1 Tuesday, 27 August 2013
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning to everyone in and around the
7 Mr. Registrar, welcome back. Could you call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Your Honours. Good morning.
9 This is the case IT-04-75-T, the Prosecutor versus Goran Hadzic.
10 Thank you.
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
12 Could we have the appearances, please, starting with the
14 MR. STRINGER: Good morning, Mr. President, Your Honours.
15 For the Prosecution, Douglas Stringer, Thomas Laugel, legal
16 intern Jaclyn Fortini.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. For the Defence, Mr. Zivanovic.
18 MR. ZIVANOVIC: Good morning, Your Honours. For the Defence of
19 Goran Hadzic, Zoran Zivanovic and Christopher Gosnell. Thank you.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
21 Mr. Stringer, your next witness is ready?
22 MR. STRINGER: Yes, I believe so, Mr. President. Ambassador
23 Geert Ahrens.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
25 The witness may be brought in. Thank you.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE DELVOIE: Good morning, Excellency. Thank you for coming
3 to The Hague to assist the Tribunal.
4 First, could I please ask you to tell us your name, your date of
5 birth, and your nationality.
6 THE WITNESS: My name is Geert Ahrens. I was born on the
7 29th of July, 1934, in Berlin. And my nationality is German.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much. You are about to read the
9 solemn declaration, by which witnesses commit themselves to tell the
10 truth. I must point out to you that by doing so, you expose yourself to
11 the penalties of perjury should you give false or untruthful information
12 to the Tribunal.
13 May I ask you to make the solemn declaration now.
14 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
15 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 WITNESS: GEERT AHRENS
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much. You may be seated.
18 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer, your witness.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Examination by Mr. Stringer:
22 Q. Good morning, Ambassador Ahrens. Can you hear me well?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Are you comfortable in that chair? We can adjust it if it
25 becomes uncomfortable at some point --
1 A. It's okay.
2 THE INTERPRETER: The speakers are kindly asked to make pauses
3 between question and answer. Thank you.
4 MR. STRINGER:
5 Q. Ambassador, as we've just been warned, we've already committed
6 the first violation which is to overlap in our speaking. Behind you are
7 the interpreters taking our conversation into different languages, and so
8 it's important that both of us respect a pause between question and
10 Ambassador, could you please give us a little -- a brief
11 background of your educational and professional experience.
12 A. I'm a lawyer and a career diplomat. Entered the German foreign
13 service in April 1965, and I retired from that service when I reached the
14 age limit in August 1999.
15 During this time I dealt with the former Yugoslavia from 1972 to
16 1975 as a consul at the German embassy in Belgrade, and from 1991 to
17 1996, as an ambassador in the different Yugoslavia mediation efforts.
18 After retirement I immediately went to Tirana, Albania, to head
19 the OSCE presence there for three years. After that I went to the
20 United States and wrote the book "Diplomacy on the Edge," which contains
21 more or less what we are talking about today and tomorrow. And I'm still
22 linked to Yugoslavia because I still had OSCE or the election observation
23 missions, I did so in Serbia in 2007, in Croatia in 2011, and Montenegro
24 in 2012, and this year in Macedonia.
25 I might add that I visited Yugoslavia for the first time in 1956.
1 I came to like the country. I learned the Serbo-Croatian language as it
2 was called then, and I made a lot of friends with a focus in Serbia and
3 Macedonia. These friendships are in existence to this very day so that I
4 feel quite at home when I'm in Yugoslavia. I think I should add this.
5 Thank you.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. You mentioned a posting having been
7 posted to the German embassy in Belgrade during the 1970s. Could you
8 tell the Chamber please what your position or your role was at that time?
9 A. I was the consul in charge of cultural and scientific relations
10 between our two countries and since I was fluent in the language I had a
11 very good working climate there.
12 Q. Now you've just made a reference to a book that you wrote and I
13 wanted to just ask you a few questions about that. And let me introduce
14 it by saying that, of course, we're going to talk about these things in
15 much greater detail over the course of your evidence, but just by way of
16 a brief resume, during the summer of 1991, were you the head of the
17 German contingent to what was, at that time, called European Community
18 Monitoring Mission, or ECMM?
19 A. That is correct. I mean, in Croatia I was in, I think, five
20 different functions and it might be useful to explain these functions
22 Q. Okay. Let me if I could just lead you through it.
23 A. Yeah, okay.
24 Q. We're going to talk about each of these in much greater detail.
25 But your -- your assignment with the ECMM, when did that begin
1 and how long did that last?
2 A. That was from the 15th of July, 1991, until about the end of
4 Q. And where generally were you based or where was the ECMM based at
5 the time?
6 A. We were based in Zagreb. But our activity was severely limited
7 by the mandate. We only dealt with the aftermath of the conflict in
8 Slovenia. We did not deal with the conflict areas in Croatia until much
9 later because Milosevic did -- opposed any mandate that would bring the
10 ECMM into these areas.
11 Q. Okay. And then moving from the ECMM, then, during 1991 and 1992,
12 then, were you associated with the European initiative whose objective
13 was to negotiate a settlement in Yugoslavia known as the Carrington
15 A. Yes. I mean, first of all, while I was still in Zagreb, I
16 accompanied Dutch Ambassador Henry Wijnaendts on some of his quite
17 dangerous travels into the Croatian conflict areas and
18 Ambassador Wijnaendts was then the one who called me from the ECMM to the
19 Carrington conference to head the human rights and minorities Working
20 Group which did I until the end of the Carrington conference in
21 August 1992.
22 Q. All right. And then upon the ending of the Carrington
23 conference, then, did you become associated with an another body that was
24 known as the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia?
25 A. That is correct. This conference followed immediately on the
1 Carrington conference. We call it ICFY. Henceforth I will refer to
2 ICFY. And there I became head of one of six Working Groups. This was a
3 Working Group on ethnic and national groups and minorities. A
4 complicated name refers to the fact that particularly Serbs in former
5 Yugoslavia did not want to be a minority.
6 Q. And as you've already alluded to, then, based on all these
7 experiences you've had with ECMM, the Carrington conference, and then
8 ICFY, did you subsequently write a book?
9 A. Yes. I wrote a book. I must say that as head of the minorities
10 Working Group, I did not only deal with Croatia but with Kosovo, with
11 Macedonia, with Montenegro, with the Sandzak, with Vojvodina, so we were
12 very, very busy and this Croatia busyness was only one part of it.
13 Q. And we will see that, I think, in the course of your evidence of
15 A. Yeah. But book describes all of these.
16 Q. And as you've mentioned, the book was written subsequently. What
17 years and you mentioned that occurred in the United States?
18 A. Yeah. I had a scholarship for the Woodrow Wilson Center for
19 Scholars in Washington, D.C., and I was there twice - once for one year
20 and then again for a couple of months. And I continued in the European
21 Unification Scientific Research Centre in Bonn. The book was ready by
22 summer 2004.
23 Q. All right.
24 MR. STRINGER: And just for your Your Honours' information, we're
25 obviously not going to tender the book into evidence in e-court -- it is
1 in e-court, I should say, and so it will be there should any of the
2 parties wish to refer to it during the course of the witness's evidence.
3 Q. Ambassador Ahrens, one other preliminary question. Did you
4 appear before a local judge in Bonn, in your home country of Germany, in
5 December of last year, 2012, and then in January of this year, in order
6 to give a statement and to answer questions that had been submitted by
7 the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor?
8 A. That is correct. And they are the protocols of these two
9 sessions that the district court in Bonn with a German judge and the
10 Prosecution present.
11 MR. STRINGER: And again, just so Your Honours know, the
12 Prosecution is not going to be tendering the statements. The intention
13 is to lead the evidence viva voce. But, again it is all in e-court
14 should any of the parties wish refer to it.
15 Q. And on that note, Ambassador, because there are a lot of dates
16 and events, if at any point you feel the need to refer to the book or to
17 refer to your Bonn statement in order to refresh your recollection, just
18 let us know and we can arrange for that.
19 A. I have it here but I have not put it on the table.
20 Q. Now, as you've already indicated, Ambassador, during the summer
21 of 1991, you became involved with the European Community Monitoring
22 Mission as the -- again, just for the record, what was your specific
23 function or title with ECMM?
24 A. Well, I just was the head - it was a practical position not a
25 title - of the German contingent. Of course, the head of the entire
1 exercise was Netherlands Ambassador Van der Valk because this was the
2 time of the Netherlands EC Presidency.
3 Q. And then, as you've indicated, you fairly swiftly from there
4 moved over to the Carrington conference. Could you please describe, just
5 in general terms for the Chamber, what the Carrington conference was,
6 what were its objectives.
7 A. The European community in 1991 believed that they had a role to
8 play to solve the Yugoslav problems and in order to do this there were a
9 few meetings and finally a -- an agreement to have a conference with the
10 Yugoslavs on the future of the country, and the task of the conference
11 was to find a lasting solution to the problems that Yugoslavia, which at
12 that time was still one country, experienced.
13 Q. Could you tell us who were the chairpeople, who were the people
14 in charge of the conference at that time?
15 A. Well, the head of the conference, the chairman was
16 Lord Peter Carrington from Great Britain and, of course, since this was a
17 Dutch EC Presidency, Dutch Foreign Minister Van den Broek played a role,
18 but the real driving force of the conference was Dutch Ambassador Henry
19 Wijnaendts. And then there were these three Working Groups, of which I
20 headed one. There was another one on economic matters and another one on
21 institutions headed by a Belgian and a British official respectively.
22 Q. And again, the Working Group that you headed was called what?
23 A. That was the Working Group on human rights and minorities.
24 Q. Where was the Carrington conference based?
25 A. We started here in The Hague. I had an office in the foreign
1 ministry here in this city. And as long as the Dutch Presidency lasted,
2 we remained here in The Hague. Everything was here. But then when there
3 was no solution until the end of the Dutch Presidency, which was a
4 disappointment for Mr. Van den Broek, we moved to Belgium and we met in
5 the Petit Sablon in Brussels.
6 Q. The Carrington conference was it envisioned to be a permanent
7 conference, were those involved voted exclusively to it, or how did that
9 A. It was not. It was a conference where everyone who worked in the
10 conference kept their normal business. I, for example, continued to be
11 the director in charge of South East Asia and the Pacific until May 1992.
12 I didn't do very much in that function, but Lord Carrington himself
13 continued to work for Christies in London and we quite often met or
14 sometimes met at Christies in London. So the conference was a rather
15 loose undertaking. No one actually lived here in The Hague, except for
16 the Dutch who worked with us.
17 Q. Now, the period of time that you were working with the Carrington
18 conference, could you just give an overview of how it operated, how did
19 it work, meetings with whom. Who were the players from Yugoslavia with
20 whom you had dealings?
21 A. Well, the most important point was the so-called Plenary
22 Sessions. I mean, there was an opening session where the EC foreign
23 ministers were present on the 7th of September, 1991. But after that,
24 the Plenary Sessions were headed by Lord Carrington and the six Yugoslav
25 presidents would be there, also, until about the first months of 1992,
1 what we called the federals, that means the federal foreign minister and
2 very often also the federal minister of defence, Kadijevic.
3 The Working Groups also had Plenary Sessions and I assembled in
4 these Plenary Session, which I chaired, representatives from the six
5 republics, not the minorities. It was all officials.
6 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, with the assistance of the usher
7 I'd like to call up what is our tab 5. It's Exhibit P1346.1325. It's
8 Exhibit P1346.1325.
9 And with the usher's assistance, if we could then turn to
10 page 357 of the document, which is, I believe, page 2 of the e-court
11 file, the next page. Yes. Focussing on the right-hand side of the
12 screen or the page. Number 124.
13 Q. Are you able to read that, Ambassador?
14 A. Yeah.
15 Q. We can make it bigger.
16 A. That's better.
17 Q. Okay. Looking at this, could -- do you recognise it?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Could you tell the Chamber what this is.
20 A. We called this the treaty provisions for the convention and it
21 was the proposal for a solution of the Yugoslav problems by the
22 conference to the presidents. Actually, the Working Group chairman had
23 been asked to deliver their parts of this paper within three days, and I
24 myself, the author of chapter 2, which contains the dispositions
25 regarding minorities.
1 Q. All right. And we're going to look at chapter 2 in a moment
2 which is on the next page.
3 While we've got this page in front of us, I would like to focus
4 for a few moments on section 1.1 here. Concerning arrangements for a
5 general settlement. And these items, (a) through (e), could I ask you to
6 comment on those, in particular on item 1.1 (a), which relates to
7 sovereign and independent republics.
8 A. When the Carrington conference started, both Lord Carrington and
9 Henry Wijnaendts, as everyone else, was convinced that the Yugoslav
10 Federation could not be saved anymore and there were certain semantic
11 exercises to try to save some sort of Yugoslavia and that's why you have
12 three steps here. One is the possibility of a totally dependant
13 successor state; the second is a possibility of having a confederation
14 with also independent states but confederated; and the third is actually
15 a federation between those republics who still want to become members of
16 a federation, which in the end were only Serbia and Montenegro. But
17 there was one of these principles that no one seriously tried to preserve
18 Yugoslavia. It was too late.
19 Q. Now, moving down to 1.1 (e), there's a reference there to
20 recognition of the independence within the existing borders of those
21 republics wishing it.
22 The reference there to existing borders, what does that mean?
23 A. This is an extremely important formula here. It is more or less
24 the second principle on which the international mediation was based, and
25 that is that the internal borders between the six Yugoslav republics
1 should not be changed and had to be considered like international
3 The Carrington conference had a commission led by the head of the
4 French Conseil d'Etat Monsieur Badinter that gave their opinions, their
5 legal opinions on these questions. And on the first point they said that
6 Yugoslavia had ceased to exist, that we did not talk about a remaining
7 state with capital Belgrade and four cessationist republics but that the
8 country had disintegrated.
9 And another opinion said that the internal borders of Yugoslavia
10 had to be considered like international borders according to the
11 principle uti possidetis. So these opinions are more important than --
12 this is more or less what we made of it. But these two basic principles,
13 of course, were both principles that did not meet with Serb agreement.
14 Q. Okay. Just for the record, to assist our court reporter, you
15 made a reference to Mr. Badinter and you said he was head of the
16 French --
17 A. Conseil d'etat, that is practically the constitutional court.
18 Q. Yes, conseil d'etat.
19 A. And it was called the arbitration commission.
20 Q. Now, if the starting principle, then, for the Carrington
21 conference was dissolution of Yugoslavia and the fixing or the
22 maintenance of the republican borders, what did that mean in terms of
23 your work on minorities?
24 A. This was the third principle upon which we worked, that by
25 recognising that there are many successor states to Yugoslavia, the
1 minorities which were created by this, new minorities, had to be
2 protected. And this again was a problem with both Serbs and Croats
3 because both Milosevic and Tudjman believed that a Croat should live in
4 Croatia and a Serb in Serbia.
5 Q. All right. Now, as you know, in this case we're concerned with
6 events in Croatia largely. Just so the Chamber knows, what were some of
7 the other minorities, then, that were impacted or -- or which arose as a
8 result of the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the -- its replacement with
9 the republics?
10 A. Your question refers to Croatia or Yugoslavia in -- in total?
11 Q. All of Yugoslavia.
12 A. All of Yugoslavia. Well, in Croatia, there was a Slovak and a
13 Hungarian minority and a small Italian minority left. In Serbia, you had
14 many minorities, first of all, the huge Albanian population in Kosovo and
15 southern Serbia. Then you had Muslims in the Sandzak area. Then you had
16 Hungarians and Croats in Vojvodina. Then in Macedonia, you had about
17 one-quarter of the population Albanians, but there were also Muslims
18 and -- what else did we have? Serbs, yes, we did negotiate a lot on
19 behalf of the Serbs in Macedonia. And Montenegro also had, first of all,
20 a large Serb majority -- minority but it was difficult to make a
21 difference between Serbs and Montenegrins at that time.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. But they also had Muslims and Albanians.
