1 Thursday, 11 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.26 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone.
6 Madam Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
10 Before I ask the usher to escort the witness into the courtroom,
11 I'd like to address both parties before the cross-examination starts.
12 The Chamber expresses its concern on the course the presentation
13 of evidence took this week. The Chamber notes that mainly in relation to,
14 I would say, the last witness, that a case is not decided on the basis of
15 impressions, without a clear and proper factual foundation; that the
16 presentation of opinion and analysis of a witness mainly informs the
17 Chamber about the fact that that witness has formed such an opinion or has
18 developed such analysis.
19 What the Chamber needs are facts to form its own opinion and to
20 develop its own analysis. The parties may have understood this well on
21 the basis of an analysis of the questions the Chamber has put to the
22 Witness Bjelobrk.
23 That's my first observation.
24 Second one: The Chamber has carefully listened to the
25 observations made by Mr. Krajisnik, who offered verification of the
1 answers of the witness -- the witness has given by producing the
2 stenographic notes of meetings or sessions. The Chamber invites the
3 Defence to provide all those portions of the stenographic notes that could
4 serve to correct or perhaps even contradict any of the answers, whether in
5 statement or in testimony, given by the witness. They can be submitted
6 with a clear reference to the relevant part of the testimony or the
7 statement. Here again, the Defence should also be aware that the Chamber
8 focuses on facts rather than on anything else.
9 Once the relevant portions of the minutes have been translated,
10 the Chamber will first of all invite the parties to agree on whether they
11 accept the stenographic notes to be a reliable source of information, and
12 ask their views on the probative value of those portions. Then the
13 Chamber will decide whether or not it will admit those portions in
14 evidence and whether Mr. Bjelobrk should be recalled to be examined on
15 those stenographic notes.
16 My next observation is about the cross-examination this afternoon.
17 Mr. Stewart, the Chamber would like to guide you to deal with any subject
18 in order of relevance, most relevance, the most relevant issues first.
19 The cross-examination should be as brief as reasonably possible.
20 In view of the specific knowledge Mr. Krajisnik may have, as the
21 Chamber understood from his yesterday's observations, the Chamber would,
22 exceptionally, allow Mr. Krajisnik to put questions to the witness which
23 he feels, and of course, perhaps, after having consulted counsel, he would
24 be better fit to put to this witness.
25 At the end of today's hearing, the Chamber will consider whether
1 the witness will have to be recalled for any further cross-examination,
2 and the Chamber may decide to hear the Defence on the subjects still to be
3 dealt with in such further cross-examination before making its
5 These are the matters I would like to bring to the attention of
6 the parties before I ask Mr. Usher, as I do now, to escort Mr. Bjelobrk
7 into the courtroom.
8 Mr. Hannis, could you meanwhile inform the Chamber on whether the
9 minutes of the 8th Session, as we find them in the Treanor material, is a
10 complete copy or not.
11 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, it is not. It contains certain
12 highlighted portions of those minutes. So I would ask that we get a
13 different number for the -- pardon me, the version that was presented to
14 Mr. Bjelobrk.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Registrar, could you give a number to the
16 exhibit containing the minutes of the 8th Session.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 THE REGISTRAR: The exhibit number will be P406.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Madam Registrar.
20 Mr. Bjelobrk, may I first of all remind you that you're still
21 bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the beginning of your
22 testimony. Then you'll now be cross-examined by Mr. Stewart, who is
23 Defence counsel.
24 Mr. Stewart, please proceed.
25 WITNESS: BORO BJELOBRK [Resumed]
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Stewart:
4 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, when you -- good afternoon. When you gave evidence
5 yesterday, or in fact I think it was the day before, this particular
6 point, you referred to the SDS having created what you've called a system
7 of protection. Do you recall that?
8 A. Yes, I do recall that. Good afternoon to you, too.
9 Q. And you said -- and this is, for the reference, at page 85 of
10 Tuesday's transcript. You said: In your opinion, this was an idea
11 developed by the leadership, first of all, because the common citizens on
12 the ground did not have any special purposes for protection; and secondly,
13 as you will see from one of the transcripts here, is what you said, that
14 the drawing of the map in this sense was being done by a very narrow
15 circle of the people from among the leadership of the SDS.
16 Mr. Bjelobrk, first of all, when you were referring to the drawing
17 of the map in this sense, which was your phrase, did you have in mind a
18 specific map or were you talking in a rather more general or almost
19 figurative sense about the drawing of the map?
20 A. I'm recalling the transcript that was shown to me before these
21 court hearings, and you heard that yesterday as well, that there were not
22 only two, but three persons talking about the drawing of maps. So it
23 wasn't only Mr. Krajisnik.
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness's other
25 microphone please be turned on, because we cannot hear him properly. Thank
2 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you could also adjust the microphone,
3 Mr. Usher. They're both on, but perhaps they could a bit closer to the
5 Yes, please proceed.
6 MR. STEWART:
7 Q. So the position is that your -- such knowledge as you have about
8 the drawing of the map, in that sense, is derived from what you have heard
9 from that intercept?
10 A. What I knew in principle, generally speaking, from the spring and
11 summer of 1991, stems from the numerous conversations I had with SDS MPs.
12 I did not have material evidence of these talks, but then I heard these
13 transcripts when preparing for this session.
14 Q. What I'm trying to get clear, Mr. Bjelobrk, is that back at the
15 time of the events in question, so during 1991 and 1992, you were never
16 present when any such map was discussed or being considered by SDS
17 leadership, were you?
18 A. No, I was not present then.
19 Q. And when you say that the drawing of the map in this sense was
20 being done by a very narrow circle of the people from among the leadership
21 of the SDS, is it also correct that you have no personal knowledge of who
22 among the leadership of the SDS was engaged in such an exercise beyond
23 what you gather from the intercepts?
24 A. I inferred what I did primarily on the basis of the summer of
25 1991, but I do agree with you that it is not based on any direct
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 participation of mine in any such thing, or do I have any material
2 evidence. However, I had series of talks with SDS MPs, and also a lot of
3 other information. And to be quite frank, it was only logical in terms of
4 everything what was happening in the area, in the field; and, on the other
5 hand, these new establishments were being formed and this led me to infer
6 what I did.
7 Q. But no -- none of these MPs came and told you, for example, that
8 they were -- had been directly involved in consideration of any specific
9 map, did they?
10 A. I can now speak from memory only. I did not hear such positions
11 explicitly, but I could conclude on the basis of the conversations I had
12 that regionalisation, as it was called then, was being considered and that
13 in the initial stage it involved the drawing of maps too. I don't know
14 who was doing it, and I did not know where they were doing it, but I did
15 know that it was a privilege of a narrow circle of persons.
16 Q. And in your evidence on Tuesday, and this is at page 86 of the
17 transcript, you were asked specifically about paragraph 20 of your own
18 statement, about the process of regional organisation and protection. And
19 you said, among other things, you said: They - that's the SDS - were
20 formulating their responses to the initiatives of others, and they merely
21 had the need to respond to that in defence.
22 Now, when you refer to the initiatives of others there, can you
23 specify what "others" you were referring to?
24 A. The SDS had a partner, or rather, a potential challenge in terms
25 of formulating such a response, and that was the SDA and the HDZ. I shall
1 try to explain to you now what I meant by "defence."
2 It was an organised political mechanism, and it seems that one
3 only responds to what others are doing. But actually, it is one's own
4 positions that are being worked out. That was the dominant tactic of the
5 SDS, confirmed by its top people, including Mr. Krajisnik, in his January
6 1992 interview.
7 Q. You said, then, same answer, at page 86 of Tuesday's transcript,
8 you said that in 1991 there was a thesis, according to which each
9 ethnicity will or would have its own government and run its own
10 government, which means that you will have government mechanisms in
11 individual areas and you will separate the ethnicities along those lines.
12 That thesis was not exclusive to the members of the SDS, was it?
13 A. I did point out - and I would like to ask you if we could possibly
14 check this - both in my statement and also in the answer I gave into this
15 microphone, that this was the thesis of the SDS only.
16 Q. So you say there was nobody else in Bosnia and Herzegovina, apart
17 from members of the SDS, who contemplated at any point each ethnicity
18 having its own government and running its own government?
19 A. I'll give you a precise answer. Both of the other two national
20 parties were involved in a similar thing, and that became obvious when, in
21 the HDZ, the leadership was changed. It was Mr. Kljuic specifically. I
22 think that this is around the new year, that is to say, the end of
23 1991/1992. In the SDA, this appeared at the beginning of the war, and
24 then it culminated, as far as I can remember, in the spring of 1993, when
25 a working paper on the Islamic Republic came out.
1 Q. You talked quite a lot in your evidence about the - and I'm
2 summarising - the difficulties of operation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
3 Assembly and what you described as various bits of obstructive behaviour.
4 You said, and this is page 88 and 89 of the transcript on Tuesday, when
5 you were talking about what you described as obstruction by Mr. Krajisnik.
6 And you said: "Finally, when there was some hope of the Assembly being
7 able to vote for the proposal, the SDS representative said that only those
8 items can be placed on the agenda where consensus would be achieved by all
9 the three ethnicities, and the second proposal was that 51 per cent of the
10 vote was not going to be enough for a proposal to be adopted because one
11 ethnicity was, in their words, too loud. In the end, all this meant that
12 the work of the Assembly had to be obstructed."
13 Now, would you agree, Mr. Bjelobrk, that the period that you were
14 describing, these were, to understate it, these were very tense times,
15 with deep underlying differences among the different nationalities
16 represented in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Assembly? That was basic to the
17 situation, wasn't it?
18 A. First of all, as far as I can see here in the transcript, I'm
19 afraid that this is not an accurate quotation of what I said, that is to
20 say, page 88 and 89, so I'll try to clarify it once again.
21 There are two situations that existed. One --
22 Q. Can I just stoup for a moment, Mr. Bjelobrk. When you say it's
23 not an accurate translation of what you said, are you managing to refer
24 back to pages 88 and 89 of Tuesday's transcript?
25 A. With pleasure.
1 Q. No. Are you? Were you --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelobrk, I take it that Mr. Stewart is quoting
3 from the exact wording as has been transcribed from this meeting. If you
4 say that it is certainly not correct, then this Chamber -- please indicate
5 so this Chamber has an opportunity to have the tapes checked. But please
6 answer the question. And if you really insist that this is not what you
7 said, please let us know so we can check it.
8 Now you may continue your answer.
9 MR. STEWART: I'm very much obliged, Your Honour. May I just say,
10 in the second line of what Your Honour has just said, I take it
11 Mr. Stewart is quoting from the exact wording as has been transcribed from
12 this meeting. I think Your Honour means hearing.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course.
14 MR. STEWART: It's a meeting, of course, in a sense, but here we
16 Q. Yes, Mr. Bjelobrk. I am doing my best simply to read 100 per cent
17 accurately as I can manage from the transcript, so please take it that,
18 unless anybody suggests otherwise, that is the position. So that was what
19 you were saying, and my question, just to remind you, was that: This was
20 a period of deep underlying differences among the different nationalities
21 represented in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Assembly, and that was basic to
22 the situation at the time, wasn't it?
23 A. I'll give you a precise answer to your question. I thank you,
24 Mr. President, for your intervention.
25 So the summer Assembly was basically characterised by the fact
1 that members of the SDS walked out before the debate started. After that,
2 when the autumn assemblies were being prepared, the collegium defined the
3 agenda in the following terms: That only where consensus is reached by
4 all three national parties can a certain item be placed on the agenda.
5 The principle of legality in both cases was 51 per cent. That was the
6 required majority according to the rules of procedure. At any rate, the
7 SDS MPs and the leadership of the SDS explained that this did not -- this
8 decision could not be legitimate because even if it did have a 51 per cent
9 majority it could not be legitimate if one people was totally opposed to
11 Another question you put to me. There's no doubt that there were
12 increased tensions in the summer of 1991 in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
13 primarily because people did not like at all the fact that the presidents
14 of the Yugoslav republics had failed in their negotiations concerning the
15 future of Yugoslavia, and there was a great deal of discussion about this
16 in the media and in the public in general. These tensions were also
17 contributed to by the unproductive work of the Assembly. So the questions
18 that were raised were very difficult to resolve.
19 On the other hand, in my opinion, if you look at another important
20 characteristic of the general situation, that is to say, relationships
21 among people, it is important to say that there were no major incidents at
22 the time, as yet.
23 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I wonder if you could be given, please,
24 Exhibit P395. In English, it's 395A. I think that's the way that the
25 numbering goes. I'm so sorry. Yes, Ms. Cmeric reminded me. 395A is the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 transcript, because 395 is the disk, I think. But the registrar, Madam
2 Registrar has it all under control, as always. And then 395A.1 is the
3 English, I think.
4 This is a transcript of apparently a conversation between
5 Mr. Radovan Karadzic and Mr. Slobodan Milosevic, and on the second page of
6 the English, I think we can pick it up, I'm not sure exactly where it is
7 in the B/C/S. But do you see Mr. Milosevic saying: "Yes, yes." "Da, da"
8 probably. Yes. It's about five boxes down on the B/C/S version. Do you
9 see that? I'm just trying to check first whether we've got the right
10 passage, Mr. Bjelobrk. It should be on the second page, about five or six
11 boxes down, Mr. Milosevic is saying: "Yes, yes." Do you see that? Got
12 it? Yes. Thank you.
13 So, I'll just read the box above. Mr. Karadzic says: "No. We
14 said it was in case of breakup of the constitutional system as long as
15 there is --"
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hannis.
17 MR. STEWART: My apologies.
18 MR. HANNIS: I'm not sure we referred him to the right "da, da" I
19 think it's the "da da" at the bottom of page 1.
20 MR. STEWART: As a matter of fact, I think it's elsewhere
21 altogether. My apologies. It's actually on page -- it's on the sixth
22 page of the English, and in fact it's Mr. Radovan Karadzic who would have
23 been saying - Mr. Hannis and I are showing off our B/C/S, Your Honour -
24 "da, da, da." Yes, and it's at the very foot of page 6 of the B/C/S
25 version. So it's three boxes down on page 6 of the English version, and
1 it's at the very foot -- my apologies, Your Honour. We're trying to match
2 the English and the B/C/S. In the B/C/S, page 6, and about four boxes
3 down. There are a couple of blank boxes. It's Mr. Milosevic who
4 says: "Da, da, dobro." Do you have that?
