Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 21064

1 Friday, 10 March 2006

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 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.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar. A few matters.

10 Mr. Harmon -- and perhaps, Madam Usher, you could already try to

11 find the witness so that he could be standby. Were you able to reduce the

12 number of pages of the book?

13 MR. HARMON: I was, Your Honour. I informed the Defence last

14 night in respect of tab 59, the pages that are relevant are pages 1

15 through 6 and pages 8 through 13.


17 Mr. Josse, any comment on that?

18 MR. JOSSE: I'm grateful for that. But I reserve the right again

19 to challenge the admission of the exhibit when that becomes an issue.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I think the presence of the witness is not

21 of any relevance for that later objection.

22 MR. JOSSE: Absolutely, Your Honour.

23 JUDGE ORIE: So then we know that you reserve that right and we

24 have now reduced the number of pages.

25 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.

Page 21065

1 JUDGE ORIE: And it's on the record.

2 Then, Mr. Josse, I think you provided the representative of the

3 Registry with the CD concerning the attack on the Tuzla convoy, but I also

4 do understand that there is no transcript, neither in English nor in

5 B/C/S.

6 Mr. Harmon, do you know whether that exists?

7 MR. HARMON: I do not, Your Honour.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please try to find out. Because I

9 don't know whether there is any text spoken on it or whether it's just

10 pictures.

11 MR. JOSSE: As a matter of fact, it was on -- it was being played

12 by a member of our team when I left this courtroom last night, and I

13 viewed a small portion of it and there is some text -- there is spoken

14 words. I wasn't exactly clear even by asking him what they were. He's in

15 this building. I can try and find out. The trouble, of course, is, from

16 our point of view, preparing a text would be a mammoth task.

17 JUDGE ORIE: It depends on how much text there is. If it's just

18 a journalist who says this is a convoy that leaves Tuzla and it's now

19 attacked by the Green Berets or whatever, then of course the parties could

20 even agree that the text is, for our understanding, not of major

21 importance but it's just the event that is described.

22 MR. JOSSE: That's what I was rather assuming, but permit me to

23 deal with it this morning. I'd like to deal, whilst it's fresh in our

24 memory --

25 JUDGE ORIE: I just draw your attention --

Page 21066

1 MR. JOSSE: The person concerned is in the building, I repeat, and

2 I'll speak to him at the break.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Anything else at this moment? I do understand

4 that you have replaced number 60; is that right? Tab 60, Mr. Harmon?

5 MR. HARMON: Yes, that's correct, Your Honour.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's tab 60, yes.

7 Then, Madam Usher, could you please escort Mr. Poplasen into the

8 courtroom.

9 [The witness entered court]


11 [Witness answered through interpreter]

12 Cross-examination by Mr. Harmon: [Continued]

13 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning, Mr. Poplasen. I would like to remind

14 you that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the

15 beginning of your testimony.

16 Mr. Harmon will now continue his cross-examination. Mr. Harmon,

17 please proceed.


19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Poplasen.

20 A. Good morning, Mr. Prosecutor.

21 Q. First of all let me start with the two documents that I gave you

22 copies of last night. You asserted they were forgeries. Have you had an

23 opportunity to look at those documents and can you enlighten us as to any

24 particular features of those documents that suggest they are forgeries?

25 Starting with the document that is found in tab 37, if you would,

Page 21067

1 Mr. Poplasen. That is the Serbian Democratic Party decision of 9

2 September 1991, on your appointment to the Commission for Information and

3 Propaganda.

4 A. I've reviewed both documents. As for the first one, I didn't say

5 it was a forgery. I simply said that I saw it for the first time

6 yesterday. I'm not saying that this isn't authentic but I found out that

7 I was appointed to this commission for the first time yesterday.

8 As far as the second document is concerned, my assessment of it

9 being a forgery has to do only with the fact that my name was listed among

10 those attending the meeting of the commission. I have absolutely no

11 recollection of either being a member of the commission or ever attending

12 any of its meetings. Who wrote this document, I do not know, but I'm not

13 saying that it -- this document isn't an authentic one. I don't know. I

14 really cannot comment on its contents and I don't recall attending a

15 meeting or ever being on the commission.

16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Poplasen.

17 Let me turn my attention now to a slightly different topic. I'm

18 interested in your defining a term that I have seen frequently used by you

19 and representatives of your party and representatives of the SDS. That is

20 the term "genocide." And in the context of the discussions that -- in

21 which you participated, there was frequent reference to a fear of genocide

22 reoccurring in Bosnia. I'm not interested in the historical context of

23 that. What I'm interested in is when that -- when you used that term,

24 what did you mean by that term?

25 A. To put it in the shortest of terms, by "genocide" I mean an

Page 21068

1 organised, deliberate, planned, physical, cultural and spiritual

2 extermination of a group. Most often the group is consisted of members of

3 a nation. Extermination can be of different characters, in terms of a

4 pogrom, of an extermination of a religious group, or it can be a cultural

5 genocide, when the culture of a peoples is considered to be inappropriate

6 and one aims or strives to destroy any elements underlying the culture of

7 a peoples. But what is most significant and most important, at least as

8 far as the events on the Balkans are concerned, is the organised, planned

9 and deliberate designed destruction of a peoples, behind which a state is

10 hiding or a political or any other organisation sponsored or supported by

11 a state.

12 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. Let me turn to your work as a

13 republican commissioner. You told us earlier that you worked closely with

14 Mr. Koljevic in your capacity as a war commissioner. You informed

15 Mr. Koljevic, as you were required to do. Mr. Koljevic's responsibility

16 was to inform the other leaders in the Republika Srpska; Mr. Karadzic,

17 Mr. Krajisnik, Mrs. Plavsic, of the work of the commissioners and what

18 information they were giving to him. Is that a fair statement?

19 A. Yes. Yes. Approximately, yes.

20 Q. Now, and he did that, didn't he?

21 A. I suppose he did. I suppose he submitted a sort of a rough report

22 to the other members of the Presidency. He probably did not go into

23 detail. There were several commissioners, and if each one of them

24 presented Mr. Koljevic with a detailed report, then it would have been

25 quite a difficult task for Professor Koljevic to relay the information in

Page 21069

1 full. Probably he made a summary of these reports.

2 Q. Now, you told us that you left and you delegated your authority as

3 a republican commissioner to a number of individuals. Did they continue

4 to inform Mr. Koljevic of events in the municipality where you served as a

5 republican commissioner?

6 A. Yes. I already said that the municipality of Vogosca, being a

7 municipality belonging to Sarajevo, was not too far from the seat of the

8 Presidency and the government of Republika Srpska, so that in performing

9 their duties, they were able to relay the information directly to

10 Professor Koljevic. Particularly because I was often away in other parts

11 of the republic and in Serbia.

12 Q. And in fact, they signed documents on your behalf. I'm going to

13 be presenting you with some of those documents later this morning. That's

14 correct, isn't it?

15 A. Yes.

16 Q. Did you have a chance to review the documents that were signed on

17 your behalf at a later time, post facto?

18 A. They informed me verbally of having submitted their reports, and

19 in principle I did not require them to do so, especially as far as the

20 functioning of the local authorities was concerned, but if there was a

21 report submitted to the Presidency and the government, I wanted to be

22 privy to that, because we saw some of the documents that we commented on,

23 where we said that the Presidency -- or that the commissioners worked in

24 cooperation with the local authorities, and if there were any decisions

25 made which in a way derogated from the authorities of the competent

Page 21070

1 organs, then this constituted a violation of the regulations. And there

2 were such instances, in fact, although the violations were not so grave,

3 and I thought that the Executive Board of the Vogosca Municipal Assembly

4 did in fact perform its duties properly.

5 Q. Now, you mentioned yesterday, Mr. Poplasen, a gentleman by the

6 name of Mr. Radovanovic. You were asked specifically about him by

7 Mr. Josse.

8 MR. HARMON: I refer Your Honours to page 42 of the LiveNote.

9 Q. You said he was a republican commissioner for the municipality of

10 Ilidza and you were critical of him. You said he left most of his duties

11 and obligations to the president of the Ilidza municipality, and that also

12 included the reporting obligations. Let me ask you: Mr. Radovanovic was

13 also the commissioner for the Serb municipality of Rajlovac, which was

14 nearby, was he not?

15 A. I don't recall that Rajlovac had the status of a municipality.

16 Rajlovac is a settlement. There was the municipality of Vogosca and the

17 neighbouring municipality was that of Ilidza. It is possible that at a

18 later stage this area in fact became a municipality, but as far as I know,

19 in 1992, while we were working as commissioners, Rajlovac was not a

20 municipality.

21 Q. I'm going to present you with a document in just a moment that

22 will show you there was a self-declared municipality of Rajlovac, but let

23 me ask you: Do you know a gentleman by the name of Jovo Bozic who was the

24 president of the Serbian municipality of Rajlovac?

25 A. No. I don't recall Mr. Bozic.

Page 21071

1 Q. Do you know if Mr. Radovanovic had responsibilities as a war

2 commissioner for more than the municipality of Ilidza?

3 A. No. I don't know. Mr. Radovanovic should know that. If that is

4 the case, there should be a document in relation to this. Such a duty

5 cannot be delegated verbally.

6 Q. Let me show you a document.

7 MR. HARMON: Tab 38 needs an exhibit number.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.

9 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 38, Your Honours, will be P1086.

10 MR. HARMON: I'm sorry, tab 38 is the wrong exhibit.

11 JUDGE ORIE: Then --

12 MR. HARMON: We need to clarify this.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. 38 was assigned a number yesterday already.

14 MR. HARMON: I'll return to it, Your Honour. I'll return to it at

15 the break.

16 Q. Now, we'll come back to that document, Mr. Poplasen. I'll show

17 you after the break, rather than take time now. Let me turn to the

18 relationship between the SDS and the -- and your party, the Serb Radical

19 Party, and the cooperation that existed in 1992. If we can turn to tab

20 14 --

21 MR. HARMON: And tab 14 needs an exhibit number.

22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1087, Your Honours.


24 Q. Mr. Poplasen, tab 14 is a document from February issue, issue

25 number 12 of a publication entitled "Velika Serbia." It is entitled:

Page 21072

1 "Visit by Vojislav Seselj to Serbian volunteer units in Banja Luka." It's

2 author is Nikodin Cavic, president of the Serbian Radical Party of

3 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I'd like to direct your attention, if I can, to a

4 passage in this document. It is found in the B/C/S version, I believe, on

5 page 21 of the document, between -- midway between the second and the

6 third photographs, so it should be to the left.

7 MR. HARMON: And, Your Honours, the passage I'm referring to is on

8 page 3 in the middle of the page.

9 Q. This is -- I'm quoting Dr. Seselj. This is what the passage says,

10 Mr. Poplasen: "Dr. Vojislav Seselj said that the Serbian Radical Party

11 shall in no way whatsoever stand in the way of the Serbian Democratic

12 Party of Bosnia-Herzegovina but quite the reverse. It will be its good

13 associate. Support, encouragement and all the things which are of vital

14 interest to the survival of the Serbian people in these lands will be done

15 through joint effort and understanding."

16 Now, that was -- that's a fair characterisation of how the SRS and

17 the SDS worked in 1992, is it not?

18 A. As far as I'm able to see, this dates from 1991. The text and the

19 qualification. You yourself said that the text was from 1992. Although I

20 can't find it here, I should see which issue this is of the magazine of

21 Velika Serbia, although I can't see. All right, it is here at the end;

22 Banja Luka, 27 December, 1991. Therefore, this isn't 1992, this is 1991.

23 Q. I stand corrected. I was informed it was 1992. You're correct.

24 I see that date at the bottom. But getting to the point I would like you

25 to comment on, the passage that I read fairly reflects the way in which

Page 21073

1 the SDS and the SRS worked in 1992. It was a cooperative relationship.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon. The date under an article, Mr. Poplasen,

3 is not necessarily the same as the date of the publication. So whether

4 Mr. Poplasen is correct, at least it seems that the author has dated this

5 article late 1991 but when it was published is still unclear. So I just

6 want to avoid any misunderstanding as that the Chamber would accept what

7 seems to be agreed between Prosecution and witness. Please proceed.

8 MR. JOSSE: We are told, apparently, the date of publication in

9 English in a handwritten entry on the top of page 1.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I've seen that, but that's -- finds no source in

11 the original so it should not have been there, as a matter of fact, in

12 translation.

13 MR. JOSSE: That's why I raised it.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Harmon is invited to see whether the

15 original, with the date, could be produced.

16 MR. HARMON: Okay. I will do that.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Even agreement between the parties would be enough

18 for me. We don't have to see it. But please proceed.


20 Q. Let me return to the question I've been asking you, Mr. Poplasen.

21 The passage that I read to you fairly characterises the manner in which

22 the Serb Radical Party - your party in Bosnia - and the SDS party worked

23 in 1992; it was a cooperative relationship. Is that a fair statement?

24 A. It is. But I can help you understand the background, the whole

25 context, in a few sentences, if I'm allowed. You see, at the time when

Page 21074

1 this was authored, I was living and working in Sarajevo, in peace. These

2 events related here have to do with the Republic of Croatia and the

3 Republic of Serbian Krajina for the most part, and this information I was

4 only able to glean from the papers. The quotation you cited here, well,

5 I've explained on several occasions that we had quite a cooperative

6 relationship with the SDS whenever it suited us. Evidently, the

7 information contained in your question is true because this particular

8 aspect was consistent with what our positions were, and I'm referring to

9 what the SDS was doing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

10 Q. Now, in respect of the objectives that were sought to be achieved

11 in Bosnia, were there differences in the policy between the SRS party in

12 Bosnia and the SRS party in Serbia?

13 A. No. I don't think there were any. In essence, it was a united

14 party. There were -- there was a joint platform, joint documents. There

15 was this central body called the Central Homeland Administration. I

16 explained to you that the Serbian Radical Party of the Republic of Srpska

17 was formally independent because Bosnia-Herzegovina had been

18 internationally recognised, in view of the fact that the party wanted to

19 take part in the elections and it had to be registered as a political

20 party in the country where it wanted to participate in the elections.

21 Q. Let me direct your attention, Mr. Poplasen, to tab 59, then. I

22 want to ask you about a portion of the text in tab 59.

23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please speak closer to the

24 microphone or maybe switch another microphone on.

25 MR. HARMON: I will, yes.

Page 21075

1 Q. Mr. Poplasen, I'd like to direct your attention to page 188 in the

2 Cyrillic text, and Your Honours' attention to the bottom of page 8 and the

3 top of -- I'm sorry, bottom of page 10, Your Honour, going over to the

4 next page.

5 Now, let me read this portion of the text to you, Mr. Poplasen.

6 This is in the context of a discussion about forming a new state. The

7 question that is asked is: "A treatment of non-Serbs in the process of

8 unification is a particular issue. Who is forming the state, what kind of

9 state and in which borders?"

10 Quotation: "This is inevitable formation of a civilian state, the

11 state of the Serbs and equal (loyalty is implicit) citizens, members of

12 other nations, ethnic minorities and groups.

13 "If such a state is formed, other nations, ethnic minorities and

14 groups should not exceed more than 8 per cent of total population; they

15 should not exceed the said percentage in any larger settlement, region or

16 administrative unit, and there should be no possibility to change that

17 percentage through birth rate. That is an important reason to determine

18 the borders by respecting this German standard.

19 "Therefore, the State would have to be peaceful, democratic, with

20 multi-party political system and market-oriented economy."

21 Mr. Poplasen, did that discussion vis-a-vis ethnic minorities

22 reflect the position of the SRS in Bosnia?

23 A. No. This is the reasoning by Mr. Seselj, which in my opinion

24 should be changed in some details. I do not wish to elaborate on the

25 percentage. It could be interpreted differently. It could mean that a --

Page 21076

1 doesn't have to be a strict measure concerning the birth rate or possible

2 emigration. In my opinion, any mentioning of a percentage in relation to

3 the population is quite unnecessary, but in any case I agree with the

4 statement that the state would have to be peaceful, democratic, with

5 multi-party political system and market oriented economy. But this in

6 itself already excludes the other. The two are quite contradictory, and

7 therefore in this view point of Mr. Seselj's there are some contradictions

8 that a logic cannot accept, and this cannot reflect a serious stance by a

9 political party. Doesn't reflect my position, at any rate. This is

10 probably an ad hoc statement. He probably came across some German

11 standards and at the time of the interview he felt it important

12 historically to emphasise the importance of the preservation of the

13 nation, but he should be the one to answer that question.

14 Q. But your attitude towards the Muslims, and the party, the SRS

15 party's attitude towards Muslims in a newly created Serbian state or

16 entity in Bosnia was that they should be in a minority. You didn't want

17 to live with them, did you?

18 A. No. We insisted on a common state with the Muslims, and we

19 launched initiatives for such negotiations. Some of them called it a

20 Yugoslavia in miniature, or a rump Yugoslavia. Yesterday, I was

21 interrupted by the Presiding Judge when I wanted to explain what I meant

22 by an inter-agreement. The presidents of the republics had already agreed

23 on this before the war. They had not only agreed on it, they signed the

24 Cutileiro Plan, and it meant coexistence. And then Alija Izetbegovic,

25 under pressure of the American ambassador, withdrew his signature and war

Page 21077

1 broke out. So it's not the case that the parties' position was to have an

2 ethnically clean area and that the members of the other ethnicities were

3 enemies and that we were in a conflict. Our approach was that of a common

4 state because it was quite clear that Slovenia no longer wished to be part

5 of Yugoslavia. The problem of Croatia arose, which had a large Croatian

6 -- Serb population, and the idea was to form a joint state where all the

7 Serbs, Muslims and Albanians would live together and regulate their

8 relations. When the broker -- when the war broke out, then --

9 Q. After the war broke out, you didn't want to live with the Muslims,

10 did you?

