1 Monday, 3 July 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.12 a.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you 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.
10 Before we'll start with the examination of the next witness, we'll
11 first turn into private session, or closed session I think is what would
12 be appropriate in the present circumstances.
13 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 26604-26608. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We are in public session, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
22 Mr. Ostojic, just for the public I informed the public that when
23 we were in private session you made a solemn declaration that you would
24 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: VELIBOR OSTOJIC
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 [Witness appeared via videolink]
3 Questioned by the Court:
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, could you please state your full name
5 and date of birth?
6 A. Velibor Ostojic, born on the 8th of August, 1945.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ostojic. Mr. Ostojic, did you receive
8 a copy of the witness statement which was compiled by the Legal Officer of
9 the Chamber and subsequently translated into Serbo-Croatian and sent to
10 your home address on the 19th of June, 2006?
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Have you had an opportunity to read that statement?
13 A. Yes, I have read it. I have read the entire statement in the
14 Serbian language.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Are there any corrections you would like to
16 make to that statement?
17 A. Yes, there are some corrections that are needed in this text.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you please tell us where we find the --
19 A. I'll try, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps you refer to the paragraph first.
21 A. Page 2, item 2. The paragraph entitled "professional career." It
22 says that I worked as a journalist in Radio TV Sarajevo, and it should
23 read that I worked there as a language proofreader.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I -- before we continue, I have the full volume
25 of B/C/S through the English translation. Can perhaps this is the way
1 to -- I hope that it's now adjusted.
2 MR. HARMON: I have the same problem, Your Honour, so it's very
3 difficult --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could you speak a few more words, Mr. Ostojic,
5 perhaps repeat what we just said so that we ...
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Page 2, item 2, paragraph
7 entitled "professional career." In line 1 it says "journalist," whereas
8 it should read "language proofreader."
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Then in the same paragraph, that is
11 to say the same item, in line 3 it should say "minister of information in
12 the coalition government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992."
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further corrections?
14 A. Yes. In the same paragraph, the last line that explains the
15 structure of the top staff in the ministry, at the end instead of "deputy
16 secretary," it should just say "secretary of the ministry."
17 JUDGE ORIE: I have some difficulties to --
18 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I think it's in paragraph 2. It
19 says "vice-secretary was a Croat." The witness, I assume, means the
20 word "vice" should be removed.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Is that correct, Mr. Ostojic, where we read: "The
22 deputy was a Muslim and the vice-secretary was a Croat," that you would
23 like --
24 A. Deputy -- no, no. It should say "that ministry was headed by a
25 Serb, the deputy was a Muslim, and the secretary of the ministry was a
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So "vice-secretary" is now replaced
3 by "secretary of the ministry." Yes, any further --
4 A. Item 3 on the same page, that is to say the next one. Instead of
5 what it says here that the Council of Ministers was an idea just on paper,
6 it should say that the Council of Ministers was a decision of the Assembly
7 of the Serb Deputies that was supposed to be prepared by Mr. Simovic,
8 deputy Prime Minister for state administration in the coalition
10 JUDGE ORIE: That means that the words "an idea on paper prepared"
11 are now replaced with "a decision of the Serb deputies that was supposed
12 to be prepared," and then we continue with "By Mr. Miodrag Simovic, the
13 deputy Prime Minister for state administration in the coalition
14 government," as is already in the text.
15 Any further correction, Mr. Ostojic?
16 A. The next sentence in the same paragraph that reads: "The Council
17 of Ministers did not function as a body," it should read as follows: "The
18 Council of Ministers had not been established and did not function as a
20 JUDGE ORIE: So we insert the words "had not been" ...
21 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could the witness please be
22 advised not to speak at the same time when the Judge is speaking.
23 JUDGE ORIE: The words "had not been established and" are inserted
25 Mr. Ostojic, any other correction?
1 A. Paragraph 5 on the same page. The sentence that starts with the
2 following words: "After the Dayton Agreement and after the first
3 parliamentary elections, I was a deputy in the Chamber of
4 Representatives." What is missing is: "Of the parliamentary Assembly of
6 JUDGE ORIE: So we add after the "House of Representatives of
8 Any further corrections, Mr. Ostojic? May I ask you whether we
9 have a similar amount of corrections during the whole of the document?
10 Because that would take us hours and hours here in court, and we might try
11 to find another solution then for that. Do you have a similar number of
12 corrections on later pages as well, Mr. Ostojic?
13 A. Yes, there are changes on the next pages, too, even more than
14 until now.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Once second, please.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber invites the parties also to see how we
18 could practically resolve this because under normal circumstances you
19 would invite the witness to put them down on paper and have them worked
20 in, but since we are relying on translations provided by The Hague and not
21 by Belgrade, there might be a problem in doing it in any different way.
22 At the same time, to spend here the whole day in court all of us
23 correcting which seems to be not major changes -- Mr. Harmon.
24 MR. HARMON: One suggestion, Your Honour, would be to take a break
25 and have Mr. Ostojic make his corrections with the assistance of a
1 language assistant in Belgrade, fax those to us immediately as to be
2 distributed to us.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It could even done perhaps in his B/C/S version
4 of the statement.
5 MR. HARMON: It could be, and if that could be distributed then we
6 could --
7 JUDGE ORIE: And then that it would be translated here. At the
8 same time, of course, we are not having the guidance of the -- what will
9 be the final statement.
10 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MR. JOSSE: I, broadly speaking, endorse that, but could I urge
13 the Court to tread very cautiously when the Chamber suggests that these
14 may be "not major changes." The first page is unlikely to be major, but
15 we don't know what is to follow thereafter when we get to the substance of
16 his evidence.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course there are two matters. I thought
18 they were not major changes, and let's also not forget that this is a
19 statement based on an interview of which we have little transcript. So
20 therefore, we know what exactly was said during the interview. Let's try
21 to ...
22 Mr. Sabbah, could I address you for a second? Mr. Sabbah, could
23 you have a -- do you have the B/C/S copy of the statement of Mr. Ostojic
25 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: Yes, Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Would it be possible and do you have the
2 facilities to make all the corrections Mr. Ostojic thinks he has to make
3 on paper and then send them by Telefax to The Hague? Do you have
4 facilities to do that?
5 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: Yes, Your Honour. I would just ask
6 the question whether you would like it also to be translated into English
7 or just the B/C/S statement?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Do you -- well, if you would have facilities to have
9 it translated into English, but are the translators sufficiently qualified
10 to do that job? Otherwise, it should be done in The Hague.
11 THE REGISTRAR [In Belgrade]: If you give me one moment, Your
12 Honour, I can certainly find out and report back to you.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll then -- I suggest that we'll have a
14 break, that during this break you find out whether you have the facilities
15 needed to do it. If not, please report this to The Hague and we'll then
16 resume. If you have the facilities, I would expect you to assist
17 Mr. Ostojic in making all the corrections.
18 I also add to that, Mr. Ostojic -- yes, that we do not expect you
19 to redraft the whole of your statement, of course, but to make all
20 corrections which are needed for us to properly understand your statement
21 and you may keep in the back of your mind that the Chamber and the parties
22 have the advantage of having had the possibility to read the transcript of
23 what you literally said during your interview.
24 We'll then adjourn without --
25 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Josse.
2 MR. JOSSE: We're a little concerned about what Your Honour has
3 just said to the witness.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. JOSSE: Could Your Honour make sure the witness understands
6 what Your Honour is saying and is of a like view, because perhaps if he
7 could in his language explain to you what he now feels he needs to do, we
8 might know where we're going.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, could you please -- this is a request by
10 Mr. Josse, Defence counsel, could you tell us whether you understood and
11 how you understood what you're invited to do at this moment.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I intervened in the
13 text. It seemed to me that when the transcript was being written out some
14 of my words were omitted, and therefore certain thoughts had not been
15 completed and may therefore get a completely different meaning. My
16 interventions do not actually amend the text or change the statement. The
17 changes are there only to complete each and every thought so that it would
18 be complete, accurate, and comprehensive.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, at least most important, Mr. Josse, and I
20 think that's well understood by the witness is that this statement
21 reflects exactly what he thinks he said and what, at least, he takes
22 responsibility for at this moment.
23 MR. JOSSE: Particularly the latter, I would suggest.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes. I added that not without reason.
25 [Trial Chamber confers]
1 JUDGE ORIE: Another way of dealing with it would be - and I am
2 just asking the parties whether that would be an acceptable way of - is
3 just go paragraph by paragraph, ask Mr. Ostojic to add or to correct
4 whatever he wants without writing it all down at this moment. And then
5 finally have in evidence the statement as amended in the transcript of
6 this hearing, which doesn't make it --
7 MR. HARMON: That's acceptable to the Prosecution, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
10 MR. JOSSE: We have no observations on that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Then I just receive some additional information which
12 might help us out even further, that is that I do understand that
13 Mr. Ostojic has prepared all these corrections in writing already on the
14 document; therefore, I now suggest to the parties that we'll ask
15 Mr. Ostojic to read out slowly whatever corrections he has made and that
16 he'll then sign the corrected statement, that it will be sent to The Hague
17 by Telefax anyhow, and that a translation will then be further prepared
18 here of the statement as a whole.