5 So: "Yes, yes, yes" is apparently the translation. Because --
6 oh, no. "Yes, yes, good." And then: "I think this could pass if they
7 accept this." And then Mr. Milosevic says, and this is the beginning of
8 the passage we heard: "What about Durakovic's men? Well, they are
9 desperate. Did they vote for the Izetbegovic's probably proposals." Is
10 the way it's translated. Just pausing there. Durakovic's men included
11 you, didn't it, Mr. Bjelobrk?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And so Mr. Milosevic says: "Did they vote for Izetbegovic's
14 probably proposals?" Mr. Karadzic said: "No. They left yesterday
15 morning." Mr. Slobodan Milosevic: "Yes." In fact, what had happened was
16 when Mr. Karadzic refers to: "No. They left yesterday morning" was that
17 you, that's to say Mr. Durakovic's men, including yourself, you had left
18 the Assembly, hadn't you?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And Mr. Krajisnik asked you to come back?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Why did you leave the Assembly?
23 A. First of all, when we were proposing to include our proposal into
24 the -- on the agenda, it was refused. We asked for additional discussion
25 on that matter, which was also turned down. And then we left the session
1 because we felt where it was going to take us, that it was going to lead
2 to an ethnic confrontation.
3 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, let me make it clear what I'm putting to you. It's
4 not my case on behalf of Mr. Krajisnik, and I'm not putting it to you
5 there was something disgraceful or dishonourable about your leaving the
6 Assembly. What I am putting to you is that members of an assembly or
7 parliament leaving an assembly from time to time when they are serious
8 issues and there are deep tensions is just part of the cut and thrust of
9 politics, isn't it?
10 A. No. It is not part of the cut and thrust of politics,
11 Mr. Stewart. In the part of the discussion concerning the President of
12 the Court, I would like to clarify this a bit. It is quite natural that
13 at any given session you be given some space to explain your proposal. In
14 this particular situation, it was completely impossible for us to put that
15 proposal on the agenda. Quite another matter is whether they would have
16 voted against it or for it.
17 Secondly, what you mentioned in your earlier question, the
18 tensions existing in the society, we were aware of the fact that such a
19 development would directly lead to a confrontation among the political
20 oligarchies of these national parties, which, as a matter of fact, did
22 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, let's get real. You agree, do you, it's the same,
23 procedurally, in a parliament, it's the same and the same result whether a
24 particular deputy sits there and does nothing and doesn't vote and simply
25 keeps quiet, or whether he leaves, from the point of view of votes and
1 procedures and effects on resolutions, it's exactly the same, isn't it, of
2 course? Isn't it?
3 A. Technically, you may be right. But I suppose that we are not
4 talking about the technical aspect of it.
5 Q. Let's get real. Technically that is clearly right, Mr. Bjelobrk,
6 isn't it?
7 A. It's not clearly right. I suppose you would like to draw a
8 comparison with my thesis concerning the walkout of the SDS MPs and
9 Mr. Krajisnik's conduct. Well, that's not the same. In this particular
10 case, there was still the possibility of establishing an agenda and of
11 having a democratic option of speaking up. In the case of the SDS
12 members, it was after the adoption of the agenda that they left, and not
13 before, and that's quite different. So if you try to draw a comparison to
14 the two groups of members leaving an assembly, well, it cannot be drawn to
15 that extent. There's a difference.
16 Q. Don't worry too much about comparisons, Mr. Bjelobrk, and just
17 concentrate on my questions and answers, please.
18 The -- leaving an assembly by a member or a group of members is
19 simply a political gesture which is stronger than sitting there and not
20 voting, isn't it?
21 A. No. In this particular case, we were simply struggling to get a
22 chance to speak our minds.
23 Q. Well, if you stay there, you can speak your minds, can't you?
24 A. No. Because we did not have that item on the agenda, and
25 according to the rules of procedure, the chairman, the Speaker of the
1 parliament, could always tell me that I am not allowed to speak on that
3 Q. Can we get one thing straight, then, and try to short-circuit this
4 as much as possible. Because I, with the greatest respect, Mr. Bjelobrk,
5 I'm going to try to follow entirely His Honour's guidance yesterday that
6 some of these issues we really don't have to get into.
7 Isn't the position this, Mr. Bjelobrk: As really appeared from
8 your evidence, you can point to no occasion on which the rules of
9 procedure and the voting mechanisms in the Bosnia and Herzegovina Assembly
10 were not properly, lawfully, constitutionally operated; that's right,
11 isn't it?
12 A. The rules of procedure were indeed abided by, and this is
13 something that was really applied properly.
14 Q. All right. Let's move on, then, Mr. Bjelobrk.
15 You were asked about whether -- it's a related point, but you were
16 asked some questions about whether Mr. Krajisnik had influence or power to
17 make the SDS members that you say had walked out stay there, and then you
18 were asked specifically by His Honour Judge Orie, you were asked whether
19 there was any fact known to you, and this is at page 30 of yesterday's
20 transcript, whether there was any fact known to you which would
21 demonstrate that Mr. Krajisnik was encouraging any of the SDS members to
22 leave. And your answer was: "I don't know anything about that, because
23 the meetings within the clubs," by which you clearly meant the Deputies
24 Clubs, "The meetings with the clubs were usually behind closed doors, and
25 I don't know what went on there."
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Mr. Bjelobrk, that is beyond the particular context of that
2 question, that is generally true, isn't it? You were not a party to SDS
3 Deputies Club discussions and were not present at any such discussions at
4 all, were you?
5 A. I was never at any of the meetings of the SDS Deputies Club.
6 Q. And discussions among the SDS leadership, really however we
7 exactly define that is sufficient for the purpose of this question,
8 discussions among the SDS leadership were at all times held behind closed
9 doors in the sense that those doors were closed to you, weren't they?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. I want to ask you about what you described as three stages of the
12 separation of government conducted by the SDS, and that's the way you've
13 described the topic.
14 MR. STEWART: And Your Honour, this particular passage of evidence
15 was at page 45 of yesterday's transcript.
16 Q. Mr. Hannis asked you about paragraphs 26 and 27 of your statement,
17 and I'm going to quote his answer. He said: "Where you describe the SDS
18 as engaging in a parallel process and the formation of parallel
19 structures. Can you" -- it's still Mr. Hannis talking. "Can you tell the
20 Court what evidence, if any, did you see or hear or become aware of in
21 1991 and early 1992 about the SDS engaging in that process, and give us
22 some examples, if you have some." And your answer was: "I think that
23 there were three stages in terms of this separation of government
24 conducted by the SDS. In the first stage, the beginning of 1991, the
25 assemblies where the SDS was in power were made bigger." And that was
1 corrected, I think, so that it should now read the municipalities where
2 the SDS was in power, were made bigger. And then you said: "Also local
3 officials were instructed to implement the constitution of Yugoslavia, not
4 the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
5 And you gave a clarification of what you had said there about
6 municipalities being made bigger. A couple of pages later on, you
7 said: "Well, they weren't made bigger physically. They were instructed
8 that whenever they were supposed to resolve a problem they should resort
9 to the provisions of the Constitution of Yugoslavia rather than the
10 Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
11 That is what the situation was in January 1991, and that's a quote
12 from page 47 of yesterday's transcript.
13 Now, on this point: That instruction to local officials to
14 implement the Constitution of Yugoslavia understood to mean that if there
15 was any conflict between the Constitution of Yugoslavia and the
16 Constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that was an entirely correct
17 instruction, completely in accordance with the law of the state that you
18 were in at that time, wasn't it?
19 A. You're quite right. You're completely right. If you allow me,
20 I'd like to add some clarification to that. The Constitution of
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina was harmonised with the Constitution of Yugoslavia much
22 earlier on, and for many years to come, there were no controversies in
23 terms of the harmonisation of these two constitutions.
24 Secondly, in the area related to the reserve forces and the
25 Territorial Defence units, there were authorities vested in the republic
1 organs, and the then participants in the government, that is, the SDS,
2 HDZ, and the SDA, were actually discussing and debating about which core
3 of the law should be adopted. The SDS gave precedence to the federal law.
4 But I assure that the issue of the harmonisation of the two
5 constitutions was by far the least problem. Evidently, what was the point
6 there was the unification of Serbs only, which had a significant impact on
7 the exercise of the government in Bosnia-Herzegovina. You had such cases,
8 for instance, in the -- among the presidents of the municipalities where
9 the SDS was in power. Because they were the only ones considering this
10 type of a variant. Instead of going through the government of
11 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, where members of
12 the SDS were also represented, in these -- it was quite natural that such
13 solutions should be discussed at these higher levels of government, and
14 solutions found. Equally so, it is quite unnatural and unlawful for it to
15 be done partially, only in one segment of the government, and that's what
16 I meant in the passage that you quoted.
17 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I also just briefly want to make it clear, rather
18 than by a question, but also so that the Trial Chamber, with respect, can
19 understand my position.
20 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I absolutely am accepting what I
21 understood to be Your Honour's invitation not to explore constitutional
22 law issues, particularly with this witness. And as far as possible, then
23 not very much at all, where they're really not the key issue in the case.
24 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, you are an experienced and highly qualified man, but
25 you are not, I think we can agree, a constitutional lawyer. So I'm going
1 to leave more of those questions.
2 The -- however, what I am going to ask you about is a passage from
3 the transcript which is P398.
4 A. May I be allowed to say a brief comment, please?
5 MR. STEWART: Well, Mr. Bjelobrk, I think I'm in His Honour's
6 hands on that.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelobrk, the matters are whether always the
8 right solutions were found or were adopted as far as potential conflicts
9 between the federal constitution and the republic constitutions are
10 concerned is not in the core of this case, so that's, whether right or
11 wrong, it may have been a fact.
12 MR. STEWART: And 398, it appears on the transcript as well on
13 page 48 yesterday, but it's probably just easier for everybody if we look
14 at the exhibit itself, and certainly for you, Mr. Bjelobrk, naturally.
15 Q. 398, Mr. Koljevic is talking, first page, about four or five --
16 well, 1, 2, 3, 4 -- not about. Six boxes down Mr. Koljevic says: "Tell
17 me something. Has the law proposed by the government to suspend the
18 federal law been adopted?" Do you see that box, Mr. Bjelobrk?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Karadzic: "Yes, at the government level. At the government
21 level, it was --" Mr. Koljevic: "Did the Assembly" -- he was going to say
22 it was "adopt" something or other. Mr. Koljevic: "Did the assembly adopt
23 it too?" Mr. Karadzic: "No, no. The Assembly is the Board of Citizens.
24 The Board of Municipalities rejected it earlier and whatever the Board of
25 Citizens does now, it would not be valid. No one has the right to do that
1 and nobody will. It has not been adopted and our municipalities will not
2 obey it. They report to Doko on a regular basis." Mr. Koljevic: "Has it
3 been adopted at the Assembly?" Mr. Karadzic: "No, it hasn't." Mr.
4 Koljevic: "Okay. That's the most important." Mr. Karadzic: "No, it
5 hasn't. And also, our municipalities are not acting according to it."
6 Mr. Koljevic: "Okay, then."
7 Now, two things, Mr. Bjelobrk. This is an example of something
8 which, would you agree, was a quite common feature of the political
9 situation in 1991 - this was August 1991 - that there were debates and
10 disagreements about whether something was or wasn't constitutional,
11 whether one party was acting constitutionally. Those were a constant
12 feature of political debate and discussion at that time, weren't they?
13 A. Yes. That was one of the features.
14 Q. And that in this particular instance, you can see that the --
15 would you agree, the point of view being adopted by Mr. Karadzic was that,
16 in fact, the proposal to suspend the federal law had not been adopted
17 anyway? That's clearly what he's saying, isn't it?
18 A. Would you please repeat the question.
19 Q. I'll make it clear. Yes. In this conversation between
20 Mr. Koljevic and Mr. Karadzic, what is emerging is that the suspension of
21 the federal law has been approved or adopted by the government, but has
22 not been approved or adopted by the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
23 That's what it's saying, isn't it?
24 A. That's what it says.
25 Q. And it's also clear that Mr. Koljevic and Mr. Karadzic,
1 particularly, are taking the view that if it were adopted, that wouldn't
2 be valid and lawful anyway. That's plainly also what they're saying,
3 isn't it?
4 A. I will tell you what I think about this, and keeping in mind what
5 you and the honourable President said here. There are institutions --
6 Q. Tell us first, Mr. Bjelobrk, whether you agree that that is what
7 these gentlemen who are parties to this conversation are saying.
8 A. Well, according to the transcript, that was your interpretation.
9 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I'm inviting your agreement that whether you think
10 they're right or not, that is clearly what they're saying.
11 A. Well, this is a document of the Court. Yes, that's what it says,
13 Q. And based -- what is happening here is based on their view that
14 this suspension of the federal law has not actually been validly adopted,
15 and even if it had purportedly been adopted, it wouldn't be valid. Based
16 on that view, they are also saying between themselves that their
17 municipalities wouldn't obey and won't obey such a suspension of federal
18 law. That's also what they're saying, isn't it?
19 A. You're asking my opinion about it or are you asking me for the
20 third time whether this is what this paper before me says?
21 Q. I am asking you for the third time, on a third and different
22 point, Mr. Bjelobrk. Yes, I am.
23 A. This is what I think about this. An assessment as to whether a
24 piece of legislation conforms with the constitution is something to be
25 done by members of the legal profession rather than the general public or
1 the politicians discussing about the substance of it.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelobrk, Mr. Stewart is asking you whether you
3 understand this conversation to be that Mr. Koljevic and Mr. Karadzic
4 discuss whether a law proposed by the government to suspend the federal
5 law has been adopted or not, that the answer is that it was not adopted,
6 and even if it would have been adopted, that they would not have accepted
7 that as something they would obey. Is that your understanding of this
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's how I understood this
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, that's clear now, Mr. Stewart. You may
13 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, you'd agree with this, wouldn't you: That if
15 leading figures - and I'm certainly not going to resile from suggesting
16 that Dr. Karadzic and Mr. Koljevic were leading figures - if leading
17 figures in a political party take the view that an action of another
18 group, another party, the government, is unconstitutional and unlawful,
19 it's a perfectly understandable and natural consequence that they would
20 instruct their colleagues and instruct their municipalities, which is the
21 way they describe it, not to obey. Do you agree with that?
