1 Wednesday, 15 July 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness takes the stand]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
7 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
9 IT-06-90-T, the Prosecutor versus Ante Gotovina, et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
11 Mr. Sterc, I would like to remind you that you are still bound by
12 the solemn declaration that you have given at the beginning of your
14 Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
15 WITNESS: STJEPAN STERC [Resumed]
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Examination by Mr. Misetic: [Continued]
18 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Sterc.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. As part of your job as assistant minister for reconstruction and
22 development, were you familiar with issues concerning the peaceful
23 transition of Eastern Slavonia to Croatian government control, between
24 1996 and 1998?
25 A. In part.
1 Q. Well, were you aware of the refugee issues concerning the -- both
2 of return of Croat refugees to Eastern Slavonia and the situation
3 concerning Serb civilians and Serb refugees in Eastern Slavonia?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And within the two-year mandate of UNTAES, were you familiar with
6 what happened with Serbs living in Eastern Slavonia as that region was
7 being transitioned to Croatian rule?
8 A. Part of that population left Eastern Slavonia and moved to
10 Q. Do you know of the Serb civilian population of Eastern Slavonia
11 which was domiciled in Eastern Slavonia in 1991, do you know what
12 percentage left Eastern Slavonia between 1996 and 1998, of the domiciled
13 Serb population of Eastern Slavonia?
14 A. That part of the population is also included, but I -- I can't
15 remember the figure right now.
16 Q. Let me show you, Mr. Sterc, Exhibit D419.
17 MR. MISETIC: If we could go, please, to page 6 in the English,
18 please. I think there's only an English copy.
19 Q. And if you look at paragraph 23, this is now -- just for the
20 record, an OSCE report dated 8 September 1998. And it says that:
21 "UNHCR estimates that between August 1996 and July 1998, some
22 16.000 of the 67.000 Serbs who were residents of the region before the
23 war have left the country - mostly to the Federal Republic of
25 Now, that works out to a little bit more than 25 per cent of this
1 domiciled Serb population left Eastern Slavonia.
2 My question to you is, as an assistant minister responsible for
3 issues of refugees and returns, did you have a -- an understanding as to
4 what was causing 16.000 people to leave under a UN mandate from Eastern
6 MS. GUSTAFSON: Just if the question could be clarified. I'm not
7 sure they left under a UN mandate. If --
8 MR. MISETIC:
9 Q. Mr. Sterc, I -- in other words, they left while Eastern Slavonia
10 was under UN administrative control. So if you understand the question,
11 could you tell us why 16.000 domiciled people left Croatia for the
12 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or what was your understanding of why they
14 A. I remember that.
15 Q. What was your understanding of the causes of why 16.000 people
16 would leave for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia even though the
17 territory was under UN administration?
18 A. I will answer like this. I think that regardless of the
19 administration of UNTAES in Podunavlje region, there was political and
20 economic uncertainty there, and I think that was the main reason. I can
21 only give you a comparison.
22 From our information, at the time of the UNTAES administration in
23 Podunavlje, about 900 non-Serbs were killed. And at the Working Group
24 meetings, I always raised that issue. I always asked the question: What
25 exactly happened in Podunavlje when Croatia did not have control of it?
1 The migration of people from such areas is always something to be
3 Q. Okay.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, we easily agree on that 16.000 out of
5 67.000 is a little bit less than 25 per cent than a little bit more,
6 isn't it?
7 MR. MISETIC: Let me do the math in my head, but ...
8 JUDGE ORIE: Four times 16 is 64, yes.
9 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
11 Ms. Gustafson, you want to add to the math exam? No.
12 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'd just like to point out that I believe that
13 UNTAES mandate ended in January of 1998. This report is dated
14 September 1998, so I'm not sure the question -- and the statistics are
15 people leaving between August 1996 and July 1998, so I'm not sure the
16 question about people leaving under the -- while the territory was under
17 UN administration is entirely accurate. Thank you.
18 JUDGE ORIE: We could ask the witness whether the UNTAES --
19 MR. MISETIC: Its actually the mandate ended February 1998,
20 Mr. President, but --
21 JUDGE ORIE: February 1998.
22 MR. MISETIC: -- if it makes a difference.
23 Q. Does that point of the Prosecutor make any difference in your
24 answer, Mr. Sterc?
25 A. None. That changes nothing. Because that's the situation that
1 prevailed and the migration of people from the eastern territories to
3 of the dates you mentioned.
4 Q. Okay. Now --
5 A. Sorry, can I add something?
6 Q. Yes.
7 A. Since this was a period from August 1996, around 18.000 people in
8 our estimate left the formerly occupied areas and were given accomodation
9 in Podunavlje. So very probably these figures here could be a little
10 different in actual fact, and we got confirmation of that later when we
11 started recording the population in Podunavlje. We got information that,
12 in a certain period, 138.000 ID papers were issued in formerly UNTAES
13 areas, issued mainly by Serbs.
14 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Sterc, I want to turn your attention to --
15 starting at paragraph 9.1 of your statement.
16 MR. MISETIC: And with the assistance of the usher, if I could
17 give a hard copy of the statement to the witness, please.
18 Q. Now, the Chamber has heard a lot about the Law on Temporary
19 Takeover, and I'm not going to go through in detail with you other than
20 what's in the statement. However, are you familiar with the fact that
21 a -- sorry. You talk about in paragraph 9.1 the establishment of an
22 agency so that a person had -- could sell their property to an agency of
23 the Croatian government. And I'd like to turn your attention now to a
25 MR. MISETIC: Madam Registrar, this is 1D -- 65 ter 1D1561,
2 Q. Mr. Sterc, this is -- I'm going to show you --
3 MR. MISETIC: Madam Registrar, if we could go to -- there are no
4 pages numbers at the bottom, so we'll have to use the 1D numbers on the
5 bottom right-hand corner, and it is at page 1D7161.
6 MS. GUSTAFSON: If it assists, I think it might be at the 56th
7 page of this document.
8 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, counsel.
9 Q. Now --
10 MR. MISETIC: Page 52 in the Croatian version, please.
11 Q. Now, Mr. Sterc, do you recognise this as the decree that
12 established the agency for mediation in transactions of specified real
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you see that the decree is dated 24 April 1997. Is this the
16 decree that regulated or established the agency which was able to then
17 buy property from Serbs who wished to sell their property, rather than to
18 return to that property in the Republic of Croatia
19 A. It's fortunate that you looking at the same time at the previous
20 document dated 23rd April which concerns operative procedures and the
21 next one is the document establishing this agency, which means that we
22 had agreed much earlier, the Working Group, and when we agreed that in
23 principle we need to embark upon the concept of return of all to their
24 homes, we put forward the proposal to establish agencies in all the
25 countries from which refugees and displaced persons needed to come from.
1 So such an agency was established in Croatia as well.
2 Q. Now --
3 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, just for the record the entire
4 document on the screen is actually -- these are annexes to a report
5 submitted by the Croatian government to the Croatian parliament in 1998,
6 which concerns the programme that was passed in June of 1998 of the
7 Croatian government on the return of refugees. When we get to that topic
8 in my direct examination, I will be tendering the report and the annexes,
9 because the actual programme is already admitted into evidence.
10 Q. If we turn, for example, in this document to page -- to the next
11 page and go to Article 3, which I think is still the same page in
13 A. Yes.
14 MR. MISETIC: It actually -- I'm interested in subpart 2, so if
15 we could turn the page in Croatian as well.
16 Q. It says:
18 name and on the account of the Republic of Croatia
19 assign this real estate to citizens of the Republic of Croatia
20 Article 4 says:
21 "Specified real estate is considered as real estate which,
22 according to the Law on Temporary Takeover and administration of
23 specified property ... is placed under temporary administration of the
24 Republic of Croatia
25 Now, this agency or colloquially referred to by the Working Group
1 as the land bank is -- do you know if that's still in effect today? Does
2 it still exist?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, if we turn our attention, in your statement you make
5 reference to an agreement of the Joint Working Group on the operational
6 procedures of return.
7 MR. MISETIC: Madam Registrar, this is 65 ter 1D1555. I'm sorry,
8 65 ter 1D1556.
9 Q. I believe this is referenced at paragraph 13 of your statement.
10 Now, in your statement, you make reference to the fact that this
11 was agreement of the Joint Working Group where the general principles of
12 return had been established ... the exact words. I'm sorry, that it was
13 a guiding document on return. And can you explain to us what you meant
14 when you said this was a guiding document on return?
15 A. We wanted after long talks at the Working Group to sign a
16 document and make it public to define only the basic procedures for
17 return in order to show that, in Croatia, the issue of the return of
18 refugees and displaced person, including Serbs, has really been moved
19 from the field of politics to the field of humanitarian issues. In
21 present, as well as representatives of the Serbs and general satisfaction
22 was felt when the document was made public.
23 MR. MISETIC: If we can please go to the last page of this
25 Q. Now, we see the signatures of the person who is signed this
1 document. This agreement, was it with members of the international
2 community and obviously it was, but why with the UNHCR and UNTAES?
3 A. I don't really know how they chose the signatories within the
4 various groups of the Working Group. Eduardo Arboleda was chief of the
5 commission of the UNHCR in Croatia
6 Mr. Fischer on behalf of UNTAES. But since all was agreed within the
7 Working Group, I don't think it mattered much who would sign on behalf of
8 the international community.
9 Q. Okay. If you look through the document, the focus appears to be
10 often Eastern Slavonia
11 deals with Eastern Slavonia, how does it relate, otherwise relate to
12 returns in other formerly occupied parts of Croatia?
13 A. It was just one of the steps we made to deal with the whole
14 situation in order to implement our design of the return of everyone to
15 their homes. The role of the UNTAES was particularly important, because
16 they had an administration that was prepared to accept the principle
17 under discussion.
18 Q. And --
19 A. The UNTAES administration, on behalf of the international
20 community, was frequently a vehicle of new initiatives and even the
21 previous document that we discussed, and I had forgotten to say that,
22 related to the establishment of that agency, the first draft was brought
23 to the Working Group by a representative of the UNTAES.
24 I would like to especially emphasise the following. When this
25 decree on the agency was made public, you should know that part of the
1 public opinion thought that Croatia
2 ethnic cleansing. Of course, all of us were indignant because the entire
3 document from the first to last letter was completely harmonised and
4 agreed with the international community and such agencies were also
5 established in other countries.
6 Q. You anticipated my next question. If you look at the page on the
7 screen and if we could go back one page in the Croatian.
8 The last four paragraphs, which I think are the same as the
9 document that we had seen before where you said that we could see the
10 previous document as well.
11 In here it says, for example, paragraph 2: "The Working Group
12 welcomes the suggestion to create an agency for mediation in the traffic
13 of real estate and a land bank database of property and owners under the
14 auspices of the ministry for reconstruction and development."
15 Based on what you've just said, was the establishment of the land
16 bank or the agency something that was deemed a necessary part of the
17 resolution of refugee issues?
18 A. Yes. Moreover, we all believed that the agency would provide
19 logistics to the operational procedures. We had agreed in various
20 documents that every country should set aside certain funds, based on
21 estimates, to fund the agency to deal with property issues, and when such
22 property becomes state properties -- state property, it would be placed
23 at the disposal of -- of returnees and refugees.
24 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I ask that exhibit 65 ter 1D1556 be
25 marked and I tender it into evidence.
1 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will become Exhibit D1609.
4 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence.
5 Please proceed.
6 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
7 Q. Now, in the period after Operation Storm, and in the years that
8 followed, were you familiar at all with any positions taken by the
9 leadership of the RSK in exile on the issue of refugee returns?
10 A. I am. We attended a joint conference on return in Banja Luka.
11 Q. And what was your understanding as to what positions were being
12 taken by the leadership of the RSK in exile on the issue of refugee
14 A. Their representatives were very explicit at that meeting, which
15 was attended also by the representatives of the international community,
16 and their position was that a large part of them did not wish to return
17 to Croatia
19 Q. Can you tell us when this conference took place in Banja Luka?
20 A. I can't remember the exact date. But there were all the
21 representatives, and even ministers from Croatia, from Republika Srpska,
22 and the political representatives of the Serbs from the occupied areas.
