1 Monday, 10 October 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9:08 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone. Mr. Registrar, would you
6 please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-00-39-T, the Prosecutor versus Momcilo Krajisnik. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. Today the opening of the
10 Defence case has been scheduled. As announced by Defence counsel, an
11 opening statement will be made. At the same time, the Chamber still owes
12 you a decision on the Zvornik contextual documents. That decision, and I
13 already can inform the parties, that for 98 or 99 per cent the exhibits
14 will be admitted. There is one or two items we just need perhaps a couple
15 of days. So it's just about one or two contextual documents that there
16 can be any doubt as to non-admission -- to admission or non-admission.
17 Mr. Stewart, is the Defence ready to make its delayed opening
18 statement under Rule 84?
19 MR. STEWART: I'm sorry, delayed opening statement?
20 JUDGE ORIE: Delayed; it's for you to choose whether you make your
21 statement at the beginning of the case, at the beginning of the Defence
22 case. To that extent I'm saying delayed opening statement. I had nothing
23 more in mind.
24 MR. STEWART: I just wanted to be sure Your Honour. The word has
25 cropped from time to time.
1 May I start, please, Your Honours with just a reference to a
2 cultural difference so there is no confusion. There is a cultural
3 difference between the Prosecution team and the Defence team in this
4 respect: That they -- many of them, and certainly the leading members of
5 the Prosecution team, have practised for many years in the United States.
6 The two counsel currently on the Defence team -- when I say "currently" I
7 don't wish that to sound like "current wife." We intend to be on the team
8 until the end of the case. But we have practised for many years at the
9 Bar of England and Wales, and Mr. Josse's predecessor also practised in a
10 common law system closer to the English system, in Australia. I say it
11 for this reason, Your Honour: That there is a habit which is very
12 different; that counsel from the United States will very often say they
13 think something, that their opinion is something, and so on, and it's
14 woven into their submissions in a way which, for us from a modest sized
15 island off to the West of here, sometimes find difficult to disentangle.
16 When we make submissions, Your Honour, we make submissions. We do
17 not express personal opinions. It doesn't mean we don't have any. We're
18 not intellectual units. We're not emotional units. Of course we do have
19 our private opinions and sometimes our private opinions will coincide with
20 the submissions. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes, of course, it may be
21 fairly apparent, but that's another matter. That's, in a sense, behind
22 the veil. Everything we say to the Court, apart if I say I think the
23 air-conditioning is a bit fierce this morning, that's a personal opinion,
24 that's not a submission, but leave aside that sort of thing. Everything
25 we say to the Court is a submission. It is a submission as counsel for
1 Mr. Krajisnik. It is the Defence case. It is Mr. Krajisnik's case. We
2 are only - and I stress only - we are only Mr. Krajisnik's advocates.
3 Mr. Krajisnik is on trial. We are Mr. Krajisnik when we stand up and make
4 these submissions to the Tribunal. I am Mr. Krajisnik for these purposes.
5 Mr. Josse is Mr. Krajisnik for these purposes. We do that -- the
6 difference between us and Mr. Krajisnik is we are professional advocates
7 and everything we do has to be consistent with our duties as members of
8 our Bar and our duties as members of the association and our duties to
9 this Tribunal in the way that we recognise duties to the Court on the
10 basis of long practice in England and Wales. So, Your Honour, that
11 preface, we submit, is important to understand the way in which we frame
12 our submissions throughout this case and the way in which we present our
14 Your Honour, there is - and it is absolutely unreal to suggest
15 anything different - there is in relation to many cases before this
16 Tribunal, and this one is no exception, a very high degree of prejudgement
17 in the world outside this Court. When one puts forward names such as
18 Karadzic - and I mean no disrespect to anybody today if I don't say
19 Misters and Doctors and so on, it's just quicker to do it that way. When
20 we put forward names of Karadzic, Mladic, Krajisnik we have here in Court,
21 in the world outside many, many people have the clearest idea that these
22 are just guilty men who just have to be got here in two of the cases that
23 I have mentioned, and when they are got here, there will be a trial and
24 then they will be convicted. Now, in a different part of the world,
25 Saddam Hussein is on trial. It would be again unreal to suppose that in
1 the world outside there is not a vast number of people who suppose that
2 whatever trial Saddam Hussein obtains, the chances of his not being
3 convicted at the end of the trial are simply zero. And one can imagine --
4 I obviously hold no brief one way or the other in relation to that matter,
5 but one can imagine the political repercussions of an acquittal of a man
6 whose actions supposedly are at the root of massive military action in
7 that part of the world.
8 I say this, Your Honours, because a very high degree of judicial
9 courage is needed in relation to this sort of a case. This is one area
10 where a bench of professional Judges is in some ways under greater
11 pressure than a jury. A jury can largely retire after the case is over
12 into relative obscurity and anonymity. It is a good thing if they do, on
13 the whole. Any disagreements or objections to their verdicts may come, of
14 course, from friends, relatives, acquaintances, and if I'm allowed to be a
15 little bit English here, the chap you meet in the pub for a short time,
16 and probably for a short time a jury member in a high profile case where a
17 defendant is acquitted in circumstances where the media momentum has
18 suggested very clearly to the populace at large that this is plainly a
19 guilty man, terrible things have been done, it's supposed. Well, the
20 police arrested him, no smoke without fire; all those matters with which
21 anybody involved in the legal system is extremely familiar. Short-lived.
22 It will have little or no effect, usually, on anybody's personal or
23 professional reputation. It holds no real fears for an ordinary member of
24 the public as a member of a jury. But the Judges of this Tribunal, with
25 Your Honours' vast experience in the law and great skills that you bring
1 to bear on this case, are in a different position because you inevitably
2 can expect, must expect, and do expect, rightly, that your decisions, and
3 your judicial reputations, of course, because just as barristers are only
4 as good as their last case, there's a sense in which Judges' reputations
5 are only as good as their last judgement, can expect your decisions and
6 reputations to be under the closest scrutiny. And informed scrutiny.
7 They will be subject to uninformed scrutiny, that just goes with the
8 territory. Everybody involved in this matter. It's right. It's part of
9 the public nature of a trial. It's not a disparagement. We don't expect
10 the world to -- every person out there to live and breathe cases of this
11 nature. It would be rather unfortunate for human life if they did. But
12 an interest is important in the world at large, and scrutiny by what one
13 might loosely call the informed public, and the informed international
14 public, is something to which everything that happens in this Tribunal
15 will be subjected. So -- and that will apply particularly forcefully if,
16 as the Defence say, it should be and ultimately will be, if your verdict
17 turns out to be something quite different from what the world at large and
18 the legal and political community have been expecting. And we do put it
19 in those terms because we don't wish this case to proceed in some utterly
20 unreal vacuum. I will come to the question of how this case must proceed
21 within the confines of a public court, within the confines of the evidence
22 and so on. I'll come to that. But it is unreal to suppose that there
23 aren't enormous pressures. And Your Honours, we're not submitting that
24 Judges -- it would be an insolent submission to suggest that Judges of
25 this Tribunal are not equipped and ready to withstand such pressures, but
1 they are there. And this case, a case of this nature, and specifically
2 Mr. Krajisnik's case, are at the top end of the scale of cases which
3 require that degree of judicial courage to reach a decision which it is
4 plain would not be the expected, and in many quarters would not be the
5 desired result. Acquittal of Mr. Krajisnik would cause consternation. We
6 know that, and Your Honours know that. But if it is the right result in
7 the long term, not so much the consternation but the deep undermining of a
8 judicial system if it is the wrong result, is -- far outweighs any such
10 The -- it's a search for the truth. It is a search for the truth
11 in an inevitably qualified way because, for a start, it's not divine
12 justice. It's human justice. Divine justice, no personal opinions are
13 going to be expressed in that area, but if divine justice has to be faced,
14 that will be some other day, and that is not our direct concern.
15 The search for the truth in this human system of justice is a
16 search conducted in different ways by different systems, and Your Honours,
17 along with your fellow Judges in this Tribunal, are constantly searching,
18 we hope with the helpful assistance of counsel in this case as in other
19 cases, for a reconciliation of the different cultures and the different
20 systems, and many times in the course of this case Your Honours have
21 correctly referred to the hybrid nature of the system under which this
22 Tribunal operates. And, Your Honour, we unreservedly accept that it is
23 that. We have had, and no doubt during the course of the rest of this
24 case we will continue to have, submissions and debates, debates in a
25 proper courtroom way about the balance and about what features should go
1 into a hybrid system from different systems, starting from the position
2 the Defence will always submit that the essential nature of these trials,
3 as enshrined in the Statute and the Rules of Procedure, is adversarial.
4 That, we submit, is plain whatever adjustments and qualifications are
6 But whatever the balance of different systems, an essential
7 feature of all criminal trials under any recognisably acceptable system is
8 -- is this: That it is an individual on trial. And that is especially,
9 especially a signal feature of the new International Criminal Court, with
10 all the immunities swept away as a corollary effect. Precisely because it
11 is individuals that are put on trial, individuals should not be able to
12 escape liability, because if there is a human being in the dock, to use
13 that phrase, who is on trial, then that human being, he or she, is not
14 allowed to escape liability by saying, "Well, I was really my country. I
15 was really my government. I was really only that." It is individual
16 responsibility. But the other and most important and long established
17 fundamental feature of any acceptable criminal system is that, as we know,
18 there is not collective guilt. There must not be collective guilt. There
19 must not be guilt by association. There must not be -- and it's not a
20 technical phrase but I suggest that it's clear what we are saying; there
21 mustn't be guilt by substitution. It must be that particular -- if there
22 is to be a conviction ultimately, contrary to the Defence's submissions,
23 it must be on the basis that that individual, and in this case it's
24 Mr. Krajisnik, is himself criminally responsible for acts which are, of
25 course, then by definition must be crimes. And in the very broadest
1 terms, it means there must be justice, not vengeance.
2 Again, we know, and there can't be any possible dispute, the idea
3 that all is at peace -- all is at peace in the very clear, simple way in
4 the former Yugoslavia, but the idea that all is at peace and all is
5 sweetness and light and harmony and there is forgiveness, it is -- of
6 course it isn't forgotten, we know that. Things don't get forgotten and
7 they certainly are no more easily forgotten in the former Yugoslavia than
8 in any other part of the world. That has become apparent in the course of
9 this case. There are, not surprisingly, tremendously strong feelings.
10 Anybody who, as many people have, lost family members in terrible
11 circumstances, are going to harbour those feelings and they're going to
12 harbour them for the rest of their lives. There is burning resentment
13 among Serbs at many of the terrible things that were done by Muslims and
14 Croats. There is burning resentment - resentment is too mild a word in
15 the Muslim Community - at terrible things. And terrible things were done
16 to the Muslims at terrible things were done to Muslims at the hands of
17 Serb. It's no part of Mr. Krajisnik's case that that didn't happen. It
18 would be unreal. Mr. Krajisnik does not wish to put forward any such
19 absurd contention.
20 But the state in a domestic prosecution, the international
21 community, the combination of states which is behind this Tribunal and
22 these prosecutions, and the Prosecution because the Prosecution is
23 presenting the case against Mr. Krajisnik on their behalf, in effect, with
24 the Trial Chamber having - and Appeals Chamber, if it should come to it -
25 having the ultimate responsibility of the decision. But the Prosecution
1 always have the burden, which the Trial Chamber, of course, and we don't
2 suggest they would ever do anything different, loyally accept and apply
3 the burden that to convict a human being of any crime - it applies even to
4 trivial crimes, but we certainly don't have trivial crimes on the
5 indictment in this case - to hold Mr. Krajisnik in this case individually
6 responsible for these terrible events - and they were - to take away his
7 freedom - now his freedom has been taken away the last few years anyway,
8 but I'm talking about taking away his freedom at the end of this trial if
9 he is convicted - requires proof by evidence.
10 And the truth, tying in with the phrase the search for the truth,
11 the truth, and it's the only truth which can be reached and found in this
12 case, is the truth of what is established by the evidence. For the
13 purposes of this trial and the purposes of the verdict against
14 Mr. Krajisnik, that is the only truth. If there is any doubt, if there is
15 any uncertainty, if there are any gaps, they must not be resolved or
16 filled by speculation or guesswork. They can only be filled, if there are
17 gaps, the case against Mr. Krajisnik can only be made and in the end he
18 can only be convicted on evidence in this courtroom, within the ambit of
19 admissible evidence. Of course it includes procedurally all the 92 bis
20 evidence. Every bit of evidence is evidence, of course, but
21 tautologically, everything which is not evidence is absolutely not
22 evidence, apart from the obvious facts in the world of which judicial
23 notice can be taken. The sun comes up in the east. We know that. Of
24 course that's all part of evidence in a case, without getting into some
25 academic analysis of it. That is well understood. But it's also well
1 understood that beyond evidence in the case is, for the purposes of
2 Mr. Krajisnik's guilt or innocence, a void. It just does not exist.
3 Anything else of which one can't simply take judicial notice as to context
4 of the world in which the evidence is presented, everything else is a
6 There are different ways of expressing the burden of proof.
7 Traditional English expression adopted and followed throughout the common
8 law world has been for decades, centuries probably, Mr. Josse probably
9 knows better than I do, he'll fill me in the on the history, but for
10 centuries, I have some confidence in suggesting, that was beyond
11 reasonable doubt. It's -- it's fallen into disuse a bit. The modern
12 phrase adopted by criminal courts in England is for the Judge to tell the
13 jury, because serious cases still are dealt with by juries, is for the
14 Judge to tell the jury that you must be satisfied so you are sure that the
15 defendant is guilty. The modern phrase is thought, and we're not
16 quarreling with that, and we accept it anyway within our system, is
17 thought to be clearer and more understandable to a jury, but in substance
18 they're the same. Nothing in the Statute, Rules, or jurisprudence of this
19 Tribunal even hints at any different test or standard, and we approach the
20 case on the footing that this Trial Chamber would never be seeking to
21 apply anything, however it was precisely phrased in words, never be
22 seeking to apply any lower test or standard in Mr. Krajisnik's case.