24 Q. And so all of these minority groups, then, did they fall within
25 your --
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. -- purview as --
3 A. Yes, our Working Group dealt exclusively with these.
4 MR. STRINGER: If I could ask the usher now to turn the page.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer?
6 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour?
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: I would like to put a question to the witness
8 with regard to the minorities.
9 Ambassador, if I take, let's say, three important ethnicities,
10 Croats, Bosniaks, and Serbs, what, in your opinion, makes the difference
11 between them?
12 THE WITNESS: This is a very much contested question. Because
13 when the first national histories appeared, Vuk Karadzic, for example,
14 said that the Bosniaks, they were called the Muslims, were Serbs with a
15 certain confession, and the founder of the Croatian historiography,
16 Vjekoslav Klaic, said the same with regard to these Muslims but saying
17 they were Croats. And the recognition of the Muslims as an ethnic
18 identity and the change of the name to Bosniaks came over the years so
19 that the difference in language, I think, linguistically speaking, is
20 non-existent. Politically speaking, all of these people have a right to
21 call their language according to what they feel. But as a linguist, I
22 mean, they understand each other perfectly. And, for example, Serbian is
23 typically is what is called Ekavski. A river, for example, is in Serbian
24 "reka"; whereas Croatian is Ijekavski, and the river is "rijeka."
25 When you read statements by Mr. Hadzic you will see that he
1 speaks Ijekavski which is not the Belgrade -- the Belgrade way of
2 speaking. And I found it sometimes hilarious when some of the Bosnian
3 Serbs who spoke Ijekavski tried to speak Ekavski to make the point that
4 they were Serbs.
5 But there was, when we were in Yugoslavia in those years, a clear
6 feeling among the three different national -- nations, they were
7 recognised as nations, who the other was. And very often there was just
8 the [B/C/S spoken], so make the cross, whether you do it this way or the
9 Orthodox, the other way, and that could under certain circumstances be
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you very much.
12 Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
13 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
14 Q. Just to follow up on that question, Ambassador.
15 You obviously dealt with many different parties and ethnic groups
16 that were part of Yugoslavia. Can you comment on how they, themselves,
17 distinguished one from the other. How would, say, a group of Serbs with
18 whom you would be talking, how would they see their differences -- or
19 what did they see as the difference between them and Croats, or them and
21 How did they distinguish each other among themselves?
22 A. Well, of course, the Croats are Roman Catholics, and this is not
23 just some theological niceties but is a whole style of life, whether
24 you're Orthodox or Roman Catholic. And there were these three large
25 divisions in the Balkans. The first one was between the Western church
1 and the Eastern church, and the Croats went on one side and Serbs, also
2 Macedonians, Bulgarians, on the other.
3 The second big divide was then those who had to live under the
4 Ottoman Empire and those who were spared this destiny. And the Croats
5 again were on that side, although also some parts of Croatia were under
6 Turkish domination.
7 And the third was among those Slavs under the Ottoman domination
8 who became Muslims and those who did not, and that created these
9 differences. That was a feeling among Serbs that has persisted to this
10 day, that in a way, these Serbs that -- or Croats or Slavs, let's say,
11 who became Muslims were traitors.
12 Q. And over time, if you can say, these -- the religious -- or the
13 distinction based upon the religion or the confession of those groups,
14 did those affect the development of their own cultures? Did they move in
15 different directions culturally in terms of how they lived?
16 A. Well, the strange thing is that as long as Yugoslavia persisted
17 and did not start to disintegrate, there was not so much of a difference.
18 I mean, I've travelled everywhere, also in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and when
19 you saw a Muslim you would be offered a Sljivovica, a brandy. Impossible
20 today. It is very difficult to find a beer in such cities. So that this
21 was -- was -- very much underlined these differences.
22 The Croatian Catholicism also to a certain extent relatively
23 militant, particular the Croats and the Herzegovina [sic]. The
24 Franciscan order was the one that was mainly preserving the Croats under
25 Ottoman rule and there were certain appearances that did not even find
1 the approval of the Vatican. For example, the apparition of the Virgin
2 Mary in Medjugorje I think has still not been recognised officially but
3 it is the object of veneration by many Croats.
4 And, on the other hand, the Serbs very much stressed that they
5 were Orthodox and went to the churches. And the sad thing is that in
6 Croatia churches were mutually [Realtime transcript read in error
7 "virtually"] destroyed.
8 Q. Ambassador, if I could ask you just if you could slow down just a
9 little bit. They're struggling a little bit to make sure they get down
10 accurately all your words.
11 A. I'm sorry. I will do that.
12 MR. GOSNELL: I'm sorry, I apologise for the interruption. I
13 think the second last word of the Ambassador's answer may not have been
14 transcribed correctly.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: "Virtually" you mean.
16 MR. GOSNELL: I believe he said a different word.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: I'm sure he did. In Croatia churches --
18 THE WITNESS: Mutually, mutually.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mutually, that was the word we need. Thank you.
20 MR. STRINGER: If we could now turn to the next page of this
21 document in front of us.
22 Q. Just a few words on this chapter 2 here, "Human Rights and Rights
23 of Ethnic and National Groups," where does this section come from?
24 A. Well, I have written this. And I submitted it to Lord Carrington
25 and there was Henry Darwin, a British lawyer who wrote the entire paper
1 into the correct legal language, but the contents is what I had written.
2 Q. What I'd like to quickly do here is just draw your attention to a
3 few parts of this and ask you to comment on them, and the first of those
4 is at the bottom of the page on your left or the left side of the screen,
5 paragraph 2.3. And this refers to persons belonging to a national ethnic
6 group not forming a majority in the area where they live.
7 And before I ask you about that, let's move over to 2.4, just to
8 sort of see how that is different and then I'll ask you to comment on the
10 MR. STRINGER: 2.4 is on the other page.
11 Q. This one refers to persons belonging to a national or ethnic
12 group forming a substantial part of the population in an area.
13 And then just to continue down to 2.5, here now there's a
14 reference to people who are in areas in which persons belonging to a
15 national or ethnic group form a majority.
16 So if you could briefly, Mr. Ambassador, just describe what was
17 the intention behind these -- these distinctions and to whom would they
18 apply in Croatia?
19 A. This is a three-tier system. I might explain it by an example.
20 The first group, minorities in general, who should have the
21 rights that minorities normally have, can be represented, for example, by
22 the 50.000 Serbs who lived in the capital of Zagreb, in Croatia, because
23 they were not a very large group in percentage but still a group that had
24 to be protected.
25 The second tier would be areas where Serbs would make up 20 or
1 25, that was a question of definition of the population. It would have
2 some more rights, like having ballot papers in their language or so.
3 There was, for example, an area called Gorski Kotar which was under
4 Croatian rule but majority Serb. I visited the area several times and
5 that helped them. This would have been such an area. But also the
6 entire Sector East because there was not one municipality that had a Serb
7 majority. The large Serb majorities were in Sector South, Sector North,
8 and also Sector West partially --
9 Q. Excuse me, when you refer to Sector East, can you give us a bit
10 more --
11 A. I'm already referring a little bit to the later deployment of
12 UNPROFOR. They had all together four sectors. Sector North and
13 Sector West were adjacent to one another and had huge Serb majorities.
14 Sector West was a little bit away from Sector North. And Sector East was
15 far away, was actually along the Danube, on the other side was Serb
17 Q. And then looking at section 2.4 - if we could just scroll up a
18 little bit - this is an area where an ethnic group forms a substantial
19 part of the population. Which -- which sector would this apply -- have
20 applied to?
21 A. For example, to Vukovar.
22 Q. Sector East.
23 A. Sector East, yes.
24 Q. All right. And now moving down to 2.5, this is an area where an
25 ethnic group enjoys a majority and then would have a special status of
1 autonomy. Again in Croatia, the areas you've just described, what would
2 this have pertained to?
3 A. Well, this was a very difficult field of our activities.
4 According to my knowledge, the expression "special status" has come up in
5 talks between Milosevic and Lord Carrington and was brought into the
6 discussion by Milosevic, but the idea was, of course, that areas -- large
7 areas where a certain ethnic groups is the majority should really have
8 some sort of autonomy. And when I wrote this for the first time, I put
9 into the paper which areas I felt should have special status, and that
10 was not only the Croats in -- the -- the -- the Serbs in Croatia but also
11 the Albanians in Kosovo, the Albanians in Macedonia, and the question was
12 whether it would also refer to the Hungarians in the northern Vojvodina,
13 and to the, as we at that time still said, Muslims in Sandzak. And this
14 became immediately the bone of contention because Milosevic didn't want
15 to see anything about Kosovo in such papers, and so "special status"
16 became an expression which was mainly used with reference to the Serbs in
17 Croatia. But the interesting thing here is that, according to this
18 paper, of course, it would be a special status inside Croatia.
19 Q. And --
20 A. The Serbs understood this as a special status inside a continuing
21 to exist Yugoslavia. And this created a lot of problems because it seems
22 that when the Vance Plan was recommended to the Serbs, some of the
23 international negotiators might have made dubious statements which led to
24 the Serbs really understanding it in this way.
25 Q. And we'll talk more about the Vance Plan in a few minutes.
1 Was this document or a subsequent version of it ultimately put to
2 the leadership of the six Yugoslav republics?
3 A. Yes. There was a Plenary Session, I think it was on
4 18th of October, 1991, in the morning before the session, the core of the
5 Carrington conference sat together. That was Lord Carrington himself,
6 that was Wijnaendts, that was Van den Broek, the foreign minister, the
7 three Working Group chairmans, so I was present. And Lord Carrington
8 said that he would put this paper to the Plenum, Plenary Session, and ask
9 each president to tell us whether he accepted it or not. And if one of
10 the presidents would not accept it, he would consider closing shop,
11 giving up on the conference.
12 Q. Okay.
13 A. Now, this was done on the 18th of October -- am I still too fast?
14 Q. Yes.
15 A. Yes. This was done on the 18th of October, and five of the
16 presidents said yes, including Bulatovic of Montenegro. But Milosevic
17 said -- well, he never said clearly no. He said not in this form. I do
18 not exactly remember what his problems were with the text or what he
19 said, what it was was clear, but what he said, and -- but it was
20 something like that this proposal practically dissolves the country that
21 has a high esteem internationally, is a member of the United Nations and
22 so on.
23 Q. Now, during the course of your time with the Carrington
24 conference, did you have any discussions with Mr. Hadzic or other members
25 of the Croatian Serb leadership about these provisions? And I'm
1 particularly interested in the principles you've described, dissolution
2 of Yugoslavia republican borders and protection of minorities?
3 A. Well, I met Mr. Hadzic for the first time on the 6th of
4 September, 1991, but then I was an expert advisor and not there but in
5 other occasions interpreter but not really a negotiator. So this was a
6 negotiation between Hadzic and -- and Wijnaendts.
7 Q. And we -- I'm going -- we're going to go to that in a moment but
8 just in general terms, because we're going to break down your meetings
9 with Mr. Hadzic and others in more detail later, could you just give the
10 Chamber a general idea of what was the attitude of the Croatian Serbs in
11 respect of these basic -- these principles on dissolution of Yugoslavia,
12 the borders, the republican borders. You've mentioned Milosevic. I
13 wonder if you could comment on the Croatian Serbs?
14 A. Not only the Croatian Serbs but all Serbs said that Yugoslavia
15 persisted and that those republics that had declared independence were
16 secessionist republics.
17 And as far as the Croatian Serbs were concerned in the area that
18 declared itself the RSK later, they said that they were no more part of
19 Croatia. They had declared their independence from Croatia. And when
20 the European community, I think, on the 16th of December, 1991, adopted a
21 decision that those Yugoslav republics that wanted to be recognised
22 diplomatically should ask for recognition, Mr. Babic also wrote to the EC
23 saying that the -- at that time not yet the entire Krajina because
24 Sector East was still apart, but should also be internationally
1 So to say it again very clearly, from the beginning to the end,
2 the Serbs in the RSK refused flatly to accept the solution inside
4 Q. Okay. And as a result of that, just to wind things up, how did
5 that impact the Carrington conference? How did all of this impact the
6 Carrington conference?
7 A. Well, I mean, it was a hopeless case because the Carrington
8 conference was not in a position to grant this independence to part of
9 the Croatian state and in so far the conference failed, which it actually
11 Q. Okay.
12 MR. STRINGER: If we could now have tab 3, which is
13 65 ter 00079.1.
14 Q. Ambassador, I'd like to direct your attention to --
15 MR. STRINGER: I believe it's the third page of this e-court
16 file. Page 3 of this book. If you could go one more, one more page.
18 Q. Okay. Here we see on the right-hand side, Ambassador, this is a
19 reproduction of what's called the main decisions of the conference at its
20 London session, 1992. And then, in the preamble or the introduction it's
21 a reference to the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia.
22 Can you just briefly describe what this document, then, is?
23 A. Actually, this is part of a big book in two volumes that has been
24 published by Bertie Ramcharan who was the secretary of the ICFY, a person
25 from the UN administration, and it contains all the documents that have
1 been published or otherwise submitted by the ICFY over the years.
2 Q. And then the -- the document that appears on the screen in front
3 of us, item 1 here, the main decisions, and this is August 1992, we can
4 move across to the following page. And if you could just indicate to the
5 Chamber what this document is and what it was intended to address.
6 A. Is that part of Ramcharan's book?
7 Q. Yes. It's the same -- it's the same --
8 A. And you want me to comment on what?
9 MR. STRINGER: Yeah, if we could -- if we could scroll down.
10 Q. The first question - continue scrolling please - the first
11 question, Ambassador, is simply whether you recognise this document that
12 we're looking at here, this specific document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What is this?
15 A. Well, this is one of the documents that were adopted by the
16 London Conference in August 1992. I assisted in that conference.
17 Q. So this is now ICFY. This is no longer Carrington --
18 A. This is ICFY, yeah.
19 Q. All right. And then just under section (b), and then item (c),
20 there's a reference to the Working Groups and particularly the one on
21 ethnic national communities.
22 A. Yes, that's correct. And I've mentioned already that the
23 difficult name is based on the fact that the term "minority" was not
24 acceptable to many ethnicities in Yugoslavia.
25 Q. Were you involved with this particular Working Group?
1 A. I was the head of the Working Group for four years. Or three and
2 a half years.
3 Q. Now the ICFY, if you could just give a general overview of how it
4 was organised in comparison to the Carrington conference.
5 A. The ICFY was in constant session. It was some sort of joint
6 venture by the UN and the European community and later the European
7 Union, but it was based in the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and the
8 whole supporting staff and all the rules, administrative rules, were UN.
9 So it was practically very much a UN undertaking. The conference, as I
10 said, was constant. The two co-chairman, Lord David Owen of the UK and
11 Cyrus Vance, former secretary, Secretary Vance from the United States,
12 concentrated very much on the Bosnia conflict that at this time had
13 become very violent so that all the other things were more or less again
14 in the hands of my Working Group, including Croatia.
15 Q. Now, the ICFY, did -- you've indicated you carried over your work
16 on ethnic groups and minorities. What about the basic principles? Did
17 they carry over as well? That is, the Carrington principles on
18 dissolution, republican borders and minorities, was that discontinued or
19 did that carry over into ICFY as well?
20 A. Now, I mean, if you look at UN documents of the time, you will
21 see that they also say that Yugoslavia was in a process of dissolution
22 and that borders should not be changed. I remember one UN Resolution
23 which said this very clearly, that the Krajina, the RSK, was on Croatian
24 territory, and there was a furious letter by the Yugoslav prime minister
25 Radoje Kontic at the time to the UN, saying that this is not what we have
1 agreed at the Vance Plan. This refers to this point I -- I had hinted at
2 before but I think we come back to that now.
3 Q. Yes. And just moving sort by way of overview, then, Ambassador,
4 in your capacity as chairman of this Working Group for ICFY, did you have
5 a series of meetings with Mr. Hadzic during the course of 1992 and 1993?
