1 Wednesday, 16 November 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.20 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much, indeed.
7 Your Honour, before I call the next witness, who is
8 Ambassador Okun, there are two short matters which I would wish to place
9 before the Court initially. The first relates to a ruling, if it be a
10 ruling, by Your Honour on the 10th of October in respect of conduct of the
11 trial vis-a-vis documentation. I've managed to obtain the transcript and
12 perhaps if that could be put onto the screen at this time, to assist all
13 parties. Your Honour can see it relates to the Pre-Trial Conference where
14 I actually mentioned about transcripts. I've had highlighted
15 Your Honour's suggestion, if I use the neutral word, saying from the
16 Chamber's point of view, if a counsel intends to cross-examine on a
17 document -- does the Court have that on the screen?
18 JUDGE PARKER: We have an image but it's unreadable.
19 MR. MOORE: It's readable here for a change but we'll see if we
20 can highlight it. Is that readable now, Your Honour? "Before I turn to
21 the Defence, from the Chamber's point of view, if a counsel intends to
22 cross-examine on a document, the Chamber would expect that counsel to have
23 copies of that document ready for the Chamber, other counsel, and for the
25 And then Your Honour says, "Now, with that indication is there
1 anything that you would wish to add, any member of the Defence team?" And
2 Mr. Vasic, presumably acting on behalf of all parties, indicates quite
3 clearly on behalf of all the Defence team, that that is exactly the view
4 that they share.
5 Yesterday - I make no criticism of it; it serves no purpose - the
6 witness was cross-examined on a document. We did not have copies of that
7 document provided by the Defence. Neither did the Court. All I am
8 submitting at this stage is that Your Honour made a very specific
9 reference to the procedure. We would submit in the common law
10 jurisdiction and the civil law jurisdiction, that there should be equality
11 of arms in relation to the production of documentation and that that was
12 not done yesterday, and we would now, dealing with matters today and
13 thereafter, seek an order that if such cross-examination is to be
14 conducted by either party, that that party should provide to the other
15 side copies of the documents so that the other side should not be
16 disadvantaged unreasonably. That would be the first matter that I would
17 seek an order on.
18 JUDGE PARKER: There is no need for an order, Mr. Moore; the order
19 is already in place. You have referred to it.
20 Could I add that as we are planning to conduct this trial so far
21 as practicable on the E-Court system, that where documents are available
22 and known to counsel in advance, they should be duly incorporated into the
23 folder of their respective client in the E-Court system in advance so that
24 when cross-examination on that document is undertaken, the document will
25 be readily available. The resort to paper as a fallback is necessary at
1 least at this stage of the trial because of the short notice. Hopefully,
2 once we get past the Christmas break, that will have been overcome by all
3 parties, but if it is that documents are to be used, copies should be
4 available for all other parties and the Chamber. And with documents that
5 are of particular significance, the Chamber would reiterate the value of
6 those being available in paper form as well as in the electronic system,
7 if they are in the electronic system, for the practical convenience at
8 least of the Chamber, if not all other parties.
9 Now, I don't think I need to reiterate. The order was there, the
10 rules and the practice direction are there in those respects. That can be
11 a little awkward with very large documents, to which only limited
12 reference is made and that should involve discussion between counsel to
13 see whether it's really necessary to reproduce the full extent of large
14 documents rather than merely significant passages to which reference is
15 being made. And we will certainly understand as a Chamber if counsel are
16 able to agree that only parts of a large document are incorporated into
17 the electronic system and made available in paper form.
18 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much. That is the first matter.
19 May I deal with the second matter? It relates to the book that
20 was referred to yesterday. I make no significant complaint about it. We
21 did ask for copies from my learned friend, if they would perhaps provide a
22 copy so we could photocopy it at the end of the day. That was refused.
