1 Tuesday, 4 July 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 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 Good morning. I see that there's a videolink with Belgrade.
11 Could the representative of the Registry in Belgrade tell me who is
12 present in the room where he is at this moment.
13 THE REGISTRAR: [In Belgrade] Myself, Andre Sabbah, to my right is
14 Velibor Ostojic, and to my left is Richard Hall.
15 JUDGE ORIE: No other persons present, I take it?
16 THE REGISTRAR: [In Belgrade] No other persons present.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, thank you, Mr. Sabbah.
18 MR. HARMON: Excuse me, Your Honour, I didn't get any sound.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I notice that the volume should be adjusted now
20 and then. If someone is a native -- is speaking English, then it should
21 be louder so that we get the original, and if we are receiving what is
22 said in another language translated into English, then the volume should
23 go down a bit so in order not to obstruct hearing the translation.
24 MR. HARMON: I can hear you perfectly well, Your Honour. Could I
25 just have a test in Belgrade.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 Mr. Sabbah, could you speak a few more words?
3 THE REGISTRAR: [In Belgrade] Yes, Your Honour, we are in Belgrade
4 with --
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, no problems?
6 MR. JOSSE: I haven't got a LiveNote. I'm going to try and log on
7 to this computer. The Court can proceed.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
9 Mr. Ostojic, good morning. Mr. Ostojic, I'd like to remind you
10 that you're still bound by the solemn declaration you've given at the
11 beginning of your testimony. Mr. Ostojic --
12 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation].
13 JUDGE ORIE: I heard "dobro jutro," but I didn't get any
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 Mr. Ostojic, I'd like to draw your attention to paragraph 42 of
18 your witness statement.
19 WITNESS: VELIBOR OSTOJIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 [Witness appeared via videolink]
22 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
23 JUDGE ORIE: You stated that you do not remember the government
24 forming teams of ministers for on-site investigations. I would like to
25 show you the minutes from the government meeting of the 24th of May, 1992
1 in your language, and I would like to read out a portion of that to you.
2 And for the parties it's P65, tab 139.
3 Have you found the minutes of the government meeting of the 24th
4 of May in your material, Mr. Ostojic?
5 A. Yes, I found it.
6 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to -- I now have some interference, but ...
7 First of all, looking at these minutes, do they refresh your
8 memory about whether government ministers were sent to the municipalities?
9 A. I can't remember, despite the document, that I was ever sent to
10 on-site visits pursuant to the conclusions reached at this meeting of the
12 JUDGE ORIE: And I take it that you found the relevant portion
13 where these minutes read: "It has been concluded that the overall
14 situation in the republic should be recorded as soon as possible. To that
15 end, groups of ministers would be formed which would conduct on-site
16 investigations in municipalities and would prepare the reports and would
17 suggest the measures to be undertaken."
18 That doesn't change your recollection, Mr. Ostojic?
19 A. Well, I can only assume that item 4 referred to my duties with
20 regard to the printing press that should have been put in place, if I had
21 any tasks at all. As for me being sent somewhere pursuant to the
22 conclusions of this session, I really can't remember, and that is all I
23 can say in response to your question.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Now, this Court has received evidence that you were
25 sent on such a mission to Vogosca and Ilijas on the 29th of May, 1992. I
1 would like to show you the minutes from the government meeting of the
2 Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the 29th of May.
3 For the parties it's P65, tab 140.
4 You find it in the binder in your language as well. And on
5 page -- the second page it reads: "Milan Trbojevic and Velibor Ostojic
6 are responsible for the visits to the municipalities of Vogosca and
7 Ilijas, while Nedeljko Lajic and Ljubomir Zucovic are responsible for the
8 visits to the municipalities of Stari Grad and Centar."
9 And these minutes from which I just quoted also say the
10 following: "In the course of these visits they should talk to the Crisis
11 Staffs, take note of the situation, by all means visit the front, make
12 contact with the soldiers, and prepare a report for the government."
13 Mr. Ostojic, are you able to tell us why the government did decide
14 to send ministers to the municipalities?
15 A. Based on these minutes, I'm trying to establish, given the fact
16 that I don't remember that I went to Vogosca with Mr. Milan Trbojevic. I
17 believe that this conclusion was never implemented. Maybe Mr. Trbojevic
18 knows better than me because he was the one in charge and he was the
19 vice-president of the government, and he was my superior in the government
20 by virtue of his position. I suppose that the task was to improve the
21 situation on the ground, to remove all -- any deviation that might have
22 existed on the ground, to establish the order, and to establish state
23 institutions on the ground.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, the second quote I gave very much goes to
25 military matters and not just -- not primarily to establish state
1 institutions. Would you agree with that?
2 A. This is what I read in the conclusions in the minutes, but I don't
3 remember and I claim that I was never there, I didn't go there. On
4 page 3, under item 2 of this conclusion, I can read that we were supposed
5 to look into the work of the organisation called Dobrotvor and also what
6 is with the payment transactions and financial control. That is why I
7 believe that it was within the purview of the Vice-President Trbojevic,
8 who was also the vice-president of the state administration at the same
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You answered already my next question, whether
11 you actually went on those missions. At least you said you claim that you
12 did not go and you could not have gone. Is -- is it your recollection
13 that you did not go or do you say: Well, my recollection is such that it
14 doesn't tell me that I went? So therefore is it that you say: I
15 positively state that I never went there? Or do you say: I don't
16 remember that I ever went there? Of course in this time, in this
18 A. If my memory serves me well, I never went to the front line and I
19 never went to any positions pursuant to this conclusion.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Did you at that time go to these municipalities?
21 Because the visit to the front line was, I would say, part of the job.
22 But did you go to Vogosca and Ilijas in that period of time?
23 A. I cannot say with a hundred per cent certainty that I wasn't there
24 at the time or before or after; that I wasn't there I can't say with
25 certainty. But I remember that I was never sent to a mission to inspect
1 the front lines in those municipalities. In any case, this was not within
2 the purview of the information minister.
3 JUDGE ORIE: And meeting the Crisis Staff?
4 A. No, I don't remember this at all. And regardless of that, I
5 really cannot remember ever having attended a meeting of any Crisis Staff,
6 and especially not in the municipality of Vogosca.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Do you have any -- did -- do you have any
8 recollection whether Mr. Trbojevic went or whether Mr. Lajic and
9 Mr. Zucovic went on such missions?
10 A. Mr. Zucovic, no, no. I simply cannot claim that. It would just
11 not be serious, and I have taken the solemn declaration that I would speak
12 the truth. I don't know whether any of the mentioned ministers ever went
13 to visit the -- these municipalities. Not only do I not remember, but I
14 don't know whether this was ever implemented.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Then I'd like to move to another subject. I would
16 like to ask you about detention centres. You said in your witness
17 statement in paragraph 43 that you never visited detention camps. Now, it
18 is alleged that you, Mr. Ostojic, went together with Mr. Bozanic and
19 journalists to tour all the camps. Do you stand by your statement that
20 you never visited detention camps or would you like to add anything to
22 A. I stand by my statement with full responsibility. I never visited
23 a single camp, nor did I have any duties there. Second of all,
24 Mr. Bozanic, I believe that during the period of time that we are talking
25 about, was not physically present in Pale, so there could not have been a
1 physical link between Mr. Bozanic, who was a journalist of TV Sarajevo
2 till the end of May 1992 or maybe until mid-June of that year. I'm really
3 surprised to see the allegation that I went to visit a camp with
4 Mr. Bozanic and some other gentlemen.
5 JUDGE ORIE: You are now specifying a certain period of time. If
6 you say: "I never visited a single camp" --
7 A. Yes, given the --
8 JUDGE ORIE: -- would that be true for the whole of 1992?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Well, we received testimony which says, and it is
11 about camps, and it relates to August. The question to that witness
12 was: "... when ITN and the Guardian reporter entered the Omarska camp and
13 sent dispatches and videos which were distributed worldwide. You know
14 about that event?"
15 Then the witness answered: "That's not right. Mr. Ostojic took
16 the journalists there, and we have an excerpt from the Kozarski Vjesnik.
17 He said that there was no censorship. His impression was different from
18 the impression gained by the journalists. Also there was this press
19 release of the government stating that what the journalists wrote about is
20 not true."
21 The witness said: "You still have this press release there. You
22 have it here today. That's what I found out. The journalists wrote about
23 it and then a team was sent out to check whether this was true.
24 Commissions were sent out to see whether this was correct. Journalists
25 went together with Mr. Ostojic and Mr. Bozanic to tour all the camps, all
1 of them."
2 Does this refresh your memory as to what happened, most likely in
3 August 1992?
4 A. Your Honour, my memory has not been jogged, but I have my
5 statement in which it says that I did not visit camps and I stand by that.
6 I can also state that this witness's statement is very confusing and it
7 doesn't specify the camps. It just mentions a certain time in August and
8 all camps. This is absolutely incorrect.
9 There is a decision of the government in connection with the
10 questions of the world media about camps in Republika Srpska. Journalists
11 had to be allowed a free access to Republika Srpska and free movement
12 about it, and they had to be given an opportunity to write about these
13 camps and whether they existed or not, whether there was just columns of
14 people withdrawing and retreating from the areas that were struck by war.
15 Not only in August, but throughout the period the Ministry of Information
16 enabled all journalists to move freely through Republika Srpska and to go
17 to any town or any place at their own request, and the Ministry of
18 Information was there to allow them to do so.
19 JUDGE ORIE: What exactly caused the government to respond so
20 extensively on what was published at that time in the world media?
21 A. Well, it was caused by incorrect information on concentration
22 camps and the false propaganda to the effect that there are camps all over
23 Republika Srpska. That is why the Ministry of Information organised two
24 press conferences; one here in Belgrade, organised by the news agency
25 Tanjug, and another one in Bijeljina that was held in the municipal
1 building. And to these press conferences, all international media wishing
2 to visit Republika Srpska were invited in order to see whether there are
3 any camps indeed in Republika Srpska, as we could read in the reports of
4 some of those media.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Were there many that reported or was it just a
6 minority of the international media that reported on the existence of such
8 A. I think that this press conference in Bijeljina that I held,
9 because I was assigned to by the government of Republika Srpska, there
10 were many, in my estimate over 20, leading international journalists and
11 representatives of electronic and press media. And they were enabled to
12 go in the direction of Banja Luka, Prijedor, Pale, wherever they wished,
13 because the government had decided to task the ministry to allow all
14 journalists to remove all hindrances, and there were no hindrances in the
15 first place, to their travel so that they can see with their own eyes what
16 the situation was with the camps in Republika Srpska.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic --
18 A. And --
19 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, you said in one of your previous answers
20 it was concentration camps was -- the existence of concentration camps was
21 false propaganda. Now, let's just focus, for example, on Omarska camp.
22 Do you still consider this to be false information or -- I mean, did you
23 have the proper information at that time which allowed you to establish
24 that it was false propaganda? Or was it the other way around, that the
25 press was -- international media were better informed and that you did not
1 know exactly what was going on in these camps?
2 A. First of all, I have never been there, and one can form the best
3 opinion if one sees for oneself. In that case, you know better than any
4 medium what the truth is, better than if you read it from whatever media.
5 However, that was not my job. My job was to enable journalists to visit
6 every area in Republika Srpska.
7 Second, all the knowledge that I gained from domestic and
8 international reports --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. My question was whether -- at this moment you
10 say: No, I was not correctly informed at that time and the reporting was
11 reflecting the actual situation. Or do you at this moment say: No, they
12 were wrong. It was propaganda. Such camps and the conditions in these
13 camps did not exist as they were published in the international media?
14 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, sorry to interrupt.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour is asking the witness to give his opinion
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
19 MR. JOSSE: His opinion today as to whether camps existed.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So whether -- looking back whether he was then
22 So, Mr. Ostojic, what I'm trying to find out is --
23 MR. JOSSE: It is a matter --
24 JUDGE ORIE: -- whether you at this moment still consider that to
25 be false reporting on the situation in the camps.
1 A. Yes. I believe it was a pre-planned, well-thought-out propaganda
2 to misrepresent simple refugee columns as concentration camps. I know of
3 a specific medium in Australia that used archive footage from 50 years
4 ago, misrepresenting it as a current camp in Republika Srpska.
5 So I stand by what I said before. As far as I am informed, as far
6 as I remember, and as far as I can form my position, those were not
7 concentration camps. Those were columns of refugees withdrawing from
8 combat-afflicted areas. That is what I said at the said press conferences
9 in 1992 to all the international media who were interested in hearing what
10 I had to say.
11 JUDGE ORIE: So perhaps let's focus on one of these camps that
12 drew a lot of attention at that time. So you say Omarska was a situation
13 where refugees were withdrawing from combat-afflicted areas. It was not a
14 place where under very poor conditions in terms of food, hygiene, a large
15 number of men were detained, even men which had nothing to do with combat
16 activities. That's -- I just now give a short picture. You say: That is
17 not true, it was just a situation - I don't know whether you had Omarska
18 in mind - where refugees were withdrawing from combat-afflicted areas?
19 A. I'm speaking in general terms.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I'm asking you --
21 A. Saying that Republika Srpska did not have --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Especially to avoid that we get confused, I
23 give Omarska as one example and ask you whether Omarska would reflect your
24 description that it was just refugees withdrawing from combat-afflicted
1 A. Yes, that's what I believe. It's another matter whether within
2 that refugee group decent conditions of living were organised. In that
3 respect, I do allow the possibility that the population concerned did not
4 have the proper living conditions, but I stand by my earlier statement
5 that neither Omarska nor any other place was planned as a camp. I am not
6 aware that anyone planned to organise a camp anywhere.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, you are introducing new elements which
8 are strange to my question. I didn't ask about planning; I asked about
9 whether such camp did exist. And I asked you whether nowadays you still
10 are of the opinion that camps did not exist and, as you said, that it was
11 just about refugees withdrawing from combat-afflicted areas, rather than,
12 as I put it to you, a place where under very poor conditions in terms of
13 food, hygiene, a large number of men were detained; that is, they were
14 kept there and were not allowed to leave.
15 A. Your Honour, I will try to focus and to give a succinct answer to
16 your question. I believe to this day that it was not a camp, and I stand
17 by that position.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Let's move to another subject.
19 Mr. Ostojic, you also said in your witness statement in
20 paragraph 43 that do not recall a visit to Susica camp in Vlasenica
21 together with members of international organisations in August 1992.
22 Mr. Ostojic, this Court has heard evidence that you visited Susica camp
23 and that you had a conversation with the camp commander about the
24 conditions in the camp. Does this allegation refresh your memory about a
25 visit that you made to Susica camp?
1 A. There's no way I can refresh my memory because that's simply not
2 correct. I adhere to what I said earlier. I am firm in my position that
3 I've never been to Susica. I know where Vlasenica is because I passed
4 through, but I'm not aware of Susica. And I can only add that people may
5 have confused somebody else for me. But I do not understand why I as a
6 minister of information was supposed to deal with humanitarian issues when
7 we had a commissioner for refugees, and we had other institutions that
8 were part of the government that dealt with humanitarian affairs. And I'm
9 simply surprised and confused by the allegation or the finding that I
10 visited that camp. It really takes me by surprise.
