working with him to arm the
1 Q. What did he say?
2 A. He said, yes, Munib helped me to arm the Muslims.
3 Q. Was that true or untrue?
4 A. No, that was not true.
5 Q. What of Mevludin, did you know of him to be involved in
6 supplying of weapons?
7 A. No. I knew nothing about it.
8 Q. What happened then?
9 A. Seeing that I have no way out of this situation because it
10 went on for quite a while, they tried to speak nicely to
11 me again. At one point they said that I had helped them
12 the first day, so that Muslims in the villages, that means
13 outside this town proper, had not handed over their
14 weapons, so if I confessed it would be made possible for
15 me to go to these villages because they would follow your
17 At that point I felt that there was a possibility for
18 me to leave the town with a firm decision not to come
19 back, but I was also aware of the fact that I have to
20 confess something, so I started writing my statement.
21 Q. What did you confess to?
22 A. In that statement I confessed that I had armed Muslims
23 allegedly, supposedly, and I also said, which was true,
24 that I was a member of the Democratic Action Party, the
25 Muslim Party, which I was. Basically I lied everything
1 else in my statement, except the fact that I was a member
2 of the Muslim Party in the leadership, local leadership.
3 To be convincing I gave quite a large amount of weapons
4 and I think they believed me.
5 Q. Once you had given this statement did they appear to be
7 A. Yes, they did.
8 Q. So what happened then?
10 A. These three, in fact now four of them, the three that had
11 been in the car that presented themselves as commanders
12 and the fourth one in the camouflage uniform, had walked
13 out of the office while I and Stanisic went to another
14 office where a clerk typed my statement.
15 MR. NIEMANN: Your Honour, would that be a convenient time for
16 your Honour to adjourn or would your Honour wish to
17 continue with this witness until the conclusion of his
19 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Well, I think it is up to
20 you whether
21 this is a good moment to stop and whether it is a relevant
22 moment to stop. I think you should also ask the witness
23 whether he is tired. Usually we finish at 5.30 each day.
24 Could you perhaps continue a little more today and, if
25 possible, we could perhaps continue a bit more, if you can
1 agree with that. So, firstly, are you not too tired? Do
2 you feel all right?
3 THE WITNESS: [Original in Bosnian] As far as I am concerned there
4 are no problems.
5 I could go on.
6 MR. NIEMANN: I will continue with the witness, your Honour.
7 After the statement had been typed, what happened
8 then? What did you do then?
9 A. While the statement was being typed we were sitting. At
10 one point during the typing of the statement Stanisic told
11 me that I had money and that I was obliged to hand it
12 over. I pretended not to hear his sentence, this sentence
13 of his, but 10 minutes after that I asked them if I could
14 go to the toilet. They allowed me to. I went to the
15 toilet for one reason only; I wanted to take the money
16 that I had in my shirt pocket, about 5,000 German marks
17 which was my own money, take it out of the pocket and put
18 it in one of my socks, which is what I did. I went back
19 to the office, and when my statement was completed
20 Stanisic picked up a piece of paper and said: "We will
21 give you as a receipt that you have handed over your
22 money." I said: "I had no money on my person." He
23 asked me where the money was. I said the money was in the
24 mosque and it was not my money, because I was also the
25 treasurer of the Islamic community of Vlasenica.
1 Q. What did he say to you when you said that the money was in
2 the mosque?
3 A. He said: "Let's believe you. Go and get the money".
4 Q. So what did you do?
5 A. I got up and went towards the mosque. I walked rather
6 slowly because at that moment I was not quite sure that
7 I was not being followed. When I came to the gate of the
8 mosque I saw standing by the window of my house Miss
9 Zineta Dautovic, a woman who had seen me being taken to
10 the SUP, to the police station, and also the woman in
11 whose apartment I had spent the night, the previous night.
12 Q. What happened then?
13 A. I went into her apartment, her house, I even had coffee
14 with her. I did so for a reason, for a good reason, just
15 to make sure if I was being followed. I went out, having
16 told her prior to that time that I would try to flee,
17 escape, either I could escape or I would be killed, but it
18 was not my intention to stay on in the town. I told her
19 to tell her husband Fikret and everybody else that she can
20 get in touch to leave the town of Vlasenica, because at
21 that moment I was completely convinced that the safety of
22 Muslims that they had supposedly guaranteed would not
23 really be, that there would be no safety.