23 So the Defence are content, of course, with the test that before
24 you can convict Mr. Krajisnik on any count, and there are a number of
25 counts and each one, although they may overlap, each one has to be
1 carefully and separately considered, and each of those counts you must be
2 satisfied so you are sure that he is guilty. So any doubt which makes you
3 feel unsure in relation to any count means that you must, and it's not --
4 I say must not in the sense it's our function to give orders to the Trial
5 Chamber. Again, we would not be so insolent or presumptuous, but in terms
6 of the duties that Your Honours have, you must then acquit Mr. Krajisnik.
7 So far we only have the Prosecution evidence, of course. We are
8 at this watershed now where we're coming to the Defence case. Your
9 Honours have so far issued a decision that there is a case to answer,
10 reached by clear indication, or expressed by clear indication by the
11 rejection of the Defence's 98 bis application, which for those that don't
12 pore over the Rules of this Tribunal, was our submission that on the
13 Prosecution case evidence, there was no case to answer, that there was not
14 sufficient evidence, without the Defence having to call any evidence, not
15 sufficient evidence on which safely to convict Mr. Krajisnik.
16 Now, Your Honours have rejected that, and I am not going to go
17 into the -- all the appeal issues and the procedural matters of where we
18 are, the tangle there in relation to appeal. Your Honours' decision is
19 effectively this: That on all the evidence presented by the Prosecution,
20 this Court has at this point decided that it would be possible that when
21 that evidence is scrutinised, Mr. Krajisnik could be found guilty. It's
22 not a finding that if Defence didn't call any evidence Mr. Krajisnik
23 would, therefore, be convicted. The evidence would still have to be
24 scrutinised if - which is not going to happen - if we didn't call a jot or
25 an iota of Defence evidence. So the decision as it stands at the moment
1 is not that he would be convicted and not that the evidence so far shows
2 beyond reasonable doubt that he's guilty of anything. The decisions on
3 those questions lie in the future.
4 It's important for this reason, because it ties in with what we've
5 already said this morning on the fundamental burden of proof. The Defence
6 doesn't have to disprove the Prosecution case. In practice, as a factual
7 matter, as a matter of presentation, the Defence case will include
8 elements which will disprove aspects of the Prosecution case. The fact
9 that you don't have to doesn't mean you don't do that where the Defence
10 has evidence which does, in some cases - and we do submit this - in some
11 cases will demolish the Prosecution evidence and in other cases will cast
12 serious doubt on it, then we will present that evidence. But the fact
13 that the Defence goes factually and evidentially beyond the burden doesn't
14 change the burden. The Defence, after all, can, consistent with the
15 burden, call no evidence at all. That's not what we're going to do, and
16 I'll come to it. Your Honours know already that a very important feature
17 of the Defence case is that Mr. Krajisnik himself is going to give
18 evidence, and I will come to that. So the case remains open.
19 There has been, whatever privately occurs in Chambers and whatever
20 work is done on papers, there has been and cannot have been so far -- I
21 get my grammar mixed up. There has been no detailed consideration of the
22 case against Mr. Krajisnik on its merits, and there can't be yet because
23 the Defence has always made it clear that it would be presenting evidence.
24 The case is just a long way from over. The case remains open, and
25 Mr. Krajisnik still, as he has done throughout and for the last five years
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that he's been confined to the United Nations -- five and a half years
2 now, to the United Nations Detention Unit in the Hague, Mr. Krajisnik
3 still stands in the metaphorical sense, he's sitting behind me here,
4 stands innocent until eventually it's decided after the judgement of this
5 Trial Chamber, any Appeals Chamber that looks at the matter, that he's
6 guilty on any of the counts, and unless and until such a finding of guilt
7 has been reached following a fair trial in which he has had sufficient
8 opportunity of meeting the Prosecution case, including presentation of his
9 own Defence by evidence called for him.
10 This case includes one major feature absent from many trials on
11 serious criminal charges, and that applies to trials in domestic courts as
12 well as international tribunals. Right from the outset of this trial and
13 -- well, here I'm just expressing my personal recollection, Your Honours;
14 my recollection is it was very early in the trial. Whether it was days or
15 whether it was a tiny number of weeks, but very early indeed in the trial
16 it was made clear by Mr. Krajisnik's lawyers, that was -- that's always
17 included me since before the trial began, and on occasions when the
18 opportunity has been given to him, by Mr. Krajisnik himself, that he would
19 be giving evidence himself and would, therefore, and will therefore be
20 subjecting himself to cross-examination on the huge range of issues put
21 forward by the Prosecution as relevant to the case against Mr. Krajisnik.
22 And, Your Honours, I again expressing just personal recollection here, I
23 believe that at no point during this trial has Mr. Krajisnik, certainly
24 not his lawyers on his behalf, has Mr. Krajisnik ever resiled from that
25 position or ever expressed any contingent or provisional nature of his
1 decision to give evidence. Clearly contingent if the Prosecution case had
2 been dismissed on the 98 bis application, then of course he would have,
3 but apart from that obvious point, Mr. Krajisnik's firm commitment has
4 never been qualified in any way at all.
5 Mr. Krajisnik remains firmly and unequivocally committed to doing
6 what he has always wanted to do in this case and said he would do; to tell
7 the true facts as he sees them - he can only present them as he sees them,
8 like any human being, as he honestly sees them - and to explain as fully
9 as possible, first in this instance by his own evidence but also more
10 broadly by the evidence of other Defence witnesses, the truth as to what
11 has happened. And Mr. Krajisnik has consistently expressed, and through
12 me today as his advocate, expresses again the strong wish that the facts
13 should be as thoroughly investigated as possible, and in particular that
14 he, Mr. Momcilo Krajisnik, has the full opportunity of giving his personal
15 account of the enormously wide-ranging events brought up by the
17 At present, despite the considerable time that this trial has
18 taken, and correctly taken because the events are so wide-ranging, at
19 present the Trial Chamber of course has only a partial and incomplete
20 picture of the relevant events. It will always be incomplete for the
21 reasons I've recognised. This is not -- this is human justice. We can't
22 recreate -- we're not out to recreate them, of course, but we can't simply
23 draw the complete picture of what happened in former Yugoslavia in the
24 early 1990s. That's not possible. A human court can only do its best,
25 but the best can go a long way, and again, if the best does not produce a
1 clear, undoubted compendium of evidence which shows unequivocally that the
2 defendant is guilty, then he is not guilty and he remains innocent.
3 But Mr. Krajisnik wishes and intends to present a full Defence.
4 It's not his burden, but he will present a full Defence which will fill
5 out the picture. It will explain misunderstandings, and it will remove
6 misconceptions which could easily be gained from the Prosecution case.
7 And it will lead to the conclusion not just that there is sufficient
8 doubt, which is enough, but that conviction of Mr. Krajisnik would be a
9 serious miscarriage of justice because it would be the conviction of an
10 innocent man for the crimes of others.
11 This isn't a case in which there have been no crimes. That's
12 obvious. The Defence hasn't sought, except it sought to test, of course,
13 and that's legitimate, from time to time, but in many instances -
14 probably, on examination of the record and the transcript, most instances
15 - the Defence has not sought to challenge the veracity of the evidence
16 which has described appalling crimes committed against individuals in
17 different parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in 1992. That was
18 an annus horribilis, there is no question about it. We heard -- I have to
19 be careful because, without double-checking, I can't be 100 per cent sure
20 whether the particular witness is a protected witness or not, but we heard
21 a -- within the last two or three months of the Prosecution case, a woman
22 described to the Trial Chamber how her children were snatched from her,
23 never seen again, and they're dead. That's clear. Her husband is
24 certainly dead, and his body, the remains of his body have been found.
25 The Defence doesn't suggest that those things didn't happen. We
1 don't suggest that that lady bravely -- that she didn't bravely come to
2 tell the truth in relation to those matters. Of course she did. And
3 nobody could suggest that her recollection of those events, except in the
4 most irrelevant detail, could possibly be mistaken. People do invent
5 things, but that lady was not inventing those things. That's not the
6 Defence case. Those were terrible events and it's not the Defence case
7 that they weren't and it didn't happen.
8 The Defence case does include - but, Your Honours, we hope that we
9 have and will continue to keep it properly within the confines of where it
10 has a relevant bearing on Mr. Krajisnik's case - the Defence case does
11 include that crimes were committed on all sides. Terrible crimes were
12 committed on all sides. Proportions don't help the individuals. If there
13 were three times as many of one nationality subjected to appalling
14 brutality as another nationality, it's dismal arithmetic, and it's not
15 arithmetic that the Defence wishes to explore in an unproductive and
16 depressing way. Those things happened.
17 Mr. Krajisnik doesn't defend himself and he won't defend himself
18 and he refuses to defend himself by an irresponsible denial that terrible
19 events and terrible crimes were committed in many parts of Bosnia,
20 especially in the last year for which Mr. Krajisnik is indicted. Awful
21 things have happened since as well, but Mr. Krajisnik is charged with the
22 responsibility up to very near the end of 1992, and 1992 particularly was
23 a year in which -- most of the terrible things of which Your Honours have
24 heard evidence in this case happened in 1992, whatever their genesis.
25 This was an appallingly brutal war, if there ever can be a war
1 without brutality. There were killings, rapes, tortures, brutal
2 ill-treatment on an appalling scale. There was devastating destruction of
3 lives and property. There was ravaging of homes and livelihoods.
4 Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters were lost by tens or
5 hundreds of thousands. Nobody in their right mind denies that. So
6 Mr. Krajisnik doesn't deny it. No nationality or group went unharmed and
7 unscathed, and every nationality and every ethnic group both suffered and
8 harboured and still harbours among their numbers war criminals.
9 There was brutality on all sides. There is no excuse for -- there
10 isn't an excuse for any of those terrible acts of brutality. The -- in
11 wartime, there are, of course, the legitimate -- once a war has started,
12 there are legitimate actions of self-defence or legitimate aggression in
13 the course of the war once it's started. That's not what this case is
14 about. After all, people don't just get put on trial for killing the
15 enemy in the course of a war, tragic though that is in human terms.
16 Only the most -- well, only the fortunate families in that region
17 of the world escaped unscathed and unmarked by tragic loss. And as it
18 happens, Mr. Krajisnik's own family was not among the fortunate. In the
19 midst of all this turmoil, it's not -- I'm not putting it forward, it's
20 not the central feature of the case, but it is a central feature of
21 Mr. Krajisnik's life and Mr. Krajisnik is the man on trial. In the midst
22 of all the turmoil and pain of that brutal year, in August 1992,
23 Mr. Krajisnik lost his own wife and the mother of his three children. It
24 was and is a large event in the life of Mr. Krajisnik and his own
25 children. But notwithstanding that tragedy within Mr. Krajisnik's own
1 family, if he were truly responsible in any way for these terrible crimes,
2 then he would have to answer for them, in this world, wherever else, and
3 before this Court.
4 I say no more about that personal tragic event. Mr. Krajisnik
5 will give his own account of the war from where he was and from what he
6 knows, from what he saw, what he knew about, and the events which led up
7 to it. But Mr. Krajisnik - and Your Honours will hear this and it is part
8 of the picture - Mr. Krajisnik had a human family life as well in parallel
9 to all his work and his political activities. You will, therefore, have
10 the opportunity of judging the man. You're judging ultimately the
11 responsibility of the man or not responsibility for the crimes with which
12 he's charged, but you will have the opportunity of judging the man as well
13 as part of Your Honours' heavy task in reaching your conclusions whether
14 he is to be held criminally responsible in this Tribunal.
15 Now, there are some questions in relation to Mr. Krajisnik, the
16 man, which do have a significant bearing, must be taken into account in
17 assessing his responsibility for any crimes. Are there inflammatory
18 statements by Mr. Krajisnik, as - and we don't reject this label and
19 Mr. Krajisnik doesn't reject the label of his being in some sense one of
20 the Bosnian Serb leaders. It requires more careful analysis to see where
21 it leads, but that as a simple label is not rejected and couldn't be
22 rejected by the Defence. Are there inflammatory statements? The
23 Prosecution point to and have pointed to a small number of passages of
24 Mr. Krajisnik's public utterances that they would suggest fall into that
25 category. I'm not getting into that this morning because -- not because
1 it's -- they are to be avoided or evaded or not faced by the Defence, but
2 the time to look at those in detail is going to be particularly when
3 Mr. Krajisnik gives evidence, because that's his opportunity to explain
4 whatever he was saying on whatever occasion and to be cross-examined on
5 that. But are there -- are there racist remarks by Mr. Krajisnik? Are
6 there offensive, abusive statements about members of other nationalities?
7 Well, there aren't. There are plenty of those statements around on all
8 sides. There are plenty such statements on record from that period on all
9 sides, but Your Honours have seen the way in which Mr. Krajisnik conducted
11 Are there -- are there orders by Mr. Krajisnik to commit crimes or
12 to do acts which were in fact crimes? If there aren't, that doesn't
13 itself mean necessarily that he can't be convicted. We're not putting
14 forward an unreal submission, but it's an important point. The Defence
15 position on that is clear: No, there aren't.
16 Are there directions, orders, instructions from Mr. Krajisnik to
17 the army, to the police, to municipal leaders? Again, the Defence
18 submission, based on the evidence is no, there aren't.
19 So what is the case against Mr. Krajisnik? Not the case to be
20 analysed. This is an opening statement. It's the -- nothing I say this
21 morning will in the end have any real importance, weight, or significance
22 if it turns out to have no connection with the evidence in this case,
23 because we go back to the evidence. But as a -- we see the purpose of the
24 opening statement as to just, at this important juncture in the case, just
25 help if it does help in a small way, just help to achieve some -- some
1 contribution to the direction, some clarity as to where this case is now
2 supposed to go, and that's not intended in any presumptuous way in a Court
3 where Your Honours have great experience, knowing where cases go anyway,
4 but this particular case, what are the Prosecution essentially trying to
6 It's all about links, isn't it? When there has been legitimate,
7 not informal but legitimate exploration of this case and where it is going
8 in procedural meetings and 65 ter conferences or in Court, we know that
9 when the -- there's a crime base, and I've already said probably pretty
10 much as much as the Defence would wish to say this morning about what
11 we've called the crime base. These individual events, the violent events
12 that took place throughout Bosnia, particularly from the end of March,
13 beginning of April, then through the ensuing months of 1992. Of course
14 there was violence and there were pockets of violence and there was arming
15 and there were incidents before war broke out, but that's when it really
17 Mr. Krajisnik can't and mustn't be convicted unless there is the
18 link or there are the links that make him individually criminally
19 responsible for those events.