23 That's entirely perhaps the prerogative of the Defence. However, if that
24 be the case, then I would seek an order from the Court for an independent
25 party to seek to the doctor to obtain a copy of that book so that we have
1 access to it. We ourselves, because of the court order, quite properly
2 cannot speak to the witness. So we would merely ask leave of the Court
3 for an independent party to speak to the doctor when he returns.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Borovic, is there any reason why that book is
5 not available? I turn to you, Mr. Borovic. You used it.
6 MR. BOROVIC: [Interpretation] I was waiting for the interpretation
7 to finish, Your Honour.
8 Your Honour, the book is in the possession of the Defence of
9 Mr. Sljivancanin, the copy that I used. But I think it would be fair to
10 my learned friend from the OTP to say this: We did not mean to use the
11 book to manipulate. I tried to explain briefly yesterday, we had been
12 given some information just before our cross-examination of the witness.
13 We complained to the Chamber about our concern to not have sufficient time
14 to tackle the new allegations by that witness. We had received the book
15 but we had no time to even scan it for it to be possibly tendered into
16 evidence. This is the procedure. We need at least 24 hours to hand our
17 copy over to an officer who will then transfer it into the system. All in
18 all, it is only a very small portion of the book that we quoted. It was
19 just something we showed the witness in a bid to oppose the witness's new
20 statement delivered as an addendum to the Defence teams 24 hours before
21 the examination-in-chief. Therefore, to sum it up, I'm not the owner of
22 this book and Mr. Moore has referred to the wrong person. The reason I
23 have just indicated is why I was in no position to provide a copy.
24 If you would be so kind, Your Honours, Mr. Lukic would like to add
25 something in this regard.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Lukic?
2 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Your Honours, I must
3 return to what you said previously about the decision. This is what you
4 said with regard to the first question stemming from my dialogue yesterday
5 with Mr. Moore, so to speak, which also gave rise to his address to you
6 today, as well as this additional explanation. At the 15th conference and
7 also when we discussed the deadlines for delivering documents according to
8 the rules of E-Court this was in reference to the pages that a party was
9 going to use and tender into evidence, and not just sections of documents
10 and statements which would not be tendered into evidence.
11 My understanding of your decision is if somebody wants to
12 cross-examine a witness about the circumstances of a document that they
13 have no intention of tendering, they are not duty bound to show this to
14 the Court or to the other party. If that understanding is correct, that
15 would make our position quite clear. I understand now, I understand that
16 position now. But let me speak about the other thing in relation to this
18 Mr. Borovic received a copy of the book that we used for our
19 preparation, that we marked and underlined our copy in order to prepare
20 our Defence. We found out about the existence of the book from a
21 statement given by Mr. Njavro to the OTP back in 1995 because at the end
22 of the statement he says I wrote such and such a book called this or that.
23 It's very difficult for me even now to remember that somebody in the OTP,
24 perhaps not Mr. Moore and his team, but since 1995 that they would not
25 have been able to obtain a book that a witness had told them about back in
1 1995 as having been written back in 1992. I frankly find that to be quite
2 unbelievable. On the other hand this copy of the book contains certain
3 notes that we wrote down in order to use during our cross-examination. It
4 was certainly most inconvenient for me to hand this copy over to the
5 Prosecutor. If the Court so wishes I will obtain another copy of the book
6 and provide a clean, blank copy to the OTP and will then provide the OTP
7 with a clean copy, although I did believe at the time that I had a full
8 legal basis to do what I did. But now I understand that your position is
9 in relation to all documents regardless of whether there is an intention
10 to tender them into evidence or not. Thank you very much.
11 JUDGE PARKER: So that it is clearly in the mind of all parties,
12 as I recall it has been made clear in the past, if counsel intends to use
13 a document in cross-examination, or examination, or re-examination of a
14 witness, that document should, where practicable, be included in the
15 electronic court system and, as a fallback, be available in paper form
16 and, as we all see, for practical reasons, there are certain documents in
17 which it's very prudent to have it available in paper as well as
18 electronic form, for ease of use and ease of reading so that it's all
19 documents that are to be used, not just those that are intended to be
20 tendered into evidence.