19 Mr. Ostojic, since you -- I do understand that you have made these
20 corrections already all in writing, perhaps we could continue if you
21 slowly read them so that we have them in our transcript. Then later the
22 text will be sent to The Hague for final translation.
23 I think you were at the end of the fifth paragraph. Is that the
24 only correction you would like to make in paragraph 5, adding "of
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the witness.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Now we have again a problem. Could you please repeat
3 your answer. So my question was: Was there anything else in paragraph 5
4 apart from adding "of Bosnia-Herzegovina," what you would like to add or
6 A. Yes.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Please slowly read what you would like to --
8 A. Paragraph 5, paragraph 5, the last sentence in it, instead of "by
9 which my political career was ended," I think I said "by which my
10 political activity was ended." And this is what it should read there.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We move on. Anything more in paragraph 5?
12 A. Nothing else.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph 6?
14 A. Paragraph 6, in the last line, "again I was not a member," the
15 word that is missing is "of a single Crisis Staff."
16 JUDGE ORIE: Any further corrections in 6?
17 A. On the following page at the beginning of the paragraph it
18 says: "The legal provision put a ban on simultaneously holding a
19 political and executive position." What is missing is: "The legal
20 provision on the role of MPs."
21 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please always very precisely point at --
22 are we still in paragraph 6 or are we in another paragraph at this moment?
23 A. Paragraph 6, page 3, the first line.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I've found it. One second.
25 A. After the words "a legal provision ..."
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You said: "On the role of MPs" should be --
2 A. What is missing is: "The law -- the legal provision of the law on
3 the election of MPs and deputies."
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further correction in ...
5 A. Yes, Your Honour. In the following line, at the end of the
6 thought where it says that "people were elected as members of the Crisis
7 Staff through their political positions," I believe that it should
8 read: "Members of Crisis Staff through local bodies," instead
9 of "political positions."
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it's corrected in "local bodies," instead
11 of "political positions." Anything else in paragraph 6?
12 A. Paragraph 7.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph 7, yes.
14 A. In paragraph 6 there is nothing else.
15 Paragraph 7, the third line from the bottom of that paragraph,
16 i.e., the seventh line of paragraph 7. Instead of "business" it should
17 state "inner."
18 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please read again the line so that we --
19 because I do not find the word "business" right away. Could you read the
20 whole of the line so that --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please read the whole
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the whole sentence, I apologise.
24 A. The sentence begins at the end of the sixth line of paragraph 7
25 where it says: "It was not in the core office of the Prime Minister but
1 in the expanded office." It should be: "It was not in the inner office
2 of the Prime Minister but in the expanded office of the Prime Minister."
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It now has been -- "core" has been replaced
4 by "inner." Anything else in paragraph 7?
5 A. Paragraph 10.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 A. The second sentence in it. Instead of "the Ministry of
8 Information of Republika Srpska did not deal with foreign media
9 activities," it should read: "The Ministry of Information of
10 Republika Srpska did not deal with foreign media."
11 JUDGE ORIE: The word "activities" to be removed.
12 Yes, anything else?
13 A. Instead of "foreign media activities," it should read "foreign
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the word "activities" is moved out --
16 A. And I would like to add to that.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 A. In paragraph 7 at the end of the thought: "However, it helped the
19 journalists representing foreign media."
20 JUDGE ORIE: You would like to add this to paragraph 7. Is that
21 correct? Or at the end of --
22 A. Paragraph 10.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then perhaps that was a
24 mistranslation. "However, it helped the journalists representing foreign
1 Yes, Mr. Ostojic, anything else in this paragraph?
2 A. No, nothing.
3 Page 4, paragraph 12.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 A. The last thought in that paragraph which reads: "Volunteers and
6 students of foreign languages worked there," and it should
7 read: "Students, volunteers of foreign languages, worked there," instead
8 of "volunteers," as such.
9 JUDGE ORIE: You would say the word "students, who were the
10 volunteers." "Students, volunteers of foreign languages ..."
11 A. Yes.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anything else in paragraph 12?
13 A. No, nothing in paragraph 12. And nothing until paragraph 17 on
14 page 5.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. What would you like to correct in paragraph 17?
16 A. Paragraph 17, there is a substantive error here at the end of that
17 thought. It reads: "I did not attend any meetings with Mr. Krajisnik
18 other than the Assembly sessions where Mr. Krajisnik was present."
19 No, that he chaired because he was the chairman. He was the
20 president of the Assembly.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It now reads: "Other than the Assembly sessions
22 which Mr. Krajisnik chaired."
23 Anything else in paragraph 17?
24 A. Yes, yes. There is nothing. That would be it.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And next correction would then be in what paragraph?
1 A. Paragraph 18.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 A. I believe I said at the beginning of that paragraph: "I'm not
4 sure that the Supreme Defence Council existed in 1992."
5 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then read that --
6 A. At the beginning.
7 JUDGE ORIE: "I'm not sure whether a Supreme Defence Council
8 existed in 1992."
9 A. And that is my only correction there.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So -- but if you say then following: "But I
11 did not attend any session of the Supreme Defence Council nor did I attend
12 any" -- well, if you do not know whether it existed, should we then also
13 read --
14 A. I really am not sure whether it existed or not.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. "I'm not sure whether Defence Council existed
16 in 1992" --
17 A. And I did not attend any of its sessions. Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. To be understood whether there were any or not
19 is another matter.
20 And then the last that you did not attend any session of the
21 Presidency remains as well?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 Next correction, Mr. Ostojic.
25 A. The next correction is in paragraph 20.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 A. "I could have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik ..." "I may have
3 consulted with Mr. Krajisnik in his capacity as president of the Assembly
4 about draft laws." And what is missing here: "Or with his associates."
5 JUDGE ORIE: So it then reads: "I could have consulted with
6 Mr. Krajisnik or his associates"?
7 A. Correct. "Or with his associates."
8 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that this should read: "I
9 may have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik."
10 JUDGE ORIE: "I may have consulted with Mr. Krajisnik or with his
12 A. Paragraph 20, line 3.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 A. In my translation there is a mistake which is more down to the
15 style. "The Presidency of the Assembly had its own information service,"
16 and I believe it should read: "The Presidency of the Assembly had its own
17 information service."
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter notes that the mistake is in the
19 gender that was used.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So that doesn't change anything in the English.
21 Next correction, Mr. Ostojic.
22 A. The next correction is on page 6, paragraph 22.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 A. Line 5. I believe that the translation into my language is not
25 logical; therefore, I would kindly like this to be corrected. Instead
1 of: "The media did not favour any parties that might have supported an
2 ethnic group," it should read: "The media were not equally in favour of
3 the parties."
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It now reads: "The media were not equally in
5 favour of any parties that supported ethnic groups."
6 Please, next one --
7 A. "Which supported national or ethnic groups."
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Anything else on page -- in paragraph 22?
9 A. Nothing.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Next correction. What paragraph, please?
11 A. The next correction is in paragraph 23.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
13 A. Page 6. I believe that something was omitted from the
14 translation, and this is a thought in which I said that: "When it came to
15 the division and separation of channels, this was something that was
16 discussed by all the parties and coalitions, and this was not only the
17 position of the Serbian side." And I would like this sentence to be added
18 to the end of the paragraph.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just try to find it. Yes.
20 A. At the end of paragraph 23. This is not there; it is missing.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, it's not there. Please read slowly what is
22 missing exactly.
23 A. This is something that should be added.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 A. "The division of channels was something that all the parties in
1 the coalition discussed publicly."
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for --
3 A. "And this was not the position of the Serbian side only."
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please? Paragraph number?
5 A. Page 6, there are no more corrections there. However, on page 7
6 in paragraph 24 in the second and third lines there are some illogical
7 parts; therefore, I would suggest that this thought which reads: "Radio
8 Banja Luka, Glas Srpksi and Radio Bijelina became important media at the
9 regional level even before 1992" instead of "during 1992." In other
10 words, "Radio Banja Luka, Glas Srpski and Radio Bijeljina became important
11 media at the regional level before 1992." This is what the sentence
12 should read.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's been corrected. Next one, please.
14 A. Paragraph 25, I believe that I explained at the time that not only
15 journalists, refugees worked in the local media, but also the journalists
16 who were otherwise employed there. What is missing here is that "the
17 local media were under the control of their founders, which was the local
18 community." I would like this to be added. And it says here: "The
19 programme or editorial policy was decided by journalists who were refugees
20 and who had left the RTVSA, or who had previously worked in the local
21 media." This is what I would like to see added to that sentence.
22 JUDGE ORIE: It is added.
23 A. "And whose founders were local communities." This would be all.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next one, please.
25 A. Paragraph 27.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 A. Line 1 and line 2, there are mistakes in the names of the
3 transmitters. That is why I would like to make a distinction. In the
4 first line it should read: "As to the alleged take-over of the
5 transmitters on Mount Kozara, Mount Pljesevica, Ciganiste, Majevica, and
6 Trovrh." This is wrong. It should read: "As to the alleged take-over of
7 the transmitters on Mount Kozara and Ciganiste," and that is it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: So we leave out Pljesevica, Majevica?