20 Now, he was a Bosnian Serb leader. Yes, he was. That's not --
21 that's not the link. That doesn't -- that's not the end of case. It
22 would be a bit simple. All these events happen, Mr. Krajisnik is one of
23 the Bosnian Serb leaders, therefore he's guilty. Nobody -- the
24 Prosecution don't suggest - or we hope they don't and if they do it's just
25 not good enough - don't suggest that that can be the basis of a conviction
1 of Mr. Krajisnik.
2 What were his leadership positions? Well, yes, he was throughout
3 the whole of the relevant period, he was the president. In some other
4 terminology from some other countries, that might be called the speaker.
5 No two systems are exactly the same; he was the president, he was the
6 speaker of the Serb Assembly. He had been, we know, an important figure
7 in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the split, because he had been the same
8 thing, the president and the speaker of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 Assembly, and he has already received, in the course of the Prosecution
10 evidence, considerable plaudits for his work as the president of that
11 Assembly. But, Your Honours, all the plaudits in the world for the
12 efficiency and the effective handling and diplomatic handling of that
13 particular task and that particular job, that doesn't mean somebody is
14 guilty or innocent of crimes. We don't submit that.
15 But as the speaker of the Bosnian Serb Assembly, we're not going
16 to go into elaborate submissions this morning, but just going to pose the
17 question: Does that normally -- I leave aside normally. Could that in
18 this case constitute the link to make Mr. Krajisnik criminally liable for
19 the actions and events of which evidence has been given?
20 I'm just going to give you the short answer this morning, Your
21 Honour. No. It's just not enough. That will be -- have to be elaborated
22 in due course in a full final brief, if we ever get time to write one.
23 But it raises the question, well, what beyond that? Because
24 that's not enough. And we have seen from the Prosecution evidence that
25 implicitly the Prosecution themselves or the Prosecution case recognises
1 it can't be enough, because they've been trying throughout the Prosecution
2 case to establish other links and other routes, other channels by which
3 Mr. Krajisnik can be held responsible.
4 And this is not the point in the case to argue the case in any
5 full sense. This is the point in the case to raise the questions, to give
6 the pointers, to indicate where the Defence say that there are real
7 weaknesses and real gaps and real flaws in the Prosecution case.
8 Expanded Presidency. I'm going to keep all these items short, but
9 expanded Presidency. There are two aspects to that. One is the technical
10 legal aspect, the de jure aspect. The other is the actual factual
11 position, the de facto aspect.
12 Your Honours already know from the examination and exploration of
13 this aspect of the case during the Prosecution case that there is in the
14 terms of the legal and constitutional system established as the Republika
15 Srpska or by the Republika Srpska, if you like. That's the name that
16 superseded at some point in early 1992 the Serb Republic, then Republika
17 Srpska, the animal or the entity which emerged after the split in the
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly in mid-October 1991, and then by January,
19 certainly by the beginning of the war, had been established as a serious
20 entity with its own constitutional legal documents, its own structure.
21 There is and always was a flaw in the -- within Republika Srpska
22 terms in the establishment of the expanded Presidency because the specific
23 condition required to trigger off the expanded Presidency never in fact
24 occurred. A state of war. There was a declaration of an imminent state
25 of war, but strictly speaking, it never existed within those terms.
1 However, that's not a -- that's not a trivial point, because so
2 far as the Prosecution seek to pin liability on Mr. Krajisnik based on the
3 technical legal status of the expanded Presidency and his membership of
4 it, that just fails in terms. It's maybe a technical point in a sense,
5 but it's a technical point, to me it's a technical point, if you like.
6 It's a legal answer to a legal point, because the Defence doesn't suggest
7 that you don't move on, then, straight away to the question of whether
8 there was a body calling itself and perhaps believing it was the expanded
9 Presidency, perhaps with an unrecognised flaw. That's something that just
10 has to be considered on the evidence, an unrecognised flaw in its own
11 constitution and its own legality within the Republika Srpska
12 constitutional and legal system.
13 When one looks at the expanded Presidency, yes, there are -- there
14 are minutes, there are documents, there are agendas of some sort
15 indicating a body, the expanded Presidency, but the evidence of
16 Mr. Krajisnik's participation in that expanded Presidency and the evidence
17 of what actual authority, what actual influence that body had over the
18 events in question, and the evidence of any serious linkage between that
19 body and Mr. Krajisnik personally and what happened is flimsy. It will
20 require to be most carefully considered, and our submission at this point
21 is just that it is flimsy.
22 Another route through which the Prosecution seek to establish the
23 link between Mr. Krajisnik himself and the crimes is through Mr. Karadzic.
24 Now, Your Honours, we hold in a perfectly proper way the brief for
25 Mr. Krajisnik. Mr. Krajisnik is our concern. Mr. Krajisnik is our
1 client. Mr. Krajisnik's Defence is what we present. And we don't present
2 any other Defence for anybody else. Neither do we present any prosecution
3 of anybody else. We are not Dr. Karadzic's lawyers. We do not make any
4 submissions in relation to Dr. Karadzic except, when the evidence is
5 complete, so far as they have a genuine bearing on our client,
6 Mr. Krajisnik's position and the case against him. If - Mrs. Del Ponte
7 would prefer it to be described as when - Dr. Karadzic is apprehended, he
8 will be put on trial and somebody else will have the responsibility of
9 prosecuting him, and somebody else will have the responsibility of
10 defending him, but it isn't us.
11 The -- the Prosecution in this case against Mr. Krajisnik use as
12 one of the routes, one of their attempts to construct a chain from
13 Mr. Krajisnik to these events, they want to go through Dr. Karadzic. Now,
14 of course they've got to establish sufficiently -- the Prosecution have
15 got to establish sufficiently a direct link from Dr. Karadzic to those
16 events, because otherwise a link between Mr. Krajisnik and Dr. Karadzic
17 doesn't help them anyway. But let's leave that aside, certainly for
18 today, leave aside the link of Dr. Karadzic to events, just entirely on
19 one side.
20 Mr. Krajisnik, Dr. Karadzic, they were put on trial together a few
21 years ago. One might be forgiven for not understanding for quite a lot of
22 Prosecution case that they were completely acquitted, and ultimately we
23 had the Judge in that case, as it happens, in Court giving evidence and
24 making it absolutely clear first that he really just didn't think there
25 was anything like a case against them; and secondly, expressing the view,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 which he's entitled to express, that there was some political motivation
2 for the prosecution in the first place. That sort of evidence just needs
3 to be thrown aside.
4 Mr. Krajisnik and Dr. Karadzic knew each other. That's neither a
5 crime nor a sin nor a surprise. Mr. Krajisnik will explain and, Your
6 Honours, we undertake to keep it as best we can within the proper confines
7 of relevance, Mr. Krajisnik will explain, when he gives evidence, how he
8 first came to know Dr. Karadzic, what their relationship was over the
9 years they've known each other. After all, the Prosecution wish to make
10 the relations between Mr. Krajisnik and Dr. Karadzic an important feature
11 of their case. So it's going to have to be an element of the evidence
12 that Mr. Krajisnik himself gives to Your Honours.
13 Mr. Krajisnik attended -- participated, didn't just attend.
14 Mr. Krajisnik participated in a significant number of significant
15 international negotiations in attempts, and laudable attempts by all
16 concerned, to try to resolve the many and complicated conflicts in former
17 Yugoslavia by as peaceful means as could be managed. That's a leadership
18 role in some clear sense. Mr. Krajisnik, of course, participated in very
19 important negotiations a considerable time after the indictment period,
20 when he was at Dayton, but he was involved in the earlier negotiations
21 which did take place in 1991, 1992, during the indictment period.
22 The Bosnian Serbs, no less than anybody else, didn't send the tea
23 boy to the negotiations, they sent their leaders, or, if you like, the
24 people they sent to negotiations of that importance thereby become
25 leaders. They become important because they send them.
1 Dr. Koljevic was there frequently. Dr. Karadzic was nearly always
2 there. Mr. Krajisnik was nearly always - very often - there at those
3 negotiations. It's a not incidental, it's a slightly subsidiary point,
4 that Dr. Karadzic and Dr. Koljevic and both, and this is clear on the
5 evidence, both had a very good command of English. And in Dr. Koljevic's
6 case, he could even go out in the corridors and discuss Shakespeare.
7 Mr. Krajisnik had, and for practical purposes has, no useful English, so
8 his participation in all these - with interpreters, of course - but his
9 participation in all these discussions has to be judged in that light.
10 I won't dwell on it, Your Honour. Mr. Krajisnik can describe in
11 more detail how it went, but English speaking participants, and
12 particularly when we're looking at the talks involving Mr. Cyrus Vance and
13 Mr. Okun who came here, English speakers on one side of the table, English
14 speakers, not native English speakers on the other side of the table or
15 somewhere else on the table. It's Mr. Krajisnik's participation -- Your
16 Honours, we aren't submitting -- we won't be submitting that Krajisnik
17 wasn't a serious participant. We're not suggesting he was just some fly
18 on the wall or some non-participant through the language issue. We're not
19 going that far, we're just putting it in context.
20 But when we consider -- and it's neither my task nor would it be
21 useful today for me to start exploring the ins and outs of the evidence of
22 the individual witness who have given evidence, but I've mentioned one
23 earlier, not by name, a victim of terrible crimes, this is the second one
24 I'm mentioning this morning -- well, I've mentioned not by name, it was
25 Mr. Trbojevic. There's no secret about his identity either; the judge who
1 dealt with the prosecution of Mr. Krajisnik and Dr. Karadzic.
2 I think this is now the third part while I'm mentioning Mr. Okun.
3 Mr. Okun as Mr. Vance's deputy attended a number of meetings at which Mr.
4 Krajisnik was present. He made extensive notes. He came and gave
5 evidence before this Tribunal. Your Honour, Mr. Okun is a highly
6 respected man with a distinguished career. What is important with a
7 witness such as Mr. Okun is just to be careful about the limits of what he
8 can say and what he is saying. He could only give -- in the end, he can
9 give an account of any of the actual substance of the negotiations, but
10 that wasn't really the issue. Your Honours are not here, and the
11 Prosecution case doesn't really involve going into the ins and outs of
12 those particular negotiations. Some of the other ones, the Cutileiro ones
13 are another matter, but the detailed content and how the discussion
14 progressed from one meeting to the next, from one hour to the next, don't
15 really arise. The thrust of Mr. Okun's evidence was Mr. Krajisnik's
16 influence over Dr. Karadzic. Mr. Krajisnik was there. When Mr. Krajisnik
17 wasn't there, he was there in spirit.
18 You can be somewhere in spirit, of course. It's just that it
19 requires the utmost care if somebody's presence in spirit is presented as
20 a significant ingredient in a criminal prosecution for the charges with
21 which Mr. Krajisnik faces. That's where great care has to be taken.
22 So Dr. Karadzic consulted Mr. Krajisnik. Dr. Karadzic took notice
23 of what Mr. Krajisnik said. Dr. Karadzic listened to Mr. Krajisnik. It
24 would be a bit odd if he didn't. The Bosnian Serbs want to send a group
25 of people around Europe, and eventually around the world, to negotiations
1 where one of them, Mr. Krajisnik, who was the president of their Assembly
2 is just there as a piece of the furniture? Well, hardly. Of course
3 Dr. Karadzic took some notice of Mr. Krajisnik. Mr. Krajisnik was there,
4 apart from anything else, because there was an Assembly. There was a
5 functioning parliament and we see it. It wasn't a tame animal throughout
6 the period concerned. And certainly I don't mean animals, of course Your
7 Honours don't misunderstand that, but the individual deputies were not --
8 we can see from the transcripts they weren't all household pets that just
9 did what they were told and never squeaked up and argued about what was
10 going on. Decisions and proposals and agreements had to be carried back
11 to Republika Srpska, and they had to be referred to the Assembly.
12 Now, we don't -- the Defence case does not -- not rest on
13 Mr. Krajisnik being unimportant. That would be a ludicrous submission to
14 make. Of course he wasn't unimportant. Why was he -- why was he there at
15 these international negotiations? He was the president of the Assembly.
16 But that's a different point. Being important doesn't make you criminally
17 responsible. You have to look at what the man actually did. You can't
18 just look at the positions. You can't look at just at whether he was
19 there in spirit, can't even just look at whether he was respected, whether
20 he was relied upon, whether he was consulted, whether he was viewed as
21 important. All the time you have to look rigorously, what did he do?
22 What did he say? What decisions did he participate in? What were his
23 actual responsibilities? What were his powers? What was he able to get
24 other people to do? What was he able to stop other people from doing?
25 Those are the questions. Not just labels.
1 We've had -- I'm not going to dwell on individual witnesses to any
2 significant degree. I will mention one or two more in the course of the
3 next hour or so, but we've had witnesses come along, we've had the
4 Prosecution entering into -- they've got their job to do, Your Honour, but
5 some of the evidence was like -- like watching a very -- well, a second
6 team club tennis match, with the Prosecution asking a witness who knew no
7 more than what he'd seen on television and could read in the newspapers,
8 who were the important people in Republika Srpska, who were the important
9 people in the power structure.
10 And I do put this submission quite strongly in these terms, Your
11 Honour. Some of this evidence is just like going out with a clipboard on
12 the street and asking the first six people who come along to tell you who
13 in their view are the important leaders. In England, they'd end up
14 identifying band leaders as cabinet ministers. It's just -- some of the
15 evidence is really, on that level really quite farcical, and Your Honours
16 must, with respect, rigorously examine that evidence and toss out that
17 sort of evidence. It's worthless. The case must focus on what
18 Mr. Krajisnik actually provably and proven did and said.
19 What are supposedly the links between Mr. Krajisnik and the army
20 or the police? They've got to be shown. They've got to be scrutinised.