6 A. The point is that the Krajina Serbs had a problem to deal with
7 the minorities Working Group because they said, We are a nation in
8 Yugoslavia, not a minority.
9 There was a concession by the co-chairmen and also by Lord
10 Carrington because I always negotiated when it came to the RSK together
11 with another ambassador. That was first Herbert Okun from the
12 United States who was Secretary Vance's right hand, and later Norwegian
13 Ambassador Knut Vollebaek, and then Norwegian Ambassador Kai Eide. And
14 during the Carrington conference, Wijnaendts and French Secretaire d'Etat
15 De Beauce largely looked after the --
16 Q. Okay --
17 A. -- Krajina. I was not very much involved during the Carrington
19 Q. The question was whether in the course of your involvement with
20 ICFY you had meetings with Mr. Hadzic.
21 A. Yes, quite a lot. But, as I say, not as head of this Working
22 Group but of this special negotiating team.
23 Q. And what was the purpose of those negotiations?
24 A. Well, first of all, a cease-fire which went on and on and on.
25 And, secondly, if the cease-fire was arrived at, some sorts of
1 practical co-operation because the RSK was in a very difficult economic
2 state, particularly the Knin area which was cut off from the coast where
3 they normally had their living, and, on the other hand, also the Croats
4 had problems, particularly a bottleneck close to Zadar, which we come to
5 later, I think, the Maslenica bridge.
6 MR. STRINGER: At this time, Mr. President, the Prosecution would
7 tender into evidence the document that we're looking at here, which is a
8 part of 65 ter 00079.1. I'm not tendering the entire book, just the
9 document that is entitled the -- well, beginning with page 3 of the book,
10 introduction, and then essentially the main decision of the conference
11 from August 1992.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Gosnell.
13 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, there's no objection to tendering
14 the document that the witness has looked at, but I noticed that from
15 page 9 of e-court onwards, we get into a different document from the
17 MR. STRINGER: That's what I've said. We're only tendering the
18 one single document.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: And how -- I'm just wondering how we are --
20 what -- what is -- what is tendered right now? You say "a part of."
21 MR. STRINGER: Yes.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: And how we define that part?
23 MR. STRINGER: We define it as pages 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
24 and 12 of the book. Actually, 12 -- yes, and not 13.
25 MR. GOSNELL: Well, in e-court that would be pages 4 to 9 of the
1 document in front of us. So I suppose I would request the Prosecution to
2 upload those pages and have it separately -- have it substituted for this
3 number and admitted as such.
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think that would be --
5 MR. STRINGER: That's the intention.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- the best solution. So you will upload it and
7 come back to us with a specific 65 ter number that we can then admit.
8 MR. STRINGER: Yes. We will either propose a new 65 ter number
9 or we'll simply propose to substitute it for this 65 ter.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Thank you very much.
11 MR. STRINGER:
12 Q. Ambassador, we have been -- there have been already a few
13 references to the Vance Plan and the Chamber has heard a lot of evidence
14 already about the Vance Plan so we don't need too much of a description.
15 The question would be, for you, when did you become aware of the
16 adoption and implementation of the Vance Plan?
17 A. The European community relatively early, I think somewhere in
18 September or so, already asked for some sort of UN role and the UN
19 Secretary-General then nominated Secretary Vance to be his special envoy
20 on Yugoslavia, and Vance, together with Herbert Okun, started travelling
21 in Yugoslavia. And Vance brought about the one cease-fire that held to a
22 certain extent because the deployment of UN troops not under chapter 7,
23 was contingent on holding cease-fire --
24 Q. Okay. If I could just, with apologies, stop you there.
25 You've made a couple of references to Herbert Okun. Who was he
1 and how frequently did you work with him?
2 A. Well, Herbert Okun was an American career diplomat, so a
3 colleague of mine. He was attached to Secretary Vance in his dealings
4 with Yugoslavia and he left the conference together with Vance after the
5 Vance-Owen Peace Plan for Bosnia had failed.
6 Q. Was either the Carrington conference or ICFY, were either of
7 those bodies primarily responsible for implementation of the Vance Plan?
8 A. Primarily responsible for the implementation of the Vance Plan
9 was clearly the UNPROFOR, which had a civilian part and then, of course,
10 large military part. On the other hand, we were both UN institutions and
11 I, myself, remember that we had contacts with General Nambiar, who was
12 the first commander of the force, and in our sessions, also in the ones
13 with Mr. Hadzic, we had very often Mr. Cedric Thornberry from Ireland,
14 who was the head of the civilian component of UNPROFOR.
15 Q. All right. And in your role as chairman of the Working Group on
16 ethnic groups and minorities, were you concerned with persons who were
17 living inside these newly created UNPAs, or protected areas?
18 A. This was a very difficult matter because we never met these
19 people, and according to the reports of the ECMM and the UNPROFOR
20 components, the situation in the RSK was very bad as regards human
21 rights. I mean, I travelled there by helicopter and by car several
22 times, but we didn't have contact with individuals let alone with
23 non-Serb individuals if there were any. When you cross the line between
24 the two, you could see that all the houses that belonged to Croats were
25 destroyed on the Serbian side; and on the Croatian side, the other way
1 around, there were the Serbian houses destroyed.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. And there was -- there were certain places that had had a
4 Croatian population but we didn't see very much of them because when we
5 travelled we were practically always accompanied and --
6 Q. All right. Ambassador, was the issue of demobilisation under the
7 Vance Plan, is this also an issue that affected your work or impacted
8 your work with ICFY and your negotiations?
9 A. Well, not primarily, but in January 1993 Tudjman attacked the
10 area of the Maslenica bridge, close to Zadar, in order to open a way
11 between continental Croatia and Dalmatia, and they took the bridge and a
12 dam, hydroelectric dam, Peruca dam, and also an air field. This led to
13 Serbian protests and to the Resolution 802 of the Security Council, which
14 ordered certain things that belonged to the -- into the Vance Plan.
15 According to the Vance Plan, the Serbs had to put the heavy
16 weapons under the guard of UN personnel. And when Tudjman attacked close
17 to the Maslenica bridge, they took the heavy weapons out of this and so
18 this was also one part of Resolution 802, they should be put back --
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. We had negotiations on 802. This was a very, very tedious
21 exercise. I remember we had 22 drafts of the agreement --
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. If I --
24 Q. I'm going to bring us to 802 when we get there chronologically.
25 We're not going to look at all the drafts, but we'll look at one or two
1 of them.
2 Ambassador, if I could move now -- you've already mentioned it,
3 let's talk about your first meeting with Mr. Goran Hadzic. If you could
4 tell us where and when that took place.
5 A. That was on 6th of September, 1991, in Borovo Selo. I was
6 accompanying Ambassador Wijnaendts as expert advisor. I was not involved
7 in the talks. The Ambassador did it himself.
8 Q. What was the purpose of the meeting?
9 A. The purpose of the meeting was to get the signature of Mr. Hadzic
10 under an agreement that should make an existing cease-fire operational,
11 and this was at the eve of the Carrington conference, which opened the
12 next day, and Carrington had insisted that he would only be prepared to
13 head a conference that should find a peaceful solution if there was peace
14 on the ground.
15 Q. Now you've mentioned yourself and Ambassador Wijnaendts. Do you
16 recall whether any other individuals accompanied you on this trip to
17 Borovo Selo?
18 A. Ambassador Wijnaendts had with him his Dutch assistant,
19 Hugo Siblesz.
20 MR. STRINGER: And, for the record, we can provide the court
21 reporter with the spelling of the names.
22 Q. Ambassador --
23 MR. STRINGER: Well, with the usher's assistance, let me bring up
24 tab 59, which is exhibit 65 ter 6477.
25 Q. There's about three pages of photographs here, Mr. Ambassador.
1 Could you just walk us through these as a way to give an overview of your
2 trip. I see this is dated the 5th of September, 1991.
3 Could you just describe this, starting with photograph 1 and 2
4 that we see.
5 A. I have given these photographs to the Prosecution. The
6 handwriting on that is mine. These are photographs from two days. We
7 were in Osijek on the 5th of September, 1991, and this number 1 shows, I
8 think, tables for people who had been killed by shooting, shelling of --
9 of Osijek.
10 Q. And then photograph number 2.
11 A. This shows Ambassador Wijnaendts. Just a few minutes before we
12 went -- we came there, a shell had killed a person there, and the fresh
13 blood is still on the ground. They just put some stones on top of it.
14 Q. Did anybody tell you who they thought was the source of the
16 A. I mean, one of the pictures shows very damning statements by
17 Croats against the Yugoslav army, and it was the Yugoslav army.
18 Q. Moving to the next page. Probably we can skip number 3. If you
19 could just tell us what we are seeing photographs 4 and 5, Ambassador?
20 A. Well, 3 is -- has these condemning statements against the army.
21 Q. Okay.
22 A. 4 and 5 is the Alouette helicopters, that is the following day,
23 on the 6th of September.
24 Q. Are you -- do you appear in these photographs?
25 A. Yes, the lower one to the right.
1 Q. Okay. And then to the next page.
2 Now, what do with we see in photograph 7 and 8 here?
3 A. Well, when we travelled to Borovo Selo on the 6th of September,
4 we started from Belgrade in a big Yugoslav army helicopter that brought
5 us to the shore of the Danube, opposite Borovo Selo. And then we crossed
6 the Danube on a navy ship. The soldiers were in battle gear with flak
7 jackets and steel helmets and manned the cannons which they moved
8 constantly in direction of the Croatian shore. This brought us to
9 Borovo Selo where we were to meet with Mr. Hadzic.
10 Q. And who is the person we see standing at the bow of the boat
11 there in photograph 7?
12 A. With the light jacket, that's me.
13 Q. And then could you describe who the people are that we see in
14 photograph number 8.
15 A. Well, the blue shirt, that is Hugo Siblesz. Then comes
16 Mr. Hadzic. Then Ambassador Wijnaendts, and then an officer of the
17 Yugoslav army. I don't recall the name.
18 MR. STRINGER: And so I think that's self-explanatory for the
19 record, Mr. President, rather than getting out the pencil.
20 And with that, Your Honour, the Prosecution tenders this exhibit
21 65 ter 6477.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
23 THE REGISTRAR: It shall be assigned Exhibit number P2878. Thank
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
1 MR. STRINGER: Before we talk about the specifics of the meeting
2 with Mr. Hadzic, it might be useful to look at short video-clip that
3 relates to this as well. This is tab 36. It's already admitted.
4 Exhibit P00254.
5 And before we start I should say the quality is not the best but
6 it's what we've got.
7 [Video-clip played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The mission of the European
9 community headed by Mr. Wijnaendts arrived around 2.00. The planned
10 helicopter flight was cancelled, probably for the safety of the mission.
11 Members of the mission arrived in Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srem,
12 arrived by a coastal guard [indiscernible]. The agreement was signed
13 after four years of negotiations with two breaks. Ambassador Wijnaendts
14 took a walk around Borovo Selo, which was rather quiet today because
15 instructions had given -- had been given" --
16 THE INTERPRETER: We do not have a transcript for this.
17 MR. STRINGER: Well, we think they do have a transcript, but if
18 they don't we can turn off the sound. It's not important to us. Let's
19 just turn off the sound and keep it going.
20 [Video-clip played]
21 MR. STRINGER:
22 Q. Okay. Ambassador, do you recognise the footage that we're seeing
24 A. I think so. I do not remember this walk through Borovo Selo.
25 Q. Mm-hm.
1 A. And I wonder whether this was the same day or whether Wijnaendts
2 was also on another day because normally I should be there. But I also
3 see that in the meeting room where I was present for sure, I'm not
4 visible. This might have to do with to the fact that the Serbs didn't
5 want a German being shown on these pictures. I was not yet head of the
6 minority Working Group at that time.
7 Q. Yes.
8 A. But there were, for example when the ECMM was established,
9 Milosevic first insisted on no Germans and no Italians as members of that
10 monitor mission.
11 Q. What was the reason for that?
12 A. Well, the reason was, of course, the Second World War, when both
13 Italians and Germans had -- well, they had not occupied Croatia, the
14 Croats welcomed them, but this was the very, very bad epoch in history,
15 the NDH, the Nezavisina Drzava Hrvatska, that's the independent state of
16 Croatia --
17 Q. Yes.
18 A. -- which was a very bad Fascist regime.
19 Q. Now you were in the room when the negotiations were taking place.
20 I'd like to ask you whether at some point you left the room and walked
21 around the compound where this was taking place?
22 A. Well, Wijnaendts did, if I recall well, practically all the
23 talking on our side. And at one point, Hugo Siblesz whispered to me,
24 showing across the sort of courtyard or an open space: I think they got
25 prisoners there. And what we saw was a door and in the door was a little
1 grated window. It might have been a stable or a barn or something like
2 that. And there seemed to be some shadows behind this -- visible through
3 this grate.
4 Q. Now, did you go down there or were you looking at this from --
5 A. We saw it from the negotiating table. And then, in the next
6 break - I think Hugo went with me - we went out there, and I walked up to
7 that door with the grated window and immediately a Serb militiaman came
8 running up to me and then I said very loud in Serbo-Croatian, "We are a
9 delegation of the European community. We are having negotiations with
10 your representatives. Can I talk to these people?" And then he said
11 that for this he needed the consent of his commander who was
12 10 kilometres away. So we could not talk to them. But after I had
13 spoken aloud in Serbo-Croatian, they pressed their faces against the
14 grate and we could see that they had been badly beaten.
15 Q. Did you speak to any of them?
16 A. No. And we informed Wijnaendts about this, and Wijnaendts said
17 that it was difficult enough to get Hadzic's signature under the
18 cease-fire agreement and so we did not mention this to Hadzic.
19 Q. What were the difficulties involved in getting Mr. Hadzic to sign
20 the cease-fire?
21 A. Well, he wanted to sign as the president of the Autonomous Region
22 of Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and Wijnaendts did not accept
23 this -- this title. And this went on and on. This was the main problem.
24 Then Mr. Hadzic said that he has to consulted -- he wanted to consult, I
25 don't know whether his ministers or his fighters, but consult someone and
1 he went away. And after a while he came back, waving happily and saying
2 he could sign and he did sign.
3 Q. Okay.
4 MR. STRINGER: If we can now have tab 73, and we'll need to go
5 into private session for this, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
7 [Private session]
11 Pages 7681-7682 redacted. Private session.
13 [Open session]
14 THE REGISTRAR: We're back in open session, Your Honours. Thank
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 THE WITNESS: There were the two presidents, Hadzic for this
18 Baranja and Slavonia and so on, and Babic for the Krajina. Babic was the
19 main speaker at this meeting but with them was also one
20 Mr. Misa Milosevic, an elderly gentleman, a lawyer based in Geneva, who
21 was president or the Secretary-General of the World Federation of Serbs.
22 He was very much along the Serb lines of the policy of the day, and
23 particularly in the beginning, he was also very much the spokesperson in
24 the national meetings for the Serbs from Croatia.
25 MR. STRINGER:
1 Q. Ambassador, this being October of 1991, I take it this is, as
2 you've indicated, Mr. Wijnaendts so this is happening under the auspices
3 of the Carrington conference?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were these treaty provisions, the treaty provisions that you've
6 described earlier, were these the subject of discussion in Paris?
7 A. I mean, I do not remember the discussions exactly, but it is
8 hundred per cent certain that Mr. Wijnaendts has mentioned the treaty
9 provisions and talked about them, and is as hundred per cent that the
10 Serbs did not accept these provisions.
11 Q. At this point in time if you could just talk about what you
12 understood to be the Serb position in regard to a status in Croatia or
13 elsewhere and the republican borders.
14 A. The Serb position was that the republican borders were
15 administrative lines that had been drawn for practical purposes and had
16 no international significance or no significance beyond just being
17 administrative borders.