11 If you want to know whether I can refresh my memory, I cannot. I
12 don't remember, and I simply haven't been there, regardless of any
13 allegations or statements or testimony by whatever organisation or
15 [Trial Chamber confers]
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, do you remember at that time - and still
17 in relation with camps - whether you ever gave a -- whether you had a --
18 whether you gave an interview to Kozarski Vjesnik?
19 A. It may have been as part of the press conference that I held for
20 all the media.
21 As far as Kozarski Vjesnik in particular, I cannot recall talking
22 to them individually because it would have been incredible with such a
23 mass of reporters. Maybe I have talked to all of them at the press
24 conference, and then Kozarski Vjesnik somehow drew on that material to
25 make something look like an interview with me.
1 JUDGE ORIE: It may be that you said already where this press
2 conference was held. Could you please -- if you said already, could you
3 please repeat it. If not, could you tell us where this press conference
4 was held?
5 A. I held two press conferences concerning the organisation of visits
6 by all media to Republika Srpska regarding that problem.
7 JUDGE ORIE: My question was where these press conferences were
9 A. Belgrade and Bijeljina.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Then I move to another subject.
11 This Court has heard evidence, Mr. Ostojic, that the government
12 tried to introduce the institution of commissioners who would be in charge
13 of a number of municipalities. My question to you is: Were you ever a
15 A. No. It's just that the MPs in the People's Assembly of
16 Republika Srpska could be commissioners on the ground.
17 There was one paper in which the government laid down its
18 decisions appointing some ministers as commissioners as well. However,
19 that decision was varied, and all the ministers were replaced with MPs in
20 the position of commissioners. So maybe you can find a paper in the
21 archive of the government wherein some ministers were appointed
22 commissioners. However, if you look further through the archives of the
23 Assembly, that they were later replaced by MPs in the position of
25 JUDGE ORIE: Did you directly receive information from the
1 municipalities? I mean, did you have any direct contact with the
3 A. No.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Did they ever address you and inform you about what
5 was going on in their municipality?
6 A. No. I had possibly contacts with local media, but not with local
7 authorities; the Ministry of Information did not have such competencies.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But even if there was no competence, they might
9 have addressed you and have informed you about what was going on in their
11 A. Well, I think that in view of the nature of the jobs, the local
12 authorities would have rather addressed the Prime Minister or the Deputy
13 Prime Minister in charge of local administration, whereas my contacts
14 would have been naturally with the media. My contacts were with local
15 media, if such contacts were technically possible, and if such media were
16 in operation. Because most of the media had very poor technical equipment
17 and many of them were not on the air or not printing most of the time.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Could I draw your attention to another document in
19 this bundle which is a document called Supplement 13, which is a
20 handwritten note which is transcribed, and I read from that.
21 It's P653 for the parties.
22 It's dated the 23rd of March, 1992. It is from the president of
23 the Serbian municipality of Kalesija. It is addressed to Minister
24 Ostojic, and it reads, and I quote a part of it: "Political and strategic
25 decisions are being coordinated with the corps command of the 4th Armoured
1 Brigade. I wish you success in the creation of a Serbian State in BH."
2 Do you remember this to be addressed to you?
3 A. Well, this is addressed to the Serb Democratic Party, attention:
4 Minister Ostojic. I don't remember, however, this reaching me. It was
5 written in the Serb Democratic Party, whereas I didn't hold any position
6 there at the time. At the time I was minister in the coalition government
7 of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Where you say it's addressed to the Serb
9 Democratic Party, are you referring to the stamp at the top?
10 A. Yes, because I don't have that document and seeing this stamp I'm
11 wondering where this was sent. It was sent to the Serb Democratic Party.
12 And this was a time when preparations were being made for holding a
13 referendum without the consent of the Serb people concerning the
14 separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the secession of Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina, whereas the constitution clearly set out terms for such
16 referenda by any of the ethnic groups within the republic. At that time,
17 I was holding a position of minister in the coalition government of BH.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ORIE: Judge Hanoteau will put one or more questions to you,
20 Mr. Ostojic.
21 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ostojic, only one
22 question to put to you. It has to do with the incident of the 26th of
23 July, 1992, during which you were arrested, or stopped --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction.
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] -- on the road at a place called
1 Grbavci on the road from Bijeljina to Pale. And you were stopped,
2 assaulted, by the leader of the Yellow Wasps, Zuco; that's how he was
3 called. Do you remember this episode?
4 A. Yes, how could I forget?
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] You stated that you were
6 threatened by -- with weapons, that you showed your identity card, your
7 papers showing that you were a minister, but that didn't help and that
8 that didn't change the attitude of those you were speaking to. And that
9 eventually the episode or the incident ended well. And you stated that
10 you reported this to the Ministry of Police. What kind of a report did
11 you send?
12 A. Precisely what I stated in this paragraph, that I was attacked by
13 that group about which I had known nothing until that moment and that my
14 life for a few seconds hanged by a thread, that it was going to be forever
15 etched in my memory. I also stated that this group was frequently robbing
16 people travelling by bus on that road and that they should be stopped from
17 mistreating and robbing people in the future. And I demanded that all
18 measures be taken, that a state with a rule of law should take.
19 As far as I remember, an intervention by the police indeed
20 followed. This group was stopped, and no such thing happened on that road
22 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Do you find it difficult to
23 answer my question, Mr. Ostojic? I'm asking you in which way you reported
24 this to the minister for police.
25 A. I'm having some sort of stage-fright. I'm being rather nervous.
1 I'm sorry. I didn't quite get the interpretation.
2 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I'm asking you again in which
3 way did you report this to the ministry or the minister for the interior,
4 of the interior to the minister for police matters?
5 A. I made a written report to the Ministry of Police demanding that
6 the issue be dealt with, resolved, because it was a huge incident that
7 could have ended tragically for me.
8 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And did you deliver this report
9 in person to the minister?
10 A. No. It went through the channels of regular correspondence
11 between the two ministries.
12 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] And did you mention this incident
13 to the head of the government?
14 A. I told all the members of the cabinet about it, and as far as I
15 remember the minister of police was acquainted with the incident as well,
16 because as far as I remember I arrived at Pale terrified that night,
17 together with my driver and two passengers, of whom one is a journalist
18 who is now dead. All those people had been with me and witnessed the
19 event which could indeed have tragic consequences because I was
20 nevertheless beaten by that man while I was showing him my ministerial ID.
21 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Which were the consequences or
22 what was the follow-up to your report?
23 A. The police intervened and the group was arrested. I don't know
24 when this happened.
25 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] You didn't try to know whether
1 there was any follow-up, whether people were convicted?
2 A. No. In my view it was enough that the group had been arrested and
3 that such incidents would not repeat, not only to me but to anybody.
4 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Just one short follow-up question.
6 You said you don't know when the arrest took place. Could you
7 tell us: Was it, even if you would not know exactly, was it long after
8 the event? Was it just within a couple of days? Was it a couple of
9 months? Could it have been a year? Do you have any idea about
10 approximately how much time it took to have them arrested?
11 A. I don't think it was more than ten days after the event,
12 approximately. That group was arrested then.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
14 Judge Canivell has one or more questions for you.
15 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ostojic, please, there
16 is a -- since you told us several times during your testimony that on some
17 questions you were asked were not of your competence. So could you please
18 clearly tell us what exactly was your competence as minister of
20 A. There were three groups of competencies that I had. The first
21 group of competencies was relative to the heading of the ministry or
22 leading the ministry. I was supposed to organise the ministry, its
23 sectors, and report to the Prime Minister with regard to the
24 implementation of all the decisions that the ministry received from either
25 the government or the National Assembly.
1 The second group of competencies was relative to the normative
2 activities of the ministry. The ministry had the task as part of the
3 government to pass laws within its purview. The ministry drafted a law on
4 information in Republika Srpska, the law on electronic media, i.e., the
5 Serbian Radio Television, [indiscernible] radio and television, and also
6 the law on the news agency SRNA, as well as the law which was relative to
7 the ministry itself, its internal organisation within the law on
9 The third group of competencies of the ministry was to provide
10 material, financial and technical conditions for the work of the media in
11 Republika Srpska, the founder of which was the National Assembly of
12 Republika Srpska, and by that I mean the Glas Srpski from Banja Luka, the
13 Serbian Radio Television, and the Serbian News Agency. Based on the law
14 on informing, the ministry created the basic preconditions for the
15 functioning of the media in Republika Srpska when it came to their
16 editorial policies.
17 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now, these functions,
18 you know, to prepare laws, that seems logical, you know, when -- the
19 inception of the ministry. But the report that you were giving to the
20 Prime Minister, these came from the division -- this came from the
21 administration and the parliament of your country, okay. But I'd like to
22 know among your competence, were you also in charge of verifying the facts
23 in order to make sure that the information provided was reliable, reliable
24 to your government, to your leadership, and to your parliament, and also
25 to make sure that the information provided to the media was also reliable?
1 So was this part of your competence to make sure that all of this
2 information was reliable, so to check the information?
3 A. If the information arrived from the information services of other
4 state bodies, then the Ministry of Information, with the government, could
5 not check anything. The information services of those other state bodies
6 were responsible for the reliability of that information.
7 If information was to be provided from the government, then the
8 Ministry of Finance was in charge and was responsible for the reliability
9 and accuracy of that information.
10 If we are talking about public information or information that was
11 broadcast by any media in the Republika Srpska, it was the discretionary
12 and right of any journalist in any of the media in Republika Srpska to
13 report professionally in an objective way, and they were responsible for
14 the reliability and accuracy of the information that they broadcast. And
15 in that respect, the Ministry of Information did not feel the need to
16 intervene. Once the law on information was passed, the competencies of
17 the ministry were regulated and so were the responsibilities and the
18 rights of all the media in Republika Srpska.
19 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes. You just told us that when
20 you verified that there were -- when they were -- this information -- you
21 told us about that.
22 So I would like to know something. You told us that you didn't
23 have the means to verify anything, to meet the press, to get information
24 from the media, you know, outside your county, outside Republika Srpska.
25 So how did you eventually manage to find out what -- what was said in the
1 international media? Since you told us that there was some Australian --
2 you had information on the 50th -- 50-year-old photographs that were seen
3 by the Australian media and you got that information. And you're telling
4 us you were getting no information outside Republika Srpska. So how did
5 you manage to know what was happening in the international media?
6 A. The ministry itself did not have technical capabilities to monitor
7 the leading electronic media and world press. However, we managed to help
8 the Serbian Radio Television and the news agency SRNA, and these two had
9 technical capabilities to monitor, record, and download all the relevant
10 information broadcast by the world media. Such information was then
11 forwarded to the president of the republic, to the president of the
12 Assembly, to the Prime Minister, and obviously to the Ministry of
13 Information. In that way, once we provided technical capabilities to the
14 electronic media of Republika Srpska and the news agency, we managed to be
15 informed about some information that was of relevance for
16 Republika Srpska, but not all. We were not technically capable of
17 monitoring 20 channels. We had to make a selection and monitor only those
18 that we considered to be the leading world media.
19 Your Honours, Your Honours, if you will allow me --
20 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] We're not able to directly follow
21 all these electronic media, but you had SRNA, right, and SRNA was the
22 channel through which you got the information that you needed to stay
23 abreast of what had happened and what was reported. And then through you
24 all -- then through you, you distributed the information to all the other
25 bodies of the Republika Srpska. That way, that's how you knew exactly
1 what was said about your country outside your country.
2 A. The Ministry of Information did not distribute such information.
3 I said that SRNA, the news agency, and the Radio Television -- the Serbian
4 Radio Television, that is, of Republika Srpska made press clippings. The
5 agency news of SRNA was received from those who were able to receive that
6 news. And then, to a certain extent, we had an insight into the writing
7 of the world media about Republika Srpska.
8 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] But you said "in a certain way."
9 How exactly did it work? How exactly did you get the information on what
10 was happening outside, you know, after the SRNA -- so you said SRNA was
11 getting the information and how did you get the information afterwards?
12 A. SRNA made transcripts of the news and then mailed those
13 transcripts to the state bodies, including the Ministry of Information.
14 And since we were all located in a limited territory, the news was
15 disseminated by means of couriers.
16 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Thank you. Now I'd like to ask
17 you something else on another point.
18 You say that when you learned about disinformation that was
19 disseminated throughout the world through the international media, then
20 you organised a press conference. You had one in Belgrade and the other
21 one in Bijeljina. So before convening these two press conferences,
22 what -- how far did you go for -- to verify facts in order to be able to
23 state that what had been given as information was only disinformation? So
24 how -- what did you check on the spot? I mean, you tell us as you've
25 never been to the camps, the collection camps, or the concentration camps,
1 or whatever we may call them, but how did you know exactly -- how did you
2 get the information that was going to be useful for you that -- in order
3 for you to prove that what the media was disseminating was false?
4 A. After having received transcripts from SRNA and Serbian Radio
5 Television, the Prime Minister organised a short briefing. I don't know
6 which members of the government were there, but the centre-point of that
7 briefing was myself. In other words, I was tasked to go to Belgrade, and
8 with the help of Tanjug I was supposed to inform all the world media that
9 they could come to Republika Srpska to visit all the corners of
10 Republika Srpska and to see the reality of things on the ground. We were
11 rather disturbed by the individual writings and information carried by the
12 world media.
13 At that briefing, I was tasked by the Prime Minister to share the
14 information that what could be read in the world media was not correct,
15 that we did not have concentration camps, that we had columns of refugees,
16 not only Serbs -- non-Serbs, but Serbs, for example, in Sokolac,
17 Bijeljina, Lopari, in Manjaca, near Banja Luka, and that we also had
18 columns of non-Serb population near Prijedor. The Prime Minister told me
19 at that point that according to the information that the government had,
20 those were not concentration camp. This was just propaganda. Those were
21 just columns of refugees.
22 Based on that information, based on that briefing, I held two
23 press conferences in 1992; one in Belgrade, the other in Bijeljina. I
24 invited all the world media to come to Republika Srpska. And with a huge
25 column of journalists, we came to Bijeljina, and in the grand hall of the
1 Municipal Assembly of Bijeljina we held this press conference. We
2 informed the journalists where they could go, and I told them that they
3 could go anywhere they wanted and that all the state bodies, the
4 government, and the ministries of Republika Srpska were at their disposal.
5 At these two press conferences, I conveyed the positions of my
6 government and the assessment of the government and the information of the
7 government as to what that was all about. The goal was for the world
8 media to visit Republika Srpska unhindered and to provide objective
9 information about the situation in Republika Srpska. Our goal was also to
10 eliminate all -- any misinformation or misconceptions that they might have
12 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, but what you did was not
13 offering facts that could have contradicted what had been printed or
14 written in the international media. I'm asking you if what you did was
15 the following. It's the head of government, through you, who asked you
16 for the press conference, and it was more of a Pavlovian reflex, wasn't
17 it, just a denial of what had been said, without investigating first and
18 foremost whether the information was true, to see -- so it looked like it
19 was more of a deliberate gesture to say: No, this is wrong. But it was
20 not backed on anything, was it, because you really reacted without
21 investigating first and beforehand what had really happened, you know, to
22 get hard evidence that could help you counter what was said.