21 They've got to be examined.
22 Whatever label one attaches and whatever positions Mr. Krajisnik
23 held -- National Security Council, not very much evidence of what that
24 did, is there? Personnel commission. What on earth has that got to do
25 with anything, once we've actually had a look at the evidence in the light
1 of day? Look at what he actually did. What did Mr. Krajisnik in relation
2 to the army? What's the link there between Mr. Krajisnik and the army?
3 There was a General Staff. What -- what contacts, what control, what
4 powers, what authority, what is shown for Mr. Krajisnik there?
5 He had a conversation with Mr. Mladic. I don't remember the
6 details. We're going to look at them. Not today, but in due course we'll
7 look at them again, so I won't take the risk of misstating it because I
8 don't remember it in detail. Has a conversation with Mr. Mladic in which
9 it ends up with something like -- and we'll look at it in due course and
10 it doesn't matter if I'm rather crudely paraphrasing it, it's something
11 like, "Well, I'll come round in the morning then and you can tell me what
12 to do." Something like that. Well, we're going to hear Mr. Krajisnik
13 explain what he can remember about that, and what it did mean and what it
14 could possibly mean.
15 The same with the police. There's not much for me to say this
16 morning on this because we -- we shall look at the evidence in due course,
17 but even if we did look at the evidence, frankly, there wouldn't be much
18 to say anyway because there isn't much evidence.
19 Municipal authorities. All these 109 municipalities throughout
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina. We -- we get some evidence of Mr. Krajisnik
21 visiting a particular municipality on a particular day. On a superficial
22 view, it looks like a serious business meeting. It looks and is presented
23 as if the Bosnian Serb leaders, in the guise of Mr. Krajisnik on that
24 occasion, have gone to the municipality to start giving instructions about
25 exactly how they're going to run their municipality and how they're going
1 to deal with the existing or imminent conflict. The reality is that it's
2 -- it's a special day. It's -- I can't remember. It's a saint's day,
3 it's a festive day of some sort. I don't mean to diminish it or disparage
4 it if I simply don't remember what the day was, but it was an important
5 day in the Serb calendar. Mr. Krajisnik is clearly, even on the evidence
6 as it stands at the moment without Mr. Krajisnik, as he will do,
7 explaining to Your Honours what happened on such occasions, it's apparent
8 that it was -- it was an invitation to, in this context, a dignitary.
9 Mr. Krajisnik for these purposes can broadly be labelled with the rather
10 pompous sounding English word, anyway, of dignitary. He was there for
11 that purpose. And of course, courtesies and politeness require on such
12 occasions that are some meetings and everybody is familiar with situations
13 there where at least there's some sort of diplomatic presentation of
14 something, it looks like some sort of business meeting, but there's no
15 content, there's nothing shown by way of any real authority. But we don't
16 see orders from Mr. Krajisnik. We don't see instructions. We don't see
17 directions. We got all sorts of flimsy evidence about reports, but we
18 don't see them, haven't -- practically nothing concrete going back to
19 Mr. Krajisnik, only the flimsiest suggestions that he was in any way
20 running or controlling or directing what was happening in these 109, in
21 many cases far-flung, municipalities which in a number of instances for a
22 considerable period that we're looking at were cut off anyway from where
23 Mr. Krajisnik was. Communications cut off, hopeless to have any thought
24 of controlling what those people were doing.
25 And he's supposed to have been -- he's supposed to have been
1 following closely and controlling and directing what was happening in the
2 municipalities through his relations with the deputies in the Assembly.
3 They are supposed to have been there in their municipalities soaking up
4 and gathering the information, carrying it to Pale after April 1992, and
5 before that, to Sarajevo, reporting it to Mr. Krajisnik. Mr. Krajisnik's
6 "influence" over the deputies enabled him, then, to get them to carry back
7 to the -- I'm certainly -- I'm exaggerating what has come out of the
8 evidence, but in our submission I'm not exaggerating what the Prosecution
9 would like and suggest that you should get out of that evidence, but you
10 can't get it out of the evidence that Mr. Krajisnik -- so he has some
11 influence over deputies. He would be a very poor president of the
12 Republika Srpska Assembly if he had no influence over the deputies in his
13 own parliament. He would get the sack in no time. It's a basic
14 qualification of the job that you culcate some respect in the deputies of
15 the parliament over which you're presiding, and the influence.
16 We know what happens in parliaments. There is procedural wheeling
17 and dealing going on all the time behind the scenes. That's apparent
18 already without Mr. Krajisnik describing it in detail. Mr. Krajisnik, the
19 evidence from Prosecution witnesses is clear; Mr. Krajisnik is A, good at
20 that sort thing; B, likes doing it. On the whole, people are good at that
21 sort of thing because they like doing it. If you don't like doing it,
22 you're likely to be pretty hopeless. Mr. Krajisnik likes that sort of
23 thing, and he's good at it, and he's efficient at it. And in the Bosnian
24 Serb Assembly, as in any other parliament, there is timetabling. There is
25 trying to get off the agenda issues which don't have to be contentious by
1 getting them sorted out without having to bring them into the Chamber, and
2 trying to cut down to minimum those matters which really require extensive
4 Now, I don't -- in a way it's not necessary, but it's not really
5 proper for me to go any further because we've had such a limited and
6 slight account from Prosecution witnesses as to what was really going on.
7 On that point it could almost be left there because they don't cross the
8 threshold of any sort of burden in that pocket of the case. But Your
9 Honours are going to hear explanations and accounts of that. Your Honours
10 are going to hear it from Mr. Krajisnik, Your Honours are going to hear
11 that from deputies in the Republika Srpska Assembly. Your Honours are
12 going to get a proper feel of what was actually happening and what Mr.
13 Krajisnik was actually doing.
14 Now, Your Honour -- Your Honours, I haven't finished there. I see
15 it's twenty-five to eleven.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I would have invited you in some five minutes
17 to see whether you could find time for a break, but anywhere between now
18 and ten minutes. I leave it up to you.
19 MR. STEWART: Now would be as good a time as any, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll have a break for half an hour and we'll
21 resume at five minutes past eleven.
22 --- Recess taken at 10:34 a.m.
23 --- Upon resuming at 11:13 a.m.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, before I give you an opportunity to
25 proceed, I'd like to ask to the Prosecution whether they intend to file
1 any response to the two motions that have been filed on the 6th of
2 October, one in relation to an application for an extension of time to
3 apply for certification to appeal the Chamber's decision on the motion for
4 acquittal, and the other one, the application by the Defence for a
5 certificate to appeal the Chamber's denial of the Defence motion for
6 extension of time in which to comply with the 65 ter (g) requirements.
7 MR. HARMON: No, Your Honour. We do not intend to file any
9 JUDGE ORIE: Do you want to orally respond; and if so, when?
10 MR. HARMON: We would, Your Honour, but if we could do that not at
11 this moment.
12 JUDGE ORIE: So either later today or tomorrow morning?
13 MR. HARMON: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then wait for that oral response and meanwhile
16 Mr. Stewart.
17 MR. STEWART: Thank you, Your Honour. The -- Your Honours have
18 heard quite a bit of evidence already about variants A and B and also
19 another significant aspect of the Prosecution's evidence, there's been
20 evidence in relation to six strategic goals. Those are clearly major
21 items for exploration in the evidence and they will indeed be important
22 items for consideration in the Defence evidence, and particularly in the
23 evidence of Mr. Krajisnik.
24 As far as Variants A and B are concerned, we will confine
25 ourselves this morning to relatively brief comments. The evidence in
1 relation to that variant A and B document is, on the Prosecution case as
2 we have it now, to put it euphemistically, untidy. It is a very long way
3 from showing that this was in any sense an official document of the SDS
4 leadership which was part of some concerted and organised plan involving
5 dissemination of such instructions to all the municipalities. Just even
6 on the Prosecution evidence, it just doesn't come across like that at all.
7 It's an extraordinary document -- without dwelling on the details, it's an
8 extraordinary document with some extraordinary features just on its face
9 if it really is what the Prosecution say it was. And even from the
10 Prosecution witnesses we have seen the enormous disparities in the way in
11 which that document did or didn't reach particular municipalities or
12 particular municipality leaders, what was or wasn't done with it, whether
13 they'd ever heard of it, what steps were taken, if any, in relation to
14 that document, just on the Prosecution evidence alone, indicate that it is
15 a very long way from being what the Prosecution say it is.
16 One further comment to make on variants A and B is that it's of
17 course been a document which has featured in other cases. Well, of course
18 -- leave aside "of course," it has featured in other cases before this
19 Tribunal. So far as evidence in other cases has become evidence in this
20 case, well it's thrown into the whole melting pot of evidence in the case
21 against Mr. Krajisnik.
22 So far as any adjudicated facts or evidence introduced by way of
23 92 bis, so far as that has not happened, so far as such material and such
24 consideration of variants A and B in other cases has not found its way
25 into this case, it is in that void that I referred to earlier on. It
1 absolutely must be disregarded. The relevance, significance, genesis, the
2 importance of variants A and B are to be judged, and the application or
3 non-application of that document is to be judged by Your Honours against
4 Mr. Krajisnik or in favour of Mr. Krajisnik on the evidence in
5 Mr. Krajisnik's case. And Your Honours will hear more about those matters
6 during the course of evidence in the Defence case.
7 So far as six strategic goals are concerned, I wouldn't begin to
8 get into what is a large and complicated topic on the evidence simply to
9 say that Your Honours will know already from the approach adopted by the
10 Defence during the course of the Prosecution case that the Defence case
11 and Mr. Krajisnik's position is that the six strategic goals, as a policy,
12 in the context of the conflict and in the context of the concerns and
13 fears that the Bosnian Serbs had, was not in any of its elements or
14 overall in any way a criminal plan. It wasn't part of any criminal plan.
15 It wasn't inherently criminal. And neither in any respect in which it was
16 followed and implemented by the Bosnian Serb leadership was it criminal in
17 any way from -- for which Mr. Krajisnik, on the evidence, can be said to
18 have any responsibility.
19 What happened on the ground in the fighting, in the conflict,
20 nobody can -- on the fullest evidence, nobody can ever draw a clear
21 defined line which shows what actions in what corners, in what quarters of
22 Bosnia were or weren't conducted supposedly by the people who were
23 carrying them out in implementation of some specific plan. It just never
24 is as neat as that. But so far as the six strategic goals will be
25 explored, do require careful scrutiny, Your Honours will hear from
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Mr. Krajisnik himself what they were about, what he -- because of course
2 he doesn't disclaim knowledge of the six strategic objectives. That would
3 be an absurd contention. Of course he doesn't. Mr. Krajisnik attended
4 the Cutileiro and was a participant in the Cutileiro talks, and there is a
5 clear and close link between what was contemplated by the Lisbon and
6 Sarajevo agreements reached as a result of the Cutileiro talks, but not,
7 in the end, of course followed through because of changes of heart and
8 changes of position particularly by Mr. Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Muslim
10 There are different views and different assessments of the
11 Cutileiro plan itself and the Lisbon and Sarajevo agreements, but Your
12 Honours are going to have a better, clearer, expanded picture of what was
13 involved in the six strategic goals and how they tie in with the
14 legitimate, positive, and entirely good faith efforts of the participants
15 in the Cutileiro negotiations to try to achieve - unfortunately, didn't
16 succeed - try to achieve a peaceful resolution of the disputes and
17 burgeoning conflicts at that time.
18 The quality of the Prosecution evidence, since the Defence are
19 going to present a case and are going to present not just Mr. Krajisnik's
20 evidence but the evidence of a substantial number of other witnesses, the
21 quality of the Prosecution evidence is always, as in any case, of course
22 an important consideration, and many criminal cases, again both in
23 domestic jurisdictions and before this Tribunal, produce a range of
24 Prosecution witnesses including in some cases the clearly criminal
25 themselves among the array of Prosecution witnesses.
1 We do have in this particular case the most extreme range of
2 witnesses in relation both to their part, active or passive, in the events
3 in question, or in some cases their limited participation in the actual
4 events in Bosnia but their connection in some way with those events. We
5 have extremes in the at least superficial reliability of their evidence.
6 At one end of the spectrum we have, again, the lady that I mentioned
7 earlier who -- she and her family were -- her family particularly and she
8 herself in that very direct sense were absolute victims of this conflict.
9 I take her, and it's intended as a positive, complimentary remark
10 about that witness, I take her really as the paradigm of a genuine good
11 faith, truthful, reliable witness where it would be absurd for the Defence
12 to suggest there was any significant doubts about her evidence. If she
13 has misremembered something, probably none of us and Your Honours would
14 ever be able to see if she's misremembered something because it could only
15 be on the most incidental and trivial aspects of her evidence. The
16 essential thrust of what she -- and there are other witnesses in that
17 category. It's not necessary or appropriate at the moment to identify
18 them, but at some point the Defence would expect to make clear which of
19 the Prosecution witnesses we regarded as being in that category or what
20 areas we regarded as being in that category. It's already implicit in
21 some of our responses on 92 bis applications and so on. That's one end of
22 the spectrum.
23 The other end of the spectrum, and I don't make the slightest
24 apology for singling him out because, well, he deserves no more and no
25 less; take somebody like Mr. Deronjic. I have no wish to, on
1 Mr. Krajisnik's behalf, to make Mr. Deronjic's already no doubt very
2 difficult life more difficult, but he is a despicable character. That has
3 to be said. Mr. Deronjic murdered more than 60 people. He, with others,
4 torched a village. People were burnt to death. He comes and gives
5 evidence against Mr. Krajisnik. Again another feature Mr. Deronjic's
6 evidence, and he is not the only witness to whom this applies, is that
7 Mr. Deronjic's evidence is given when he's imminently going to be
8 sentenced himself. There is a deal. There is no dispute about that.