11 A. How was one to live in such a state when you would get killed?

12 You could only live in it if you were in the graveyard. I was unable to

13 enter Sarajevo although I didn't do anything. And 10 days later I was

14 declared a war criminal.

15 Q. Mr. Poplasen, is it a fact that you considered the Muslim nation a

16 fictional nation?

17 A. That's what they considered, and they no longer called themselves

18 Muslims.

19 Q. Did you consider the Muslims a fictional nation?

20 A. Of course, because this is a religious affiliation.

21 Q. Now, I want to --

22 JUDGE ORIE: Could I ask for a clarification of one of your last

23 answers, Mr. Poplasen. You said before the war, you negotiated to live

24 together with the other nationalities or ethnicities, whatever you call

25 it; with the Muslims. Then you said, after the war broke out, "How was

Page 21078

1 one to live in such a state when you would get killed?" Do I understand

2 that to be that you did not want to live together with Muslims and Croats

3 in a united Bosnia-Herzegovina?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a distinction was made

5 here between the time preceding the war and the period when the war broke

6 out. In the pre-war period, I explained that there were efforts to

7 preserve a joint state, because I was part of it. I lived there, just as

8 other people did. However, when the war broke out, the relations changed,

9 the motives changed. That there were efforts at preserving Yugoslavia is

10 shown not only by the Cutileiro Plan but a series of talks with the

11 representatives of the Bosniaks.

12 JUDGE ORIE: That's perfectly clear to me. You explained that and

13 I understand that fully. But then you said, when you were asked about

14 once the war had broken out, that -- how could you live with them in a

15 state? The only thing I asked you is what state you were referring to.

16 Were you referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina as a state in which you could not

17 live with those who threatened your life? Is that how I should understand

18 "a state"?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Evidently, there is a bit of a

20 misunderstanding here. When the war started, it was impossible to enter

21 Sarajevo, physically speaking, because there were fortified positions on

22 both sides. Some 15 to 20 days later - I don't recall this precisely - I

23 read it in a paper, the faculty of political science dismissed me, and

24 although it was not within the faculty's competence, the faculty declared

25 me a war criminal. And now the Prosecutor asked me whether I would have

Page 21079

1 lived with the Muslims under those circumstances. It is a question that

2 cannot be answered. How can I live there if I'm dismissed from my job,

3 I'm declared a war criminal, I'm not allowed entry?

4 JUDGE ORIE: I understand your answer to be, "How could I live

5 with the Muslims in a state, being Bosnia-Herzegovina, where they made

6 life impossible for me?" Is that --

7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the territory of the federation,

8 yes.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I move one step forward. Now, the Serbian

10 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or later Republika Srpska, has been

11 created. That means that you more or less separated from other parts of

12 Bosnia and Herzegovina which were not claimed by or were not dominated by

13 Serbs. Now, my question now is, how about living together on Republika

14 Srpska territory, or Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the earlier

15 stages? Would you consider that in municipalities within Republika Srpska

16 territory, let's just assume 40 per cent Serbs, 30 per cent Muslims, would

17 you live with the Muslims in those areas together?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course. I did. There were

19 Muslims, and there still are in Banja Luka and elsewhere, both during the

20 war and now. There was no obstacle to that, no difficulty.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. From the figures this Chamber has received,

22 there still are Muslims, although their number has been drastically

23 reduced. So therefore I'm asking not whether you're living at this moment

24 with small numbers of Muslims, and it differs from one municipality to

25 another, but at that time, did you consider it feasible to live, well

Page 21080

1 let's say in a municipality with a 40 per cent Serbs and the 30 per cent

2 Muslims remaining in that municipality?

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The principle is clear: Of course,

4 it would have been feasible back then, but I don't really want to go into

5 percentages. The percentages depend on the situation. Yes, it would have

6 been feasible back then and it did happen, in fact.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, if there was a Muslim majority in one of

8 the municipalities claimed by the Republika Srpska, would you think it

9 feasible and would you support - because that was not in my last question

10 - would you support living together even if a Muslim majority might get a

11 majority in municipal organs as well?

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, with the proviso that the laws

13 and the regulations of the Republika Srpska are complied with. That was

14 the only condition.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did that, in your experience, happen anywhere

16 on Republika Srpska territory? Could you give us an example?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't have such an experience.

18 You're quite right in saying that there was a huge decrease in the

19 percentage of the Muslim population in most municipalities within the

20 framework of the Republika Srpska, but at the same time the opposite is

21 true as well. I mean, in most municipalities on the territory of the

22 federation, the Serbs have almost disappeared. So it's a general

23 phenomenon in the BH. There were huge movements of population, and people

24 were trying to avoid situations in which they felt threatened and

25 insecure, so it is not only typical of the Republika Srpska.

Page 21081

1 JUDGE ORIE: I was not saying that it was typical for Republika

2 Srpska. What did make Serbs move out of the federation territory?

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, on the basis of thousands of

4 testimonies, there was a general sense of being unsafe and insecure. In

5 Sarajevo, for example, several thousands of Serbs -- I mean, quite a few

6 of them were killed, and many people were automatically laid off within

7 just a couple of days. Many were gotten rid of in order for other people

8 to get their hands on their property, on their real estate, et cetera.

9 And there was a general atmosphere in which it was sufficient for a person

10 to be a member of the Serb nation in order to be totally threatened. Even

11 their lives were at risk. And for example, there were these changes in

12 percentages on the territory of Sarajevo, and that was the case elsewhere

13 throughout the federation as well, in other municipalities. There are

14 documents that do exist. There are about 4.000 missing Serbs in Sarajevo

15 and nobody knows what happened to them. And the Ministry of the Interior

16 is in the possession of these documents, as well as the Association of

17 Camp Inmates.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Was this organised and/or tolerated by the federation

19 authorities or organs? So this behaviour against Serbs.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't in the federation myself,

21 but according to secondhand evidence from my point of view, obviously,

22 yes.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, could you -- I asked you what caused the

24 Serbs to leave federation territory. Could you tell us what caused the

25 Muslims to leave Republika Srpska territory?

Page 21082

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Probably they would be better placed

2 to reply to that question, but I think that there must have been such

3 situations in the Republika Srpska as well, in reverse. Everybody was

4 losing their jobs and there was a general feeling of mistrust. There were

5 some exaggerated situations, some abuse, mistreatment, probably murders -

6 I'm not arguing against that - and I think these cases were dealt with in

7 different ways. So there is a whole range of reasons. Probably they felt

8 safer in an area in which the Muslims were in majority.

9 JUDGE ORIE: You said, for the reasons why Serbs were leaving, you

10 said: "... quite a few of them were killed, many people were

11 automatically laid off within a couple of days. Many were gotten rid of

12 in order for other people to get their hands on their property, on their

13 real estate, et cetera. And there was a general atmosphere in which it

14 was sufficient for a person to be a member of the Serb nation in order to

15 be totally threatened. Even their lives were at risk."

16 Would this be -- this description would be true for the other

17 situation as well?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're asking me, and you're using

19 the conditional. Yes, it might be.

20 JUDGE ORIE: When you talked about 4.000 Serbs missing in

21 Sarajevo, would you consider that a similar thing may have happened on the

22 other side? That means large numbers of Muslims or Croats missing on

23 Republika Srpska territory.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose it is, indeed, possible.

25 I've just told you, yes, it could be.

Page 21083

1 JUDGE ORIE: Was this general atmosphere of threats and fear, was

2 that -- on the Republika Srpska side, was that, as I asked for the other

3 situation, was that tolerated by the Republika Srpska authorities?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that respect, we've heard a

5 number of conversations. As far as I know, the authorities insisted in

6 documents, in some kinds of guidelines, directives, and so on and so

7 forth, on the need for free movement and the respect of all international

8 conventions and regulations pertaining to human rights issues, the kind of

9 behaviour with respect to the POWs, and I think to the extent to which it

10 was possible, it was being prevented.

11 JUDGE ORIE: So you say -- but thank you for your answers.

12 Mr. Harmon, please proceed.

13 MR. HARMON: Let me go to the next exhibit, Your Honours. This is

14 Extra 3 defined on the list. It needs an exhibit number.

15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1088, Your Honours.


17 Q. Mr. Poplasen, we are going to play a portion of a tape. This

18 tape, Mr. Poplasen, is from a TV broadcast relating to the post-Dayton

19 elections. It occurred on the 6th of August. The participants were

20 Zlatko Lagundzija of the SDP party; Rasema Magazinovic of the BH Women's

21 Party; yourself; Petar Jovic, BH Citizens' Democratic Party; Dubravka

22 Lovrenovic of the Croatian Peasant Party; Dragomir Grubac of the Patriotic

23 Bloc; Simo Simic of the Union of BH Socio-democrats; Dragutin Ilic of the

24 Socialist Party of Republika Srpska; and Miodrag Zivanovic of the RS

25 Socio-liberal Party. We are going to play part of this.

Page 21084

1 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, I'm referring to --

2 JUDGE ORIE: I take it --

3 MR. HARMON: -- in the transcript.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think that it needs a number, Mr. Registrar.

5 Extra 3, and you said 6th of August but I take it that it was 6th of

6 August 1996.

7 MR. HARMON: Yes.

8 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand that it has already 1088.

9 MR. HARMON: Yes.


11 MR. HARMON: And the transcript portion that will be played will

12 start at the top of page 2 of the English transcript.

13 Q. So if we could play this, Mr. Poplasen.

14 [Audiotape played]

15 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Has the Dayton Agreement solved the

16 Serbian national issue?

17 "Just a moment ... I just wanted to ...

18 "Please, go ahead ...

19 "We are really facing the situation when there, over the Drina,

20 when we have to fight for ... When I'm directly asked, I would really ...

21 This is not the former Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

22 "It seems like it is mine, sorry ... please.

23 "Let it be there! You see, this is the first time I hear that

24 one political document like the Dayton Agreement can be theoretical thesis

25 for discussion on one question as Mr. ... says ... Now, listen, it is

Page 21085

1 theoretical prefix for discussion, a political document."

2 JUDGE ORIE: Seems to be a problem. Mr. Poplasen, what's the

3 problem? Can't you hear? Are you on the right channel?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't hearing anything through my

5 headphones.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Then perhaps you could restart and see whether it now

7 goes any better.

8 [Audiotape played]

9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Did the Dayton Agreement solve the

10 Serbian national issue?

11 "Just a moment ... I just wanted to ...

12 "Please, go ahead ...

13 "We are really facing the situation when there, over the Drina,

14 when we have to fight for ... When I'm directly asked, I would really ...

15 This is not the former Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

16 "It seems like it is mine, sorry ... please.

17 "Let it be there! You see, this is the first time I hear that a

18 political document like the Dayton Agreement can be a theoretical thesis

19 for the discussion of one question as the gentleman here says ... Listen,

20 now it is a theoretical prefix for discussion, a political document.

21 Secondly, I tried to speak like television. Republika Srpska is a

22 national issue. And now various new terminologies are being introduced.

23 You know. When it comes to a national issue, it gets really complex.

24 Those other ones who used to live with us have to tell me first if they

25 are Bosnians, if they are Muslims or if they are Turks. This year they

Page 21086

1 are Bosniaks, last year they were Muslims. Listen, it is a historical

2 genesis. I'm not making it up.

3 "Nikola, when you talked about those things before ... my friends

4 Radil and Fadil thought that you were kidding. Now they saw that you're

5 being serious. Don't be so serious ... Don't be, it is rude.

6 "Well, we have to agree on it.

7 "It is rude if you and I need to agree about such a thing. It is

8 rude ...

9 "There is a genesis ... A thesis was heard here that there were

10 certain influences of other peoples, from outside and so on ...

11 "... that anchors allow such conversation ...

12 "And can I say what I think, Zlatko?

13 "... Of course you can, Nikola.

14 "Are you supposed to write a speech for me so that I read out

15 what you and Alija came up with.

16 "... No, you're the one who is used to writing speeches for

17 others and reading them in the Marx Centre and not me, in which ...

18 "... They could not even read ...

19 "I would like to ask Mr. Lagundzija to wait until Mr. Poplasen

20 finishes what he wants to say. I think it is --

21 "Zlatko still thinks that he is in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina.

22 Listen ...

23 " ... reacts on these statements, not only did he react on first

24 statement by Mrs. ...

25 "Let Mr. Poplasen finish, please.

Page 21087

1 "If one nation has been formed under the influence of external

2 forces, as one of the gentlemen said, I now claim that the external forces

3 have a critical influence on the political, military and economic events

4 in the Balkans, and it is correct. So certain nations and quasi-nations

5 were formed under certain influences. But that is not the subject of

6 tonight's discussion. The subject is the Republika Srpska and a national

7 issue. Please let me also support the cessation of bloodshed. Nobody can

8 convince me that after four years of bloodshed when we all had, four years

9 of war, we should again live together knowing that another bloodshed would

10 take place. I'm convinced that the bloodshed will be stopped at the

11 moment when we start visiting each other with passports. There is no

12 reason ... There is no reason not to cooperate in all fields for which we

13 estimate we have a joint interest. You see, four years of bloodshed, the

14 whole world and everyone around ... judge the Serbs to be primitive and

15 aggressive. They are guilty of everything. Now when we at the referendum

16 twice vote in favour of the state independence, they are pushing us

17 again. And we are no good and they still want to live with us. I simply

18 cannot understand that. What it is all about?

19 "And you don't want to live with us?

20 "We don't want to. Of course we don't want to.

21 "But why?

22 "Because we don't want the bloodshed to be repeated.

23 "Please, can you give me just example on the basis of which you

24 can tell me that you don't wish to live with us?"

25 MR. HARMON: Yes.

Page 21088

1 JUDGE ORIE: The last few lines were not in the transcript.

2 MR. HARMON: I didn't see them either, Your Honour. We'll have to

3 correct the transcript.

4 Q. That's a reflection of your views in 1996 in respect of living

5 with Muslims, isn't it, Mr. Poplasen?

6 A. Yes, but could I just say a few words before I answer to this

7 question?

8 Q. Well, let me -- is that -- that was your attitude in 1996 at that

9 time, in respect of living with Muslims?

10 JUDGE ORIE: If you first answer the question, then you may

11 explain or give any further comment to it.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was my attitude in 1996 and

13 it is still my attitude today.


15 Q. Now, Mr. Poplasen, you have tried to distinguish between your

16 attitude before the war, during the war, and after the war. And this is

17 your reflection of -- the video we've seen is a reflection of your

18 attitude after the war. During the war, once the war started, it's also

19 true, isn't it, that you and your party did not want to live, coexist,

20 with Muslims on territory that had been historically claimed by the Serbs.

21 A. You mean before the war? What, I didn't quite understand what you

22 said. What period are you referring to?

23 Q. During the war -- let me backtrack. There were territories that

24 the Serbs considered historically their territory before the war and

25 during the war; is that correct?

Page 21089

1 A. They were their inheritance, their property. I don't know what

2 you mean historically. They were theirs by right.

3 Q. Let me read to you a sentence, then. Let me read a sentence to

4 you in the same interview, Mr. Poplasen. We didn't play this part of the

5 text, but I'll read it to you. It says -- at the first page of the

6 transcript, it says: "I think it's necessary to point out and recall that

7 the Serbs are one of the rare historical civilised European peoples who

8 unfortunately and for various reasons in the last 200 years did not manage

9 to define a national Serbian state in which a majority of Serbs would live

10 together on the major part of the historical and ethnic territories

11 populated by the Serbian people."

12 That's what I'm referring to. There was a vision of what was

13 historically Serbian territory. And that vision was one that you held

14 before the war, held during the war, and held after the war. Am I

15 correct?

16 A. Yes, it's a little bit more clear now. Yes. It is about

17 centuries.

18 Q. Okay. Now, Mr. Poplasen, on the -- during the war, you, your

19 party, the SDS party, did not believe that the Muslims and the Serbs --

20 that Muslims and the Serbs could coexist together, did they?

21 A. In the course of the war?

22 Q. Yes. In the course of the war.

23 A. Of course.

24 Q. Now, the Serbs wanted to achieve -- they had a certain vision and

25 they wanted to achieve certain territories that historically had belonged

Page 21090

1 to them. That was one of their objectives, one of your party's

2 objectives; is that correct?

3 A. Historically speaking is what I meant. It's private property.

4 You just have to look at the land registers. If that's what you mean by

5 "historically," yes, fine.

6 Q. Now, some of these territories that were claimed historically by

7 the Serbs had majority Muslim population. For example, Zvornik

8 statistically had 59 per cent Muslims, and the Serbs comprised 38 per cent

9 of the population. Bratunac had 64 per cent of a Muslim population, the

10 Serbs had 34 per cent. Brcko had 44 per cent Muslim, 25 per cent Croat,

11 and 20 per cent Serb. How was it -- how were the Serbs going to achieve

12 dominance in their -- in those historically -- those territories that were

13 historically considered Serb?

14 A. Presumably in a similar way as the other side managed to do it in

15 Drvar where there was 98 per cent Serbs, in Petrovac 92 per cent, in

16 another place 95 per cent, and they still don't belong to the Republika

17 Srpska. So those events have to be seen in a broader context of military

18 action, strategic directions, pressure brought to bear from the outside.