9 A. Pljesevica, Majevica, and Trovrh.
10 JUDGE ORIE: All three are taken out.
11 A. My explanation should be added: "Pljesevica is the territory of
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, we'll come back later to that, what you would
14 know about the three transmitters that have been taken out now.
15 Please, your next correction would be in paragraph ...
16 A. My next correction is in paragraph 29 on page 8.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 A. I remember that there was a question during the interview about
19 re-routing of the transmitters and -- or redirection of the transmitters,
20 and I said that this was a reaction of the individuals on the ground who
21 were not satisfied with the way RTVSA reported, because it was not
22 objected. And I would like to add this thought at the end of that
23 paragraph. "This was a reaction of some individuals on the ground."
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
25 A. "Who were not satisfied with the reporting of the RTVSA."
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Your next correction would be in paragraph?
2 A. The next correction, paragraph 34, page 9.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 A. When we spoke about Radio Petrovac, the case of Radio Petrovac
5 that is, I believe that I said in addition to the thought at the end of
6 the paragraph: "Moreover, Radio Petrovac had an insignificant
7 broadcasting range," but I also added that this was a minor case that I
8 was not familiar with.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So we add there: "But this was" --
10 A. "This was a minor case that I was not familiar with."
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please.
12 A. Paragraph 35, page 9. In answering the question whether the media
13 and the editorial policy of Republika Srpska had any information or
14 propaganda plan, I referred to the archive of the media Republika Srpska
15 that is in place and that was at the end of the final thought in that
16 paragraph. But this is lacking here. It is not there. That is why I
17 suggest: "There was no editorial policy in the media of Republika Srpska
18 that might have inspired or influenced some individual crimes, and there
19 was also an information or propaganda plan which can be ascertained by the
20 inspection of the main media of Republika Srpska."
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please, next correction.
22 A. Paragraph 36.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 A. Second line from the end of that paragraph, i.e., the penultimate
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 A. Instead of: "This alleged statement is a projected statement," I
3 referred to the well-known thesis from psychology which reads -- it should
4 read: "This alleged statement is a projected thought."
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. "Statement" being replaced by "thought."
6 A. Instead of: "A projected statement," nothing.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And the next correction would be?
8 A. Page 10, paragraph 38. I believe that during the interview I
9 mentioned a public session of the coalition government, the session that
10 took place in 1991 at which the decentralisation of the local government
11 in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been discussed.
12 Your Honours, I would like this to be added to the end of the
13 paragraph: "The decentralisation was publicly discussed by the coalition
14 government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991." This is what I would like to
15 add to the -- to this paragraph.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It has been added. Next correction or
17 addition, please.
18 A. Thank you, Your Honour. Paragraph 39.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
20 A. A substantive mistake. Here in the penultimate line it says in my
21 copy: "According to page 2," and I believe that it should
22 read: "According to item 2."
23 JUDGE ORIE: "Page" is replaced by "item." Next correction,
25 A. Yes. Thank you. Paragraph 40.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 A. With regard to the meeting, during the interview I expressed my
3 doubt that any such meeting had ever been held. And I don't see it in my
4 translation. Therefore, I would like this to be added to the paragraph in
5 the following form: "I doubt that any such meeting ever took place."
6 JUDGE ORIE: And that would be after the sentence where you
7 said: "I absolutely deny the allegation that I chaired such a meeting
8 with Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic." And then you would like to have
9 added there: "I doubt that any such meeting every took place."
10 Yes, please, next one.
11 A. Correct. Thank you, Your Honour.
12 Next correction is in paragraph 41.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 A. In the second sentence, a part of my thought is missing. It says
15 here: "It was not within the purview of the Ministry of Information of
16 Republika Srpska to follow the events at the local level and the
17 activities of the military structures." "It was not within the purview of
18 the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska to follow the developments
19 at the local level and the activities of the military structures -- local
20 military structures."
21 JUDGE ORIE: So we add: "The activity of the local military
23 Yes. Next correction, please.
24 A. Within the same paragraph in line 8 there are mistakes in the
25 translation, therefore I would like this sentence to be corrected to read
1 better. "I do also remember that General Mladic and I both attended a
2 meeting in the beginning of May 1992 which was a rather general meeting."
3 And the explanation in the next sentence is that: "This meeting took
4 place after the Assembly session on 12 May 1992." What is missing here
5 is: "In Banja Luka."
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You changed, apart from adding the place, in
7 English it did read: "This meeting could have taken place after the
8 Assembly session." And the end of the sentence is: "But I may be
9 misremembering." Would you -- I now do understand you said "the meeting
10 took place," instead of "could have taken place."
11 A. Perhaps I haven't got it here in the translation.
12 JUDGE ORIE: And at the end it says: "But I may be
13 misremembering." Is your statement now that the meeting took place or
14 that the meeting may have taken place or could have taken place?
15 A. I still claim that it is possible that it may have been held --
16 oh, I found it. I found it. "Possibly I do not remember all details
17 correctly," as I stated. And what I stated is that "in actual fact that
18 meeting was held by other officials of Republika Srpska," which is not
19 contained in this text. And that is why I said that this was a general
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So what you now add as a matter of fact is that
22 it was -- that the meeting could have taken place after the Assembly
23 session on the 12th of May, 1992, in Banja Luka, and that you may not
24 remember all details. Is that a correct understanding?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Then your next correction, please.
2 A. Page 12.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Paragraph number?
4 A. Paragraph 44, the first sentence. It reads as follows: "I do not
5 recall whether the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska issued
6 accreditations to journalists who visited camps and detainees." But the
7 rest of the thought is missing. "However, it did issue permits to all
8 journalists who came to Republika Srpska."
9 JUDGE ORIE: "However, it did issue permits to all journalists" --
10 A. "All journalists who came to Republika Srpska."
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 A. "And it took care of them." And in relation to that, I
13 unequivocally stated the following fact. That: "In the territory of
14 Republika Srpska at that time, not a single journalist was a casualty."
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Next correction, please.
16 A. The last correction is on page 13, paragraph 48.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, paragraph 48 deals with your personal
18 health situation. If there's anything you would rather tell us in private
19 session, for reasons of privacy, please tell us. But what would you like
20 to change? But please address me if you'd like to do it in private
22 A. There is no need, Your Honour. I can say it right here that what
23 is missing is that I am a heart patient and that I have stomach ailments,
24 which is not a secret. And the latest findings have supported this, and I
25 confirmed that to you, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, we have added your heart condition and
2 stomach ailments and the latest filings supporting this.
3 Mr. Ostojic, have you made all your corrections?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: May I then -- do you want to add or are these
6 corrections -- anything you would like to add, is that already included?
7 A. Well, Your Honours, I made the corrections by remembering what I
8 said in the interview. It's not that I'm changing the text, so I really
9 don't have anything else to add.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then could I invite you to sign your statement,
11 unless you have done so already, and perhaps to initial each page of it.
12 A. Your Honour, I have already signed the statement and initialled
13 all the pages.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Would you then please give it to the local -- yes,
15 the local representative of the Registry.
16 Mr. Registrar - and now I'm addressing Mr. Registrar in
17 The Hague - the statement would need an exhibit number and that would be?
18 THE REGISTRAR: C6, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: C6. Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
20 I suggest that before the break - we had a late start - I would
21 read the summary of the witness statement -- no, I'd rather do that after
22 the break so that we can see whether any of the changes would need our
23 summary to be -- to be adapted in any way. Yes.
24 Is there any objection against admission into evidence of the
25 corrected statement under Rule 89(F)?
1 MR. HARMON: No objection, Your Honour.
2 MR. JOSSE: No, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Then the statement of Mr. Ostojic is admitted into
4 evidence and we'll, only after the break, see whether the summary needs to
5 be corrected as well.
6 Mr. Ostojic, you'll receive a copy of this statement and the
7 parties will also receive a copy of the statement, and a copy of the
8 statement will be -- of the final statement as amended by you will be
9 given by the Chamber. We'll have a break now until a quarter past 11.00.
10 We'll then start putting -- first of all, we'll start reading the --
11 reading the summary so that the public knows also what your statement is.
12 If it would take more time to check whether any further corrections are
13 needed, the Chamber might decide to postpone the reading out of the
14 summary under Rule 89(F).
15 We'll resume in half an hour from now.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.44 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 11.27 a.m.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, I see that the videolink with Belgrade
19 is functioning.
20 Before we put any additional questions to you, Mr. Ostojic, I'll
21 first read a summary of your statement that's to inform the public what we
22 are talking about.
23 You were minister of information in the coalition government of
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina until the 12th of May, 1992, when you became
25 minister of information of Republika Srpska. You remained in this
1 position in the government of Republika Srpska until the end of 1992. As
2 to the Bosnian Serb Council of Ministers that allegedly existed in the
3 beginning of 1992, you stated that it was not established and did not
4 function as a body.