9 These deals are done all the time. There is a deal: Mr. Deronjic's
10 cooperation with the Prosecution is potentially going to make and is
11 supposed to make and is open to make a significant contribution to the
12 softening of the penalty that Mr. Deronjic is going to suffer for his
13 absolutely appalling and despicable crimes. And it could be said that,
14 judged from many perspectives -- well, one can confidently submit this:
15 The sentence that Mr. Deronjic received, whatever the line taken by him
16 and his lawyers, was hardly excessive in relation to the crimes of which
17 on his own admission he was convicted.
18 Now, you can be a despicable war criminal like Mr. Deronjic and
19 tell the truth. They're not logically inconsistent. But to say that his
20 evidence in those circumstances requires care, well, that's an
21 understatement beyond ordinary English understatement.
22 I mentioned Mr. Okun. Of course Mr. Okun is in a totally
23 different category from Mr. Deronjic in every single way that I have
24 mentioned, except that, of course, one would always expect that Mr. Okun
25 comes to tell the truth. I don't suggest that a distinguished career
1 diplomat and gentleman such as Mr. Okun doesn't come to court to tell the
2 truth as he sees it. Of course he does. But his direct connection with
3 these events is, when it comes down to it, really rather slight. Although
4 those negotiations were important, and that is the relations between
5 Mr. Krajisnik and Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Krajisnik's participation in those
6 negotiations are an element of the Prosecution's case, and I've already
7 dealt with that this morning, Mr. Okun, he wasn't there. He wasn't on the
8 ground. He has no firsthand knowledge of any of the events, and he really
9 has only that.
10 On serious examination, slight knowledge of anything that could
11 truly be called Mr. Krajisnik's participation, Mr. Krajisnik's role in the
12 matters which form the subject of this indictment, it's -- the evidence is
13 little pieces of the jigsaw. But somebody like Mr. Okun, his evidence,
14 treated with the utmost respect as a truthful experience, good faith
15 witness, but it really doesn't go that far.
16 We've got witnesses like - one could almost be forgiven for
17 thinking the case was about him at some stage rather than about
18 Mr. Krajisnik - Mr. Davidovic. We're going to have to look again in all
19 sorts of ways at Mr. Davidovic, but he is and, in our submission, he will
20 remain, when the dust has settled, in the category of witnesses whose
21 evidence will need to be treated with the greatest caution, because there
22 are a number of witnesses, and the Defence case is that Mr. Davidovic is
23 one of them, who have things to hide. And whenever a witness has things
24 to hide -- Your Honour, we're not disregarding the real prospect, that
25 that point will apply to some Defence witnesses. We don't wish to present
1 Mr. Krajisnik's case in an unreal world, but the Prosecution have to
2 present evidence if they wish, in the end, to see Mr. Krajisnik convicted
3 on which he can be properly convicted.
4 The -- a similar comment where we recognise that the point in
5 principle may apply to Prosecution and to Defence witnesses, relates to
6 protected witnesses. The Defence has always tried its hardest to convey
7 to the Trial Chamber that it doesn't wish genuine protection of genuinely
8 at-risk witnesses to be compromised in any way. That would be
9 irresponsible, and the Trial Chamber has that heavy responsibility. And
10 it is no part of the Defence's position to try to undermined that
11 protection or to hamper the discharge of that responsibility.
12 But the Defence's position has always been, as Your Honours have
13 heard, to do its utmost to assist the Trial Chamber in keeping the
14 protection to what is genuinely required so that as much as possible of
15 the evidence against Mr. Krajisnik, and that will apply also to evidence
16 given in broad terms for Mr. Krajisnik as part of his Defence, can be
17 given in public. Not because however much we do subscribe to that as an
18 admirable principle, it is our concern to ensure for its own sake that the
19 public is able to follow this trial as fully as possible. That is a
20 correct concern, a legitimate concern, and a proper part of the
21 administration of justice. It's just not primarily our responsibility as
22 Defence counsel. It's our responsibility to support and help that and not
23 undermine it, but our heaviest responsibility there, consistent with our
24 overriding duties to the Court, is to Mr. Krajisnik, which in our
25 submission involves, and this is consistent with Mr. Krajisnik's own
1 wishes, ensuring that as far as possible witnesses give their evidence
2 knowing that it is being heard outside the courtroom, knowing that they
3 are, in the fullest way that can be managed, accountable for it.
4 Whatever the reasons and however important the protection of a
5 witness and however admirable a witness, secret evidence, because that is
6 what it is, secret evidence is liable to be dangerous evidence and has
7 always to be especially carefully scrutinised, because even openly,
8 accusations are very easy to make. Allegations are very easy to make.
9 And they're even easier to make when you can make them in the confidence
10 that nobody outside the direct participants in this trial will know that
11 you're making them.
12 We've got witnesses like Mr. Kljuic. Well, actually there's no
13 other witness quite like Mr. Kljuic, but there's a feature of Mr. Kljuic's
14 evidence which must be focused upon and which, in relation to other
15 witnesses -- or raises a question which ought to be asked in relation to
16 other witnesses. One might have thought that Mr. Kljuic, from the way in
17 which Mr. Kljuic presented himself and the way in which Mr. Kljuic
18 regarded himself, which came across very clearly, one might have got the
19 impression that Mr. Kljuic's real true purpose in coming along to this
20 Court was to assist in the search for the truth, and no doubt to this day
21 Mr. Kljuic could convince himself that that was exactly why he came here.
22 But Your Honours will remember that Mr. Kljuic's purpose and aim of coming
23 here to help the Trial Chamber to see the truth ran into its limits as
24 soon as it came into conflict with his own personal concerns about his
25 rights of authorship to keep his documents to himself for the publication
1 of his forthcoming book. It's not very satisfactory, is it?
2 Mr. Kljuic's concerns about his documents and his authorship
3 rights set against Mr. Krajisnik's concerns to have a fair trial and to be
4 acquitted of the gravest charges that can be brought, and to have the
5 proper prospect of leaving The Hague to go home for the rest of his life
6 instead of spending - and nobody would suggest any other outcome if
7 Mr. Krajisnik were convicted - instead of spending a significant part of
8 the rest of his natural life not a free man.
9 One really needs to look at the evidence of people like Mr. Kljuic
10 in that light. Mr. Kljuic -- well, the school report, "this boy has
11 performed to his own entire satisfaction throughout the whole term" has
12 some application to Mr. Kljuic. Mr. Kljuic would be very satisfied, no
13 doubt, with his own evidence, but the Trial Chamber should not be
14 satisfied with Mr. Kljuic's evidence. It is deeply unsatisfactory.
15 I'm not going to go witness through witness. I've just tried this
16 morning to identify examples of categories or subcategories of witness
17 where there is the strongest need to treat their evidence with great
18 caution. There are gaps in Mr. Kljuic's evidence because he didn't
19 produce all the material, in the end. He just didn't.
20 The case is at a crucial watershed, of course. This case has an
21 extraordinary tangled history anyway, even for a serious, grave, complex
22 criminal case, criminal trial. It has an unhappily tangled history. We
23 have the inordinately long time that Mr. Krajisnik has spent in prison
24 awaiting the start of his trial, the suspension from practice by his own
25 Bar of Mr. Krajisnik's previous lead counsel a few weeks before the date
1 fixed for the beginning of the trial was a hugely disruptive event, one
2 for which Mr. Krajisnik was not responsible in any way. It was a severe
3 blow. It would be to any defendant in that position, and was a severe
4 blow to Mr. Krajisnik for that to have happened. His trial was supposed
5 to start in May 1993 -- 2003, after he had already been in prison for just
6 over three years, and then didn't start for nearly another year, and then
7 started. And, Your Honours, we made submissions, we made applications.
8 They've largely been rejected, refused, but despite the rejection of
9 various applications for more time, for adjournments, for opportunity to
10 deal with Mr. Krajisnik's case properly, despite the rejection, it's
11 incontrovertible, in our submission, that Mr. Krajisnik's case and
12 Mr. Krajisnik's Defence have been prepared and have had to be prepared in
13 something very far from satisfactory. Far from ideal, of course, but the
14 ideal is not easily attainable anyway. But far from satisfactory
16 So far as the search for the truth with all the qualifications
17 that apply, so far as search for the truth is correct, a simple label to
18 attach to this trial, it has already not just the potential because the
19 Defence submission is it's already happened, but it's important that the
20 situation is not exacerbated, not aggravated for the future. It's already
21 been seriously damaged, has the potential to be seriously damaged by that
22 history that I've just referred to and, and this must be said, Your
23 Honour, the completion strategy, despite -- and, Your Honour, we have
24 heard and we understand the assurances that have continually been given,
25 but the clear commitment by the President of this Tribunal many, many
1 months ago to the Security Council of an end date to this trial, which has
2 been consistently preserved, with tiny adjustments, as the end date of
3 this trial, remains a cause for concern.
4 There are also, and we've seen these difficulties addressed
5 head-on recently, or quite close to head-on in decisions, in submissions
6 made by the Defence and then the Prosecution to this Trial Chamber, and
7 decisions that there are the extraordinarily unsatisfactory circumstances
8 relating to the funding and resources for the Defence. Now, Your Honour,
9 I'm not going to spend hours and hours launching into an analysis of all
10 the directives and all that sort thing, but putting it in a nutshell, the
11 -- they are the arrangements we've got, but the structure for dealing
12 with a partially indigent defendant before this Tribunal, and I don't just
13 mean this Trial Chamber but I'm concerned specifically for Mr. Krajisnik,
14 is deeply unsatisfactory.
15 A man is brought here, in this case Mr. Krajisnik, who sees
16 himself, and the Defence submission is that he will ultimately be shown
17 correctly to have seen himself as the victim of an injustice in being
18 brought here at all. So he feels he shouldn't be here, and he's been here
19 for five years locked up. And it's going to be six years, even on the
20 present schedule. If Mr. Krajisnik is acquitted on all charges, he's
21 going to have spent six years of his life in prison. And in order to have
22 any sort of effective representation of counsel, he is expected to dig
23 fairly deeply into his own pocket while the trial is continuing.
24 Now, Your Honour, it's not -- there's no ruling to be sought from
25 this Trial Chamber on the ins and outs or the rights and wrongs of that
1 system, it is just deeply unsatisfactory. It has the potential to knock
2 an enormous hole in the whole exercise of search for the truth. If we are
3 going to end up with some qualified search for the truth, some seriously
4 undermined search for the truth on the basis that the imperfections in the
5 search of the truth, though serious, are going to be laid at
6 Mr. Krajisnik's door, well, what the Defence has said recently, in a way,
7 is let's know that. Let's at least know very clearly that with the way in
8 which - and I have to say this - my predecessor's handling of the case up
9 to April, May 2003, shortly before the trial, was clearly out of control
10 and was clearly uncontrolled and was clearly not properly managed and
11 controlled, it's not right that those consequences of that should now
12 sought to be repaired at the cost of any serious impingement upon the
13 quality of this trial and the search for the truth. And the utmost care
14 must be taken.
15 And it is also not right -- the United Nations has its budget.
16 This Tribunal cannot go on to the end of this century, everybody
17 acknowledges that, but it can't be done, and justice by this institution
18 can't be done if corners are cut in any of the trials, let alone this
19 enormously wide-ranging and grave charges trial against Mr. Krajisnik. It
20 can't be done if there is any substantial failure to explore the issues
21 and to allow the fullest presentation of Mr. Krajisnik's evidence to meet
22 these grave charges.
23 The -- the line has to be drawn, we submit, only at the irrelevant
24 or the repetitive. They can overlap. There are some aspects of evidence
25 where by the time, say, two or three witnesses have given evidence, there
1 can be no significant addition from having another half dozen witnesses.
2 It just doesn't add anything. That's accepted as a principle, but it has
3 to be very carefully applied in practice.
4 Well, repetitive equal is irrelevant in a sense. Ten witnesses
5 each of whom individually might give relevant evidence and the last seven
6 might simply not add anything at all. So they're in a sense either
7 repetitive or irrelevant, but apart from that line where a witness has
8 anything significant to add to the evidence in this case and to assist
9 that search for the truth, then it is an impingement, it is a restriction,
10 it is a shortfall in the administration of justice if that evidence is for
11 any reason excluded. And if it's excluded on grounds of cost or
12 schedules, needs to meet timetables or targets, then justice is not done.
13 And that's not to fail to recognise that in the real world there
14 is not perfect justice, and it's not to fail to recognise to the real
15 world resources have to have some relevance. Of course they do. But
16 these charges against Mr. Krajisnik are the most serious. And after
17 spending five years, coming up to six years, in prison on these charges,
18 the very least Mr. Krajisnik is entitled to do is not to be excluded or
19 restricted in his legitimate wish to put forward any relevant evidence
20 that may help him and help the Tribunal, help the Trial Chamber to see
21 what happened to reach its verdict.
22 The -- this is also, being a watershed in this case, this is a
23 critical opportunity for this Trial Chamber to use Your Honours'
24 wide-ranging, combined experience, and this is where the benefit of Your
25 Honours' different backgrounds, although none of Your Honours are common
1 lawyers, but you can't win them all, the combined experience and the
2 combined benefits of Your Honours' backgrounds should make a huge positive
3 contribution to this case.
4 The -- it may seem a statement to the obvious, but evidence should
5 not be made to fit into boxes. The Prosecution, legitimately, because
6 they have an utterly different task, the Prosecution legitimately, within
7 certain confines of what's a proper presentation, and we don't suggest
8 those limits have been overstepped by our colleagues in this case, the
9 Prosecution job is to present the evidence in the boxes. They make the
10 charges, they set out the counts in the indictment, they set out the
11 elements, and they go and get, as far as they can, the evidence to support
12 it. That's their legitimate role.
13 The Trial Chamber's role is to be careful not to do that. And,
14 Your Honours, we do -- we do make the submission that at points in the
15 Prosecution case that Your Honours were not sufficiently careful to draw
16 that distinction and that there were points in the Prosecution case at
17 which at the very least the impression was given that Your Honours were
18 looking for the evidence to put in a bit of the jigsaw.