23 I don't remember the exact date, but it was widely reported on.
24 Q. Do you remember the names of the leaders from the formerly
25 occupied areas who were present at the conference?
1 A. I personally spoke only with those who were in charge of issues
2 related to the return of refugees and displaced persons, and one of the
3 names I remember is Sime Djodan. He was the one who presented that
4 position at the conference.
5 Q. Were there any positions taken by Mr. Djodan or anyone else?
6 A. The name is Djodan.
7 Q. By him or anyone else about the issue of whether they -- they
8 sought individual returns to Croatia
9 A. Other people took different positions. One of the positions
10 taken was to demand certain conditions for return to Croatia. That is,
11 they wanted to return to Croatia
13 overshadowed by certain misgivings and fear.
14 Q. And were there any positions taken on whether there should be
15 mass return of Serb civilians to Croatia?
16 A. As for mass return by Serb civilians who had left occupied areas,
17 all of us took the position that mass return could not be organised in
18 that way. Representatives of Croatia
19 the Serbs all agreed on that.
20 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I would like to show the witness a
21 document which I need to seek leave to add to the 65 ter list. This is
22 document 65 ter 1D2778.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, any objections against it having been
24 added to the 65 ter list?
25 MS. GUSTAFSON: No, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Leave is granted.
2 Please proceed.
3 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
4 Madam Registrar, may I have 65 ter 1D2778, please.
5 Q. And while we're pulling that up, Mr. Sterc, could you explain to
6 the Chamber why you couldn't have mass returns, or why did you take the
7 position that you couldn't have mass returns?
8 A. Mass return could not be organised for a variety of reasons, and
9 not only in Croatia
10 international community told us that in similar situations there was
11 never a mass return. The return had to be well planned, organised, safe,
12 and it was necessary for certain conditions to be met, in order for the
13 return to be possible, such as reconstruction, certain finances,
14 organisation, and so on.
15 Q. Okay.
16 MR. MISETIC: If we could turn -- this is a report from Banja
17 Luka by the AIM
18 bottom in the English. And page 2, bottom paragraph, in the B/C/S.
19 Q. Now, this is a statement purportedly by Mr. Milan Babic, and it
20 quotes him as saying as follows:
21 "I'm not in favour of individual solutions of the problem of
22 return because it would mean" --
23 MR. MISETIC: If you could turn the page in English, please.
24 Q. "... Croatisation of the Serb returnees which would jeopardise
25 collective rights of the refugees and blur the problem of the Serb people
1 in exile. I am in favour of collective return, collective security, and
2 collective rights of the Serbs which implies resolution of their
3 political status. Because the Serbs from Krajina - Dr. Babic continues -
4 have the political right to the territory of the Krajina. If the
5 committee of Borislav Mikelic approaches the problem of resolving the
6 return of Serb refugees in this way, there will be no conflicts between
7 us - Dr. Babic says, adding that the government of Krajina operates in
8 exile and that a special commission was established within it to deal
9 with the issues of the status and rights of the refugees, cooperation
10 with various organisations and institutions, so why not Mikelic too."
11 Now, were you familiar with such positions being taken by
12 Dr. Babic or anyone else in the Serb leadership or in the special
13 commission established by the government of Krajina in exile with
14 relation to the issue of return of Serb returnees -- refugees?
15 A. I never spoke to these persons, but we could read their
16 statements in newspapers, and they were also conveyed to us by
17 representatives of the international community.
18 Q. And where were these types of statements conveyed to you by
19 members of the international community? Where were you when they would
20 relay these types of statements?
21 A. I was, at the time, assistant minister for reconstruction and
22 development, if what is the position you're talking about.
23 Q. What I meant was, what was the context in which you were having
24 conversations with the international community on that subject?
25 A. Of course, this was in the context of our discussions which model
1 of return we should apply. Given that individual returns have proven to
2 be rather problematic, given the situation on the ground, we all knew
3 that a collective return was almost impossible, so the only one left was
4 a planned return, an organised return of everybody to their respective
5 homes within the framework of the agreed documents.
6 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender 1D2778 into evidence.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will become Exhibit D1610.
10 JUDGE ORIE: D1610 is admitted into evidence.
11 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
12 Madam Registrar, if we could have again 65 ter 1D1561, please.
13 And we will be going to page 1D71-7166.
14 MS. GUSTAFSON: I think it's page 61 in the English, if that
16 MR. MISETIC: Thank you. Page 56 in the Croatian, please.
17 Q. Now, this is a document dated 2 October 1997, and it is the
18 programme of the government of the Republic of Croatia
19 establishment of trust, accelerated return, and normalisation of living
20 conditions in the war-affected regions of the Republic of Croatia
21 Were you familiar with this document as part of your job as
22 assistant minister?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And there is an introduction in the third paragraph, there's a
25 whereas: "During the war emotional and inappropriate language was used
1 in the private and public arena so as to generalise guilt and strengthen
2 feelings of hate and division."
3 MR. MISETIC: If we go down to the seventh paragraph. If we
4 could turn the page in Croatian, please?
5 Q. "Whereas the government of the government of the Republic of
7 co-existence, and equal rights of all its citizens are a foundation for
8 progress and development."
9 It talks about "many citizens who took part in the armed
10 rebellion against the Republic of Croatia
11 Croatian documents and that they have by this act accepted all the rights
12 and obligations which derive from Croatian citizenship, including respect
13 for and defence of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Croatia
14 and that they have accepted the Republic of Croatia
15 have expressed the wish to be included in its political, economic and
16 social life, and in that way, to contribute to its prosperity."
17 MR. MISETIC: If we can turn the page, please.
18 Q. And then there's: "Whereas the restoration of trust between all
19 its citizenships is of vital interest for the development of the Republic
20 of Croatia
21 community of states.
22 "Whereas it is unconstitutional to distinguish between the former
23 parties in conflict on the basis of ethnicity as such, a distinction
24 results in collective guilt and ignores individual responsibility for
25 crimes, and also ignores the positive role of members of various ethnic
1 groups during the hostilities."
2 MR. MISETIC: And then we can skip to "The government --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
4 MR. MISETIC: Okay.
5 Q. It says:
6 "The government of the Republic of Croatia
7 programme on establishment of trust, accelerated return, and
8 normalisation of living conditions in the war affected regions of the
9 Republic of Croatia
10 It outlines what the goals are at the bottom of that page,
11 creation of general climate of tolerance and security; realisation of
12 equality of all citizens within -- with regard to the state
14 MR. MISETIC: Turn the page.
15 Q. The establishment of trust between all citizens, et cetera.
16 It says under organisation:
17 "The government of the Republic of Croatia
18 national committee for monitoring the realisation of the programme. And
19 there are fields of competence," and I won't go through them all. But it
20 seems to be comprehensive, it identifies political, legal, administrative
21 internal affairs, economic, social, cultural, educational,
22 reconstruction, and return and the media, all areas of the programme.
23 For example, if we -- we turn to the third page ahead, under point 6,
25 "In view of the important place of the media in a democratic
1 society, the government shall recommend that: The media will promote the
2 equality of all citizens and the need to co-exist in tolerance as the
3 only democratically acceptable way of life.
4 "The media promote the rights of citizens which derive from the
5 legal system of the Republic of Croatia
6 "The media promote an atmosphere of tolerance, co-existence,
7 respect for human rights, and dialogue for the resolution of future
8 excesses," et cetera.
9 Can you explain, Mr. Sterc, what this programme was, why it came
10 about, and what its objectives were?
11 A. After all the different documents, talks, negotiations, we all
12 knew that, ultimately, the whole story had to end in a comprehensive
13 programme of return. We needed to invest a lot of effort, a lot of time
14 into developing such a programme. Often representatives of the
15 international community did not really have confidence that these
16 documents would ever be adopted although we continually repeated that
17 this was our intention and our wish.
18 After this, we started to have joint public addresses by
19 representatives of the international community, representatives of the
20 Croatian government, and representatives of Serbs from the occupied
21 territories who left Croatia
22 what I requested from the very beginning, because I knew that only by
23 such public addresses we could induce some confidence in both sides.
24 After the adoption of this programme, it seemed that everybody
25 was relieved. I'm talking about the politicians now. Although, for
1 those of us who worked on this, we knew that our job was only beginning.
2 Q. Let me take you -- as I indicated, Mr. Sterc, to the Trial
3 Chamber, these are all annexes to the programme of 1998, so while the
4 document is on the screen, let me just point out a few things and then
5 move this into evidence.
6 MR. MISETIC: If we could go, Madam Registrar, to numbered page
7 1D71-7173, please. At the very bottom.
8 Q. Mr. Sterc, attachment 6 to the programme that was passed in 1998
9 in June was an attachment called programme for accomodation of the users
10 of property under temporary administration of the Republic of Croatia
11 which must be returned for possession and use to the owner.
12 MR. MISETIC: If we turn the page, please, in English.
13 Q. This is now written after the constitutional court of Croatia had
14 struck certain portions of that law. And then there's a position of the
15 government interpreting the law after the decision of the constitutional
17 Do you recall that this government interpretation was an annex to
18 the programme that was passed in June 1998?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. MISETIC: And, Madam Registrar, if we could go to page
21 1D71-7154 of this document.
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: That should be page 49.
23 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
24 Page 49 in the Croatian, please. Sorry, 49 in the English.
25 Q. Mr. Sterc, while that's coming up, let me just ...
1 [Defence counsel confer]
2 MR. MISETIC: 46 in the Croatian, please.
3 Q. This is the agreement of the Joint Working Group on the
4 operational procedures of return.
5 MR. MISETIC: And if we could turn the page in English, please.
6 Q. You are, of course, listed as a member of the Working Group.
7 Under guiding principles, in paragraph 4 and 5, it talks about the
8 establishment of this land bank. And then the next paragraph says:
9 "The Croatian government, UNTAES, and UNHCR will seek
10 international funding for the implementation of the described mechanisms
11 as they are formed."
12 Do you know whether in fact the land bank received international
13 funding so that the homes of those Serbs that didn't wish to return could
14 in fact be purchased by the Croatian government?
15 A. Yes, we asked international assistance and we asked to have a
16 reconstruction conference on Croatia
17 Q. Was any assistance ever received for the land bank?
18 A. No.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, I tender 65 ter 1D1561, which is the
20 report of the Croatian government on the programme for the return of
21 refugees as well as all of the annexes. And the actual programme itself
22 was tendered earlier in this trial as Exhibit D428.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
24 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection, Your Honour. I just -- in order to
25 avoid any future confusion, the attachment we just looked at, attachment
1 3, is the same document that was just admitted as D1609. But no
2 objection, thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: But now have then -- we can vacate the previously
4 admitted, or is it --
5 MR. MISETIC: I think it's easier --
6 JUDGE ORIE: It would help --
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: It's easier in following the transcript.
9 Then the report of the Croatian government and the Programme for
10 Return and all annexes together was already tendered, so we're now
11 talking about the -- yes. Now, it was in evidence but without the
12 annexes, and now we have a full set of these documents.
13 Madam Registrar, that would be number ...
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be Exhibit D1611, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE ORIE: D1611 is admitted into evidence.
16 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
17 Madam Registrar, can we have Exhibit D428 on the screen.
18 And just so that the record is clear, D428 is the actual
19 programme, D161 contains a report sent by the Croatian government to the
20 parliament for purposes of discussion of the programme, D428, as well as
21 all of the annexes that were ultimately part of D428.
22 Q. Mr. Sterc, this is the Programme for Return and care of expelled
23 persons, refugees, and displaced persons passed on 26th of June, 1998.
24 MR. MISETIC: And if we turn the page and go to paragraph 5.
25 Actually, I'm sorry, in the Croatian it should be the preamble
1 paragraph 5. There are several renumberings, so if we could scroll up in
2 the Croatian, please, and go back one page in the Croatian. There we go,
3 paragraph 5.
4 Q. It says that: "In regard to the above, the government has
5 detailed the following programme in cooperation with UNHCR that has a
6 leading role in solving regional refugees issues as well as with support
7 of --" and in the English it was translated as "OECD."