23 A. Your Honour, the Prime Minister told me that the government had
24 investigated those events after the information that was broadcast and
25 that the government had not been able to establish that the information
1 was correct. He told me that what some world media had published was not
2 correct and he tasked me with conveying that message to the journalists as
3 the position of the government based on the information that the Prime
4 Minister had received from the competent bodies.
5 Second of all, my assessment, as the minister of information, was
6 as following -- as follows. I thought that it would be better and more
7 professional within the sphere of informing. Instead of my word and
8 instead of me telling them we had investigated, although I did say that
9 the state bodies had investigated, and we say this is not correct, these
10 are not camps but columns of refugees. I thought it would be better to
11 say: You're journalists, and we give you an opportunity to visit every
12 single place and see for yourself what the truth is and convey the correct
13 information that will not be checked by us. I'm not briefing you as to
14 what you should write. I am giving you information at this press
15 conference about the position of the government, and I also tell you that
16 you are free to go anywhere you want in Republika Srpska to collect
17 evidence for yourself.
18 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand that. But you
19 say that the Prime Minister had told you that before making this decision
20 to ask you to convene the press conference, you said that the Prime
21 Minister had investigated the fact. But didn't he tell you what the
22 conclusions of the investigation were and what had been actually
23 implemented and so on? I mean, you knew that you were going to be under
24 the -- you know, many questions during the press conference. So, I mean,
25 you could have wanted to get information in order to, you know, have
1 something to say to these journalists. So why was -- that the fact?
2 A. Correct, Your Honour. The Prime Minister told me that he had
3 state bodies that had inquired into the matter and that they thought that
4 what the world media wrote was not correct, and that it was my obligation
5 to invite the journalists --
6 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm going to rephrase my
7 question maybe.
8 Yes, I was just reading the answer. So it means that you did not
9 know about the results of the investigation carried out by the Prime
10 Minister, that had been asked by the Prime Minister.
11 Then there's another question that I'd like to ask you. You are
12 saying that when -- just before the -- there was the actual opposition --
13 the conflict, you know, between the three communities in
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, before then you said that a number of media
15 had given information, information that was against the Serbian position,
16 and that there was -- it had been done by paramilitary groups that were
17 not controlled by the government. So if I understood you well, this means
18 that you were not supposed to be held responsible for the fact that this
19 had been published when this media -- when this was actually published by
20 the media.
21 But after this, didn't the media work along the line of the
22 government, along the line of the leadership of Republika Srpska after
23 that? Didn't the media obey?
24 A. No. The media in Republika Srpska - and I am invoking the law on
25 information passed by the Assembly of Republika Srpska upon the proposal
1 of the government based on the draft law of the ministry - were absolutely
2 free. There was no single article in the law that would have enabled the
3 Ministry of Information to control the media. And especially the foreign
4 media. There was no way for me to control the foreign media, nor did it
5 ever occur to me to control them. My only professional task was to allow
6 those media normal work in the territory of Republika Srpska and, given
7 the situation, to provide for their security. And during my term of
8 office, not a single journalist fell victim or casualty in
9 Republika Srpska.
10 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, but my question was the
11 following. After the occupation of the media by these uncontrolled
12 paramilitary groups, after that, didn't the media decide to express itself
13 in line with the government line, actually, you know. In -- so -- so did
14 the media ever express themselves against the line of the government,
15 against the ideas of Republika Srpska?
16 So these -- this media that had been occupied by these people that
17 you call paramilitaries, uncontrolled groups, did they eventually adopt a
18 new line that would be -- did they adopt the line of the government or did
19 they ever express opposition to the government of Republika Srpska?
20 That's what I'd like to know. Did they stick -- after the invasion --
21 after the fact that the paramilitaries had taken over, after that, did
22 they stick to government line or were they ever able to express themselves
23 against government line?
24 A. Your Honour, in order for me to give you the correct and efficient
25 answer, I have to make sure that I understood your question correctly. I
1 understand that your question actually consists of three subquestions, the
2 first one being the take-over of the media or the occupation of the media
3 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was during the coalition government of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was in the second half of 1991. And there
5 were individuals involved in that. Those people were beyond the control
6 of the state organs of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the year 1991, if I
7 understood your question well. And if I did, I believe that I have
8 provided a partial answer to your question.
9 Your second subquestion was whether the media in Republika Srpska
10 could have a different opinion than the government of Republika Srpska. I
11 with state with full responsibility that --
12 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] No, I'm sorry, that was not it.
13 Despite the fact that you had this occupation by uncontrolled elements,
14 the information that was provided after that, after this occupation of the
15 media, was it -- did it align itself in the interest of the SDS line and
16 of Republika Srpska, after this occupation? It's after the occupation
17 that this happened, right?
18 A. Very well. I understand your question now.
19 Your Honour, like before the occupation of the transmitters, after
20 the occupation of the transmitter and the independent activities on the
21 part of some individuals, the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not
22 report in an objective way, and they did not convey the positions of the
23 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
24 And let me repeat at this point, let me repeat part of my
25 statement and confirm, like I did yesterday, in response to one of the
1 questions, that the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1991 and 1992 were
2 not objective, they were not professional when it came to the national
3 issues of all the three peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And they were
4 particularly biased when it came to the Serbian people in Bosnia and
6 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] So outside the question that I
7 didn't ask but that you almost answered, there's the right of media to be
8 free, of course, and to express whatever their opinion is. But as
9 minister of the information, what you noted is that they were biased. You
10 noticed that all these media that expressed themselves that were under the
11 aegis of Republika Srpska were biased, right? You said that there was
12 information that was very partial and that was actually going along the
13 line of the SDS partisans, of the leadership of Republika Srpska. Is that
14 what you were saying?
15 A. No. It's obvious, Your Honour, that we have a language barrier
16 that prevents us from communicating completely, effectively. And I'm
17 afraid that I may be answering an allegation out of context. We're
18 talking about two things: Media in Bosnia and Herzegovina versus media in
19 Republika Srpska. The media in Republika Srpska were not on the SDS line,
20 they were not controlled by the government, and they were absolutely
21 free. Whereas media in Bosnia and Herzegovina were, in my professional
22 assessment and opinion that was formed after 15 years of work in the
23 media, were biased and not objective. So we have to make the distinction
24 between the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the media in
25 Republika Srpska.
1 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. Media could
2 express their own opinion; that's one thing. But still, who -- I had
3 asked you whether you had noted that maybe in -- not deliberately all
4 these media aligned themselves to express the opinion of the SDS and the
5 government who were in power within Republika Srpska. That's my question,
6 not whether they had the right or not. I want to know whether they
7 adopted this position, maybe spontaneously. And I think you told us that
8 they were not -- that they were biased and that they were a bit -- a bit
9 biased, right?
10 A. No. No. I said that about the media outside of Republika Srpska,
11 that they were biased and not objective. I equally claim that the media
12 in Republika Srpska did not form their reporting chaotically, and they
13 were not following the political line charted by the Serb Democratic
14 Party. They had the absolute professional right held by every journalist
15 to report as they see fit, as long as it was objective and correct. So
16 that was my assessment of the work of the media in Republika Srpska in
17 1992. Therefore, you could find media in Republika Srpska that held
18 completely different views, journalistic views, from what you could call
19 the official policy of Republika Srpska.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Yes, but could you give me an
22 example of one of this media, paper or maybe a TV programme, that had an
23 opinion that was different from what were the general principles adopted
24 by the SDS and the people who were in power in the government of
25 Republika Srpska?
1 A. As for programmes and stories that could be characterised as
2 highly professional and which did not automatically reflect the positions
3 of the authorities, were Radio Banja Luka and Radio Bijeljina, as well as
4 the newspaper Glas, which means voice, of Semberija and Bijeljina. I'm
5 trying off the cuff to find at least two examples in confirmation -- in
6 corroboration of what I said. We could find even more examples if we
7 undertook deeper analysis.
8 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] The Banja Luka radio, was it
9 totally separate from the Banja Luka television?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Well, then, what's strange for me
12 is that you told us earlier I think that Glas was a paper that was
13 controlled by the Republika Srpska. So how could a government paper
14 express opinion that would be different from that of the power, the power
15 that was controlling it after all?
16 A. Your Honour, I didn't say that the authorities controlled the
17 publication called Glas Srpski. All the control over that newspaper was
18 vested in the laws, the laws on reporting, information, and radio and
19 television. At that time Television Banja Luka did not exist; only Radio
20 Banja Luka existed. At that time, Television Banja Luka was only being
21 equipped to become a separate studio equipped from the resources of
22 Television Sarajevo. The media in Republika Srpska were not controlled.
23 The law did not allow me to control them.
24 JUDGE CANIVELL: [Interpretation] Thank you.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, two very short questions; please short
1 answers as well. Do you read and understand French?
2 A. No, not a word.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Do you read and understand English?
4 A. No.
5 JUDGE ORIE: When SRNA prepared clippings, was there a translation
6 with it?
7 A. Press clippings were in the Serbian language.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
9 A. Those that were submitted to the government.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Also those that were covering foreign media?
11 A. That was provided to the foreign media and they did not come to
12 the government's attention.
13 JUDGE ORIE: No. I mean -- you said SRNA monitored more or less
14 with their technical facilities the foreign press, that they made
15 clippings, and you said that it was distributed to the Presidency Assembly
16 Ministry of Information. As far as the foreign media were concerned, was
17 that -- how was that translated for you so that you could have access to
18 what was published in the foreign media?
19 A. SRNA had a section employing journalists who knew English, French,
20 German, and, I believe, Spanish. So they took off passages from the
21 foreign press, translated them, and then Serbian translations would be
22 submitted to the government.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for those questions -- for those answers.
24 We'll continue after the break. You'll then be first examined --
25 you'll then be first examined by counsel for the Prosecution. I'd like to
1 stop the videolink at this very moment. We'd like to see you back in 25
2 minutes from now.
3 Then once the videolink for the time being -- yes.
4 [Videolink suspended]
5 Then I'd like to turn into private session for one second.
6 [Private session]
11 Pages 26705-26706 redacted. Private session.
8 [Open session]
9 --- On resuming at 11.16 a.m.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon.
11 Mr. Josse, the session will be extended for 20 minutes.
12 You have time from 11.15 to 12.30. We'll then have a break of 20
13 minutes, so you have 75 minutes.
14 And the same for you, Mr. Josse.
15 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I see on my screen that the microphone
17 in -- yes, it's now from my screen, so I take it that we'll now be able to
18 hear you. Mr. Harmon will examine you, Mr. Ostojic. Mr. Harmon is
19 counsel for the Prosecution. Please may I direct you to carefully listen
20 to the question and to answer to that question and not to go beyond what
21 was asked to start with.
22 MR. HARMON: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Further examination by Mr. Harmon:
24 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ostojic.
25 Mr. Ostojic, I would like to direct you to paragraph 49 of your
1 statement in which you say that you were put on an EU list that prohibited
2 you from entering the European Union because you obstructed the
3 implementation of the Dayton Agreement. If we could turn first to tab 15.
4 MR. HARMON: That needs a number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1266, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
7 MR. HARMON:
8 Q. Mr. Ostojic, tab 15 is in English. I will read to you the
9 relevant parts of it. This is a document that is the High
10 Representative's statements announcing the dismissals of BH Serb officials
11 that was issued on the 30th of June, 2004, and if we turn in the English
12 to the second page, the first full paragraph above the names.
13 Mr. Ostojic, I'm going to read this to you. First -- "First we
14 have in the European Union just announced that we are adding 13 names to
15 our visa ban list for helping ICTY indictees evade justice or otherwise
16 acting in a manner which could obstruct the ICTY in its work. We will be
17 distributing the full list following the press conference, but the
18 following new names are added on this list," and your name is one of the
19 13 names.
20 Mr. Ostojic, you were banned from travelling in the European Union
21 because of the conclusions of the High Representative that you had
22 obstructed the ICTY in its work. Isn't that the case, Mr. Ostojic?
23 A. I was told that I was banned from travelling.
24 Q. And you weren't told a reason why you were banned from travelling,
25 Mr. Ostojic?
1 A. It was precisely this wording: Obstruction to the implementation
2 of the Dayton Agreement.
3 Q. All right. Let's move to a different topic. Mr. Ostojic, let's
4 go to paragraph 23 of your statement. This refers to the 2nd Session of
5 the Bosnian Serb Assembly that was held on the 21st of November, 1991, and
6 it refers to an attempt at that time to divide the media. You told us
7 that that proposition ultimately was not accepted?
8 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, the 2nd Session is exhibited already.
9 It is -- portions of that are found in tab 43.
10 Q. Mr. Ostojic, at the time that you proposed that particular
11 division of the media and the decision --
12 MR. HARMON: I'm referring to page 51 of the text in the English,
13 Your Honour. I'm not going to refer it to Mr. Ostojic. I'm going to
14 relate --
15 Q. Mr. Ostojic, at the time you proposed that decision, you said that
16 the decision -- "the Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina is duty-bound to ensure objective and truthful education and
18 information dissemination to its people."
19 That's the duty that you imposed upon the -- yourself, is that
20 correct, the dissemination of objective and truthful information?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Mr. Ostojic, if we turn to your statement, your interview -- your
23 interview at page 32, not your statement but your interview, at line 14,
24 you said in your interview, and I quote: "And especially that only
25 correct information can be broadcast because misinformation in times of
1 war creates panic, which means that the journalist must check the source
2 of information."
3 You were also asked questions about that by Judge Canivell, about
4 checking the source of information. Do you, Mr. Ostojic, and did you
5 consider it your responsibility and duty to provide in 1992 truthful and
6 accurate information, both to the people of the Republika Srpska and to
7 the international press?
8 A. That was not my responsibility; it was the responsibility of the
9 media, to proceed from sources of information and to report truthfully and
10 objectively to the people to whom this information was destined.
11 Q. I'm asking you, Mr. Ostojic, if you considered it your
12 responsibility when reporting about events, that it was your duty to
13 disseminate truthful and accurate information, both to the people of the
14 Republika Srpska and to the international media.
15 A. In view of my area of work, you can take it that it was my
16 responsibility, too, but it was first and foremost the responsibility of
17 reporters and journalists.
18 Q. Now, having -- did you in fact, Mr. Ostojic, in fact, always
19 report accurately to the people of the Republika Srpska and to the
20 international media about events that had occurred in 1992?
21 A. My reporting was through press releases and interviews and
22 communiques and answers to journalists. I myself did not do any
23 reporting. And whenever I appeared before journalists I always tried to
24 speak objectively, truthfully, and correctly.