5 You described the tasks of the Ministry of Information of
6 Republika Srpska as exclusively related to the legal, technical,
7 technological, and financial side of information. You stated that the
8 ministry had no influence on the editorial policy of the media. You
9 stated that the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska could not
10 receive international or foreign media reports or broadcasts or press
11 clippings of international press organisations, because it did not have
12 the technical resources for that. You stated that the Ministry of
13 Information issued accreditations to foreign journalists. Later on, Radio
14 Television Sarajevo, RTVSA, and Srpska Radio Television, SRT, were
15 responsible for issuing the accreditations.
16 As minister of information of Republika Srpska, you reported to
17 the government and through the government to the Assembly in relation to
18 regulations concerning media and information. You stated that the
19 relationship between you and Mr. Krajisnik was very official and that you
20 did not attend any meetings with Mr. Krajisnik other than Assembly
21 sessions which were chaired by him.
22 You stated that the Presidency of the Assembly had its own
23 information service and that it maintained contact with the media through
24 this information service, not through the Ministry of Information, because
25 it was not within the purview of the Ministry of Information to provide an
1 information service to other governmental organs. You stated that the
2 Main Staff also had its own information service that worked independently.
3 You stated that the SDS did not control any media in Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina in 1991. You further stated that, after the failed attempt to
5 amend the law on information in mid-1991, Radio Television Sarajevo came
6 under Muslim control through informal means and secret dealings.
7 You explained that Srpska Radio Television was established in May
8 1992. The Serbian News Agency was also set up in May 1992. You did not
9 prepare any programming guidelines for these newly established Serbian
10 media. You stated that the editorial policy was decided by journalists
11 themselves who had left Radio Television Sarajevo. Moreover, you stated
12 that there was no editorial policy in the media of Republika Srpska that
13 might have inspired or influenced crimes, that such policy did not exist
14 and that there was no such information or propaganda plan either.
15 You denied the allegation that you said in a radio broadcast in
16 Foca on the 9th of April, 1992, I quote: "Shoot at everything that moves.
17 Slaughter everything that comes into your hands." You stated that this
18 was not your rhetoric and not your style.
19 As to the alleged take-over of the transmitters between August
20 1991 and March 1992 by Serb paramilitary forces, you stated that this was
21 done by individual groups who were dissatisfied with the editorial policy
22 of Radio Television Sarajevo. You did not remember an attack launched
23 against the Radio Television Sarajevo building in the weeks after
24 Mr. Kalinic had threatened in the session of the Assembly on the 12th of
25 May, 1992 to "destroy with rockets" the Radio Television Sarajevo
1 buildings and the antennae.
2 You also disagreed with the allegations put to you that the SDS
3 party in the end of 1991 and throughout 1992 increasingly came to control
4 the media outlets in the territory of Republika Srpska. You also
5 disagreed with the allegation that the purpose of this was to block,
6 suppress, and marginalise information and opinion that dissented from the
7 SDS policy. This evidence is incorrect, in your view, because throughout
8 1991 none of the media had new editors, but rather the same editors who
9 had been appointed during communist rule. Only the newspaper Javnost,
10 which was set up in 1991, published political views of the SDS.
11 You considered the claim that the newspaper Glas and Radio
12 Banja Luka were, and I quote, "put under the direct authority of Republika
13 Srpska" to be too strong in its wording because there was no Banja Luka
14 television in 1991. Banja Luka was just a technical centre of the
15 Sarajevo studio of Radio Television Sarajevo.
16 You were told that the Court received evidence that the ministry
17 provided direct assistance to adapt local newspapers "for operation under
18 wartime conditions." You explained that the phrase: "Adaptation of media
19 to wartime conditions" means that the media can technically provide
20 information at the local level. It also means, in your view, that only
21 correct information will be broadcast, because misinformation in times of
22 war may create panic. You stated that the Ministry of Information of
23 Republika Srpska could not monitor the media outlets in order to avoid
24 misinformation, because it was understaffed. You moreover stated that the
25 Ministry of Information was not entitled to monitor the media outlets.
1 There was no central body that monitored media outlets, in your opinion.
2 You stated that you did not know about a plan of the Bosnian Serb
3 leadership dating from late 1991 to take over power in the municipalities
4 at the time, but that you later learned about such a plan through the
5 media after the Dayton Agreement. You stated that you did not know
6 anything about the origin or distribution of a document of 19 December
7 1991 entitled: "Instructions for the Organisation and Activity of the
8 Organs of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Extraordinary
10 You did not recall an alleged attack on the village Glogova on the
11 9th of May, 1992. You stated that you were not present at an alleged
12 meeting in Pale of SDS Crisis Staffs and municipality presidents around
13 the 10th of May, 1992, and you denied the allegation that you chaired such
14 a meeting with Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic and even expressed doubt
15 that such a meeting even took place. You remembered that you and General
16 Mladic attended a meeting in the beginning of May 1992.
17 You stated that you never paid any visits to municipalities with
18 General Mladic. You could not recall whether the government formed teams
19 of ministers for on-site investigations in the municipalities on 24th May
20 1992, and you could not recall that you were sent on such a mission.
21 You stated that you never visited detention camps. You explained
22 that the Ministry of Information held a record of all accreditations
23 issued to journalists who wanted to visit detention camps. You stated
24 that, on the 26th of July, 1992, you, your driver, and a journalist were
25 ambushed and attacked by the paramilitary group Yellow Wasps and their
1 leader nicknamed Zuco, at a place called Grbavci on the Bijeljina-Pale
2 road. You filed a report with the Ministry of Police. You believe that
3 the police took immediate action to eliminate the paramilitary group after
5 And this concludes my summary of your statement.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I would have a few questions for you.
8 May I first of all draw your attention to paragraph 7 of your witness
9 statement. You stated that the Ministry of Information of
10 Republika Srpska had a sector of domestic information, finance sector, a
11 legal service, a technical service, and a press centre.
12 Could you tell us how many persons were employed in the Ministry
13 of Information of Republika Srpska in 1992.
14 A. What I stated here was based on the law on the ministries in the
15 government which provides for the duties of the Ministry of Information.
16 And the Ministry of Information had certain planned activities and
17 services. However, some of those services, which can be seen from the
18 archive of the work of the ministry, had either one person or --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I'm going to stop you. I'd like you to
20 carefully listen to my question and start first of all to answer my
21 question. My question simply was: How many people were employed in the
22 Ministry of Information of the Republika Srpska in 1992?
23 A. I believe that at the beginning there were about 12 members of
24 staff and that by the end of 1992, by the end of my term of office in the
25 ministry, there could have been no more than 15 members of staff.
1 JUDGE ORIE: And could I ask you whether they were equally divided
2 over the different sections you described or whether the division was not
3 equal. First, perhaps, domestic information.
4 A. In the sector of domestic information, as far as I can remember
5 after such a long time, I had an assistant and two associates whose task
6 was to provide for the needs of domestic media in respect of the work of
7 the Ministry of Information. In the other sectors, the situation
8 differed. The most numerous staff was in the press centre which employed
9 students, volunteers, who were in charge of organising press conferences
10 and of being a contact service for all the journalists and media who
11 visited the Republika Srpska and the Ministry of Information.
12 In the legal service, literally, there was only one person
13 employed and he had a legal background. And the situation was the same in
14 the technical service, where we had, as far as I can remember, a
15 university drop-out and an engineer in electrotechnics.
16 In the finance sector I had only a treasurer. In other words, I
17 did not have either staff or professional capabilities to develop the
18 services as they should have been developed, but they were there in a
19 rudimentary form.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, when you said 1992 approximately 12
21 people employed and by the end of that year not more than 15, did you
22 include volunteers, as you just said, student volunteers, did you include
23 them in those numbers?
24 A. Yes, yes. They -- they received certain compensation for the work
25 that they did and I have included them as well.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I'd like to move to another subject.
2 May I take you to paragraph 3 of your statement. In your
3 statement, as you amended it this morning, you said that the Council of
4 Ministers was a decision of the Serb deputies that was supposed to be
5 prepared by Mr. Miodrag Simovic, the deputy Prime Minister for statement
6 administration in the coalition government. And you said: "The Council
7 of Ministers had not been established and did not function as a body."
8 I'd like to take you to the minutes of the second meeting of the
9 Ministerial Council of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
10 this is found under the first tab.
11 Could the document which is P65, tab 82.1, in the bundle be shown
12 to the witness. That is the second meeting of the Ministerial Council of
13 the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on the 17th of January,
15 Have you got that in front of you, Mr. Ostojic?
16 A. Yes, in the English version.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. There should be a B/C/S version as well for
19 A. I've got it now.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Ostojic, according to these minutes you
21 were appointed president of the Commission of Public Services. Moreover,
22 according to the same minutes, you informed the Ministerial Council of the
23 activities and the tasks in the field of information and dissemination,
24 according to this document, and Mr. Krajisnik proposed a debate on the
25 relation between the Ministerial Council and the Assemblies. You said that
1 the Council of Ministers had not been established and did not function as
2 a body. The minutes suggest a different situation.
3 Could you please comment on your statement that the Council of
4 Ministers was not established and did not function as a body, despite
5 these minutes?
6 A. First of all, I am totally unaware that there were some activities
7 involving the Ministerial Council -- actually, I'd forgotten about that.