19 At any rate, it is not a political concept that we are talking about,

20 about a town in which the majority of the population is Muslim must be

21 ethnically cleansed because it is a historically defined Serb city. That

22 makes no sense at all. Zvornik could have a majority Muslim population

23 and have an autonomous status, with all human rights being respected, and

24 still be within the Republika Srpska. And the other way around: Had 98

25 per cent of Serbs been chased away from Drvar, they could have stayed

Page 21091

1 there, but there are only very few of them left now. The mayor is elected

2 there on the basis of 30 votes. You're putting a question to me which is

3 about cosmic historical topics in order to show that I'm in favour of

4 ethnic cleansing. I'm not in favour of ethnic cleansing.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, Mr. Harmon put a question to you, that

6 is how the Serbs were going to achieve dominance in those territories that

7 were historically considered Serb, and he gave you three examples. Your

8 answer was that presumably they would do it in a similar way as the other

9 side managed to do it in -- and then you mentioned Drvar where 98 per cent

10 were there, and you gave another example. How did they do it, the others,

11 over there?

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that's not my answer.

13 My answer consists of the following: Mr. Harmon's question --

14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, I am reading the first part of your

15 answer and I'm seeking clarification. You said presumably in a similar

16 way as the other side managed to do it. How did the other side do it?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The whole thing consists of the

18 following: Mr. Harmon's question contains a ready-made answer. He says,

19 you wanted to dictate this; yes or no. It's not correct. If I were to

20 ask him now to give me a yes or no answer -- okay.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, this is not the debating club. This is

22 a court of law in which you're supposed to answer questions. You said

23 Serbs were -- let me take the text. You said presumably in a similar way

24 as the other side managed to do it. I want, because I do not know how you

25 consider the other side managed to do it, so I'd like to seek

Page 21092

1 clarification: How did the other side manage to do it, in your view, in

2 the municipalities where there was a Serb majority? How did they do it?

3 So I can understand your answer.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By ethnic cleansing. The regular

5 formations of the Croatian army, under the command of American generals,

6 entered Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the most part chased away and to a

7 considerable extent killed off big numbers of Serbs. There are TV

8 documentaries about that, and commanders of the Croatian army and those

9 American generals have wrote their memoirs -- have written their memoirs.

10 So there are lots of dead, civilians, children, and so on. All those have

11 been listed. And after those events, Serbs disappeared from those areas.

12 So that was the action conducted in 1995.

13 JUDGE ORIE: So your answer is, when Mr. Harmon asked you how you

14 would do that in Zvornik with 59 per cent Muslims, in Bratunac with 64 per

15 cent Muslims, and Brcko with 44 per cent Muslims, the way - that's at

16 least how I understand your answer - how the Serbs were going to achieve

17 dominance was the same way as it was done in the other municipalities, and

18 you just explained to us that the means used there -- well, to say it

19 simply, was ethnic cleansing.

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I supplemented my answer by

21 saying that the question contained a ready-made answer, because the

22 Prosecutor asked me in what way we wanted to achieve dictatorship, and to

23 answer with a yes or no answer; whether it was done by pressure and

24 military action, and so and so forth. My answer was that their goal was

25 not to achieve dictatorship. And emotionally answering, I said the same

Page 21093

1 way the other side did it because I did not want to answer a question

2 which already contained a ready-made answer.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, Mr. Harmon was talking about dominance

4 and not about dictatorship.

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's the way it was interpreted to

6 me.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then perhaps -- he was talking about dominance.

8 But then in those municipalities with a majority of Muslims -

9 Zvornik 59 per cent, Bratunac 64 per cent - they were claimed to be under

10 the rule of Republika Srpska. How would you -- without using words

11 dominance, without using words as dictatorship, how would you achieve to

12 get these municipalities with a majority Muslims, how would you achieve to

13 bring them under Republika Srpska rule?

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Through the rule of law and

15 equality. Equal human rights for all.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but that was, you said, as long as they would

17 obey to Republika Srpska rule. I mean, it was Republika Srpska who

18 determined what was equality and what was equal human rights, isn't it?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, of course. There are some

20 universal principles which ought to be applied in the political policies

21 and regulations of the Republika Srpska. There are some universal

22 principles that cannot be circumvented, if we look at the European

23 experience.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now looking back at those years, is it your

25 opinion that Republika Srpska did provide this equal rights for all and

Page 21094

1 the fundamental human rights to all living on the territory of Republika

2 Srpska? Looking back to the early 1990s.

3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know which period you have

4 in mind. As far as the wartime period is concerned, it was a topic that

5 could not be discussed. For as long as there are people getting killed,

6 one cannot discuss these rights, and we have to defend the integrity of

7 body and limb. As far as the post-war period is concerned, from 1996

8 onwards, I believe that major progress has been achieved in that area.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Do I understand your answer correctly if I think you

10 said that during the war, equal rights and fundamental freedoms could not

11 be granted because one had to defend itself. And therefore, Republika

12 Srpska could not grant it?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Evidently, neither of the sides

14 could secure this. When there are large conflicts such as a war, which

15 entails killing and many dead, one of the main mechanisms in the world in

16 regulating these events is to achieve the separation of the warring

17 parties. This is what the major powers have recourse to. In this TV show

18 that we looked at a while ago, I insisted on this exact model in order to

19 prevent any further bloodshed. Of course, separation can be provisional

20 or permanent. I don't want to give you examples that we have experienced

21 in the world because I wasn't asked that.

22 After the first elections in 1996, it was -- or rather around the

23 elections in 1996, it was my opinion that these nations ought to be

24 separated in order to prevent war from occurring again, and then gradually

25 work on bringing the peoples together, ensuring their cooperation and

Page 21095

1 coexistence. But this is not something that can be ordered. Coexistence

2 is not just a political category, it's also a moral and emotional

3 category. I always found it difficult to understand how the world could

4 make an assessment that the peoples in the -- in Yugoslavia could not

5 coexist and that Yugoslavia ought to be dissolved, and then, on the issue

6 of Bosnia-Herzegovina --

7 JUDGE ORIE: You're moving away quite far from my question. Was

8 separation of civilians necessary for those purposes as well, or would it

9 be sufficient to get the armed forces under control and separated?

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't understand the question.

11 What do you mean the separation of civilians? Which civilians and which

12 armed forces? I don't understand.

13 JUDGE ORIE: If you say that you can't live together any more once

14 the war has started, and if you're living in municipalities not separated

15 apart, perhaps, from village to village but mixed population, then to

16 separate the peoples would need to move them, because they were a mixed

17 population.

18 Would it be necessary to separate by moving or by whatever other

19 means you could suggest to me? Would it be necessary to separate the

20 civilian population or would there have been a possibility to get control

21 over armed forces so that new armed operations would be prevented?

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course it's not the case of

23 making a head count of each of the peoples and then separating them.

24 Under the proviso that the Muslims and the Croats recognised the Republika

25 Srpska, they are equal citizens, and vice versa. There is no problem

Page 21096

1 there. As far as the separation is concerned, it applies not only to the

2 state and territorial autonomy but also to personal autonomy, that members

3 of a peoples can enjoy full human rights where they are a majority, and

4 nobody would deny that they have their educational system and cultural

5 rights. One has to presume that there is tolerance there. One has to

6 also have the right to choose the school they wish to attend to. The

7 separation does not only mean that you put someone on a bus and ship him

8 off. This is -- the object should be the subject of careful negotiations

9 and agreement, not necessarily entailing physical movement. Now, you

10 should not have a political dictatorship where someone wants to leave and

11 is not allowed to, where a person is dissatisfied with the situation and

12 doesn't want to live in Sarajevo but wants to go to Banja Luka; or vice

13 versa, if you have a person who doesn't want to live in Banja Luka and

14 wishes to go to Sarajevo, and should be allowed to, just as the person who

15 wants to stay where he is should be allowed to. As long as there are

16 conditions in place that satisfy the person to the extent that he can

17 fulfil himself in terms of culture, religion, education, information, but

18 without it being to the detriment of the other people. The resolution of

19 a conflict by separation is not --

20 JUDGE ORIE: You've answered my question.

21 Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.


23 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you have used the term "ethnic cleansing." You're

24 familiar with that term. Did ethnic cleansing occur in the territory

25 occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces in 1992?

Page 21097

1 A. Occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces? I don't know what this

2 means.

3 Q. I'll tell you what it means.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Rephrase the question.

5 MR. HARMON: I'll rephrase the question.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Did ethnic cleansing occur in the territory in --

7 under the control of the Bosnian Serb forces in 1992?

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my opinion, no.


10 Q. Now, listening to your answers to Judge Orie, I am struck by it.

11 Did you defend the rights of Muslims to remain in the territories that now

12 occupy the Republika Srpska, between -- in 1992? Did you defend their

13 rights? Did you assert that they should be permitted to remain in the

14 territory post-April of 1992?

15 A. This was in fact the case, and could be clearly seen from my

16 public statements. However, I primarily advocated the rights of the

17 Serbs, but in doing so I did not wish to curb the rights of the others.

18 You know, when you make a public statement, the way you formulate what you

19 say is quite important. But the question has several layers to defend

20 under what circumstances, where, and with what resources. In principle, I

21 was in favour of the respect of the rights of all, including the Muslims.

22 Q. In 1992, post-April 1992, to the end of April, what affirmative

23 steps did you take, Mr. Poplasen, to ensure that the Muslim -- Muslims and

24 the Croats living on the territory occupied by the Republika Srpska, would

25 remain in place, particularly the civilian populations?

Page 21098

1 A. Which steps could I have taken to begin with? If I met anyone and

2 then I could have asked him whether he was thirsty or hungry.

3 Q. I'm asking you what steps you took personally and on behalf of the

4 Serbian Radical Party to ensure that Muslims and Croats, particularly

5 civilians, who lived on the territory occupied by the Bosnian Serb forces,

6 remained in that territory.

7 A. In 1992, the party didn't exist. We have already cleared that up.

8 It was in 1993 that it was registered as a political party.

9 Q. Well, then let me stand corrected. Let me ask you then, since you

10 were acting on behalf of the Serbian Republican Party, and you told us you

11 were going around Bosnia-Herzegovina, trying to organise the municipal

12 boards of the --

13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, I think you perfectly understood the

14 question of Mr. Harmon. It was not about when exactly the party was

15 established or when you were preparing the establishment of the party, but

16 what you did do in -- to ensure that the Muslims and Croats, in particular

17 civilians, who lived on the territory of Republika Srpska, to remain in

18 that territory.

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whenever I had occasion to, I asked

20 for everyone's rights to be respected and tolerated. I otherwise was busy

21 with setting up the boards of the Serb Radical Party. My main priority

22 was the Serb interests.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Could you give us an example on when and how you

24 asked for such respect.

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are many such examples. I

Page 21099

1 can't recall all of them. I remember, for instance - and I believe this

2 was reported on by the media - that in September 1992, in Banja Luka, at

3 the steering meeting of the board where many people were present, I called

4 all the members of the peoples to respect each other's rights. I called

5 for tolerance and for actions that would reduce violence and destruction

6 on all sides. This was a meeting held in a building called Internacional.

7 There were several hundred people there. There were some people who

8 disliked what I said, but I insisted on that, as did I insist on that in

9 all the meetings. But I did not make note of my statements. I cannot

10 tell you which date it was and who the audience was, I told the Prosecutor

11 already. The better part of my day was spent not running around trying to

12 save the Muslims and the Croats who were at risk, although there were such

13 cases, but rather I focused on setting up boards of the Serb Radical

14 Party. I also had duties as a commissioner. And some refugees. And the

15 day only has 24 hours. And already in November I moved to Banja Luka.

16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I think you said it was reported by the media.

17 If there would be any way of having that material so that the Chamber

18 could find support for this testimony in that respect, it would certainly

19 be helpful. I'm at this moment -- of course, Mr. Josse, you're blocked

20 but if you would have any of these media reports, could you please -- if

21 you have them, could you please tell us so that we could have a look at

22 them.

23 A similar matter, by the way, Mr. Josse, appears with the

24 reference, for example, the witness made earlier to the double pension

25 legislation. I mean that's all public, I take it. So therefore, the

Page 21100

1 Chamber would very much like to receive such material. I take it,

2 Mr. Harmon, that there would be no problem to providing legal texts so

3 that we could find support for the testimony of the witness in objective

4 documents.

5 MR. JOSSE: The double pension issue, in fact, I was personally

6 aware of not via the witness, via other sources. I'm not giving evidence

7 about it, I've been told about it by another source. I'm sure we could

8 verify that and find the information.

9 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber would appreciate it.

10 MR. JOSSE: What the witness has just now said, bearing in mind

11 everything the Defence faces, we're almost entirely dependent on the

12 witness --

13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So --

14 MR. JOSSE: -- frankly, Your Honour.

15 JUDGE ORIE: -- Mr. Poplasen, if you would have any press reports

16 on what you just told us, please give a message to us so that we could

17 consider to have a look at it. Please proceed.

18 By the way, it's time for a break anyhow.

19 Could I ask Madam Usher first to escort -- Mr. Poplasen, would you

20 please follow Madam Usher.

21 [The witness stands down]

22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, how much time would you still use --

23 would you still need?

24 MR. HARMON: At least one more session and possibly into the

25 following session, Your Honour.

Page 21101

1 JUDGE ORIE: We will consider how much time you'll be given. You

2 go well beyond the 60 per cent. At the same time, there is an issue of

3 testimony in rather general and abstract terms and testimony on facts.

4 We'll consider whether you'll get the time you asked for. The Judges

5 might have some questions as well. I'm aware that the Judges have taken

6 already quite some time.

7 MR. JOSSE: There are likely to be some short procedural matters

8 which we would like to deal with immediately after the second break,

9 please.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We would very much like to finish with the

11 witness today and not any later. I take it, Mr. Josse, that you would

12 have some questions in re-examination.

13 MR. JOSSE: I have some at the moment. Not very many, but I do

14 have some.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Harmon, would you at least review your

16 programme during the break in order to bring it within the next session

17 and not beyond the next session. Within does not necessarily mean the

18 full time of the next session. And we'll consider -- how much time would

19 the procedural issues take?

20 MR. JOSSE: Oh, not very long, I assure the Court. One of them

21 I'm learning about as the morning proceeds. Another is a very short

22 matter relating to what Your Honour said yesterday.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Okay, then we'll restart at five minutes past 11.

24 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.

25 --- On resuming at 11.12 a.m.

Page 21102

1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I see that the witness is already in the

2 courtroom. Would that be any problem in relation to your procedural --

3 MR. JOSSE: After the second break is what I thought I had said,

4 and that's fairly essential, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE ORIE: That's fine.

6 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Then, Mr. Harmon, would you please proceed.


9 Q. Mr. Poplasen, yesterday you were asked a question by Mr. Josse at

10 the end of his examination of whether you were aware of the six strategic

11 goals and whether that was something that you were made aware of in any

12 guise --

13 JUDGE ORIE: By the way, Mr. Harmon, I hadn't told you yet but

14 two-thirds of a session would be granted to you. You know how much time

15 that is. At the same time, please keep in mind that the policy of the SRS

16 is not the core of this case.

17 MR. HARMON: Yes.

18 JUDGE ORIE: And that evidence in relation to credibility and

19 reliability should find somewhere its end as well.

20 MR. HARMON: You may have noticed I was speaking a little faster

21 than normal, Your Honour. I anticipated your ruling.

22 JUDGE ORIE: It's always the interpreters who suffer from our

23 rulings. Please proceed.


25 Q. You were asked about the strategic objectives, and your answer was

Page 21103

1 that you -- you said when it came to the document itself, the answer was

2 no.

3 MR. HARMON: Let me play a video. It will be stand-alone -- I

4 mean it's tape number Extra 2. If we could go to that. It needs a

5 number.

6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1089, Your Honours.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

8 [Videotape played]

9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I have a specific question regarding

10 the ruling party. Some opposition parties criticise you for being too

11 close to the ruling party. Would you criticise these opposition parties?

12 What would you say about them?

13 "I would say that they are far away from the Serbian people. You

14 see, when it comes to the ruling party, we have concluded long ago that

15 the Serbian Democratic Party had identified the strategic goals of the

16 Serbian people in an acceptable manner. You see, the Serbian Democratic

17 Party has never given up the uniting of all the Serbian countries on the

18 biggest part of the ethnic ... They have never given up capitalism, that

19 is, non-socialism. They have never given up multi-party system of a

20 parliamentary type. Those are our main goals. It is another thing --"

21 MR. HARMON: We can stop here. We have passed the critical

22 passage.

23 Q. Mr. Poplasen, this was an interview that was given by you on the

24 8th of November 1996. Mr. Poplasen, it is clear from this interview that

25 the substance of the strategic objectives were known to you while you may

Page 21104

1 not have seen the actual document. Is that correct?

2 A. I will answer the question, of course, but His Honour has promised

3 to grant me 30 seconds to just make an observation. After that, I would

4 immediately answer the question.

5 In my earlier testimony, I heard clearly into the microphone, I

6 don't know if everybody saw it, that someone was -- who was working by the

7 microphones seemed to be working like in a bathroom or something, and I

8 think I heard this comment, and I believe anybody here listening to the

9 Serbian could have heard the comment.

10 JUDGE ORIE: I do not fully understand what you mean. Are you

11 saying in your earlier testimony, you heard clearly -- and, of course, we

12 could not see what you heard, but that someone was working by the

13 microphone seemed to be working like in a bathroom. What I noticed --

14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

15 JUDGE ORIE: But perhaps -- yes.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Someone among the interpreters said

17 that I, not somebody else, was doing into the microphone what a person

18 would be doing in a toilet. I cannot really quote the words here, it

19 would be too improper.

20 JUDGE ORIE: I'll inquire into the matter, whether any comment was

21 made and which then apparently reached you. And I'll inquire into that

22 matter. It's certainly -- it would be something very unusual. But I'll

23 ask about it.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It can be heard on the tape. But

25 let me answer the question.

Page 21105

1 JUDGE ORIE: If I inquire into it, that could include listening to

2 the tape as well. But at this moment, I take it that we can then continue

3 and that you would answer the last question of Mr. Harmon.

4 MR. HARMON: Let me reframe the question, Your Honour, so we can

5 move expeditiously.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.