25 Q. Let's turn to an exhibit.
1 MR. HARMON: If we could turn to tab 58.
2 Q. Mr. Ostojic --
3 MR. HARMON: Tab 58 needs a number.
4 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1267, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
6 MR. HARMON:
7 Q. Mr. Ostojic, first off, and I see the document is being put in
8 front of you. This is a document in Cyrillic. Do you recognise your
9 signature at the end of that document?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. This is a document that is a proclamation that is dated the 16th
12 of May, 1992. It is from the government of Srpska Republika Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina Ministry of Information. I'm going to read the first two
14 paragraphs and I'd like you to look at it, Mr. Ostojic.
15 "Like ten years ago, the terror equal to genocide is being
16 conducted against the innocent Serbian inhabitants in this war forced upon
17 the Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Day in, day out, the hordes
18 of slayers and robbers under the patronage of the fascist authority of the
19 so-called Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina engage in the most brutal
20 actions assaulting the Serbian population at their hearths. Mercilessly
21 the members of the Serbian people are being eliminated and massacred,
22 their property plundered, their villages burned, their cities destroyed,
23 and the monuments of Serbian culture and history shattered."
24 And if we turn, Mr. Ostojic, to the last paragraph in the
25 document, it reads, and I quote: "The Ministry of Information of the
1 government of Srpska Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina provides both the
2 national and international public with an accurate and objective
3 information with the truth about the struggle of the Serbian people in
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina, a struggle for peace, justice, and freedom, and is
5 thus inviting everybody to act in the service of the written word and
7 Mr. Ostojic, this proclamation that you issued was of a type that
8 was intended to incite fear and panic amongst the Serbian population.
9 Isn't that correct?
10 A. No. The third paragraph shows the purpose of this proclamation,
11 that all people of goodwill with their own home-made footage, cameras,
12 documents, and in other ways record all crimes against Serb people so that
13 a documentation be created.
14 Q. And prior to asking them the objective fact of documenting crimes
15 or acts -- of violent acts committed against the Serb people, the first
16 two paragraphs in this document, I submit to you, Mr. Ostojic, were
17 inflammatory and designed, in part, to incite the Serbian people. Isn't
18 that correct?
19 A. No.
20 Q. You could, Mr. Ostojic, have merely asked that the people in the
21 Republika Srpska document with their cameras and other forms crimes and
22 violent acts. Why were the first two photographs inserted then,
23 Mr. Ostojic?
24 A. Well, the first two paragraphs speak about facts on the ground.
25 Q. Well, let's also look at another exhibit.
1 MR. HARMON: The transcript, Your Honour, is found in tab 44 of
2 the bundle before you.
3 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to play a video clip of an interview with
4 you that took place in 1992, and I'd like you to listen to it, please.
5 [Videotape played]
6 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "When we're talking about the truth
7 today, is it true that extremists, Muslim extremists, threw Serbian
8 children into the lines yesterday in Sarajevo?
9 "Unfortunately this is true. I can absolutely guarantee this.
10 This picture in the zoo is horrific. In the children's park where
11 generations of Sarajevans of all ethnic groups took their kids out to see
12 the lions and other exotic animals, there in that place, fanatics and
13 butchers are feeding Serbian children to the lions, and that truth will
14 come to light and will reach the world, just like a series of other facts.
15 Like, for example, two days ago in Gorazde, we took out Serbs who were
16 nailed by their hands and feet to rafts or crosses. Or the fact that a
17 raft constructed of Serbian bodies was taken out of the Drina River.
18 I heard that there are many camps in Bosnia where Serbs are still
19 confined today. The last information was that there are 17. In those 17
20 camps, will 40.000 Serbs are detained, and to date around 6.000 Serbs have
21 been liquidated in a cruel and monstrous way. The largest number of Serbs
22 are in camps today. I heard where many stadiums where camps are located
23 don't have any grass today because the Serbs had to eat grass. They died
24 of hunger at those stadiums. I will give you several examples or, rather,
25 share some information and cite as to where this happened. They included
1 the Gorazde stadium on the right bank of the Drina, the Koseva [phoen]
2 stadium, and the Zetra ice-rink.
3 In Gorazde, our Serb women were forced to walk naked through the
4 city as white slaves. They were hobnailed, tortured, raped in the
5 cruelest manner, and thrown into the Drina. Miserable mothers with small
6 children in their arms were retrieved from the Drina River. Bodies nailed
7 to the cross, to rafts, were retrieved from the Drina River. At this
8 moment, in Gorazde, the Drina is a great dungeon of the Serbian
9 population, and the Drina will -- the Drina will carry away with it a
10 multitude of secrets about the suffering and misfortunate of those Serbs
11 who did not succeed in getting out of Gorazde in time."
12 MR. HARMON:
13 Q. Mr. Ostojic, was that accurate information you were disseminating
14 to the Serbian people and to the international community, that fanatics
15 and butchers were feeding Serbian children to the lions?
16 A. This information is what I received from the Ministry of Police in
17 the government of Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Was that information accurate?
19 A. The Ministry of the Police claimed that the information was
20 accurate, and the population in the neighbourhood of the zoo confirmed
21 that in their statements in the competent service of the Ministry of the
22 Police of Republika Srpska.
23 Q. Did you see those statements, Mr. Ostojic, before making that
25 A. I did not understand your question.
1 Q. Did you see the statements of the alleged witnesses who had seen
2 people feeding Serbian children to the lions, before you made that public
4 A. No. I received information from the Ministry of Police of
5 Republika Srpska in the government, and based on that information I issued
6 this statement.
7 Q. Did you see, Mr. Ostojic, rafts constructed of Serbian bodies?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Mr. Ostojic, what you were disseminating was the rawest type of
10 propaganda designed, in fact, to incite the Serbian people into fear and
11 into loathing the perpetrators of those alleged crimes. Isn't that the
13 A. No. I absolutely refuse [as interpreted] this allegation. I gave
14 all of my statements based on the relevant state bodies of
15 Republika Srpska, primarily the Ministry of Police which issued
16 information to the government, and then the government tasked the Ministry
17 of Information to convey the message.
18 Q. Mr. Ostojic, did you ever retract the statements that you made in
19 this particular interview about the feeding of children to lions,
20 construction of -- rafts made out of Serbian bodies, did you ever publicly
21 retract that statement?
22 A. No. Because the information was that something to that effect had
23 happened, and I received information from the Ministry of Police. I did
24 not make this up. I had information from the relevant state body, and the
25 same information had been submitted to the government.
1 Q. Who, Mr. Ostojic, from the Ministry of Police gave you that
3 A. The ministry via an official letter to the government, and I had
4 that information in the government. I suppose you can find that in the
5 archives of the government of Republika Srpska.
6 Q. Mr. Ostojic --
7 A. Or in the Ministry of Police of Republika Srpska.
8 Q. Mr. Ostojic, my question was: Who was it who gave you that
9 information? Can you identify by name the person from the ministry who
10 gave you that information?
11 A. It was not a particular person that brought information. The
12 Ministry of Police of Republika Srpska issued an official document, a
13 dispatch, in order to inform the government of these events. In other
14 words, I used official information.
15 Q. Do you agree with me, Mr. Ostojic, that that type of information
16 that you disseminated in that interview would, in fact, cause fear in the
17 minds of Serbian people in the Republika Srpska in 1992?
18 A. No. I absolutely disagree. I believe that this was necessary
19 information about the situation on the ground. The information that had
20 previously been verified and established by the relevant bodies of
21 Republika Srpska.
22 Q. Let's change the topic, Mr. Ostojic. Let's talk about the issue
23 of camps, about prisoners, about the detention of civilians in camps that
24 were established by the Republika Srpska. When did that matter become a
25 matter of concern to the government of the Republika Srpska? I'm asking
1 you for an approximate month, date.
2 A. It could have been either in mid-July or towards the end of July
3 1992. This is when in -- the world media brought the initial information
4 about some sort of camps existing in Republika Srpska. The information in
5 the world media caused what you're asking me about.
6 MR. HARMON: If Mr. Ostojic could be given extra 1 -- I'm sorry,
7 not extra 1.
8 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we have received evidence and the Court has received
9 evidence in this case. The evidence I'm referring to are the minutes of
10 the 5th Session of the Presidency of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina that were held on the 10th of June, 1992. At that session,
12 Mr. Ostojic, the Presidency reviewed reports of the international foreign
13 press, and on the 10th of June they instructed Mr. Djeric to have talks on
14 the cost of accommodation and food for refugees and to report to the
15 government on detainees and on proposed measures. Subsequently,
16 Mr. Ostojic, the government session on the 10th of June in which you were
17 in attendance then said that the Ministry of Justice should create or
18 prepare a report on prisoners. I can refer you, if you would look at
19 tab 60, be shown tab 60.
20 Mr. Ostojic, if you take a look at -- these are the minutes of --
21 this is P582, tab 20 for the record. The minutes of the session indicate
22 in the first paragraph, attendees, that you were present at that meeting,
23 Mr. Ostojic, and on the agenda a number of topics were discussed. And if
24 you turn to agenda item number 7, you will see, Mr. Ostojic, that the
25 Ministry of Justice was to make a report about prisoners.
1 "This report," and I'm quoting, "should pay special attention on
2 the treatment of the civilian population, prisoners of war, accommodation,
3 food, et cetera. The report would be considered by the government after
4 which it would be submitted to the Presidency of the republic."
5 Mr. Ostojic, the government, based on international media reports
6 about what was happening in those camps, became concerned, and you
7 participated, Mr. Ostojic, in this Presidency session where the conclusion
8 was made that the Ministry of Justice make a report about prisoners.
9 Isn't that correct?
10 A. Well, that's what the document read, but there is no mention of
11 any camps but of prisoners. Unfortunately, I have a text in English and
12 I'm unable to read.
13 Q. You should have the B/C/S. If you don't have it -- that's the
14 evidence that the Chamber has received. If we turn -- I'm sorry.
15 Mr. Ostojic, on the 15th of June, the government, according to the
16 government minutes, the government received the report, they considered
17 the report, and -- do you remember that?
18 A. I don't.
19 Q. Okay. So is it your evidence --
20 A. I don't have any documents to that effect before me.
21 [Prosecution counsel confer]
22 MR. HARMON:
23 Q. Mr. Ostojic, the evidence before this Court is that you were in
24 attendance at that meeting. Do you have any recollection, Mr. Ostojic,
25 about what the report about prisoners contained?
1 A. I don't remember. If you could jog my memory with a text. The
2 text that I have before me is in English. From what I've heard, two
3 things are relevant. The Ministry of Justice was tasked with providing
4 information within a certain deadline; and secondly, there are minutes
5 showing who the attendees were. And if the information is received from
6 the Ministry of Justice, the government will undertake certain measures.
7 And this is what I believe is relevant in the text that I have before me
8 and which, I repeat, is in English.
9 Q. Mr. Ostojic, put aside the text. I'm asking you to make -- to use
10 your recollection. In June of 1992, the government -- as early as June of
11 1992, based on international media reports, the government, of which you
12 were a member, was concerned about the accommodation and the treatment of
13 civilians who were being detained by your government. Isn't that the
15 A. It is. And the government took measures.
16 Q. Now, Mr. Ostojic --
17 A. It tasked the Ministry of Justice with providing the government
18 with information.
19 Q. Mr. Ostojic, the government of the Republika Srpska was under
20 increasing pressure to open those camps to public view. Correct?
21 A. The government was under the pressure of the media, which said
22 that those were camps, whereas the government spoke about prisoners in the
23 text that I had before me.
24 Q. Mr. Ostojic, thereafter, once the matter had reached critical
25 mass, there was an agreement to permit reporters into those camps. Do you
1 remember when that agreement was reached and who made that decision?
2 A. I've already said that before the Honourable Chamber.
3 Q. Well, say it again --
4 A. As far as I can remember --
5 MR. JOSSE: I don't think he heard your question.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You interrupted me. I don't know
7 what to do now.
8 MR. HARMON:
9 Q. Mr. Ostojic, when did the government decide to permit journalists
10 to enter the camps and who made that decision?
11 A. All that time, throughout that period, the government never spoke
12 about camps but of prisoners. After the information provided by the
13 Ministry of Justice in June and the first half of July, the conclusion was
14 reached that all the world media should be invited to visit all the places
15 and to see what the real situation on the ground was in order to be able
16 to prepare information. The Ministry of Information carried out their
17 task by having invited all the media to visit Republika Srpska.
18 Q. Mr. Ostojic, before the media was permitted to enter those camps,
19 preparations were made in order to get them into a condition that would
20 appear that those were not concentration camps. Isn't that correct?
21 A. Excuse me, I have not quite understood your question. Can you
23 Q. Prior to the admission of -- into those camps of journalists,
24 steps were made to clean up those camps in order to create an image to the
25 international media that those camps were nothing more than reception
1 centres, not concentration camps. Isn't that correct?
2 A. Not correct. The government never did that.
3 Q. Are you aware that the -- let's turn to tab 79, please. Tab 79 is
4 Exhibit 1247.
5 Mr. Ostojic, this is an order, urgent order, from General Mladic
6 to prepare Omarska, Trnopolje, Manjaca and all the other prisoner of war
7 camps in the zone of the 1st Corps for visits by the international
8 journalists and the International Red Cross. You are aware, aren't you,
9 Mr. Ostojic, that these camps in fact had to be prepared before the
10 journalists arrived to the camps. You were coordinate -- isn't that
11 correct, Mr. Ostojic?
12 A. I was not familiar with that. I am not familiar with this
13 document. This is a document of the Main Staff that never reached the
14 government, and I was nothing more but a member of the government. I was
15 not the Prime Minister, who probably was familiar with the document, but
16 I'm not even sure of that.
17 Q. Mr. Ostojic, why weren't the journalists permitted into those
18 camps prior to the 3rd of August, 1992?
19 A. I think that it is not correct that any journalists were prevented
20 from visiting those places before the 3rd of August, 1992 and from staying
21 in Republika Srpska. To the contrary. You can see this in the archive of
22 the government of Republika Srpska, the Serbian Radio Television.
23 Accreditations were issued to numerous journalists from abroad in May,
24 June, and July, who visited Republika Srpska freely and were free to
25 report therefrom. In other words, not for a single moment was any
1 journalist prevented from entering --
2 Q. Did any journalist prior to August the 3rd enter Omarska,
3 Trnopolje, or Manjaca camps, to your knowledge?
4 A. I wouldn't know that.
5 Q. Let's turn --
6 A. I wouldn't know that. But I know that before the 3rd of --
7 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to look at a video clip.
8 MR. HARMON: Video clip 2, please. It needs an exhibit number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That would be P1268, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
12 [Videotape played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Gentlemen, 360 grams of bread per
14 day. If you want to put any questions, this is a minimal value that they
16 "They don't beat me and I'm treated as a human being. I'm
17 familiar with the Geneva Conventions, and physical and oppressive measures
18 have not been applied.
19 "Every other day to the camp for prisoners."
20 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon --
21 MR. HARMON: I seem to have lost my image of Mr. Ostojic, Your
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I take it that will come back.
24 We've forgotten to assign a number to tab 44, which was the
25 interview with Mr. Ostojic.