21 Mr. Lukic, you seem to have provided the answer to everybody's
22 problems, as usual. You will be able, you indicate, to obtain a clean
23 copy of the book, and so make it available. We would be grateful if you
24 could do that. Thank you.
25 MR. LUKIC: [Interpretation] I will do my best. It's a Croatian
1 edition. It was never printed in Serbia. Therefore, I will have to use
2 my sources and contacts to obtain a copy, but personally I believe that
3 the OTP may find it much easier than I to obtain a copy of that book.
4 However, I will do my best to live up to the Court's bidding as far as
5 this is concerned.
6 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber looks forward to being able to read the
7 book in due course.
8 Mr. Moore?
9 MR. MOORE: May we move on now, please, to call the next witness,
10 who is Ambassador Okun. Might I respectfully request that the Court spans
11 for one hour because Professor Okun has --
12 JUDGE PARKER: We understand that there may be advantage for his
13 health to have a break at no longer than hourly intervals.
14 MR. MOORE: Please, thank you.
15 JUDGE PARKER: We will do that.
16 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir.
19 THE WITNESS: Good afternoon.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry that you've been kept waiting a time
21 until we've concluded to previous witnesses. Would you be kind enough to
22 read aloud the affirmation on the card that is offered to you?
23 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
24 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
25 WITNESS: HERBERT STUART OKUN
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Would you please sit down.
2 Yes, Mr. Moore.
3 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
4 Examined by Mr. Moore:
5 Q. What is your full name, please?
6 A. Herbert Stuart Okun.
7 Q. I think it's right to say that you're also known as
8 Ambassador Okun; is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If I may lead the following evidence, that in actual fact you have
11 had what could be described as a long and distinguished career in
12 international diplomacy; is that right? That you served as an officer in
13 the United States foreign service from 1955 to 1991; is that correct?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. In the early 1960s, while serving in the US embassy in Moscow,
16 that was during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, you had
17 responsibility for translating the letters from Chairman Kruschev to
18 President Kennedy?
19 A. That's correct.
20 Q. In the -- in 1971, 72, is it right that you negotiated on -- with
21 regard to the agreement on prevention of incidents at sea between the
22 United States and the U.S.S.R., and that was the first military treaty
23 signed by the U.S.A. And U.S.S.R. After World War II; is that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And that was signed at the summit meeting between president Nixon
1 and Brezhnev and that was in Moscow in 1972?
2 A. Yes, in May 1972.
3 Q. From 1973 to 1975 you were the political adviser to the NATO
4 Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, that you were stationed at Naples
5 in Italy with the specific responsibility of observing the situation in
6 the former Yugoslavia, and reporting on the developments in respect of
7 Marshal Tito who unfortunately at that time was becoming rather old?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. In the late 1970s, is it also right to say that you were the
10 deputy chairman of the United States delegation at the strategic arms
11 limitation talks with the Soviet Union known as Salt II?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In 1980, you were then appointed to be the United States
14 ambassador to what was formerly called East Germany and that was a post
15 you held until 1983; is that right?
16 A. Yes. I was US ambassador in Berlin to the German Democratic
17 Republic at that time.
18 Q. Thank you. From 1985 until 1989, you were the United States
19 deputy permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. From 1991 to 1997, you served consecutively as special adviser and
23 deputy to the personal envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General,
24 working on issues related to Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia;
25 is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. From 1991 until 1993 specifically, your focus was primarily
3 Croatia and Bosnia, and from September 1992 until May 1993, you were
4 deputy co-chairman of the international conference on former Yugoslavia?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And then from 1993 until 1997, you were a mediator in respect of
7 the dispute between Greece and Macedonia?