8 I believe if we look in the original, the acronym is OESS which
9 is in fact the OSCE.
10 A. Yes, OSCE.
11 Q. So this programme, Mr. Sterc, was prepared in conjunction with
12 UNHCR and OSCE; is that correct?
13 A. This programme originally encompassed nearly 100 pages. I wrote
14 it personally by hand and also in cooperation with my team, and that was
15 the version that we put forward to the UNHCR and OSCE to get their
17 Q. And did they approve of the plan?
18 A. Yes. The whole point of this item 5 is as follows.
19 Once we agreed on the principle, that everybody should return to
20 their respective home, obviously for return of Croats to
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Kosovo and Macedonia we needed the assistance of
22 the UNHCR, and this is why we underlined this in the item 5 here.
23 Q. If we go into introductory remarks at paragraph 4, it says: "The
24 government of the Republic of Croatia
25 consists of ..." and then the first point is "assistant minister for
1 development and restoration of the president of the commission."
2 Who would that would have been?
3 A. Me.
4 MR. MISETIC: And if we could turn the page in English, please.
5 Q. At the end of the list of members of the commission, it says:
6 "The commission's aim is to elaborate and monitor implementation of the
7 programme in cooperation with UNHCR. The commission shall meet regularly
8 twice a month or as circumstances require."
9 And then point 5:
10 "Commissions from the previous provision 4 shall propose to the
11 government a co-chairman to directly deal with return issues and who
12 shall, with representatives of the international community, commissions
13 from Article 11, donators and non-governmental organisations, can assist
14 this coordinating committee for the superintendence of return."
15 After this programme was passed, was in fact a commission formed
16 and did you in fact monitor implementation in conjunction with members of
17 the international community?
18 A. We did meet. We were in touch even more often than mentioned
19 here in this item.
20 Q. Now, in paragraph 14 of your statement you say this is the most
21 important document of the Working Group. And it says: "The programme
22 was implemented until today with some minor changes."
23 Is this programme still in effect, as far as you know, in the
24 Republic of Croatia
25 A. I believe so.
1 Q. You were a -- you later became an assistant minister of defence
2 in the government of Prime Minister Racan. My question to you is, are
3 aware of any significant change in the model or the programme of return
4 of refugees that occurred with the transfer of power from
5 President Tudjman's government to new Prime Minister Racan's government?
6 A. When I was transferred to the Ministry of Defence in the new
7 government of the now late Mr. Racan, I did not deal with this issue
8 anymore. However, many of my former associates remained in those jobs,
9 and I kept in touch with them, and they all told me that the programme
10 was still being implemented and that the process we had defined together
11 was continuing in the same intensity, with the same tempo, in the same
12 form. There were no radical changes. The process just continued in the
13 same form in which it had started.
14 Q. Okay. Mr. Sterc, I wanted to give you an opportunity to talk
15 about any personal experiences that you had in the field concerning the
16 return of Serb refugees. Can you explain to the Court what your personal
17 experiences were concerning this issue?
18 A. I'm very grateful to you for this question, and I would very
19 gladly, if I'm allowed, to present my personal views, because it was a
20 period, and those were issues that were probably the most difficult in
22 All of us who were engaged in this work almost had no rest. Our
23 teams worked almost 16 hours a day. We toured localities, we dealt with
24 conflicts that occurred on the ground, and I'd like to share with you one
25 personal view concerning the -- the international community.
1 I believed we were doing the same job, that we had to work
2 jointly to resolve all the problems that occur on the ground, that the
3 return of the Serbs is not the only and exclusive interest of our group,
4 that we should appear together in public --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I got the impression that you wanted to
6 know more about what we find at the end of paragraph 8 of the statement.
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: So, therefore, that apparently is not how the
9 witness understood the question.
10 In your statement, Mr. Sterc, you refer to that you personally
11 went to the field with the police, et cetera. I think that that's the
12 type of experience Mr. Misetic would like to know more about.
13 MR. MISETIC: Mr. --
14 JUDGE ORIE: What happened, where did you go, when did you go.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I was about to say that.
16 Individual returns, within a relatively short time after the
17 liberation of Croatia
18 those situations, of course, Croatia
19 accusations. For instance, when one family returned to Banovina, and
20 that return had been agreed between us and the international community,
21 we could hardly expect that, at the same time, around the house of the
22 returnees, around 500 to 600 protesters would appear, people who were
23 protesting against the return of that family. Those were local Croats
24 whose houses around had mostly been destroyed. Of course, we had to
25 intervene with the help of the police to protect the family, and I
1 personally spent 24 hours on-site. And that's how we worked to create
2 the conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons, breaking
3 psychological barriers on the ground.
4 JUDGE ORIE: I'm sorry. You said you spent 24 hours on the
5 ground. Where was it? What village? What was the name of the family
6 that returned?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I really don't know.
8 I can't remember it was in Banovina. I can't tell you the exact name of
9 the village.
10 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But it's not a problem. It can be
12 checked. It was widely reported.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, was that the -- did you have similar
14 experiences, that you went to a place where there was unrest in relation
15 to the return of a family?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I also went to meet with the
18 JUDGE ORIE: No. I'm asking about similar events. First of all,
19 when this happened, in the Banovina area, when was it, approximately?
20 I'm not asking for a date but perhaps a month. What year?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think it was mid-1996. It was
23 JUDGE ORIE: The other occasions, if there were any, where you
24 personally went to observe what problems there were with the return of a
25 person, or of a family, or of a small group of families, could you give
1 us another example?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. After that incident at
3 Banovina, which I believe was in the summer of 1996, I asked members of
4 the international community to come and visit such places together with
5 me so that we sent -- send out a joint message to people on both sides.
6 Among others, to those who caused such tensions. We went to a place
7 called Kuruzari in Banovina towards the end of 1996, perhaps early 1997.
8 According to international reports, one Serb family had been beaten up.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask you, this mid-1996 experience in
10 Banovina, do you know what finally happened to the family? Did they stay
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know exactly what happened,
13 but the international community, in fact a source from the international
14 community, let me know that the family had to return to Serbia
16 JUDGE ORIE: So do I have to understand it as that the protection
17 was not effective, or were there other reasons why they returned to
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, we had decided to give maximum
20 protection to that Serb family with all the police forces we had.
21 However, it was too great a stress for them, and they had decided already
22 to -- to go back and wait for some better time to return.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Now, your earlier answer said I don't know exactly
24 happened, but the international community informed you that they had to
25 return to Serbia
1 Now, apparently from your testimony I do understand that you did
2 know the reasons why they had to return, that is, the stress. Could you
3 give us more details. How long did they stay there, how long did they
4 get police protection, did they -- I mean, you apparently give us an idea
5 about the reasons why, but could you tell us more details about under
6 what circumstances the stress, as you said, was too much for them?
7 How many police was involved in protecting them and for how long?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] From what I could see, because I
9 personally spoke to the family and visited their home, they looked rather
10 scared. Two or three policemen were on guard for 24 hours, and when the
11 protesters dispersed, the UNHCR also joined in the efforts to resolve
12 this problem, and we realised that within the whole picture of ensuring
13 returns, guarding one family for 24 hours made no sense. We realised it
14 was necessary that the problem of returns had to be discussed publicly
15 and the solutions would then have to be translated on the ground.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if I read your statement, you say: "I
17 personally went to the field with the police and safeguarded these first
18 families returning."
19 Whereas from your testimony, I understand that you personally
20 went to the field and that you were finally not able to create a
21 situation in which the family would stay, which is not exactly the same.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We failed to create such
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but your statement says you safeguarded these
25 first families returning.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I asked some of these questions because
3 the answers of the witness are of a rather abstract level; whereas, the
4 Chamber, apart from knowing about plans, developments, reports,
5 et cetera, is, of course, also interested in what the effect of those
6 plans and efforts were.
7 Please proceed.
8 MR. MISETIC: [Microphone not activated] Let me note that the
9 incident you're referring to is two years before the plans or one to two
10 years before the plans.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But the -- I see that. At the same time, the
12 answer, as we find it in the statement, is of an abstract level. We
13 safeguarded these first families, whereas, apparently the experience of
14 this witness was that they were not able to provide such a situation
15 which made it possible for them to stay. That's the risk of going on an
16 abstract level rather than to stay with the facts.
17 MR. MISETIC: I intended to do that once he started talking about
18 it, and I was actually going ask him many of the questions that you had
19 asked him, particularly about how long the police had to guard that
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but perhaps you could ask that, because I did
22 but we have no answer yet.
23 Mr. Sterc, three policemen, how long did they stay at the house
24 of this Serb family?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were outside the house. They
1 stayed for a week, I believe.
2 JUDGE ORIE: How long did the family stay after you had visited
3 them until they decided to return?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose they decided the return
5 when they were no longer able to withstand the stress of the protection
6 and the pressure from the neighbours, and that's when we learned of it
7 from the UNHCR.
8 JUDGE ORIE: My question was how long. A week, a month --
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A week. I answered that. A week.
10 JUDGE ORIE: I mean -- so the police was there for one week, and
11 then they decided to return. Is that ...
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Correct.
13 MR. MISETIC: If I can clarify Mr. President.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do.
15 MR. MISETIC:
16 Q. Just to clarify, did the family leave, Mr. Sterc, because the
17 police left.
18 A. No, of course, not.
19 Q. Okay.
20 MR. MISETIC: May I move on to a different topic, Mr. President?
21 JUDGE ORIE: Let's try to explore that then as well.
22 How do you know that it was not the police that -- because you
23 earlier said it made no sense to keep the police all time there. Tell us
24 exactly what then happened.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We obviously did not understand
1 each other.
2 Police had orders to guard the family 24 hours a day, and the
3 police was withdrawn only after the family decided to leave.
4 JUDGE ORIE: How did you learn about the decision of the family
5 to leave?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were informed by the UNHCR.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And was an additional effort made to convince them
8 that it was worthwhile to trying stay or ...
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. The UNHCR informed
10 us -- in fact, kept us informed, as it was them who were in constant
11 talks with the family.
12 Our job was to talk to the neighbours, to assure them and
13 convince them that returns were going to be a normal thing.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Once you received the message that the family wanted
15 to return, what action did you take? Did you go back to the place, did
16 you give instructions that there should be talks with the neighbours
17 or ...
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly. We estimated that the
19 most important thing was to talk to the neighbours, so that, in the
20 future, there would be no protest, when the UNHCR and the Croatian
21 government make a decision on another return.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said you estimated that the most important
23 thing to do was.
24 Now, what did you do was my question.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We talked to the locals.
1 JUDGE ORIE: When did you do that?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I personally spoke to the locals
3 the day after the protests started, and since these were people whom
4 we -- the Ministry for reconstruction and development could not return to
5 their homes, it took a lot of persuasion to convince them that their
6 homes, too, would one day be reconstructed. It was our estimate that
7 frequent visits, field visits by us and the UNHCR --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you there. My question was what you did
9 after you received the message that the family had decided to leave.
10 That was, from what I understand, one week after the police had guarded
12 Now, in your answer, you're going back to the moment you went
13 there. But that's not what I asked. I asked what you did, once you
14 received the message -- [Overlapping speakers].
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Sorry, I had not understood at
17 We called in a meeting of the Working Group, and we put that
18 issue on the agenda and discussed possible solutions.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Are there minutes of the meeting of the
20 Working Group in which we could find this?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Working Group did keep minutes,
22 but I have to be perfectly honest, I personally, when I wanted to check
23 all this, I could not get a hold of them.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Who keeps the minutes?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The minutes were kept by an
1 employee in my office at the ministry.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Was there any reason why you had no -- couldn't get
3 ahold of them? Did they tell you they couldn't find them, they do not
4 exist anymore, or you are not entitled to have access to it?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Ministry of Reconstruction and
6 Developments and particularly the department for -- my department, moved
7 four times since I left. And, obviously, the documents were all mixed up
8 in the process.