19 If Your Honours, in the course of the Defence case -- well, I'll
20 put it a different way. That submission on what we suggest has happened
21 is a submission on something it won't matter at all. Your Honours, judge
22 not that you be not judged, but Your Honours' -- Your Honours' overall
23 handling of this case cannot be judged until the end of the case. Of
24 course, by definition that's tautology. When it comes to the end of the
25 case, it is the Defence's earnest hope on Mr. Krajisnik's behalf that
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 overall the correct approach will have been adopted, that there won't have
2 been, as opposed to search for the truth, a search for bits of the jigsaw
3 to fit the case in a way that -- in a way that leads to a conclusion that
4 the evidence won't bear.
5 One can pick a bit here, one can pick a statement there. It's
6 quite easy to do, in a way. To write a -- to write a judgement in a case
7 of this nature, pick what that witness said, pick what that witness said,
8 take something there, put something -- it's not that difficult to do, but
9 it's wrong. Every piece of evidence must be rigorously tested. It must
10 not be taken out of context. It -- when witness say something, it needs
11 the most careful examination of how and why and when they said it and how
12 they came to say it. And Your Honours have taken a very liberal approach
13 because you are professional judges and you have experience and training
14 and ability which enables you to analyse and evaluate evidence in a more
15 skilful way than an untrained jury member with all their skills and
16 knowledge and experience of the world. But Your Honours have that
17 advantage, and with that advantage, Your Honours have allowed for
18 yourselves a wide range of evidence that Your Honours would have kept from
19 a jury, because juries, of course are fundamentally intelligence, but they
20 don't have the same skills and they don't have the same ability as
21 professional judges to evaluate and draw the proper lines.
22 There's no problem about that, Your Honour, provided that those
23 proper lines are then drawn, so that when we get hearsay, double hearsay,
24 treble hearsay, vague hearsay, when we get that, Your Honours recognise it
25 and are careful, and anybody -- because again, please don't misunderstand
1 this, Your Honours. We're not suggesting that any judgement in this case
2 will be rubber stamped in any way. We wouldn't make such a ridiculous and
3 insolent submission. But it's also a real world assessment that in a case
4 of this size the job can't be done without a team which extends beyond
5 Your Honours. Of course it is. And we all have our -- we all have our
6 support teams in this case, and Your Honours are entitled to that as much
7 as anybody, of course, and the job can't be done properly without that.
8 But it does mean that those lines must be carefully drawn by Your Honours,
9 that that part of exercise has to be most carefully scrutinised and
10 directed by Your Honours.
11 The -- there's been lots written and lots said, and I'm only
12 concerned this morning standing here for Mr. Krajisnik, with its impact on
13 Mr. Krajisnik's case. That's the proper ambit of my concern as his
14 advocate. But justice from this Tribunal and justice by this Tribunal is
15 not achieved, and when finally the doors of this Tribunal are closed, a
16 hundred per cent conviction rate wouldn't necessarily be seen as a
17 success. It would represent either an unduly cautious or an almost
18 inhumanly brilliant ability on the part of the Office of the Prosecutor to
19 select cases for prosecution.
20 The justice comes in convicting the guilty and not convicting the
21 innocent. And the innocent are those against whom insufficient evidence
22 is presented to establish guilt. And, Your Honours, the Defence
23 submission is that when this particular trial comes to its end, there is
24 and will be insufficient evidence to convict Mr. Krajisnik. For all his
25 importance and for all the terrible events that occurred, it is individual
1 criminal responsibility. It's not politics in the end. That's what it's
2 about: Is this man, Mr. Krajisnik, guilty? Is he to be convicted? Is he
3 responsible? Is he to spend, inevitably then, many, many years of the
4 rest of his life in prison? That's the heavy responsibility.
5 We have simply sought this morning, in a summary, before we
6 present our first witness, who is here, available, ready to give evidence,
7 simply sought, with the greatest of respect to Your Honours, to say on
8 Mr. Krajisnik's behalf how his case, his guilt or innocence should be
9 approached, what we are all here to try to do. And one thing that nobody
10 is here to do is to convict anybody against whom the evidence does not
11 establish, so that you are sure, his guilt.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Stewart, for this opening statement.
13 I was informed that, although I had a different impression last
14 Thursday, but that you wanted to start the examination of your first
15 witness already today. Is that a correct information?
16 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, it is. I have finished a little bit
17 earlier than I'd expected, even than I'd expected at the beginning of this
18 session, but the position is this, Your Honour: Our first witness is
19 here. We are ready to proceed with him. A break would be needed anyway,
20 Your Honour, to sort out some technical aspects and probably to give all
21 concerned just a chance to organise themselves. Although it's rather
22 early, Your Honour, I believe it's not particularly disruptive or awkward
23 to take this particular break slightly earlier.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I also do understand that there are some
25 problems with the exhibits and translation of exhibits. Of course we
1 could wait until tomorrow, but we also could start and see what actually,
2 and we're now talking about the first witness and this is of course not
3 exemplary for what will happen in the near future, that's at least how I
4 understand matters, to see by -- just by starting, to see whether we are
5 confronted with these problems, to what extent they are surmountable, to
6 what extent translations on the spot by reading portions of the evidence
7 could already help us out, although not permanently but on a provisional
9 But, Mr. Harmon, you're standing.
10 MR. HARMON: Yes. Thank you. Just to put on the record, Your
11 Honour, we foreshadowed last week potential difficulties the Prosecution
12 would have if it didn't receive in a timely fashion exhibits that we were
13 expecting to receive last week. Mr. Josse will not contest this, I know
14 that, but last night we were delivered approximately nine exhibits from
15 the Defence. I don't know the exact page count, maybe around a hundred
16 pages, but all untranslated.
17 Now, that puts us in an obvious situation of difficulty, because
18 without knowing what these exhibits are and without having the opportunity
19 to, one, get them in English, we have to submit them for translation
20 ourselves, we may not get those exhibits in a proper time in which to make
21 our study of those documents.
22 So I just bring that to the Court's attention, because we will
23 endeavour, in the best way we can, to get through this first witness, but
24 it may be inevitable that we are unable to do so because of the late
25 submission of the exhibits. We are coming up to a time when, tomorrow, we
1 again expect to see a list of witnesses who will be called two weeks hence
2 with the list of exhibits, hopefully translated, because that is what is
3 in the guidelines, and we wish to avoid as many problems as we can, and we
4 can do so if we have these submissions to us in a timely fashion.
5 I just wanted to put that on the record.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think it's good to have that on the record,
7 and I hinted already to the problems. And of course we all know that for
8 some exhibits it's less dramatic if we do not have a full translation. I
9 remember a few pay lists where it can be easily explained what the exhibit
10 is, and even without having all the details translated, one could proceed.
11 But I also understand that for other exhibits, especially if portions are
12 used only and if the context of the whole is not clear to the -- to the
13 Prosecution, that they might have difficulties in preparing for
15 Mr. Josse, you're on your feet.
16 MR. JOSSE: Well, I'm calling this first witness, and I've been
17 dealing with this practical problem over the weekend, and it's a most
18 unsatisfactory state of affairs, Your Honour. The Defence accept that. I
19 want to put on record the cooperation that I personally have had from my
20 learned friends who prosecute this case, bearing in mind the difficult
21 situation that we have placed them in.
22 I regret to say that they're not the only ones who are in a
23 difficult position in this regard. Your Honour and Your Honour's
24 colleagues are too, I'm afraid, because though we have bundles for the
25 Chamber, they of course are all in B/C/S and they are totally
2 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask just one question. The cooperation between
3 the parties, has it been checked that not already a translation of any of
4 these documents exists? Because that's still not to be excluded.
5 MR. TIEGER: Yes, Your Honour. That was one of the first things
6 we did. We managed to identify one or two smallish documents that fell
7 within that category, but that seems to be it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: The majority not.
9 Mr. Josse, for witnesses to come, have you arranged for any type
10 of communication, inviting a witness that if he thinks that he has any
11 relevant documents, because I take it that these are documents the witness
12 would bring himself because otherwise it might be easier to identify the
13 documents you would use during the examination of the witness, is there
14 any scheme, any arrangement that witnesses would at least send in any
15 document, even if it was only with a one-line explanation of what the
16 document is, at least in advance so that we could -- I mean, I do, and the
17 Chamber does accept your feelings at the moment that it's an
18 unsatisfactory situation. Of course, the Chamber is specifically
19 interested in how to avoid this to become a routine rather than the
21 MR. JOSSE: So far as this witness is concerned, let me assure the
22 Court that all the documents in the bundle he brought with him. He told
23 us that he had a significant number of documents. We attempted to make an
24 arrangement by which not only would he send them but in fact they would be
25 reproduced very quickly. I think Mr. Stewart may have mentioned to the
1 Chamber previously he has an arrangement with his London Chambers in that
2 regard. For reasons I'm not altogether clear about, the witness didn't
3 supply the documents. I suspect costs from his point of view may have
4 been somewhat prohibitive because there are so many, and of course he's
5 not in a position to sort them out and quite a number of the documents he
6 brought with him were of no interest and are not in the bundle. So he
7 didn't send them for one reason or another, and we were confronted with
8 them when he arrived here on Friday, having, again, regrettably, being
9 delayed on his way out here.
10 Your Honour asks what arrangements we are going to make as to the
11 future. Well, again being frank with the Court, that is a matter under
12 active consideration, but as yet, speaking for myself and I hope
13 Mr. Stewart will forgive me for saying this, we have come up with no
14 operative method that will stop this happening again. I can understand
15 Your Honour and Your Honour's colleagues' utmost dissatisfaction with the
16 state of affairs.
17 What Mr. Stewart asked me to add is what we could easily organise
18 is a request to a witness two, perhaps three weeks before they are due to
19 give evidence, that they submit the documents by fax machine, bus that's
20 going to be easier said than done, because rather like this witness, they
21 may not do it, for whatever reason. As I said, I haven't actually asked
22 Mr. Vasic why it proved not possible. I suspect cost is a simple answer.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Sometimes communication with witnesses go
24 through the Victims and Witness Section. They are assisting in quite some
25 practical aspects. I wonder whether any assistance from them could
1 contribute to resolving the problem.
2 MR. JOSSE: Could I say they have been enormously helpful in this
3 regard: We as a team have been to see them, they have explained to us
4 their procedures. We're due to have another meeting with another section
5 of the service tomorrow, and I'm more than happy to take that up with
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Because finally -- of course, the Chamber will
8 accept shortcomings. I mean, we have had similar situations in the
9 presentation of the Prosecution's case. The Chamber would have, however,
10 have great difficulties in accepting that the Prosecution would not be in
11 a position to prepare for cross-examination because the witness is not
12 willing, not in a position, for unclear reasons, to present any exhibits
13 in a timely way to the Defence, but let's not -- let's first concentrate
14 on how to resolve the problem rather than thinking about what should be
15 done if the problem cannot be resolved.
16 MR. JOSSE: The Defence accept that wholeheartedly. For what it's
17 worth, could I mention that clearly it doesn't make the
18 examination-in-chief that I'm about to begin any easier.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's -- I do understand that the Defence is
20 also confronted with considerable problems in that respect. We stand
21 adjourned and we will give an opportunity to the Defence call its first
22 witness at twenty minutes to one.
23 --- Recess taken at 12:14 p.m.
24 --- Upon resuming at 12:44 p.m.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, is the Defence ready to call not its next
1 witness but its first witness?
2 MR. JOSSE: First witness, Your Honour, yes. The witness is
3 Nemanja Vasic, please.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could the witness be brought into the
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon. I take it that you are Mr. Vasic.
8 Mr. Vasic, before you give evidence in this Court, the Rules of Procedure
9 and Evidence require you to make a solemn declaration that you'll speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The text of this
11 declaration is now handed out to you by the usher. May I invite you to
12 make that solemn declaration.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Vasic. Please be seated.
16 Mr. Vasic --
17 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to deal with that, if I may. That's the
18 first thing I'm going to deal with.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
20 Mr. Vasic, you will first be questioned by Mr. Josse, who is
21 counsel for the Defence.
22 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
23 WITNESS: NEMANJA VASIC
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 Examined by Mr. Josse:
1 Q. If you'd just give the Court your name, please.
2 A. My name is Nemanja Vasic.
3 Q. Now, you have just taken from your briefcase, Mr. Vasic, various
4 bundles of document; is that correct?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. To your right, first of all, are a series of plastic binders that
7 you have brought to The Hague that contain documents that you think may be
8 relevant to your evidence; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And it's right, and I think you've seen this, that they've been
11 numbered by someone else, and in fact they correspond, the numbering on
12 your plastic binders, with the tabs in the bundles that the Chamber and
13 the Prosecution now have. That's correct, isn't it?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. JOSSE: So in short, so far as that's concerned, Your Honour,
16 they're original documents which the witness may wish to refer to.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. JOSSE:
19 Q. Directly in front of you in the witness box is a notebook; is that
21 A. It is.
22 Q. Contained within that notebook are notes that you've made since
23 you've been in The Hague; is that right?
24 A. Yes. These are notes, numbers that I jotted down referring to
25 these documents, just so that I can find my way through the bundle as
1 quickly as possible so as not to waste any of your time.
2 Q. And you would like the leave of the Court to use those notes as
3 and when you require it in order to facilitate your evidence; is that
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Any objection by the Prosecution against the use of
7 this kind of notes?
8 MR. TIEGER: It may not have been entirely clear to the witness,
9 Your Honour, that in the event he wishes to refer to the notes he should
10 make it expressed to the Court and seek leave to do so.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Vasic, whenever you would feel any need to
12 consult your notes, would you please tell us that you intend to do so and
13 then it depends on the circumstances, I take it, whether there would be
14 any objection against it. So whenever you want to rely on it, please tell
16 MR. JOSSE:
17 Q. I think it's worth making one other thing clear: You made those
18 notes entirely on your own, Mr. Vasic, didn't you? No one else was
19 present when you made them.
20 A. Yes. I did it on my own.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It seems that we have a technical problem. Could we
22 be assisted by one of the technicians for Judge Hanoteau's LiveNote, which
23 is not functioning.