1 Mr. Registrar, that would be --
2 THE REGISTRAR: P1269, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: P1269.
4 Then the last clip played would need a number as well.
5 THE REGISTRAR: Clip 2, Your Honours, was assigned P1268.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I see that. I apologise.
7 MR. HARMON:
8 Q. Mr. Ostojic, those scenes of abundance were created for the
9 journalists' benefit in order to deceive them as to the lack of food that
10 had priorly -- that had previously been available to the inmates. And you
11 were aware of that, weren't you, Mr. Ostojic?
12 A. No. I was not aware of that.
13 Q. Mr. Ostojic --
14 A. And I really can't say what this is all about. All I could see
15 was a kitchen of some sort.
16 Q. Those were images that were taken at the Manjaca camp,
17 Mr. Ostojic. I want to show you some photographs, Mr. Ostojic, starting
18 with tab 20.
19 MR. HARMON: And, Mr. Registrar in Belgrade, I'm going to be going
20 through a series of pictures. I'm going to be doing this very quickly, so
21 if you would follow my lead, please, starting at tab 20.
22 Q. Mr. Ostojic, let's look at the photograph -- paragraph 220 --
23 tab 20, and then if you could look at the photograph, Mr. Ostojic, at
24 tab 21.
25 MR. HARMON: It needs a number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1270, Your Honours.
2 MR. HARMON:
3 Q. Tab 22, also look at that, Mr. Ostojic.
4 MR. HARMON: That needs a number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1271, Your Honours.
6 MR. HARMON:
7 Q. Tab 23, Mr. Ostojic.
8 MR. HARMON: That needs a number.
9 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1272, Your Honours.
10 MR. HARMON:
11 Q. The next tab, 26 -- I'm sorry, tab 27.
12 MR. HARMON: That needs a number, 27.
13 JUDGE ORIE: So we jump from tab 23 to tab 27?
14 MR. HARMON: Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1273, Your Honours.
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Tab 28, Mr. Ostojic.
19 MR. HARMON: That needs a number.
20 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1274.
21 MR. HARMON: And, finally, tab 29, that needs a number as well.
22 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1275.
23 MR. HARMON:
24 Q. Mr. Ostojic, those are images of people who came out of the camps
25 at Omarska, Trnopolje, and Omarska [sic]. Do these photographs -- are you
1 familiar with those photographs, Mr. Ostojic? Have you seen them before?
2 A. I was not familiar with these photographs.
3 Q. You told us earlier, Mr. Ostojic, that the -- there was some
4 monitoring of the international press. These photographs, Mr. Ostojic,
5 received considerable attention in the international press following the
6 visit of the international journalists to Omarska, Trnopolje, Manjaca. Is
7 it your evidence, Mr. Ostojic, that you never saw those until you have
8 been shown those photographs today, never seen them before?
9 A. I did not see them in this form, but I did see a -- one photo, I
10 believe, on CNN. I'll try and find it.
11 Q. Did it appear to you, Mr. Ostojic, from the photo that you saw --
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, would you give an opportunity --
13 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- to Mr. Ostojic to find the photograph he said he
15 saw at the time.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Tab 25.
17 MR. HARMON: Tab 25, Your Honour, was not exhibited. But if we
18 could get a number on tab 25, that would be fine.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1276, Your Honours.
20 MR. HARMON:
21 Q. My question to you, Mr. Ostojic, of the many emaciated images of
22 people -- strike that.
23 Of the many images I have shown you of emaciated people who came
24 out of those camps, did you ever see any such images, Mr. Ostojic,
25 following the visits of the international journalists to Manjaca, Omarska,
2 A. I've just told you which photo I remember. I remember having seen
3 probably on CNN.
4 Q. Mr. Ostojic, listen to my question --
5 A. And as for the others --
6 Q. Did you ever see photographs of emaciated persons who had been in
7 Omarska, Trnopolje, or Manjaca, the type of which I've shown you today?
8 Did you ever see those photographs or similar photographs disseminated in
9 the international press following the visits of the reporters and the
10 journalists to those camps, yes or no?
11 A. No, save for the one that I just showed you.
12 Q. Do these photographs shock you, Mr. Ostojic?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Is it the first time you've seen such photographs?
15 A. I saw similar photographs, but not from these lands. And I find
16 all such photographs extremely harrowing.
17 Q. Mr. Ostojic, let's turn to paragraph 43 of your statement, where
18 you say you have never visited Susica camp. Mr. Ostojic, you visited
19 Susica camp on approximately the 2nd of September, 1992, along with
20 members of a mission to Bosnia from the conference on security and
21 cooperation in Europe. Does that refresh your recollection, Mr. Ostojic?
22 A. No, no. I cannot remember accompanying any sort of mission to a
23 camp like that. I cannot recollect that.
24 Q. Mr. Ostojic, I'm going to ask that a photograph be placed on the
25 monitor in front of you.
1 MR. HARMON: For the benefit of the registrar's representative,
2 it's 00456976.
3 Q. Could you -- do you see that photograph, Mr. Ostojic --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Do we find it in our bundle?
5 MR. HARMON: It's in your Court bundle, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Number?
7 MR. HARMON: Oh, I'm sorry.
8 These will be disseminated, Your Honour. This is a photograph,
9 colour photograph that bears an ERN number at the lower right-hand corner,
11 Q. Mr. Ostojic, the man in the middle of that image wearing a suit
12 with his arms crossed is you, isn't it, Mr. Ostojic?
13 A. I cannot recognise myself there.
14 MR. HARMON: Could this have a number, this particular image?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It looks to me as though this man is
17 THE REGISTRAR: P1276, Your Honours.
18 MR. HARMON: Well, let me try to refresh your recollection again,
19 Mr. Ostojic. If you take a look at image --
20 JUDGE ORIE: You are asking for this particular image to be -- get
21 a number. In fact, it would be P876.
22 MR. HARMON: That's correct, Your Honour. I'm sorry.
23 Q. There's another image, Mr. Ostojic --
24 MR. JOSSE: Your Honour, I appreciate that my learned friend needs
25 to go quickly, but the answer the witness gave which is on a transcript
1 was basically obscured by an attempt to get the number.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just have a look.
3 MR. JOSSE: It is on the transcript. He said, "It looks to me as
4 if this man is shorter."
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's on the transcript. I heard that and --
7 MR. JOSSE: Thank you.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, it appears on the transcript.
9 Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
10 MR. HARMON:
11 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to look to another image. And for the
12 registrar's benefit if you would turn to 00456978.
13 Mr. Ostojic, look at that image, please?
14 MR. HARMON: And, Your Honours, this is an image also that needs a
16 THE REGISTRAR: That would be P1277, Your Honours.
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Mr. Ostojic, prior to your visit in Susica camp, an effort was
19 made to hide the inmates and therefore hide the belongings so
20 representatives from the conference on security and cooperation in Europe
21 would not see them. The image I'm showing you now, Mr. Ostojic, is a
22 photograph taken of clothes and articles of prisoners that were concealed
23 behind boxes. Does that refresh your recollection, Mr. Ostojic?
24 A. No. I simply have no recollection of ever seeing this with my own
25 eyes or visiting myself.
1 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to turn to a different topic, and that is
2 found in paragraph 31 of your interview where you said that you disagreed
3 with the allegation that had been put to you that the SDS party in the
4 period of late 1991 and throughout 1992 increasingly came to control the
5 media outlets in the territory of the Republika Srpska.
6 If we turn, Mr. Ostojic, to tab 67, this is P64, P65, Treanor 14,
7 tab 213, P583, tab 216.
8 Mr. Ostojic, the document that is being shown to you is an excerpt
9 from the 22nd Session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly held on the 23rd and
10 24th of November, 1992. Mr. Ostojic, this is found at page 32 of the
11 English, and, Mr. Ostojic, you should have the excerpt in front of you.
12 It is 27 of the B/C/S, and I'm going to quote you, Mr. Ostojic.
13 "Mr. President" -- the second sentence I'll quote.
14 "The magazine Srpksa Vojska published at the Serb army
15 headquarters aims at showing that the information system of the Serb
16 nation is developing in the direction defined by the SDS and directed by
17 the National Assembly and its executive organs."
18 Those are your words, Mr. Ostojic, in November of 1992. Do you
19 remember making them?
20 A. I don't remember saying this, but I see that it's written that
22 Q. Mr. Ostojic, do you remember that at the end of July going to
23 Banja Luka and summoning a meeting of the editors of all the Krajina
24 media, Glas, Radio and TV Banja Luka, and other radio stations? The topic
25 of the meeting was to decide guidelines for the general direction of all
1 Serbian media in Bosnian Krajina. And the intention of that meeting was
2 to orient the editors in the direction of the ideology of the SDS. Do you
3 remember that meeting, Mr. Ostojic?
4 A. I don't remember the meeting. It's possible that I had a meeting,
5 one in a series of countless meetings I had with journalists, including
6 various interviews. But I cannot remember precisely.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, Mr. Harmon, one question in between.
8 Mr. Ostojic, the magazine Srpska Vojska, was that a
9 government-edited magazine or was it a privately owned and -- I'm trying
10 to find out whether this is a specific government organ or whether it was
11 part of the independent press.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is not a newspaper. It is not
13 an independent medium, nor a privately owned medium, nor is it a
14 government-controlled medium. It was prepared by a publishing section of
15 the Main Staff of the Serb army.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
17 Please proceed, Mr. Harmon.
18 MR. HARMON:
19 Q. In paragraph 8, or page 8, paragraph 34 of your statement you were
20 asked questions about local attempts to control media content, and you
21 said and you were shown evidence of such a situation in the municipality
22 of Petrovac. And you considered that to be an isolated case.
23 Let us turn, first of all, to tab 80.
24 MR. HARMON: It needs an exhibit number.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1278, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
2 MR. HARMON:
3 Q. This document, tab 80, Mr. Ostojic, is a -- from Kljuc
4 municipality, the Crisis Staff of the Kljuc Municipal Assembly. It's May
5 of 1992, and I direct your attention, Mr. Ostojic, to the section that
6 deals above VI.
7 This isn't paginated, but, Your Honour, in English it's -- the
8 last four digits are 7665. And this document, and I will quote it to you,
9 Mr. Ostojic.
10 "The work of Radio Kljuc will be carried out according to Crisis
11 Staff instructions and the execution of tasks will be the responsibility
12 of," and it names two people, "whose task is to determine the internal
13 organisation and the entire work of Radio Kljuc."
14 Mr. Ostojic, let's turn to tab 82, which --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Also would need a number, Mr. Harmon?
16 MR. HARMON: Yes, this needs a number.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1279, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
19 MR. HARMON:
20 Q. This document, Mr. Ostojic, is dated the 29th of May, 1992. It's
21 a decision of the Crisis Staff of the municipality of Ilidza, and in the
22 decision, item 1, the Ilidza Radio Television network is founded. And if
23 you turn to item 6, for its work the board is responsible to the Crisis
24 Staff, respectively to the Serb municipality of Ilidza. And if you turn
25 to tab 83, Mr. Ostojic.
1 MR. HARMON: This is a document that needs a number.
2 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1280, Your Honours.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
4 MR. HARMON: This is dated the 8th of June, from Sanski Most
5 municipality. This is a -- it says in item 1: The political and
6 information department of the Crisis Staff of the SDS is hereby informed.
7 Vlado Vrkes is appointed head of the department. It names another person
8 as a deputy head. They shall form a department encompassing the staff of
9 the radio station, political commissioners from the field, and it goes on.
10 The Court has heard evidence in P186, an exhibit, that Mr. Vrkes
11 was in charge of implementing the ideas of the SDS leadership at the level
12 of the republic, regional, and municipality levels. Do these examples
13 I've shown you illustrate that Bosanski Petrovac was not an isolated case?
14 A. In the sense in which Radio Bosanski Petrovac is concerned in the
15 question, I still maintain that it was an exception because it was their
16 editorial policy. In this case, the document mentions only the
17 establishment of the Radio Television.
18 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to change topics, because one of -- I
19 want to direct you to paragraph 36 of your statement when you were asked
20 about a statement that was heard on the radio in Foca on the 9th of April,
21 1992. You denied making the statement, saying that your father had died
22 on the 25th of March, and that you stayed in your family's house for a
23 longer period of time, according to Orthodox customs. When did your --
24 when did you arrive in your family's home following the death of your
25 father, what date?
1 A. 24th of March, in the evening, 1992.
2 Q. How long did you stay at your family's home?
3 A. I stayed until, according to the Orthodox custom, I performed the
4 rite on the 40th day after the death of my father.
5 Q. Do I --
6 A. The first according to the custom is funeral, on the day of the
7 funeral --
8 Q. I'm not interested -- at this point, Mr. Ostojic, I'm interested
9 in dates. How many days did you stay at your family's home in the Foca
10 municipality following the death of your father?
11 A. It's actually a village around 25 kilometres away from Foca, maybe
12 more. I stayed until almost the end of April, until the 40th day after
13 the death of my father.
14 Q. Mr. Ostojic, in paragraph 36 you said that, and I quote: "I was
15 physically not able to state on the radio after Foca had fallen into Serb
16 hands that the township was Serbian," and it goes on. What did you mean
17 by "physically not able to state on the radio"?
18 A. Because I was in that village, that is as remote from Foca as it
19 says here. Because I was visiting with my mother, who is 90 years old and
20 who was alone. Because I have no other family, no sister, no brother, so
21 I had to take care of my mother during that time and I had to stay at her
23 Q. Did you at any time while you were in Foca, from your family
24 residence or other location in Foca, make any communications via the
25 radio? Did you make any reports what about what was happening in Foca or
1 did you have the means to do so?
2 A. That was when I arrived at Pale.
3 Q. While you were in Foca, Mr. Ostojic, did you make reports about
4 the situation in Foca and what was happening in Foca, through any media
5 form whatsoever, including the radio?
6 A. I think that once when I went to call on my uncle in that period,
7 and when I took him to Celebici to my family home, there were some
8 journalists who turned up there and I gave them a statement. It was not a
9 report; it was just a statement.
10 Q. When was that, Mr. Ostojic, approximately, what date?
11 A. Well, it could have been at the time of the 40-day rite, around
12 the 20th of April, let's say.
13 Q. Mr. Ostojic, we're going to go through a series of exhibits very
14 quickly. If we could go to tab 48, please, Mr. Ostojic.
15 MR. HARMON: This needs a number.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar.
17 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1281, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
19 MR. HARMON:
20 Q. Mr. Ostojic, this is an English text. It is from the Radio --
21 Belgrade Radio network. It is dated the 8th of April, 1992, and it
22 says: "Velibor Ostojic report." And it discusses in this what was
23 happening in the municipality of Foca.
24 Let me turn to a different document, Mr. Ostojic, tab 50, if you
25 could look at that. Mr. Ostojic --
1 MR. HARMON: This needs a number. I'm sorry, Mr. Registrar, this
2 needs a number.
3 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P1282, Your Honours.