22 A. I disagree. I think that whatever is unlawful should be approved
23 or disapproved by the president of the republic or the president of the
24 Assembly, because they are vested with these authorities. I don't think
25 that this is something to be done by the leaders of a political party.
1 That is not the way matters are run in a state when deciding on these
3 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I feel I've gone far enough on this
5 JUDGE ORIE: You have, Mr. Stewart.
6 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. The -- in your statement, this was, and I don't think for the
8 moment, Mr. Bjelobrk, you would be unfairly disadvantaged by -- I'll be
9 disadvantaged by throwing my transcript on the floor. But I don't think
10 you'll be unfairly disadvantaged by not having the actual text in front of
11 you, Mr. Bjelobrk. You refer to a meeting in respect of the
12 Belgrade Initiative, which I don't think was explored in your oral
13 evidence in chief. But describe in a nutshell for us, Mr. Bjelobrk, your
14 summary of the Belgrade Initiative.
15 A. The Belgrade Initiative is one of the attempts at formulating a
16 Greater Serbia.
17 Q. The Belgrade Initiative came, not surprisingly, as its name
18 implies, it came primarily from the Serb leadership in Belgrade, under
19 Mr. Milosevic, didn't it?
20 A. I don't know the context from which it stemmed. It could have
21 stemmed from Visegrad or Sarajevo. But it does merit the qualification
22 that I just mentioned earlier on.
23 Q. Well, I rather, from your statement, Mr. Bjelobrk, when you
24 said: "Further discussions in respect of this proposal took place in
25 September, October 1991, and at that time the SDS acted as a mediator
1 between the SDA and Belgrade authorities. The people who triggered this
2 Belgrade Initiative were people coming from Belgrade."
3 I rather inferred from that, Mr. Bjelobrk, and therefore would
4 invite you to reconsider, that the Belgrade Initiative did come primarily
5 from the Serb leadership in Belgrade. That's right, isn't it?
6 A. If you need an answer, yes, they were the authors. But you asked
7 what my characterisation of that document was, regardless of where it
8 originated from.
9 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, so you say in your statement that the SDS acted as a
10 mediator between the SDA and Belgrade authorities. The essence of the
11 Belgrade Initiative was that it, in effect, accepted the writing on the
12 wall that Slovenia and Croatia would at some point leave federal
13 Yugoslavia, didn't it?
14 A. Yes. That was one of the positions contained in the text.
15 Q. And another essential element of the Belgrade Initiative was that
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina would remain with the other three republics, if you
17 take away Slovenia and Croatia, would remain within a single state of
18 Yugoslavia; that's right, isn't it?
19 A. That's right. That's what the document said as well.
20 Q. Beyond -- and those were, would you agree, Mr. Bjelobrk, those
21 were the key elements of the Belgrade Initiative?
22 A. I would perhaps add another one, although I do agree that the ones
23 that you mentioned are among the key elements. But there are others that
24 I would point out. For instance, the position of the Muslims in this
25 union, in this association, and that was the key to the understanding of
1 the participants taking part in this particular discussion.
2 Q. Well, Mr. Bjelobrk, I invite you to do pretty much what you've
3 just suggested, because it will helpfully answer a question I asked a few
4 minutes ago. So if we take those as you acknowledge that those two
5 elements of Slovenia and Croatia at some point ceasing to be part of
6 Yugoslavia but Bosnia and Herzegovina and the other three republics
7 remaining within Yugoslavia, if those are not necessarily in order
8 priority in our view, but if those are number 1, number 2, I'm inviting
9 you to add to that what, in your view, what are the other key elements of
10 the Belgrade Initiative. Perhaps number them as we go along and then
11 we'll be clear which they are.
12 A. I don't have this document in front of me now, so I'm speaking
13 from my memory. I do agree that the two important elements were the ones
14 that you mentioned. But in my opinion, the element concerning the
15 position of the Muslims in this particular association was another
16 important element. As for the rest, I don't think it was as important
17 when talking about the documents at this particular level.
18 Q. All right. That's helpful, Mr. Bjelobrk, certainly. So then
19 going to that other key element that you mentioned, then, concerning --
20 that's quotes, concerning the position of the Muslims in this particular
21 association, can you expand a little bit on that, then? What was that
22 element of the Belgrade Initiative, so far as the Muslims were concerned?
23 A. This document in its form of a proposal - you know that the
24 document was never really finalised - there was one provision where the
25 Muslims were guaranteed a certain group of rights in this particular
1 social association. I can merely give you my opinion on it. And that's
2 where, in -- essentially Bosnia and Herzegovina was misunderstood, because
3 its constitutive nations started being treated as if they weren't really
4 the constituent elements of it.
5 Q. So pulling out of that answer a specifically the point relating to
6 the Muslims, it was -- there was a guarantee of a -- what you describe as
7 a certain group of rights for the Muslims?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What is it that specifically that leads you to characterise the
10 Belgrade Initiative, then, as the establishment of a Greater Serbia?
11 A. Well, physically speaking, it mentions the territories where the
12 Serbs have the majority or wished to be in control of. So there is no
13 Croatia there, there is no Slovenia. It was an idea of Greater Serbia,
14 mentioning -- ending, actually, with the border running across Karlobag,
15 Karlovac. This was not an idea for a Yugoslavia.
16 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I assure the Trial Chamber, I don't wish to engage
17 in unnecessarily wide exploration of history and politics, but this simple
18 element to the background applies, doesn't it: That Belgrade, Serbia, the
19 Serb leadership in Belgrade, they didn't expel and weren't interested in
20 expelling Slovenia and Croatia from Yugoslavia, were they?
21 A. I never said that, although I'm not prepared to agree with you.
22 Q. The initiative for Slovenia and Croatia to leave Yugoslavia came
23 from Slovenia and Croatia, didn't it?
24 A. If you think that there is some kind of bureaucratic way of
25 putting it, if we're only talking about a particular piece of paper or a
1 statement, whatever, then you may be right, but there's so many things
2 that happened over a span of ten years or so that contributed to the
3 actual outcome.
4 Q. Was there something sinister about the Belgrade Initiative, in
5 your view, Mr. Bjelobrk?
6 A. Sinister? If I look at the Helsinki Final Act on the
7 inviolability of borders in Europe, then indeed the Belgrade declaration
8 was sinister, because it contributed to a change of internal and external
9 borders, compared to what they were like before.
10 Q. And what change do you mean there?
11 A. In fact, if I can put it this way, the Belgrade authorities played
12 a role that contributed to the change of the external borders of
14 Q. You mean the departure or imminent departure of Slovenia and
15 Croatia from the Federation, do you?
16 A. Of course. Of course. I'm convinced, confident. I have
17 arguments to prove that it is the Belgrade authorities that are
18 responsible for that.
19 Q. So is --
20 A. Also -- may I just finish, please. Also, ultimately to attempting
21 to change interior borders as well.
22 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I tried to keep it as simple and as short as
23 possible. If I understand your answer, you have just characterised as a
24 sinister element of the Belgrade Initiative as it led to redrawing of the
25 external borders of Yugoslavia by the loss or exclusion of Slovenia and
1 Croatia. That's a correct summary of what you just said, is it?
2 A. I am going to give up on terms like "sinister" and whatever as you
3 did on the first day. So I'll try to stick to the facts. The Belgrade
4 Initiative is one of the events, one of the elements, that contributed to
5 the further breakup of Yugoslavia.
6 Q. On the footing, and that has to be the basis of this proposition,
7 Mr. Bjelobrk, on the footing that Croatia and Slovenia were going to leave
8 Yugoslavia at some point in some way or another, the Belgrade Initiative
9 preserved the rest of Yugoslavia as fully as could be, didn't it? Or
10 would have done, rather.
11 A. My position is that that was the creation of a Greater Serbia.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, we've entered in quite some detail in
13 political analysis rather than anything else. If you would ask a woman
14 why she left the house, she will always say that her husband made her do
15 that and the husband will always say that he only wants to keep his family
16 together. And as you know from normal life, that it's very difficult
17 there to assess exactly what is the truth, what is the causal
18 relationship. It very much depends again on the analysis and opinion on
19 what happened. I think we very much entered into this area. The
20 positions are quite clear that this witness, Mr. Bjelobrk, blames certain
21 initiatives for things that happened later. And I think it's for
22 historians to finally deal with that matter.
23 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, I'm very happy with that, Your
24 Honour. In fact, I really was culminating with one question specifically
25 on a point in his statement which ought to wrap up this topic, which is
1 this, Mr. Bjelobrk.
2 Q. In your statement, at paragraph 28, then, in relation to all this
3 issue, you said: "The concept of preservation of Yugoslavia was utilised
4 by the Serbian leadership as a veil for this policy," meaning the policy
5 of Greater Serbia.
6 Now, Mr. Bjelobrk, when you say "a veil," that is, do you agree,
7 that is implying something secret, sinister, devious, isn't it?
8 A. Again, I'll try to steer clear of these attributes and give you an
9 answer nevertheless. The country to the east of Bosnia-Herzegovina is now
10 called Serbia and Montenegro. Before that it was called Yugoslavia. And
11 it grew out of the Yugoslavia that existed in the 1980s. That particular
12 development probably proves best of all that this was only a veil for a
13 Greater Serbia.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I'm not proposing to pursue this any
15 more, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, in relation of paragraph 28, it reads
17 that the document which is dated 12th of August, and then a few lines
18 later it says: "Further discussions in respect of this proposal took
19 place in September, October 1991." Reconciling this, I'm -- is that a
20 wrong reading, wrong understanding, of what this paragraph says or...
21 MR. STEWART: Sorry, Your Honour. Well, Your Honour's just read
22 the very words that are in the paragraph. I'm not -- I'm sorry. Maybe
23 I'm being a bit thick, Your Honour. I'm not following Your Honour's --
24 JUDGE ORIE: It says: "August 1991, the initial meeting in
25 respect of the Belgrade Initiative took place. I have been shown a
1 document. This document is dated 12th of August." And then if the
2 "further," a few lines later, is in relation to the August 1991 initial
3 meeting, then I do understand it. If the "further" is in relation to the
4 12th of August, 1992 document, I have some difficulties in following the
5 chronology. It's just --
6 MR. STEWART: Oh, I'm so sorry, Your Honour. I see the -- I see
7 the point. I'm afraid I'd not noticed it. I rather suppose -- but
8 perhaps you could confirm, Mr. Bjelobrk. I suspect 1992 is simply a
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hannis is on his feet.
11 MR. HANNIS: I think what Mr. Stewart has just said is correct.
12 We should confirm with the witness. But I believe that is a typo.
13 MR. STEWART: I was just going to confirm with the witness, Your
14 Honour. Sometimes what happens is it's so obviously in a sense should be
15 1991 that your brain reads it as 1991 and that's what I'd done. I hadn't
16 even noticed the discrepancy.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. STEWART:
19 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, in the -- I hope you can manage without the
20 statement. In your statement, and I'll read two or three lines slowly, as
21 I'm always being reminded to do anyway, it says: "In August 1991, the
22 initial meeting in respect of the Belgrade Initiative took place." And it
23 plainly was 1991. We can all agree that: "I have been shown a document."
24 Reference number. "In this document dated 12th of August..." and it says
25 1992, "...the basic Serb position is set out including the fact that the
1 preservation of Yugoslavia is a condition for a peaceful and democratic
2 solution to the Yugoslav crisis."
3 Mr. Bjelobrk, it appears to all of us, and we invite you to
4 confirm that that reference to the document being dated 12th of August,
5 1992, it should be to the 12th of August, 1991. Do you agree?
6 A. I agree.
7 Q. Thank you very much.
8 MR. STEWART: Yes, thank you, Your Honour. I'd simply not noticed
9 that discrepancy.
10 Q. The -- then, Mr. Bjelobrk, in your evidence yesterday, and this is
11 page 52 of the transcript, for the reference, you were asked by Mr.
12 Hannis -- I'll quote the question. He says: "Now, in your statement,
13 where you talk in paragraphs 26 and 27 about the parallel process, you
14 also talked about regionalisation, which I think is what you referred to
15 in an earlier answer in talking about the creation of the Serb Autonomous
16 Regions. Do you recall when that first became public knowledge or in the
17 awareness of the public that there was any kind of formal media
18 announcement about those Serb Autonomous Regions?" And your answer
19 was: "The public was formally informed only at the moment when these
20 forms of regionalisation, as they termed them in the SDS, were formally
21 established. The second aspect of it is that many of these notions did
22 emerge in the press in the independent media; therefore, my direct answer
23 to your question would be the following: There were no official, formal
24 announcements of these acts, but by interpreting the different discussions
25 that went on between various politicians, like, for instance, something
1 that we heard in the penultimate transcript, and of course this reached
2 the Assembly members, and we could infer our own conclusions. Thirdly, I
3 was born and I live in Sarajevo; however, many of my colleagues live in
4 other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They directly conveyed to me the
5 information as to what was going on in their communities. That was
6 sufficient information for me to be indirectly informed about all these
8 Now, that's a slightly lengthy passage, but I wanted to remind you
9 of what you said.
10 Mr. Bjelobrk, the -- whatever the formal position, it's very
11 clear, isn't it, that this process, however you characterise it, but
12 process on one label of regionalisation, creation of Serb Autonomous
13 Regions, it was not some secret process which could possibly be kept from
14 public knowledge, was it?
15 A. Well, of course it could not have been kept from public knowledge,
16 but it was illegal nevertheless.
17 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I'm not sure exactly what time we
18 started, but if that would be a convenient time for a break. It's not --
19 I don't --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Due to technical difficulties, we started a bit
21 late, but it is the usual time we have a break. So we'll have a break
22 until 10 minutes past 4.00.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.18 p.m.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, please proceed.