18 Q. All right.
19 A. The second point is that the Serbs made the point that they are a
20 nation in Yugoslavia and that they, as a nation, want to remain inside
21 Yugoslavia and that is why they would join the Serb state.
22 At some early point in time - I don't know exactly when - their
23 parliament had even decided to become part of Serbia which was not
24 accepted by the Serb parliament at that time. Later there was talk about
25 forming one state with the Bosnian Serbs, the Republika Srpska. But one
1 point was clear from the beginning to the end: No solution inside
3 Q. And this Serb position --
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer.
5 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Mr. President.
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's that time. If that's appropriate for you.
7 MR. STRINGER: Yes, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
9 Ambassador, this is the time for our first break. We will take
10 30 minutes and come back at 11.00.
11 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: The court usher will escort you out of the
13 courtroom. Thank you.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Court adjourned.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.30 p.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
18 [The witness takes the stand]
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
20 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
21 Q. Ambassador Wijnaendts [sic], just before the break you had been
22 describing various aspects of the Serb position on republican borders and
23 existence within Croatia versus Yugoslavia. Do you remember that?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. When you describe these policies of the Serbs or these positions,
1 I should say, of the Serbs in respect of the negotiations, just to be
2 specific, do you attribute those to Goran Hadzic?
3 A. I mean, he's certainly not the author of the overall Serbian
4 policy during this epoch because it was largely shared in Belgrade and
5 also the Bosnian Serbs. There were only some who were even more radical
6 like Seselj, that -- of course, there was a Serb opposition that was not
7 in agreement with that.
8 Q. But when you describe these policies, you include Mr. Hadzic
9 among those who were advancing these positions?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You've mentioned already two districts, areas, one that
12 Mr. Hadzic was representing in Paris, the -- what we call the SBWS,
13 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem; and then also the district for which
14 Mr. Babic was the leader, the Krajina region.
15 My question is, if you can tell us, what, if any, was the
16 connection between the -- those territories and the demographic
17 composition that existed inside them.
18 A. The demographic composition was quite different between the two
19 areas because in the area presided by Mr. Babic there were heavy Serb
20 majorities; whereas in the area presided by Mr. Hadzic there was a large
21 number of Serbs but nowhere a majority within one of these opstinas which
22 were rather large municipalities.
23 Q. Okay. Did -- in your discussions with the Croatian Serbs or
24 other Serbs, was any justification given for why they would be claiming
25 territory of Eastern Slavonia as Serbian territory given this demographic
2 A. Well, we sometimes heard that, first of all, the Yugoslav census
3 had been rigged and that, indeed, there had been more Serbs. I myself
4 contacted the German statistics office to find out what reputation the
5 Yugoslav statistics office had and there were UN conferences on
6 statistics. The Yugoslav statistics, I think they were quite acceptable
7 so that this argument is not very strong.
8 There was another argument which was said in the slogan where
9 there are Serbian graves, that is, Serbia -- that the Serbs had before
10 had a majority there, and because of the genocide committed by the
11 Ustasha, they had lost this majority so that this was justified that they
12 get this territory back. I do not see this in Sector East either,
13 because I mean, there was until the end of the Second World War even a
14 sizeable German minority. Vukovar had 20 per cent Germans. And so the
15 number of Serbs cannot have been so large that they had sizeable
16 majorities in larger areas.
17 Q. All right.
18 A. But there were purely Serb villages.
19 Q. Now, you've been talking about - excuse me - having met
20 Mr. Hadzic and Babic in Paris in October.
21 MR. STRINGER: I want to now show you a video and this is going
22 be to tab 39, exhibit 65 ter 4878.3. Hopefully the transcripts are at
23 hand so that we can show this video.
24 [Video-clip played]
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Good evening. We shall start the
1 additional news programme with a report from The Hague. In Holland's
2 capital city, where the new Yugoslav-European summit is starting
3 tomorrow. Today the representatives of the governments of the SAO
4 Krajina and of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, Milan Babic and
5 Goran Hadzic, respectfully spoke to the main co-ordinator of the
6 conference on Yugoslavia, Mr. Henry Wijnaendts.
7 "Mr. Babic, are you satisfied with today's talks?
8 "Well, partly. Both our side and the European community have
9 shown goodwill to keep on looking for a good solution. I am satisfied,
10 especially because the federal representatives will not be left out from
11 tomorrow's conference. As far as I know, all members of the Presidency
12 will be present, which means that the federal option to resolve the
13 Yugoslav crisis is still topical, which is also what we insist on.
14 "Do you find the special status satisfactory in this phase? Do
15 you think that this is what you wanted?
16 "Well, our insisting on a special status ... it relates to a
17 special status within the Yugoslav union. No other solution would be
18 satisfactory to us. Therefore, some of the solutions according to which
19 a special status ... for the Serbian regions would be the one within the
20 Republic of Croatia, is out of the question.
21 "The issue of borders must have been a difficult one. You know
22 that the European community insisted that the borders should not be
23 changed, and here the criteria for the external and internal borders were
24 not the same, as if it was easier to change the ... external borders than
25 the internation -- than the internal ones. Was there any discussion
1 about this?
2 "Of course, we do not wish to talk about certain things that are
3 better left unsaid for diplomatic reasons.
4 "Well, there's a small paradox, actually it is not that small.
5 In that European community accepts the change of Yugoslavia's borders,
6 its external borders, whereas it insists on preserving the - what they
7 call - internal borders, which have never really been borders.
8 "One more question: This is your first time in The Hague. So
9 far you've taken part in the talks in Paris. Do you think that this is a
10 step forward? I mean, do you think that this way you have finally been
11 recognised as a nation, rather than being treated as a minority?
12 "It is definitely closer to the conference. We have never agreed
13 to be treated as an ethnic minority. I think that we're closer to a
14 solution here.
15 "Does it mean that you've successfully fought your way to your
16 present treatment, to come to The Hague the way you wanted it?
17 "That's right. That is our position."
18 MR. STRINGER: Okay. If we could break there before we continue.
19 Q. Ambassador Ahrens, you've been describing the Serb position as
20 you understood it to be. First of all, looking at this video, there was
21 a reference to Paris and now in The Hague. Are you able to give us a
22 rough estimate of when these discussions were taking place?
23 A. That might have been in November 1991.
24 Q. Do you know if you were present when this was occurring?
25 A. I don't think so.
1 Q. And the various positions expressed by Mr. Babic here, is that
2 consistent with what you were hearing in your discussions with him and
3 what the conference was hearing in its discussions with the Croatian Serb
5 A. Yeah.
6 MR. STRINGER: Now, if we could continue from there, please,
7 which is -- I think we have to go back a little bit.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Mr. Hadzic, what is your opinion on
10 the second meeting with Mr. Wijnaendts, bearing in mind that your
11 problem -- or, rather, the problem of the Serbian people in Croatia is
12 the key to finding a solution to this entire Yugoslav case?
13 "In Paris we presented our views on the solutions to the crisis
14 in Yugoslavia. We have come here, one could say, to hear the feedback,
15 to hear the opinion of the European community, from Mr. Wijnaendts as
16 well. I myself am satisfied with the tolerant atmosphere. One could
17 even call it a friendly atmosphere. We have completely accepted the
18 opinions of both parties as well as the arguments. We have no disputes
19 about anything. I hope that the solution by the European community is
20 going to be a favourable one, although Mr. Babic and I could not be very
21 flexible, since we are only presenting the will of the Serbian people in
22 both Krajinas who have clearly expressed their preference. We have
23 little room to back down, but I hope that the representatives of the
24 European community, besides Mr. Wijnaendts, the two vice-presidents and
25 one ambassador were also present today, and I think that this will
1 significantly -- that our conversation is going to have a significant
2 impact on tomorrow's conference on Yugoslavia.
3 "From within The Hague conference there has been a word about the
4 special status for the Serbian people in Croatia. Is such a status
5 acceptable to you and what is its exact meaning?
6 "Well, to our side a special status means a special separation.
7 We have actually already been separated from the Republic of Croatia and
8 this special status within Yugoslavia. This is what we are demanding at
9 these talks. And they would probably accept that. Also, it is difficult
10 for the European community to accept our standpoint. Therefore, I hope
11 that there will be a solution. We are getting there. We cannot give up
12 our standpoint. I think that Europe has to realise that the Serbian
13 people can only accept a special status outside the Republic of Croatia."
14 MR. STRINGER:
15 Q. Now, again, there are various references here that you've already
16 alluded to in your evidence, Ambassador Ahrens. The issue of special
17 status, whether within Yugoslavia or within Croatia, again are the views
18 of Mr. Hadzic here consistent with what you understood to be his position
19 in your negotiations with him?
20 A. It was certainly the position, not only of Mr. Hadzic but of the
21 Serbian side in general. The problem is the optimism which Mr. Hadzic
22 voiced because at no moment would Ambassador Wijnaendts have made a
23 concession on the question whether the RSK would be able to leave Croatia
24 and become part of another state or become independent. This was a
25 rather tragic misunderstanding.
1 Q. This -- the positions expressed by Messrs. Babic and Hadzic here,
2 I mean, were these -- could these be reconciled in any way with the
3 treaty provisions in the Carrington conference document that we looked at
4 at the beginning of your evidence.
5 A. No, they could not, and that is the problem.
6 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the Prosecution tenders 4878.3.
7 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer, the Registrar tells me that we
8 don't have access to the transcript for the moment. Is that a
9 technical -- we have a technical problem? We're talking about e-court
11 MR. STRINGER: I think we're also having a technical problem with
12 the LiveNote transcript as well.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. Let's deal with one problem at a time.
14 The e-court problem seems to have been solved. Mr. Registrar, is that
16 THE REGISTRAR: Correct.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: So then the video is admitted and marked.
18 THE REGISTRAR: It shall be assigned Exhibit P2880. Thank you.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you. Now, the e-court problem --
20 MR. GOSNELL: I'm terribly sorry to interrupt but I thought I
21 should just interject here that I don't have the LiveNote back yet.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Neither have we. The system seems to be down.
23 Are we ready for the technicians, Mr. Registrar?
24 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
25 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think it's better to pause for the moment as we
1 don't have anything on any of the screens. So we'll wait.
2 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: We're good again. Please continue, Mr. Stringer.
4 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Ambassador, as you can see, we had a technical problem so I want
6 to go back to the last question that I'd asked, which didn't make it yet
7 into the record.
8 We looked at the video. You've been describing the Serbian
9 position in respect of the treaty provisions and the question was whether
10 the positions expressed by Mr. Hadzic and Babic in this video, whether
11 those could be reconciled with the treaty provisions that were contained
12 in the Carrington conference document that you looked at earlier.
13 A. It could not only be -- not be reconciled with the treaty
14 provisions but also with the underlying principles which we applied when
15 we formulated the treaty provisions. Because the international community
16 at that time was against all changes of borders, even of internal borders
17 of disintegrating states, and no one has underlined that more than the
18 Russian government.
19 Q. And just for clarity in the record, I want to -- let me just ask
20 it. Could those be reconciled or not?
21 A. No, it could not.
22 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, the Prosecution now tenders into
23 evidence the video 4878.3.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
25 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Probably, but it's not on the record.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2880. Thank you.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
4 MR. STRINGER:
5 Q. Now, Ambassador Ahrens, this brings us toward the end of 1991. I
6 wanted to ask if during the early part of 1992, you engaged in
7 discussions with Croatian officials about measures to regulate the status
8 of Serbs in Croatia?
9 A. When Croatia declared independence, they had already done one
10 legislative act that should safe-guard the rights of minorities. Later,
11 they worked on a constitutional law on the rights of minorities, and this
12 always refers to the Serbs when we talk about Croatia, and when the
13 European community decided to recognise those republics that asked for it
14 and were in harmony with chapter 2 of the treaty provisions, it became
15 very important that the law which the Croats had did not find immediately
16 the consent of the Badinter Commission which was there to say whether
17 they were justified to ask for -- for recognition or not.
18 Tudjman wrote two letters and after these two letters he was
19 recognised, but the conference felt that the constitutional law was not
20 good enough and so the British lawyer Henry Darwin and myself, we engaged
21 in a whole series of difficult negotiations with the Croatian side alone
22 to improve on this law. That lasted until about, I think, in May, they
23 had adopted in the parliament another version of this law. We also had
24 to discuss it with parliamentarians. I found this a slightly futile
25 exercise because it provided for autonomy for the Serbs inside Croatia
1 and I knew that they would never accept that.
2 MR. STRINGER: If we could please have tab 67, 65 ter 6480.
3 Q. Ambassador, you can work with either version you prefer here. I
4 know you can read them both. Do you recognise the document that's in
5 front of you on the screen?
6 A. Yeah, that is that law, the -- the May version. May 1992
8 Q. And, again, just briefly, but what was the purpose of this law?
9 A. To secure the rights of the Serbs in Croatia.
10 Q. Now, if --
11 A. Not only the Serbs but, I mean, this was a big problem. Now
12 Croatia counts 22 minorities but it all has to do with the one minority,
13 that is the important one.
14 Q. And were you involved in discussions with the Croatian parliament
15 and officials then who drafted this? Did you have an opportunity to
16 comment on it during its consideration?
17 A. Yes, we did. These were real negotiations.
18 Q. If I could direct you to Article 2 here, the second paragraph,
19 and, actually, looking at the bottom of the English page that we see. It
20 says "paragraphs 4 and 5 shall be added to read as follows." And then it
21 continues on the next page.
22 MR. STRINGER: If we could just enlarge the top part.
23 "In towns and populated places outside districts having a special
24 statute, in order to protect the collective rights of indigenous ethnic
25 and national ... minorities," now it relates to special protective
2 A. That's the second tier. Special protective measures is not so
3 much the policeman who stands in front of your house, but that is also a
4 very important point, but also the safe-guards for the language and the
5 culture, the possibility to go to church, and that sort of cultural
7 Q. And just to contrast this, then, if we could move down to
8 Article 5 and take a closer look at that.
9 MR. STRINGER: Maybe if we could make that a bit larger, please.
10 Q. Article 5 here, Ambassador, refers to district areas with special
11 local government autonomous status in which members of a particular
12 ethnic and national community or minority constitute a majority over
13 50 per cent according to the 1981 census. They have a special statute.
14 Just looking at these two provisions, the first one we looked IN
15 Article 2, and now Article 5, one relates to a place where there's a
16 majority and the other appears not to --
17 A. Mm-hm.
18 Q. -- what that that's about?
19 A. Well, that is the two tiers which I had explained. The one
20 before was the second tier and this is the third tier, the special status
22 Q. To what extent were these concepts that are expressed here in
23 this law based upon your earlier work on these various tiers as you'd
24 written them in the treaty provisions we saw at the beginning?
25 A. When I wrote that chapter, the treaty provisions, here in
1 The Hague, within three days I contacted all sorts of specialists on the
2 phone and tried to get the latest state of affairs. It was a really
3 difficult piece of work. But this three tier which was something which
4 could you find here and there but this had a lot of consequence. For
5 example, you find it today in Macedonia.
6 MR. STRINGER: And now just moving to the next page of the
7 English, please. At the top. The top quarter of the page.
8 Q. Now, does this identify the places in Croatia that would have
9 qualified for this autonomous status or special status that is referred
11 A. Yes, all of those had, according to the 1981 census, a Serb
13 Q. Now the area of Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srem is not included?
14 A. No, because there was not one opstina with a Serb majority. The
15 highest percentage was Vukovar and that was 37 per cent.
16 Q. Do you know if this law was, in fact, adopted and became a part
17 of the Croatian constitution?
18 A. It did. But, I mean, what it said about these special status
19 areas never became practical. The first thing after the conquest of the
20 RSK in August 1995 was to repeal these.
21 Q. All right. And at the time, in 1992, when this was adopted, what
22 was your assessment of its quality? Were you satisfied with its
24 A. I must say I was a little bit tired of discussing these things
25 over and over again because I knew that if, really, in the end, we would
1 have some sort of understanding with the Serbs that would be acceptable
2 to both sides, the whole thing would have to be renegotiated because we
3 did this with the Croats alone. And this is what actually happened
4 before we went onto work out the Z-4 plan, which was the second
5 international proposal for autonomy for the Krajina.