8 In other words, I did not remember any activities involving the
9 Ministerial Council.
10 Second of all, in my view, these minutes reflect an administrative
11 activity with regard to the preparations for the establishment of the
12 Ministerial Council of the Assembly of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
13 And third of all, I did not do anything at all with regard to that
14 position nor can I remember ever having been involved in any activities
15 that would have to do with this position.
16 JUDGE ORIE: You said that in your view "these minutes reflect an
17 administrative activity with regard to the preparations for the
18 establishment of the Ministerial Council of the Assembly of the Republic
19 of Bosnia and Herzegovina." This sounds as if the meeting was focussing
20 on the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina administrative matters. If --
21 A. Let me repeat.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Before you repeat anything, unless it would have been
23 mistranslated, I see reference made very often to institutions of the
24 Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not just of institutions
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Could you please comment on that?
1 A. Your Honour, this Ministerial Council should have taken off the
2 ground in order to articulate the political and ethnic rights of the
3 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, it did not touch
4 upon the authorities of the institutions of the Republic of Bosnia and
5 Herzegovina. That is why I believe -- actually, these minutes reminded me
6 of something that I have completely forgotten. I believe that these
7 minutes reflect an administrative activity by the people who were tasked
8 by the Serbian Assembly of the Republic of -- Serbian Republic of Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you tell us what role Mr. Krajisnik
11 played in this meeting.
12 A. In light of the fact that I have completely forgotten this
13 activity, I can say even less about the activities of these people who are
14 mentioned here. And save for a statement that the most responsible people
15 from the Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina attended
16 this meeting, bearing in mind that what I am saying here should be the
17 truth, I cannot say anything more about this. I just can't remember. I
18 believe that -- that all those who were present were present in order to
19 observe the work in this administrative sphere of a body that should have
20 been established.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, your statement that the Ministerial
22 Council did not function -- was not established and did not function as a
23 body, is that still your evidence at this moment?
24 A. I must be honest and say that the minutes challenge that; however,
25 my recollection of the period have made me state that this council did not
2 JUDGE ORIE: Now --
3 A. In my view, it was just an activity that was being conducted and
4 that developed.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us -- but perhaps I first explain
6 perhaps to you a sound that might be very unfamiliar to me -- to you, very
7 familiar to me. In the Netherlands at 12.00 on the first Monday of the
8 month, they usually test the sirens for urgency situations. So if you
9 heard a lot of sirens in the background, that is just a testing exercise
10 and nothing else at this moment. You might wonder what comes to your ears
11 at this moment.
12 Mr. Ostojic, if you say: Well, my recollection was a bit
13 different from what you read here in these minutes, in your recollection
14 then what body, if not the Ministerial Council, performed governmental or
15 executive tasks and functioned as a de facto government of the Serbian
16 people in the beginning of 1992?
17 A. Your Honours, irrespective of the fact that there is a document
18 describing an activity, I still claim that during this period of time,
19 which is the beginning of 1992, in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 there was not in the sphere of the Serbian representatives a single body
21 that might have had any power, any executive power. All the
22 representatives of the Serbian people in the coalition government worked
23 exclusively in the organs of the executive power within that coalition
24 government. I can claim this because I myself was a participant in the
25 coalition government of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1 JUDGE ORIE: I move to another subject at this moment,
2 Mr. Ostojic.
3 You stated in paragraph 39 of -- yes, but before I move to another
4 subject, Judge Hanoteau has a question for you.
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 JUDGE ORIE: We have to stop because no English interpretation is
8 received in Sarajevo. Another way of -- I beg your pardon.
9 MR. JOSSE: Or here.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Or here. I don't know how much time it would take
11 to --
12 [Trial Chamber confers]
13 JUDGE ORIE: In order not to lose more time, Judge Hanoteau will
14 put the question in English so that we can continue, and during the next
15 break have an opportunity to --
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: At least I will try to do it in English.
17 In paragraph 5, at the end of the document, quite at the end, we
18 can read: "A statement about this meeting of the Ministerial Council will
19 be made by Velibor Ostojic."
20 Do you remember to have established such a statement? Do you
21 remember you have accepted to make such a statement and have you made it?
22 I can read: "A statement about this meeting of the Ministerial Council
23 will be made by Velibor Ostojic."
24 Can you read this, Mr. Ostojic? It's --
25 A. I cannot find it. I cannot find it.
1 JUDGE ORIE: On page 6 of the B/C/S version, the last lines above
2 the names -- it reads: "5. A statement about this meeting of the
3 Ministerial Council will be made by Velibor Ostojic."
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: Do you remember having accepted --
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I've found it.
6 JUDGE HANOTEAU: -- that mission, and do you remember you have
7 written such a statement?
8 A. No, I do not remember having written such a statement. Quite
9 simply, I cannot remember.
10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE ORIE: I'll then, Mr. Ostojic, move to our next subject.
12 In paragraph 39 of your statement you stated that you do not know
13 anything about the origin or the distribution of the document
14 entitled: "Instructions for the Organisation and Activity of the Organs
15 of the Serbian People in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Extraordinary
16 Circumstances" dated the 19th of December, 1991. Would you please have a
17 look at this document again. You find it as the next one in the bundle
18 which is in front of you.
19 And for the parties, it's P43.
20 A. I have had a look.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Since you were shown this document by a Legal
22 Officer in Belgrade during the interview, have you been able to recall
23 anything more about this document?
24 A. I've looked at this document. Today, like then, I do not recall
25 anything in relation to this document because at that time I was not an
1 official of the Serb Democratic Party, which I stated in paragraph 6 on
2 page 2 of my statement.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
4 A. Because in July 1991 there were party elections within the Serb
5 Democratic Party, and I was not a candidate in that election because that
6 was prohibited by the law on the election of deputies, members of
7 parliament, and state officials in government. That is the reason,
8 therefore, why I did not --
9 THE INTERPRETER: There was a break in the soundtrack,
10 interpreter's note.
11 A. I was very busy with my work in the Ministry of Information of
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, may I ask you to look at the next document in
14 the bundle, which is a newspaper article from the 12th of March, 1992,
15 Slobodna Bosna, which is entitled: "Serbs, Get Ready for War."
16 You found that, the title?
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I will quote some of this article. It starts
19 with the following sentence: "Slobodna Bosna is the only one to publish
20 the 'instructions on the organisation and activities of organs serving the
21 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in extraordinary circumstances'
22 which," but still a quote from Slobodna Bosna, "which the SDS forwarded to
23 the Serbian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina through its municipal
24 councils." That is P405 in this bundle.
25 Isn't it correct, Mr. Ostojic, that the newspaper article is
1 referring to the 19th of December instructions; namely, the document you
2 were shown before?
3 A. In my assessment, on the basis of many years of work in the sphere
4 of information, I believe that Slobodna Bosna is alluding first and
5 foremost to the Assembly of the Serb People in Bosnia and Herzegovina and
6 the Council of Ministers that was -- well, it's supposed to be made
7 complete and start functioning.
8 I could not read the text now. I just glanced at it. I've just
9 seen what is written in italics and I've seen the headlines. So speaking
10 in an ad hoc manner as I look at the text, I see that this is what is
11 being alluded to. Maybe I'm not right. However, likewise what is alluded
12 to in the text and what is suggested by the text is an introduction of a
13 state of emergency in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and only one party is being
14 blamed for that.
15 JUDGE ORIE: But isn't it true that -- let me move to my next
16 question. What could you tell us about the Slobodna Bosna newspaper, and
17 what coverage did the newspaper have in 1992?
18 A. Well, Slobodna Bosna, like another newspaper that appeared at the
19 time in the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina and that was called Vox, were
20 extremist newspapers from the tabloid sphere. What they preferred in this
21 context was that everything they published did not have to be correct
22 necessarily, but it was necessary in order to sell more copies.
23 Therefore, they carried articles of a sensationalist nature, caused
24 turbulence in the public scene, and all of this with a view to selling
25 more copies and have a larger circulation.
1 Slobodna Bosna, from a newspaper that started out as a tabloid
2 with a circulation of a couple of hundred copies, came to a circulation of
3 tens of thousands of copies. The same happened with the Vox newspaper.
4 At the time, when I was minister of information in the government of
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, this newspaper in the ministry itself and in serious
6 journalistic circles was treated as a sensationalist newspaper of
7 extremist journalism and a newspaper that aspired to shape a public
8 opinion that would lead to disagreement, suspicions, conflicts, and of
9 course it was a newspaper that aspired to shape public opinion based on
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Could you tell us approximately in March 1992
12 what would have been the -- at that moment the number of copies that was
13 distributed of each of these newspapers? You said it started with a
14 couple of hundred, and then -- at this time in 1992, March 1992, could you
15 tell us what approximately the number of copies was?
16 A. If you permit me, I will try to draw out of my subconsciousness
17 some recollections. The letterhead of Slobodna Bosna said about 20.000
19 [French on English channel].
20 Circulation then Vox. In that month --
21 JUDGE ORIE: We have again a technical problem. I receive both
22 English and French at this moment on channel 4. Let's continue and see
23 whether we get exclusively English again.