9 JUDGE ORIE: When did you ask access to the documents? Most
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was not recently. I think the
12 beginning of the year.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Going back to the situation with this family who had
14 decided that they could not stay any longer, what did you do for the
15 family, apart from scheduling a meeting of the Working Group?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We had agreed at the Working Group
17 that we should apologise on behalf of the Croatian government to that
18 family, and we did. And we offered them accommodation, in fact, housing,
19 under some safer conditions. In that particular case, the offer of was
21 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any documentation of this offer?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. All that was dealt with at
23 Working Group meetings.
24 JUDGE ORIE: But the family, I take it, did not attend in Working
25 Group meetings, or did they?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They did not, no.
2 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... how was this
3 offer relayed to the family?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As a rule, we would pass it on to
5 the UNHCR, and the UNHCR would then pass it on to the family.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did that happen in this case as well.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any recollection as what accommodation
9 exactly was offered to the family? Where, what kind of accommodation.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember exactly, but I
11 think it was one of the state-owned apartments.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And the family, were they living -- their own house
13 where they couldn't stay, was that a detached house, was it with some
14 land around it; do you remember?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was a family house with a
16 garden around it.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
18 Mr. Misetic, I'm aware that I took some of your time. How much
19 time would you still need?
20 MR. MISETIC: 15 minutes. 15 minutes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: 15 minutes.
22 Then we'll first have a break. Let me just check another
23 administrative matter.
24 One second, please, Mr. Kuzmanovic.
25 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kuzmanovic.
2 MR. KUZMANOVIC: Your Honour, I was just rising in anticipation.
3 You said, We'll first have a break, so I ...
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You thought it really was time to have the
6 We will have a break and we will resume at five minutes past
8 --- Recess taken at 10.40 a.m.
9 --- On resuming at 11.28 a.m.
10 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber apologises for the late start, but we
11 considered it to be important to further discuss among ourselves the
13 order to provide Ms. Gustafson with some guidance so that she would know
14 where we stand, and the rulings of the Chamber will be given at the end
15 of the examination-in-chief, Mr. Misetic.
16 And if there -- then there would be any further need to put
17 questions to the witness, we'll consider that. But I don't think that a
18 lot will come as a surprise.
19 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President my only point was going to be that if
20 there is a negative ruling, then we're prepared to call the witness back
21 to give Ms. Gustafson some time at a later date, but I don't believe that
22 the Prosecution was ever precluded from introducing a document into
23 evidence [overlapping speakers] --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Well, as a matter of fact --
25 MR. MISETIC: -- late disclosure to the Defence.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ORIE: I think there is actually no need to wait until the
3 end of the examination-in-chief, so ...
4 The Chamber will admit into evidence the -- let me just find it.
5 We'll admit into evidence the 92 ter statement with the exception of
6 paragraph 3, paragraph 5 partially, that is, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 are
7 excluded. 5.5 which say what the programme does mention, or, rather,
8 does not mention. There's no obstacle to admit that. I don't know
9 whether you would still seek that, Mr. Misetic, if 5.1 to 5.4 are not
10 admitted. We leave that to you. So 5.5, 5.6, 5.7 can be admitted, if
11 you consider that of any use when the heading of 5 and 5.1 to 5.4 are not
12 admitted into evidence.
13 7 is excluded from the decision to admit the 92 ter statement.
14 The "Globus" article is admitted into evidence, but the Chamber
15 makes the following observation. The probative value of the "Globus"
16 article is found primarily by this Chamber in the fact that the "Globus"
17 article has apparently served as a basis for dealing with refugee and
18 migration problems. In the non-admitted paragraph 7 of the 92 ter
19 statement, reference is made to the "Globus" article. On the basis of
20 the viva voce testimony, the Chamber considers that what was find -- what
21 was found in paragraph 7 and what is reflecting, for a major part what is
22 found in the "Globus" article, is expert opinion.
23 So, therefore, admission of the "Globus" article, as I said
24 before is primarily because the Chamber heard testimony that factually
25 these data were used, as the witness described, and that the probative
1 value is not to be found, as far as the accuracy of the data are
2 concerned, because the figures in the article, as in the statement, are
3 the result of scientific analysis, of which the sources are unclear and
4 of which the methodology is not clear either.
5 The Chamber emphasises that, of course, this probative value of
6 an admitted piece of evidence is commented upon, as I just did on behalf
7 of the Chamber, as matters stand now.
8 Ms. Gustafson gives this guidance to you, as to ...
9 MS. GUSTAFSON: Yes, that's very helpful. Thank you, Your
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, please proceed.
12 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
13 Q. Mr. Sterc, do you recall approximately how many Serbs had
14 returned to what used to be called Sectors North and South in Croatia
15 to the publication of the "Globus" article in 1998?
16 A. If I remember well, the reports and the discussions we had, I
17 believe there were some 30.000 people.
18 Q. Okay. Following up on the questioning of Judge Orie before the
19 break, with respect to these 30.000 people, can you tell us, in terms of
20 their security, what measures needed to be taken as a general matter.
21 Obviously, different situations require different levels of security.
22 But as a general matter, how did the Croatian government ensure that
23 these people would be safe, up until 1998, these 30.000 people?
24 A. After the event in Banovina that we discussed previously, the
25 tensions slowly calmed down because we visited the field on a number of
1 occasions and there were a number of interventions by the Croatian
2 government, first of all, concerning the reconstruction of the
3 infrastructure. And it was less and less required to protect the
4 returnees, intensively. So more and more the possibility of individual
5 returns appeared and there were more and more individual returnees, and
6 obviously our intention was to register all of the returnees and we
7 wished to have them return to the situation that was, to the largest
8 extent possible, the same as the situation that was there prior to the
10 Q. After that first incident which we discussed prior to the break,
11 nevertheless, did there continue to be incidents involving returnees to
12 the area?
13 A. Yes, there were. But in those situations, we reacted in the
14 following manner. We visited the location all together. You probably
15 remember that there was an incident in Kostajnica, and then even the
16 American state secretary came to Kostajnica. And on the spot there we
17 held a meeting of the Working Group because we believed that in this way
18 we would bring down some of the psychological barriers to the return that
19 did exit, and generally speaking within the Working Group we agreed that
20 any incident registered by anybody in the field would be resolved in such
21 a way that we would all visit the location and matter together and we
22 would all together talk to the people who suffered during the incident.
23 Q. Now, these 30.000 returnees by 1998, were they people who had --
24 who were -- who were as of that date, 30.000 people who had permanent
25 residence in Croatia
1 I should say from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
2 A. Yes. Yes, these were people who had permanent residence in the
3 Republic of Croatia
4 Q. What about after the war? When they came back, did they stay
5 permanently in Croatia
6 A. There was a lot of mobility concerning these people. Formally
7 they returned. We registered them as returnees, but they often would go
8 back to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Yugoslavia
10 However, both us and UNHCR registered their official return to Croatia
11 Q. Now in terms of mobility, as a general matter, were they
12 moving -- what were the reasons that they were moving back and forth?
13 A. I believe that they primarily came back in order to maintain
14 their property, in order to do some work on their houses, in their
15 gardens, and it was our assumption that some of them had jobs in Bosnia
16 or in Yugoslavia
17 Q. Mr. Sterc, are you familiar with any polling that was ever been
18 done among Serb and Croat refugees and about their intentions to ever
19 return to formerly occupied areas?
20 I believe it's referenced in your statement, actually.
21 A. Yes, of course. This is what we insisted on. We wanted the
22 UNHCR to make this service concerning their positions on return and their
23 wish, whether they wanted to return or not.
24 Q. How often would -- well, let me ask you a different question.
25 Were you familiar with any -- ever familiar with any OSCE surveys
1 or polls conducted amongst Serb and Croat refugees?
2 A. I think that they had a contract with the polling agency Pus
3 [phoen] from Zagreb
5 Q. And have you ever seen the results of that poll?
6 A. Yes, we considered that, and the results mostly confirmed our
7 opinions and the discussions we had at the Working Group. So there were
8 positions in a range from the -- that they did not want to come back to
11 So there was a wide range of answers, and generally speaking,
12 those that were not willing to come back to Croatia wanted some
13 compensation for their property, and those who were willing to come back,
14 wanted the return to be organised and dignified with full protection by
16 Q. Okay.
17 MR. MISETIC: Madam Registrar, if we could have 65 ter 1D1151,
19 Q. Mr. Sterc, I'm going to show you a poll conducted in 2004.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson.
21 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, I object to the use of this exhibit.
22 It's a poll conducted in 2004, polling the -- surveying the emotional and
23 motivational factors of Serbs regarding their desire to return to
25 survey was taken in 2003. Secondly, it polls Serbs who left Croatia
1 between 1990 and 1997. Only 47 per cent of the respondents left in
2 connection with Operation Storm, and there is no way to distinguish their
3 responses from the responses of the other respondents in the survey
4 results. And so for these two reasons, in our submission, this report is
5 irrelevant to motivations emotional factors regarding the desire of the
6 Krajina Serbs to return to the Krajina after Operation Storm with respect
7 to any reasonable time-frame after 1995.
8 Thank you.
9 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, I don't think that's an objection on
10 admissibility -- oh.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic.
13 MR. MISETIC: I was going say that I don't think there is an
14 objection there actually as to putting the matter to the witness, a legal
16 MS. GUSTAFSON: I objected on the basis of relevance.
17 MR. MISETIC: And the second point I was going to get to was
18 first: There is no basis under Rule 89(D) to exclude it. Secondly it is
19 relevant. The Prosecution's case is not that Croatia blocked Serbs from
20 sectors north and south from returning but as a general policy of the
21 joint criminal enterprise to prevent all Serbs and unless the Prosecution
22 is saying that -- may I finish?
23 MS. GUSTAFSON: Well, I'd just ask Mr. Misetic to be careful what
24 he says about the Prosecution's case in front of the witness. Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: At least it gives us as an impression of what
1 Mr. Misetic thinks the Prosecution's case is.
2 Ms. Gustafson, whenever Mr. Misetic or Mr. Kehoe or Ms. Higgins
3 or Mr. Mikulicic is speaking about the Prosecution's case, the Chamber
4 will always consider whether that is congruent with the content of the
5 Prosecution's case, and the way in which the Prosecution interprets its
6 case itself.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: I fully understand that, Your Honour. My concern
8 was that it was in the presence of the witness. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The objection -- the document can be put to
10 the witness --
11 MR. MISETIC: Thank you.
12 JUDGE ORIE: -- and once we've also seen it, because it's very
13 difficult to talk about relevance if you haven't seen it yet, and we'll
14 therefore consider whether it's -- finally its weight or admissibility
15 which is at stake.
16 Please proceed.
17 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 Q. You can see, sir, this is from 2004, motivational and emotional
19 factors regarding the return of refugees. It is correct that it not only
20 includes Serbs but also includes the motivational factor for Croats to
22 And if we go to the foreword, which is on page 4 in the e-court
24 If we go to the third paragraph it says:
25 "Since the process of return started in 1995, the Croatian
1 government registered a total of 321.400 returnees. Two thirds of that
2 number relate to ethnic Croats who were resettled within Croatia
3 the war. Approximately one third relates to Croatian Serbs who fled to
5 region in Eastern Slavonia."
6 Now, 100 -- basically the numbers, if my math serves me well,
7 100.000 plus of these returnees are Serb returnees. And as of 2003,
8 first, Mr. Sterc, and again you were at least a member of the Racan
9 government at the relevant time-period. Are you aware of any other
10 programme of return of these 100.000 Serb refugees other than the
11 programme that you say you wrote by hand in 1998 under which they would
12 have come back to Croatia
13 A. I was aware -- yes, I was aware that that programme was being
14 implemented. As I said, I don't participate in its implementation after
15 the year 2000, but according to the reports that we received the report
16 was still being implemented, and these numbers regarding the year 2003,
17 if we go back to see the trends, this was a logical continuation of
18 everything that was prepared in various other documents and in the
19 programme itself.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, I haven't heard an answer to your
22 MR. MISETIC:
23 Q. But was there -- were you aware in 2003 of any other programme of
24 return in force at that time, other than the programme that you had
25 prepared by hand in 1998?