6 Q. The law itself on its face, though, did you find this to be an
7 acceptable, satisfactory attempt to deal with minority rights in Croatia?
8 A. Yes. This is a very highly developed piece of legislation which
9 is quite good. The problem is, of course, always implementation.
10 Q. In the course of your dealing with the Croatian officials about
11 this, did the Serbs, Mr. Hadzic or other members of the Croatian Serb
12 leadership, did they participate?
13 A. No, not at all. Only at one meeting with Mr. Hadzic, I think we
14 were one on one, he asked me for a copy of the law, but I think he did so
15 because he wanted to know what was in it.
16 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, Prosecution tenders 65 ter 6480.
17 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2881. Thank you.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
20 MR. STRINGER: Could we please have tab 84, 65 ter 1058. And if
21 we could enlarge the English a bit.
22 Q. Ambassador, this document, did you have an opportunity to review
23 this over the weekend? We can move around it a bit more if you'd like to
24 familiarise yourself with it.
25 A. Well, this is one of the instances in which I was not present
1 because in the Carrington conference, particularly after the recognition
2 of Croatia, Lord Carrington relied heavily on De Beauce for these matters
3 and I did not accompany them.
4 Q. Why don't you tell us who these people are. We know who
5 Lord Carrington is. Who is Thierry De Beauce that's referred to in this?
6 A. Well, the British chairmen of the conference was both Lord
7 Carrington and later Lord Owen, had a particular good relationship with
8 the Quai d'Orsay, with Mitterrand, and Lord Carrington who believed that
9 the recognition of Croatia and Slavonia which had been pushed by Germany
10 had ruined his conference so he wanted to do -- to build more on the
11 French than on the Germans.
12 Q. This appears to be a record of the conversations held on 29th
13 of April, 1992. Were you aware that this meeting was taking place?
14 A. Yes. I had a very good personal relationship with
15 Monsieur De Beauce. We travelled together to Kosovo and other areas, and
16 I was fully aware of this meeting and that it had not brought any
18 Q. Now, I would like to ask you first of all whether you've had an
19 opportunity to review this and whether you found it to be consistent with
20 your understanding of what a -- what occurred at the meeting and the
21 various positions that were being expressed by the parties.
22 A. This document?
23 Q. Yes.
24 A. I think so, yes.
25 Q. I want to direct you just to a couple of specific parts and ask
1 you to comment on those specifically.
2 Turning to page 3 of the English. And paragraph 2 there. It
3 begins with: "The deputy Lord Carrington ... "
4 In this paragraph, Ambassador, Lord Carrington's -- makes a
5 reference to the emphasis that new states had been formed in the SFRY
6 territory which had been acknowledged by a number of countries, that by
7 this point, Serbia and Montenegro and had even formed a federal state.
8 The first question is, the formation of the federal state Serbia
9 and Montenegro, was that consistent with terms of the treaty provisions
10 that -- and the basic principles that we've been discussing?
11 A. I mean, the first paragraph on the three possibilities of being
12 fully independent, forming a confederation or forming a federation are
13 not violated by this. But what was not consistent is that Yugoslavia,
14 this new Yugoslavia, claimed that they were the legal successor of the
15 SFRY, and this was clearly denied by the Badinter Commission by saying
16 that Yugoslavia had disintegrated and not been cut down through separate
18 Q. All right. And now the last sentence here in which Carrington is
19 speaking alludes to the fact that Croatia would have to establish its
20 sovereignty within its administrative borders. The statements of
21 Carrington here, are those reflective of the position of the conference
22 at this time in respect of the status of Yugoslavia and the new states?
23 A. Well, at least it doesn't contradict it. It might have come out
24 a bit clearer. Because I always felt that it would have been very
25 helpful if the Serbs had heard from everyone that the borders would not
1 be changed. The tragedy might have been prevented.
2 Q. The next paragraph --
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Mr. Stringer, just for the record, you're
4 referring about this paragraph about you're referring to Lord Carrington
5 speaking. But if I read it, it's Lord Carrington's deputy speaking.
6 Beginning of the paragraph.
7 MR. STRINGER: I could be wrong, Mr. President. I'm looking at
8 the paragraph that -- that starts with the words:
9 "The deputy Lord Carrington in principle expressed his
10 concern ..."
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: Yeah. Who's speaking there? Or who is said to
12 be speaking? Perhaps I misunderstand.
13 MR. STRINGER: Well, my understanding is that this is Carrington
14 speaking, but --
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. If that's your understanding. Okay.
16 MR. STRINGER: It's obviously for the Chamber to draw its own
17 conclusion. By contrast I was going to move to the next paragraph of
18 this document, then, in which there is a reference to Mr. De Beauce
19 saying that the Croatian government is working on a new constitution and
20 laws which would include complete national freedoms.
21 And then in the following paragraph, the RSK president, Hadzic,
22 was offered to study the new proposal. They have offered to have RSK get
23 to know in detail the Croatian laws.
24 Q. Do you know what Croatian law or new constitutional law is being
25 referred to here by Mr. De Beauce?
1 A. Well, I would think so --
2 MR. GOSNELL: Excuse me, objection. It doesn't actually say "new
3 constitutional law" in the document, and to that extent, the question was
5 MR. STRINGER: I'll rephrase.
6 Q. Here De Beauce says that the Croatian government is working on a
7 new constitution and laws which would include -- do you know what he's
8 referring to there?
9 A. I think that is the constitutional law that was adopted in May,
10 but the conference still found some problems with it and tried to improve
11 on it further. But I would not know about a new constitution of Croatia
12 being worked on. Maybe some changes in the constitution but certainly
13 not the new constitution.
14 Q. And just for the record, the law that we just were looking at
15 before, was -- did that actually become a part of the Croatian
16 constitution in May of 1992?
17 A. Well, a constitutional law is part of the constitutional order.
18 That means they cannot do away with it by simple majority in the
20 Q. Now, turning to the next page, page 4, what is sort of the first
21 full paragraph, beginning with the words: "President Hadzic ..."
22 He refers here to non-existing administrative borders. Again, is
23 this consistent with what we've been discussing, in terms of Serb
24 position in respect of the republican borders?
25 A. Excuse me, where is that? Where is that?
1 Q. In -- first full paragraph that begins with the words:
2 "President Hadzic ..."
3 Is that large enough for you to read, Ambassador?
4 A. Yeah.
5 Q. He is saying: Europe and the world shows the worst option to
6 make a decision through the choice of the republics to recognise
7 non-existent administrative borders, instead of criteria that people
8 should choose and that changing --
9 A. This is the Serb position of the time or across the board.
10 Q. Now, moving down the page to item 3, in terms of Mr. Hadzic's
11 conclusion at this meeting. Now, according to this, it says that:
12 "Hadzic stated that the Vance Plan is to be carried out
13 unconditionally which does not imply a political solution and secure the
14 protection to Serbs, which has been promised by the European Union."
15 The question here is, at this point in time, end of April, 1992,
16 do you know whether, in fact, the Serbs themselves were unconditionally
17 carrying out the terms of the Vance Plan?
18 A. No, they did not.
19 Q. All right. And just briefly, in what ways were they not
20 observing the Vance Plan?
21 A. Well, first of all, the Vance Plan provides for demilitarisation.
22 What happened was the retreat of the Yugoslav national army, but what did
23 not happen is that their weapons and partly their personnel really left
24 because some sort of special police forces were created in the Krajina so
25 that this demilitarisation was somehow undercut.
1 A second point is that the Vance Plan provides for the return of
2 refugees. To the best of my knowledge, not one refugee was allowed to
4 Q. All right. Moving down to the next page and item 7 of
5 Mr. Hadzic's remarks here, he is saying that the RSK establishes a law
6 order and that human rights and freedoms will be secured to all citizens
7 who live in it, in accordance with democratic solutions.
8 Did Mr. Hadzic ever make references to these ideas in his
9 discussions with you about a law order and human rights in the RSK?
10 A. Yes. I mean, when we took up the question of human rights with,
11 for example, Mr. Hadzic, the answer normally was that they had a
12 functioning legal system, that they also had a functioning judicial
13 system, that they had courts, and that certain violations of these
14 principles which had occurred, that was conceded, had to do with the --
15 the situation of war that consisted -- or persisted between Croats and
17 At one point, I think somewhere in summer 1992, Mr. Hadzic even
18 asked me to be helpful with working out such principles for the
19 protection of minorities. Minority, of course, means now the Croats and
20 Slovaks and other non-Serbs living in the RSK.
21 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Hadzic had ever followed through on
22 efforts to protect or enforce human rights in the RSK?
23 A. Not to my knowledge.
24 Q. Do you know whether he ever spoke out publicly or condemned human
25 rights violations, crimes that were occurring?
1 A. Not to my knowledge.
2 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, Prosecution tenders 65 ter 1058.
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be Exhibit number P2882. Thank you.
5 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
6 MR. STRINGER:
7 Q. Ambassador Ahrens, do you recall having a meeting with Mr. Hadzic
8 in Belgrade in the summer of 1992?
9 A. Yeah. There were actually two meetings. One was the last one
10 under the Carrington conference, when, first, Lord Carrington, De Beauce,
11 and myself, we met with the Serb delegation and then I met alone with the
12 Serb delegation.
13 And the second one was the first one after the instalment of the
14 ICFY. Also there it was with Mr. Hadzic. And at one of these two he
15 mentioned that it might be helpful if we could explain them a little bit
16 the human rights or minority rights that we feel should be observed.
17 Q. What did you know about the human rights situation in the RSK and
18 what were your sources of information on that?
19 A. The human rights situation was bad, according to all information
20 which I received. I personally witnessed only what I said about this --
21 these prisoners, and then later we might come to that list of the Widows
22 of Vukovar.
23 But I have seen a lot of particular ECMM reports that were very
24 critical. Much more than the UNPROFOR who came in later. And I also
25 received a letter from the Czechoslovak embassy where they in critical
1 terms described the situation with regard to the Slovak minority, which
2 was sizeable, because the Serbs didn't [Realtime transcript read in error
3 "did"] make a difference between Croats and Slovaks and Hungarians, and
4 so all the non-Serbs were not welcome.
5 Q. Just there for the record, Ambassador, we have in the record that
6 you said that the Serbs did make a difference between Croats, Slovaks and
7 Hungarians. Is that correct?
8 A. No. That must be a misspelling or something. No, they did not
9 make a difference.
10 MR. STRINGER: Could we have P2410.2398. This is tab 68.
11 And for this, Mr. President, I believe we need private session.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Private session, please.
13 [Private session]
11 Page 7707 redacted. Private session.
3 [Open session]
4 THE REGISTRAR: We're in private session, Your Honours. Thank
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
7 MR. STRINGER: Tab 9.
8 Q. Ambassador, you can see the document on the screen in front of
9 you. The date is the 11th of November, 1992, a report of the
10 Secretary-General on the International Conference on the former
12 And with the usher's assistance, I'd like to direct you to
13 page 25 of the document, which is paragraph 82. This is the bottom third
14 of the page.
15 Now, Ambassador, this is a section on the Working Group on ethnic
16 and national communities and minorities and then makes a reference to you
17 in paragraph 82.
18 A. Yes, that's correct.
19 Q. Would you and your staff have been the source of the information
20 that's contained in this section?
21 A. Yes, we wrote that part. It may have been changed a little bit
22 by the co-chairman, but we were the authors.
23 Q. And if we could turn, then, to the following page and
24 paragraph 89 because, as we see, as -- each paragraph relates to a
25 different location or a different group of minorities that you're
1 concerned with on the ICFY with paragraph 89 relating to the Serbs in
3 And here it's referring to a meeting with Mr. Hadzic in Belgrade
4 on the 25th of September.
5 A. That is the meeting which I mentioned before by saying there were
6 two meetings, one under the Carrington conference and one, the first,
7 under the ICFY.
8 Q. Now, here it is reported that he said that the Krajina would
9 rather resort to renewed warfare than become a part of Croatia again.
10 A. I mean, I don't remember this formula now, but it underlines the
11 Serbian position.
12 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, Prosecution tenders 1361.
13 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
14 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2883.
15 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
16 MR. STRINGER: Could we please have tab 82, which is
17 Exhibit P02848.
18 Q. Ambassador, this is a further report of the security -- sorry,
19 the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council Resolution --
20 Resolutions 743 and 762. It's dated the 28th of September, 1992.
21 So this is three days after the date of the meeting that you've
22 just described with Mr. Hadzic.
23 And if I could direct your attention to page 2 of this, first of
24 all, have you had an opportunity to review this document?
25 A. I've seen it.
1 Q. And we don't need to discuss it in detail, but at the bottom of
2 page 2, there's a reference to demilitarisation and a reference to Serb
3 militia forces, new Serb militia forces. The force commander considers
4 that their level of armament and almost total ignorance of police work
5 show that in reality they are paramilitary forces.
6 Now is this the information that you were receiving then in the
7 course of your own dealings with not only Mr. Hadzic but all the parties
8 under the ICFY?
9 A. I mean, it was visible. We travelled through the RSK and you saw
10 these military posts on the borders in question mark or question mark and
11 I have mentioned this here before, that in so far the Vance Plan was not
12 really implemented.
13 Q. And the ICFY position on these Serb forces, whether paramilitary
14 or police, did you view these as police forces that were legitimate
15 within the meaning of the Vance Plan?
16 A. No, we did not. But this was a matter for UNPROFOR.
17 Q. All right. In -- let me just move to paragraph 10 then, on
18 page 4.
19 Paragraph 10. This is under the heading: Acts of terrorism,
20 referring to Sector East. It says:
21 "On the contrary there has been a general breakdown of law and
22 order with no functioning court system."
23 A. Can I see that?
24 Q. That's the second sentence in paragraph 10.
25 A. Can you enlarge it a bit?
1 Q. Now, the question here, Ambassador, is how does this -- well, can
2 you comment on this in light of Mr. Hadzic's remarks about the existence
3 of a court system and protection of human rights inside the RSK?
4 A. As I said before, these legal provisions which were in existence,
5 I had copies of them, were not implemented properly.
6 MR. STRINGER: Could we please have tab 8, which is
7 65 ter 1349.1. Excuse me, it's also in evidence as P2870.
8 Q. Mr. Ambassador, have you had an opportunity to read this over the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. You mention that you had some dealings with the UNPROFOR,
12 Commander Nambiar, in the course of your work with ICFY?
13 A. Well, I knew his brother who was an Indian diplomat. But
14 normally we would deal with Thornberry.
15 Q. Now, in this document, and I just need a comment. It's already
16 in evidence. His view is that the Serb authorities in the UNPAs have
17 implemented only those aspects of the plan that suited them and have
18 blocked further implementation to gain time for furtherance of other
19 political and military objectives.
20 From where you were positioned, do you share that view?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And then moving down this paragraph, there's a sentence that
24 "They have also used our presence to consolidate their rule in
25 the pink zones and have been terrorising and seeking to drive out
1 remaining Croatian residents ..."
2 Do you have an understanding of what the pink zones are, that are
3 referred to here?
4 A. I mean, the borders of the UNPAs had been delined in connection
5 with the Vance Plan. But the actual cease-fire line did not always be
6 the same as these lines that established the UNPAs and where this
7 overlapped that was called the pink zones. There were practically no
8 pink zones in Sector East but there were huge pink zones in some other
9 sectors. There was a small one between Sector North and Sector West
10 which almost linked them.
11 Q. So this is an area, the pink zone would have been controlled by
12 which side?