24 Yes, I apologise for interrupting you, Mr. Ostojic. You said
25 20.000 copies. Could you tell us anything about the --
1 A. Yes.
2 JUDGE ORIE: -- distribution geographically.
3 A. Of course. Well, the newspaper Slobodna Bosna was primarily
4 focussed on the city of Sarajevo and other centres in Central Bosnia,
5 Zenica, Tuzla, Mostar, and that's where most of its readers were.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Not in Northern Bosnia?
7 A. Well, certainly some copies arrived there as well. I really
8 cannot rule out any areas in terms of this newspaper not having been
9 distributed there. It was sold through the Oslobodjenje retail network,
10 so it could be found at all the newsstands, where you could also find
11 Oslobodjenje, the then-leading newspaper of the republic.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, do you remember this newspaper article
13 that you saw it at the time or heard about it at the time it was
15 A. I do not dare say anything, that I remember this properly. But
16 what I do remember is that as minister of information I got this paper
17 every week and I wish to state quite openly that in view of the regard I
18 held it in and as a person who was well-versed in the sphere of
19 information, I knew that this was a newspaper that should simply not be
20 believed at all and no time should be wasted on reading that paper. It is
21 quite possible that for weeks on end I did not open that newspaper. Quite
22 simply, I had better things to do and more serious things to do that came
23 from the sectors from the home public and the foreign public, what serious
24 newspapers worldwide wrote about. So I gave more thought to that rather
25 than a paper that, according to my criteria, was a sensationalist
1 newspaper and one that I did not pay any attention to.
2 The reason why I cannot unequivocally remember the headline is the
3 fact that I had a completely negative view, not only of this newspaper but
4 of all the newspapers that appeared then as tabloids, and one knows full
5 well how they increase their circulation, through the method of
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, in your statement you said that you
8 learned about this, such a plan after the Dayton Agreement. Could you
9 tell us what exactly you did learn about such a plan after the Dayton
11 A. Well, I learned of that paper -- or rather, I had occasion to hear
12 at the time about that document which was simply made public. That is
13 what I meant when I said that I heard about this paper after the Dayton
14 Agreement. Because at that time, in view of the activities of the
15 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, this document
16 was already being mentioned as something that had appeared during the war.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know whether any of the foreign media you just
18 referred to ever published this document or about this document? Did you
19 come across any such information when you read the other media?
20 A. As far as I can remember, I did not find that in the foreign
21 media -- or rather, in clippings, press clippings of foreign media.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Who selected and who prepared these press clippings?
23 A. The sector for the foreign public in the Ministry of Information.
24 There was an assistant minister for foreign media who had a discretionary
25 right to produce press clippings as to what the foreign press wrote every
1 day about Bosnia-Herzegovina. I, as minister, would receive a final
2 version of the text, both from the assistant minister for foreign media
3 and from the assistant minister for the home media.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you said that you never came across this
5 document in the foreign media, would that be true for when it supposedly
6 was drafted or -- that is, in December 1991? Was it then that you didn't
7 come across it, or would that be true also for the time when
8 Slobodna Bosna published it in March 1992?
9 A. Well, independently of what Slobodna Bosna wrote, I'm referring to
10 the time when I was minister of information, and that is the end of 1991.
11 I cannot recall that in a press clipping I read this and that the
12 assistant minister for the foreign media submitted such writings to me.
13 JUDGE ORIE: And at a later stage, in 1992, when you were not a
14 minister of the federal government anymore?
15 A. Then it was particularly the case, in view of what happened in the
16 aftermath. I did not remember having encountered any writings that had to
17 do with this document.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you're telling --
19 A. Because in the beginning -- I beg your pardon.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I -- you now refer to the time when you were
21 minister of information in the coalition government, but what about the
22 time when you were a minister of information in the government of
23 Republika Srpska, that is -- well, let's say, from the 12th of May, as you
24 told us, until the 20th of December, 1992, did you ever come across in any
25 foreign media any publication about this document?
1 A. No. I cannot recall. If I cannot remember something and if I
2 cannot establish something, since I am under oath, I quite simply dare not
3 make any statements that would not be in line with the oath taken.
4 So at the time when I was minister in the government of
5 Republika Srpska, minister of information, this document was not something
6 that I was informed about and it most certainly was not the result of any
7 activity through the Ministry of Information.
8 JUDGE ORIE: And when you were a minister in the Republika Srpska
9 government, was the -- was the system, as you just described, in the other
10 government, that you would be -- that you would receive clippings of
11 foreign media, was that the same or was it different or ...
12 A. There were some differences. Since the Ministry of Information of
13 Republika Srpska had just been established, it did not have financial,
14 technical, or staffing possibilities to develop its activity, as I could
15 have developed activities in the Ministry of Information of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina because there was no comparison between the conditions,
17 technical, financial, and other, between these two cases of course to the
18 detriment of Republika Srpska.
19 So, for example, the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska
20 did not even try to produce daily press clippings, as was the case during
21 my time at the Ministry of Information of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the
22 conditions I had there could not be compared to the other conditions.
23 Press clippings were distributed every day to all officials of
24 Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Presidency, members of the Assembly, members of
1 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us absent anything about the frequency
2 of, if any, press clippings being distributed when you were in the
3 Republika Srpska government and whether that remained the same in the
4 whole of 1992 when you were a minister or whether there were any changes
5 in it.
6 A. While I was the minister of information of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
7 these clippings were a daily occurrence --
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 A. For the previous day. The following morning, all the relevant
10 officials and factors in Bosnia-Herzegovina received such reports, and
11 this was something that was done continuously. It was not of a very high
12 quality because sometimes it was done in a haste in order to meet the
13 deadlines. And the technical service with the government had to make the
14 sufficient number of copies for every member of the government and the
15 Assembly. But this functioned on a regular basis --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Ostojic, my question was focussing on the
17 time when you were a minister of information in the Republika Srpska
18 government. Could you give us information about that period of time.
19 A. I apology. I'm --
20 JUDGE ORIE: You told us already that it was different.
21 A. I apologise, Your Honour, I just made an error. It was a slip of
22 the tongue.
23 Press clippings in the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska
24 were an occasional activity. It happened every now and then. This was
25 not a regular activity because there were no conditions in place to do
1 that. At the beginning of our work, we were duty-bound by the regulation
2 governing the work of the Ministry of Information. We had to pass all the
3 laws for the Assembly within the deadlines, and this was the primary and
4 basic activity during the first half of 1992 in the Ministry of
5 Information of Republika Srpska.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could you tell us anything -- you said it was
7 occasional. How many times, well, let's say, a month you would receive
9 A. Well, I'm trying to remember in a responsible way. This could
10 have been once in a month we would do a review of the writings in the
11 newspapers, primarily of the domestic press.
12 JUDGE ORIE: You said "primarily of the domestic press." My
13 questions were focussing on the international media. What role did the
14 international media play?
15 A. Let me put it simply. We did not have the technical capabilities,
16 and we did not receive foreign press to read, to peruse, to look at the
17 way those journalists who had visited us and used our services ended up
18 writing about us. At one point I said that we tried to create all the
19 security conditions for the representatives of the foreign media to work
20 in Republika Srpska, and I believe that we were successful in that because
21 we made to provide safety for all the journalists, and every one of them
22 was satisfied with our services.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to move to another subject,
24 Mr. Ostojic. In the 3rd Assembly Session, which was on the 11th of
25 December, 1991, you made the following comment when asked about whether
1 you proposed the establishment of Serb Assemblies in the municipalities.
2 And I'm referring the parties to P65, tab 62. You find the
3 document in the bundle.
4 Mr. Ostojic, it's the next document in the bundle. Could you
5 please look at page 24 of the version in your own language, and it's
6 page 16 in the English.
7 You said: "In places where we can have no political influence on
8 the life and work of the municipalities, in places where our
9 representatives serve only" -- have you found it, Mr. Ostojic?
10 A. I have.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So I'll then resume.
12 " ... in places where our representatives serve only to fulfil the
13 formal requirements for the functioning of a government which produces
14 decisions against the interests of the Serbian people, Municipal
15 Assemblies of Serb representatives must be formed. And in places where
16 even this is not enough, municipal territories of the Serb people must be
18 This ends my quote.
19 Mr. Ostojic, how did you envisage municipal territories to be
20 formed in areas where Serbs were, as I understand from your speech, were
21 in the minority?
22 A. I spoke publicly about this issue at the sessions of the coalition
23 government of Bosnia and Herzegovina which raised serious questions about
24 this issue. And the topic was the decentralisation of power and
25 expressing needs at the local level of every ethnic group who cannot
1 exercise their political and constitutional rights as a result of being a
3 In this case, and I'm going to read about the last sentence which
4 the interpreter cannot interpret because it was read out too fast, and I
5 primarily mean the legal -- the legal norm, the name of which is a
6 personal autonomy of a minority group in a certain territory. It is
7 possible that I did not use the right terminology, but this is what I
8 meant. And this statement of mine is not a heresies, and I said that also
9 in my statement in one of its paragraphs that at the time a discussion was
10 going on in the government and the republican Assembly about the
11 decentralisation of power and the request of all the three ethnic groups
12 to establish new municipalities and to find a modality by which all the
13 local nationality communities might be satisfied.