4 MR. HARMON:
5 Q. Mr. Ostojic, this is two reports, there are two. One is found on
6 the first page of the English, one is found on the second page. The first
7 of the page, this is 14th of April, 1992, Belgrade Radio Network, Velibor
8 Ostojic report from Foca. That's at 1500 hours.
9 If we turn the page, we see the same date, same news media, at
10 1300 hours Velibor Ostojic report from Foca --
11 JUDGE ORIE: Let me try to find it, Mr. Harmon, I have some
12 problems. Yes, the first one was 48, the second one was 50, yes.
13 MR. HARMON: There are two reports in 50, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I was looking at the next one, which is not the
15 right one.
16 MR. HARMON: Then -- Your Honour, I need to go into private
17 session on this particular document.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We'll turn into private session.
19 MR. HARMON: I'm going to refer --
20 [Private session]
11 Page 26736 redacted. Private session.
21 [Open session]
22 MR. HARMON:
23 Q. Mr. Ostojic, this is a document that is dated the 23rd of April,
24 1992, Belgrade Radio. It's Velibor Ostojic, report from Foca. And it
25 says, Mr. Ostojic, that the Serbian people of the Foca region are
1 indignant of yesterday's reporting by some agencies on the supposed
2 genocide of Muslim people. Such news is really only lies and untruths.
3 We categorically reject such things. No one is touching or endangering
4 the Serb -- the civilian population or their property."
5 Mr. Ostojic, these documents -- these reports from Foca, do they
6 refresh your recollection, Mr. Ostojic?
7 MR. JOSSE: I take the greatest exception to this extraordinarily
8 long question.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 MR. JOSSE: The witness cannot deal with these unless each and
11 every extract is put to him, in my submission.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps we first approach it in a more general
14 Mr. Ostojic, what Mr. Harmon did is he gave a large number of --
15 he put a large number of documents to you, which all suggest that your
16 activity at that time was not focussing on family issues, but that you
17 were at least involved, rather intensively, in reporting on what happened
18 in Foca and that you have met the representatives of international
19 organisations. And he does so, I take it, because in your statement you
20 said: I could not have given a certain radio statement because I was with
21 my family and at least at 25 kilometres from Foca.
22 Would you, in view of the number of documents Mr. Harmon has put
23 to you, would you comment on your possibility or impossibility to make
24 even one statement in a radio programme?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, when I said that I was
1 physically unable to give the statement that was quoted in my statement in
2 paragraph 36 on page 9 of the statement under discussion, I meant that
3 statement, that I was physically unable to give it. And I suppose that it
4 regarded the time when I was in my family home.
5 And as for these reports, I said that I remembered being in Foca
6 on the 20th of April, around that date, at my uncle's home. And there is
7 a telephone in my home in Celebici. And I talked to late Koljevic, and he
8 told me that he would come to Foca on the 19th, 20th, or the 21st, and
9 that I should be there to take his car with him to Pale, to the seat of
10 the government of Republika Srpska. That's when I met with Mr. Koljevic
11 at my uncle's home, and that's where the mission was. And I remember it
13 And then a crew from Radio Belgrade was on the same spot. They
14 wanted a statement from me that they turned into reports, whereas in fact
15 I gave them statements about what I was able to find out while being at my
16 uncle's home. And I gave a statement about what was going on in Foca in
17 those days.
18 So those are the statements that I gave to Radio Belgrade, a crew
19 of which found me at my uncle's house, which was in the suburbs, and that
20 much is true. However, before or after that day when I was expecting to
21 meet Mr. Koljevic, what I stated earlier about being physically unable to
22 give such statements, that regards the period up to the 15th of April when
23 I wasn't in Foca.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harmon, last question, please.
25 MR. HARMON:
1 Q. Mr. Ostojic, in respect of paragraph 40 of your statement, you
2 were confronted with allegations that had been made in this court that you
3 attended a meeting on approximately the 10th of May. Mr. Deronjic
4 reported the ethnic cleansing of the municipality of the Bratunac. You
5 said that you denied being present at that meeting and you deny making
6 a -- such a statement. And you asserted that blue was not the colour of
8 Let me direct you to tab 57, Mr. Ostojic. 57, Mr. Ostojic, is an
9 exhibit. This is P65, Treanor 12, tab 127 and 129. This is the 16th
10 Session of the Bosnian Serb Assembly.
11 Mr. Ostojic, you are quoted in this. I'm going to refer you to --
12 in the B/C/S language to page 22 --
13 JUDGE ORIE: It's empty in our binders, Mr. Harmon, but if you
14 would please then slowly quote of this document which is in evidence
16 MR. HARMON:
17 Q. You have it -- Mr. Ostojic, you have it. I'm going to refer you
18 to page 22 in the B/C/S. It has the last four digits of the ERN 7737.
19 Mr. Ostojic, the quotation, Mr. Ostojic, I'm going to be directing
20 your attention to reads as follows: "Thus I appeal and plead that we get
21 started working in that fashion. The third thing as far as realisation of
22 strategic goals is concerned, that they have been presented here in rather
23 general terms, these goals may be developed further and presented as
24 variations or as including a set of mutually complimentary subgoals.
25 However, here is one point of view. We have the idea and the realisation
1 of this map of ours, and I do believe I was the first to start drawing the
2 map and they are an idea on which the diplomacy has to work, but they, the
3 borders, will be drawn and established only when we make them a fact. I
4 believe that peace with Alija can only be achieved by war."
5 It goes on to say that: "Europe and diplomatic circles will
6 recognise something that is under our control."
7 And it -- that session Mr. Krajisnik says, and I'm referring
8 page 49 of the English. And, Mr. Ostojic, for your benefit it is found at
9 page 36 of the B/C/S.
10 JUDGE ORIE: I'm afraid, Mr. Ostojic neither has it. Could you
11 take it -- I take it you are talking about the colour. Could you come to
12 your point and then --
13 MR. HARMON: May I, Your Honour, ask two questions instead of just
14 one because I can't frame it any other way?
15 JUDGE ORIE: Well, let's start with the first one and then
16 we'll --
17 MR. HARMON:
18 Q. Mr. Ostojic, the fact is that you were quite familiar with and
19 used maps that depicted Serb-occupied territory in the colour blue,
20 contrary to what you suggest in your statement to this Tribunal. Isn't
21 that the case?
22 A. It is not the case. I have nothing before me. I have empty tabs,
23 empty pages. I don't have a single document.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, forget for one moment about the tabs.
25 Are you familiar or would you agree, that's the question put to you by
1 Mr. Harmon, that on maps often the colour blue was used to indicate what
2 portion of a territory was occupied by or controlled by Serbs?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wouldn't agree, Your Honour. This
4 was not exclusively in that colour. It was --
5 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter missed the end of the answer.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please repeat your last part of your
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I wouldn't agree that
9 this was exclusively in the colour blue, that the so-called "occupied
10 territories" were only in blue. It is possible that those were the
11 boundaries of municipalities with the Serb population. Now whether they
12 were marked in red, white, blue, blue and red, blue and white, I really
13 wouldn't know. This varied from one case to another.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, I would highly appreciate it if you do
15 not change my question while giving an answer. I never
16 said "exclusively." I said "often the colour blue was used." Would you
17 agree with that?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would say that oftentimes colour
19 blue was used.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
21 MR. HARMON: Then one final point I need to direct his attention
22 to, Your Honour, in this --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Well, but that is really then is the last one,
24 Mr. Harmon.
25 MR. HARMON: It will be, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Krajisnik at that same session, Mr. Ostojic, in describing the
2 strategic objectives, and particularly the first strategic objectives,
3 said, and I quote, I'm referring to page 49 of the English version: "That
4 is why it would be good, my dear gentlemen, to take care to leave enough
5 space for division. I shall be a bit immodest. Do not hold it against
6 me. We once placed the option on our agenda of making a map, and should
7 anyone offer us 80 per cent of the territory we would not be able to work
8 out a partition. Even if there were -- even if we were deciding on how to
9 do a partition because it is very difficult, we are everywhere. That is
10 why I propose that we also adopt a conclusion, that a group is to be
11 established, a working-group, and a commission which would say: Here,
12 this is the map. I like Mr. Ostojic's maps most, and everything on them
13 is blue."
14 Mr. Ostojic, you did attend the meeting in Glogova on the 10th of
15 May. You did use a map that depicted Serb territories, and those
16 territories were coloured blue, weren't they?
17 A. No, I did not attend the meeting on the 10th of May in Glogova
18 because on the 10th of May I was in Pale.
19 Q. Well, I meant Pale.
20 MR. HARMON: Your Honours, thank you very much for the indulgence.
21 Q. Mr. Ostojic, thank you very much.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, just to clarify the latter.
23 Mr. Ostojic, Mr. Harmon made a mistake when he said you did attend
24 the meeting in Glogova on the 10th of May and that you used the map,
25 et cetera. You said: "No, I did not attend the meeting on the 10th of
1 May in Glogova" because you were in Pale. Did you attend that meeting
2 in Pale of which Mr. --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no. On the 10th of May I was in
4 Pale in the government, and I was drafting the law on the Ministry of
5 Information for the following session of the government which was to take
6 place on the 12th of May in Banja Luka. And already on the 11th of May I
7 was on my way to Banja Luka.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Ostojic.
9 We'll have a break. We'll have it as briefly as possible.
10 Mr. Registrar, would it be possible to resume at five minutes
11 to 1.00.
12 Yes, we'll resume at five minutes to 1.00 sharp.
13 --- Recess taken at 12.38 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 12.56 p.m.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, you'll now be examined by Mr. Josse,
16 counsel for the Defence.
17 And, Mr. Harmon, I'm drawing your attention to the fact that on
18 page 47, line 14, I think your question, at least as it appears in the
19 transcript is a Presidency session in which Mr. Ostojic would have been
20 present, where I think as a matter of fact that you were then referring to
21 a government session.
22 MR. HARMON: That's correct, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: And that's how I, at least, thought that Mr. Ostojic
24 would have understood that question, but it's not a major issue, I think.
25 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
1 Further examination by Mr. Josse:
2 Q. The first thing I'd like to ask you about is as follows. This
3 Court has heard evidence from an English academic called Dr. Mark
4 Thompson, who was called as a purported expert on the media of your
5 country during the war that this case involves. Have you ever heard of
6 such a man?
7 A. No.
8 Q. He asserts, and it's fair to say that he reads and understands
9 your language, that the SDS in Bosnia successfully brought media outlets
10 under its control. And using these -- I beg your pardon, and using those
11 media as megaphones sought to convince Serbs that their very existence was
12 threatened by Muslim and Croat genocidal tendencies fueled by ambitions
13 for independence. What do you say about that conclusion from the expert,
14 Dr. Thompson?
15 A. I think that it is erroneous, biased, and incorrect. The SDS did
16 not have its own media, and Republika Srpska, through the laws that it
17 passed, showed that it did not have any desire to control the media. And
18 of course it did not have any influence on the editorial policy of the
20 Q. He went on to say, and I quote: "That far from performing the
21 usual watch-dog role of media in a democracy, the media outlets under
22 actual or effective SDS control were used to block, express and
23 marginalise information and opinion that dissented from the SDS orthodoxy.
24 There was wholesale support in this effort from influential outlets in
25 Serbia, in particular RTS, Serbian state broadcast network."
1 What do you say about that?
2 A. I apologise. Would you please repeat the question.
3 Q. Yes. I'll actually break this quote up. Firstly, he did: "that
4 far from performing the usual watch-dog role of media in a democracy, the
5 media outlets under actual or effective SDS control were used to block,
6 express, and marginalise information and opinion that dissented from SDS
8 That was what Dr. Thompson said. What's your view about that?
9 A. My opinion is entirely different. Having spent long years working
10 in the media, I give myself right to provide the following evaluation.
11 The media in Republika Srpska were independent and free in the expression
12 of their journalistic activity. This can be proven by the law on
13 information of Republika Srpska.
14 Secondly, the media in Republika Srpska, which were established
15 sometime in mid-1992 as the media of Republika Srpska, published all
16 information regardless of the political position of those who appeared in
17 the news. And they reported on all the events in their programmes. In
18 other words, this claim is not correct. It is far-fetched. And what I am
19 talking about can be found in the archives of either the electronic media
20 or the written media. And you can see that the media Republika Srpska
21 were very broad coverage of all different information.
22 Q. He went on to say that: "There was wholesale support in this
23 effort from influential media outlets in Serbia, in particular RTS, the
24 Serbian state broadcast network."
25 In other words, he says that RTS supported your efforts in
1 marginalising information and opinion that dissented from SDS orthodoxy.
2 What do you say about the Serbian involvement?
3 A. I believe that this allegation is not correct. The media in
4 Republika Srpska and by the nature of things, if we are talking about the
5 Radio Television of Serbia, the equivalent would be the Serbian Radio
6 Television. In other words, the Serbian Radio Television was an
7 independent medium and it was under nobody's control, under nobody's
8 influence, under no other media influence. In other words, it performed
9 its information function independently and under no influences.
10 And if you're talking about the information activity of the
11 television in Republika Srpska and the Radio Television of Serbia, in one
12 breath would be a very unprofessional way of looking at the activity of
13 both media. It is a fact that journalists of the Radio Television of
14 Serbia, like all the other journalists representing all the other
15 international media, had an opportunity to report from Republika Srpska.
16 Q. Now, he gave eight areas that in his opinion demonstrated the SDS
17 leadership's determination to control media outlets in the
18 Republika Srpska. I'm going to go through these one by one. If you could
19 comment on each of these briefly, I'd be grateful. A number have been
20 dealt with in your statement.
21 Firstly, he said: "Attacks on and efforts to divide Radio
22 Television Sarajevo, RTVSA."
23 A. There are documents to that effect, speaking of broad public
24 discussion amongst all the members of the coalition government and all the
25 parties that constituted the coalition government of Bosnia and
2 It is widely known that the Radio Television of Sarajevo did not
3 report objectively and did not report professionally, and therefore it
4 should have been reformed and reorganised by introducing new broadcasting
5 channels that would be much better at expressing the needs of certain
6 groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
7 Q. Secondly, he relied on the establishment of control over RTVSA
8 transmitters. I know that's something you have dealt with in your
9 statement. Is there anything else you want to add about that?
10 A. The organised activities with regard to the establishment of
11 control over RTVSA transmitters did not exist. But, as I've already said,
12 there were some isolated individual cases.
13 In two cases, individuals acted in that way with regard to the
14 transmitter on Mount Kozara, and a transmitter which was not as a matter
15 of fact a transmitter but a repeater at Ciganiste near Doboj. However,
16 the interventions of these individuals also happened in Majevica, Trovrh
17 and Pljesevica. These individual interventions were very soon eliminated.
18 Q. Next he relied on attacks on the premises and staff of
19 Oslobodjenje newspaper.
20 A. I don't remember any such case. I don't have information showing
21 that there were attacks on the Oslobodjenje newspaper, and I don't know
22 what period he is referring to when he says that. And I believe that this
23 is an allegation which has been taken out of the context of the overall
24 developments at the time.
25 Q. His fourth point was the SDS establishing control of Glas
1 newspaper based in Banja Luka.