1 A. As far as I know, there was no other programme.
2 Q. Okay.
3 MR. MISETIC: And if we move forward two pages, please, to page 6
4 in the e-court. Page 5 in the B/C/S.
5 Q. In the introduction in the third paragraph it describes the goal
6 of this polling project: "The goal of this particular phase of the
7 research segment of the project ... was to establish the basic
8 motivational and emotional factors of return of Serb refugees to Croatia
9 and the perception of the local Croatian population regarding their
11 MR. MISETIC: If we go to page 11 in the e-court, which is a
12 summary. Page 8 in the Croatian version, please.
13 And just for the record, Mr. President, I believe the report
14 indicates that it is an OSCE commissioned poll, and there's a stamp of
15 the US
17 Q. Under war and war damages of the respondents, it says:
18 "36 per cent of the Serb population left their homes in 1991, and
19 47 per cent of them during and immediately after Operation Storm in 1995.
20 More than 50 per cent of them left Croatia in a massive collectively
21 organised night, and as the main reason for the same they stated the
22 inexistence of normal living conditions and fear."
23 And if we go under life today --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, may I ask you, this apparently is a --
25 this is a summary of the --
1 MR. MISETIC: Entire report.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Are there questions -- of course, the Chamber
3 hasn't seen it. Are there any questions about organisation of departure
4 or is this opinion that slips in. That's again the problem if you
5 haven't seen the document.
6 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, the questions are attached to the
7 report, and number 8 says in what way did you leave Croatia and the
8 options are: 1, in a massive escape together with other people from your
9 place; 2, organised together with others but it was not an escape; 3,
10 independently with my own family; and the last one is, does not know,
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Which gives a -- or options, the one not
13 exclusive from the other.
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I --
15 JUDGE ORIE: But -- we'll then have a closer look at it, but, of
16 course, not having -- that's the problem with this system, where there's
17 no way that you can go through every letter of a document which is
18 understood by the Chamber and is well understood by the parties as well,
19 but leaves us now and then in some fog.
20 Ms. Gustafson.
21 MS. GUSTAFSON: Just to clarify that I read that out from an
22 English version we located on the web because it was only a partial
23 translation of the first ten pages provided to us by the Gotovina
24 Defence, so it is a slightly different document than the one on the
1 MR. MIKULICIC: Well --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm just putting this, because it -- it -- it
3 relates to a rather vital point of dispute in this case, isn't it, how
4 organised and organised by whom the departure was. And I haven't seen
5 the report, I'm not a statistical expert, but, of course, everyone knows
6 that there are lies, big lies, and statistics, and not to disqualify this
7 report, but well, to tell that you we should be very cautious in using
8 this type of material.
9 Please proceed.
10 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour, that's, of course, the case. However,
11 in issues of trends and what people would have understood to be
12 motivational factors at the time, I think it's relevant from that sense
13 whether the percentages are plus or minus ten, isn't the point of what --
14 JUDGE ORIE: No, the problem is usually in which way the
15 questions are phrased and what options are given to the respondents to
16 tick one of the boxes, whether these are really options which are
17 overlapping options, or not. I mean, I think there might be --
18 MR. MISETIC: Yes. I understand that and also that --
19 [Overlapping speakers] ...
20 JUDGE ORIE: [Overlapping speakers] ... please proceed, but just
21 for you to --
22 MR. MISETIC: Yeah.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, yes. I'm not talking about selection and where
24 to find all the remaining Serb refugees who have not returned. But,
25 again, this is -- this needs almost expert knowledge to understand.
1 MR. MISETIC: Apparently we have one on the stand, Judge, so ...
2 I'm just kidding.
3 JUDGE ORIE: No --
4 MR. MISETIC: Just kidding.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You're just kidding, yes.
6 MR. MISETIC:
7 Q. Under life today, it says:
8 "41 per cent of Serb refugees from Croatia own a flat or a house
9 in their current place of residence."
10 It goes on:
11 "In the future intend to build their own house or buy a flat in
12 the current place of residence," et cetera?
13 And if we turn a page under return. Under attitudes of returns:
14 "Only approximately 14 per cent of Serb refugees from Croatia
15 a certain degree, expressed an intention to return to Croatia, and only 4
16 per cent of the respondents from that group expressed a somewhat firm
18 And then the next paragraph concerns what the perceived major
19 obstacles to return are.
20 My question to you, Mr. Sterc, is, in terms of - and we don't
21 need to discuss the specific numbers here - but in terms of what some of
22 the factors were in terms of getting people to return how big of an issue
23 was it, whether people wished to return?
24 A. This was exceptionally important, in order for us to be able to
25 develop an operational plan of return at the Working Group, and this was
1 the plan that we then submitted to the Croatian government and public.
2 Q. What -- in terms of you and the Working Group, what were your
3 understandings of some reasons that people wouldn't want to return to
5 maybe security concerns, but of the people who decided that they
6 wouldn't -- or didn't have a long-term plan to return to Croatia, what
7 was your understanding of what some of those motivational factors were?
8 MS. GUSTAFSON: I'm not sure its been established that there was
9 such a group.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Let me re-read the question.
11 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
12 JUDGE ORIE: One second.
13 I'm afraid I did not fully understand your objection,
14 Ms. Gustafson.
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: My objection, Your Honour, is that it was a
16 leading question because it hadn't been established from the witness that
17 there was such a group and yet --
18 JUDGE ORIE: A Working Group --
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: No, no, a group of people who decided they had no
20 long-term plan to return to Croatia
21 the reasons why they wouldn't return.
22 MR. MISETIC: I will be glad to lay a foundation. I assumed that
23 it was an undisputed fact that there were at least some people who never
24 would return to Croatia
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, please do so.
1 MR. MISETIC:
2 Q. Mr. Sterc, were you aware of any Serbs who left Croatia that
3 would -- expressed a desire not to ever return?
4 A. Yes, of course, we knew about that, and international community
5 knew about that as well.
6 Q. Now, without getting into statistics, give us a general estimate
7 of what portion of all the Serb who is had left Croatia, as a general
8 matter, roughly speaking, you concluded might not want to return to
10 MS. GUSTAFSON: First of all, this is vague as to the time, and
11 second of all, I think it's calling for an opinion by the witness.
12 MR. MISETIC: Your Honour --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Well, you ask for a conclusion, Mr. Misetic. It
14 would be good to know what any such conclusion would be based upon.
15 MR. MISETIC: Well.
16 Q. Mr. Sterc we've now spent half an hour talking about some of the
17 polling that was done. You indicated that there was polling done even
18 while you were a part of a Joint Working Group. You indicated that this
19 was important in order to determine the scope of the refugee return
20 issue. In your polling and in your work on that issue, did you conclude
21 that every Serb wanted to return to Croatia?
22 A. No.
23 Q. What were your conclusions when we're talking about the scope of
24 the return problem of all the Serbs that you determined potentially could
25 have been refugees, displaced persons, or whatever other term you wish to
1 use, how many of them, roughly speaking, did you think didn't have an
2 intention to come back to live in the Republic of Croatia
3 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, I still don't understand what this
4 -- where the foundation of this comes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Let's -- of course, it's a bit of the same problem.
6 A bit of the same problem; that is, your conclusions, apparently
7 conclusions on the basis of all kind of scientific analyses, work done.
8 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Misetic, there --
10 MR. MISETIC: I'm not --
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- may be a way of dealing it. On what assumptions
12 the witness worked --
13 MR. MISETIC: That's fine.
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- when this. You understand what I mean?
15 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You make it a factual question. And I am aware and
17 that is obvious, in those circumstances, that we are dealing with a
18 witness who is presented as a witness of fact, who was involved in
19 programmes in dealings with international organisations. At the same
20 time, published articles of a rather scientific character. So let's try
21 to keep as closely as possible to the facts, and especially in his
22 position as an assistant minister. I may take it that he often used, as
23 the starting point for his activities and for his thinking, the results
24 of what he knew -- of what he knew to be the results of all kind of
1 MR. MISETIC: Yeah --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Now whether the research is right or not is another
3 matter, but what he took as a starting point for thinking and developing
4 programmes might be the same. But that's rather factual.
5 MR. MISETIC: Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
7 MR. MISETIC: Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. Now, again, let me just use a different word. What were your
9 assumptions as to how many Serbs wouldn't want to come back on a
10 permanent basis to Croatia
11 A. I'll answer you very specifically after this discussion.
12 Those were not assumptions; those were specific discussions of
13 the Working Group about results --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness slow down, please.
15 THE WITNESS: Sorry.
16 MR. MISETIC:
17 Q. Can you start your answer again, please, but slowly.
18 A. [Interpretation] I'll try.
19 So these were not assumptions. Those were specific data that we
20 discussed at the Working Group, after the UNHCR had conducted a poll in
22 not wish to return to Croatia
23 Q. Now, this figure two thirds of Serbs do not wish to return to
25 security issues; or are we talking about, again, your understanding and
1 your assumption as a person drafting a plan on how to return refugees,
2 what is your working assumption as to how many of those two thirds don't
3 have a long-term desire to return to Croatia?
4 A. Following the same procedure that I described. It was before the
5 programme was adopted at the Croatian parliament. A little over 50 per
6 cent did not wish to return to Croatia
7 they had set conditions for return.
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. They were unequivocal. They did not wish to return to Croatia
10 until the authorities changed in Croatia.
11 Q. Okay.
12 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, let me move on to one additional
13 point. I'm not going to tender the -- unless the Chamber wishes to have
14 it in evidence.
15 Q. Last point, Mr. Sterc, is you've talked frequently over the last
16 two days about the fact that you had discussions and debates with members
17 of the international community. Do you -- and you've actually spoken
18 about Mr. Guldimann, G-u-l-d-i-m-a-n-n.
19 A. Robinson.
20 Q. Yes. But Mr. Guldimann was head of the OSCE in Croatia
21 you recall having debates with him about the issue of refugee returns?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you ever participate in any public discussions with
24 Mr. Guldimann about the issue of refugee returns?
25 A. Yes. The -- the talk was direct. It was not a pre-recorded
2 Q. So this was on live television?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And in that -- in that television discussion, do you recall
5 whether Mr. Guldimann indicated any position of the international
6 community with respect to whether mass return was being sought at the
7 time, mass return of Serb refugees?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Do you recall what his answer was?
10 A. Well, in fact, no particular problem was raised at that
11 discussion because it followed the adoption of the programme and
12 harmonisation with the international community. He only confirmed that
13 what the Croatian government was doing was supported by the international
14 community and the OSCE, and we had in fact entered a completely new stage
15 of the resolution of the problem.
16 Q. Okay. I'd like to show you a clip from that show, ask you to
17 watch it, and then ask you to confirm whether this is in fact the
18 programme that you are referring to and whether this is -- authentically
19 records a portion of your discussion.
20 MR. MISETIC: It is, Madam Registrar, 65 ter 1D1560. And ...
21 Mr. President, the booths have been provided with transcripts of
22 the clip. The portion of the clip that we intend to show.
23 [Video-clip played]
24 "Hloverka Novak-Srzic: Mr. Guldimann your comment.
25 "Tim Guldimann: I'm very happy we just heard this from
1 Mr. Mr. Sterc. It is emphasised that there is a problem we'd have to
2 deal with jointly. Any kinds of attempts, let's say like the ones made
3 by the media in the past few weeks to create an atmosphere of
4 confrontation and conflict as if there were any pressures, is not right.
5 "It is quite certain that we, from the international community,
6 never insisted on anything that would signify a mass return of Serb
7 refugees. We are all aware, and we insist, that there must be an
8 unconditional right for those people to return as the government of
10 diplomatic contacts we will see what can be done to support this process,
11 to assist, and for all of us to try to contribute to a facilitation of
12 this process. And we are in complete agreement on this, and we all agree
13 that something needs to be done."
14 MR. MISETIC:
15 Q. Mr. Sterc, is that the discussion with Mr. Guldimann to which you
16 were referring to in your testimony?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Does that clip accurately portray a portion of the discussion?
19 A. Yes.
20 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, we tender the clip, 65 ter 1D1560,
21 into evidence.