13 A. I mean, this was also one of these -- these eternal problems we
14 had to deal with. There's a UN Resolution 762 dealing with the pink
15 zones. Question was whose police could go in there. In the end, the
16 proposal was that UNPROFOR should be in these zones and no one from
17 either side. But this went on and on and I don't know where we ended up
18 with it.
19 Q. Okay. And we're going to get to Resolution 802 shortly.
20 This is now the 8th of November, 1992, so this is -- we're still
21 in late 1992. The question was whether, at that point, if you know,
22 which side was in control of what are being called the pink zones? Was
23 it the Croatian side or the Serb side?
24 A. As far as I can see, the Serbs.
25 Q. Okay. And in the subsequent discussions related to the police,
1 then, going into the pink zones, the police that -- the Serb police that
2 were proposed, are these police that you viewed to be as complying with
3 police as it's defined in Vance-Owen?
4 A. Well, I mean, certainly not. Because the idea was of having --
5 having armed personnel in these areas and not policemen who would
6 regulate the traffic or -- or -- or look after -- after law and order
7 among the peasants there.
8 Q. Now, that's going to bring us, Mr. Ambassador, to January of
9 1993. And my question is whether -- you've already mentioned it, but if
10 you could just give the -- the Chamber a brief sort of description of
11 what we're calling the Maslenica operation and -- and what happened
13 A. Do we have 802 on your --
14 Q. It's coming. I can -- we can bring it up now --
15 A. It might be good to have it, yeah.
16 Q. Very well.
17 MR. STRINGER: If we could have tab 40. P01333.1325.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Could the counsel please repeat the exhibit
20 MR. STRINGER: It's P1333.1325.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you.
22 MR. STRINGER:
23 Q. Ambassador, now that we've got it in front of us - and perhaps if
24 we could just enlarge the top half of the English page. That's perfect -
25 here there's a -- well, now that you have it in front of you, perhaps you
1 can just tell us. Describe Maslenica and how it relates to this Security
2 Council resolution?
3 A. During the hostilities between Serbs and Croats, the Serbs tried
4 to get to the Mediterranean in the area of Zadar. This was, of course,
5 something that the Croats were very much afraid of. And the Serbs almost
6 reached this point and there was a bridge, the so-called Maslenica
7 bridge, which linked continental Croatia with Dalmatia, like Split and
8 other cities. The cease-fire lines, there was also a lot of pink zones
9 in the area, were such that the communication between Zagreb and Split,
10 [indiscernible] like that, was practically not possible. And in this
11 situation, Tudjman launched an attack and he took the bridge and
12 so-called Peruca dam and an airport called Zemunik airport. In the
13 operation two French UNPROFOR soldiers were killed, and the Security
14 Council then met on 25th January and adopted this resolution, 802.
15 It was very difficult to put this Resolution 802 into practice.
16 On one side President Tudjman said he was not prepared to withdraw from
17 any Croatian territory, and on the other side, the Serbs said, First
18 withdraw and then we may talk about other things.
19 Now, this resolution does not only talk about the Croatian
20 offensive but it also regrets that the Vance Plan is not being
21 implemented. And so the Croats, the Croatian position was they have to
22 implement the Vance Plan and then we can talk about not withdrawal but
23 maybe some disengagement; whereas the Serbs said, First status quo the
24 operation and then we can talk about other things. So this was the
25 situation. And the negotiations were extremely difficult. We started in
1 February in New York. Mr. Hadzic led the delegation. With him was
2 Slobodan Jarcevic, who was the foreign minister at that time, and
3 Mile Paspalj, who was the Speaker of the Assembly.
4 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Ambassador, before you continue with that, and
5 we're going to get to it, I'd like to take the last few minutes we have
6 before the break to just get back into the text of Resolution 802 so that
7 it's clear what you've been referring to.
8 In the third paragraph here where it says: "Deeply concerned by
9 the information ... as a result of military attacks by Croatian armed
10 forces" is that, then, a reference to the military attack --
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Okay. And then moving down to: "Deeply concerned about the lack
13 of co-operation in recent months by the local Serb authorities in the
14 areas under protection of UNPROFOR," what does that lack of co-operation
15 refer to?
16 A. That is mainly what Nambiar said in his report, that they only
17 implemented points that were favourable to them.
18 Q. And then continuing, in the same paragraph, there's a reference
19 to "deeply concerned by the recent seizure by them of heavy weapons under
20 UNPROFOR control and by threats to widen the conflict."
21 What does that refer to?
22 A. I had mentioned that before. Under the Vance Plan, the heavy
23 weapons had to either be brought outside of the UNPAs or be put under
24 UNPROFOR cover, control. And when the Croats attacked, the Serbs took
25 the heavy weapons out of these storages and this demands them to put them
1 back into storage again.
2 Q. Okay. And then you've alluded to negotiations that followed.
3 And did those negotiations then relate to the various items referred to
4 here, looking at paragraph number 1, immediate cessation of hostile
5 activities by Croatian armed forces?
6 A. Well, that had happened in the meantime, but the withdrawal of
7 Croatian armed forces, that was the point. Because Tudjman plainly said,
8 I'm not going to withdraw from Croatian territory.
9 Q. And then was it also part of the subsequent negotiations to try
10 to bring these heavy arms back under UNPROFOR control --
11 A. Yes. This was an UNPROFOR matter but we negotiated it, what
12 Thornberry said in these negotiations.
13 Q. And then moving to the next page, item 4. Now here's a demand
14 that all parties comply with cease-fire arrangements unconditionally in
15 the implementation of the UN peacekeeping plan, and then finally,
16 disbanding and demobilisation of Serb Territorial Defence units.
17 To your knowledge, did that ever take place?
18 A. No.
19 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, this is a good time for the break.
20 Although I would tender this -- apologies, it's already in evidence, I
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Ambassador, it's time for our second break.
23 30 minutes as well. We'll come back at 12.45. The court usher will
24 escort you out of the courtroom. Thank you.
25 [The witness stands down]
1 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.44 p.m.
3 [The witness takes the stand]
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stringer.
5 MR. STRINGER: Thank you, Mr. President.
6 Q. Ambassador, just before the break, you described the Maslenica
7 operation that occurred in January of 1993 and then the resulting
8 Security Council Resolution, 802.
9 After that resolution came into effect, then, did you -- were you
10 involved in negotiations with the parties, Croatian and Serbian --
11 A. Yes, I was actually the one who headed these negotiations, but
12 since the Serbs did not want the one in charge of minorities to be fully
13 in charge, Herb Okun joined me. Sometimes the co-chairman also would be
14 present. I have already said who was the Serbian delegation. When they
15 had come, I met them at the airport because there might be problems with
16 the visa. And on the Croatian side there was Minister of Defence Susak.
17 Some others whom I don't recall. On our side, the two Ambassadors, Okun
18 and myself, and then Brigadier Wilson and Mr. Thornberry for the
20 MR. STRINGER: Let's look at tab 10, which is 65 ter 1495.
21 Q. Now, Ambassador, as we see, the original language text of this
22 document is the Cyrillic text and then we have the English translation on
23 the right-hand side. So this is not something that would have come from
24 you or the ICFY. Nonetheless, it is entitled "Minutes," a meeting held
25 on Tuesday, 16th of February, 1993, and it lists persons who were
2 Have you -- did you have a chance to review this document over
3 the weekend?
4 A. I had a look at it.
5 Q. The location of the meeting is not indicated here. Could you
6 tell the Chamber, if you recall, where this meeting took place?
7 A. The UN building on the East River.
8 Q. And that would be in New York?
9 A. In New York, yes.
10 Q. And as indicated here, Mr. Hadzic was president, Slobodan
11 Jarcevic whom you've already mentioned --
12 A. And Mile Paspalj.
13 Q. Who was Mile Paspalj?
14 A. He was the Speaker of the Parliament of the RSK.
15 Q. And then carrying over to the next page of the English, we see
16 that Vance and Owen were there, as well as yourself and Okun?
17 A. Only part-time.
18 Q. What I wanted to -- the first question is: Having reviewed this,
19 did this appear to you to be a sufficiently accurate reflection as
20 minutes of the discussion that took place that day?
21 A. It's not bad. I mean, it has come from the Krajina delegation.
22 But, in the main, I would say yes.
23 Q. Okay. Let me ask you just to focus on a few parts of it.
24 The first is right there in front of us, about five lines under
25 the -- after the beginning of comments from Mr. Hadzic, where he says:
1 "When we agreed to the Vance Plan, we were counting on a long
3 And the question here is, if you could contrast or compare the
4 positions of the Serb delegation to that of the Croatian delegation in
5 respect of the time-frame for implementation of Vance and sort of the --
6 the -- the long-term view of how this would ultimately wind itself out.
7 A. They were diametrically opposed to one another. Tudjman said
8 time and again that he would at all costs prevent a Cyprus situation to
9 develop in his country. In Cyprus, UN troops had been for decades in a
10 divided country. Whereas, indeed, the RSK Serbs wanted behind the
11 UNPROFOR secured lines develop independently and that as long as
12 possible. That is why also the dispute was in the coming months and
13 years always about the prolongation of the UN mandate. Tudjman always
14 wanted it short and end it, and the Serbs wanted it as long as possible.
15 Now, our opposition was, of course, the conference was there to
16 solve problems and not leave it for a long time to smolder so that the
17 international position again was closer to the Croatian one than to the
18 Serb one.
19 Q. Moving down about eight lines or so, you've referred to already
20 to the -- not only the Maslenica bridge but also the Zemunik airport.
21 And in a few lines down, there's an indication that Hadzic says that:
22 "I gave an order in person, and over the phone, to agree to the
23 construction of the Maslenica bridge."
24 Could I ask you to comment on that, what the construction relates
25 to; and then more generally in terms of Mr. Hadzic's attitude and the
1 appearance to which he was or was not in control?
2 A. Who is "I," "I gave an order in person"?
3 Q. This is being attributed to Mr. Hadzic, right? If you look up,
4 you'll see that these are all --
5 A. Yeah. Mm-hm.
6 MR. GOSNELL: Mr. President, I would also object to the last two
7 words. I think that's a bit vague. In control of what, in the question.
8 MR. STRINGER: Well, I -- sorry. I think the -- I'll re-ask it.
9 Q. The question is the extent to which Mr. Hadzic exhibited a degree
10 of control over the Serbian delegation in these talks.
11 A. I mean, he was clearly the leader of the delegation and led the
12 talks. Those who are with him, I mean, Slobodan Jarcevic was clearly
13 below him, and Mile Paspalj, well, he was considered a hard-liner and
14 Speaker of Parliament but not a very influential person. So Hadzic
15 clearly was the number one in those talks.
16 Q. Now this reference to construction of the Maslenica bridge, can
17 you comment on that, what that's referring to?
18 A. I have seen, I think among your materials, a film which said --
19 where Mr. Hadzic said that he understands the Croatian need to have a
20 link between, let's say, Zagreb and Split, and, of course, he linked this
21 to the normal Serb request but he had understanding for this. This is
22 what he said. And I think that sentence, in a way, is in line with this
23 remark by Mr. Hadzic.
24 Q. During the course of the negotiations on all of this, did you
25 learn about the positions of these Serb heavy weapons in relation to the
2 A. Well, we knew from the UNPROFOR and Brigadier Wilson that the
3 bridge was in the range of Serb artillery.
4 Q. And did that give rise to any concern?
5 A. Later, once the agreement on 802 had been busted, and then
6 President Tudjman made a solemn announcement that on the 18th of July, he
7 would open a provisional pontoon bridge close to the Maslenica bridge and
8 he invited all the ambassadors or those who are were already in Zagreb at
9 that time to assist in this ceremony. And this could have caused -- have
10 led to very severe renewed fighting and consequences. And that is why
11 Knut Vollebaek, who had replaced Okun, and I tried our best to somehow
12 make this situation less dangerous and the result of those endeavours was
13 the Erdut 1 Agreement.
14 Q. You've made a reference to an initial objection about your --
15 A. Excuse me, it says here "Erdut 1 disagreement." Erdut 1
16 agreement, not disagreement. Sorry.
17 MR. STRINGER: If we could turn to page 6 of the English.
18 Q. Now, at the top of the page, here Vance is saying that -- how we
19 will proceed or can proceed with our work. "We will also negotiate about
21 Is that a reference to Bosnia-Herzegovina --
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. "Ahrens will continue to work with Okun. They will take over
24 from me and Owen."
25 And then moving down, Hadzic says that: "Ahrens is for the group
1 for minorities, we are not negotiating with that group."
2 Is that -- is that the reference to what you'd already described
3 as the objection to your involvement?
4 A. Yes. I've said that before but it is remarkable that he did not
5 object to me being German.
6 Q. Was this ultimately resolved then or how was it resolved?
7 A. It was resolved in such a way that I did not lead these
8 negotiations as head of this Working Group which was also in charge of
9 minorities but as a special negotiating group together with the other
10 ambassador, first Herb Okun and then Knud Vollebaek and then Kai Eide.
11 Q. And then just turning to the next page, it's -- we don't need to
12 spend a lot of time on it, but then ultimately in this meeting, did
13 Mr. Hadzic agree to your involvement on that basis?
14 A. Yes. I don't know whether he did so expressly but we went just
15 on like that. There was no problem.
16 Q. Actually, if we move down about halfway down the page, there's a
17 reference there to Mr. Owen inviting Mr. Hadzic out of the room and then
18 they return and say that they've reached an agreement.
19 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, Prosecution tenders 65 ter 1495.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2884. Thank you.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
23 MR. STRINGER:
24 Q. Now, the last -- what we just looked at, Ambassador, were minutes
25 of a meeting or the -- the meeting of the 16th of February. Now the next
1 one, tab 60, 65 ter 6478, and, as we see, the quality of the original is
2 not outstanding. But, Ambassador, does this -- this appears to relate
3 now to a meeting held two days later, on the 18th of February?
4 A. Mm-hm.
5 Q. Can you see that?
6 A. Yeah.
7 Q. Now, would this also be taking place in New York?
8 A. 18th February should still be in New York. Although we later
9 moved to Geneva.
10 Q. Now, as indicated here, we have essentially most of the same
11 individuals present. And just for the record, perhaps you should specify
12 who is the M Milosevic that's referred to here?
13 A. That is Misa Milosevic, a gentleman from Geneva.
14 Q. Now, item number 1 here relates to extension of the mandate.
15 What is that?
16 A. Well, I mentioned that the Croats wanted a very short mandate and
17 application of the Vance Plan in their understanding and a solution;
18 whereas the Serbs wanted to prolong the status quo as long as possible in
19 order to solidify and develop their state which they considered as
20 independent from Croatia.
21 Q. All right. Now, we don't need to really get into the details of
22 the negotiations --
23 A. Maybe one point is of interest because I discussed with
24 Mr. Hadzic the entire Vance Plan, point by point again, and he agreed
25 with that.
1 Q. Could you elaborate? Tell us -- tell us why you did that?
2 A. Because we knew from the UN, from UNPROFOR, and from what we
3 ourselves could see that the Serbs had implemented only those parts that
4 were favourable to them, and we wanted the entire Vance Plan to be --
5 Vance Plan to be implemented.
6 Q. And when did this discussion of the Vance Plan take place?
7 A. During those days in New York. Maybe at the first meeting, the
8 one we had before.
9 Q. I want to take you to the end of this transcript, the very last
10 passage, which is on page 9 of the English.
11 And as you're winding up this meeting, Ambassador, you tell
12 Mr. Hadzic that the fate of the Serbian people does not depend on item 2
13 of the proposal. And you say: "You bear the responsibility for the
14 Serbian people."
15 And Mr. Hadzic acknowledges that.
16 Do you remember making that statement to him?
17 A. Could I have a look again?
18 It's a bit unclear, this protocol here. I don't know what I'm
19 said to have said.