1 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I ask straight away, I mentioned to
2 Mr. Hannis, I wonder if the Trial Chamber would be willing to give me, and
3 it is me, a five-minute break at a quarter to 5.00. The reason is just
4 that there are certain practical matters which can't be dealt with
5 tomorrow because it's a holiday and can't be dealt with unless they're
6 sorted out by 5.00 this evening. And I wasn't able to resolve them over
7 the recent break, most of which I spent with Mr. Krajisnik.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Five minutes will be granted. If you could
9 look at the clock.
10 MR. STEWART: That's fine. Thank you very much, indeed, Your
11 Honour. I appreciate that.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
13 MR. STEWART:
14 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, you referred in your statement, this is, to -- well,
15 no. It's actually in your evidence. The -- but also in your statement.
16 This was page 57 and onwards of the transcript yesterday. And I'll
17 summarise. It's really what you have described as a difference between
18 Mr. Krajisnik's public persona and the way in which he acted and spoke in
19 private. You recall that passage of your evidence?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, it's -- you're an experienced politician. It's 100
22 per cent normal, isn't it, for there to be differences between the way in
23 which politicians present themselves to the public through the media and
24 the way in which they have private discussions with their colleagues
25 and/or opponents?
1 A. Perhaps it's not right for me to start by giving myself as an
2 example, but I behave the same way in my public life and in private life,
3 and I'm sure that there are many other politicians who do the same thing.
4 Q. You've seen a lot of them, have you, Mr. Bjelobrk, politicians who
5 behave just the same in public as they do in private?
6 A. Yes. Yes. I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Pertini, for
7 example, a top-notch politician in Italy, many others in Europe, and I
8 never managed to discern any differences between the conversations they
9 had in private and what they said to the media.
10 Q. Of course, perhaps, Mr. Bjelobrk, you've met politicians who
11 behave the same in public and in private and are therefore never used as
12 media spokesmen, have you?
13 A. I don't know if I understood your question correctly.
14 Q. Never mind, Mr. Bjelobrk. I'll withdraw it. Let's cut to the
15 chase with Mr. Krajisnik. Is there -- was there anything objectionable
16 about the way Mr. Krajisnik acted and spoke and dealt with you and others
17 in your presence in private?
18 A. First of all, I'm not complaining about anything. I remember that
19 the President of the Court also used an expression, possible political
20 games. I'm just saying that people who got to know Mr. Krajisnik as a
21 person found out before the general public what his intentions actually
22 were, and I tried to explain that by using the example of the interview he
23 gave in January 1992. Some politicians had this knowledge and came to
24 learn about this even before January 1992, whereas the public did not.
25 Q. You had a meeting with Mr. Krajisnik that you describe at
1 paragraph 32 of your statement, and you gave some evidence about it. You
2 had a meeting -- you say it's March 1992, and a conversation which
3 involved Mr. Krajisnik and Mr. Lazovic. Remember that?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And who was -- was anybody else present in addition to yourself,
6 Mr. Krajisnik, and Mr. Lazovic?
7 A. At that meeting, there were only the three of us.
8 Q. And you said that, in your statement, this is, at paragraph 32,
9 you said Mr. Krajisnik: "Referred to Serb intellectuals, claiming that
10 they themselves could not live with the other nationalities in the same
12 Mr. Krajisnik didn't, in fact, agree with the Serb intellectuals
13 group that he referred to, did he?
14 A. It was not my understanding that Mr. Krajisnik disagreed with
15 these Serb intellectuals. On the contrary; one of his questions was: Why
16 would we not join this meeting of Serb intellectuals that was taking place
17 at the Holiday Inn hotel.
18 Q. That's a different question, Mr. Bjelobrk. It was not
19 Mr. Krajisnik's expressed view, was it, that the -- that the three
20 nationalities - Serbs, Muslims, Croats - could not live together in the
21 same country, was it?
22 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, may we have a date on --
23 MR. STEWART: Sorry, yes. The date, I believe, was March.
24 JUDGE ORIE: The date was given as March 1992.
25 MR. STEWART:
1 Q. It wasn't Mr. Krajisnik's expressed view, was it, Mr. Bjelobrk?
2 A. I said that he then mentioned the position of the Serb
3 intellectuals, as he had put it.
4 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, that's not answering my question. I'll put it the
5 third time, Mr. Bjelobrk. It wasn't Mr. Krajisnik's expressed view, was
6 it, that the three nationalities could not live together in the same
8 A. At that meeting, that was not the subject of that meeting. I
9 mentioned it in the statement. The first was our attitude towards the
10 meetings of Serb intellectuals, and the second, why we did not support the
12 Q. Let's be very specific, then, Mr. Bjelobrk. At that meeting,
13 Mr. Krajisnik did not express the view that the three nationalities could
14 not live together in the same country, did he?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. You referred to another meeting, a completely different meeting,
17 completely different topic, as you described it, when you had occasion to
18 go and speak to Mr. Krajisnik about a financial problem, and you described
19 it: There was a problem. You were the president of a trade union in
20 Sarajevo, and there was some money due from -- in a nutshell, there was
21 some money due from Belgrade to Sarajevo. That was -- that's a fair
22 shorthand description, isn't it? And it was $50 million. Correct?
23 A. Correct.
24 Q. And what was it that -- what was it that Mr. Krajisnik, if
25 anything, what was Mr. Krajisnik being invited to do or help with in
1 relation to that issue?
2 A. We expected the prime minister and the president of the Assembly
3 to help us establish contact with the authorities in Belgrade; that is to
4 say, the authorities that were in charge of the company that had this
5 outstanding debt of $50 million. I assumed that it was quite
6 understandable. We were interested in it to the degree to which it
7 affected the workers' wages and salaries.
8 Q. And did you get the help that you were seeking?
9 A. We did not get this help from the president of the Assembly, and
10 from the government bodies, we did.
11 Q. What was it specifically, if anything, what was it, then, that you
12 were specifically asking from Mr. Krajisnik that you didn't get?
13 A. We asked for a meeting to be arranged for us in Belgrade with the
14 persons in charge of that problem, and also transportation to Belgrade, of
16 Q. And you asked Mr. Krajisnik to arrange that, did you?
17 A. Not for him to arrange it directly, but to vest his authority in
18 it; namely, to ask the persons who could do it to do it.
19 Q. And do you say he failed to do what you asked him to do?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And the matter was satisfactorily resolved, wasn't it?
22 A. Yes. The same evening, the federal government intervened and the
23 money was paid to the Sarajevo company. If you're interested in details,
24 there was a meeting in Belgrade, at 4.00 in the afternoon. A flight was
25 scheduled before that, and in the evening, the money had been paid out.
1 Q. And was there something -- anything objectionable about
2 Mr. Krajisnik's conduct at that meeting?
3 A. In my statement, I gave my view of his behaviour at the meeting
4 that we had with him.
5 Q. Well, forgot about your statement. Well, not forget about it, but
6 just answer my question, please, Mr. Bjelobrk. Was there anything
7 objectionable about Mr. Krajisnik's conduct at that meeting?
8 A. Yes. I've said that he raised the issue of who does not like
9 Belgrade, for instance. And we did not come to discuss that at all.
10 Q. How did that come up, the issue of who does not like Belgrade?
11 Mr. Bjelobrk, something must have provoked some such comment. How did
12 that come up?
13 A. You'd probably have to ask Mr. Krajisnik that, why he said it.
14 I'm just telling you. So the only provocation from our side was that
15 there was this debt that was owed a particular company, and we insisted
16 that the government help us we solve this. Basically this is no
17 provocation, and it should not lead to any kind of discussion as to who
18 likes what or dislikes what.
19 Q. Well, you see, I'm asking you, Mr. Bjelobrk, because you're the
20 one who remembers this meeting and says you were at the meeting. That's
21 the reason I'm asking you questions. So are you saying you can't remember
22 how the question of who dislikes Belgrade came up? Is that your position?
23 A. I remember very well that this question was raised by
24 Mr. Krajisnik, and I've said that.
25 Q. Yes. But do you remember, Mr. Bjelobrk, what it was that gave
1 rise to that question by Mr. Krajisnik?
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, now the witness has answered this
3 question I think two or three times. He said we raised the issue of a
4 debt still outstanding to be paid. And Mr. Krajisnik said: Are you
5 against Belgrade? That's at least how I understand the testimony. But
6 if I'm wrong, Mr. Bjelobrk, please tell me. That's --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have understood me properly,
9 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I say, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 MR. STEWART: Witnesses always say that the Judge has understood
12 the testimony correctly. We've hardly had a single example of that not
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart. Mr. Stewart, you have asked this
15 question a couple of times. I asked the question yesterday how the issue
16 came up. And he repeatedly answered the question by saying that the
17 matter was raised by Mr. Krajisnik when they had raised the issue of the
18 outstanding debt. And that's a clear answer and you may proceed.
19 MR. STEWART: With respect, Your Honour, he hasn't answered it
20 clearly. When I gave --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, you may proceed.
22 MR. STEWART: Well, we can look on the record what he said, Your
23 Honour, and what he didn't say.
24 Q. You referred to the National Equality Council, Mr. Bjelobrk, and
25 you said that in your opinion this idea of creating this exclusive body
1 was simply a way of trying to discuss the matters of ethnic equality in a
2 narrow -- among a narrow circle of people. Mr. Bjelobrk, are you implying
3 or is it your view that there was something improperly manipulative about
4 the setting up of this body?
5 A. What I wanted to say, and I think I managed to explain it: There
6 was this Presidency which comprised two representatives from each of the
7 ethnicities and one from the ranks of others. And they had the
8 constitutional and legal authorities to discuss all the issues related to
9 ethnic equality.
10 Similarly, there was such a situation in the Assembly as well.
11 There were bodies there vested with the authority to discuss and decide
12 upon the issues relating to ethnic equality. The council was established
13 nearly with an advisory role, therefore, to advise the bodies in their
14 decision-taking process. I agree with those [indiscernible] who said that
15 at the time, this was not a proper way of dealing with the then existing
17 Q. Do you say that the body was, in your opinion, too narrow? Too
18 narrow a circle?
19 A. It was not the most important point I was trying to make, whether
20 this was a narrow or in a larger circle. The issue of ethnic equality
21 basically came up from those who were vested with the authority of taking
22 decisions. In practice, very often we would, in cases where there would
23 be unsolved issues at the Presidency or in the parliament, those issues
24 that related to ethnic equality that were left unsolved would then be
25 forwarded to the council for ethnic equality.
1 Q. I'm just trying to get clear, Mr. Bjelobrk. Is it your position
2 that what you have told the Trial Chamber about the National Equality
3 Council is intended to be descriptive but not critical in any way of the
4 composition and functioning of that body?
5 A. No. I wanted to point out that the very point of their existing a
6 council for such matters showed that both the Presidency and the Assembly
7 had not functioned properly, because they had to wait, whether it was
8 justified or unjustified, they had to wait for a conclusion to be taken at
9 that body.
10 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, wasn't the underlying idea behind that body
11 precisely to try to sort out some of these issues in a smaller group --
12 well, in a smaller group rather than simply have them brought into the
13 Assembly without that considered prior review?
14 A. You've interpreted this idea of this particular body properly.
15 Unfortunately, this body became an obstacle in the way of solving this,
16 these matters.
17 Q. Because there was disagreement within the body itself?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You referred to an article in the publication called Oslobodjenje,
20 and this is dealt with at paragraph 55 of your statement. It was dealt
21 with very briefly in evidence, at page 97 of the transcript. But, Your
22 Honour, the witness effectively just referred back to paragraph 55 of his
23 statement, so it wasn't pursued any further specifically in oral evidence.
24 I'm just finding it, Your Honour. Not strictly accurate. I'm trying to
25 find it, Your Honour. That's a more correct way of --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps already for your guidance, Mr. Stewart, the
2 article, Oslobodjenje, of course, has been tendered into evidence, and
3 apart from a short summary of what an interview says, the Chamber rather
4 will look at the interview itself, and if it reads the same in the
5 interview as the witness did, fine; if not, then the Chamber will
6 certainly rely on its own reading.
7 MR. STEWART:
8 Q. You make a number of comments in your statement, Mr. Bjelobrk,
9 about the points in the article. And I'm looking --
10 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I think here it would be appropriate
11 for the witness to have the B/C/S version of his statement. I don't think
12 it would be fair to him not to have it in front of him.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I wonder if, given that it's coming up
15 to a quarter to, and it will take me a few minutes, Your Honour's kind
16 agreement that I might have five minutes, I wonder if this would be the
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll grant you five minutes. We'll adjourn
19 until 10 minutes to 5.00.
20 MR. STEWART: Thank you very much.
21 --- Break taken at 4.43 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 4.51 p.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart. You managed to make
24 your phone call.
25 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, thank you very much. I'd just like to
1 say: I did sort out what I wanted to sort out and I wouldn't have been
2 able to without the break. So I do appreciate that very much. Thank you.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
4 MR. STEWART:
5 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I was asking to ask you, and am asking you, about
6 this article: "We are from the Balkans, after all," which is -- it's
7 Exhibit P404. You'll need the B/C/S version.
8 JUDGE ORIE: I take it, Mr. Stewart, that a part which is not
9 translated which seems to say that it's an interview with Mr. Krajisnik,
10 because that doesn't appear in the translation, I see it on the
11 photograph, that's one. There's no disagreement between the parties that
12 this is an interview with Mr. Krajisnik?
13 MR. STEWART: Well, it's an article based on an interview with
14 Mr. Krajisnik. There's no disagreement about it being Mr. Krajisnik.
15 JUDGE ORIE: No. But it even says so, as far as I can --
16 MR. STEWART: Yes. No, Your Honour is quite right. It does
17 actually on the original, there's even a picture of him. We don't see
18 that here. So there's no question.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Second very short observation. If you would look at
20 page 5 of the English text, the question appears: "And why don't the
21 Serbs want to live in an independent BiH? If you would look in the
22 original, it seems rather to be a question Mr. Krajisnik puts to himself
23 than a question that has been put to him by the interviewer. In the
24 original, it's the -- almost at the top of the fourth column. Yes?