2 A. I think that this is a malicious statement which can be refuted by
3 irrefutable proof about the activity of the government of Republika Srpska
4 during the time. This activity was aimed at turning a little-developed
5 regional paper into a daily that would be able to perform its information
7 Secondly, I am not aware of any activity on the part of the SDS
8 involving that medium, but I claim with full responsibility that every
9 activity of the government aimed at empowering that paper called Glas and
10 raising that paper to the level of a daily. Before they received the
11 government's assistance, Glas was not a daily, it was a periodical. After
12 an extensive assistance by the government of Republika Srpska, and the
13 assistance was of financial and material nature, that paper became a
14 daily. There was no activity on the part of the SDS there. The activity
15 was aimed at turning a periodical paper into a daily that would cover a
16 much larger area, and all the technical and financial support was given
17 with that goal in mind.
18 Q. The fifth point was establishing control of the TVSA studio in
19 Banja Luka. Any comment on that?
20 A. There was no such studio. At the beginning of 1992, until the
21 important laws were passed in Republika Srpska which dealt with
22 information and electronic media in Republika Srpska, there was an
23 information and technical centre there of the Radio Television Sarajevo
24 which was not capable of producing independent information. They could
25 just process the recorded material and send it via link to the Radio
1 Television Sarajevo studio in Sarajevo. And it was there where it was
2 decided whether any of that material would be broadcast or not. Very
3 often the RTV Sarajevo would reject any such material, and there were a
4 lot of complaints about that addressed at me as minister in the coalition
6 The government of Republika Srpska, i.e., its Ministry of
7 Information, took measures in May and June in order to turn this
8 information and technical centre into a television centre which would be
9 able to broadcast programmes independently. At the beginning it could
10 broadcast only to the extent covered by the transmitter on Mount Kozara.
11 Q. Number 6, establishing control over Radio Banja Luka.
12 A. Radio Banja Luka, until the year 1992, was a local town, a radio,
13 which was incorporated into the so-called joint programme of the radio
14 stations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
15 As for its editorial policy, as well as of the other local
16 stations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was decided in the central editorial
17 programme board of Radio Sarajevo. It was only when the normative and
18 material activity was undertaken by the government of Republika Srpska,
19 just like in the case of the information and technical centre in
20 Banja Luka, which happened in the second half of 1992, did Radio
21 Banja Luka receive technical and material capabilities to be able to
22 broadcast its programmes independently. And it did start broadcasting
23 independently in keeping with the law on Radio Television of
24 Republika Srpska, which at the moment was known as the Serbian Radio
25 Television, Banja Luka studio.
1 The law on information, which was implemented as of mid-June,
2 unequivocally regulated the relationship between the founder, which was
3 the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, and Radio Banja Luka. In
4 editorial terms, Radio Banja Luka was an independent medium, i.e., the
5 journalists were independent in editing their programmes.
6 Q. The seventh point is a rather general one and one that, for the
7 most part, you dealt with, but I'll put it to you nonetheless.
8 Establishment of SRNA, establishment of SRT, and printed media in
9 Serbia-controlled areas. Is there anything specific you'd like to say
10 about that that you haven't already in the course of your testimony?
11 A. I would just like to add to that that the government of
12 Republika Srpska, through its Ministry of Information, managed to change
13 the Banja Luka Glas from an insignificant paper into a daily. And this is
14 all that the government of Republika Srpska did.
15 And I've told you everything else about the media. SRNA was a
16 news agency which was also founded in order to provide agency news in a
17 profession manner. This news was news not only by the Radio Television of
18 Republika Srpska, but its news was taken over by a number of international
19 agencies, which can be seen from the daily bulletin of the news agency
20 SRNA. And you can see in those bulletins which well-known international
21 agencies used the services of SRNA, which means that those services were
23 The law on the -- of the open market says that if the news of one
24 agency is not up to the standard of another agency, the latter will not
25 take that news over. Because there is payment involved, there is money
1 involved. The fact that the agency news of SRNA were -- was taken over by
2 powerful international news agencies shows to prove that SRNA worked in a
3 professional and objective way.
4 Q. Dr. Thompson's eighth and final point, again something you have
5 dealt with and indeed you've just been asked about by my learned friend,
6 Mr. Harmon, was the issuance of instructions from SDS and Republika Srpska
7 bodies to secure control of media entities. Presumably you stick by your
8 assertion that that basically did not happen?
9 A. Of course. First of all, I would like to stick to what I have
10 already said, but I would like to confirm this and illustrate it.
11 The competencies of the minister of information was to talk freely
12 to the journalists, and the Ministry of Information of Republika Srpska
13 never resorted to such an administrative measure to organise briefings for
14 the journalists. This is a well-known administrative issue in the sphere
15 of information or, as it is stated here, instruction.
16 In journalism, it is very difficult to establish something that
17 you might call as instructing journalists. Journalism requires regulation
18 and it implies that journalists are independent in the performance of
19 their duties.
20 Q. You were asked specifically in your interview with a particular
21 broadcast by Radio Petrovac, and that was read out to you and is dealt
22 with at paragraph 34 of your statement.
23 I'm going to read to you what you said about that during the
24 course of your interview, because it's rather fuller than the answer we
25 see at paragraph 34. You said: "I want to say three things. First, at
1 the general level, I want to say there was no editorial policy in the
2 media in Republika Srpska that aimed at inspiring or influencing any
3 individual crimes, and you can see that from the documents of the
4 government and the Ministry of Information. Number two, there was no
5 information and propaganda planned for such a thing. And three, the quote
6 from Radio Petrovac does not show any aggressive policy or war-mongering.
7 It's simply an assessment of the situation but rather clumsily done. It
8 speaks about the defence of one's own people against the enemy that's
9 either surrounding them or that may be somewhere on the horizon. There is
10 a feeling that the enemy is coming. I see it as a call to be vigilant,
11 but I don't really know about this quotation. To conclude, the Radio
12 Petrovac example is rather an isolated incident, an exception, and it's
13 not a system or a plan."
14 Do you stick by that answer that you gave during the course of
15 your interview?
16 Perhaps you didn't catch my question at the end of the quotation,
17 Mr. Ostojic. The question was: Do you stick by that quotation that I
18 have just read out that you gave during the course of your interview with
19 a Legal Officer of this Chamber?
20 A. This was a comment to the allegations about Radio Petrovac. I
21 don't have that in that same form in the statement that is before me under
22 item 34. This is a shortened statement.
23 Since, things being as they are, I would like to say the
24 following. And this could be seen -- and one can say this was an isolated
25 case with regard to the story of the editorial policy of a local media.
1 Second of all, Radio Petrovac, under technological terms, was a medium
2 under minor influence and minor range. And third of all, I cannot accept
3 this case as an example of the global activity of the media in
4 Republika Srpska. I stick by my statement that this was an isolated case.
5 Q. Do you have any recollection of visiting Prijedor in August of
6 1992 accompanied by a large group of foreign journalists?
7 A. Yes. This was the group that I took from Belgrade, and I held two
8 press conferences, one in Belgrade and the other one in Bijeljina. And I
9 was also almost a personal escort to all those media. The column was
10 about -- almost a kilometre long. I was there to encourage them and to
11 enable them a direct access to that area because I felt amongst many of
12 them personal fear. They were afraid that they would not be able to pass
13 through, and some of these journalists told me: Mr. Minister, we will go
14 if you come along. And I took them to Prijedor, and they could see that
15 they could move about freely and that they could use that trip for
16 producing information such as they wanted.
17 Q. [Microphone not activated].
18 Shall I try now? I think the problem was I had turned my
19 microphone off and then had to turn it back on again. I'm sorry.
20 We had a technical problem, Mr. Ostojic. I'm now going to ask you
21 about paragraph 45 of your witness statement. You were asked some
22 questions about this by the learned Judge, Judge Hanoteau. Did you
23 discuss this incident, the incident of your being stopped and attacked on
24 the Bijeljina-Pale road with either Mr. Mandic or Mr. Stanisic?
25 The question is: Did you directly discuss this incident with
1 either Momcilo Mandic or Mico Stanisic?
2 A. As far as I can remember, I didn't. I was rather excited and
3 shattered, and as soon as I arrived in my office at the government I
4 drafted a written report about the case for the Ministry of Police and I
5 asked them to intervene.
6 Q. This Chamber has heard some hearsay evidence, by that I mean not a
7 first-hand account, an account from a person who had spoken to another
8 person, where it was suggested that as you were taken from the car you
9 said something along the lines of: Zvornik would become a, and I
10 quote, "dead end." Do you have any recollection of saying that?
11 A. No. The -- this would not have made any sense. There was no
12 context for me to say that. I was never in a position to say anything
13 else to that group but to identify myself as a minister on his way from
14 Bijeljina to Pale. I absolutely reject any possibility that I could have
15 said something to that effect, and I cannot collect statements from the
16 eye-witnesses who were there who can prove that, and maybe you can even
17 find people who were on the bus who were astonished by the way that group
18 treated me and threatened me.
19 And at that moment, I didn't even know what attacked me. I
20 described the event which can be seen in the archives of the government.
21 I mentioned a group that had beaten me heavily. It was only subsequently
22 at the end when they were about to let me go that one of them introduced
23 himself as Commander Zuca, and this is the only information that I had
24 about the group.
25 Q. There is a suggestion that at the same roadblock, at around about
1 the same time, not necessarily the same day, the same period, the same
2 group of Yellow Wasps waved Momcilo Mandic through the roadblock, whereas
3 they stopped you. Did you hear anything about that? And, second
4 question, can you give any explanation for that?
5 A. No, I did not know about that group until they intercepted me and
6 put so much pressure on me. To say that they mistreated me is an
7 understatement, and of course I did not hear that another member of the
8 cabinet was intercepted either before or after I was. Of course I heard
9 something like that happened, although not to Mr. Mandic but Minister
10 Lajic, minister for communications, around that time. Not the same day
12 Q. And finally on this topic, do you have any idea who was charged by
13 the minister of the interior with cleaning up the Yellow Wasps?
14 A. I don't know. But I was informed that the Ministry of Police took
15 urgent steps to clear out the Yellow Wasps and, as I said before and if I
16 remember correctly, that was done very quickly within several days.
17 Q. In your statement at paragraph 19 you say, and I quote: "The
18 relationship between me and Mr. Krajisnik was very official."
19 What do you mean by the words "very official"?
20 A. I meant business-like, first and foremost, professional and
21 business-like. We did our respective jobs within the powers vested in us.
22 Q. You would say, would you not, that when Mr. Krajisnik was
23 president of the Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he felt that
24 solutions should be sought that would ensure equality between ethnic
25 groups and that predisposition was clear in the way he conducted
1 parliamentary business. Do you agree with that statement?
2 A. Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that Mr. Krajisnik himself
3 said as much on many occasions during fierce debates in the Assembly of
4 Bosnia and Herzegovina. And his style of leadership over the multi-party,
5 multi-ethnic and very complex Assembly on very complex circumstances
6 demonstrated precisely his capacity for rational thinking that led me to
7 make this assessment. He was the Speaker of an Assembly where he had many
8 times to appease very fierce discussions and contributions that sometimes
9 went out of control.
10 Q. And you would contrast the air of tolerance, dialogue, and
11 democratic decision-making that existed within that Assembly to the
12 situation that was occurring at the same time in the cabinet and
13 Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Would you agree with that
15 A. Yes. And when I said that I, too, had a very business-like and
16 official relationship with Mr. Krajisnik, I also meant by that that
17 Mr. Krajisnik, as Speaker of the Assembly, never interfered with my line
18 of work unless that was justified by his own work.
19 And I also wanted to raise one more thing that I remember, now you
20 ask me this. The sessions of the then-Presidency of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, and even the sessions of the government of Bosnia and
22 Herzegovina, and even the People's Assembly of BH, were broadcast at the
23 time - that was the latter part of 1991 and 1992 - and there was a great
24 contrast between the style of the Speaker of the Assembly, which exuded
25 tolerance. Although, by its very nature the Assembly gives greater
1 freedom of expression than in the Presidency, on one hand, and the work of
2 the Presidency where members of the Presidency would sometimes even walk
3 out because they were dissatisfied with the way the president of the
4 Presidency was conducting the deliberations. In the government where I
5 worked, government sessions were often interrupted as well in order to
6 resume dialogue and try to conduct the session in a more or less normal
8 Q. In paragraph 23 of your statement, you talk about efforts that you
9 made to try and reform the central media in Bosnia and Herzegovina because
10 of the way that you believe the Serbian ethnic group was being ignored.
11 You talk about proposed amendments which had the support of the Croatian
12 Democratic Union but did not win a majority. What sort of reforms did you
13 propose at that time?
14 A. I think that in this interview, in broader terms than expressed in
15 this paragraph, I managed to say that on the 18th of November, 1990, when
16 the coalition government, composed of SDA, SDS, and HDZ, came into power,
17 it inherited a sort of cemented situation in the media, the leading media,
18 of Bosnia and Herzegovina, primarily Radio Television Sarajevo and
19 Oslobodjenje newspaper. The previous authorities of the Socialist
20 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina made up of members of the League of
21 Communists of Bosnia and Herzegovina had cemented this law on
22 Radio Television Sarajevo, the law on information, and others, and
23 appointed its own members to the posts such as editors-in-chief,
24 programming, directors of television stations and leading newspapers. And
25 the situation we inherited from the previous authorities was such that the
1 new authorities could do nothing to reform organisationally or in terms of
2 programming the Radio Television Sarajevo or the Oslobodjenje newspaper.
3 So based on consultations held within the cabinet and within the
4 Ministry of Information that was made up of representatives of all three
5 ethnic groups, some reforms were proposed to reform the media, to open new
6 television channels under the umbrella of Radio Television Sarajevo for
7 which all the technical conditions existed, and to reform the management
8 that in professional terms did not meet the requirements of the future
9 reforming government made up of these three parties that had won the
10 elections on the 18th of November that year.
11 Q. In terms of this pre-war period, I'd like to ask you about a
12 passage in your interview, so it's not in the statement you have in front
13 of you. It's at page 22 for the benefit of those that have this
15 This interview, Mr. Ostojic, though conducted in your language
16 with the aid of an interpreter, has never been transcribed into your
17 language. So I will have to read it to you. You were asked by
18 Ms. Karsten, who was asking questions on behalf of the Chamber, about the
19 take-over of power in municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a
20 reference you had made to a plan among the Bosnian Serb leadership. And
21 you said: "I think that there was a general trend of the demands from the
22 grassroots or on the ground that some decentralisation of local government
23 should be carried out. All the three ethnic groups dealt with this issue
24 and discussed how to reorganise government at the municipal level, so this
25 issue ended up at the government session. I think the Cutileiro Plan
1 reflected this idea of all three local groups towards decentralisation and
2 reorganisation of local government."