8 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you testified you hadn't seen the actual document

9 enunciating the six strategic objectives, but you were aware of their

10 substance, weren't you?

11 A. I've already commented on that. I talked to Professor Koljevic

12 about what the strategic goals meant, what they implied, and it is quite

13 understandable that the Serb -- the interests of the Serbs were a great

14 priority of mine, that's true, but I didn't see the document, the paper

15 itself that was adopted.

16 Q. One of the goals that they had articulated and identified in an

17 acceptable manner was the establishment of state borders separating the

18 Serbian people from the other two ethnic communities.

19 A. I suppose so. I saw the document subsequently.

20 Q. I want to change the topic. I want to talk about paramilitary

21 formations, Mr. Poplasen.

22 You are aware, are you not, that there was a centre in Belgrade

23 where Mr. Seselj, Mr. Arkan, Mr. Vuk Draskovic, Mr. Mirko Jovic and others

24 gathered volunteers to be sent to Bosnia; is that correct?

25 A. Most of that is something that I'm fully familiar with. I'm not

Page 21106

1 informed -- I don't know about the details, but in general, yes.

2 Q. That centre existed before the commencement of hostilities in

3 Bosnia?

4 A. I can't say that for a fact but I believe that it started

5 operating with the advent of the hostilities in Croatia. As I had been

6 informed about the centre from the media and from conversations, I was

7 never there myself, I never visited the centre. I believe that it existed

8 before the outbreak of the hostilities in Bosnia, at the time of the

9 hostilities in Croatia.

10 Q. And the volunteers who assembled at that location were armed, with

11 the full knowledge and approval of the Serbian authorities, correct?

12 A. What do you mean by "the Serbian authorities"? Do you mean

13 Serbia, the Republika Srpska, the Republic of the Serbian Krajina?

14 Q. The Republic of Serbia. Slobodan Milosevic was arming those

15 volunteers and his -- well, that's correct, isn't it?

16 A. No. No. As far as I know, they went out into the field without

17 weapons and when they joined the units of the Republic of the Serbian

18 Krajina and of the Republic of Serbia when they were assigned to a

19 formation, then they would be given weapons, according to what I know.

20 Q. Let me play a film for you. It's found if you turn to tab 47,

21 Mr. Poplasen.

22 JUDGE ORIE: It has no number yet.

23 MR. HARMON: It has no number.

24 THE REGISTRAR: P1090, Your Honours.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.

Page 21107


2 Q. This, Mr. Poplasen, is a film -- you were present when Mr. Seselj

3 was making these remarks. You were a participant in this.

4 MR. HARMON: Referring, Your Honours, to the top of page 1 in the

5 English of this. If we could play this.

6 [Videotape played]

7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover]"When we announced you and

8 Mr. Poplasen as guests, many callers called in with questions. However,

9 one question was frequently asked, the question about volunteers and

10 members, as well as sympathisers of your party, who from the day one --

11 they were present as volunteers on the territories of the former Croatia

12 and former Bosnia-Herzegovina. Nevertheless, the viewers think that this

13 has subsided in time and that even your sympathisers are not interested

14 any more in the future of the Serbs in the Republika Srpska. Is that

15 true? Are your volunteers still there and are you still ready?

16 "That impression is not correct. Our volunteers are still

17 present. There, for example, with the Chetnik Vojvoda Slavko Aleksic at

18 the Jewish cemetery, with Vojvoda Vasko in Ilijas, with Vojvoda Mando

19 Maksimovic on Majevica, as well as a number of volunteers who are with

20 Vojvoda Brne at Ilidza, with Vojvoda Radovic on Podvelezje, and so on and

21 so forth. There are some of them still there. However, there would be

22 more of them if the Command of the Serbian army asked us to send

23 volunteers. It is more difficult for us to send volunteers now than it

24 was in 1991, 1992 and 1993. At the time, when we were sending out

25 volunteers, we had good cooperation with Slobodan Milosevic, who was

Page 21108

1 giving us uniforms, weapons, buses, barracks, such as the Bubanj Potok

2 barracks which was given entirely to the Serbian Radical Party. We had

3 all the necessary equipment. That used to work much better at the time.

4 Because of Slobodan Milosevic's treason --"

5 MR. HARMON: We can stop there. I won't play the rest of the text

6 because of my time limitations.



9 Q. Does that refresh your recollection, Mr. Poplasen?

10 A. Yes. I remember this dialogue on TV. I don't know where it was

11 but I suppose it was sometime in 1994 that we took part in this

12 discussion.

13 Q. The actual date was the 13th of March 1995. But does that refresh

14 your recollection as to the fact that Slobodan Milosevic was providing

15 logistical support to volunteers, including your volunteers?

16 A. That's quite probable. We had been insisting on this. But it is

17 possible that the weapons arrived through some other channels. The fact

18 is that the volunteers were not armed in Serbia -- our volunteers were not

19 armed in Serbia and then crossed over to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Perhaps the

20 weapons arrived through a different channel and then the volunteers were

21 armed the way I told you they were. I'm not saying that all this is true,

22 but Mr. Seselj cooperated with Mr. Milosevic, I didn't have any other

23 information, and I only could believe what Mr. Seselj was saying, and

24 there is no reason for me to disbelieve it.

25 Q. Now, Mr. Poplasen, the volunteers that were being provided

Page 21109

1 logistical support in Serbia were welcomed in Bosnia by the Bosnian Serb

2 leadership, by Dr. Karadzic, by Mr. Krajisnik, by Mr. Koljevic, by

3 Mrs. Plavsic; that's correct, isn't it?

4 A. I'm not aware of that.

5 Q. We'll come to that in a few minutes then. Let me focus on one

6 paramilitary formation, paramilitary formation that was under the command

7 of Arkan. You knew Arkan, you met Arkan, during the war, did you not?

8 A. No. We were not personal acquaintances.

9 Q. Did you ever meet him?

10 A. Once, I was about 300 metres away from him, as I was going past

11 with some people. As we were not acquainted with each other, we didn't

12 greet each other.

13 Q. Mr. Arkan was --

14 JUDGE ORIE: Just for my understanding, Mr. Poplasen, you say, "I

15 was 300 metres away ..." For me, I always translate it in football

16 grounds. That is three football grounds. If I would see someone at a

17 distance of three football grounds, I would not be able to see who it is.

18 I mean, could you clarify how you say "I was about 300 metres"? Did you

19 see him or were you told that he was at a distance of 300 metres?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I'm wearing glasses. I hope

21 they are helping. For several days, Arkan was spending nights in Banja

22 Luka and I was across from him, on the other side of the street, and

23 somebody motioned to him.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, did you see him? Did you see a person

25 which you recognised as being Arkan? Apart from a street of 300 metres

Page 21110

1 wide is a rather big street, but --

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have to understand what I'm

3 saying. There was a man accompanying me, I don't know who he was. He

4 was, I believe, a police officer, and he pointed to the man on the other

5 side of the square and he told me, There is Arkan passing by Hotel Bosna,

6 and I don't know why I shouldn't have believed the man. That was the only

7 time I saw the man. He was going on his business somewhere.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the answer is someone, he accompanied me,

9 pointed at a man at quite some distance and told me that that was Arkan,

10 but you did not recognise him as such yourself. Is that a correct

11 understanding of your answer? Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.


13 Q. Mr. Poplasen, Arkan was a notorious criminal before the war

14 started in Bosnia, wasn't he?

15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please repeat.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] He was a criminal. That's for sure.

17 How notorious, I don't know.


19 Q. Did you know he was a criminal at the time he was paramilitary

20 leader? Did you know he had been convicted of robberies, that he had been

21 convicted of murders?

22 A. I knew very little of him. I didn't know of the man before the

23 start of the war. When the war started, he was somewhat present in the

24 media. One could hear about him. And as for his background, I found out

25 about it from Mr. Seselj, but I don't know why I would have had to know

Page 21111

1 anything about Arkan from before the war, when he was abroad, involved in

2 some shady deals.

3 Q. Let's go to the next exhibit. It is 1090. It's a film clip found

4 in tab 47.

5 MR. HARMON: I direct Your Honour's attention to the top of -- the

6 bottom of the second page, starting with the word "Seselj." If we could

7 play that portion of it.

8 [Videotape played]

9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "... and other political parties will

10 have a lot of constructive work to do as soon as peace is there.

11 "It is important to address the problem of crime - the problem

12 which most affects the lives of all the Serbs in all the Serbian

13 countries. The main -- all the main criminal activities that have been

14 going on during this war in the territory of the Republika Srpska and the

15 Republic of Serbian Krajina are linked to the regime in Serbia and the

16 Serbian police. They are also linked to the counter-intelligence service

17 of the army of Yugoslavia in which there are communists, members of the SK

18 for Yugoslavia (we have spoken about that before) and the leaders. For

19 example, Zeljko Raznjatovic Arkan, a man of the Serbian UDBA, who used to

20 liquidate immigrants and rob banks in the Western countries. In this war,

21 the press proclaimed him a Serbian hero, although he never had more than

22 two to 300 men under his command. He said that he had liberated

23 Bijeljina. That's not true, because he only had 29 men in Bijeljina.

24 What did he do? He plundered Bijeljina. What did he in do in Brcko? He

25 plundered Brcko. He took away everything he could possibly take. The

Page 21112

1 value of the goods he took can be measured in millions of German marks.

2 He could not have done it by himself. He shipped it with the permission

3 of the Serbian police, Radmilo Bogdanovic, Sokolovic, Radovan Stojisic

4 Badza, and so on and so forth. That was sold on the black market, and the

5 money was shared. He stole even the fire engine from Bijeljina. The

6 whole of Bijeljina was proud of that vehicle; it was worth approximately

7 one and a half million German marks before the war. He drove it over to

8 Erdut, and the vehicle was lost. Such things can never be brought into

9 any relations with the Serbian Radical Party. We are clean, if our past

10 were not so clean, if our activities were not so clean, the regime would

11 already have settled accounts with us. The regime can accuse us of many

12 things, but it cannot prove anything."


14 Q. Did you learn of those facts from Mr. Seselj or did you learn of

15 those facts elsewhere?

16 A. Well, I've heard that in that conversation. Perhaps that was the

17 first time that I actually talked about those matters with Mr. Seselj and

18 I have no reason to disbelieve him.

19 Q. Okay. Now, were you aware and did you get -- were you informed

20 that Mr. Arkan had been involved in the killing of civilians in Bijeljina

21 in early April of 1992? Did you ever hear any reports of that?

22 A. Well, I heard it subsequently. Now we are talking about it but

23 subsequently, after a number of years, I heard about it. But when all

24 those things were happening in Bijeljina, I had a normal life living and

25 working in Sarajevo. I don't know how I could have gathered that on the

Page 21113

1 basis of summary reports in the media.

2 Q. Let me show you tab -- two photographs very quickly. They are

3 found in tab 61, 62.

4 MR. HARMON: These have exhibit numbers, Your Honour. These are

5 Exhibits P292A for tab 61, and P294B for tab 62.

6 Q. Take a look at the first picture in tab 61. Have you ever seen

7 that picture before, Mr. Poplasen?

8 A. I've seen similar pictures. I can't remember this one in

9 particular, but similar pictures, yes.

10 Q. Take a look at the related photograph under tab 62. Mr. Poplasen,

11 the Court has heard evidence that these pictures were taken in Bijeljina

12 and that these soldiers depicted in this first photograph are members of

13 Arkan's unit, that those pictures were widely published in the beginning

14 of the war, right after, shortly after the events in Bijeljina. Do you

15 recall seeing those pictures then?

16 A. No. I don't. I've seen very many such photos and I really can't

17 tell you, after 17 years, whether I've seen this particular one. I didn't

18 -- my mind is not a computer.

19 Q. Okay. Had you received -- while you were in Bosnia in 1992 did

20 you receive reports or receive information that Arkan's unit was involved

21 in killing civilians?

22 A. Who would give me some information or any reports? I was in the

23 opposition. Nobody was duty bound to provide me with any information.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, you're not asked whether someone could

25 have given it and whether it would be logical for you to receive. The

Page 21114

1 question simply was whether you received reports or received information.

2 Not whether anyone was under an obligation to provide it to you but just

3 whether you received it or not.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said -- I mean, the way it was

5 translated to me was, Did you receive a report? In Serbian language, it

6 implies that there is a formal channel through which somebody either

7 orally or in writing, according to a system of subordination, would submit

8 a report to me. But I said that I was informed through the media, like

9 all the other citizens, but in a very summary fashion, because there were

10 no such pictures shown in the media and there were no descriptions of the

11 killings of civilians and so on. But I'm not saying that this hasn't

12 happened. I just didn't have insight into that and I didn't know Arkan

13 and I didn't know that he was coming to Bijeljina. I saw on TV that

14 Mrs. Plavsic went to visit Bijeljina and that she met with Arkan and

15 greeted him, et cetera, but, yesterday I said that in many things she was

16 more radical than I was, but I didn't get any more information than your

17 average man in the street back then.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Let's just -- you received information by watching

19 television. Any other source?

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Presumably in the papers as well. I

21 used to read the papers too.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Newspapers.

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Any other source?

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't recall any other source.

Page 21115

1 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.


3 Q. Did those sources of information that you had in 1992 disclose

4 that Arkan had been involved in the killing of civilians in operations in

5 which he participated?

6 A. I don't remember that. It was presented as a kind of interethnic

7 conflict in Bijeljina, as far as I can remember. But you can find that

8 information in the news broadcasts of the BH television. And as a member

9 of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the camera was actually zooming

10 in on Mrs. Plavsic, and she went to Bijeljina and those events did appear

11 rather dramatic. There were reports of shooting, but I don't remember

12 anyone saying volunteers came from Serbia and killed civilians in

13 Bijeljina. Certainly nobody put it in quite those terms. So there was

14 description of these dramatic events but I would really have to watch that

15 tape once again. That would probably jog my memory.

16 Q. That's quite all right. I want to talk about volunteers from the

17 Serbian Radical Party. If we could -- first of all I want to ask you a

18 couple of questions about their presence. There were a number of

19 volunteers who formed under the guidance of the Serbian Radical Party in

20 Bosnia. That's a correct statement, isn't it?

21 A. Yes.

22 Q. If we could take a look at a film. It needs an exhibit number.

23 It is to be found in tab 41. This, for your information, Mr. Poplasen, we

24 are going to be looking at a film that's in two parts. One is of a

25 ceremony that took place where 18 new Chetnik vojvodas were honoured,

Page 21116

1 given the designation of vojvoda. And the second part is a part where you

2 participated with Mr. Seselj shortly after that ceremony in Sokolac, and

3 your image will appear in it. So if we could play that film.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, that would be?

5 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 41 will be P1091.

6 [Videotape played]

7 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Today on the first day of the

8 referendum, Dr. Vojislav Seselj arrived at the Republika Srpska. He's the

9 Chetnik vojvoda and the president of the Serb Radical Party. Right after

10 crossing the Drina he went to visit our defenders on the defence lines.

11 After this, he visited Knezina, the village and monastery in free Serbian

12 Romanija. An oath-taking for new Serbian Chetnik vojvodas.

13 "Order number 124. As the only Serbian Chetnik vojvoda who was

14 directly engaged in the present liberating struggle of the Serbian people

15 by following the tradition of Serbian Chetniks for extraordinary service

16 in this war, the great heroism and combat skills of the most outstanding

17 Chetnik commanders I declare ...

18 "So new 18 Romanija, a mountain that will not negotiate with

19 enemies, I was glad to see the oath-taking of the new 18 vojvodas. It is

20 an oath that's not been heard for 50 years.

21 "I do solemnly declare that as a Serbian Chetnik vojvoda ...

22 "I declare before God and Sveti Sava ...

23 "I declare before God and Sveti Sava ...

24 "That I shall fight with all my strength for the freedom of the

25 Serbian people ...

Page 21117

1 "That I shall fight with all my strength for the freedom of the

2 Serbian people ...

3 "And for the renewal of a unified Serbian state in the Balkans

4 that will include all Serbian lands ...

5 "And for the renewal of a unified Serbian state in the Balkans

6 that will include all Serbian lands ...

7 "So help me God.

8 "So help me God.

9 "Amen.

10 "Amen.

11 "They can be trusted that it will be so. The following Serbian

12 heroes from all parts of Serb lands were given the rank of Chetnik

13 vojvoda: Zdravko Abramovic, Branislav Vakic, Srecko Radovanovic, Slavko

14 Crnic, Nedeljko Vidakovic, Slavko Aleksic, Mitar Maksimovic - Manda,

15 Miroslav Vukovic - Cele, Milika Dacevic - Ceko, Tomislav Nikolic, Milan

16 Lancuzanin - Kameni, Zoran Drazinovic - Cica, Jovo Ostojic, Ljubisa

17 Petkovic, Todor Lazic, Mirko Blagojevic, Dragan Cvetkovic and Branislav

18 Gavrilovic - Brne.

19 "Brne! Brne! Turn around a bit so I can get a good shot. Hey,

20 that's good.

21 "And then Sokolac."

22 MR. HARMON: We are going to stop right there. Just for Your

23 Honour's benefit and for counsel's benefit, the man who has been

24 identified as Brne, there has been other evidence in this Chamber. I

25 refer Your Honours to intercepted radio communication, telephone

Page 21118

1 communication, I should say, Prosecution Exhibit 292, KID 31208, an

2 intercept from April, between Mr. Seselj and Mr. Gavrilovic.

3 Now we can continue with this.

4 [Videotape played]


6 Q. The image on the right-hand side, the man on the right with the

7 beard, that's you, isn't it, Mr. Poplasen?