25 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Then if that's understood by everyone, then we
2 don't need to have a redacted version.
3 Please proceed.
4 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. It was -- I hope it won't cause a
5 problem. I understand that the copy Mr. Krajisnik's working from is still
6 not easy, but he's just about managing. But no doubt he'll tell us if he
7 runs into problem. Your Honour, I have a slight problem, which is I don't
8 know what's happened to my headphones. I've got the wrong headphones on
9 probably. I've got the wrong ones on. That's the simple solution to
11 Q. Right, Mr. Bjelobrk. You, in your statement, you make a number of
12 points in relation to this particular article or interview, and you say
13 your reaction was negative and then you give the reasons why your reaction
14 was negative. You first of all say that Mr. Krajisnik states that it's
15 impossible for Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain, the word in English,
16 unitarian, when Yugoslavia disintegrates. You say he is setting an
17 ultimatum in respect of the fate of Bosnia and Herzegovina based on his
18 own national or political ideas.
19 And it is true that what Mr. Krajisnik says in translation is: It
20 is impossible -- or is reported as saying: It is impossible for Bosnia to
21 remain unitary - is probably a better word - if Yugoslavia disintegrates.
22 Mr. Bjelobrk, that was not an uncommon view, was it, at that time?
23 A. In my opinion, it was unusual, although it was not the only such a
24 public statement, but it was unusual in terms of the normal civilisational
1 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, you've no reason, have you, to suppose it wasn't an
2 honest view of Mr. Krajisnik's?
3 A. I have no such reason, no.
4 Q. And when you say he's setting an ultimatum, where do you find an
6 A. Under item 55.6, I describe the explanation to a question. If we
7 have a war or a dramatic transformation there, then that constitutes an
9 Q. Yes. Well, thank you for that clarification. Yes, you see, I was
10 just looking for somewhere different from 55.6, but that's at the top of
11 page 3 of the English version, more or less at the very top, where he
12 says: "Now" -- or is reported as saying: "Now we are left with two
13 alternatives: Either war or a" -- no word "dramatic" there, actually, as
14 there was in your answer. But: "Either war or a transformation that
15 implies an agreement between the three national communities."
16 Now, that, Mr. Bjelobrk, is expressed there, and I put it to you
17 that was the position, that it wasn't an ultimatum; it was Mr. Krajisnik's
18 assessment of the situation. Isn't that right?
19 A. You can call it the way you want. I will try to explain to you,
20 because I'm a person who lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I think you live in
21 a similar country. When you look at the way the population in Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina was mixed, there is very little space for a one dominant
23 ethnic population or a mono-ethnic community. Any type of an agreement
24 that you've been alluding to implies the movement of certain peoples,
25 willingly or forcibly. And I don't think it comes under the category of
1 ideas, as you put it, that you could simply place on a table.
2 Q. Well, isn't the position this, Mr. Bjelobrk: That as things
3 were - this is January 1992 - that it was a widespread view that Bosnia
4 and Herzegovina couldn't simply remain the way it was?
5 A. I am not under the impression that this was a widespread view. I
6 don't want to take up your time. You had the analysis by the
7 international community and their conclusions, and you will see that
8 matters were not the way you say. The internal, political climate in
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina was such that you had one group who were in favour of
10 the transformation of the internal structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but
11 with the -- under the same name. So I cannot really agree with you that
12 this was a widespread view.
13 Q. Well, are you -- I don't want to go into it in great detail, but
14 are you -- you know about and are to some extent familiar with the
15 discussions in relation to the Cutileiro Plan, are you?
16 A. Yes, I was partly familiar with that.
17 Q. And Cutileiro Plan didn't simply contemplate status quo, did it?
18 A. It did not contemplate a status quo, but as far as I understood
19 it, it did not divide Bosnia and Herzegovina only along the ethnic lines.
20 Q. There were public statements by representatives of other
21 nationalities, weren't there, which expressly recognised the possibility
22 of war?
23 A. I must admit that I cannot remember the specific statements right
24 now, other than those that came from the SDS. I recall others speaking up
25 on those lines. Somewhere around February 1992.
1 Q. Do you remember that as far back as February 1991, Mr. Izetbegovic
2 had said, and I'm trying to quote as accurately as I can, but that he
3 would sacrifice peace for sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he
4 wouldn't sacrifice the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina for peace?
5 Do you remember that?
6 A. I do recall that statement.
7 Q. Your second point in your statement 55.2, you say: "Mr. Krajisnik
8 states that it is inevitable to distinguish between the three national
9 communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the Assembly of the Serb
10 People did not want to express it out loud." You say: "This infers that
11 whatever the SDS had done previously was leading to the distinguishing of
12 the three national communities, yet they had not wanted to reveal this."
13 Now, Mr. Bjelobrk, looking at what Mr. Krajisnik is reported as
14 saying, and this is under the second heading, isn't it, the -- do you want
15 to confirm this, under the heading "The formation of the republic of Serb
16 people in BH has caused much criticism." It's that passage, isn't it, and
17 over the page in the English version. But it's that passage that you're
18 referring to here, isn't it?
19 A. If I can be assisted. I have this version in very small print,
20 and even if I have my glasses, I cannot work this out. Could I perhaps
21 get another version of it.
22 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I have a slightly larger version.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you could provide it to Mr. Bjelobrk.
24 Mr. Bjelobrk, your attention is drawn to what I would say is the
25 answer to the second question, the questions being underlined. Otherwise,
1 Mr. Stewart, you could read it in English, if the witness is not able to.
2 MR. STEWART: Yes, indeed, then, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Then be translated.
4 MR. STEWART: It is pretty small, I think.
5 The passage says: "It was declared as a" -- well, the question
6 was: "Can you explain to us how it's envisaged in a constitutional legal
7 sense - that's the Republic of the Serb People - that is, what its borders
8 are and how authority would be successfully set up in it." And the
9 reported answer: "It was declared as a consequence, that is, as an
10 expression of the desire of the Serb people to remain within the single
11 state of Yugoslavia, together with Serbia and Montenegro, the SAO Krajina,
12 and other Serb areas. It is certain that this move was a reaction to
13 moves made by the two national communities in BH, the illegally voted
14 memorandum and the platform, as well as the illegal and unconstitutional
15 submission of a request for the recognition of the independence of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina. This is something the public is already familiar
17 with, and there are two reasons why many people are not sure about what
18 the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia-Herzegovina means. We did not
19 want to say this out loud because the Assembly of the Serb People feel
20 that a certain demarcation of the three national communities in Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina is inevitable. A Muslim, a Croat, and a Serb Bosnia will be
22 formed as a result of the demarcation; however, in no case will one state
23 be formed at the expense of another. The second reason lies in the fact
24 that many people who had access to the explanation of what the Republic of
25 the Serb People in Bosnia-Herzegovina meant did not take it seriously
1 enough, and it should be clear to them that this is a very serious move of
2 the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one that was forced upon them.
3 It is an invitation to have a Muslim and a Croat Bosnia-Herzegovina also
5 Q. Now, would you agree, Mr. Bjelobrk, that, first of all, the
6 reported answer from Mr. Krajisnik there is saying that, quite clearly,
7 that none of the nationalities are to have precedence or priority or
8 dominance over any of the others?
9 A. I'll tell you what I think about this. If Mr. Krajisnik is
10 insisting on a Bosnian Croat and Serb Bosnia-Herzegovina, then already you
11 have the -- this idea coming through, through this nominalisation of the
12 three peoples.
13 Second: Unfortunately, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country which,
14 in terms of its territory, has a very mixed population. If -- you've
15 probably heard that prior to the war, almost a third of the marriages were
16 mixed with husbands and wives coming from different ethnic backgrounds.
17 And this idea would actually come across a problem even on the example of
18 a one high-rise building where you want to distinguish between peoples of
19 different ethnicities. If this idea were applied to a mono-ethnic
20 country, then it could reasonably be implemented. But in a country like
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina, where over 80 per cent of the territory is
22 occupied by a very mixed population, such an idea would imply the
23 resettlement of people, be it willing or forceful, and that's why I said
24 that nobody reasonable could have advocated such an idea.
25 Q. When he's talking about the -- well, your next point, 55.4, where
1 Mr. Krajisnik -- the question is: "Could you specify its borders." And
2 your comment there in your statement is: "Krajisnik describes the
3 borderlines of the republic in terms of where Serbs have established
4 autonomous regions, where they are in a majority, and areas where they
5 were in a majority prior to the genocide committed against them during the
6 last war." And that's -- for all practical purposes, Mr. Bjelobrk, I'm
7 acknowledging that that's an accurate statement of what's in the article
8 immediately under the heading "Could you specifies its borders." And then
9 you go on to make your comments: "They would like to remodel history,"
10 et cetera, et cetera.
11 What you miss out there, do you agree, is a sentence which I'll
12 read in English. It's five or six lines down under the heading "Could you
13 specify its borders." "The exact demarcation is, however, not defined.
14 It is a matter of agreement between the three national communities in
15 which the areas and territories would be determined."
16 And you agree that that's omitted from your brief summary, 55.4 of
17 your statement?
18 A. Physically, it was left out; however, I consider it irrelevant.
19 The controversial point was independence. Now, how you implement it,
20 that's a secondary matter. I was here talking about the whole thesis and
21 not the way of implementing it.
22 Q. So it's your position that it is irrelevant that Mr. Krajisnik, in
23 the middle of this reported answer, expressly states that the exact
24 demarcation is to be a matter of agreement between the three national
1 A. Yes. It's quite irrelevant to me who the participants to the
2 potential agreement are. In my opinion, this sort of a proposal is
3 contrary to any civilisational heritage that we might have and to any
4 democratic procedures.
5 Q. And in your next point, 55.5, the way you put it is: "He" -
6 that's Mr. Krajisnik - "...states that at one time they were not at the
7 stage to break up Bosnia-Herzegovina. Implicitly he was stating that
8 whilst before he had not expressed their will to break Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina apart, he was now willing to do so."
10 And you get that, Mr. Bjelobrk, I take it, from the last two or
11 three lines under the heading "Could you specify its borders," where it
12 says: "These are administrative borders that would simply create
13 conditions in which the Serb people would be their own bosses, just as the
14 Muslim and the Croat people, only certain functions would be unitary for
15 the entire Bosnia-Herzegovina. In that sense, there was a desire not to
16 break up Bosnia and Herzegovina but to transform it. Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina must not in any case be subjugated to any republics or states.
18 Mr. Bjelobrk, I do put to you that to infer from that passage in
19 the context of this whole article that Mr. Krajisnik was saying that
20 previously he and the SDS had not wished to break Bosnia and Herzegovina
21 apart but were now willing to do so, is simply a misreading of the
22 interview and the article.
23 A. I will try to briefly explain that you understand -- misunderstand
24 the context of the whole matter. Because for several hundred years,
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina was not just the sum total of three ethnic ghettos.
1 And any option of dividing it does not boil down to the division of some
2 imaginary three ethnic ghettos. You actually have to step into people's
3 apartments. And at that point, this whole process has nothing to do with
4 democracy any more.
5 Q. Can we get this clear, Mr. Bjelobrk. What we're talking about is
6 your assessment and your view that what Mr. Krajisnik and the SDS had in
7 mind was simply impossible to achieve; that's right, isn't it?
8 A. It's not only that it was impossible to achieve. First of all,
9 the war proved that you can force people to do all sorts of things with
10 weapons. If you're talking about possible and impossible. But we're not
11 talking about that. We're talking about the question of human rights. If
12 you are giving rise to a political idea, the question is whether you are
13 allowing the exercise of human rights or not. I do agree with you here
14 that I'm not a lawyer here or an interpreter of the constitution, but this
15 is an elementary thing, that you should not destroy the level of human
16 rights attained so far. If you would do anything along these lines, you
17 would infringe upon the human rights already enjoyed by the citizens of
19 Q. Do you agree, Mr. Bjelobrk, that quite a lot of energy, time, by a
20 number of people, to put it mildly, in relation to the international
21 negotiations in 1991 and during early 1992 and later, were devoted
22 precisely to some form of transformation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in
23 order to enable the three nationalities to live with each other within the
24 same state?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And that the transformation which was contemplated in the course
2 of many of those international discussions did involve quite radical
3 changes which would involve some form of entities attributable to the
4 different nationalities?
5 A. Yes. But if you allow me to say this. Not a single international
6 participant in these processes of seeking solutions said that one of the
7 solutions was war.
8 Q. In paragraph 53 of your statement, you say in your work in the
9 Assembly, you drew the conclusion that Krajisnik was consulted by the
10 deputies of the SDS about all issues. "Whenever disputes were likely to
11 arise in the parliament, the deputies of the SDS would address Krajisnik
12 for an answer, even though the chief of the club was the person they
13 should turn to."
14 Mr. Bjelobrk, can you give a single illustration for us of such a
15 dispute to which the -- on which the deputies of the SDS addressed
16 Mr. Krajisnik for an answer?
17 A. I myself asked SDS deputies about some of their statements, for
18 instance, with which I could not agree or where I sought additional
19 clarification. I asked them what kind of support they had within the SDS
20 club, and I checked whether it had been agreed upon with the head of the
21 club, and so on. And very often, the answer I got was that it had been
22 agreed upon with Krajisnik.
23 Q. So please, Mr. Bjelobrk, if you can, give an example.
24 A. For example, the discussion of the two memorandums. Of course, by
25 the very nature of things, you talk to people whose views differ from your
1 own. And then I checked the hierarchy to see how these positions were
2 formed, whether --
3 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, I think I'm going to have to stop you and ask you to
4 be a bit -- we do have memorandums coming outs of our ears in this case.
5 Which memorandums are you talking about now?
6 A. I was a participant in the debate only about two groups of
7 materials, those that were discussed during the summer session of the
8 Assembly and those that were discussed during the autumn session of the
9 Assembly. So I'm talking about the debates concerning these documents,
10 and then I had the opportunity of realising, after having talked to SDS
11 deputies whose views differed from my own, that this position had been
12 developed within the SDS club and that Krajisnik also backed those views.