8 A. That is correct.
9 Q. 1996 until 1997 you were the special adviser to the international
10 commission on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia, and I think it's
11 right to say, academically during the 1990s, you were also a visiting
12 lecturer on international law at the Yale law school, and I believe at
13 present you are the professorial lecturer you are in international
14 relations, international law, and institutions at the school of advanced
15 international studies of Johns Hopkins University; is that right?
16 A. Yes, that is true.
17 Q. May I just deal with one or two small matters? I think the first
18 time that you visited the former Yugoslavia was in 1957 as a tourist and
19 in the middle of the 1970s as a political adviser, as I've already
20 indicated to the NATO Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean.
21 Can I deal then please with resolution 713 which was passed on
22 September the 25th of 1991 at the United Nations? As a direct consequence
23 of that were you approached by the then secretary -- well, actually the
24 chief de cabinet of the Secretary-General to accompany Cyrus Vance?
25 A. Yes, that resolution incidently was Security Council resolution
2 Q. And would you be kind enough, please, although I'm sure the Court
3 know who -- will you tell the Court who Cyrus Vance was, please?
4 A. Yes, Cyrus Vance was a distinguished, highly distinguished,
5 American lawyer and public servant. He was secretary of the army and
6 legal counsel to the department of Defence in the 1960s during the
7 administration of President Johnson and from 1977 to 1980 during the
8 administration of President Carter he was Secretary of State. After that,
9 he returned to his law practice in New York and continued to undertake
10 important private missions for a variety of public and private causes. I
11 knew him well long before 1991.
12 Q. Would it be right to say that the purpose of that mission was what
13 I will describe as diplomatic and fact-finding and to make recommendations
14 to the Security Council through the Secretary-General?
15 A. Yes. Exactly so.
16 Q. I think it's also right to say that the European Community at that
17 time, in September of 1991 and before, had through their conference on
18 Yugoslavia that they had a comprehensive solution or were obliged to try
19 and obtain a comprehensive solution to the problems in Yugoslavia; is that
21 A. Yes. The purpose of the conference on Yugoslavia, chaired by
22 Lord Carrington, the former British Foreign Secretary, was to try to reach
23 an overall political settlement for the problems in then Yugoslavia, with
24 the aid of the Yugoslav parties themselves.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, if I may briefly deal with the first parts, I
1 think it's right to say that you arrived initially in Belgrade on
2 Saturday, the -- October the 12th, and I think you were with Mr. Vance,
3 that on the 13th of October, you met President Milosevic, and you left
4 again on the 18th of October and subsequently reported to the Security
6 A. Yes. If I might I would add that we visited the entire country in
7 that period, and met with all of the relevant leaders, or most of them,
8 and not just Mr. Milosevic.
9 Q. I think it's rite to say that throughout your trips to Yugoslavia,
10 you compiled what I will call diaries and that they were contemporaneously
11 recorded by yourself; is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what did you place inside the diaries? Could you give the
14 Court a general synopsis of --
15 A. Yes. It is practice to keep records of the meetings that one has,
16 not a requirement. Diaries are not meant -- I mean, professional diaries
17 are not meant to be stenographic records. But I find it very useful to
18 keep fairly detailed, close records, of our meetings, of meetings in which
19 I participate. It was particularly important to me, and I thought useful,
20 because we would see many people in one day, many days lasted 18 to 20
21 hours of constant work, and we would be in three or four cities and have
22 half a dozen important meetings during the day. Well, with that many
23 meetings it's very easy, unless you keep a written record at the time, to
24 confuse or misremember what happens. So I kept the diaries for myself
25 and, of course, for Mr. Vance.
1 Q. Thank you very much. Again I'll deal with your next visit fairly
2 briefly and then deal with the third visit perhaps more comprehensively.
3 I think there was a second visit between November the 3rd and the 9th
4 November exactly the same form at as before, visiting around the country
5 and speaking to various individuals; is that correct?