8 A. Yes.

9 [Videotape played]

10 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "If there is a military intervention,

11 thousands and thousands of our volunteers will cross the Drina to be here

12 with you. All of us that you can see here today, we'll all be here

13 amongst you and share your destiny.

14 "After the rally, Mr. Seselj went to Pale esorted by the

15 newly-appointed vojvodas to talk with the president of the Republika

16 Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic."


18 Q. Now, let me -- did you accompany Dr. Seselj to meet with

19 Dr. Karadzic in Pale?

20 A. I suppose I must have done, but there were a number of such

21 visits, and within a brief period of time. When Mr. Seselj was in the

22 Republika Srpska, most often I was together with him, unless I had other

23 duties which were -- I considered to be more of a priority but most often

24 I would be with him.

25 Q. If we could turn to tab 42, this needs a number.

Page 21119

1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.

2 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 42, Your Honours, will be 1092.

3 MR. HARMON: This document does not have a translation. For your

4 benefit, Mr. Poplasen, I will read it into the record. It's dated the

5 15th of May. It's from Tanjug news service. "Dr. Vojislav Seselj,

6 chairman of the Serbian Radical Party, began talks today with the

7 leadership of the Serb republic ... in Pale.

8 "The talks are attended by Dr. Radovan Karadzic, president of the

9 Serb Republic; Nikola Koljevic, vice-president of the Serb Republic;

10 Momcilo Krajisnik, president of the Serb Republic Assembly; and Nikola

11 Poplasen, chairman of the Serb Radical Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina.

12 "As has been learned, they are discussing new political

13 possibilities for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the former

14 Bosnia-Herzegovina.

15 "Seselj arrived in Pale after visiting Knezina and Sokoc."

16 During those discussions, Mr. Poplasen, the -- Mr. Krajisnik,

17 Mr. Karadzic and others with whom you were speaking were fully informed of

18 the presence of volunteers from the Serb Radical Party, the presence of

19 the 18 new vojvodas. That's correct, isn't it?

20 A. What do you mean in its entirety, or fully? It was probably one

21 of the topics. Probably one of the topics was also the sending of

22 volunteers.

23 Q. If we could go to the next image, which will be -- it's from the

24 same -- this is from the same exhibit number, so it's 1092. This is a

25 brief clip of a public address by Mr. Seselj and Dr. Karadzic. So if we

Page 21120

1 could play that.

2 [Videotape played]

3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The Republic of Yugoslavia apart

4 from the representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church no comments could

5 be heard by the officials in the RS ... however Dr. Vojislav Seselj, the

6 leader of the strongest opposition party in Serbia, the SRS, wanted to

7 strengthen the support to the people and the leadership of the RS by

8 coming to Sokolac and to Pale. Dr. Vojislav Seselj and the president of

9 the Republika Srpska, Dr. Radovan Karadzic, gave the following statements

10 to Channel S after today's meeting.

11 "I would just like to say in our language that we are very

12 honoured by this visit of Mr. Seselj and his associates, especially since

13 it's taking place at the time of our referendum, which is of great

14 importance to us and for which we have gained the support of the radical

15 ... of the SRS and Mr. Seselj. We do have a habit of meeting

16 occasionally and in the future we'll try and meet with all the other

17 leaders of all parliamentary parties in Serbia and Montenegro, that is

18 Yugoslavia, and to continue cooperation. Some of them are very close to

19 us, some less so, but that is exactly the reason why we have to maintain

20 dialogue with all of them.

21 "The delegation of the SRS, the biggest opposition party in the

22 FRY and second in power in that state, is visiting the Republika Srpska

23 today and we have been received by the president of this republic. We

24 came here to visit a few Serbian towns, to visit Serbian soldiers on their

25 positions, to meet with the people and to follow the referendum that's

Page 21121

1 taking place because we feel that this referendum is of great existential

2 importance for the Serbian people here and the SRS is following its rule,

3 its principle that the Serbian people here must be the sole masters of

4 their own destiny and that all outside political subjects must respect the

5 inviolability of its will and the legitimacy of decisions passed by its

6 governmental organs and the decisions that the people themselves passed

7 through the referendum. I'm convinced that the people of the RS will

8 reject the Vance Owen Plan because that plan opposes its national

9 interests, its vital and existential interests and not because somebody

10 will convince the people to reject the plan. Were this plan good for the

11 Serbian people, it would be futile to try and convince the people to

12 reject it."


14 Q. Let me then go to the next exhibit. It's found in tab 48.

15 Mr. Poplasen, this is a regular combat report from the Sarajevo Romanija

16 Corps. It's dated 18 April 1992 and I would like to direct your attention

17 to subpart 3, which I will read into the record. It is -- this report is

18 also signed by the commander, Stanislav Galic.

19 "3. The situation in the territory without significant changes.

20 However, a paramilitary formation consisting of about 25 men commanded by

21 Branislav Gavrilovic, aka Brne, is active in the Rakovica sector. This is

22 a group of criminals whose behaviour is damaging the reputation of the

23 Republika Srpska in the eyes of the population in this territory."

24 I invite your comments, your brief comments, as to commander

25 Galic's observations of Mr. Gavrilovic. Did you hear of such reports?

Page 21122

1 A. I had not heard of this report. This is the first time I've set

2 eyes on it and I have no reason at all to doubt the assessment of

3 Mr. Galic because he's a very serious and conscientious man. Probably

4 it's about the following. Probably Mr. Seselj had been informed of this.

5 I do remember -- I can't remember the exact date but I do remember that

6 because of this, we made a special trip to Ilidza to see the brigade

7 commander to clarify the matter. Mr. Seselj talked to Gavrilovic to warn

8 him of that sort of behaviour and to tell him that he had to subject

9 himself to the brigade command, and everything in this respect had to be

10 considered by the command and dealt with.

11 There were quite a few of us there on that occasion, and the

12 meeting took place at Ilidza. There were some ten of us and we talked to

13 the brigade commander at his command and then we went to this location

14 that is referred to here at Rakovica to see Gavrilovic, and Mr. Seselj

15 talked to him. Mr. Gavrilovic at that stage didn't like me for some

16 reason, so I wasn't in a position myself to talk to him directly, but I'm

17 absolutely certain that Mr. Seselj discussed this topic with him for quite

18 sometime and brought quite some pressure to bear in order for this to be

19 dealt with, and it took place at the so-called Orchard Centre at Rakovica.

20 There were those people there.

21 Q. Do you remember approximately when that meeting with Mr. Seselj

22 and Mr. Gavrilovic took place?

23 A. I suppose that it should have been by the end of 1992, the

24 beginning of 1993. I can't recall the exact date. I suppose that the

25 contents of this information somehow reached Mr. Seselj and that he had

Page 21123

1 been warned of this, because there was a clear party rule that there

2 should be no units anywhere outside the framework of the armed forces of

3 the Republika Srpska, no independent units which would not be subject to

4 the regular command.

5 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if I were to inform you that by at least February

6 the 12th, 1993, Mr. Gavrilovic was still not subordinated to the VRS, will

7 you accept that fact?

8 A. It is possible. It is possible. But I don't have full insight

9 into the situation.

10 Q. If we turn very quickly - I don't want to spend very much time on

11 this - but tab 51.

12 MR. HARMON: That needs a number as well.

13 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 48, Your Honours, P1093.

14 MR. HARMON: Tab 51?

15 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 51 will be P1094.


17 Q. This is a document dated the 12th of February 1993, and at the

18 bottom there is a signature of Srdjan Sehovac. It's an official note from

19 the Minister of the Interior, National Security Service, the Ilidza war

20 department. And it says, in the second paragraph: "With the arrival of

21 the new commander, Captain Spasoje Cajic, Brne's formation felt it would

22 not have the privileges it had had until that time and that it would have

23 to place itself under the brigade command; i.e., as an integral part of

24 the Republika Srpska army. Upon the arrival of the new commander, Brne

25 came in person to him and told him he knew everything about him, including

Page 21124

1 the exact time he was to take over the brigade, and one of the Chetniks

2 had told him that he was in charge of his liquidation. Owing to this

3 wisdom and composure of the said colonel, a 'temporary' common ground was

4 found with aka Brne's men, but this is still far from true subordination

5 to the superior command."

6 I won't read further. So does that give you any reason to dispute

7 that particular date and time at which point Mr. Gavrilovic was no longer

8 under -- was not under the command of the VRS?

9 A. I don't have any specific reasons to dispute what you have just

10 said.

11 Q. Let me turn to tab 55 --

12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, let me just inquire into what kind of

13 evidence we are hearing at this moment. The evidence presented, the

14 swearing in of new vojvodas, among them Brne, now we see that Brne, at

15 least on the basis of your documentation, is suggested to have behaved in

16 an undisciplinary way and -- what is exactly what we are heading for? Is

17 it that you would say that this witness, by being present at the

18 swearing-in, supported this kind of irregular -- irregular armed forces or

19 people? Is that it? Or what are we heading for?

20 MR. HARMON: I intend to ask some additional questions.

21 JUDGE ORIE: But I would like very much to keep in mind that this

22 is not a case against the SRS or against this witness, but that I'm still

23 wondering where the links, the direct links -- of course, there are always

24 some links but whether they are direct and strong links with the case we

25 are hearing. But please proceed, but keep that in mind.

Page 21125

1 MR. HARMON: Yes, some of the links, Your Honour, will become

2 apparent with future witnesses as well, Your Honour.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, of course. It's always a problem for a Chamber

4 that we never can see where we are heading, and sometimes after half an

5 hour or after five days we say, well, it was an excellent way of doing it,

6 and sometimes after a couple of hours or after a couple of days, we say

7 why did we have to hear all this?

8 MR. HARMON: I can appreciate that, Your Honour.



11 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 55, please. Mr. Poplasen,

12 this is a Serbian Radical Party war staff authorisation, dated the 13th of

13 December 1991, from Belgrade, and it is signed by Chief Ljubisa Petkovic.

14 Do you recognise that name and the signature at the bottom of this

15 document?

16 A. I'm familiar with the name, but how should I know his signature?

17 I know the person. I know who he is.

18 Q. And this is an authorisation to permit a gentleman by the name of

19 Nikodin Cavic from Banja Luka to sign up volunteers from the Republic of

20 Bosnia-Herzegovina without special permission, and on the basis of written

21 request and signatures of authorised officials. And he was then to screen

22 these people, and the text goes on. Do you know Mr. Cavic?

23 A. I met with him -- or rather, met him, on several occasions. We

24 were not close acquaintances, though, and unfortunately he passed away.

25 Q. Okay. Now, he was authorised by the Serbian Radical Party to sign

Page 21126

1 up volunteers in Banja Luka, according to this document. And he did so,

2 didn't he?

3 A. According to this document, he did. Of course, this is the first

4 time I set my eyes on this document. This is the year 1991, and I didn't

5 know of the existence of the staff. At the time, I didn't know this man.

6 I met him later. At this particular period of time, I was living and

7 working in Sarajevo.

8 Q. Thank you.

9 MR. HARMON: Can this have an exhibit number, please?

10 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 51, Your Honours, will be P1095. 55, Your

11 Honours, tab 55.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's now corrected.


14 Q. Mr. Poplasen, were any of the people who were identified as 18 new

15 vojvodas ever disciplined by the Serbian Radical Party for criminal

16 conduct that had occurred in Bosnia?

17 A. Yes. A number of them. I can't recall all of their names, but I

18 could supply you with the information subsequently. One of them was not

19 only found responsible but was expelled from the party, which was the

20 highest discipline that could -- measure that could be applied. And from

21 the staff, some information came about the persons who should even be

22 prosecuted.

23 Q. What type of crimes are we talking about, in summary form?

24 A. I would have to try and find the papers. Probably it involved

25 fights, wounding, something of the sort that was incompatible with the

Page 21127

1 work of the Serb Radical Party. There must be some documentation

2 somewhere but I would have to look into that and supply you with it at a

3 later stage.

4 Q. Did it include crimes committed against Muslim civilians?

5 A. I don't recall that. There were some offences. I don't remember

6 which. I had no authority whatsoever over the vojvodas. That was within

7 the purview of the president of the party.

8 Q. So your answer is you don't know if it involved crimes committed

9 against Muslim civilians? Is that your answer?

10 A. Yes. That's my answer.

11 Q. Okay. Well, let me -- we can't go further with that topic if you

12 can't recall more than that, Mr. Poplasen.

13 Let me turn to another topic quickly. That is the prison in

14 Vogosca. You testified about that. You testified about a location,

15 Sonja's. In fact, you felt that the conditions in that prison were

16 inadequate because there was insufficient food and overcrowding. And you

17 made your concerns known on a number of occasions to the RS authorities,

18 the Republika Srpska authorities, didn't you?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. In fact, you wrote a number of letters to the Republika Srpska

21 authorities, complaining about the conditions that you found in that camp.

22 That's true, isn't it?

23 A. I didn't complain. I asked that the conditions change, that it be

24 legalised.

25 Q. Did the -- your testimony the other day was that you asked either

Page 21128

1 that it be legalised, the prison, either be disbanded or integrated into

2 the prison system. I think that was your testimony.

3 Your Honours, that's found at page 62 of the transcript.

4 Correct, isn't it?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. Now, the people who were being detained in that location were

7 civilians, Muslim civilians I think was your evidence.

8 A. I suppose so.

9 Q. Did you ever ask the -- they, to Mr. Koljevic or the authorities

10 above you, that those people should be released from prison?

11 A. I addressed them not only orally but in writing as well, as I've

12 said. I wrote a letter to the minister of justice, a copy was sent to

13 Mr. Koljevic, wherein I asked that the people be treated in keeping with

14 the law and that what was termed by Vlac [phoen] as detention to be

15 integrated into the judicial, that's the prison system, and that the

16 operation of this facility be legalised. In view of the fact that the

17 situation with the food in this facility and at Vogosca was inadequate, I

18 asked that adequate food supplies be ensured. This visit, which lasted

19 some 15 to 20 minutes, was the only visit to this facility and yielded the

20 results that I have just relayed.

21 Q. Let me ask you a very specific question: Did you ask Mr. Koljevic

22 to have the civilians in that prison released from custody?

23 A. This goes without saying. A person cannot be held in a prison if

24 there are no legal bases for his being there. When I said that I wanted

25 the facility to be integrated into the prison system, what did I want to

Page 21129

1 say by this? I see a Muslim walking on the street, I seize him and take

2 him and lock him up in a facility. That's why I'm saying there has to be

3 a legal basis for him being detained, which, of course, triggers a certain

4 legal procedure, which has to have its end.

5 Q. What was the response of Dr. Koljevic to that information that you

6 had given him?

7 A. He agreed with that. I told him that I had sent the letter to the

8 minister of justice and the Deputy Prime Minister. He said that was a

9 good thing to do and I will talk to them about it. I then went on some

10 other business away. I believed that this was discussed by the

11 government, that this was in fact put on the government's agenda, but, of

12 course, I was not a cabinet member and I can't know whether they in fact

13 discussed it.

14 Q. And were the Muslim civilians from Sonja's house released, after

15 that discussion with Dr. Koljevic?

16 A. How am I to know this?

17 Q. Well, you might know it because you were a commissioner in the

18 municipality and it was an area that was of interest to you and you had

19 raised it at the highest levels of government. That's how you might know

20 about it. So my question is were they released after you had raised this

21 issue with Dr. Koljevic?

22 A. Your question was whether the Muslim civilians had been released.

23 I didn't say that there weren't any other civilians, Serbs and Croats and

24 so on and so forth. How am I to know whether some Croats and Serbs were

25 kept behind when some Muslim civilians were released? I find the question

Page 21130

1 quite strange. Based on the information that was given to me --

2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Poplasen, let's not discuss the question. The

3 question simply is you took initiatives to have people released. The

4 question was were they released?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know. I launched this

6 initiative and procedure for them to be released. Whether this was in

7 fact done, I don't know.

8 JUDGE ORIE: A follow-up was not your interest? I mean, if I'm

9 interested in the fate of people that may be illegally detained, and I

10 take steps to get them released, then usually one would wonder to know

11 whether these steps were successful. Could you explain to us why you did

12 not give that any follow-up?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was convinced that the local

14 authorities and the republican authorities would do their jobs according

15 to law. There were other places where there were similar dramatic

16 situations and it is quite impossible to double check all that. It's not

17 the absence of interest for human life but rather the faith and belief

18 that the people acted in accordance with their duties, with the law,

19 whereby a person committing a crime needs to be held responsible. And how

20 was I able to go and -- from house to house to check whether this was in

21 fact done, whether there had been a follow-up?

22 JUDGE ORIE: Well, it would not have needed to go house to house.

23 You could have just asked the prison warden whether the people were

24 released, isn't it? It takes you five minutes.

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I said, I asked the president of

Page 21131

1 the municipal government about it and he told me that all was well. Why

2 would I have to go and ask the prison warden about it? I have nothing to

3 do with him. I was not his superior.

4 JUDGE ORIE: Did he say that they were released?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The president of the Executive Board

6 of the municipality told me that the proceedings were in course in keeping

7 with the law, and I believed the facility, the prison, to have been

8 integrated into the system which had existed in Sarajevo before the war,

9 which had the necessary staff and experience, that they had the premises

10 they needed and they had procedure in place. I thought the problem

11 solved.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.

13 MR. HARMON: I want to show you three documents, Mr. Poplasen. If

14 we could turn first of all to tab 27. If I could get a number for it.

15 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 27 --

16 MR. HARMON: Sorry, 27 has a number. 29, if I could have a

17 number.

18 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 29 will be P1096.

19 MR. HARMON: I'm sorry, Mr. Registrar. If I could have a number

20 for tab 28.

21 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 28 will be P1096, Your Honours.