20 Q. In any event, I think for our purposes, are you comfortable
21 confirming that, in fact, a meeting with Mr. Hadzic took place on the
22 18th of February in New York --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Right. With Paspalj, Jarcevic, and the others as --
25 A. To the best of my knowledge.
1 Q. We have to be careful not to overlap. Very well.
2 You mentioned that the negotiations then shifted to Geneva.
3 MR. STRINGER: And if we could now go to 65 ter 964.
4 We're not going to be tendering this last transcript.
5 65 ter 964; it's tab 7.
6 Q. Now we see here, Ambassador, this is on the letterhead of the
7 ICFY in Geneva. The 2nd of March, 1993. And this to a
8 Mr. Bertie Ramcharan. Who is he?
9 A. He is the secretary of the ICFY, the publisher of that two big
10 black books.
11 Q. He published the big book --
12 A. Yes --
13 Q. -- that we discussed earlier in your testimony?
14 A. And Janet Commins was my secretary. She was from Australia.
15 Q. Yeah. And then turning to the next page. This is dated the
16 1st of March.
17 If we go down to the bottom of this, we see some initials, SC.
18 Do you recognise or can you tell us who that was?
19 A. I mean, that was the point that the Serbs wanted their police in
20 these pink zones. And in these zones, once the Croats had withdrawn, and
21 this was something that was not acceptable. But let me say, we had
22 22 drafts and each of them differed, so this was maddening. And I cannot
23 tell you exactly what turns it took from one draft to the next.
24 Q. And that's perfectly fine. Ambassador, the question, just
25 looking at the very bottom you see the letters SC above the date of the
1 1st of March --
2 A. That's Sancho Coutinho.
3 Q. Sancho --
4 A. Sancho Coutinho.
5 Q. Could you spell that?
6 A. Sancho is S-a-n-c-h-o. And Coutinho is C-o-u-t-i-n-h-o. That
7 was Portuguese right hand, so to speak.
8 Q. And just to clarify, in the first paragraph there is a reference
9 to meeting Mr. Hadzic and the others. Again, the Mr. Milosevic that's
10 referred to here?
11 A. That is always Misa Milosevic.
12 Q. That's Misa Milosevic.
13 A. Yeah.
14 Q. Thank you. Now going to the bottom, as you've alluded, the
15 disagreement here is about whether the Serbian police can return to the
16 802 areas.
17 The question is, what was, first of all, Croatia's position on
18 that point?
19 A. Well, certainly they did not want any Serb to return into the
20 areas which they had, in their view, liberated. And the second point is
21 that I think there was -- there was -- there were three Serb villages in
22 the area with a Serbian population. One had the funny name of
23 Islam Grcki, which means Greek Islam. But this was one of the arguments
24 why Serb police had to come back into the area but the proposal by the
25 internationals, I think at least the last one, was that UNPROFOR should
1 police these areas.
2 Q. And just so we're clear, when we're talking about these areas
3 that the Serbian police might go into or from which Croatia might
4 withdraw, are we talking about areas that are inside the UNPA or beyond,
6 A. I think this refers to parts of the pink zones, which are really
7 big in that area, but I'm not positively sure.
8 Q. Very well.
9 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, Prosecution tenders 65 ter 964.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit Number P2885. Thank
13 MR. STRINGER: The next exhibit is at tab 77, Mr. President.
14 It's a video. 65 ter 4809.1.
15 [Video-clip played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Our delegation of the Republic of
17 Serbian Krajina came back from Geneva. What results have been achieved?
18 "Goran Hadzic: Unfortunately the results are not the best. The
19 Croatian side does not accept a realistic agreement and they still insist
20 upon their stances. However, in Geneva we have perhaps changed the way
21 others think and the course of negotiations, and they have all finally
22 realised that the existence of the Republic of Serbian Krajina is a
23 reality. Today I talked to our delegation and came out with a new
24 proposal. Namely, to offer to Croatia the same as we offered earlier
25 with one difference. We are aware that as long as, on the one hand, the
1 Croats keep shooting at our territory and, on the other hand, as long as
2 the answer do not allow a communication throughout Croatia, the peace
3 will not be achieved. So Croatia should certainly be allowed to
4 communicate through the Maslenica bridge, but after the withdrawal of the
5 Croatian army, our police should return to the Serbian villages in this
6 area, to those three Serbian villages there. Those villages are Kasici,
7 Smokovici and Islam Grcki. That would be a precondition for us to allow
8 Croatia to communicate through Maslenica because at this moment, we are
9 4.5 kilometres away. We can see the bridge and with the artillery we can
10 directly prevent any kind of reconstruction on the bridge, not to speak
11 about preventing traffic over the bridge.
12 "We have always been for peace. And how do they react?
13 "Goran Hadzic: We have been for peace ..."
14 MR. STRINGER: Sorry, if I could just interject there.
15 Q. Just a follow-up question on that before we continue,
16 Ambassador Ahrens, this appears to relate to the -- what you've just been
17 describing about the three villages and the return of the police?
18 A. Yeah. It confirms what I have already said, yeah.
19 Q. In the discussions or the negotiations with you, or members of
20 your team, did Mr. Hadzic or others imply or suggest that artillery might
21 be directed at the bridge if things didn't go according to their plan?
22 A. I don't remember, but everyone was clearly aware of this fact.
23 Q. All right.
24 MR. STRINGER: Now we can just then continue with the -- where we
25 left off.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Goran Hadzic: We have been in
3 favour of peace, not only in the past but also now, and we will
4 definitely and practically remain on that position. We will allow
5 Croatia to have communication not only through the Maslenica bridge but
6 also all other communications once we reach a deal. We'll do that and
7 let the world see that we are in favour of peace but that we will not
8 allow threats against the sovereignty of our republic or changes in her
9 position. And I believe the world will recognise that as well as the
10 Croatian people will. Thereby I do not refer to the Croatian leadership
11 that made many mistakes, allowed those unnecessary tragedies to occur,
12 allowed needlessly their youth to die on the Maslenica bridge, although
13 we told them earlier we would allow this communication. So when the
14 Croatian people realised they made a mistake, I think we will finally be
15 able, as good neighbours, to reach an agreement about the borders.
16 "Mr. President, on the 22nd of January, the Republic of Croatia
17 carried out an aggression against our republic. Do they intend to
19 "Goran Hadzic: According to the resolution, 802, they are
20 obliged to withdraw, and according to this agreement, if this agreement
21 is going to be reached during this week, they will withdraw. They will
22 be unable to communicate, to use the Peruca dam and the Zemunik airport,
23 and our police will return to Serbian villages. We have never been
24 interested in Croatian territory and the territory that belongs to them
25 can remain theirs. We are not interested in it.
1 "How do you interpret those threats issued by the Republic of
2 Croatia regarding a new aggression?
3 "Goran Hadzic: The threats are real. They had to be issued
4 because Croatia is unable to live normally and to communicate. If we do
5 not reach an agreement, they will -- realistically speaking, they cannot
6 do anything because Croatia does not have the power to hit strongly
7 because everybody that was able to put up a good fight was killed already
8 in the first part of the war. Here, as well as during the second part in
9 Republika Srpska, those were the forces they had, especially aggressive
10 forces, the ones from West Herzegovina and Dalmatia. So realistically
11 speaking, I don't think they can. That would only result in a huge
12 tragedy to the Croatian people, and on our side, we would probably have a
13 small number of casualties. However, logically speaking, we must
14 negotiate and we want to negotiate. And as I just said, I hope the
15 Croatian people will realise that.
16 "A moment ago you mentioned Republika Srpska? How do we
17 co-operate with them?
18 "Goran Hadzic: Serbian people in these territories must live
19 together. Practically speaking, they must live in one state. Formally
20 speaking, it is of least importance how this state is going to be called.
21 After the referendum here and in Republika Srpska it is clear that we
22 will live unified and together. We have to agree everything with
23 Republika Srpska, practical issues related to the unity, and after that,
24 the formal issues as well. In addition to the practical issues that are
25 already being dealt with by unified parties, we expect the Serbian
1 Democratic Party of the Republic of Serbian Krajina and of Republika
2 Srpska will soon be unified.
3 "Today you attended a meeting" --
4 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me.
5 Q. If I just interject there just with a couple of follow-up points,
7 The idea that the Serbian Krajina would be unified now with the
8 Republika Srpska, is this something that came up in the course of the
9 discussions at this point in time?
10 A. I don't know whether -- I don't remember whether it came up in
11 these talks but these ideas were actually made public by the Krajina
12 Serbs, and we, from the beginning, told them that we considered this a
13 very bad idea.
14 Q. And then the comment that Serbian people in these territories
15 must live in one state. We're now in 1993. At any point during your
16 discussions with Mr. Hadzic, did he indicate that the Serbian position
17 might be different or might have been different?
18 A. Well, at one point in 1992, Mr. Hadzic told me that in the
19 beginning there might have been a possibility for the Serbs agreeing to
20 an autonomy inside of Croatia but now it had been too late.
21 Q. Do you have an understanding of why it was viewed as too late?
22 A. Well, the war had been going on. They have conquered a lot of
23 territory, and the antagonism between Croats and Serbs developed to an
24 extent that according to such views could not be bridged.
25 Q. All right.
1 MR. STRINGER: If we could now continue.
2 [Video-clip played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Today you attended a meeting of the
4 regional board of the Serbian Democratic Party. What are your
6 "Goran Hadzic: I'm satisfied with the work of the party in this
7 area we are -- where we are now, especially in Baranja, Slavonia and
8 Western Srem. I'm not satisfied about other parts of Krajina where some
9 individual mistakes have been made, like setting up fractions. However,
10 we are on our way to unifying all the fractions and to build up again a
11 strong party of the Serbian people. I can tell you that with full
12 responsibility, that I'm sure that we will realise that because none of
13 all the leaders, of all the individuals who have in a way chosen to
14 follow another direction, did not turn away politically from the final
15 goal, the self-determination. This is the final goal and the Croatian
16 and Serbian people don't live together. So all of other disputes should
17 be considered as our internal matters and people should not worry about
18 that. However, the people are worried but there is no reason for that.
19 I mean, we are unified as regards the final goal of our Serbian journey.
20 "Mr. President, you are the president of the Republic of the
21 Serbian Krajina. Do you have something you would like to tell to your
23 MR. STRINGER: Excuse me, if we could just stop there again.
24 Q. What has been said here, Ambassador, is the Croatian and Serbian
25 people don't live together. Whether it's one state or whether it's in
1 Yugoslav or Croatia or elsewhere, did Mr. Hadzic ever express the view to
2 you that whatever the territory was, Serbian and Croatian people simply
3 could not live together?
4 A. I cannot recall that Mr. Hadzic said that to me. Others did.
5 Q. Do you remember who?
6 A. Well, between Operation Flash in May 1995, when the Croats took
7 Sector West, and Operation Storm in August 1995, when the Croats took
8 Sector North and South, I went to Belgrade and I saw Patriarch Pavle. I
9 knew the Patriarch quite well and I was always welcome there. And I told
10 him in a passionate way that I'd always liked to see Serb monasteries as
11 far west as Karlovac, and if they did not negotiate now, after all these
12 military defeats which they had in Bosnia, the Serbs -- the Srpstvo, as I
13 said -- so the Serbs would have to withdraw by 200 kilometres to the
14 east, never to return. And Pavle said something like, People should live
15 in peace together and so on. But there was a bishop, an archbishop of
16 the Orthodox church, I'm not hundred per cent sure whether it was the one
17 I think of, that's why I don't give you the name, and he said,
18 Ambassador, Serbs and Croats, that is like water and oil. They cannot
19 live together.
20 And shortly thereafter, the Serb population of the Krajina was in
21 refugee camps in Serbia.
22 Q. All right. Now just for the record again this is happening later
23 in 1995 --
24 A. Was 1995, yes. But these utterances came earlier.
25 Q. Okay.
1 [Video-clip played]
2 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Hadzic: Well, I can tell that you
3 we have come quite some distance on this journey and that is evident that
4 the objective has been accomplished. The Serbian people will live in" --
5 MR. STRINGER: Sorry, if I could just interject. I would like to
6 go back to the journalist's question, actually. If we can take up from
7 there just so it gets on the record.
8 [Video-clip played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Mr. President, you are the
10 president of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Do you have something you
11 would like to tell to your people?
12 "Hadzic: Well, I can tell that you we have come quite some
13 distance on this journey and it is evident that the objective has been
14 accomplished. The Serbian people will live in one state and that's what
15 we want for other nations as well, to live together, and we will strive
16 to that aim so that the Croatian people will live together, as well as
17 the Slovenians, Muslims, will receive their small state and everybody
18 will be happy.
19 "Q. But in the case of aggression against our territory, what
20 will happen to them?
21 "Hadzic: In the case of aggression against our territory it is
22 clear that Croatia cannot fight even against Republic of Serbian Krajina.
23 So in the case that they would choose to fight us and Republika Srpska, I
24 think that the Croats in Zagreb should think good about the place where
25 to evacuate.
1 "Q. Is that a fact or a threat?
2 "Hadzic: It's true especially if one knows we are not going to
3 attack first and what manpower is required for an attack. Such forces
4 should be four to five times stronger. It means that in that case the
5 Croats would be completely defeated and we would easily be able to come
6 to Zagreb. We can do that now as well.
7 "Thank you.
8 "Hadzic: Thank you."
9 MR. STRINGER:
10 Q. Now, going back up to this last segment, Ambassador, Mr. Hadzic
11 expressed the view that the Serbian people would live in a state and the
12 Croatian people live in a state. Slovenians and the Muslims would
13 receive their small state and everyone would be happy.
14 Now, in your view, having met the many representatives of the
15 different minorities of Yugoslavia, do you share the view, Mr. Hadzic's
16 world view that everyone would be happy with that as an outcome?
17 A. Definitely not.
18 Q. The possibility of Zagreb being attacked or people having to
19 evacuate Zagreb, were remarks like this made to you in the course of
20 negotiations or meetings either with Mr. Hadzic or others in his
22 A. Well, the military force and prowess of the Serbs was grossly
23 exaggerated also by foreigner. For example, Wijnaendts talks in his book
24 about the military tradition of the Krajina Serbs as the military border
25 with the Ottoman Empire and this had been preserved until this day if one
1 only looks at, I think, Commander Martic's fierce warriors, something
2 like that. There's this legend that has been built up, and I am a
3 civilian and I believed that the Serbs are stronger than the Croats, and
4 even Holbrooke made such a remark because the intelligence reports were
5 simply wrong. And again, this was very much to the detriment of the
7 I remember when the Serbs said -- when the Croats had conquered
8 Sector North and South. I went to Sector East which was still with the
9 Serbs. I talked to Serb soldiers there, five or six of them, and they
10 told me seriously that actually the British Army had conquered Knin
11 because the Croats would never have been able to do that. And that's a
12 consequence of such propaganda.
13 Q. All right.
14 MR. STRINGER: Your Honour, Mr. President, Prosecution tenders
15 the video-clip, 65 ter 4809.1.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
17 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be Exhibit Number P2886. Thank you.
18 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
19 Mr. Stringer, just one moment, please.
20 Ambassador, something about the the record. You say about the --
21 the -- this legend that has been built up. "I'm a civilian" -- the
22 record says or reflects your words, "I'm a civilian ... I believe that
23 the Serb are stronger than the Croats."
24 Is that what you said?
25 THE WITNESS: No, no, definitely not.
1 JUDGE DELVOIE: Please correct then.
2 THE WITNESS: Can I have a look?
3 JUDGE DELVOIE: At page --
4 THE WITNESS: [Overlapping speakers] where the wrong thing is,
5 where I said it --
6 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's at 41 --
7 THE WITNESS: I remember the Serbs said --
8 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- 41, line 14.
9 THE WITNESS: "... of them and they told me seriously that
10 actually the British army had" -- no, where is it?
11 JUDGE DELVOIE: It's above that.
12 THE WITNESS: Can I get it up? Sorry, I don't find this. "...
13 and I am civilian, I believe that the Serbs are stronger than the Croats
14 and even Holbrooke made such a remark ..."
15 No. So --
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: What was your belief as -- being a civilian?