22 MS. GUSTAFSON: No objection.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit D1612.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And is admitted into evidence. That is, the video
1 plus the transcripts.
2 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, that concludes my direct
3 examination. I don't know whether you wish me to do a summary now or at
4 the end.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you do a summary taking into account the
6 ruling of the Chamber.
7 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
8 Witness Stjepan Sterc -- let me first give the booths a chance to
9 find the transcript.
10 It's the witness summary of Witness Stjepan Sterc.
11 Witness Stjepan Sterc is a professor at the Faculty of Science at
12 the University of Zagreb
13 issues in the former Yugoslavia
14 the assistant minister for reconstruction and development. As part of
15 his portfolio, Mr. Sterc was responsible for defining the operative
16 procedures for the return of refugees to their homes. Mr. Sterc worked
17 on the issue of return of refugees as chairman of the Joint Working Group
18 for return, which consisted of representatives of the government of the
19 Republic of Croatia
20 community in the Republic of Croatia
21 Group, Mr. Sterc concluded numerous agreements and operative procedures
22 for the return of refugees, displaced persons and resettled persons.
23 As chairman of the Joint Working Group, the witness authored
24 agreements in 1997 and 1998 on the return of refugees, in particular the
25 witness authored a 100-page Programme for Return of displaced persons,
1 refugees, and resettled persons, and the programme defined nearly all
2 segments of return. The programme is nearly 100 pages long and is the
3 most comprehensive document regarding the issue of return. This
4 programme, with some minor changes, is the plan that is implemented to
5 this day in the Republic of Croatia
6 refugees. The witness was not only an assistant minister during the
7 government of President Tudjman, but after the elections in 2000 he was
8 asked by the new government of Prime Minister Ivica Racan to become the
9 assistant minister of defence, a post which he held until the end of
10 2003. In 2000, the witness was asked to join the OSCE mission in Kosovo
11 to perform similar tasks to the ones he had performed in Croatia. The
12 witness declined the invitation in order to join the government of Prime
13 Minister Racan.
14 And that concludes the summary, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Misetic.
16 I think it would be better to have a break first, Ms. Gustafson.
17 Otherwise, you start your cross-examination and have to interrupt it
18 after a few minutes.
19 Further, Mr. Misetic, could the Chamber expect you to upload a
20 revised version of the 92 ter statement and then, of course, you can make
21 your choices as whether to keep in certain portions, for example, of
22 paragraph 5 or whether you would consider them so much related to the
23 non-admitted parts that you would take them out as well.
24 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
25 JUDGE ORIE: I leave it in your hands.
1 MR. MISETIC: We will upload a new version by the court session
2 on Friday morning.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
4 Then we'll first have a break, and we resume at 20 minutes to
6 --- Recess taken at 12.19 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.46 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, are you ready to cross-examine the
10 Mr. Sterc, you'll now be cross-examined by Ms. Gustafson.
11 Ms. Gustafson is counsel for the Prosecution.
12 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour. Just before I start, two
13 brief matters. The first is that the video that was just admitted, I
14 just wanted to put on the record, which was Exhibit D1612, that the
15 transcript of that clip says that we from the international community
16 have never insisted on anything which would signify a mass return of
17 Serbs to Croatia
18 the transcript and I just wanted to put that on the record.
19 MR. MISETIC: I believe the procedure is for us to -- she can
20 raise it with me and then we can deal with it, but this has not been
21 raised with me before.
22 JUDGE ORIE: This is usually best resolved by the two parties
23 together. On the other hand -- Mr. Misetic.
24 MS. GUSTAFSON: [Overlapping speakers] ...
25 JUDGE ORIE: -- if it is obvious, then, of course, you will be
1 glad to join Ms. Gustafson in her observation.
2 MR. MISETIC: Of course. My point was that I haven't had a
3 chance to see whether it's obvious or not.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Okay.
5 MS. GUSTAFSON: That's fine, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: We'll hear from you if is there any need.
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: The second minor point was that Mr. Carrier needs
8 five minutes to raise a procedural matter with respect to an upcoming
9 witness, and perhaps at the end of the session might be the best time to
10 raise that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Before I give all these kind of promises, do I
12 understand that no other witness has been scheduled for this week, which
13 means that we have Friday available?
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes, Mr. President.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Which doesn't mean that we have no concern about
16 time, which is at risk not to be used effectively. But under the
17 circumstances, Mr. Carrier has his five minutes.
18 Please proceed.
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Cross-examination by Ms. Gustafson:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Sterc.
22 A. Good afternoon to you too.
23 Q. I'd just like to start with asking you a few questions about your
24 position before and after you were appointed assistant minister.
25 Before you were appointed assistant minister in October of 1995,
1 did you ever have any personal communications with President Tudjman?
2 A. Unfortunately, I never met the first president of the Republic of
4 Q. And is that -- does the same hold after you were appointed
5 assistant minister. You never had any contact with him at that point
7 A. I never met him. I never had any contact with him either.
8 Q. Okay. And what about the Minister Jure Radic. Before you
9 appointed assistant minister, did you know him and have any personal
10 communications with him?
11 A. I did not know him before he became assistant minister.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Sorry, before I became assistant minister.
13 MS. GUSTAFSON:
14 Q. Thank you. And after you became assistant minister, I presume
15 you had some contact with him. Could you describe the nature and extent
16 of your contacts with Jure Radic after your appointment?
17 A. Primarily those were contacts at the meetings of the collegium of
18 the Ministry for Reconstruction and Development.
19 Q. And what was that?
20 A. We discussed the work done the week before in every department.
21 Q. So those were weekly meetings?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And aside from you and Mr. Radic, who else attended these weekly
25 A. All other assistant ministers and the chief secretary of the
2 Q. And outside of these meetings your contacts with Mr. Radic were
3 limited; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. The Chamber has received evidence that Mr. Radic had one-on-one
6 meetings with President Tudjman in the period following Operation Storm.
7 Do you know about any such meetings?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Thank you. Now I'd like to move on to the matters that are
10 discussed in paragraph 8 of your witness statement. In particular, your
11 evidence on the obstacles or lack thereof or of return of Serbs.
12 And you stated that:
13 "There were no obstacles considering that we have stated from the
14 start that the return of Serbs to the Republic of Croatia
15 humanitarian and not a political issue, that we agree with the concept of
16 return of all persons to their homes."
17 And you also refer in paragraph 10 of your statement to
18 Ambassador Galbraith's remarks, and you say:
19 "Those remarks must have referred only to the period after
20 Operation Storm, August/September, when safe return from our later point
21 of view was nearly impossible due to a number of objective
23 I'd like that ask you a few questions about --
24 MR. MISETIC: I'm going to object to the characterisation of the
25 statement. The statement doesn't say there were no obstacles; it says
1 there were no political obstacles. It says that --
2 MS. GUSTAFSON: Pardon me?
3 JUDGE ORIE: Which was you intended to read it, I take it.
4 MS. GUSTAFSON: Pardon me, thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 MS. GUSTAFSON:
7 Q. In reference to your remarks about Ambassador Galbraith, did you
8 ever meet with Ambassador Galbraith?
9 A. No.
10 Q. And when you refer to his remarks, specifically what remarks of
11 his are you referring to?
12 A. What I saw from newspaper reports and television reports, the way
13 he sat up on a tractor and saw off the Serbs, left me with my own opinion
14 as a scientist and as a person.
15 Q. I asked you specifically what remarks, and you referred to what I
16 saw from newspaper reports and television reports. Specifically what
17 remarks was he making?
18 A. And what I read in the newspapers.
19 Q. And what remarks were those that you're referring to in your
20 statement specifically. What is it that he said in the newspaper that
21 you're talking about here?
22 A. Well, his statements, later when we started talking to the
23 international community were conveyed to us in Working Group meetings,
24 et cetera. He said that there were certain preconditions that the
25 Croatian government had created for Serbs not to return. That was clear
1 to us and that's what we discussed.
2 Q. Thank you. And back to paragraph 8 of your statement where you
3 said that: "We agreed with the concept of return of all persons to their
5 By "we," are you referring to the Croatian leadership?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. But, in fact, President Tudjman and the top Croatian leadership
8 did not agree that all Serbs should return to their homes, and they took
9 measures aimed at preventing the Krajina Serbs from returning to their
10 homes, didn't they?
11 A. When I came to the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development,
12 the processes began the way it was described, the return of all persons
13 to their homes. What politicians discussed at various levels was in fact
14 no concern of mine. At that time in the Croatian government, there was
15 no politician who could give me any orders, which is not at odds with
16 what we had agreed and what we accepted as a principle, because we knew
17 very clearly what the interests of the Republic of Croatia
18 Q. Minister Radic could give you orders. He was your boss; isn't
19 that right?
20 A. No one gave me orders. It was not a relationship of that kind
21 that Minister Radic could give me any orders that I had to execute. If
22 he had tried, he would have had my resignation the next day. That's the
23 kind of relationship we had.
24 Q. And if he wasn't happy with your work, you could have been
25 dismissed as his assistant, right?
1 A. Of course, he could have dismissed me, yes.
2 Q. You referred in -- in your statement to certain objective
3 circumstances that made the safe return in -- nearly impossible in
4 August and September.
5 What objective circumstances are you talking about there?
6 A. That was absolutely impossible. A month or two after the war,
7 after everything that happened in the past five years, to create any sort
8 of precondition for the return of people was impossible. The tensions
9 were unbelievable, psychological, political, the devastation, the
10 infrastructure wasn't working, and anyone in any position of
11 responsibility who would try to get people to come back to those areas
12 had to reckon with the responsibility.
13 Q. Could you be a little more precise in your answer about these
14 objective circumstances. You talked about everything that happened in
15 the past five years, tensions, psychological, political, devastation.
16 Can you be a little more precise as to what the specific
17 circumstances in the area were that, in your view, prevented return?
18 A. The territory was completely devastated. The population had
19 left. Not a single infrastructure facility was working, schools,
20 hospitals, you name it. But when I came to the ministry in October, I
21 knew of all those reasons. It was quite clear that any step we could
22 make in that direction without proper planning and organisation had no
23 sense. We knew that Croatia
24 because of that, but we also knew that Croatia first had to create the
25 right conditions and to convince the international community that it was
1 willing, but with proper planning, organisation, financing, and general
3 Q. At the beginning of your answer you said: "The territory was
4 completely devastated. The population had left. Not a single
5 infrastructure facility was working, schools hospitals, you name it."
6 In your view, in August and September, were these circumstances
7 such that it was not possible to return anyone to the territory, whether
8 Serb or Croat?
9 A. Not quite. Individual returns were possible.
10 Q. But in your view the situation was the same with respect to the
11 return of Serbs and return of Croats. It was -- the conditions were
12 equally impossible for their return; is that right?
13 A. In my view, as an outside observer of that time, yes.
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: Could we please --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, could I seek clarification on one
18 Mr. Sterc, you said -- let me check that.
19 You said: "The territory was completely devastated. The
20 population had left. Not a single infrastructure facility was working,
21 schools, hospitals, you name it."
22 This Chamber received evidence which suggested that it was a
23 matter of days for the hospital in Knin to be fully functional, or at
24 least to be functional. I remember even the first baby born in that
25 hospital featuring on a television clip.
1 Now you tell us that no -- the devastation, the infrastructure
2 wasn't working. Anyone, any position, how do I have to reconcile your
3 answer with the other evidence this Chamber received?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation], of course, they were isolated
5 cases of reconstruction, and it was only logical to try and make sure
6 that hospitals started to operate, first of all, but there was no public
7 transaction, no electricity, no water supply, and these are the
8 conclusions that I reached on the basis of daily reports and reports in
9 newspapers, and, as I said, this was my personal opinion as an observer
10 who, at the time, looked at these areas from a distance.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Well, you didn't include in your answer specifically
12 the water supplies. You did, however, specifically mention hospitals.
13 Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.