23 Q. Okay, if we could first of all turn to tab 27, Mr. Poplasen. It

24 is tab 27. It's P743 is the exhibit number. Mr. Poplasen, this is a

25 document from the Vogosca Serbian Municipality War Commission, dated the

Page 21132

1 6th of August 1992. It's a conclusion, and the conclusion, the -- "That

2 approval is asked from the aforementioned addressee for occasional use of

3 detainees for construction and other work, according to the current

4 needs."

5 Now, this document is signed apparently on your behalf. You see

6 the signature on the original document that says for you? Do you

7 recognise this document? Do you remember this document being signed on

8 your behalf?

9 A. I don't remember but there is no reason for me to doubt it.

10 Q. Okay. Now, if we look at, then, the document that is found in tab

11 29. This is Exhibit 455. This is from the War Commission to the Ministry

12 of Justice. It is type-signed as coming from the president of the Serbian

13 Municipality of Vogosca, and it asks the Ministry of Justice for the very

14 same request; that is, the use of detained persons in construction work

15 and other works as the need arises. And then finally, if we turn to tab

16 28, Mr. Poplasen, this is now Exhibit 1096, this is -- appears to be the

17 response from the Ministry of Justice, dated the 10th of August 1992, and

18 it is -- bears a typed signature of Momcilo Mandic. It has a reference

19 number, and it says: "Regarding your request for the engagement of

20 detainees in works, we hereby inform you that we are in agreement that

21 detainees be temporarily engaged in construction and other works."

22 Now, the term "construction and other works," Mr. Poplasen, what

23 does that refer to?

24 A. How am I to know? Probably some construction work, repairing

25 buildings that were damaged in shelling, or repairs of the roads; whatever

Page 21133

1 constitutes construction work. As for under "other works," I suppose that

2 of whatever needed to be delivered or carried.

3 Q. Did it mean that these prisoners who were in custody of the prison

4 authorities were to be released to work on front line positions, for

5 example, digging trenches, building defensive fortifications?

6 A. I'm not informed about this, although this term "lines" can be

7 stretched quite far, because the whole town could be the line, the front

8 line, and then, of course, if the -- depending on what the emphasis of the

9 attacks or the fighting was, the line moved.

10 Q. As a republican commissioner, did you hear that in the Vogosca

11 municipality, civilians who had been prisoners were forced to work at

12 front line positions where combat was occurring?

13 A. No. As a republican commissioner, one can see from the last few

14 documents that you have admitted into evidence that the commission

15 insisted on legality. We are addressing the Ministry of Justice and the

16 Ministry of Justice does not in turn address the commission but the local

17 authorities. Our goal was to ensure that the activities were conducted in

18 keeping with the law. Of course, everything was happening in a state of

19 war. If there are bodies that are not working in keeping with the law,

20 then there are inspection services and other service to monitor the work.

21 It wasn't the duty of the commission to do that. Our duty was to ensure

22 that the authorities that were legally elected did their job properly. If

23 their activities included some of the activities you've mentioned now,

24 then they should have been held liable under the law.

25 Q. So what you're saying, Mr. Poplasen, is the use of civilian

Page 21134

1 prisoners at -- in construction activities and other work at dangerous

2 front line positions where they could be wounded or killed would be

3 illegal. It would be a crime. Is that what you're saying?

4 A. I suppose we should look into the regulations covering that, but

5 detainees often have a duty to do some work, but I don't suppose there is

6 meant to be put in a position where their lives are at risk.

7 Q. Now, if I were --

8 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau has a question.

9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Excuse me, Mr. Poplasen. I have

10 a difficulty because I can't follow you any more in your explanations.

11 Yesterday you gave us a description of the role of the commissioner. You

12 told us that the commissioner was there to see whether decisions taken by

13 local authorities would be legal. I think you underscored the fact that

14 you had no decision power on such matters, and then you explained to us,

15 if I remember you rightly, that after that you had delegated your own

16 monitoring authority, as far as legality is concerned, to commissioners,

17 to people who were sort of subcommittee and that the subcommittee had the

18 same role as yourself, which was one again to monitor and appraise the

19 legality of the decisions taken by the local authorities.

20 And in your explanations this morning, and through the documents

21 which have been presented, we have the impression that there was a

22 committee called War Committee which existed, which you seemed to be

23 leading and which is taking decisions instead of the local authorities.

24 So could you clarify all this. Because any way, as far as I'm concerned,

25 perhaps I'm not clever enough to understand, but I get the impression that

Page 21135

1 we are seeing something more and more confused.

2 Was there - yes or no - a War Commission which substituted itself

3 to the local authorities and who was able to make decisions, to write

4 directly to the ministry, and so on?

5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the setting up of the

6 commission, there used to be a body which was called the Crisis Staff, and

7 those Crisis Staffs were abolished on the basis of a Presidency decision,

8 and the municipal commission, following a proposal from the republic

9 commissioner, and there we've got the decision that I signed, and all the

10 other bodies would continue in existence and would continue operating in

11 line with the law. It is indeed true that for a certain period of time

12 the so-called Crisis Staffs used to exist, but here we are talking about

13 the period of time in which I was not really active and I was not present

14 or active either in Vogosca or in any other municipality. We are talking

15 about April, May and June. So now we've got the category

16 -- I can see why you're puzzled, because most citizens in

17 Bosnia-Herzegovina would be puzzled as well, because there were the legal

18 authorities, the Municipal Assembly, the Crisis Staffs, the commission,

19 and then something else which was called the War Presidency, either by

20 mistake or rightly so, but all this is rather puzzling. However, the

21 whole point of my work, or the whole point of the setting up of the

22 commission was to ensure that the legal institutions' role be upgraded as

23 much as possible and that only the necessary rectifications be made

24 through the commission. And in May, June, July, as time passed, I could

25 see that more and more Tribunals were being set up and the administrative

Page 21136

1 bodies, and so that vacuum that existed at the very beginning of the war

2 had been overcome, so all these positions were becoming staffed gradually,

3 and so the conditions were being created in order for all that to start

4 operating. And I did say yesterday that I accepted the role of

5 commissioner precisely in order to promote and speed up the creation of

6 all the legal institutions and bodies. Of course, if there was a whole

7 range of extreme and unacceptable situations, and even crimes, and the

8 Prosecution does point out to them, but they had to be dealt with

9 according to the provisions of the law. What was unacceptable to me was

10 to make decisions on behalf of somebody else. In this case, my decision

11 was signed by somebody else on my behalf, by Ratko Babic in this instance,

12 but I did tell him do not make any decisions which are within the area of

13 competence of somebody else. Now, this seems like a simple task. He

14 would have to turn to the Justice Ministry, and the Justice Ministry did

15 not tell the commission anything. They got in touch with the president of

16 the Municipal Assembly, and he was the one who was to ensure that

17 everything was done through the proper channels. So we did not have a

18 well-established system or model of controls a postiori and feedback, and

19 so that was the problem.

20 I don't know whether I've been of any assistance with this

21 explanation, but that's the way I understood it, and it is for this

22 reason --

23 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] To ensure this monitoring of the

24 legality of what the local authorities were doing, did you consider that

25 you had to go on the site to see what was going on, to make sure that

Page 21137

1 things were happening legally, were being done legally? How could you

2 check whether decisions were legal if you didn't go and check on-site, on

3 the different sites?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said earlier that the decisions

5 were implemented and checked by the legal bodies, enshrined in law. There

6 were inspections and inspectors within the Justice Ministry and it was up

7 to them to establish whether the ministry's decision was implemented

8 properly. In the last analysis, there is a possibility of somebody

9 swindling me. Because I did not have the necessary professional

10 expertise, they might have just swindled me and make me believe that

11 things had been done properly when they had not. And that's why I wanted

12 for the municipal leadership to be informed, because that's where my role

13 was exhausted. I wanted to get some feedback there. And in case I found

14 out that what I got from them in terms of feedback did not correspond to

15 the situation on the ground, I would have had to react, but then I had

16 other problems in that case. Perhaps I should have gone to the hospitals

17 as well and visit whether Muslims and Serbs and Croats were all treated in

18 the same way. I should have perhaps visited the schools as well.

19 Life is a complex matter and there is always somebody who makes a

20 decision, somebody who implements them, et cetera, but I take it that

21 people also have to have some trust and confidence. Why should I work on

22 the assumption that every time the president of the Executive Board or the

23 president of the Municipal Assembly or the police chief, every time they

24 come and tell me something are telling me lies, or somebody from the

25 ministry? In case they are all telling lies it is a very pessimistic,

Page 21138

1 disastrous, chaotic situation. It could be impossible for any life to

2 take place there.

3 According to that principle of chain of responsibility you could

4 ask the president of the republic why, in some village 500 kilometres

5 away, a sick man died and he was not provided with proper assistance,

6 because he would be held accountable for everything. Maybe the nurse had

7 not arrived on time, and it is all regulated by relevant regulations. We

8 know who is to be held accountable, and this chain of accountability, as

9 you seem to be presenting it, I really don't see how it can function in

10 practice.

11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Mr. Poplasen, a last question --

12 my last question, anyway. For you, was the fact of being deprived freedom

13 of your citizens, if it wasn't legal, was this for you a particularly

14 important crime?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it is a crime.

16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, sir.

17 JUDGE ORIE: I would have a few questions in this respect as well,

18 and then we'll have a break anyhow.

19 Mr. Poplasen, you explained to us that once you experienced that

20 civilians were held, detained, without a proper basis, as far as I

21 understand, that you reported this as something that should be taken care

22 of and that it should all be legalised. Is that a correct understanding?

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, I address the parties at this moment. Are

25 there any documents found? Because we have some Vogosca documents in

Page 21139

1 which a written report was sent to the minister of -- Ministry of Justice

2 or to whatever authority because it would be exculpatory certainly,

3 Mr. Harmon. Has it been found? Has it been disclosed to the Defence?

4 MR. HARMON: Bear with me one minute, Your Honour.

5 JUDGE ORIE: I'll leave you some time. Of course, Mr. Josse the

6 next question, if it would have been confirmed, if it would have been

7 disclosed, then of course the Chamber would like to see such exculpatory

8 material.

9 MR. JOSSE: I assumed it did not exist because I assumed I would

10 have received it if it had, but it may be a very foolish assumption on my

11 part.

12 JUDGE ORIE: I give Mr. Harmon a minute's time to try to find that

13 out, or perhaps during the break.

14 At the same time, Mr. Poplasen, you, who was so concerned about

15 illegal detention of civilians, your War Commission, on the 6th of August

16 asks permission to use detainees for construction and other works. Did

17 you verify whether these detainees which were needed for work, whether

18 they were civilians or not and whether they were legally detained or not?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I've already said that subsequently

20 I asked the president of the Executive Board whether everything was done

21 in line with the legal provisions, and he replied in the affirmative. And

22 so, generally speaking, I did ask.

23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Generally speaking, you did. When did you

24 write that letter asking for the release of civilian detainees? When was

25 that?

Page 21140

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if I arrive at Vogosca by the

2 beginning of July, I must have gone there in the beginning and as soon as

3 I saw the situation I would have written the letter and sent it off. I

4 can't remember the exact date but it would have been in the beginning of

5 July.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Somewhere in July. You said you arrived in the

7 beginning of July, so it must have been somewhere in July.

8 Now, the 6th of August, did you receive firm confirmation of the

9 matter being resolved?

10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I am not sure I was at Vogosca

11 on the 6th of August. I think I was with my family in Serbia.

12 JUDGE ORIE: I didn't ask you whether at the 6th of August you

13 were in Vogosca. I asked you whether by that date, wherever you were, you

14 had received firm confirmation of the matter being resolved.

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I had not received any firm

16 confirmation in the form of a certain detailed report, if that's what you

17 mean by firm confirmation.

18 JUDGE ORIE: "Firm confirmation" is that you received information

19 not that everything went well or that one was working on it or that one

20 was making good progress, but here it would mean that the illegal

21 situation would have ended. And then if people were illegally detained,

22 that, of course, would include that they would have been released.

23 Because otherwise the illegal situation would continue to exist.

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The information that I

25 received from the president of the Executive Board was not just a single

Page 21141

1 sentence. Well, he said, "We are doing it in line with the law. We are

2 solving the problem of starvation and we are having difficulties in terms

3 of space and quite a few people -- as far as I could understand, some

4 Muslims wanted to feel safe in some enclosed area until they could be

5 taken somewhere else, so it was a whole range of problems that I was told

6 about.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you. If you say they are working on

8 space and they are working on starvation, that, of course, is not a real

9 solution for illegal detention, would it? Because if you're illegally

10 detained, one should release you and then space is not a problem any more.

11 It might even improve. Starvation would be the problem of the civilian

12 himself and not your concern any more.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I did say that he confirmed that

14 they were working in line with the legal provisions. That would mean that

15 nobody was unlawfully detained, I suppose, if you work in line with the

16 legal provisions. None of the civilians can be detained unless there is

17 some reason for it, some legal basis.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But a couple of weeks before that, the

19 situation was certainly different. They were not aware of their

20 obligation not to illegally detain civilians. What made you believe that

21 after a couple of weeks, the situation on these kind of vague notions,

22 because they said it's in line with the law, et cetera, no one ever said

23 to you, "We've released them," did they?

24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] First of all the attitude of the

25 Justice Ministry and the clear report, or rather, information from the

Page 21142

1 president of the local government, the municipal government, I mean.

2 JUDGE ORIE: I asked you whether anyone told you, "We released

3 them."

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. Nobody told me that.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, in early August, permission is asked for sending

6 detainees for construction and other works. Was it verified at that

7 moment whether these could include illegally detained civilians?

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't understand the question.

9 JUDGE ORIE: I say in early August, permission is asked to use

10 detainees for construction and other work Vogosca detainees, request

11 submitted by the Vogosca prison warden. Did you or did the War Commission

12 verify whether those detainees who they wished to be allowed to send to

13 work, whether that still would include or could include illegally detained

14 civilians? Did you verify that?

15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In that period of time, I wasn't in

16 Vogosca, as I mentioned earlier on, and that's why somebody else signed it

17 on my behalf, and I think you should ask the person who signed it.

18 JUDGE ORIE: When were you back in Vogosca?

19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose after ten weeks, up to a

20 fortnight, because I had a great deal to do with my family.

21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 10 days.

22 JUDGE ORIE: So by mid-August, you would be back, being the main

23 responsible person as a republican commissioner. Did you view at what had

24 happened in your absence, or did you receive reports; we asked for

25 permission to get people to work and we got that permission or --

Page 21143

1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was not told about any details.

2 Of course, I met the other members of the commission, the president of the

3 Executive Board, and I think I must have stayed in Vogosca for a day or

4 two, and then I must have gone somewhere else on some party business.

5 JUDGE ORIE: Of course I'm interested to know whether, upon your

6 return, the issue of getting permission to send detainees to work, whether

7 that came to you, that information, and the decision that they could be

8 sent there.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember about this actual

10 problem having been mentioned at all. I can't really tell, but I do not

11 recall it.

12 JUDGE ORIE: This Chamber received evidence that detainees,

13 civilian detainees, held without any form of process, were sent -- were

14 still detained in that period and were sent to the front lines. This

15 Chamber also received evidence that the death of some of those prisoners

16 or injuries of those prisoners was reported by the -- by the armed forces.

17 Would you have any comment on that evidence this Chamber has received?

18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm sorry if that's the case and I'm

19 sorry about the victims, but I really do not have any information in this

20 respect.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Did you know anything about the location of where

22 those people would have to do their construction and other work?

23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I'm not familiar with that.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said construction would have been something

25 like. Were you informed about any specific object on which the detainees

Page 21144

1 would work?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those answers.

4 Mr. Harmon, it's time for a break.

5 MR. HARMON: Yes. I could respond to Your Honour's question.

6 JUDGE ORIE: I beg your pardon?

7 MR. HARMON: I can respond to Your Honour's earlier inquiry. We

8 are not in possession of any letter asking for the release of detainees.

9 Therefore --

10 JUDGE ORIE: Has there been a -- well, could I say more or less

11 full review of Vogosca documents in this respect?

12 MR. HARMON: There has, Your Honour. The closest document I have

13 is found in tab 32. It only relates to the testimony of the witness who

14 testified, as I recall, at page 62 that he had either asked that the

15 facility be disbanded, and I took for granted civilians be released, or

16 that it be integrated into the prison system. There is only one document.

17 It's found at tab 32, and the only request from Mr. Poplasen is that the

18 prison be essentially integrated. I can confront the witness with that.

19 JUDGE ORIE: If you would say no request for release but --

20 MR. HARMON: This is no request for release.


22 Mr. Poplasen, we will have a break. You are, however, invited, in

23 order to better enable us to inquire into the issue you raised before -

24 let's say the bathroom incident - whether you would remember when

25 approximately or at what moment approximately this was said. If you

Page 21145

1 remember, for example, the question you were answering at that time or the

2 answers you were giving when you heard this, this would assist the

3 Chamber, and -- if you know at this moment. We could take -- yes?

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was when apparently there was

5 some technical problem. You raised the issue of the microphone and it is

6 at that stage that I heard it through my headphones. As to whether

7 everyone heard it or not, I do not know but that's what I did hear through

8 my headphones. You were commenting on some technical problem with the

9 microphones.

10 JUDGE ORIE: We'll try to find that.

11 MR. JOSSE: Very briefly, Your Honour, just -- I need to correct

12 something I said about the material that Mr. Harmon's been looking for. I

13 said I assumed it did not exist. Of course, what I meant is it doesn't

14 presently exist. In other words, I have to correct my own English.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes you have to assume that it presently does not

16 exist.