13 Q. You've changed the description from the two memorandums to "these
14 documents," Mr. Bjelobrk, which doesn't actually really help us all that
15 much. Which two documents are you talking about, please?
16 A. I think that you have before you the minutes of the October
17 session, and I'll try to jog my memory now. In October, a document was
18 supposed to be looked at, and it was entitled "Memorandum." And then
19 another document that was entitled "Platform." I think that a third
20 document of the SDS was being prepared then. I can't remember the title.
21 In the summer of 1991, the SDA offered a memorandum. The SDP offered a
22 separate text which was called the memorandum, and I think there was also
23 an additional resolution, but all of this can be checked in the minutes.
24 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I say, this, I'm afraid, is exactly
25 the sort of area I simply cannot pursue this afternoon because I have
1 to --
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, what's the problem here? Let's try
3 to -- from what you asked the witness --
4 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour -- I'm sorry, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Does it say -- but perhaps I first ask a small
6 question to the witness.
7 If a SDS deputy would speak with the other deputies or with the
8 president of the Club of Deputies, if an issue would arise, I would say
9 consultation among deputies belonging to the same party, is there anything
10 wrong in that?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is perfectly correct.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Therefore, Mr. Stewart, the whole issue is -- I do
13 not know, as a matter of fact, what the issue is. I have -- I'm not a
14 politician, but of course I have observed in my life now and then how
15 parliaments are working. I would be surprised if, within the same party,
16 if an issue arose, if the members of a certain party would not, even
17 intensively, consult each other on what the party line would be if it
18 comes to debate, voting, et cetera. So I'm just wondering what the issue
19 here is.
20 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, with respect, I quite agree with
21 Your Honour. Such a party wouldn't be likely to last very long
22 politically, apart from anything else.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. STEWART: So we have to be realistic about it. But, Your
25 Honour, the point, so far as it goes a little bit beyond that, I suggest
1 that what I should do, because I -- it's either -- well, it's either
2 following the implications of what Your Honour has just said. It's either
3 unnecessary for me to ask further questions or it's not realistically
4 practicable for me to ask further questions. But what I suggest that we
5 do at the point this afternoon which Your Honour indicated where we will
6 need to discuss where we're going from here, that discussion will take
7 place in the absence of the witness.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Of course it will take place in the absence of the
9 witness. But as I said at the beginning of this hearing, we do that at
10 the very end. But let me just --
11 MR. STEWART: I'd like to answer that point at the very end, then,
12 Your Honour, is what I'm saying.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, as far as the Chamber is concerned, I
15 consulted with my colleagues that there seems to be nothing unusual in
16 whether or not specifically Mr. Krajisnik or just all of them in the
17 paragraph you've just mentioned, so the Chamber wonders whether there's
18 any need to go further into this matter. But --
19 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, the -- I think I can say the position
20 is that now that Your Honour says that to me --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 MR. STEWART: -- then I can say there's no further need. Because
23 Your Honour will understand that with the reassurance that there is
24 nothing lurking then in that paragraph that the Trial Chamber is going to
25 regard as unusual or something to be taken against my client beyond the
1 simple political processes that Your Honour describes, then I don't have a
3 [Trial Chamber confers]
4 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber deems that there's no need to put any
5 further questions, and this is in relation to the understanding of this
6 paragraph as I just gave to you.
7 MR. STEWART: May I ask this, Your Honour: Would the Prosecution
8 be willing for the last two sentences of paragraph 53 to be excised from
9 that paragraph?
10 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour, we're not.
11 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, to some extent -- Your Honour,
12 may I ask the witness to -- for the witness to leave court?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could I ask you just to follow Mr. Usher.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Before you continue, Mr. Stewart, I think we should
16 make a clear distinction between what the witness said. He said that he
17 heard from other deputies that ... That's the fact.
18 Second issue is whether that's anything to be considered unusual
19 or uncommon or inappropriate. I do not know, Mr. Hannis, whether you did
20 not accept to excise this part because you wanted to keep the fact as such
21 or whether you wanted to keep any interpretation of those facts.
22 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, we want to keep the fact as such and we
23 want to argue interpretation from it later on at the end of the case in
24 light of all the other evidence. Part of our argument is that
25 Mr. Krajisnik, in addition to whatever authority and power he had as -- in
1 virtue of his position as president of the Assembly and later as member of
2 the expanded presidency he also had de facto power, and we think it goes
3 to that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Stewart.
5 MR. STEWART: That's exactly the point, Your Honour. If it were,
6 and the reason I asked the question was because the first sentence on its
7 own: "In my work in the Assembly I drew the conclusion that Krajisnik was
8 consulted by the deputies of the SDS about all issues." Well, one might
9 squabble a little bit about "all," but really, I wouldn't make a big issue
10 of that. That would reflect the obvious common sense political reality as
11 Your Honour summarised it a few minutes ago. When we go on -- and that
12 sentence on its own would cover the point. The reason why the Prosecution
13 want the other sentences in is, it seems fairly clear, because they --
14 it's part of their case, and there are a number of other items in this
15 statement that Mr. Krajisnik and the last then in particularly highlights
16 it, that Mr. Krajisnik had more authority and influence with the other
17 members than would be expected from his position because he supplanted the
18 apparently natural person to approach, the chief of the Deputies Club,
19 they tended to go to Mr. Krajisnik instead. So I completely understand
20 that Mr. Hannis -- why Mr. Hannis wishes to preserve it and what he wishes
21 to argue. But it's precisely because he wishes to preserve it and wishes
22 to argue it that I cannot safely leave it like that.
23 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I'd be willing to excise the last
25 JUDGE ORIE: The last sentence tells us what the witness would
1 consider the appropriate person to address under these circumstances.
2 That's a matter of opinion rather than of fact.
3 Second sentence is about facts, apart from the assessment of
4 whether disputes were likely to arise, which is not a fact but an
5 assessment of a situation.
6 Mr. Stewart.
7 MR. STEWART: It's a fact, Your Honour. It's -- with respect,
8 it's a fact. It's that when a witness asserts, and the problem is that
9 the witness makes these assertions in very general terms which then -- and
10 there are a number of these items throughout, in very general terms, which
11 then cannot safely be left. I can't -- the only way I can receive a
12 guarantee, effectively, that these points are safe to leave is if they are
13 taken out. And the Prosecution -- I do understand the Prosecution
14 position. A very generous offer of Mr. Hannis to negotiate by offering me
15 sentence number 3, but I understand --
16 JUDGE ORIE: The second sentence is bothering you.
17 MR. STEWART: Well, yes, Your Honour. It does bother me. And it
18 bothers me, and the reason it bothers me is the other side of the coin
19 from the reason that Mr. Hannis's generous offer is not so generous as to
20 include the second sentence.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The witness may be escorted into the courtroom
23 MR. STEWART: May I say, Your Honour, that this welter of
24 memorandums, this is exactly what I have to get hold of and I have to go
25 through with Mr. Krajisnik.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 MR. STEWART: I won't say anything more about that right now, Your
4 Honour, in the --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelobrk, I've got a few questions to you.
6 In your statement, in paragraph 53, you say: "Whenever disputes
7 were likely to arise in the parliament, the deputies of the SDS would
8 address Krajisnik for an answer."
9 You've spoken about memorandums, you've spoken about a platform.
10 Could you give any other example of such a situation?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot this very instant.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Does this mean that when you talked about memorandum
13 and platform, could you be more precise exactly on what documents you
14 are -- to what documents you were referring to.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Documents that were items on the
16 agenda and that were debated by the Assembly in the summer of 1991.
17 JUDGE ORIE: How many memorandums are you talking about?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, there was this one document
19 that was authored by the Party of Democratic Action. I'm talking about
20 the session of the summer of 1991. Then there was a document that was
21 authored by the SDP. I think that there was also an SDS proposal at the
22 time, but I'm not sure about that.
23 JUDGE ORIE: So you're talking about two or three memorandums?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: The two you specifically mentioned were SDA and SDP
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Could you be more precise what the subject of these
4 memorandums was?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] These were offers in terms of how to
6 resolve the Yugoslav crisis. So they reflected the views of the authors
7 of these materials as to how they viewed a solution to the Yugoslav
9 JUDGE ORIE: Now, specifically, and I start with the SDA
10 memorandum, how did you know that the deputies were addressing
11 Mr. Krajisnik when preparing the position they would take?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is standard organisation for
13 deputies to have their club, and that club has a president. And the
14 president of the club has certain authority, and then all views are
15 double-checked with the president.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What you are explaining to me at this moment is
17 that to whom they should have gone. My question was: How exactly did you
18 know that they addressed Mr. Krajisnik in preparing their position?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I talked to SDS deputies, or --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us names of deputies you were talking
21 to? If you don't know, tell us. Then -- but if you know, please say so.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have any specific names on
23 my mind now. I gave concrete names in other situations. But I'm talking
24 about this general thing I noticed. When you talk to your colleagues,
25 deputies, you see how a position grows, how it develops. And they, it
1 seems, resolved all their problems with Mr. Krajisnik, not the president
2 of the club.
3 JUDGE ORIE: You say "it seems." You talked to your colleagues.
4 You say it seems that they resolved all their problems with Mr. Krajisnik.
5 On the basis of what do you draw the conclusion that -- why did you think
6 that they did so?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For example, when you open a new
8 option as a possibility for talks, I know that they go to consult
9 Krajisnik rather than the president of the club.
10 JUDGE ORIE: How do you know that? Did you see them going to the
11 room of Mr. Krajisnik?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. They told me that. That is
13 what they would tell me.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Did they tell you before they did so or did they tell
15 you after they had done so?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. I was not interested in
17 this post festum. I know, for example that when we worked in our club,
18 and if there was a chance to do something, of course I'd say: I'll look
19 into this with the president of my club. I'd tell them what the exact
20 address is, where I'm going to ask how our views should be formulated.
21 And they would always say that they would see with Mr. Krajisnik.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We are at a time where we should have a break
23 anyhow. Of course, the parties can reconsider their position on this
25 Mr. Stewart, the Chamber has understood that you think that you'd
1 need more time for preparation. The Chamber would like you to continue
2 with whatever other issue, again according to the relevance and
3 importance, after the break.
4 We'll adjourn until 6.00.
5 --- Recess taken at 5.41 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 6.08 p.m.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, you may proceed.
8 MR. STEWART: Yes. Thank you, Your Honour.
9 Q. Mr. Bjelobrk, in paragraph 50 of your statement, and it's a short
10 point, this one, so again, I don't think we need trouble too much with the
11 actual text, but paragraph 50, you talked about the rules of procedure and
12 so on. And then you said, after you talked about Mr. Krajisnik, as you
13 put it, ending the 8th Session, you said: "The SDS members always left
14 the Assembly sessions whenever a possible decision did not suit them."
15 Mr. Bjelobrk, is that not, on reflection, an obvious exaggeration,
16 that they didn't always leave the Assembly sessions whenever a possible
17 decision didn't suit them?
18 A. My conclusions were based on the walkout of the SDS MPs and on the
19 summer and the October session of the Assembly, that is, in 1991. And
20 they were in some other cases when the SDS representatives applied such a
21 tactic. That's why I concluded this, that they would leave an Assembly
22 session whenever it suited them. And, as Karadzic said in one of the
23 transcripts we read here, that the decision has to be legitimate to the
24 extent that the representatives of all the national parties have to have
25 their say as to their position with regard to a particular decision to be
1 decided upon.
2 Q. Yes, Mr. Bjelobrk. I don't want to subject answers to too much
3 textual analysis, but you said in that answer that they would leave the
4 Assembly session whenever it suited them. Well, Mr. Bjelobrk, I don't
5 wish to cross-examine you about that, because we can probably agree that
6 they would leave when it suited them, and if it didn't suit them, they
7 wouldn't leave, because, well, they were free to come or go. That's a
8 different point from what you say in your statement, which is -- is
9 different. In your statement you're saying not that they left whenever it
10 suited them but that they left -- they always left whenever a possible
11 decision did not suit them. The impression being that just whenever
12 things were not going to their liking, moving in their direction, that
13 they would just get up and leave. Now, I'm putting it to you that it
14 wasn't like that, Mr. Bjelobrk, was it?
15 A. Fine. That's what you say.
16 Q. No, I don't say anything.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Bjelobrk, let's try to get things straight. How
18 often -- how many times you remember that the SDS members left the
19 Assembly in a situation as you described?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I remember that it was that
21 once in the summer session, then there was the October session, where they
22 also walked out, and then there were other situations. But I would have
23 to consult with documents. There must have been -- there definitely were
24 other such situations.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Approximately. Was it all together four times, that
1 means the two you mentioned and two others, or was it ten times, or was it
2 30 times? What is in your recollection, approximately?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will tell you that approximately
4 at least five to six times they walked out at the session.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Then did it ever happen that they did not leave the
6 Assembly, although -- I'm not talking about what kind of issues - although
7 they were outvoted by a majority?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. But this usually happened when
9 some legislative proposals were tabled that had nothing to do with those
10 other legislative issues I was talking about.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So I do understand that what Mr. Stewart described as
12 a rather demonstrative way of expressing their discontent, that that
13 happened a couple of times, whereas usually on less sensitive issues, that
14 they usually would just stay, even if there was a risk of being outvoted.
15 Is that a correct understanding?
16 Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I confirm that.
18 MR. STEWART:
19 Q. And in the same paragraph, the next sentence, you say: "Likewise,
20 Krajisnik would interrupt the session and break the course of a discussion
21 whenever it did not suit him."
22 Well, first of all, I'll put it in the -- invite you in the
23 general terms. Mr. Bjelobrk, I put it to you: That also is an
24 exaggeration, isn't it?
25 A. In my opinion, it is no exaggeration.
1 Q. All right. Well, let's be specific. How many times do you say
2 that, when you were present, did Mr. Krajisnik interrupt the session and
3 break the course of a discussion because it did not suit him?