14 JUDGE ORIE: That's still -- you made in this speech -- you make a
15 distinction between the establishment of Assemblies of Serb
16 representatives and where that is not enough, municipality territories of
17 the Serb people must be constituted -- again, my question is, because you
18 didn't fully answer that: How did you envisage municipal -- and that is
19 municipal territories of the Serb people to be constituted in areas where
20 Serbs were in a minority? How would you do that?
21 A. Well, this is an opinion about a discussion, and one cannot be
22 entirely precise, but I'll try and be as precise as possible at the
24 Wherever there is a majority ethnic group, they have to be
25 provided with a legal possibility to establish a new municipality. And
1 the deputies are representatives of the local government, and this is just
2 a symbol that has to represent the elected government in that newly
3 established municipality. And if the same people is a minority in other
4 places, municipal territories of that people have to be established. And
5 in those territories, a certain national minority would exercise their
6 personal protection and their personal rights if in a broader region - and
7 there were such cases - they were threatened by the fact that a different
8 ethnic group was a majority in that territory. In that sense, the
9 constitution or the establishment of the municipal territories of the
10 Serbian people or some other peoples in different areas should have taken
11 place if that people was threatened by majority people, who threatened
12 their right of vote and their rights in that territory.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Was it at that time the prevailing opinion in the
14 Bosnian Serb leadership that municipal territories should be formed?
15 A. The prevalent opinion was that of the people in -- on the ground,
16 and this was not just the Serbian people. And I will illustrate this by
17 some examples. I remember the session of the government. The opinion was
18 to either establish municipalities or municipal territories with a local
19 micro government. In other words, if the leadership of the Serbs in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina had an opinion about the establishment of new
21 municipalities, that was in conformity with the concept of the
22 decentralisation, and this did not exist only amongst the Serb population.
23 For example, the Serb population wanted to have the municipality of Ozren
24 between Maglaj and Tuzla. The Muslim population, on the other hand,
25 wanted to have a special municipality, Janja. And the Croatian population
1 at the same time wanted to have a municipality near Jajce which had been
2 the municipality of Dobrotin in the past. Namely, quite a long time
3 before that -- I apologise.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Let me stop you for a second. You made a distinction
5 between establishing Municipal Assemblies of Serb representatives and the
6 establishment or the constitution of municipal territories of the Serb
7 people. So you make a distinction between the two.
8 My question is focussing on whether the Bosnian Serb leadership,
9 whether it was the prevailing opinion at that time among the Bosnian Serb
10 leadership, that municipal territories should be formed, so not only
11 Assemblies to be established, but also municipal territories to be
13 A. No. In the first case, the establishment of the Assembly of the
14 Serbian deputies, the position of the Serbian leadership was in conformity
15 with the Muslim and the Croatian leaderships' opinion. And in the second
16 and third cases, it was only at the level of discussion as to how to
17 overcome numerous local problems in the functioning of local authorities.
18 And also, with regard to the establishment of these municipal territories
19 of a single people, what was meant was the territories where those peoples
20 did not have a representative in the government, and they were without
21 representation in the government. They did not have any MPs or deputies
22 or members of government in those areas.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that. But my question is
24 whether it was the prevailing opinion that it would be sufficient to
25 establish Municipal Assemblies of Serb representatives, Assemblies, the
1 plural, or whether the Serbian -- Bosnian Serb leadership also wanted to
2 constitute municipal territories. You make that distinction in your
4 A. Yes. I believed that the difference in the position of the
5 leadership of Serbs did exist. There was a prevalent position that within
6 the decentralisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina there should be a demand
7 for the Municipal Assemblies. And the second issue was just in the realm
8 of discussion.
9 JUDGE ORIE: So I do understand that Assemblies should be formed,
10 but whether municipal territories should be constituted was a matter of
11 discussion and not something one had -- they had made their mind on yet.
12 Is that correctly understood?
13 A. Yes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: I used in my question the expression "the Bosnian
15 Serb leadership." How did you understand this expression when you gave
16 your answer?
17 A. What I meant was the representatives of the Serbian people who had
18 been elected in the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the 18th of
19 November, 1990, and I meant those at the republican and local levels, and
20 I primarily had in mind the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Serbian
22 deputies in the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina. I had in mind the members
23 of the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina from the ranks of the Serbian
24 people and all of us MPs in the municipalities that belonged to the
25 Serbian people and that had been elected in the elections. In other
1 words, the leadership of the Bosnian Serbs is something that I regard as a
2 structure that was elected by the people, starting with the local level to
3 the republican level. I do not mean just the leaders thereof.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And who did you consider to be the leaders of
5 what you now say is a large number of people you call the leadership? Who
6 were the leaders in that leadership then?
7 A. I make a distinction here. I said the leadership of the Serbs in
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and I mentioned people ranking from the deputies in
9 the local Assemblies to the members of the Presidency. The leadership is
10 the leadership of a political party. In this case, I meant the Serbian
11 Democratic Party.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You made a distinction. You said: Well, you
13 gave a long list of people you considered to be the Bosnian Serb
14 leadership. And you say: "Something that I regard as a structure that
15 was elected by the people starting with the local level to the republican
16 level. I did not mean just the leaders thereof."
17 Who did you consider to be the leaders thereof?
18 A. The leaders are those that were elected by the people in some
19 elections, those who articulate the political will of that people. And
20 this is regardless of who the people are, the Serbs, the Croats, the Jews,
21 because all of them had representatives in the government and in power.
22 JUDGE ORIE: You made a distinction between the leaders of the
23 structure that was elected by the people and that structure as such. I'm
24 now, for the second time or third time even, asking you when you said: "I
25 do not mean just the leaders thereof," and that was in relation to the
1 leaders of that structure of elected -- of persons elected by the people,
2 who did you refer to when you said: "I do not mean just the leaders
4 A. When I said "the leaders," and I believe that I've already
5 answered that question, I meant those who were in top positions, members
6 of the Presidency, MPs, and members of the Presidency of the Assembly of
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina. And as opposed to that, political leaders or
8 leader is the president of the political party that articulates that will.
9 In other words, the political leader is the president of the Serbian
10 Democratic Party. And leaders of the Serbs are all those who were elected
11 and who belong to that pyramid from the local level to the republican
12 level. And the higher the point on the pyramid was, the more
13 responsibility that person had for the leading the structures of either
14 local or the republican power.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Ostojic.
16 We'll have a break. We have, after the break, only half an hour
17 still to go, but we first have a break of 20 minutes.
18 We'll resume at a quarter past 1.00.
19 --- Recess taken at 12.54 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 1.20 p.m.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I see no videolink yet.
22 Mr. Ostojic, I'd like to move to another subject. In the
23 interview you were asked about the 16th Assembly Session on the 12th of
24 May, 1992, in Banja Luka. You appeared there as a speaker, and you
25 referred to travelling with Mladic on the day before to villages in
1 Herzegovina. You explained in paragraph 41 of your witness statement that
2 you travelled together with Mladic by helicopter to Banja Luka on the 11th
3 of May because the road between Banja Luka and Bijeljina was closed. I'll
4 read out to you what the transcript of this Assembly session says.
5 And for the parties it's P65, tab 127. You find it in the bundle.
6 Page 31, English, page 22 of the B/C/S version.
7 I read the relevant portion to you, Mr. Ostojic. You said: "I
8 have witnessed a confirmation of what Mr. Brdjanin has said about the
9 Muslims and their conduct in relation to Serbian rule, while travelling
10 yesterday with General Mladic and being in contact with Muslims from one
11 village in Herzegovina where you can see precisely who can be -- either
12 the master or the servant, and that nothing can be when they are with us.
13 And we do know what kind of masters they make - then we have genocide -
14 and what kind of servants -- respecting the authority and awaiting what we
15 will feel like saying."
16 What, Mr. Ostojic, was the purpose of this visit to a village in
18 A. First of all, as for this visit to a village in Herzegovina, it is
19 some kind of a mistake because no such visit took place. I don't know. I
20 cannot remember and I don't know that I went out into the field and in
21 what context with General Mladic. This trip from Pale to Banja Luka was a
22 trip taken by MPs and candidates for cabinet members in a helicopter, but
23 we --
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic. Mr. Ostojic, you said: That trip, I
25 did not travel to a village in Herzegovina. So what I said on the 12th of
1 May what you did on the 11th of May is incorrect. That's your testimony?
2 A. Yes. I said that in paragraph 41 of my statement on page 11, and
3 I'm perplexed now by some statements of my own and --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 A. -- these events that I do not seem to be able to link up. Now,
6 what is this all about? I know exactly that on the 11th --
7 JUDGE ORIE: No, no -- well, most important for us is what
8 happened on -- whether or not you travelled with Mr. Mladic on the 11th,
9 and you say you did not. So therefore the question why you travelled with
10 Mr. Mladic, I take it that the answer would be the same -- that that's --
11 since it is a mistake you could not give us an explanation. Is that
13 A. I did not travel on the 11th. I travelled towards Banja Luka.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Did you --
15 A. That can be checked in the government documentation, which
16 government members travelled on the 11th of May from Pale to Banja Luka
17 and arrived in the evening of the 11th of May because the Assembly took
18 place on the 12th of May. I don't know where this comes from, these
19 papers saying that I went somewhere else. On the 11th of May I travelled
20 from Pale to Banja Luka.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, did you ever travel with -- or did you
22 ever go somewhere together with Mr. Mladic?