24 Meanwhile, we'll proceed, Mr. Josse.
25 MR. JOSSE: I should just say in passing there was some messing
1 around with our terminals because we're about to play a CD, so I hope that
2 hasn't affected the learned Judge's terminal.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I may hope that your playing a CD doesn't
4 interfere with our systems, but let's continue and we'll see.
5 MR. JOSSE:
6 Q. You're from the Prnjavor municipality, aren't you, Mr. Vasic?
7 Well, it was a question --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And I want you to give the Court a brief resume of your political
10 career up until the time you became president of the municipality within
12 A. I was a member of the League of Communists for a simple reason;
13 nobody could become manager unless they were a member of the League of
14 Communists. I was a young, educated man and I was ambitious, and I wanted
15 to pursue my career and become manager, and therefore I had to join the
16 communist league.
17 When we had the first multi-party elections, I was offered by the
18 communist league to become president of the Executive Committee of the
19 municipality of Prnjavor if I put my name down on their list. Since I
20 felt threatened as a member of the Serb nation at that time, I actually
21 made the decision to join the SDS because the Serb people seemed to be
22 gathering around that party in order to put a stop or prevent this
23 majority dominance. That was the way we felt at the time.
24 Q. And you stood in that first multi-party election for the SDS?
25 A. Yes. I was on their list, and I was elected by an overwhelming
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. And elected as what?
3 A. As the president of the General Assembly of the municipality of
5 Q. And in Prnjavor, was that a paid position?
6 A. As a rule, that would have been a paid position. I was the only
7 exception in all of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the
8 employees of the company I had worked for feared that, after my mandate, I
9 might not go back to the company, well, they decided that throughout my
10 mandate as the president of that municipality I should continue to be on
11 the payroll of my company so that, upon my completion of my mandate, I
12 could go back. And in that case I had to work as the president of the
13 municipality on a voluntary basis but I would do it as a full-time job,
14 and that was the case throughout my mandate.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, just for my better understanding of the
16 testimony, could you seek some clarification as to the reference to
17 majority dominance the witness gave on page 60, line 14. He said, "... in
18 order to put a stop or prevent this majority dominance."
19 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
20 Q. Mr. Vasic, you had said earlier in your evidence that you felt
21 threatened as a Serb. You joined the SDS because people appeared to be
22 gathering around that party "in order to put a stop or prevent this
23 majority dominance." When you talked about "majority dominance," what
24 are you referring to?
25 A. I was referring to my feeling threatened politically and the fact
1 that Serbs at Prnjavor felt threatened because, during the previous
2 mandate, even though the municipality of Prnjavor had 75 per cent of Serb
3 population, well, we were not represented even up to 10 per cent in
4 government, and the Communist Party always gave this rationale according
5 to which that order came from Sarajevo. Those instructions had come from
7 When it used to happen in the former Yugoslavia, we obviously had
8 good reason to fear what would happen if things changed afterwards and the
9 Muslims from the federation, as it is now, were in favour of this change.
10 And the people's fear is something else.
11 I'm afraid I haven't quite understood the question. What do you
12 want me to elaborate upon?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said you wanted to put an end to a majority
14 dominance. It's not entirely clear what majority dominated who -- whom.
15 So therefore I'd like to hear from you what majority you had in mind and
16 what domination you had in mind.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What I meant was that in case this
18 minority, this 14 per cent minority in terms of the total number of
19 inhabitants, had more than 80 per cent of positions of power, that it
20 translated into their political dominance or they had the majority in
21 terms of government, and it was not in line with the actual ethnic make-up
22 of the area. And I did mention that at the Municipal Committee back in
23 1988 -- 1989, and I ended up having enormous difficulties. I think had
24 the -- either events in the 1990s happened I might well have ended up in
25 prison simply because I made that statement. It was a reflection of the
2 In the municipality of Prnjavor, all important positions of power
3 were in the hands of Muslims and some in the hands of Croats, and Serbs
4 only had two significant positions, the two least important ones, in fact;
5 the president of the trade unions and the party secretary, and that used
6 to be considered as an important political position at the time as well.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I now better understand. It's more or less a
8 minority dominance, but in political terms they, by taking the majority of
9 the posts, that's what you wanted to put an end to.
10 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
11 MR. JOSSE:
12 Q. Perhaps we should have dealt briefly - I know evidence has been
13 put before the Chamber before - about the ethnic make-up of the
14 municipality in the 1990 census, but it's right approximately 71 per cent
15 of the population were Serbs, 15 per cent were Muslims, and just under 4
16 per cent were of Croat ethnic origin; is that correct?
17 A. Yes. And there were about 20 ethnic minorities. So we used to
18 call ourselves the Little Europe. We have a Czech village, an Italian
19 village, and quite a few minorities, in fact.
20 Q. I want to turn immediately to the effect that the war in Croatia
21 had on your municipality, and in particular to events in the early part of
22 1992. There was a meeting, I think, on the 26th of March, 1992, that I'd
23 like you to deal with in particular.
24 A. There was this general psychosis, in fact, a fear felt by everyone
25 that the war in Croatia might spill over into Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 There were quite a few events that indicated that.
2 On the 8th of September, 1991, a bridge across the river was
3 mined, and it is the river which divides Prnjavor municipality from
4 Derventa and in the direction of Serbia, and it was a very frightening
5 message for Serbia.
6 After a couple of days, the information was published according to
7 which the explosives came from the Varazdin barracks. It was unofficial
8 information. It was just information that was circulating amongst the
9 people. I don't know who started it. And on the 25th of March, 1992, in
10 a village called Sijekovac, in the vicinity of Derventa, there were some
11 inter-ethnic tensions and problems so that Biljana Plavsic and Fikret
12 Avdic came along to sort things out. And there was a representative of
13 the Croat people but I can't recall his name at the moment. I think he
14 was a member of the Presidency of the BH.
15 Upon their -- or, rather, after their departure during that time,
16 people from Slavonski Brod and some indigenous Croat population massacred
17 the population of that village and a number of families were slaughtered.
18 A number of Serb families, I mean. The family Zecevic and two other
19 people were buried on the territory of our municipality because they were
20 afraid they wouldn't be able to organise the funeral there because the
21 entire Serb population fled the village. So we organised the funerals and
22 that was an extra dose of fear, if you like, for the Serb population.
23 On the 28th of March, when returning from a meeting in Sarajevo,
24 the president of the Executive Committee of the municipality of Prnjavor,
25 Radivoje Radivojevic, was arrested as well as the secretary Slavica
1 Kuzmanovic, and they were arrested by paramilitaries in Johovac village in
2 the vicinity of Doboj.
3 It was only after three days that the president of the Executive
4 Committee was actually released. Quite simply, they were stopped, there
5 was a checkpoint on the road, and to make a long story short, Muslims and
6 Croats in Prnjavor were fearful because they were in the minority and they
7 feared any conflict, and Serbs were afraid because of all these events
8 taking place in the past, and of course they also had in mind everything
9 they learnt at school about the events in the First and the Second World
10 War and the sufferings and the genocide suffered by the Serbs. So there
11 was this generalised fear, but I would particularly like to point out that
12 this funeral at the Sijekovac village, it was attended by about 2.000
14 Q. We are going to turn to that funeral almost immediately. I think
15 it would help to orientate ourselves with the documents, because if we
16 turn to tab 6, so -- there's a -- it's up to you Mr. Vasic. You can
17 either use the bundle or you can use the documents that you've brought
18 with you, because they do correspond.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, you are assuming that the -- your
20 assumption was right, Mr. Josse.
21 MR. JOSSE: That's because of the efficiency of Your Honour's
22 usher, I'm bound to say. Nothing to do with me.
23 Q. In tab 6, I don't think we need in fact to put these on the ELMO
24 because they really speak for themselves. There are the various death
25 certificates, are there not, of the family that were killed in the
1 incident you've just described. If I'm --
2 A. Can I ask a question? I think it would be a good idea for this
3 two-minute speech to be interpreted, the one that we're going to hear.
4 Q. Don't worry, Mr. Vasic, that's the next stage. I'm trying to take
5 it in stages. I'm simply showing the death certificate briefly because I
6 don't think they take matters very much further, and then I'm going to
7 move on almost immediately to the funeral and the eulogy that you have
8 brought with you.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I take it, but I'm just seeking confirmation from the
10 interpreters, that "Prnjava o Smrti" means "death certificate"?
11 THE INTERPRETER: Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: That has been clarified.
13 MR. TIEGER: In the interests of clarification, I note there seem
14 to be two different types of documents. I'm just wondering if the
15 distinction is relevant in some way. So there's a document to which the
16 Court just referred and there's a document --
17 MR. JOSSE: The other is a birth certificate for the people who
18 were being buried.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Could one of these latter documents be put on the
20 ELMO. Could the -- no, one of the other documents. We have dealt with
21 this. The last four of tab 6.
22 We have now in front of us a document concerning Jovan Zecevic.
23 Could the interpreters confirm that in the title of this document it
24 starts with Republika Srpska, from what I see, but then that in Cyrillic
25 there is any reference to a birth certificate. Perhaps if you could read
1 the part which says what kind of a document it is, because I see it's the
2 opstina of Srpski Brod, and then seems to be a line which gives the title
3 of the document.
4 THE INTERPRETER: It's a document that comes from the birth
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, that has been identified as well.
7 Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
8 MR. JOSSE:
9 Q. I think perhaps -- I think perhaps out of an abundance of caution,
10 the last document, which is not altogether clear, should be put on the
11 ELMO. The one in the top written corner has, transcribed on it,
12 Prodanovic Mirko.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Where do we find this, Mr. Josse, in the bundle?
14 MR. JOSSE: It's the last document in tab 6.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Not with me, as a matter of fact. The last one seems
16 to be a same document as also a kind of birth certificate in relation to a
17 certain Petar Zecevic, and the title being "Izvod iz maticna knjige." I
18 can't -- but that seems to be similar language as we just heard for birth
19 certificates, or at least birth registers.
20 MR. JOSSE: In Mr. Krajisnik's bundle he tells me, through
21 Mr. Krganovic, it's the penultimate document.
22 JUDGE ORIE: The penultimate document is about also Sijekovac --
23 no, that's not the same. It's not the same. It seems to be the -- it
24 says what is the -- oh. The penultimate gives it in all languages, so
25 there is no need for a translation. There is an international document.
1 Even in Dutch I can read it, which gives the date of birth of the person
2 deceased as being 18 or 16th of July, 1953 or 8. And family name is
3 Zecevic, and the place of death is Sijekovac, but not the document as we
4 have in front us now.
5 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour --
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could we proceed. Perhaps you'd sort this out.
7 MR. JOSSE: Absolutely. I was only asking the witness to refer to
8 it, again simply out of completeness. I'm actually happy to leave the
9 document out and move on to what he has been referring to, namely the CD.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you want to reintroduce it in whatever way,
11 then we'll hear from you, but at this moment --.
12 MR. JOSSE: I'm quite happy with that, thank you.
13 Q. Now, you've referred to the CD that we're about to play,
14 Mr. Vasic. You brought it with you; is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Firstly, the actual CD, how did you obtain that?
17 A. This was an ad on local TV. The local TV had it on its archives
18 and I got it from the reporter who recorded it. I asked him to give it to
19 me and he made a copy for me and gave it to me.
20 Q. And as is going to be apparent, it's a short extract from the
21 funeral of the people you've just referred to and a speech by a priest.
22 Were you present at this funeral?
23 A. Yes, I was present, together with the leadership of the
24 municipality, and there were about 2.000 people there. It's very
25 difficult to give you an exact figure, but in any case there were a lot of
1 people. You'll see it on -- in the video clip.
2 Q. And the CD bears the date the 30th of March, 1992. Can you
3 confirm that that was the date of the funeral?
4 A. I think so. As a matter of fact, that is the date.
5 MR. JOSSE: We're going to play this extract now, Your Honour. I
6 hope the speed won't be too fast for the interpreters. The interpretation
7 is important.
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters do not have the script of this
9 video and do not feel obliged to interpret.
10 MR. JOSSE: I had no -- there is no script in existence. That I
11 can confirm. If the interpreters don't feel obliged to do it, there's no
12 point playing the extract. It's all about the speech the priest makes
13 that is important.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but if we do not have any translation of the
15 speech made by the priest, then --
16 MR. JOSSE: Well, there's very little the Defence can do about it.
17 We'll --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, apart from perhaps preparing in B/C/S, perhaps
19 through the assistance at least a written text in B/C/S, so that the
20 interpreters have at least a written text in front of them, because they
21 might not be able to follow unless the priest speaks extremely slow.
22 Let's first look at the video, and the interpreters are invited,
23 to the extent it can be done without serious problems, to translate into
24 English. I do understand the speech of the priest is the important part.
25 And if you feel that you can't do it, then the Defence is invited to have
1 this speech transcribed overnight.
2 MR. JOSSE: Yes, Your Honour. That's as far, as the Defence are
3 concerned, a perfectly acceptable compromise and I can only apologise to
4 the interpreters for the situation arising.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's see. Yes. We -- since it's a CD, it's
6 not video evidence but computer evidence.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] God help us. God listen to our
9 cries. God bring some sense to our enemies so as to make them understand
10 that there is room for everybody under the sun and that if we don't want
11 to live together, we can live alongside each other. If we don't want to
12 be human beings, at least we should not be inhuman beings. Brethren and
13 sisters, we don't have the right to forgive anybody because these young
14 lives, their father Jovo, the brothers Balcic, and others who perished in
15 Sijekovac, we have been asked by them to forgive our enemies. There are
16 no Catholic priests here. Maybe there are some Catholic followers here
17 amongst the crowd. They should have all been here to experience the
18 tragedy that the entire Serbian church and the entire Serbian people are
20 "This is just the beginning of our ordeals, but we firmly believe
21 that God our Lord who has saved the Jews ..."
22 MR. JOSSE: Yes, that's the extract, Your Honour. I again thank
23 the interpreter.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I strongly join in your thanks for the
25 interpreters. Please proceed, Mr. Josse.