4 A. There were two ways in which a session could be discontinued.
5 One, which is in the paragraph 54, and that's the adjournment of a
6 session. And the other was simply a break in a discussion in order to
7 carry out some consultations [as interpreted] to improve the work of the
8 session and the Assembly. My experience shows that these good intentions
9 always resulted in there not being any agreement, and, based on these
10 statistical figures, I came to a conclusion that the purpose of it all was
11 for the Assembly not to take certain decisions and not to take certain
13 Q. Well, there was something missing, I'm told, by Ms. Cmeric, from
14 the English transcript, which is demonstrated, I think. Where it says at
15 line 16: "And the other was simply a break in a discussion in order to
16 carry out some consultations," Ms. Cmeric tells me that it missed a
17 phrase, which in English would be, so it would go: "And the other was
18 simply a break in a discussion in order with good intentions to carry out
19 some consultations." And in fact you then referred to these good
20 intentions in the next sentence. So does that make sense to you,
21 Mr. Bjelobrk, the way I've just described your answer? You referred to
22 good intentions twice.
23 A. Yes. The break in a session was done with good intentions, in
24 order to improve the organisational aspect of the work of the session. In
25 that sense, these were good intentions. However, if you do your best then
1 not to have the session resume its work, then this becomes an obstruction
2 of the work.
3 Q. And you say, do you, that Mr. Krajisnik then obstructed the work
4 in that way, by preventing the session from resuming its work?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What you describe, Mr. Bjelobrk, would you agree, seems to be
7 this: That if there was a difficult issue where agreement clearly wasn't
8 emerging with the Assembly, then with good intentions, it would be broken
9 off to see whether, behind the scenes, possibly with a smaller group or
10 perhaps more influential group, it could be sorted out, but that, well, in
11 general, it wasn't sorted out? Is that an accurate summary of what
13 A. Not quite. First of all, a parliament is, by the very definition,
14 a venue where agreements are to be reached, and it was quite natural if
15 the work was to break off, that that particular break would be used for
16 some sort of consultations that would enable the work of the parliament.
17 I've talked about this already.
18 This other part which related to the possibility of finding
19 solutions outside the parliamentary session was already allowing for some
20 parallel lines of work which had nothing to do with the Assembly.
21 Q. So when you say Mr. Krajisnik obstructed the work by preventing
22 the session from resuming, can we be clear how that worked mechanically.
23 Are you saying that if, for example, we looked at the minutes, we would
24 find that the session was adjourned by the Speaker, by the president,
25 Mr. Krajisnik; we would see, would we, some reference to it being
1 adjourned for discussions; and then we would find that the session never
2 resumed on that particular date? Is that what we would expect to find in
3 the minutes to represent the sort of obstruction that you've just
5 A. I don't know if we're talking here about one day, one single day,
6 as you've mentioned in your example.
7 Q. Well, you described it as being on a number of occasions. So I'm
8 asking you about -- well, any of the days when you say that Mr. Krajisnik
9 obstructed the work by preventing the session from resuming.
10 A. No. I said, in relation to that latter part, that the breaks were
11 very frequent and very long. As a result, we could never reach any
13 Q. When you say "very long," do you mean hours or are you talking
14 about breaks for days?
15 A. Most frequently, for a couple of hours. And I want to make myself
16 clear. It is a democratic way of working by placing a proposal on the
17 table and then having the MPs say their opinions on them. However, we
18 never came to that stage where a proposal would be discussed. We had
19 those endless breaks, and simply we were unable to get to the point where
20 a conclusion would be adopted.
21 Q. Were you ever present on an occasion when Mr. Krajisnik was asked
22 by anybody from any of the parties to resume the full Assembly session and
24 A. This was the case only at the 8th Session, when he adjourned the
25 session. He was then asked to resume the session, but he didn't want to.
1 Q. Well, that's -- you're talking about that one on the 14th -- 10th,
2 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th October, aren't you, the 8th Session?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. But we've had a lot of evidence from you so far on that, but just
5 leave that one aside. Otherwise, were you ever present on any occasion
6 when Mr. Krajisnik was asked by anybody, from any of the parties, to
7 resume the full Assembly session and refused?
8 A. This was the only case of the adjournment of the session as such.
9 I was talking about other types of situations when I was talking about
10 these endless breaks yielding no results whatsoever.
11 Q. You --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, would you allow me. If you have covered
13 this subject. Because I would have one additional question.
14 If you didn't reach any agreement during these breaks, would
15 finally the matter be put to a vote or what would then happen?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That was the problem, in point. You
17 made a more specific question. It is customary that when you have a point
18 you want to discuss that you put it forth to the MPs to discuss it, or you
19 simply put it to somebody else to decide about what the course of the
20 discussion should be. Whenever anyone would come out with a proposal, we
21 would immediately have consultations follow.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an example of an issue which was
23 discussed or where you were about to discuss the issue, then you would
24 have a break, and then, finally, it was -- well, it never ended in any
25 decision? Could you give us an example of that?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Let's take the following example.
2 At both of these sessions, there was the proposal for the -- for Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina to take a certain view with regard to the Yugoslav crisis.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let me stop you here. It is -- we heard a lot
5 of evidence on the, well, let's say the very problematic issue of the
6 future of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that every party, the parties took a
7 quite different position, that they could not reach an agreement, that --
8 well, what happened there. Apart from that, any other issue. So not the
9 future of a state or a republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, whether or not
10 independent; another issue, where, through breaks, finally never a
11 conclusion was adopted?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I cannot mention any other points,
13 because they were simply of less significance and did not elicit such a
14 difference in opinion, when I was talking about the memorandums, for
15 example. When you look at the summer sessions, you will see that the
16 Assembly has never decided upon anything like, for instance, the October
17 sessions. If at least we voted on being unanimous in not agreeing upon
18 anything, that would have been something.
19 JUDGE ORIE: From listening to your testimony, it appears to be,
20 but please correct me when I'm wrong, that your observations and your
21 statement about the dysfunctioning of the parliament, of the Assembly,
22 which is described in a rather general way, actually happened in relation
23 to that one big issue, that is, what will be the future of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina, when you're talking about obstruction, when you're talking
25 about these kind of matters, that it was always that one and big subject.
1 Is that a correct understanding? You're nodding, but the transcript
2 doesn't read any nodding.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I do confirm that this is the
4 way it was.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Stewart.
6 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. In your statement, at paragraph 20, you said: "In mid-1991, there
8 were many speeches of the deputies in parliament, stating that Serbs from
9 the various regions 'had to protect themselves.' You could see that the
10 idea came from the top leadership of the SDS."
11 I take it in your statement the phrase "had to protect themselves"
12 is in quotes. I take it that what you were meaning to say then was that
13 that -- that was what those many speeches said or that was some such
14 phrase that they used. Is that right?
15 A. That was the phrase they used, but that was also the quintessence
16 of it.
17 Q. The -- and when you -- the idea that you say came from the top
18 leadership of the SDS, this is the idea of protecting themselves. Is that
19 what you're saying?
20 A. I wasn't referring to the leadership having to protect themselves,
21 if I've understood you correctly, but rather to protect the areas where
22 Serbs were a majority.
23 Q. No. I didn't express myself sufficiently clearly, then,
24 Mr. Bjelobrk, because that isn't what I meant.
25 The -- you say you could see that the idea came from the top
1 leadership of the SDS. I was just asking you to confirm that the idea
2 that you say had come from the top leadership of the SDS was the idea of
3 the Serbs from the various regions having to protect themselves.
4 A. Yes. So my thesis is that the leadership of the SDS were the
5 authors is based on the understanding of the facts, that in the summer of
6 1991, there were no meaningful incidents among the population. There was
7 no need to organise any kind of protection or to assume that there should
8 be protection for someone who was a minority amongst you. So, since these
9 were the first regions that were supposed to be organised, namely,
10 Romanija, eastern Herzegovina, Bosanska Krajina, as areas with a majority
11 Serb population, there were no local reasons to have this done, so the
12 only thing that remained was the concept that the leadership of the party
14 Q. So this is a -- can I get it straight: This is a thesis of
15 yours - you may not be the only person to have held this thesis, but this
16 is what you describe as your thesis, is actually based on reasoning and
17 inference; is that right?
18 A. Yes. I was involved in this kind of public work. I held office
19 and I had to think about these things.
20 Q. So when you say you could see that the idea came from the top
21 leadership of the SDS, you don't have any direct knowledge of instructions
22 to that effect?
23 A. For a simple reason: Because in politics, not everything is
24 televised [as interpreted].
25 Q. Yes. I think your answer there started although it hasn't
1 appeared in the English transcript. I think your answer started with no
2 and then, "For a simple reason." I'm not sure who is going to confirm
3 that for me, but ...
4 You said when I said you didn't have any direct knowledge, you
5 were basically agreeing and then giving the reason why you didn't? That's
6 right, isn't it?
7 A. You have understood me properly, yes.
8 Q. In paragraph 59 of your statement, you referred to -- you say: "I
9 recall that Nikola Koljevic published a text about human resettlement in
10 1991, which was part of the wider discussion on resettlement which I
11 mentioned before." There's no other title or name given. Are you able to
12 help with anything more specific by way of identification of
13 Mr. Koljevic's text?
14 A. The elements that I have for identification, in terms of my own
15 memory, is that this was published by the Sarajevo newspaper Oslobodjenje,
16 and I think that the text was published somewhere on the second page,
17 towards the bottom.
18 Q. Well, that's quite specific as far as pages are concerned,
19 Mr. Bjelobrk.
20 A. Well, you asked me about identification.
21 Q. I'm expressing appreciation, Mr. Bjelobrk, for it being very
22 specific. Thank you.
23 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, that's as far as I'm able to go this
25 JUDGE ORIE: I would first have at this moment one additional
1 question to you, Mr. Bjelobrk, and that is: You explained to us that you
2 could see that the speeches claiming that the Serbs had to protect
3 themselves came from the SDS leadership. Now, you explained that you saw
4 no need, looking at the situation on the ground, you saw no need for any
5 protection. You also told us that in the Assembly, SDS deputies were
6 making speeches, indicating that there was need to protect themselves.
7 These are two facts.
8 Now, what made you believe that this idea came from the SDS
9 leadership rather than from foreign politicians, the president of what was
10 left from Yugoslavia, well, from whomever? What made you believe that it
11 came from the SDS leadership?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I tried to convey what I know
13 about this and what my experience was, I primarily focused on what I
14 believe was done in Bosnia-Herzegovina itself. Otherwise, I think that
15 the entire concept, in terms of everything that was going on in
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina in respect to the problem that we are discussing, is
17 based on a major influence played by Serbia and Croatia respectively. So
18 there was a major foreign influence involved. However --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Let me interrupt you again. I asked for specific
20 facts, although I might not have been clear enough, specific facts on why
21 you think that this idea came from the SDS leadership.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The very fact that these regional
23 communities were constituted meant that it was the top echelons of the SDS
24 that had authored it. That is what was made public.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Made public when and by whom?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the moment when it would be made
2 public. I already mentioned something like that. The public would find
3 out only when it would be told that: Yesterday a session had been held of
4 the Assembly of that particular region. And that is how you realise that
5 this kind of regional community had been established in the first place.
6 In the previous analyses, people who were close, like MPs or other
7 politicians, they would pick up bits and pieces and realise that something
8 like that would eventually happen. And, of course, they had much more
9 information, therefore, than the general public did.
10 And, thirdly, if you tried to understand the people who live in a
11 particular area, you're probably going to do that through elementary
12 statistics, in terms of what is actually happening to those people.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do I understand you well that, first of all,
14 we're talking -- we were talking about speeches made concerning the need
15 for protection, protection of Serbs. You said these speeches were -- the
16 idea for that protection came from the SDS leadership. Now, when you
17 explained that to us, I understood your answer to be that, on the basis of
18 the pattern you saw, where it happened, that it at a certain moment became
19 public, so on the basis of that pattern, that your conclusion was that the
20 idea must have come from the SDS leadership.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Is there anything else, apart from the pattern you
23 saw, that any specific fact that would support that conclusion?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far back as August or September
25 1991, I heard partial discussions of persons from the SDS who then said
1 that the Serbs should have their own government, the Croats should have
2 their own government, and the Bosniaks should have their own government.
3 And I inferred on that basis --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That is, you heard people talking about
5 separation of ethnicities. But the subject of our discussion was that the
6 need to protect yourself was an idea that came from the SDS leadership.
7 That's, of course, something different from separating several ethnic
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] An idea always comes from a small
10 group of people. It may, over a given period of time, be espoused by a
11 large number of people. But even if you look at a hypothesis and if you
12 wonder how many people can stand behind an idea, it will probably be based
13 on something that came as a challenge, at least at first.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I, as a citizen, would want
16 protection, even without any kind of political representation, the very
17 first second I'd feel threatened. However, when there is no justification
18 for feeling threatened, then the theory of protection can only be
19 engendered among a small group of people who put this in the context of a
20 political vision and then work from that.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you told us already that you couldn't
22 imagine anyone else than the SDS leadership to be that small group of
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Exactly.
25 JUDGE ORIE: At the same time, you told us that you had no
1 specific facts, apart from the pattern, apart from the widespread -- the
2 idea being widespread, apart from that, you had no specific reason to
3 assume that it was the SDS leadership rather than any other small group
4 you might have had in mind?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. This is my own logical
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
8 Mr. Hannis, is there any need to put further questions to the
10 MR. HANNIS: Not at this time, Your Honour.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Judge El Mahdi has one or more questions to you.
13 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I just ask.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 MR. STEWART: Normally speaking, the Bench of course will ask
16 questions from time to time, but the -- what we seem to be engaged in now
17 is what conventionally happens when cross-examination has finished.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 MR. STEWART: Which, Your Honour, is not, as I understand it, the
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Well, perhaps I should have been more clear,
23 Mr. Stewart. The question Judge El Mahdi is going to put to the witness
24 was a question the Chamber had in mind to put to this witness already
25 prior to this moment and which I have forgotten to ask him.
1 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, there's no problem at all about that.
2 I just wanted to verify because, of course, it's --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Whether the cross-examination has been finished or
4 not is a matter still to be decided.
5 MR. STEWART: Well, I remember what Your Honour said earlier. No,
6 Your Honour, of course --
7 JUDGE ORIE: So we have one question now and you'll be given an
8 opportunity to -- Judge El Mahdi.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.