17 MR. JOSSE: I was not impeaching my own witness.

18 JUDGE ORIE: No. And even -- yes. I fully understand that.

19 That's how I understood it, as a matter of fact.

20 MR. JOSSE: I really need to get my English --

21 JUDGE ORIE: It was not available to us at this moment.

22 MR. JOSSE: I really need to get my English right. I apologise.

23 JUDGE ORIE: I'll think about my Dutch one of these days,

24 Mr. Josse.

25 We'll have a break until quarter past one.

Page 21146

1 --- Recess taken at 12.54 p.m.

2 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.


4 Mr. Stewart, I see you there. Mr. Josse asked for some limited

5 time for a procedural matter. Are you dealing with the matter?

6 MR. STEWART: I beg your pardon, Your Honour. Sorry, which matter

7 are we talking about?

8 JUDGE ORIE: A procedural matter.

9 MR. STEWART: There are a number of different matters. Mr. Josse

10 is dealing with the particular point that arose. Excuse me, Your Honour,

11 I'm just not clear which matter we are talking about.

12 I apologise, Your Honour, I hadn't realised that the matter which

13 I did come to deal with had been touched upon before. But never mind,

14 I'll start from scratch.

15 Your Honour, we are running into difficulty about witnesses next

16 week. I received information this morning from the Victims and Witnesses

17 Section that Mr. Arsovic [phoen], who was due to give evidence as the

18 second witness next week, has a -- well, he has a medical problem, Your

19 Honour. There is no need for me to go into that. I can certainly say

20 that. He has a medical problem which has been reported to me which, as I

21 understand, at least prevents him from travelling. I'm having inquiries

22 made as to find out whether that prevents him from giving evidence,

23 wherever he is, but my understanding on very recent information obtained

24 through my team is that, yes, he is quite ill at the moment. This

25 apparently is going to be the position for a week or two. That's as much

Page 21147

1 as I've been able to establish at the moment, Your Honours. So that's --

2 that is an obvious problem for next week.

3 Your Honour, we don't -- we can't, in practice, have backup

4 witnesses for specific dates. Your Honour will understand. It just

5 doesn't and can't work like that, so the position we are in is that it's

6 Mr. Radojko who is programmed to give evidence on Monday, we would expect

7 that his evidence would finish, all being well, sometime on Tuesday. Most

8 of these witnesses, as Your Honours would have seen, take, broadly

9 speaking, two days for examination-in-chief and cross-examination. That

10 leaves us in the position, Your Honour, where, come Wednesday next week

11 there is no practical prospect of having a witness here and prepared to

12 give evidence.


14 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, in the circumstances -- well, not

15 seeking, in a sense, to take advantage of this unfortunate situation but

16 simply looking to be practical and make the best of a difficult situation,

17 we were already on the Defence side placed with enormous difficulties as

18 far as Mr. Radojko is concerned, whom we've never seen and never spoken

19 to. Not the ideal situation, but we were, of course, to fit in with the

20 proposed schedule, absolutely doing our best and proceeding on the footing

21 that we would, the Court sitting in the afternoons next week, start with

22 Mr. Radojko according to the programme on Monday. However, Your Honour,

23 if there is an inevitability of there being days next week when the Court

24 simply cannot sit because of the -- I say cannot sit, Your Honours

25 understand what I mean -- where we won't have witnesses because of the

Page 21148

1 difficulties which I've suggested, it is the Defence's request, therefore,

2 that one of those days could, and in our submission should, usefully be

3 Monday because then we can valuably use Monday for further preparation of

4 Mr. Radojko. Starting from the position, Your Honour, that the

5 preparation which we had built into the witness programme as planned was

6 not seriously adequate from our point of view. It was just the best we

7 could do.

8 So, Your Honour, that's a report. Of course, I can -- that's as

9 much as I know, effectively, but Your Honours, of course, any questions

10 Your Honours address to me in relation to these witness difficulties I

11 would do absolutely my best to answer. But that's a report coupled with a

12 submission and an application as to how to proceed with the next immediate

13 witness in the light of the practical situation that we have in relation

14 to what was going to be the following witness.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Which witness would have been the following one?

16 MR. STEWART: Mr. Arsovic, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Has he a passport?

18 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, he has. I've seen a copy of his

19 passport.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Has he applied for a visa already?

21 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour, my understanding is that all the

22 normal practical matters had been taken care of in a perfectly regular

23 way, that there was no problem about visa, no problem about security, no

24 problem about clearance. The only obstacle has been this news about his

25 medical condition.

Page 21149

1 [Trial Chamber confers]

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Stewart, the Chamber would prefer to have

3 the next witness in line here as soon as possible. That's the simple

4 answer. Of course, I do not know whether tickets are already ordered for

5 a later date but whether they could be changed or not.

6 MR. STEWART: For whom, Your Honour?

7 JUDGE ORIE: For the next witness you would expect. You said --

8 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour, please understand, Your Honour. We

9 have certainly -- we would not have done, and the implication that we

10 might have done I'm afraid I resist. No, of course we have not taken any

11 such pre-emptive action.

12 JUDGE ORIE: I'm now asking you to do that.

13 MR. STEWART: -- straightaway and remained with the perfectly

14 efficient arrangements we'd made as they have been made.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, and you are now invited to see whether it would

16 be possible to have the next witness in The Hague as soon as possible so

17 that we would not lose any additional --

18 MR. STEWART: Which witness, Your Honour?

19 JUDGE ORIE: The one you said was next on the --

20 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, we have. I'm sorry, Your Honour.

21 Absolutely -- Your Honour is now talking about the witness Radojko who we

22 had scheduled and still have scheduled, as things stand, for Monday.

23 JUDGE ORIE: And then the next one was not available, from what I

24 understand for health reasons, so there would be someone after that one,

25 wasn't there?

Page 21150

1 MR. STEWART: Yes, Your Honour. It's that I started off. Your

2 Honour, of course we will do, as I assure Your Honour we do do, we will do

3 anything and everything we can, but I'm informing Your Honour

4 conscientiously about the practical position that I see no serious

5 prospect whatever of being able to accelerate a later witness in our

6 programme to be ready to give evidence at the time that Mr. Arsovic would

7 have given evidence, in other words immediately after Mr. Radojko. It's

8 only right that I should tell Your Honours. It's not in an uncooperative

9 spirit, it's --

10 JUDGE ORIE: I'm not talking about cooperation, but has the next

11 witness in line, has he been invited to come to The Hague and to start

12 testimony next Wednesday or Thursday?

13 MR. STEWART: No, Your Honour, for this reason --

14 JUDGE ORIE: You're invited to ask the witness.

15 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, may I explain? Since Your Honour asked

16 me, I said I would deal with any questions. First of all, this has

17 happened this morning. We do our best, Your Honour. We make telephone

18 calls, which we have done; we make inquiries, which we have done.

19 Mr. Josse has been in court this morning. There are limits. However, we

20 have actually made all the inquiries we could reasonably have done. So

21 far as the next witness in line is concerned, all I can tell Your Honour

22 is that we are already, and we know we are, and we have done already,

23 running into enormous difficulty with that witness. The question to that

24 witness, can you come earlier, would, without going into too much detail,

25 have been a completely pointless question. We are running into the

Page 21151

1 question of whether that witness can and will come at the date when we

2 planned for that witness to come. It would have been a futile question to

3 have said to the witness, can you come earlier? So we haven't asked that

4 question, Your Honour, and won't ask it, with respect, at any time when it

5 is pointless to ask it because we are just going through the motions of

6 futile questions.

7 JUDGE ORIE: And the one after that? I mean, Mr. Stewart, the

8 problem is the following: You've asked for delay -- for further time to

9 prepare and sometimes you said it's to prepare for the testimony of

10 Mr. Krajisnik, and in the beginning, that was not the issue, but you would

11 need further preparations. Now we are confronted with a situation where a

12 witness cannot appear -- cannot appear and that you more or less tell us

13 this witness comes to The Hague, we've never seen him before, we've never

14 spoken to him before. So there seems to be nothing of preparation and

15 this Chamber has given a scheduling order in which limited time is

16 granted, and I emphasise again and again that this Chamber wants to hear

17 as much relevant evidence as it -- as is possible. And the Chamber will

18 not just accept that we say, well -- of course, it can happen that a

19 witness is ill and he can't come. It can happen that a family member of a

20 witness is ill or deceases, but just accepting so we have not resolved the

21 matters for next week, we are under time restraints and we have to do

22 everything possible to have witnesses here so that the Chamber can receive

23 that evidence. This is the basic line, and what it takes of being

24 inventive, changing schedules, trying to find other solutions, that's all

25 to be done to the best. And, of course, then finally if you say, well, we

Page 21152

1 didn't manage to do that, we come to the very uncomfortable position to

2 say this is what you've been granted, we have not heard the amount of

3 evidence we would have wished to hear and then make our -- draw our

4 conclusions, make our determinations, and that's -- when I'm very

5 insistent it is because the Chamber wants to hear the Defence evidence and

6 the Chamber is not here to see whether this week perhaps we could see one

7 witness and perhaps after three weeks we could hear another one. We want

8 to -- we want the Defence to do everything -- and I repeat everything it

9 can to present their evidence within the schedule we have given to the

10 Defence.

11 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I agree with that entirely. I would

12 only like to say this, Your Honour: That if -- and perhaps I'm wrong in

13 doing this -- if I detect the slightest suggestion there that the Defence

14 has not used its full application, its full industry, and its full

15 inventiveness and is not doing its best in very difficult circumstances to

16 bring these witnesses, then that implication is rejected utterly, Your

17 Honour. We are doing our best in very difficult circumstances, we are

18 reporting conscientiously to the Court and to the Prosecution

19 appropriately at every moment, as appropriate, and we are doing our best.

20 One of the witnesses that we were certainly hoping to bring is the

21 witness Mr. Lakic, where we received the report about the death in his

22 family. We received that report. What can we do except act on that, Your

23 Honour? Mr. Lakic, if the Trial Chamber had not altered the timetable

24 against the Defence's wishes, then Mr. Lakic might have given his evidence

25 and be gone.

Page 21153

1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Stewart, ten lines ago, you said, "If I

2 detect ..." There is no reason to detect any such thing and therefore in

3 the ten following lines are totally superfluous.

4 MR. STEWART: I'm delighted to hear that, Your Honour, and I

5 apologise if I misread anything or misheard anything that Your Honour has

6 said in an overly sensitive way. Thank you for that confirmation.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any other issue?

8 MR. STEWART: Not at all. I'm delighted to hear that, Your

9 Honour.

10 MR. JOSSE: I just wanted to ask for a little bit more time in

11 relation to the D14 matter that was referred to yesterday.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Granted.

13 MR. JOSSE: Thank you, Your Honour.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Then the witness could be escorted into the courtroom

15 again.

16 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, while the witness is en route to the

17 courtroom, we earlier discussed an exhibit. It was tab 14. There was an

18 issue as to the date of the -- handwritten --


20 MR. HARMON: -- it said February 1992. I have a copy of the cover

21 of the document.

22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps you show it to the Defence.

23 MR. HARMON: I showed it to the Defence.

24 JUDGE ORIE: And you agree it was published when?

25 MR. HARMON: It says February of 1992.

Page 21154

1 MR. JOSSE: I'm prepared to make that agreement. If the Court

2 would rather the document didn't go into the evidence, I'm neutral either

3 way.

4 JUDGE ORIE: If the parties agree, the Chamber is pleased to

5 accept that, and it again underlines that the date on the bottom of an

6 article is not necessarily the date of publication.

7 MR. HARMON: Is Your Honour accepting the stipulation or does the

8 Court --

9 JUDGE ORIE: We accept that it was.

10 MR. JOSSE: So stipulate.

11 MR. HARMON: Thank you.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's accepted it was a publication of February

13 1992.

14 Mr. Harmon, you know that your time is very limited.

15 MR. HARMON: Yes, I intend to put one document to the witness just

16 to verify a signature.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.


19 Q. Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 32, please. This exhibit

20 is already in evidence, P743.

21 Mr. Poplasen, this is a document, it has a signature at the

22 bottom. Is that your signature?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. This is a document where you suggest to the Serb Municipality of

25 Vogosca War Presidency, and in subpart 3, that the illegal prison in

Page 21155

1 Vogosca be transformed into a subdivision of the correctional facilities

2 in Butnim or Pale and that an investigative judge and warden be appointed.

3 Correct?

4 A. Yes. That's under 3.

5 MR. HARMON: That's all I have, Your Honour. I just wanted to

6 verify this document with the witness.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Harmon.

8 MR. HARMON: Thank you very much, Mr. Poplasen.

9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse?

10 Re-examination by Mr. Josse:

11 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you were asked about the use of the word "vojvoda" -

12 excuse my pronunciation. I want to show you some documents, please.

13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I don't know how much time we are going to

14 spend to that but the Chamber, on the basis of a lot of evidence, gained

15 the impression that a vojvoda is not -- perhaps historically he was but at

16 present not a kind of a military leader but someone with I would say moral

17 authority, a kind of a moral leading person in society. That's our

18 provisional impression of what a vojvoda is.

19 MR. JOSSE: I can cut the matter short: We also have the

20 definition of an archduke from an English dictionary, and it uses the same

21 word, I can say. I can provide that but -- perhaps the witness could have

22 this document.


24 MR. JOSSE: And look at it.

25 Q. This is an interview, Mr. Poplasen, with you in 1998 in a

Page 21156

1 publication called Dani, and it's right, isn't it, that you are asked here

2 about the use of the word "vojvoda" and you define it in the answer. If

3 you quickly cast your eye over the B/C/S version - I'm not going to ask to

4 you read it into the record - I'm going to ask you to confirm that you

5 said this.

6 A. Yes. That's the text present -- which actually presents the

7 viewpoint presented by His Honour, that it was a honourary and symbolic

8 role which had nothing to do with military command. If need be, I can

9 read the entire text, but that's -- these are the lines along which the

10 text runs.

11 MR. JOSSE: Could that have a number, please.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, then, Mr. Josse, I have a question which sounds

13 perhaps a bit familiar to you, whether then only the translated portion or

14 whether the original and the context would be in evidence? I noticed that

15 it seems that in B/C/S, that the interview also is about extradition and

16 about the Tribunal, et cetera. I don't know whether you wanted that to

17 be --

18 MR. JOSSE: I don't particularly. It would mean sending it for

19 translation. I would rather leave it as it is for logistical as much as

20 any other reason.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, no objection against that, limited to

22 this? Of course, Mr. Harmon has the opportunity to ask for the context to

23 be translated as well.

24 MR. JOSSE: Of course.

25 MR. HARMON: Your Honour, yes, at this point I can't read it, so I

Page 21157

1 can't --

2 JUDGE ORIE: No, but I see a few words which sound very familiar

3 to me, Tribunal and extradition, so therefore -- but we know already

4 something about the attitude of this witness towards the -- this

5 institution.

6 MR. HARMON: I will look at the document at my first opportunity.

7 JUDGE ORIE: So for the time being it's given a number --

8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D142, Your Honours.

9 JUDGE ORIE: D142, and it's limited to the translation --

10 translated portion, unless Mr. Harmon comes back to it.

11 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.

12 Q. The learned Judge -- put that down, if you would, Mr. Poplasen.

13 The learned Judge has just asked you about your views of the

14 Tribunal. It's right, isn't it, that you provided a statement to the

15 Office of the Prosecutor, I think in the year 2002.

16 A. Yes. I gave a statement to the Office of the Prosecutor but not

17 in relation to the Krajisnik case but in relation to the Seselj case, on

18 the request of the OTP. The statement I gave which had to do with the

19 Krajisnik case was given by me to Mr. Krajisnik's defence team, whereas it

20 was in the Seselj case that I gave a statement to the members of the OTP.

21 Q. To be clear, was that a voluntary statement or were you forced in

22 some way to make it, under some sort of compulsion?

23 A. I don't know how to interpret your word "voluntary." The entire

24 NATO pact is behind all that. We were sitting at a desk, having coffee,

25 and I was telling them the truth, the whole truth, just as I was doing

Page 21158

1 right now, in my firm belief that I was the last person who would mind

2 having the truth out. I even told them that, if need be, I can come and

3 testify before the Tribunal. Now you're pushing me to say whether it's

4 voluntary or not. Well, nobody actually does it voluntarily except for

5 the people who work here.

6 Q. I'm sorry, I was being a bit clumsy. It's right that you weren't

7 a suspect, you weren't interviewed under caution, this is a statement?

8 A. Of course I was not cautioned. I was asked, requested, by the

9 Prosecution to give a statement. There were no cautions leveled at me,

10 that I was a possible suspect of any act, either by the OTP or by the

11 Bosnia-Herzegovina authorities.

12 Q. All right. Next I want, if you would, to have a look at tab 8A.

13 This is an interview. Quite large parts have been alluded to. I'm going

14 to need the help of the usher here to find the part in B/C/S. But in the

15 course of this interview, which we see took place in February 2000, you

16 may take this from me, you were asked, "Does it bother you that non-Serbs

17 are returning to RS?" And your answer was, "Why would it bother me? That

18 is their personal business and a matter of their assessment where they

19 want to live and organise their lives and their future." Do you remember

20 giving that answer, Mr. Poplasen?

21 A. Yes. That is indeed my opinion, and that is the answer I gave.

22 Q. Thank you. The next matter I'd like to turn to, please, relates

23 to questions of paramilitaries that you were asked about at some length.

24 I want to hand out another document.

25 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, only a portion of this has been

Page 21159

1 translated. I suspect the Chamber would want it all translated in due

2 course.

3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The same -- yes, for such short documents the

4 Chamber would like to have the context available.

5 MR. JOSSE: Yes.

6 Q. This in effect is a public announcement by you on behalf of your

7 newly formed political party, dealing with the outline of its policies.

8 Is that correct?

9 A. Yes, that's correct.

10 Q. And we see at number 3 on the first page what you had to say about

11 paramilitary formations.