1 MR. JOSSE: Yes.
2 Q. You've begun to describe, Mr. Vasic, how Serbs were feeling after
3 this incident. How did people actually behave and react to what had
5 A. I just wanted to say that it is not true that only Croats and
6 Muslims were afraid. Those events instilled a lot of fear in the Serbian
7 people as well. So everybody in Prnjavor municipality was scared.
8 Q. My question is: How did you go about maintaining control of the
9 situation as president of the Municipal Assembly?
10 A. At the time, the situation was not so tense, and there was still
11 no war going on in Bosnia, and therefore, there were no major problems.
12 When we had a meeting and when decisions were made in the Municipal
13 Assembly that were to help us, for example, the support of the JNA, we did
14 not have any problems. Everybody was in favour of that because they
15 believed that the JNA was the force that could help everybody. And when
16 this decision was put on the agenda, it was voted on unanimously, and many
17 other decisions that were put on the agenda in order to prevent conflicts
18 and to restore order to Prnjavor municipality, we found it easy to make
19 such decision, to pass them, because everybody was equally afraid.
20 Q. That leads on conveniently to the issue of weapons, distribution
21 and control, in the municipality. What decisions did the Municipal
22 Assembly make about weapons?
23 A. Already at the -- at that time some people were illegally armed,
24 against the law. Everybody wanted to obtain weapons in order to protect
25 themselves in case their houses were attacked. And we received
1 information from various sources. For example, from the Serbian newspaper
2 Glas - in January this was published - that weapons for Muslim in Lisnja
3 and Mravica in the municipality of Prnjavor were brought from Sarajevo and
4 that Mesud Rizvanovic was arrested for that. In Banja Luka he was
6 MR. TIEGER: Your Honour, it's --
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 27th of January, 1992 --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Tieger.
9 MR. TIEGER: It seems quite apparent to me the witness is not only
10 referring to but apparently reading from his notes. Again, I would ask
11 that that, first, be made clear that the witness or counsel seek, of
12 course, leave for that purpose, and of course we'd like an opportunity to
13 know what the document actually says.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 Mr. Vasic, I invited you to tell us when you would feel any need
16 to consult any of your notes. And perhaps, Mr. Josse, you could assist
17 the witness in reminding him on that matter, because from here I can't see
19 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, absolutely. I'm in the Court's hands.
20 The witness has explained that he prepared these notes very recently in
21 relation to the testimony. They're quite extensive. We're happy to copy
22 them and provide them for the Prosecution.
23 JUDGE ORIE: That would be a good idea.
24 MR. JOSSE: Realistically, the situation has either got to be that
25 he's allowed to refer to them when he wants, or alternatively, he can't
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 use them, because they are relatively extensive and I think it would be
2 somewhat impractical for him to keep saying to the Chamber, "I'd like to
3 use my notes now, please."
4 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand. Would you mind to have copies made
5 of your notes? If these were my notes it would not help anyone to
6 understand what I was reading, but because it's -- has the witness
7 handwriting which is such that it can be read by others? Because
8 otherwise, it wouldn't help anybody.
9 MR. JOSSE: I think so. We were looking at one entry shortly
10 before he gave evidence, that's myself and an interpreter, and
11 the interpreter was able to.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Then with the help of the Registry, Mr. Vasic, since
13 you're supposed not to have any further contacts with the Defence, you'll
14 be invited to give these notes to someone from the Registry so they can be
15 copied and then the original will be returned to you later today.
16 So please proceed.
17 MR. JOSSE: In those circumstances, may the witness refer to the
18 notes as he pleases?
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
21 Q. Mr. Vasic, you were telling us about concerns about weapons, and
22 who had them, and what the Municipal Assembly did about that. Go on,
24 A. I referred to my note because the date is precise in my notes, the
25 27th of January. I wanted to be sure when this was published in the
1 newspaper. The 27th of January was the date. I can't remember all the
2 dates, I can't keep them in my memory. That's when --
3 JUDGE ORIE: I also invite you to slow down a bit because the
4 interpreters have to translate every word you say. So if you speak a
5 little bit slower, that would certainly assist. Please proceed.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In addition to this information, the
7 public security station in Prnjavor arrested five Serbs who had sold their
8 weapons to the Muslims in Lisnja, over a hundred rifles and machine-guns.
9 Further on, on the decision of the Territorial Defence Staff, the
10 Territorial Defence weapons were distributed amongst the units of local
11 communes indiscriminately. To the unit composed of Muslims only, they
12 gave 42 rifles. The commander, Pekic, and the unit in Konjuhovci received
13 22 rifles. Its commander was Jusuf.
14 And another piece of information that we received was that old
15 hunting rifles that the population had at the time was abundant in
16 numbers. There was information about a large number of hunting rifles
17 among the people, so some measures had to be taken for these weapons to be
18 taken in order to avoid a possible conflict and a diminished level of fear
19 among the people.
20 Q. So let's deal with that specifically, if we may. An order was
21 passed in relation to hunting weapons?
22 A. To be more specific then.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. Yes. It was under my authority to issue an order to withdraw
25 hunting rifles. This was within the authority of the municipality. I was
1 the one who signed the order or the decision.
2 According to the then prevailing law of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
3 hunting rifles were to be taken from all those who had them. The command
4 of the Territorial Defence also decided that the Territorial Defence
5 weapons that had been distributed should also be withdrawn from everybody
6 across the board. And the public security station of Prnjavor issued an
7 order that all illegally weapons -- illegally obtained weapons had to be
9 In all the villages this was done peacefully, except in the
10 village of Lisnja.
11 Q. Okay. We'll come to that in a moment. What was the date of the
12 order that you're talking about, please?
13 A. You have it in documents. I don't know.
14 Q. Okay. Turn, if you would, to tab 4 of the binder. Yes. Perhaps
15 it's best if I hand -- this could be put on the ELMO, please.
16 Would you have a look at the screen, please, Mr. Vasic, and would
17 you confirm that that's the relevant order. Yes or no to begin with,
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Okay. Could you slowly read it out, please.
21 A. "Decision on temporary seizure of hunting rifles which are
22 privately owned.
23 "1. Hunting rifles are temporarily seized and handed over for
24 safekeeping at the public security station of Prnjavor pursuant to a list
25 that was compiled by the public security station of Prnjavor. If
1 necessary, military conscripts might be issued with these weapons.
2 "2. For those people who have carbine rifles, a personal
3 notification will be issued indicating the place and the time when the
4 weapons will be taken over. The public security station will issue a
5 certificate on all those weapons taken over. If the owner of the weapon
6 is absent, a member of the family who is of age can bring the weapons to
7 the public security station.
8 "3. The owners of hunting rifles who do not respond to the call
9 to hand over the weapons at the given time and place will be forcibly
10 disarmed by the public security station and they will be deprived of the
11 right to possess hunting rifles.
12 "4. This decision will become valid on the date of its issuance,
13 and the public security station of Prnjavor will look after its
15 "15 May 1992," and my signature.
16 Q. You had begun to tell us that this order was followed throughout
17 the municipality save in one place; is that right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And the place was Lisnja; is that right?
20 A. Yes. Yes.
21 Q. Now, I think you should tell the Chamber a little bit about
22 Lisnja. It's right that it was the largest Muslim village in the
24 A. Yes. This is the largest Muslim village in the Prnjavor
25 municipality, and this is where the SDA was most active in the period
1 following up to the war.
2 Q. And so --
3 A. And if you want me to say something more about Lisnja, since
4 you've asked me, I would like to say that the Territorial Defence weapons
5 were not returned there. The president of the village, Ramo Seperovic,
6 two members of the Executive Board of the municipality of Prnjavor from
7 the SDA party, the president of the Islamic religious community, Sakib
8 Curan, tried to talk to the people and persuade them to return the
10 Some 20 rifles were brought to the culture hall in the village.
11 However, there was an extremist group there who had obtained weapons in
12 other ways, broke into the culture hall and took everything away. So that
13 it was inevitable for the forcible seizure of weapons to follow. The
14 order was given to the public security station from their superiors, and
15 the Territorial Defence also participated in that operation because they
16 also wanted to reclaim their own weapons that had not been returned to
18 At the end of this action, one could see that there was a large
19 number of weapons present there. A lot of trenches were found, and one
20 could tell that people were preparing for a possible armed conflict. As a
21 result of that, there were many convictions that you have amongst your
23 Q. Just pause there, Mr. Vasic, because you can help us in a number
24 of regards.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps first, Judge Hanoteau has a question for the
2 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes. It is rather -- it is a
3 clarification rather than a question as such.
4 With regard to this decision on weapons, I don't quite understand
5 the difference, the distinction that was made between hunting rifles and
6 other types of rifles. As to the hunting rifles, the reference is to the
7 fact that they would be temporarily taken and had to be taken to the
8 public security station. But as to all the other rifles, probably combat
9 weapons, it is being said that they will only be taken following a
10 personal notification that will have been sent to the persons in question
11 by the public security station.
12 Now, why is there distinction? Why this difference of treatment
13 of two different types of weapons?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Carbines are the type of weapons
15 that are used by the military. This is more dangerous weapons that is
16 used by the army. And also ammunition is being taken over, as you can
17 tell by item 2, whereas hunting rifles are the type of weapons for which
18 ammunition is made by the owners. The gunpowder is purchased in a special
19 shop, and the casings are filled, and -- I don't know what else to call
20 this. This is a special mould which is filled by gunpowder. Carbines are
21 more dangerous, bigger weapons that exist in the military and are used by
22 the troops. And the fact that there is a distinction made here is
23 accounted for by the fact that these two types of weapons are accounted
24 for in different places in the public security station. That's why this
25 distinction was made.
1 All the decisions that I signed were prepared for me by legal
2 experts who knew the law. I myself am an economist, and I cannot be sure
3 why the distinction was made, but I know that we're talking about two
4 different types of weapons here.
5 JUDGE ORIE: I would have one additional questions as well. Was
6 this decision spontaneously adopted in Prnjavor or were you acting on any
7 other decision or any other instructions by whomever?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can't remember whether this was
9 based on the estimates of the political and security situation in Prnjavor
10 or whether we had received an order from our superiors. I believe that
11 the decision concerning the hunting rifles were made by ourselves pursuant
12 to an instruction issued by the leadership of the Autonomous Region of
13 Krajina to whom we communicated at the time because we did not have any
14 communication with the Republican leadership. And the Territorial Defence
15 had its own line of command, and they only have an office in Prnjavor, and
16 they were not subordinated to the municipal authorities. So I believe
17 that they issued their order pursuant to the order that was passed down to
19 I believe that in the preamble of this decision you can see how
20 this decision was made. I can't remember at the moment.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It's not on our screen. Perhaps you could move the
22 document a little bit so that we can see the --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, if it can be moved a little,
24 I'm sure you'll see it.
25 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour and the witness were saying exactly the
1 same thing at the same time.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could we -- could we move it a little bit down,
3 the document, so we can see the -- no? A little bit up, perhaps I should
4 say. Yes.
5 Could you please read the first part, starting from 38.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] "Pursuant to the decision of the
7 government of the AR Krajina, number 01-1/92, dated 4th May 1992, item 5.
8 And in keeping with the assessment of the political and security situation
9 in the territory of the municipality of Prnjavor, as well as in keeping
10 with the information that illegally obtained weapons had not been returned
11 to the Municipal Staff of the Territorial Defence or to the public
12 security station, the Crisis Staff of the municipality of Prnjavor hereby
13 issues the following decision ..."
14 So as you can see here, we quoted the decision of the government
15 and our own information.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Josse. Well, it's quarter to
17 two. It was not my intention to claim the last question of this morning,
18 but it is a quarter to two. Would this be a suitable moment?
19 MR. JOSSE: It would, Your Honour. I can tell everyone that we're
20 going on to tab 7, and the various photographs there are matters that the
21 witness has just referred to. So I'm going to invite him to take us
22 through those tomorrow morning, with Your Honour's leave.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One other matter. The -- it seems that the --
24 that the CD with the images of the funeral were not only translated but
25 translated up to a level that the speed of the speech of the priest was
1 not such that it created major problems. I see this confirmed by the
2 interpreters. So under those circumstances, Mr. Tieger, unless we have
3 now text of the speech in the record, do we need still it to be
4 transcribed and then having translated again also in view of the content
5 of the speech?
6 MR. TIEGER: No, Your Honour. I understand, based on the
7 information the Court was able to get visually from the interpreters, that
8 that would not be necessary.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Then we'll leave it as it is. There's no need to
10 transcribe it.
11 MR. JOSSE: I'm very grateful for that. Mr. Tieger was very
12 helpful when we talked yesterday about translation in general. It's a
13 matter that I may wish to return to with the Chamber because clearly we
14 have to consider which of these documents should be translated officially,
15 because there are an awful lot here, and some of them are, frankly,
16 repetitive. So perhaps we can return to that subject later and I'll
17 perhaps talk to my learned friends over the adjournment on that matter.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and sometimes we can reach a very practical
19 solution, such as birth certificates, death certificates. If there is no
20 disagreement between the parties that the one document is a birth
21 certificate, the other one is a death certificate, then I think we can
22 find our way through it and we might exceptionally exclude them from the
23 general rule that no untranslated documents should be entered into
25 Mr. Vasic, we'll conclude for the day. We'd like to see you back
1 tomorrow morning, 9.00. You should not speak, and I instruct you not to
2 speak with anyone about the testimony that you have given until now and
3 you're still about to give in the days to come. And I also, since you
4 agreed with that, I invite you to give your notes to a representative of
5 the Registrar so that they can be copied, and the original will be
6 returned to you and then the copies will be made available.
7 Mr. Josse, I take it that you would like to have one as well.
8 MR. JOSSE: Yes, thank you. That's very kind.
9 JUDGE ORIE: To the parties. And the Chamber at the moment is not
10 interested to receive a copy of it. At this moment it doesn't seem
11 relevant for us.
12 We will adjourn until tomorrow morning 9.00, same courtroom.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 11th day
15 of October, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.