17 THE WITNESS: Yeah, right. I believed that's correct because of
18 this propaganda. I'm a civilian. I believed that the Serbs were
19 stronger than the Croats, and we were all surprised when Tudjman took the
20 Krajina in three days or five.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Okay. "I believed," that makes the --
22 THE WITNESS: I believed. It's the past tense.
23 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- the difference. Okay. Thank you. Thank you
24 very much.
25 MR. STRINGER:
1 Q. Ambassador, now, we've been talking about the various
2 negotiations related to implementation of Resolution 802. At some point,
3 was an agreement reached on that between the two sides?
4 A. Yes. And actually, I don't know whether it was really signed by
5 all the negotiators, but I would think so because Herb Okun and myself,
6 we had a press conference in Geneva and sold this to the media as a big
7 success of the ICFY.
8 Q. And what was the date, if you recall, that this agreement was
10 A. That press conference must have been in the beginning of
11 April 1993.
12 Q. All right. And just to sort of move ahead so that we all know,
13 was the agreement actually ever implemented?
14 A. No. The Assembly of the RSK shot it down.
15 MR. STRINGER: If we could have tab 69, please. This is
16 Exhibit P00045.
17 Q. And while that's coming up, Ambassador, let me ask you this:
18 Whether or not the agreement was signed. You said there was a press
19 conference. In one way or another, had Mr. Hadzic expressed to you that
20 he would support this agreement, this cease-fire, that was agreed on the
21 6th of April?
22 A. Okun and I would never have made a press conference without the
23 consent of both sides to the text we had. Only what I don't remember is
24 whether there was actually a signature in kind from both sides.
25 Q. Now we have in front of us the document of -- and if we could,
1 Ambassador, if you can glance at the first page here and then we can move
2 to the next page.
3 A. Yeah, that's that session where they shot it down.
4 Q. Yeah, the question is whether you got a chance to see this over
5 the weekend.
6 MR. STRINGER: If we could please move to page 2 of the document
7 in English. Thank you.
8 Q. This refers to a parliamentary session of the RSK in Okucani on
9 the 20th of April.
10 A. That is the session in which the parliament turned down the 802
12 Q. Okay. And now if we could turn to the next page, please.
13 Here at the top it is referring to the RSK parliament session.
14 And then item number 2 on the key items of the agenda, being the
15 report by the delegation of RSK that participated in the Geneva talks.
16 A. Mm-hm.
17 MR. STRINGER: And now with the usher's assistance, if we could
18 move to the next page. Sorry, if we could skip one page and move to the
19 page that's marked page 3. There we go. The written 3 in the upper
20 right-hand corner.
21 Q. Now, here, at the top, Ambassador, we see Goran Hadzic makes a
22 reference to the Maslenica operation. He says that 802 was, in
23 principle, good for Serbs, but, in reality turned out not be to the case.
24 "Thus the military option is the only means of liberation since the
25 negotiations seem to take Serbs nowhere."
1 Then he expresses support for unification of the two
2 Serb-controlled areas.
3 The question here is whether Mr. Hadzic's remarks in the
4 parliament are consistent with the support for the agreement that he had
5 indicated to you?
6 A. Well, I think that's the reason why he first says that the
7 agreement was good and then, second, that it was not good. This may have
8 been elaborated a little bit so that it doesn't sound that contradictory.
9 Q. Now, moving down just a few lines, there's a reference here to a
10 person named Dzakula. He was -- and the Daruvar agreement. Do you see
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you have knowledge of Mr. Dzakula and the Daruvar agreement?
14 A. It was actually UNPROFOR who concluded this agreement with a Serb
15 delegation led by Mr. Dzakula, who was considered a moderate, and it was
16 on certain practical arrangements, paying of pensions or so. The
17 agreement was not so bad, but it was done by UNPROFOR without consulting
18 the conference, and, on the other hand, seems that Dzakula did not
19 consult his people on certain principles. And so Dzakula actually was --
20 in that session I think he was accused of being a traitor and he was
21 arrested. But he has survived. I've seen him in December 2012. It was
23 MR. STRINGER: If we could now have tab 50, which is exhibit
24 65 ter 5416.
25 Q. And as that's coming up, Ambassador, do you recall having a
1 meeting with Mr. Hadzic in August of 1993 in a place called Plitvice?
2 A. Yeah. That's a natural resort and the theatre of one of the
3 first fightings, where they had the first dead, I think one dead.
4 Q. Are you able to recognise this document?
5 A. This is an UNPROFOR internal document. It's not a document of
6 the conference.
7 Q. Do you know who Jeannie Peterson was?
8 A. She worked with the civilian administration of UNPROFOR in
9 Sector South. She was stationed in Knin.
10 Q. And this is a -- dated the 19th of August, referring to a meeting
11 today --
12 A. Yeah.
13 Q. -- in Plitvice. And then in paragraph 2, you, Mr. Vollebaek and
14 Mr. Pellnas are identified as being participants?
15 A. Yeah.
16 Q. Now, on this day, Ambassador, do you recall having a conversation
17 with Mr. Hadzic that's not reflected in the document?
18 A. I'm pretty sure it was on that day because we took a walk
19 together in Plitvice, which is a natural resort, through a wood, they
20 have a lot of lakes there, and talked one on one on the issues which we
21 had between us. And it was at that opportunity that I asked Mr. Hadzic
22 to have a look at a list of names drawn by a group called Widows of
23 Vukovar. I don't know whether this was one sheets or two sheets and I
24 don't know how many names there were, maybe between 50 and 150, all
25 Croatian men, and the widows or a Croatian official, I don't recall who
1 gave that to me, asked me whether I could find out something about these
2 people, whether they were alive or what was with them. And Hadzic then
3 declared himself ready to have a look at this list. And I gave it to
4 him. And he looked quietly at it and he looked attentively at it, and
5 then he said, They are all dead. He gave the list back to me. I gave
6 the list to the Croats. I have not kept a copy, unfortunately. That's
7 all. We did not discuss who had killed them, for what reason they were
8 dead or so. He just said that this was the state of affairs.
9 Q. And was anyone else present --
10 A. No.
11 Q. -- or was the just the two of you?
12 A. No.
13 Q. What language was the conversation in?
14 A. It was Serbian. I found that it was sometimes possible to talk
15 to Hadzic one on one on issues that he would not have discussed with his
16 people present.
17 Q. Such as -- well, looking at the list, is that something that --
18 A. The list, for example, yes. Then asking me for a copy of the
19 Croatian law. That sort of thing.
20 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, we tender 65 ter 5416.
21 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
22 MR. STRINGER: Before we move -- I apologise.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2887. Thank you.
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thanks.
25 MR. STRINGER: While we've still got that document on the screen,
1 if we could look at the bottom of it, paragraph 6. There's a reference
2 to a Mr. Bjegovic.
3 Q. Do you remember who that was?
4 A. He was the prime minister of the day.
5 Q. For which entity?
6 A. The RSK. They had quite a change of prime ministers.
7 MR. STRINGER: The next document, Mr. President, is tab 29.
8 65 ter 1801.
9 Q. Now, again, we see this document, first of all - if we could move
10 up a little bit - just to confirm the letterhead here. It's coming
11 from -- where is this coming from?
12 A. Jeannie Peterson. That's the Knin -- well, now she is in
13 Belgrade, actually.
14 Q. Mm-hm.
15 A. But she was in Knin.
16 Q. If you look at the top right-hand corner we see the Cyrillic
17 text --
18 A. That's the Republika Srpska Krajina.
19 Q. Okay. And then turning the page, this appears to be directed to
20 yourself and Mr. Vollebaek?
21 A. Yeah.
22 Q. 27th of September, 1993. Do you remember this letter?
23 A. Can you make it a bit bigger?
24 Q. Yes.
25 MR. STRINGER: If we can scroll down a bit so --
1 THE WITNESS: Yes.
2 MR. STRINGER:
3 Q. Now you referred to already and -- Erdut, an Erdut agreement and
4 if can you just briefly tell us what the Erdut agreement -- I think you
5 called it Erdut 1?
6 A. Yeah, because later was on Sector East in 1995 or 1996.
7 Q. You might need to approach the microphone.
8 A. Sorry. So there was an Erdut 2 which resolved the Sector East
9 question after the Croats had taken the rest of the RSK.
10 The Erdut 1 Agreement was a very short agreement, where the
11 Croats played a very bad trick because Tudjman never had the intention to
12 fulfil it. It was just meant to secure the solemn opening of the
13 Maslenica bridge on the 18th of July, and later Tudjman told Vollebaek
14 and me while he visited in Brioni that this was this letter for him.
15 Q. So the Erdut agreement that you described now, was this related
16 to the whole issue of Maslenica and resolution --
17 A. Right, right, right. It was -- it was -- this 802 thing petered
18 out and out, but it was one of the consequences and because of this
19 opening of the bridge on the 18th of July, we were under pressure. It
20 was mainly negotiated by Vollebaek because I was busy in Kosovo.
21 Q. All right. And looking at the bottom of this page and then we'll
22 continue on to the next, the last paragraph here, the reference to
23 Second World War as well as the latest confrontation.
24 And then continuing on, over to the next page. In fact, if we
25 could move to the bottom, you can see who the author of this is,
1 Ambassador --
2 A. That's Bjegovic. Prime minister. It says prime minister of the
3 republic ...
4 Q. All right. The question here is, if we could move up because
5 we're just got another minute remaining for today, he says:
6 "There is no other solution but for the Serbian and Croatian
7 national groups to maintain their presence in individual states. It is
8 this factor which is foreseen by the Vance Plan, which is explicit in its
9 interpretation that a political solution will be reached by negotiations
10 between the two communities."
11 The question here, Ambassador, is whether this interpretation of
12 the Vance Plan is consistent with your own interpretation of the --
13 A. No, it's totally wrong because the Vance Plan was to regulate a
14 provisional state of affairs until the conference found a solution. It
15 was up to the conference to negotiate the solution, and the separation of
16 Serbs and Croats, this was the line of the day. Tudjman thought along
17 the same lines.
18 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, we tender that one, 65 ter 1801.
19 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit P2887. Thank you.
21 MR. STRINGER: This would be a good time to break.
22 JUDGE DELVOIE: I think not, Mr. Stringer --
23 MR. STRINGER: Oh, it's not --
24 JUDGE DELVOIE: -- you have to get back in the routine again.
25 MR. STRINGER: I've been away. It's going to be good timing,
1 then, because I should be able to finish my direct before 2.00.
2 Could we please have tab 56. 65 ter 5478.
3 Q. Ambassador, we've just been looking at this document, which is
4 from the letter from Mr. Bjegovic dated the 27th of September --
5 A. Is that the one I have here? Because that's another one.
6 Q. Here's the new one.
7 The question here is whether negotiations involving yourself,
8 Mr. Hadzic, his people, as well as the Croatians, whether those continued
9 then into November of 1993.
10 A. Yes. I mean, there was this German/French initiative which more
11 or less doubled only what the conference had proposed on the base of a
12 cease-fire come to practical arrangements. But later in 1993 we had this
13 meeting in Norway, a place called Voganess [phoen] where there was a
14 serious attempt to try to solve the problems, cease-fire and beyond.
15 Q. Now, there's a reference here to day 3 final meeting attended and
16 this is the 4th of November --
17 A. That is -- that is the Norwegian thing.
18 Q. And if we could move -- well, first question is: Were you
19 present and involved in these negotiations --
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. And then moving to the next page of the document. Again, because
22 the details of the negotiations are less significant.
23 The various sides are making their closing remarks. And in
24 paragraph 4, there's a reference to a Mr. Sarinic who --
25 A. His name is Sarinic. He was the main Croatian negotiator for two
1 years or so.
2 Q. All right. And now here he's saying that the very fact that the
3 chair in front of him was empty, the head of Serb delegations showed the
4 attitude of the Serb delegation to signing the agreement. And then
5 moving down the same paragraph, he says that one of the rules had been
6 secrecy. And he indicates on the next line that if he'd been correctly
7 informed, the head of the Serb delegation was giving a television
9 Can you comment on those remarks? What's that about?
10 A. I mean, it had been agreed that the talks in Norway should be
11 secret. And it seems that Mr. Hadzic has leaked these talks to Serb
12 media. I cannot tell you how and when and whether it is hundred per cent
13 true but it was taken for granted. I think it was not even disputed
14 because the Serbs complained of a certain public statement by
15 President Tudjman which contained things unacceptable to them.
16 This remark by Mr. Sarinic refers to the fact that in the last
17 session the chair of the head of the Serb delegation was empty.
18 Q. Whose chair was that?
19 A. Mr. Hadzic's chair. And -- well, I don't know. Mr. Hadzic
20 sometimes had also a cavalier attitude to these things and he might have
21 gone shopping in Norway. I don't know --
22 Q. The impact of the breach of secrecy, how did that affect the
24 A. Well, the Croats took it very badly and so the negotiations
25 capsized. I don't know whether we might have come to an agreement.
1 After this, there was one more meeting of these delegations in Serbia, in
2 Dobanovci, which a sort of resort which, I think, Tito had developed for
3 himself and which was one of Milosevic's residences or so. But that led
4 nowhere, and in the end there was only an agreement of both sides not to
5 shoot. And Vollebaek and I wrote a letter to both sides saying that we
6 regretted that we didn't go farther and that they should indeed refrain
7 from shooting, and then Vollebaek left the conference and Kai Eide came
9 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, we tender 65 ter 5478.
10 JUDGE DELVOIE: Admitted and marked.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Shall be assigned Exhibit Number P2889.
12 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
13 THE REGISTRAR: And if I may make a correction, 65 ter document
14 1801 should be assigned Exhibit Number P2888 as opposed to 2887 as it was
15 previously assigned. Thank you.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
17 MR. STRINGER:
18 Q. Ambassador Ahrens, that brings us to the end of 1993. You've
19 already indicated your awareness that, by early 1994, Mr. Hadzic was
20 replaced by Mr. Martic and so we're not going to continue in 1994 with
21 your experiences during that time and beyond.
22 Do you recall, was Norway the last time you ever met with
23 Mr. Hadzic, or were there any subsequent?
24 A. I do not know right now. Because after the Operation Storm,
25 there was only Sector East left in Serb hands. And Stoltenberg and Kai
1 Eide, we travelled to Belgrade and to Zagreb, and when Misa Milosevic
2 told me that there should be now negotiations on the peaceful solution
3 for Sector East and that these should not be led by the politicians from
4 Knin but by politicians from the area and Mr. Hadzic would be one of
5 them. The negotiations were actually then led by Stoltenberg and the
6 American Ambassador in Zagreb, Peter Galbraith, and I think in the
7 beginning Hadzic was there. I don't -- I'm not fully sure. I was also
8 there but I did not sit in, and at least he was not one of the people who
9 signed this -- this agreement.
10 Q. In any event now this --
11 A. That was Erdut 2.
12 Q. This is Erdut 2. This would have been in late 1995?
13 A. Yeah. Holbrooke wanted this to parallel the Dayton Peace Accord.
14 Q. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your attention and your answers.
15 MR. STRINGER: Mr. President, we have no further questions.
16 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you, Mr. Stringer.
17 We'll start cross-examination tomorrow morning at 9.00.
18 Mr. Gosnell, you agree to that, I suppose.
19 MR. GOSNELL: Yes. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 JUDGE DELVOIE: Thank you.
21 Ambassador, this is the end of the today's hearing. We expect
22 you back in court tomorrow at 9.00 for cross-examination by the Defence.
23 This means that you are still under oath, and that, as a consequence, you
24 cannot discuss your testimony with anybody, and you cannot talk to any of
25 the parties. If that is clear, we thank you very much for today, and the
1 court usher will escort you out of the courtroom.
2 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
3 [The witness stands down]
4 JUDGE DELVOIE: Court adjourned.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.55 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 28th day of
7 August, 2013, at 9.00 a.m.