24 Q. So what did you then do?
25 A. I left the house and just went through the movement of
1 walking into the office of the Muslim Islamic community,
2 I did not take anything out of the office, and then went
3 back to my car.
4 Q. What happened then?
5 A. At the car near the car I saw Aida Ferhatbegovic. I also
6 told her what my intention was. I got into the car and
7 started driving towards the bus station, taking the
8 shortest possible route. The road to the bus station goes
9 around the town. Going for the police station from the
10 SUP towards the mosque, I saw along the road a police
11 patrol in blue uniforms worn by the police prior to the
12 occupation. I recognised among them a policeman, a former
13 policeman, whose name is Milan Govedarica. From that fact
14 I concluded that there were police there. That is why
15 I took the short cut.
16 When I came to the bus station and was about to come
17 out to the main road between Vlasenica and Kladanj I had
18 thought of two ways out of the area, two roads: One was to
19 lead from the bus station to the right, as far as the
20 petrol station, this is the road to Milici; the other was
21 to the left towards Bijelo Polje or the Alpro factory.
22 The second possibility was to come out at the bus station
23 to the main road, to the main Vlasenica Kladanj road, left
24 towards Kladanj, after about 50 metres right towards the
25 main road. Then in the Muslim graveyard, from that Muslim
1 graveyard head towards Darakovic. Both of these roads
2 were free from the police at the time, and those two
3 points were usually, they were police at those two points
4 usually. Exactly at 14 hours I left Vlasenica.
5 I decided on the road towards Milici, the one that
6 went to the right, which seemed shorter and in fact was
8 Q. What happened then?
9 A. Having arrived at the petrol station, I saw many soldiers
10 dressed in this special uniform, but the petrol station is
11 not exactly on the edge of the road; it is about 20
12 metres, maybe fewer than that, from the road. I went off
13 the main road and headed towards the Alpro factory to the
14 left. At the Alpro factory, just before the factory, the
15 road branches off in two directions: One direction leads
16 to Toplik, a Muslim village, the other towards the factory
17 itself. On the road to the factory I saw an armed soldier
18 who was wearing the uniform of the Reserve Forces, a local
19 man, that is a local man.
20 Q. So what did you do then?
21 A. But he was not standing by the road that I had taken. So
22 I went on my way towards Toplik, and that way I got out of
23 the town. In that location between those two roads I saw
24 an armoured vehicle. I was not quite sure whether it was
25 a tank or an armoured vehicle transporter. I had seen
1 seven such vehicles on my first day when I was taken
2 around the town in that car. At the very entrance to
3 Toplik I caught up with Ibrahim Berbic whom I knew quite
4 well. I told him about my intention and told him to tell
5 that to my congregation, and then having come out of
6 occupied Vlasenica, of the occupied part of Vlasenica,
7 went on my way to my native village. I was able to cross
8 that road only because that day, 23rd April, was extremely
9 hot. It is a dirt road and there is part of the road that
10 had only just been cut which is hardly a road to speak
11 of. On that part of the road fortunately I had no
13 Q. When you reached your native village, is it true that it
14 had not been occupied by the Serbian forces?
15 A. No. No, that was not occupied by the Serbian forces.
16 Q. Did you then remain in a village not far from your native
17 village called Cerska?
18 A. I came to my native village Skugrici.
19 Q. Then subsequently did you remain in that village until
20 Cerska was occupied?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. When it was occupied did you move to Srebrenica?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. Was your wife and children evacuated by UNPROFOR in March
1 A. Yes, in March 1993 my wife and my children went over to
2 the region of Tuzla, to the free area of Tuzla.
3 Q. In May of 1993 did you go to Kladanj on foot?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Where did you go from Kladanj?
6 A. From Kladanj I went to Lukavac because my wife and
7 children were there.
8 MR. NIEMANN: I have no further questions of the witness, your
10 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] I think that we have
11 finished the
13 MR. NIEMANN: Yes, your Honour.
14 THE PRESIDING JUDGE: [Original in French] Thank you very much. The
15 court thanks
16 you very much for your testimony. We will resume tomorrow
17 at 10 o'clock.
18 (The proceedings adjourned)