14 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Could we turn to Exhibit P466, please, and on page 25 of the
16 English and page 53 in the B/C/S.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Unless, Ms. Gustafson, I would have one follow-up
19 Could you tell us about other hospitals that were in need of
20 reconstruction, because you -- in your answer you said, Well, there may
21 have been -- there were "isolated cases of reconstruction, and it was
22 only logical to try and make sure that hospitals started to operate."
23 Could you tell us about any specific problem in relation to
24 hospitals because your answers suggests that what I just told you about
25 Knin was rather exceptional.
1 Could you give us any further details about problems in
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, Your Honour, I do
4 not know that and therefore I cannot speak about this. This was not
5 within my remit at that time, nor later when I came to the Ministry for
6 Reconstruction and Development. So whatever I could say would be from
7 the second or even third hand. I cannot give you any direct answer.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please in your answers, before you
9 give them, ask yourself what kind of knowledge you have. Because you
10 didn't say, I read in the newspapers that there was no facility
11 functioning anymore, but you said not one single was functioning, you
12 name it, hospitals. That is a rather firm statement, and I would like
13 you to always be very precise in your answers, as to what you know, what
14 you know from personal observation, and what you heard from others.
15 THE WITNESS: Okay.
16 JUDGE ORIE: And where your knowledge is of a general character,
17 rather than of a specific and precise character.
18 Ms. Gustafson, please proceed.
19 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Now, Mr. Sterc, this is the minutes of a meeting held on the 30th
21 August 1995 that President Tudjman held with a number of ministers and
22 advisors. And I'd like to direct your attention to the bottom of the
23 page in the B/C/S. Minister Jarnjak speaking and he says: "The question
24 is about the Serbs that are coming through Hungary, and they are coming
25 to knock on our border because they want to come back.
1 And if we go to the next page in the B/C/S, President Tudjman
2 says: "Do they have our passports?
3 "Jarnjak: No, they do not have anything?"
4 Sarinic says: "They have Yugoslav passports?"
5 Jarnjak says: "I would like to us give them instructions that
6 they should get entry visas in Belgrade
7 "President Tudjman: I would not give anything. You have to give
8 instructions to the customs that they should not let people without
9 papers to cross border."
10 And Mr. Sarinic says: "President, let us get inspired the way it
11 is in Western Slavonia. It was very positive for us, because no one came
12 back. Let them report to the international humanitarian organisations
13 and then those organisations should give us ..."
14 And then the president says: "Wait a second, if he comes from
15 another country and the customs officer does not conduct any politics."
16 Sarinic says: "We should not let them come here. No way. They
17 were coming like this to Banja Luka as well ..."
18 And a few lines down, the president says again:
19 "Therefore we should not have any directions but just to let them
20 know they cannot come inside."
21 That's on the next page in the English.
22 And Mr. Granic says: "According to the agreement in Belgrade
23 there are only 204 of them that registered and they started to register
24 in Skopje
25 that they started to come here without any papers."
1 President Tudjman says: "If we let 204 persons come here,
2 tomorrow we would have 1.204, and in ten days 12.000 ..."
3 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we turn in the B/C/S to the next page:
4 Q. "Nothing for now."
5 Let me ask you this first, Mr. Sterc, when Sarinic said "let us
6 get inspired the way it is in Western Slavonia because no one came back,"
7 that's a reference to the departure of Serbs from Western Slavonia during
8 Operation Flash, right?
9 A. Yes, I assume.
10 MR. MISETIC: I was just going to say that it calls for
12 JUDGE ORIE: The witness has answered the question. I take it,
13 then, that you take this to be a speculative answer. That's --
14 MR. MISETIC: Yes, and -- exegetical if that is a word, but ...
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Gustafson.
16 MS. GUSTAFSON:
17 Q. And when President Tudjman gave instructions to Jarnjak to
18 instruct customs officials not to let Croatian Serbs who do not have
19 papers to cross the border, and then -- and expressed the concern that if
20 they began to let people in, in ten day there would be 12.000, that
21 reflects President Tudjman's desire to keep the Krajina Serbs out of
23 A. Possibly. I don't know.
24 Q. And it was -- was the policy of the top Croatian leadership to
25 prevent any large-scale return of the Krajina Serbs to Croatia, and to
1 limit individual returns, such that only a small fraction of the Krajina
2 Serbs could ever return to Croatia
3 That was the policy, wasn't it?
4 A. I did not feel it as the leading person who was in charge of
5 creating preconditions necessary for return in charge of contacts with
6 international community and all the related affairs. And also, I can say
7 the following: What you just told me, and this is the first time that I
9 did not have a clue by migrations in general, and particularly about
10 migrations caused by a war.
11 Q. Are you saying that the president of the country, the interior
12 minister, and the foreign minister of Croatia didn't have a clue about
13 migrations caused by the war and what was happening with the Krajina
14 Serbs; is that your position?
15 MR. MISETIC: That misstate what is the witness's answer was.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If that's a misstatement, then are you invited now
18 to precisely quote -- at the same time, Mr. Misetic, people attending
19 that meeting, that could be all people, some people but, of course, only
20 some portions have been read to the witness, so, therefore, he is aware
21 only of those persons, I take it, that they were present.
22 Your answer was that what Ms. Gustafson read to you: That that
23 "only confirms that people attending that meeting did not have a clue
24 about migrations in general, and particularly about migrations caused by
25 a war."
1 Would that include President Tudjman at that time, Mr. Jarnjak,
2 and -- who else was it? The minister of foreign affairs, I think.
3 Would they be included in this observation or this remark?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did not say they did not have an
5 idea. I said very clearly that, on the basis of these discussions and
6 the numbers mentioned therein, it can be concluded - and this is my
7 conclusion as an expert in the field - that they did not know anything
8 about the laws of migration, and particularly not the laws of migration
9 at the times of war and after the war.
10 MS. GUSTAFSON:
11 Q. Well, it's the case, is it not, that around this time, and around
12 the time you were appointed assistant minister, there were thousands of
13 Krajina Serbs trying to come back into Croatia who were being prevented
14 from doing so; isn't that right?
15 A. I thank you for this question.
16 When I came to the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development,
17 the issue was not the wish of thousands of peoples to return, but,
18 rather, the wish was to have an organised return. I felt all these
19 pressures at the moment I came to the ministry. At the time we did not
20 still have the administration formed or any logistics in place, but I
21 felt the pressure from day one, and I need to say that a pressure of
22 thousands of people who wished to return to Croatia was not felt as such
23 but there was, rather, the pressure at the political, public level, and
24 at the level of the media.
25 And it was actually me who requested, given the situation at the
1 time and a country that I represented was under attack, but I requested
2 that we spoke publically about this issue. Publically. This was
3 supposed to involve representatives of international community,
4 diplomacy, or anybody else.
5 Q. My question was simply around this time that you were appointed
6 assistant minister, there were thousands of Krajina Serbs trying to come
7 back into Croatia
8 MR. MISETIC: I think we're getting the long answers because of
9 the imprecision in the question. Around this time, does that mean before
10 he became in the position or --
11 MS. GUSTAFSON: October 1995.
12 MR. MISETIC: Again, is that October 11th, before October 11th,
13 or after? Because it makes a difference as to the witness's foundation
14 of knowledge.
15 MS. GUSTAFSON: After.
16 Q. After you were appointed assistant minister. There were
17 thousands of Krajina Serbs trying to come back to Croatia who were being
18 prevented from doing so.
19 Could you please answer that question, yes or no?
20 A. Yes, there were thousands of Serbs who wanted to return to their
21 homes and, obviously, this is their right. But, indeed, formerly
22 occupied area. But there were also Serbs who wished to come back to
23 other areas of Croatia
24 JUDGE ORIE: The question was a -- very much a question of fact,
25 and in your answer you are changing the question, Mr. Sterc, because the
1 question was whether there were thousands of Krajina Serbs trying to come
2 back. Then you start your answer, yes, there were thousands of Serbs
3 wishing to come back, and then you start making all kind of distinctions.
4 The question simply was whether there were thousands of Serbs
5 which tried -- trying to come back to Croatia --
6 THE WITNESS: Okay.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Who were being prevented from doing so.
8 If, at the end of your testimony, you would like to give any
9 further clarification you're invited to do so, but could you please first
10 answer this question as it was put to [Overlapping speakers] ...
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can.
12 JUDGE ORIE: [Previous translation continues] ... by
13 Ms. Gustafson. Please proceed.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Yes, there were thousands of Serbs who wanted to come back to
17 immediately. I can also further explain in relation to your question,
18 given that I made quite a few analyses within my capacity, we need to
19 clarify which Serbs we are talking about and to which parts of Croatia
20 they wanted to come back to, because they could come back without any
21 problems to two thirds of Croatia
22 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, I noticed in my previous question
23 that by answering the question in the affirmative, then the witness
24 rephrases your question in such a way that the affirmation becomes
25 unclear. I leave it to you whether -- the difference between wishing,
1 wanting, trying, whether -- of what relevance that is.
2 MR. MISETIC: Mr. President, if I could just note that perhaps we
3 may wish the -- how the word itself is being interpreted, it may be the
4 cause of this --
5 JUDGE ORIE: If there is any interpretation problem, as always I
6 expect those who can assist us in this respect to seek clarification in
7 the way it's usually done. That is, not give the alternative translation
8 but to ask our interpreters to again interpret the same words and then
9 try to find out.
10 Ms. Gustafson, perhaps if you rephrase the question by perhaps
11 not using the word "trying," but find an alternative for that which does
12 not in any way affect your question, then your invited to do so.
13 MS. GUSTAFSON: Thank you. Perhaps we could just look at 65 ter
14 4333, page 12 in the English and page 14 in the B/C/S.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Sterc, this is a 25th October 1995 transcript of a
16 meeting, again, between President Tudjman and a number of his -- of
17 government ministers and advisors.
18 Dr. Ivica Kostovic, he was the vice-prime minister - is that
19 right? At the time?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. And if we could just look at where he speaks. I
22 think it's at the bottom of the page in the B/C/S.
23 "President, before you left, yesterday, Galbraith pressurised
24 me. Today Satuk came from Belgrade
25 American side for the reception of 3.000 Serbs that would like to return,
1 plus 1.500 that are requesting their property. I told them, of course,
2 nothing before the elections, and that besides the regular procedure
3 there is only that humanitarian one.
4 "I now -- we would simply ask for your political instructions
5 before you leave so that we could give to MUP and Ministry of Foreign
6 Affairs" --
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: If we could turn the page in both.
8 Q. And the president says:
9 "Regular procedure were justifiable, either as family reunion or
10 something else. Let them return individually, but no pressures from
11 Satok or Batok or anyone else. The return of some 3.000 out of 300.000
12 that left should not bother us at all."
13 MS. GUSTAFSON: And if we go further down to the page to where
14 Mr. Jarnjak speaks, and to page 15 in -- page 15 B/C/S.
15 Jarnjak says:
16 "They all phone every day, Zivko Juzbasic calls every day. I
17 have a list of 50 people, et cetera. I told him, Brother you are nothing
18 in this countries."
19 Just pause there for a moment. Zivko Juzbasic, he was a Serb
20 delegate to Croatian parliament - is that right? - at the time?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then the next page in the B/C/S, Miroslav Tudjman says:
23 "There are 10.000 people in front of our office who want to return."
24 If we turn in the English, Kostovic says:
25 "8.000 in Belgrade
1 me a list with 3.000 people."
2 And then Miroslav Tudjman speaks and Minister Jarnjak says:
3 "President, the latest information is this: They are sending
4 them to Kosovo, but 90 per cent of them then escape to Nis. Those who
5 went to work escaped to Nis
6 those from Nis
8 their desire to return. They can materialise that right through us."
9 And the president says:
10 "Process individually."
11 And Zarko Domljan says:
12 "I think that a decision should be reached here if this should be
13 processed individually. Every single one of them is a citizen or has a
14 right to citizenship but he has to prove it, or are we going to accept
15 those lists."
16 On the next page in the B/C/S, President Tudjman says:
17 "We will not accept any lists, but we are going to process it
19 And then Jadranka Koso says, in the next page in the English:
20 "If I might add something, Mr. President, because I was getting
21 in my programme a lot of such questions that the people would like to
22 return and then the people called; for example, my mother is very old,
23 she is 86 years, she is now in Nis
24 pick out the elderly and the ill and to process them individually."