12 A. Yes. That's correct. By your leave, I can read the paragraph.

13 It's just one sentence. I believe the interpreters can successfully

14 interpret it. If there is no English version, that is.

15 Q. No. There is an English translation of that part, Mr. Poplasen.

16 For that part, we have an English translation, so for my part you don't

17 need to read it.

18 A. Yes. In that case, it bears noting that this release is from

19 November of 1992. And it clearly shows that we do not organise or support

20 the organising of other military formations and that we even want to rid

21 ourselves of the negative heritage of the JNA, primarily of the communist

22 type of conduct and ideology among the manpower. When you look at the

23 press release as a whole, not just this point, then you can see that under

24 point 4, for instance, we are insisting on the principle of legality and

25 we insist that change in society cannot be brought about forcibly, but in

Page 21160

1 a legal, lawful way. This is our viewpoint from 1992, which was for the

2 most part the subject of our discussions in that period of time. It was

3 published, or rather, broadcast by TV and published in the press. It was

4 -- a part of it was even republished in one of my books.

5 Q. I'm going to stop you there.

6 MR. JOSSE: Could I invite the Court to read in full tab 47, which

7 I don't think there is a B/C/S version of. It was the extract from the

8 video, the top of the second page in English I would draw the Court's

9 attention to. I'm not going to ask the witness, simply through lack of

10 time.

11 I've got one other matter I wish to deal with before I sit down.

12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You'd like us to read in full tab 47?

13 MR. JOSSE: In due course, and in particular the top of the second

14 page, the answer given by this witness in that interview at the top of the

15 second page.



18 Q. Finally, Mr. Poplasen, you -- while this is being handed out,

19 please --

20 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just check 47 has a number.

21 MR. JOSSE: 47 does have a number but what doesn't have a number

22 is the pamphlet which I handed out a few moments ago.

23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D143, Your Honours.

24 MR. JOSSE: Thank you. Could I hand out one other document, which

25 will also need a number, please.

Page 21161

1 Q. This -- you were telling the Court earlier about the double

2 pension situation.



5 Q. It's right that this is an extract from a newspaper. What's the

6 name of the newspaper, please, to avoid me embarrassing myself by not

7 being able to pronounce it.

8 A. I believe this is the daily paper issued in the federation, in

9 Sarajevo, called Nevniavas [phoen], as far as I remember.

10 Q. That's right. That's what it says on the page that we see. And

11 it's right, again, Your Honour, we will have the whole of this translated,

12 but basically there is a question from a reader about pension rights, and

13 the answer is given that pursuant to Article 94 of the law of pensions -

14 I'm summarising - that for persons who have taken part in BiH defence

15 preparations or its defence between April the 30th 1991, December the 21st

16 1995, time so spent shall be counted double for persons in their

17 retirement pensions. That's what it says, doesn't it, Mr. Poplasen?

18 A. Yes. Quite evidently this stems from this piece of legislation.

19 MR. JOSSE: As I say, Your Honour, we will submit the whole of the

20 question and answer to the CLSS.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll then receive -- of course, the Chamber

22 would most -- would be most interested not only in how legislation is

23 presented in the press but to have the original source available.

24 MR. JOSSE: I am told we've got it, and I think that's the

25 information that is about to be relayed to me. I'm told we have been

Page 21162

1 sent --

2 JUDGE ORIE: And this would be --

3 MR. JOSSE: -- the actual law, that someone can have the pleasure

4 of translating that.

5 JUDGE ORIE: And this would be federal legislation. Would that

6 be --

7 MR. JOSSE: You're asking the wrong man, plain and simple.

8 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand. Is this federal legislation or is

9 this -- how do I have to understand it? Perhaps we'd better look at it on

10 the basis of the original text so that we can then identify to what extent

11 this law would apply in any entity, and if it does apply only in one

12 entity, whether similar legislation exists in the other entity which, of

13 course, would give a more balanced view on the matter.

14 MR. JOSSE: Yes.

15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you very much. At least we --

16 MR. JOSSE: That concludes my re-examination. Thank you.


18 MR. JOSSE: Apparently that hasn't got a number. I'm sorry.

19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D144, Your Honours, the extract.

20 JUDGE ORIE: Now, I got a bit lost where it concerns D143, which

21 was the pamphlet. Is that correct, Mr. Registrar?

22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honours.

23 JUDGE ORIE: But exactly what pamphlet would that be?

24 THE REGISTRAR: The public announcement by Nikola Poplasen on

25 behalf of the newly formed political party dealing with the outline of its

Page 21163

1 policies, dated 12 November 1992.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's clear to me, yes.

3 Questioned by the Court:

4 JUDGE ORIE: I have one final question for you: Talking about

5 detention and detention facilities in Vogosca and getting them under the

6 -- under the system, could you tell us how many there were and whether

7 this prison warden you talked about was in charge of them all, if there

8 were more?

9 A. I really don't know that. Had I known of the existence of some

10 other facility, I would have reacted accordingly. I really am not

11 familiar with this. I'm not claiming that there wasn't any, I'm just

12 saying that I wasn't aware of the existence of any other facility other

13 than this one that I visited just for a few minutes.

14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, it was not entirely clear how it came that

15 you would visit that facility, because I think you said that you were

16 having a cup of coffee there and you saw people move around. What made

17 you go there?

18 A. This may seem unusual but it was a pure coincidence. With me in

19 the vehicle was my friend, a commissioner from the adjacent municipality.

20 He came up with this idea to have coffee at his acquaintance's, Brano

21 Vlaco. I didn't know the man. And I asked him where the man was, and he

22 told me he was over there -- that he was there, along the road, because it

23 was a catering establishment, an inn of a sort. And then we simply

24 strayed from the road and parked there and that was when I happened to see

25 the facility. It was a coincidence. Then I asked him what this was all

Page 21164

1 about and what was going on there.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you describe what you saw as what you now say

3 was a detention facility. What did you see?

4 A. There was no armed guard in front of the building, but there, next

5 to the bar, there were some people who seemed to be detainees but there

6 were also people who did not seem to be detainees and they were wearing --

7 they had weapons slung over their arms. To the right there was a

8 restaurant there. We sat at a table. Vlaco came and joined us and we

9 engaged in a conversation. That was when I collected the information.

10 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you, if I come into a bar and see some

11 people with perhaps rifles, and others not having any rifles, how would

12 you see that those who have no weapons are detainees? In a bar, I would

13 expect them to be visitors of a bar. What made you think of them as

14 detainees?

15 A. It was from the conversation with Mr. Vlaco, as I just mentioned.

16 He told me what this was about, but it was quite confusing. I wasn't

17 really clear whether this was a detention facility, whether this was a

18 collection centre or a reception centre, and I asked him to clear this up

19 because we could not leave the situation standing as it was, since it was

20 obvious that one could leave the facility undisturbed. Nobody was there

21 under duress. My conclusion was that perhaps the Muslims felt safer in

22 this facility rather than somewhere else. Perhaps some of them there had

23 had their houses -- had lost their houses, which had been burnt or

24 something of the sort. It seemed even to me to have a character of a

25 private prison, somebody thought of the idea of having a place where to

Page 21165

1 detain people and then went and found some people and detained them,

2 because there were such instances, and it is true the entire impression

3 was as you mentioned, because you could see people passing by, some of

4 them armed, some of them unarmed. That was the impression I was an able

5 to gain in the 15 minutes I was there, and then on the basis of the

6 conversation I had, I decided that I ought to react, which I did with the

7 competent authorities.

8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You told us that they were moving around, the

9 detainees, so you gave us, by your language, the impression that they

10 were, well, to some extent free, to some extent not. Could you explain

11 that a bit more in detail. Did you see anyone move out and leave the

12 street alone or --

13 A. 15 minutes isn't much. There was always someone entering and

14 someone leaving the building. I can't say whether it was a soldier or

15 whether it was someone come to visit someone else. There was nothing on

16 the basis of which I could draw any such conclusion. On the basis of

17 there having been movement there, I told you that I didn't feel that

18 anybody was being closed, but when Vlaco told me that he had nothing to

19 feed the people he held therewith, I realised that these people were in

20 fact staying there and were not free in a way. Because Vlaco inviting us

21 for lunch and then I asked him whether there was some food to be had

22 there, because I could see some plates being taken from one place to

23 another. He suggested a restaurant, then I complained about it and then

24 we started discussing these matters, and as we discussed these matters, I

25 was inferring what this was all about. It was all as we were talking that

Page 21166

1 these -- these conclusions of mine were emerging.

2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, you told us that you got the impression

3 that, as you said, you didn't feel that anybody was being closed, but do I

4 understand then from the information you received from Vlaco, that they

5 were actually detained?

6 A. To a certain extent, yes.

7 JUDGE ORIE: What is "to a certain extent" being detained? Were

8 they free to leave the building and go to wherever they wanted to go or

9 were they not?

10 A. It is possible that they were. At a certain point Vlaco said that

11 he had to secure food supplies for them, which meant that they were there

12 every day. Now, these people who were there every day, whether they were

13 able to leave or not, I could not tell. I didn't know. I thought it was

14 a facility of a semi-open or an open type, so I suppose that some of them

15 were in fact free to leave. There was, just around this time, a situation

16 in front of the building where there was shooting going on, some such

17 activity, and I thought that perhaps it was even safer to be in the

18 building rather than outside of it, but my general impression was that

19 something illegal was going on there. That's why I decided to act upon

20 it.

21 JUDGE ORIE: Did you then verify before you addressed the central

22 organs about this? Because you're creating a picture which is quite

23 confusing. People coming every day to fetch their food, free to leave

24 perhaps or perhaps not, being detained but perhaps not being detained. I

25 take it that you -- you had a feeling in the beginning that there was some

Page 21167

1 -- well, that people were free to move but then you were told that they

2 were not and then -- what did you actually write in, as you said, to the

3 government, that this detention facility should be under the -- under the

4 normal prison system?

5 A. In my opinion, I'm not creating a picture that is confusing. It's

6 rather the circumstances and the situation itself that was quite

7 confusing. And I was confused. I was puzzled. When I went over to the

8 municipality, I asked them about the facility and they provided me with a

9 puzzling answer and I realised that none of the authorities had a clear

10 picture of the situation. Then I told them that such a situation could

11 not be tolerated, that people could not be allowed to do things at their

12 own will, that something had to be done about it, which resulted in my

13 reaction in writing. My conclusion is that the authorities knew about it

14 before, and I did not in fact ask the local authorities to do something

15 about it but I addressed the republican authorities. My opinion was that

16 had the local authorities wanted to do something about it, they would have

17 done it -- they would have done it before.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Did you ask about the existence of similar facilities

19 in the municipality?

20 A. I asked them whether there was any other and the answer was no.

21 Nobody informed me of any other such facilities and I didn't really know

22 of the existence of any. Had I known, I would have reacted in a similar

23 or even harsher way, depending on what I would find.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for those answers. Does this raise

25 any -- I have to apologise for -- I'm looking now at the clock, I see that

Page 21168

1 we are far beyond our time. I apologise, but Mr. Harmon, would you take

2 that into consideration.

3 MR. HARMON: I certainly will, Your Honour, I will be very brief.


5 Further cross-examination by Mr. Harmon:

6 MR. HARMON: If we could look at the monitor, we'll see -- Your

7 Honours will see a photograph which was displayed to the witness yesterday

8 in his -- it is P379. It is a photograph of Planjo's house.

9 Q. And, Mr. Poplasen, if you could turn to tab 31, which needs a

10 number.

11 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 31, Your Honours, will be P1097.


13 Q. Mr. Poplasen, you were appointed as the War Commissioner for

14 Vogosca on the 18th of June. This document is a document from the Serbian

15 municipality of Vogosca, Municipal Secretariat for Town Planning, Property

16 Rights, Relations, Housing Policy and Land Register. It's dated the 8th

17 of July, which is approximately three weeks after you were appointed, and

18 it is a decision based on the war staff, a decision of the 7th of July, of

19 then the Municipal Secretariat for Town Planning made a decision, which I

20 will read into the record: "1. The house of Planjo Almas and Miralem

21 Semizovac is given for use to the Ministry of Justice for the needs of the

22 prison of Serbian Municipality of Vogosca.

23 "This decision is of a temporary character, and will be valid

24 until the end of the war conflict; i.e., until there is a need and until

25 there is no legal action in the sense of acquiring the ownership over

Page 21169

1 aforesaid mentioned real estate."

2 So the explanation: "Based on the request of the Ministry of

3 Justice, the Department of Butmir Prison of Serbian Municipality of

4 Vogosca and a decision of the war staff of the Serbian Municipality of

5 Vogosca issued at the session of the 7th of July 1992, Municipal

6 Secretariat for Town Planning, Property Rights Relations, Housing Policy

7 and Land Register - issued this decision." And it's signed by Secretary

8 Predrag Bejatovic. Now, did you know Mr. Predrag Bejatovic?

9 MR. JOSSE: How does this arise?

10 MR. HARMON: It arises directly out of the question that was asked

11 by Judge Orie if there were other prisons in the municipality of Vogosca

12 and whether this witness was aware of them. So this document is relevant

13 because this witness was a war commissioner for three weeks by the time

14 this decision was issued.

15 JUDGE ORIE: I see that you are withdrawing your objection, so

16 please proceed, Mr. Harmon.


18 Q. My question, Mr. Poplasen, do you know Predrag Bejatovic?

19 A. No. This is the first time I see this document, and I hear of

20 this name.

21 Q. Do you recognise the stamp at the bottom of the document?

22 A. The stamp is probably that of the Serbian municipality of Vogosca.

23 All the municipalities had the same stamps but, of course, different

24 titles and this bearing this coat of arms with four Cs in the middle.

25 Q. This document says, Mr. Poplasen, that there was in fact a prison

Page 21170

1 in Poplasa [phoen] at the house of Planjo and that it existed for

2 approximately three weeks after you were named as a war commissioner. Is

3 it your evidence before this Court that the only prison facility in the

4 municipality of Vogosca that you were aware of was the residence at -- or

5 at Sonja's place and that you were completely unaware of this prison?

6 A. Neither this nor any other -- or rather, neither of the options.

7 I didn't know of the prisons and I'm not familiar with this document

8 either, what I can see here.

9 MR. HARMON: I have no further questions, Your Honour.

10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you -- it's translated at the, under 1,

11 in this document -- no, not under 1. The heading, it says: "Based on the

12 decision of the war staff ..." What's the war staff?

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation], I don't know, I'm not familiar with

14 that. I'm not familiar with the wording, document, its contents.

15 JUDGE ORIE: And --

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Which war staff? I don't

17 understand.

18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So you can't enlighten us in this respect.

19 MR. JOSSE: Can I make it clear, Your Honour: I cut my

20 re-examination short, I would have re-examined on tab 32, would have asked

21 about various other things on this issue. Cut it short. Your Honour

22 asked a lot of questions. I don't take exception to that. I do take some

23 exception to my learned friend's questions thereafter. Basically, it was

24 the second bite of the cherry. That's what it amounted to really.

25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Is there any, then, specific questions you

Page 21171

1 would like to put to the witness?

2 MR. JOSSE: Tab 32.

3 JUDGE ORIE: I'm looking at the interpreters because I'm the one

4 who is mainly responsible.

5 MR. JOSSE: I'm going to be a moment, if I may.

6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It's Friday, of course, we would like to finish

7 the witness today.

8 Further examination by Mr. Josse:

9 Q. Tab 32, Mr. Poplasen, which you were shown at the end of the first

10 batch of cross-examination by my learned friend. Is this the report that

11 you were telling the Court about? The report to the republican

12 authorities?

13 A. This is one of the reports. There must be another one somewhere,

14 one of the minutes that was sent to Koljevic. The request sent to the

15 government had to do with the prison only and is more extensive. In the

16 heading it should say the republican government, Justice Ministry. I

17 believe that what you have just shown me here is my first report that I

18 drafted the day after my visit to the municipality, which I sent to

19 Mr. Koljevic. I sent the request to the government later on. I don't

20 know whether it was a day or two or later the same day. Why this request

21 is nowhere to be seen, I don't know, but it was properly delivered to

22 them.

23 MR. JOSSE: I just wanted to clarify that.

24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And I may take it from your last answer, Mr.

25 Poplasen, where you said you sent it to Mr. Koljevic, at least the report

Page 21172

1 was addressed to the Wartime Presidency. You would agree?

2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I agree with the position. I don't

3 know if I need to give any additional comments. It was sent to

4 Mr. Koljevic. I don't think Mr. Koljevic forwarded it to the government

5 because I subsequently wrote to the government about this prison matter.

6 I wanted the Presidency to have an insight.

7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes. There is no suggestion that Mr. Koljevic

8 would have sent it to the government but, of course, there was a possible

9 implication that it was addressed to the Wartime Presidency, and that's

10 what you just confirmed, that you wanted the Presidency to know about the

11 situation. This was my last question.

12 If there are no further questions, Mr. Poplasen, I'd like to thank

13 you very much for coming to The Hague and to answer to all questions put

14 to you by both parties and by the Bench. And I wish you a safe trip home

15 again.

16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.

17 JUDGE ORIE: Madam Usher, could you escort Mr. Poplasen out of the

18 courtroom.

19 [The witness withdrew]

20 JUDGE ORIE: There is one brief message I'd leave to the parties.

21 A request has been made to start with the next witness on Tuesday rather

22 than on Monday. The parties will be informed about it this afternoon,

23 whether this suggestion will be followed by the Chamber, yes or no,

24 through the usual channels of communication, but the parties should be

25 prepared, at least as it stands now, to start on Monday.

Page 21173

1 We will then -- with, of course, this reservation, we will adjourn

2 until next Monday, quarter past two, same courtroom.

3 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.18 p.m.,

4 to be reconvened on Monday, the 13th day of March,

5 2006, at 2.15 p.m.