3 Could you expand upon that at all, please?
4 A. It was not a plan. It was a general public debate. It was an
5 across-the-board demand of all ethnic groups at a grassroot level to
6 perform a decentralisation of local authorities on the republican level,
7 because not a single ethnic group was happy with the way municipalities
8 were delineated by the former communist powers. Therefore, members of the
9 government who were Muslims, Muslim representatives, tabled proposals to
10 reform the Janja municipality and to separate it from Bijeljina
11 municipality, to separate Dobrotin or Dobrocic from Jajce municipality at
12 the request of Croats, of the Croat population. Serb population at local
13 level also had its own demands. And all of them were subsumed into one
14 general need to perform decentralisation, including changes in local
15 structure to grant maximum rights to municipalities and to rule out the
16 possibility of out-voting between ethnic groups.
17 So this was a completely justified request from grassroot level by
18 all ethnic groups because municipalities had been formed prior to 1990 --
19 over that long period prior to that year, 1990, in a completely artificial
20 manner. So this was discussed by the government of Bosnia and
21 Herzegovina, and one of its conclusions was that the relevant ministry,
22 the ministry for local self-administration, should use all these proposals
23 from the local level as a basis for making a proposal of its own
24 concerning the way municipalities should be structured in the future and
25 the way in which they would be the -- the power would be decentralised.
1 Q. I want to now take you to the period after May of 1992 and ask you
2 about the members of the Presidency at that time, that is after May of
3 1992, in the Republic of Srpska. Would you agree with my proposition that
4 the only members of the Presidency at that time were Mr. Karadzic,
5 Mr. Koljevic, and Mrs. Plavsic?
6 A. Without any legislation to support various arguments, we can
7 discuss this issue in one way or another. We can look at it in different
8 ways. However, the legislation of Republika Srpska stipulated that
9 members of the Presidency of Republika Srpska are precisely those that you
10 named: The president of the Serbian Democratic Party or the president of
11 Republika Srpska, that is Mr. Karadzic, late Mr. Koljevic, and
12 Mrs. Plavsic. According to the legislation that prevailed in
13 Republika Srpska, they were members of the Presidency.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, could you invite the witness to further
15 expand on where he said: You could look -- "you can discuss this issue in
16 one way or another." Could you explain to us what you meant by that?
17 MR. JOSSE:
18 Q. So, Mr. Ostojic, the learned Judge is asking you to explain what
19 you meant by the words "we can discuss this issue in one way or another."
20 What do you mean by that?
21 A. I'm saying that in cases where the legislation is not clear as to
22 who the Presidency's members are, so I agree with what you said, the
23 members of the Presidency were Karadzic, late Mr. Koljevic, and
24 Mrs. Plavsic, because legislation did stipulate it.
25 Q. Did you understand -- as far as you were concerned, were either
1 Mr. Krajisnik or Mr. Djeric members of that Presidency in 1992?
2 A. No. That's neither what I understood nor was I ever told that
3 they were members of the Presidency. The Presidency took its decisions,
4 and the relevant, the competent, state authorities had the duty to
5 implement those decisions. So I repeat, in my understanding, the members
6 of the Presidency were Mr. Karadzic, late Mr. Koljevic, and Mrs. Plavsic.
7 There is a decree, I believe, according to which the members of
8 the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina became members of the Presidency
9 of Republika Srpska, because they were elected by the people to be
10 representatives of one ethnic community in the highest state body in
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 Q. When you say "that neither what I understood nor was I ever told,"
13 you're talking about 1992? You didn't understand that to be the position
14 in 1992 when you were in Pale as a member of a government nor were you
15 told it by any government or party functionary? Is that what you're
17 A. Yes, yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, if you would allow me, I would like to go
19 back for just a couple of lines.
20 Mr. Ostojic, you started your answer by saying: "Without any
21 legislation to support various arguments, we can discuss this issue in one
22 way or another. We can look at it in different ways. However, the
23 legislation of Republika Srpska stipulated that members of the Presidency
24 of Republika Srpska are precisely those that you named."
25 Your answer suggests that there is another way of looking at it
1 which is not supported by any legislation. And then you said: "However,
2 the legislation stipulated that these were the members."
3 Now, could you please explain to us how you could look at it,
4 although there is no legislative support for that, how you could look at
5 it the other way. Because that's what clearly is suggested in the
6 beginning of your answer.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, that introduction that
8 I made was an incautious comment on the question by Mr. Josse. So, if you
9 allow me, I'll correct my testimony to eliminate this incautious comment
10 of the question and to focus strictly on the question itself.
11 JUDGE ORIE: No.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And the answer would be this: The
13 members of the Presidency were strictly those that we mentioned.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, Mr. Ostojic, what you said is part of
15 your evidence. I do understand that you say it's incautious. What I
16 would like to know, and that's my question to you, what did you have in
17 mind when you made that, as you said, incautious introduction to your
18 answer? What was the other way of looking at it you had in mind?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if it is not known at this
20 moment that there existed legislation that stipulates strictly who the
21 members of the Presidency of Republika Srpska were, that's what I meant.
22 And that's why I said immediately that such legislation does exist, and it
23 stipulated clearly who the members of the Presidency of Republika Srpska
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, I asked you -- well, I have to establish that --
1 that was just --
2 Mr. Josse, please proceed.
3 MR. JOSSE:
4 Q. Let me ask you this a different way. When you said: "We can
5 discuss the issue in one way or another," did you mean anything by that
6 particular remark or was it simply a turn of phrase?
7 A. I didn't mean anything in particular. I just made an introduction
8 as a turn of phrase, indeed, for the answer that followed.
9 Q. The next topic I want to ask you about briefly only is in relation
10 to what you understood as a member of the government to be Mr. Krajisnik's
11 power. And in particular -- perhaps I'll do it like this.
12 You were asked by the learned Judge, Judge Canivell, what your
13 competencies were. After the war broke out in Republika Srpska, what did
14 you understand Mr. Krajisnik's competencies to be?
15 A. Well, first of all, I understood that Mr. Krajisnik, just all the
16 other elected MPs from the ranks of the Serbian people, had a term of
17 office as representatives of the Serbian people and that his competencies
18 were those implied in the post to which he was elected by the MPs as
19 representatives of the Serbian people; namely, to be what the MPs elected
20 him as and they continued to see him as president of the Assembly.
21 Q. What about his influence on the government, as you understood it?
22 Tell the Chamber about that.
23 A. I think, considering that I was a member of cabinet and also a
24 member of the coalition government in 1991 when Mr. Krajisnik was Speaker
25 of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and since I was also a member
1 of the government of Republika Srpska in the following year, when
2 Mr. Krajisnik was elected president of the People's Assembly of the
3 Serbian people, based on the comparison of his style in leading both
4 parliaments, I can say that the approach of Mr. Krajisnik remained
5 unchanged. In other words, apart from professional contacts I did not
6 feel that he had any stronger influence that he might have had on the
7 government of Republika Srpska than he had on the government of Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina from his position, and that what prompted me to say that our
9 relationship was very official. By that I meant very professional, within
10 the limits of our work.
11 Q. What about his ability to control in any way either the VRS or the
12 MUP of the Republika Srpska after the war had begun? Are you able to
13 comment upon that at all?
14 A. When it comes to the MUP of Republika Srpska, the MUP of
15 Republika Srpska, in organisational terms, was located as a department of
16 the government. I could not see or observe a different relationship
17 between that ministry and him than between the Ministry of Information and
18 himself. And as for the VRS, I can't tell you anything about -- without
19 any reliability because it was out of the purview of any ministry within
20 the government.
21 And at the end, let me say that the influence that any MP in the
22 National Assembly of Republika Srpska might have had on the government and
23 Mr. Krajisnik as the Speaker of the Parliament was within the norms and
24 established relationship between the National Assembly and the government
25 of Republika Srpska provided for by the law. The government was the
1 executive body of Republika Srpska and any subordination was within the
2 legislative norms.
3 Q. I'm about to run out of time, Mr. Ostojic, and there's one last
4 thing I want to ask you before I sit down and that is this. It is right,
5 as I think you stated in a preliminary telephone conversation that you had
6 with a Legal Officer of the Chamber, that you did provide a witness
7 statement to the Defence of Mr. Krajisnik. The answer to that is yes,
8 isn't it?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. But it's right, isn't it, that that --
11 A. I gave my statement.
12 Q. I'm sorry. I interrupted you. But it's right, isn't it, that
13 that statement was given as long ago as September of the year 2000 --
14 A. I gave my statement as a potential witness.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, when Mr. Josse speaks, would you please
16 refrain from speaking at the same time, because otherwise the interpreters
17 cannot follow us.
18 Mr. Josse, you're putting to the witness that the statement was
19 given a long time ago. You mentioned September of the year 2000. Please
20 continue from there.
21 MR. JOSSE:
22 Q. Would you accept that, Mr. Ostojic, that the statement that you
23 gave to those acting for Mr. Krajisnik at that time was given in the year
24 2000, in the month of September?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And it's right that you have given no statement since then?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Josse, I must admit that where I intended to be
5 very strict on timing, and I only got permission for 20 minutes, I notice
6 that where I wanted, as a matter of fact, Mr. Harmon to stop at -- after
7 exactly 75 minutes, when I said "last question," that took another couple
8 of minutes, which delayed the time a little bit, the break, and also puts
9 you in a disadvantage of a couple of minutes. So if there would be any
10 very urgent matter, and with the --
11 MR. JOSSE: Well, Your Honour, I try and present a
12 cross-examination in a reasonably cohesive and palatable way. I
13 deliberately ended with those particular questions.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
15 MR. JOSSE: Clearly an advocate needs to know when he is
16 time-barred exactly how long he's got. I was told I had to end 20 minutes
17 after 1.45. That is what I've done. In short, Your Honour, I need to
18 know in advance, not when I sit down.
19 JUDGE ORIE: I apologise. Perhaps I should have told you. I
20 said, I think, two things. I gave a time schedule, and I indicated that
21 both parties would have the same time and that would result in -- and then
22 in practice matters developed slightly different from that. And I just
23 didn't want to be unfair to you in this respect. If you say: I'd rather
24 then leave it at this moment.
25 MR. JOSSE: Well, thank you for explaining that. I don't think I
1 could be -- I could sensibly continue this cross-examination for another
2 two minutes.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
4 Then --
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE ORIE: There is one question from -- remaining from the
8 Questioned by the Court: [Continued]
9 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Ostojic, please,
10 yesterday I'm sure you remember you were shown a document that made
11 reference to Variants A and B dated the December 19, 1991. And you were
12 also shown a clipping published in Slobodna, the title of which
13 was: "Serbs, Get Ready for War."
14 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps for Belgrade that is at tab 49.
15 JUDGE HANOTEAU: Tab 49, yes.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So this was dated March 12, 1992.
18 Do you remember this, Mr. Ostojic?
19 A. I don't. I apologise. Your Honours, could you please repeat your
20 question. My concentration is not that good anymore.
21 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Do you remember that you were
22 shown this clipping that was titled "Serbs, Get Ready for War"? Do you
23 remember that?
24 So, Mr. Ostojic, yesterday you said that this paper was an
25 extremist paper published once in a while reports that you would rather
1 not read. Do you remember having said that yesterday?
2 A. Yes.
3 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So these reports, these articles,
4 how could you characterise them? What was their nature? Why do you say
5 they were so radical, so extremist?
6 A. Your Honour, based on a short insight that I had yesterday into
7 the copies of this publication, I made the conclusion that I made. And
8 also, I remembered what this paper wrote about, this paper Slobodna Bosna.
9 What I had before we yesterday inspired me to say that this was a populace
10 press that was nothing but seeking sensationalist news.
11 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Was this paper a paper that
12 published very aggressive articles directed against those who -- the
13 non-Serbs, other ethnic communities?
14 A. Yes, there was such articles as well. Yes, this was a very
15 aggressive paper.
16 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Did you disapprove of the content
17 of these articles?
18 A. No, not at all. As far as I can remember, I didn't even have the
19 guts to read those articles. I just read the titles and subtitles. There
20 were other people in the ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina who had a duty
21 to read those articles. They were employees of the sector for domestic
23 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So you did disapprove with the
24 content of these articles?
25 A. Yes.
1 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] So, Mr. Ostojic, I think I
2 understood that you have met international reporters around Banja Luka,
3 you met with them -- you admitted having met with them, right?
4 A. You are referring to journalists, aren't you?
5 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] I'm talking about foreign
6 reporters. So in the documents that were presented by the Prosecutor and
7 that we have at tab 49, if you can look at this, please, this is what I
8 read. This is a press release from Reuters, and this is what can be read.
9 [In English] "'Why is Christian Europe against us? We are
10 defending them,' said Velibor Ostojic, information minister of the
11 self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb government.
12 "'Islam is growing everywhere. Christian Lebanon and Cyprus have
13 been taken over. The Armenians are being wiped out. The Muslims have
14 finance, an ideology and most of all increasing manpower.'
15 "Ostojic said there was a plan to create a 'Muslim corridor'
16 linking Bosnia's Muslims with Muslim Albanians, Bulgaria's Turkish
17 minority and Turkey itself. He quoted figures he said showed that high
18 birth-rates would make Muslims the majority group in Bosnia by the year
20 "'France is already swamped with Muslims. Either Europe does not
21 realise the danger it is in, or it believes it can control Bosnian Muslim
22 President Alija Izetbegovic in the future.
23 "'But it will be too late. When Islam takes over a state is
24 never reversed,' Ostojic said. 'Religious wars are very cruel.' .
25 "Crucifix-wearing Serb soldiers claim to take their inspiration
1 from their Orthodox faith, and across northern Bosnia Serb children wave
2 at passing cars with the three-fingered salute said to signify the Holy
4 [Interpretation] So you don't contest having said this, right?
5 A. I don't remember ever having said that or ever having a -- an
6 interview with Reuters. I said that I remember --
7 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Well, here's my question: Do you
8 contest having said this?
9 A. Yes.
10 JUDGE HANOTEAU: [Interpretation] Well, thank you, Mr. Ostojic,
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Ostojic, this concludes your testimony, taking
13 that the last questions of the Bench do not trigger any need for further
14 questions by the parties.
15 Then, Mr. Ostojic, I'd like to thank you, I usually say for coming
16 the far way to The Hague, but of course you remained in Belgrade. But
17 nevertheless I would like to thank you for coming to testify and to answer
18 the questions, questions first put to you by the Bench and then by the
19 parties, and I wish you a safe trip home again. Thank you.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I would
21 like to express my gratitude to you for having allowed me to testify in
22 Belgrade rather than travelling afar, which would have been detrimental
23 for my health. Still, I was able to comply with the requirements of the
24 ICTY, and therefore I would like to once again thank you very much for
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
2 We'll adjourn. I will adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00, same
4 Mr. Harmon, you --
5 MR. HARMON: Very quickly, Your Honour, the document that was read
6 to Mr. Ostojic by Judge Hanoteau should have a number.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you would not mind, we are already so beyond
8 time, that number will be given tomorrow.
9 By the way, it's -- yes, it's one of the documents you used.
10 We'll go through the transcript and see that all the documents that were
11 put to the witness will get numbers to the extent they have not received
12 them yet.
13 We'll adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00, same courtroom. But
14 not after having thanked the technicians and interpreters for their long
15 assistance. Thank you.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 2.18 p.m.,
17 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day of
18 July, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.