23 A. No.
24 JUDGE ORIE: You --
25 A. I could only have mentioned in this entire account that I heard a
1 discussion or that people were talking about some village in Herzegovina.
2 But on that day, I absolutely claim that I was not in any village in
3 Herzegovina. I absolutely claim that on the 11th of May I travelled from
4 Pale to Banja Luka. That is what I absolutely assert, if anything can
5 have the value of an absolute.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's move on.
7 In the 16th Session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly, that's still
8 this session the 12th of May, General Mladic stated the following, and
9 it's found in the English version, page 35, and the B/C/S version
10 page 26: "Please," said Mr. Mladic, "please let us not set before
11 ourselves goals that will bring us down. Let us set before ourselves the
12 goals we can achieve. Many of you have helped me. I already said this a
13 few days ago. I keep on repeating certain things. I said this in
14 Nevesinje before the top leadership of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina and before an even more select political leadership in
17 Could you tell us, Mr. Ostojic, what gatherings Mr. Mladic was
18 referring to in this portion of his speech?
19 A. Your Honour, as I listened to the question, I am trying to have a
20 look at the text --
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 A. -- and what Mr. Mladic stated so that I could answer the question
24 As for his encounters with the representatives of the local
25 authorities, if they did take place, Nevesinje included -- well, those are
1 the kind of encounters I have in mind.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Not the kind of -- do you know anything specifically
3 about any meeting or gathering in Nevesinje?
4 A. Well, as for these meetings I found out precisely from this
5 statement that was then made in Banja Luka. As for what was done
6 specifically, I don't know. At any rate, it was my understanding that
7 this was a general type of meeting where he met with the local structures.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Were you present at the meeting where Mr. Mladic -- a
9 meeting that took place in Nevesinje?
10 A. I did not attend this kind of a meeting. Simply, I find all of
11 this quite new and unknown to me. There was no need for me to attend such
12 a meeting. There was no context that would make it necessary for me to
13 attend such a meeting. At that time we candidates for cabinet members in
14 Republika Srpska were under the pressures carried out by the legislative
15 branch in order to elect a government of Republika Srpska on the 12th of
16 May in Banja Luka. The basic law on government of Republika Srpska had to
17 be prepared for that purpose, too. And within that basic document, the
18 law on the government, every minister-designate was supposed to prepare
19 the relevant article of that law that pertained to his ministry. I
20 remember that this article that has to do with the field of information,
21 that is to say of this law in Republika Srpska --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you know whether Mr. Krajisnik was present
23 at the meeting in Nevesinje or a meeting, as just referred to by
24 Mr. Mladic, a meeting with an even more select political leadership in
1 A. I think that at this meeting in Nevesinje, no one from the
2 Presidency of the Assembly or from amongst the candidates for government
3 members of Republika Srpska were present. None of us were present because
4 we were engaged in this normative activity. I am unaware of this meeting
5 in Belgrade and I cannot state anything in that regard.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, this Chamber has heard evidence which
7 said that you, Mr. Ostojic, met with General Mladic in Nevesinje before
8 the 12th of May. What do you have to say about that?
9 A. That's not correct. Again, I say -- I have to say that all the
10 days in May, after returning from that village where my father was buried,
11 I spent all of these days in my work related to constituting the Ministry
12 of Information. And during those May days, I did not leave Pale at all,
13 which can be checked in the rules of the government of Republika Srpska
14 and my daily engagements. There is documentation related to all of this.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to take you to next subject. The
16 record of a joint meeting of the National Security Council and the
17 government of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina held on the
18 10th of May, 1992 is before this Chamber as evidence.
19 For the parties P64A, tab 617.
20 And you'll find that as the next document in this bundle.
21 Now, at this meeting, an agenda for the upcoming Assembly session
22 on the 12th of May was prepared, and it reads under item number 1(a) as
23 follows: "Report on the political and war situation in the Serbian
24 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The report will be prepared by the
25 president of the National Security Council." And then it
1 reads: "(Velibor Ostojic has been charged with preparing the report with
2 the assistance of the minister of interior and national defence)."
3 Have you found that?
4 A. Yes.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Now, do you remember being charged with the
6 preparation of the report on the political and war situation in the Serb
8 A. Well, without this document, I could not remember. But now I see
9 in the document that this was the duty that I had.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, well that's reading from the document. Do you
11 have any active recollection of being charged with the preparation?
12 A. I cannot recall. Irrespective of the fact that there is a
13 document in existence, I simply cannot recall from my memory what I did in
14 relation to this duty and whether I actually carried it out with the
15 assistance of these two ministers and how this was ultimately done.
16 During those days there were some exceptional activities on the part of
17 future government members with regard to all of this normative activity
18 and the indispensable legislative activity.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do you remember that session? And if so, do
20 you remember whether Mr. Krajisnik was present at this joint meeting of
21 the National Security Council and the government on that 10th of May,
23 A. As for the sessions held up until the 12th of May, this Assembly
24 took place, too, and I'm trying to remember now. I mean, what I'm trying
25 to say is that I do have some memory of the session being held, but I
1 think that Mr. Krajisnik was not present at this session. I cannot recall
2 that he was present.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, in this case it has been alleged that
4 Mr. Krajisnik was involved in the preparation of the agenda for the
5 Assembly meeting on the 12th of May, 1992 and that he may have attended
6 this joint meeting.
7 A. I don't know how he could have been involved in the preparation of
8 this session, if you are referring to this session of the 12th of -- of
9 10th of May. I was not a member of the inner circle of the Prime
10 Minister, but, quite simply, I cannot remember whether Mr. Krajisnik
11 attended the meeting. And what I'm saying is I wish to confirm what I
12 remember. And if I'm not sure, I am afraid that I would make a grave
13 mistake vis-a-vis myself and vis-a-vis the Court.
14 Once again, I repeat that I cannot recall that Mr. Krajisnik
15 attended this meeting of the 12th -- of the 10th of May.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now, just to be sure, Mr. Ostojic, if you can't
18 remember or if you don't know something, please tell us without any
19 hesitation that you don't know or you don't remember.
20 My next question is: Why did the National Security Council and
21 the government prepare the agenda for the Assembly session?
22 A. Simply put, and with responsibility, Your Honour, I don't know and
23 I cannot remember. But the government was indeed preparing for the
24 Assembly; that I know.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Did that happen at other occasions as well, that
1 is -- that a joint meeting of the National Security Council and the
2 government prepared the agenda for the Assembly in such a meeting?
3 A. No. No. This is an exception as far as I'm concerned. I have
4 just familiarised myself with it, but while I was a government member in
5 1992, I cannot recall any other such meetings. Even physically, the
6 government, after the 12th of May, was in a different place from
7 Banja Luka. It moved to a hotel in Jahorina, so even physical distances
8 led to the fact that the government worked independently.
9 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to move to the next subject. This Court,
10 Mr. Ostojic, has heard evidence about the airport negotiations, which took
11 place in Lukavica in May 1992. The airport was handed over to the United
12 Nations on the 27th or the 28th of June, 1992. Do you know who took part
13 in the negotiations on the Bosnian Serb side in those airport
15 A. As far as I can remember, first and foremost I think that it was
16 the late Nikola Koljevic who took part in these negotiations. I don't
17 know who else took part.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Were you, yourself, involved in these negotiations?
19 A. No. No. I was not because it was not within the domain of my
20 work as a member of the government.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. It has been alleged in this case that
22 Mr. Karadzic, Mr. Koljevic, and Mr. Mandic were in charge of the airport
23 and that you, Mr. Ostojic, were also involved in the negotiations. Does
24 that change anything in your previous answer?
25 A. No. I absolutely claim that I was not involved in these
1 negotiations. I can just recall that Mr. Koljevic was in these
2 negotiations. I don't know about the others. This is a field that was
3 outside the Ministry of Information, so there are no grounds for the
4 Ministry of Information and its representative to be involved in that.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Do you know whether Mr. Krajisnik did attend or did
6 ever join meetings in which these negotiations were held?
7 A. I don't know. I don't know. I cannot say that I know anything
8 about that. As far as I can remember, Mr. Koljevic was in charge of
9 contacts with international institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
11 Mr. Ostojic, we have to finish for the day. We'd like to see you
12 back, even if it is at a distance, tomorrow morning, 9.00, at the same
13 place where you are at this very moment. And I'd like to instruct you
14 that you should not speak with anyone about the testimony you have given
15 or the testimony you are still about to give in this case. Do you
16 understand those instructions?
17 A. Yes, Your Honour, that is what I'm doing. I respect your position
18 and I will fully respect it with great discipline and responsibility.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we will adjourn for the day. We'll resume
20 tomorrow morning, 9.00, Courtroom I, and continue with the videolink with
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of
24 July, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.