10 [Interpretation] Witness, I would like to remind you of the
11 question that was put to you concerning paragraph 53 of your statement. I
12 think you have the declaration before you, in front of you: Paragraph 53
13 reads as follows, and I shall be quoting this, reading this in English:
14 [In English] "...were likely to arise." Disputes -- I beg your pardon.
15 "Whenever disputes were likely to arise in the parliament, the deputies
16 of the SDS would address Krajisnik for an answer, even though the chief of
17 the club was the person to whom they should turn to."
18 [Interpretation] My question is a very simple one: Can you tell
19 us or give us names of some of those MPs who expressed their concern
20 because they had to turn to Mr. Krajisnik? Does anything come to mind?
21 Could you give us some names, or just a few names of some of these MPs?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I could not remember exactly now. I
23 couldn't remember the names. I tried to present my own way of
24 understanding this here. When there were different views and when I tried
25 to talk to colleagues from the SDS, at the same time, I would check who
1 the authorities they consulted were.
2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Were these -- are you talking
3 about one MP or two MPs, no more than that?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was certainly at the level of,
5 say, 10 or 15 MPs.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Over a period of a few months?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A year.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] A year, if you multiply this by
9 15, one MP may have told you the same thing two or three times, in other
10 words, that he needs to look into the matter more closely with the
11 president of the Assembly?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. In those 15 or so times -- or
13 actually, this Assembly was constituted sometime in the autumn of 1990,
14 and we had a joint experience of one year. There was a political
15 necessity for you to see with your colleagues who their persons in
16 authority were. And whenever you discuss any issue, you would come to
17 realise who these persons were. Sometimes it would be better; sometimes
18 it would be worse. Any time I talked to other MPs, including MPs from the
19 SDS, I tried to see who these people were.
20 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] And I'm sure that you discussed
21 this with members of other parties. I'm sure you discussed this with
22 members of the SDA. So they were referring to -- or they turned to the
23 president of their club or the president of their party. Whom did they
24 refer to? Whom did they turn to?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here I talked about relations within
1 the Assembly, not outside the Assembly. I'll be very precise. I will say
2 that outside the Assembly, Radovan Karadzic was the highest authority in
3 the SDS, like Alija Izetbegovic was in the SDA, or the president of the
4 HDZ, for persons from the HDZ. Within the Assembly, though, you would
5 have the nominal position of the head of a club, but that would not mean
6 that he was the greatest parliamentary authority.
7 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. But at the
8 Assembly itself, I think -- but correct me if I'm wrong, please -- I think
9 that the president of the club is not an important person in the Assembly
10 itself; it's outside the Assembly that he plays a major role. They prepare
11 their work and they exchange their views at their club. I think in the
12 Assembly itself, you could address the president of the Assembly if you
13 wanted to, or were you not allowed to do this? In other words, this was
14 not prohibited; you were perfectly entitled to address the president of
15 the Assembly, I believe.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course it was not prohibited.
17 Anybody could address the president of the Assembly.
18 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] So did you address the president
19 of the Assembly yourself?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. I'd ask him to take the
21 floor or to start an initiative as an MP.
22 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
23 continues]... outside the Assembly sessions?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One can talk to the president of the
25 Assembly and couloirs and during committee meetings and the like, and then
1 we are all in the capacity of members of these committees.
2 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand. But basically
3 you talked about meetings with 10 or 15 MPs or so. That is what you based
4 your opinion on and that's how you outlined a general trend, on the basis
5 of this.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To be very precise, the impression I
7 got was that the top authority among the MPs in parliament was
8 Mr. Krajisnik.
9 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] That is your personal feeling
10 about it.
11 [In English] Thank you, Mr. President.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
13 Mr. Stewart, the Chamber has allowed, exceptionally, Mr. Krajisnik
14 to put questions to the witness as well if you would consider this wise to
15 do. We didn't hear from him. Do I take it that he has no questions or
16 should I interpret it otherwise.
17 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour. Apart from the fact there's not
18 really time to do it anyway today, but that's a different matter. No.
19 What happened, Your Honour, was that Mr. Krajisnik and I did have -- well,
20 took most of the first break with Ms. Cmeric to talk about this, and what
21 we concluded -- and, Your Honour, behind what we concluded, I do wish to
22 make plain that Mr. Krajisnik and I are not totally agreed on this issue,
23 not surprisingly, because Your Honour remembers that we had a considerable
24 debate on an application by Mr. Krajisnik with a rather ludicrous position
25 of my own client making an application which I then effectively opposed
1 and we argued it out between ourselves and I was largely successful on
2 that application. So there's something remaining of that. But
3 nevertheless, there was a considerable measure of agreement between
4 Mr. Krajisnik and myself this afternoon. But what we did agree about,
5 Your Honour, was that Mr. Krajisnik -- that neither of us wished for
6 Mr. Krajisnik to ask questions today.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Okay. That's clear.
8 Then, Mr. Bjelobrk, I'd like to ask you to follow the usher and
9 leave the courtroom for a while, but at the same time, I'd like you to
10 remain standby at least for the next ten minutes, because we have to deal
11 with a procedural issue. Thank you.
12 [The witness stands down]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, as indicated before, the Chamber would
14 like to give you an opportunity to tell us what you'd still have to deal
15 with during any further cross-examination you would like to conduct. If
16 you would consider this better, because it of course reveals some of the,
17 well, Defence strategy, perhaps, which you would rather not make public
18 because this is a matter of procedural order rather than anything else,
19 you, of course, could apply to go into private session.
20 MR. STEWART: Well, Your Honour, with respect, I do. That does
21 seem a fair suggestion, and I would like to --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Then we turn into private session.
23 MR. STEWART: -- take advantage of it. Thank you.
24 [Private session]
12 Pages 8422 to 8432 – redacted – private session.
12 [Open session]
13 JUDGE ORIE: Now we are, Mr. Stewart.
14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I haven't counted up, but I've
15 identified something like 12 to 15, something like 12 to 15 significant
16 points, some of which the Prosecution have responded to Your Honour's
17 suggestion by indicating they would drop them from the evidence
18 altogether, some of which they have resisted or -- don't criticise them
19 for that, Your Honour, they're on the other side of the case, but they
20 have resisted or expressed their agreement in qualified, sometimes heavy
21 qualified terms, some of the points the Prosecution have, well, frankly
22 refusing to excise, which is their prerogative to say that that's their
24 So we are left -- well, two things -- three things, really. We
25 are left, first of all, with a significant residue of important points.
1 Secondly, Your Honour, I really produce these indications in summary to
2 indicate why it's necessary to have this witness back for
3 cross-examination. But, Your Honour, I've also indicated the other
4 matters which Mr. Krajisnik wished to explore. And, Your Honour, the fact
5 is, we did not have an enormous amount of time with this witness, given
6 the huge range of topics that he covers. And for his -- for these matters
7 now, in this incomplete way, to be reduced, doesn't mean that I haven't
8 been faced with this entire statement, which I have, right up until now,
9 as what I had to prepare for for cross-examination. And recently,
10 alongside the transcripts of his evidence. And I made it very clear
11 yesterday afternoon, Your Honour, that I couldn't realistically attempt to
12 prepare for and cover the entire ground of his cross-examination for
13 today, and I do submit that it's absolutely plain in the light of the
14 run-through that I have just offered to the Trial Chamber in addition
15 to -- I do believe I can fairly claim the fairly extensive ground that we
16 have covered at a perfectly reasonable pace today in cross-examination, it
17 is quite clear that this cross-examination is just not finished. And,
18 Your Honour, we are balancing something which is -- none of us wants to
19 bring witnesses backwards and forwards unnecessarily, but in the end, all
20 we're asking for is that a witness returns to have his cross-examination
21 completed, and that is what it is. And I appreciate the Trial Chamber
22 wants to go to helpful lengths to see if we can avoid witnesses coming
23 back a second time unnecessarily, but we do seem to be -- everybody
24 bending over backwards and pushing it to the limits, really simply without
25 being dismissive of Mr. Bjelobrk, simply to avoid a witness having to come
1 back on another day to have his cross-examination completed, when it
2 really is apparent -- if it were tomorrow and we could sit tomorrow,
3 Mr. Bjelobrk were here, we'd suggest nobody would seriously be saying that
4 the cross-examination should finish tonight and he shouldn't come back
5 tomorrow and it shouldn't continue, and to apply some different test and
6 different approach altogether because he is going to have to go back and
7 he is going to suffer the inconvenience, which we acknowledge, of coming
8 back, is not the right approach.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand.
10 Mr. Hannis, any --
11 MR. HANNIS: No comment on that, Your Honour.
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: At this moment, the Chamber will not give a final
14 decision on whether or not this cross-examination is finished. First of
15 all, the parties are invited to see to what extent they can agree on the
16 issues you, Mr. Stewart, has mentioned as matters that would still need
17 further cross-examination. That's one.
18 Second, the Chamber wants to consider, also on the basis of the
19 outcome of any conversations between the parties, whether the remaining
20 portions of the evidence in writing are fit to be admitted at all. I
21 mean, we're talking about a statement of a witness which is a witness of
22 fact. So, therefore, it could well be that if the Chamber considers this
23 not to be facts but, rather, opinion, et cetera, that the Chamber might
24 not fully admit the statement of the witness into evidence.
25 Then at that very moment, when we have heard what the parties tell
1 us, when the Chamber has considered whether the statement could be
2 admitted into evidence, yes or no, then, of course, we'll see what the
3 points are that are remaining. Then the Chamber will also -- because this
4 Chamber is not guided by financial aspects and whether it bothers a
5 witness or not, but certainly bears, as everyone in this house, I would
6 say, some responsibility for how the funds are spent in this Tribunal,
7 especially knowing that funding of this Tribunal is not without any
8 problem, we have to find an efficient solution. So we still then could
9 consider, whether if we would consider it a right decision to say that
10 cross-examination has not yet finished, whether a videolink would be a way
11 out for these other reasons or not.
12 So we'll not give a decision at this moment, finally, on whether
13 the Chamber considers that the Defence has had sufficient opportunity to
14 cross-examine this witness.
15 Mr. Krajisnik, I saw that you would like to address the Chamber.
16 We have to be careful, because we might run out of tape very quickly. So
17 if you would limit it to just the essence of what you'd like to say.
18 Mr. Krajisnik, please proceed.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] First of all, I wish to thank you
20 for giving me the opportunity to address the witness and put certain
21 documents to him. I agreed with my lawyer, because I thought that this
22 examination would be deferred, so I thought that it would happen during
23 our next session. If, by any chance, you do not bring this witness back,
24 could we please use these arguments nevertheless? Because you will
25 clarify some matters. This is a very important witness. He's not a Serb,
1 or rather, he is not from the SDS, but he will throw light on what
2 happened in parliament. I assure you, Your Honours, that you will find
3 out that what he said was wrong. He thinks that I'm against them, but I
4 did vote for their proposal, so he will realise that. Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Krajisnik, that's exactly the reason why the
6 Chamber invited the Defence to come up with the literal text of
7 stenographic notes of those meetings. We could then look at them, as I
8 said, and we could then decide whether it would be -- whether it would be
9 appropriate to recall the witness in order to confront him with that or
10 that we would do without. That's a decision still to be taken on the
11 basis of any material we might receive.
12 Then I'd like to ask Mr. Usher to escort the witness into the
13 courtroom again. I'll do it really quickly. Tapes are -- it's over.
14 Yes. I know how important it is to have everything on the record.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE ORIE: I nevertheless will address Mr. Bjelobrk, and
17 everything I'll say to him will be confirmed in writing, a copy to be sent
18 to the parties.
19 Mr. Bjelobrk, the Defence would like to put more questions to you
20 in cross-examination. The Chamber has not yet decided whether you would
21 be recalled to appear again in order to be further examined. The Chamber
22 will still have to decide that. You'll be informed about the decision of
23 this Chamber. You'll not stay in The Hague for the time being, because
24 the Chamber will not be sitting during the next week, not tomorrow, which
25 is a holiday, not next week. This will be confirmed to you in writing.
1 You are instructed, in this uncertain situation, not to speak with anyone
2 about the testimony you have given or, eventually, are still about to
3 give. This instruction is valid, first of all, until you receive
4 information. If that information will be that you'll not be recalled,
5 then it's not valid anymore, although I don't know whether it's wise to
6 discuss with everyone your testimony in this court. But it's public
7 testimony. If the information will be that you will be recalled, then the
8 instruction continues to be applicable.
9 Is that clear to you?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is clear. I understand, Your
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. You may follow the usher, who will escort
13 you out of the courtroom. And I think you already, in case you would not
14 return, I thank you for having come to The Hague and to have answered all
15 the questions in this courtroom. Thank you.
16 [The witness withdrew]
17 JUDGE ORIE: As far as the parties are concerned, to be quite
18 honest, I do not know what the procedure is, if we're running out of a
19 tape, it never happened to me in the last couple of years.
20 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I suggest we have a transcript at our
21 next session, I think perhaps when we're on the record, on tape, we can
22 describe what we've done since the tape ran out tonight.
23 JUDGE ORIE: What I'm seeking to do is to at least make clear on
24 the record that we ran out of tape, there's no audio record, and
25 therefore, I kept it rather brief at this very moment.
1 Then I take it -- I beg the parties not to raise any further
2 procedural issues unless really necessary, because we have no audiotape. I
3 don't know whether we still have a videotape, but that usually also
4 records the -- Madam Registrar says no. Is there any urgent issue to be
5 raised at this moment?
6 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Not for the Prosecution.
8 MR. STEWART: I'm tempted just to shake my head, Your Honour,
9 because it wouldn't make much difference. But no, there isn't, Your
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll adjourn. We'll not sit tomorrow, which is
12 a UN holiday, we'll not sit next week, and we'll resume on the 22nd of
13 November, I think at 9.00 in the morning, as far as I remember. I do not
14 know which courtroom exactly, but, Madam Registrar ...
15 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we sit on the 22nd November at 9.00,
16 in Courtroom III.
17 JUDGE ORIE: We adjourn until the 22nd of November, 9.00,
18 Courtroom III.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.32 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Monday, the 22nd day of
21 November, 2004, at 9.00 a.m.