25 And Jarnjak says:
1 "Humanitarian return, that is a task for the humanitarian part."
3 "There are military officers who have parents that would like to
6 "Mr. President, an instruction should be issued to speed up such
7 ... so that we have something to fall back on, while everything else
8 follows its own way."
9 And if we turn the page in the B/C/S Jarnjak says:
10 "I will issue a task tomorrow to see how many have already been
11 returned. One part has been returned, and we have returned some of those
12 humanitarian problems. Therefore, I think that there are already a
13 couple of hundred who are exactly that family reunion. We will then
14 publish and say yes to such politics, that method of family reunion, but
15 individual cases, no mass."
16 And finally, on the next page, Mr. Kostovic says:
17 "I have lied that a couple of thousand have already arrived, so
18 this has to be done carefully because it might provoke ..."
19 And Mr. Jarnjak says:
20 "You did not lie. You wrote the usual."
21 Now, this transcript reflects, does it not, whether you call it
22 wanting or trying, there are thousands of Krajina Serbs either wanting or
23 trying to get into Croatia
24 prevent that. Does it not?
25 A. I truly know nothing about this. I don't know that there were
1 any concrete attempts. I can only say what happened after I arrive.
2 From everything that I heard here, nothing was ever requested from us.
3 Q. Well, you weren't in charge of keeping people out at the borders,
4 were you? I mean, what would this have to do with your job?
5 A. I must admit, that when I arrived, I did not see anyone keeping
6 anyone from returning. On the contrary. Everything was done to help
7 people return successfully, although the numbers involved were not large.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Gustafson, you put a transcript to the witness.
9 He says, I don't know anything about that. Then what more you can ask
10 him, and you did to some extent ask him whether he could comment on it.
11 You gave your interpretation of what this conversation tells us. It
12 could that be he has any specific knowledge or information which would
13 show that your understanding of the transcript is wrong. Apparently he
14 has not. At least that's what I take from his answer.
15 Then what else to do with this, because then the Chamber, of
16 course, will consider without any further assistance of this witness,
17 what the conversation is about and what the gist of it is.
18 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, perhaps could I ask a question that
19 the Chamber would --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if have you any questions. But try to -- if
21 there's -- if this is a part of a road to a certain destination try to
22 reach that destination as soon as possible.
23 MS. GUSTAFSON:
24 Q. Mr. Sterc, you earlier said in your testimony that it was -- and
25 you spoke for the Croatian leadership. I asked that you specifically.
1 That the Croatian leadership agreed with the concept of return of all
2 persons to their homes. But in fact you don't really know, as your
3 comments on this transcript reflect, what the top Croatian leadership was
4 agreeing to with respect to the return of the Krajina Serbs; isn't that
6 A. Of course I don't know that. I can only infer that from the
7 affairs that I handled. In any move that we made in agreement with the
8 international community, et cetera, nobody asked me to take that back or
9 invited me to give me such orders, et cetera.
10 Q. I'd like to ask you one more questions about this because you
11 made some comments and criticisms of Ambassador Galbraith's understanding
12 of the situation with respect to the return of the Krajina Serbs. Did
13 you know that at this time, the 25th of October, Ambassador Galbraith had
14 a list of 3.000 Serbs who wanted to return that he was presenting to the
15 members of the Croatian leadership.
16 Did you know about that?
17 A. No. May I clarify? Okay.
18 Can I just explain one thing? I personally would have been happy
19 if Mr. Galbraith had brought that list to us at the ministry so that we
20 can start the procedure.
21 Q. But you didn't have any say as to who was or wasn't allowed to
22 cross the border into Croatia
23 Ministry of Reconstruction. That would have been the Ministry of
24 Interior or of immigration, wouldn't it?
25 A. Correct, exactly. Only once they were in Croatia could we start
1 agreeing with them on care and accommodation.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 MS. GUSTAFSON: Your Honour, I note the time and I wonder if this
4 is a good time.
5 JUDGE ORIE: This is an appropriate time. I know that
6 Mr. Carrier would like to --
7 MS. GUSTAFSON: I would just like to tender this exhibit as well.
8 Sorry, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Madam Registrar. But first any objection
10 against -- if there is no objection, Madam Registrar, the number would
12 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that would be Exhibit P2589.
13 JUDGE ORIE: P2589 is admitted into evidence.
14 Mr. Sterc, we are not sitting tomorrow. That means that we'd
15 like to see you back for the last portion, I expect, of your testimony on
16 Friday morning, 9.00 in this same courtroom. I give you the same
17 instruction as I did yesterday, that you should not speak with anyone
18 about your testimony, whether that is testimony you have given already
19 yesterday and today, or whether that is testimony still to be given on
21 Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Sterc out of the
23 [The witness stands down]
24 JUDGE ORIE: Before I give an opportunity to Mr. Carrier to raise
25 an issue, I would like to inform the parties, and I'm thinking month -- a
1 month ahead, that on the 16th of October, there will be no hearing. That
2 is a Friday. That, in the week after that, which is the 19th, 20th,
3 21st, 22nd, and also 23rd but that's is a UN holiday, that the Chamber
4 will not be sitting in this case. That's our Autumn week off. That
5 includes the Friday, the 16th of October.
6 Mr. Carrier.
7 MR. CARRIER: Good afternoon, Mr. President, Your Honours, sorry
8 I'm coughing a lot today.
9 Just for the record the Prosecution received an expert report
10 from Ivan Pokaz or --
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MR. CARRIER: I apologise, that should be redacted. This is --
13 that part is confidential. We -- I can just not refer to the name at the
15 The Prosecution received an expert report --
16 JUDGE ORIE: One second.
17 MR. MISETIC: I believe it's public, the expert report.
18 MR. KEHOE: It is. We filed it publicly.
19 MR. MISETIC: No? No.
20 MR. KEHOE: No?
21 JUDGE ORIE: Let's go into private session.
22 Madam Registrar, I'd like to have a redaction on from the
23 coughing of Mr. Carrier.
24 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Carrier. You asked for five minutes. Now
22 three have been gone by. Please proceed.
23 MR. CARRIER: We have received -- I'll try to move it along. We
24 received an expert report written by Ivan Pokaz from the Gotovina Defence
25 on the 9th of July, 2009. This is a 148-page report which contains four
1 chapters, each of those chapters has a related annex. To date, the
2 Prosecution has still not received the related annexes. Those contain
3 the documents that are being referred to in the report and support the
4 underlying opinions. I looked at the B/C/S version yesterday in e-court,
5 and there are no annexes to that either.
6 We informally raised this issue with the Gotovina Defence on the
7 9th July 2009
8 a street that would list the document than would be provided within a
9 week which by my calculations should be tomorrow.
10 The Gotovina Defence also indicated that due to some limited
11 translation resources at their disposal that we should not expect English
12 translations of at least some of the documents contained in the annexes
13 and that we'll get those at a later time.
14 On the 10th of July 2009 the Gotovina Defence followed up and
15 asserted that they had until the 25th of August, 2009 to provide all the
16 documents that were cited by Mr. Pokaz in his report which is five days
17 before he is scheduled to testify at the moment. And in the same -- on
18 the same date, they reserved the right to submit additional addenda up to
19 40 pages in length three weeks in advance of Mr. Pokaz's testimony.
20 And for the record, in order for Prosecution to decide by
21 August 8th, 2009
22 challenge the report, we ask that the most complete version of the report
23 possible be filed with sufficient underlying documents. Additionally, we
24 ask that a copy of Mr. Pokaz's CV be provided. I raised that this
25 morning with Mr. Kehoe, and he very helpfully agreed to do that. I'm
1 just not sure when that's going to happen, in terms of at least the CV.
2 This material is required for the Prosecution to meaningfully
3 evaluate Mr. Pokaz's expertise, the relevance of opinions that he's
4 offering in his report, and to be able to do that within the time-limits
5 prescribed by the rules, and also in order to make a determination on how
6 best to proceed with the report.
7 And finally, Your Honours, the Prosecution notes that the
8 report's obviously in draft translation form, and we're not sure whether
9 or not we should be expecting a final translation, and if there is, one,
10 we'd ask that the pages be numbered because at the moment it's 148
11 non-numbered pages and it will be difficult to reference things. Just
12 wanted to put that on the record.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's go not too much in detail. I also
14 noticed that there was no CV, not in the beginning, not in the end.
15 There was nothing about Mr. Pokaz apparently.
16 MR. MISETIC: That will be filed today, Mr. President.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. MISETIC: I understood it is already in my e-mail.
19 With respect to the rest of it, I think the Chamber is well aware
20 of the Gotovina Defence's insistence on equal treatment with the
21 Prosecution. I'm dumbfounded by claims that they can't meet the 30 -day
22 deadline when we get hit with a 700-page report by Mr. Theunens without
23 nearly close to the underlying documentation, and yet somehow we were
24 able to file something within 30 days which simply said that we intend to
25 cross-examine him.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Let me make one thing very clear. The Chamber will
2 consider every complaint or objection to --
3 MR. MISETIC: I --
4 JUDGE ORIE: -- to matters on its own merits. I do understand
5 from your words that you say the Prosecution did not follow the rules.
6 Equality of arms means that we are also entitled not to follow the Rules.
7 That is certainly not what the Chamber take as a starting point.
8 MR. MISETIC: It is my understanding under Article 21. We are
9 able to call the evidence in the same manner as the evidence that was
10 called against us. Therefore, we are going to insist that we are
11 entitled to call the evidence in the same manner as the Prosecution did.
12 This is in my view a red herring, and as I indicated, and I believe the
13 Chamber is well aware of the irritation that we experienced in light of
14 similar issues that came up, we are doing the best we can. Our
15 translators are not machines. And we will provide reports on an ongoing
16 basis as well as whatever CLSS translates and delivers to us, will be
17 delivered to them. I don't think substantively there's any reason they
18 can't say they intend to cross-examine and I think it's simply -- I don't
19 know want to be too strong here but the suggestion that there will be no
20 cross-examination of Mr. Pokaz and that is really an option here, I -- I
21 find hard to believe, but in any event, I don't see why, for example,
22 Mr. Theunens could submit an addendum three weeks before testifying and
23 if we have additional matters we should be allowed do to the same.
24 Mr. Theunens is -- 15 documents didn't come until five days before he
25 took the stand to testify.
1 JUDGE ORIE: We don't have to go through -- it's on the record
2 now that there is concern clearly expressed by Mr. Carrier who tells us
3 and tells you that he has difficulties in preparing for this expert
4 witness. The parties are invited to work out a kind of working
5 agreement, schedule, to get on speaking terms again, and if they do not
6 succeed to reach that, and on Friday, we will hear further from you, and
7 this is not an invitation that everyone declares that is he fully happy
8 on Friday, but that a workable situation has been established with all
9 the shortcomings which are part of human behaviour and nature.
10 If it really comes to a point where it -- then, of course, the
11 Chamber will intervene and will give rulings. Then we'd also like to
12 hear because there is another matter we're now talking about what has to
13 be -- what has to happen in August.
14 Has the Prosecution's notice on the expert report of
15 Witness Cross, have you received that already? He is scheduled to
16 testify on the 24th of July, if I'm not wrong.
17 MR. CARRIER: I believe we have. And if I could just --
18 JUDGE ORIE: If that's the case, then we're confident and we'll
19 find it.
20 MR. CARRIER: Your Honour, there is one thing. Given the time
21 schedule it's just that I'm going to be out of the country, so I won't be
22 able to speak with Mr. Misetic unless is directly after court.
23 JUDGE ORIE: You find some of your learned friend, I take it, who
24 will speak with Mr. Misetic and you instruct them clearly. Is that a
25 possibility or you give him a phone call from abroad.
1 MR. CARRIER: That sounds nice.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I can ...
3 We will adjourn for the day and we'll resume and Friday, the 17th
4 of July, 9.00 in the morning, Courtroom III.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.53 p.m.
6 to be reconvened on Friday, the 17th day of July,
7 2009, at 9.00 a.m.