6 A. Yes. That is correct. I would simply add that the major focus
7 was on events in Croatia because that was where the fighting was. There
8 was no fighting in Yugoslavia -- no major fighting, I should say, in
9 Yugoslavia at that point except in Croatia.
10 Q. And in relation to the reporting to the Security Council, again if
11 I reported in very shortened form would it be right to say that you came
12 collectively to the decision that a peacekeeping process would be the way
13 ahead? Is that correct or not?
14 A. Mr. Vance and I, very shortly I would say, really after the first
15 visit and certainly after our second mission, reached the conclusion that
16 a peacekeeping operation could be useful and would be useful, of course,
17 with the agreement of the warring parties, and it was then, in November,
18 important to check this with the warring parties themselves and that was
19 the principal object of our mission in November.
20 Q. Thank you. I'd like to deal then with the third, what I will call
21 return to Yugoslavia, that related to the 16th of November until the 24th
22 of November 1991. Again, is it right that you compiled a diary throughout
23 that period?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. It was compiled contemporaneously when matters were fresh in your
2 A. Oh, yes.
3 Q. And would you indeed I would seek leave for you to refresh your
4 memory from that document which I know is in court.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Leave is granted.
6 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
7 Q. Ambassador, there are various diaries there. Perhaps if you could
8 find the one dated 16th of November to the 24th of November, please?
9 While the ambassador is just checking that, can I just indicate to assist
10 the Court and all parties, we have provided a small blue file which should
11 have number 62 on it. There is an index and refers to the various pages
12 on the diary. They tend to be more easily read than perhaps the
13 electronic screen but it is already in E-Court and can be done that way
14 for the assistance of all parties.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore.
16 MR. MOORE:
17 Q. Ambassador, can I just deal, please -- do you have your diary
18 before you?
19 A. Yes, yes, I do.
20 Q. I'm going to ask you to turn initially to page -- it should be
21 page -- it's -- what is the page number that starts your entry into
22 Yugoslavia, please?
23 A. The entry into Yugoslavia?
24 Q. Yes. On this particular --
25 A. On this mission?
1 Q. Yes, please.
2 A. It begins on page 31.
3 Q. Thank you very much.
4 A. Excuse me, may I add, sir, the reason it -- the Yugoslav section
5 begins on page 31 is the diary begins, page 1, where our meetings in New
6 York with Secretary-General and the Security Council. And then en route
7 to Yugoslavia, Mr. Vance and I and our team stopped in Amsterdam and -- to
8 meet with the EC representatives, the European Community, as it was then
9 called. So it was -- and I kept records of all those meetings so the
10 Yugoslav part begins on page 31. The mission begins on page 1.
11 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. Can we deal, please, with your
12 arrival on Sunday, the 17th of November, where you arrived in Belgrade?
13 If I again deal with it in general terms, is it right that you had various
14 meetings with the ICRC and the UNHCR?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And can you in very general terms indicate to the Court, and it
17 may be on page of your diary, if it assists,?
18 A. We would routinely see the representatives of the International
19 Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees as
20 well as other humanitarian organisations, in order to keep ourselves as
21 well informed as possible on the humanitarian situation in all of
22 Yugoslavia but particularly in the combat zones of Croatia. By
23 mid-November, more than 200.000 people had been displaced, IDPs is the
24 technical jargon term, internally displaced persons. The number was
25 rising rapidly. As I say it was over 700.000. Indeed by Christmas it was
1 over half a million so it was natural for us to speak with the ICRC
2 representatives as well as those from UNHCR.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Would it be right to say that you also
4 received communication from other diplomatic parties about concerns
5 expressed over Croatia in general?
6 A. Oh, yes. Fighting in Croatia drew attention not just in
7 Yugoslavia or in Europe but round the world. It was heavily reported in
8 the press, front page news day after day. So there was no lack of general
9 information about what was going on. In addition, many countries were
10 deeply concerned with what was happening. The EC, as we've already
11 mentioned, had a formal conference and was in charge of the diplomatic
12 efforts to find a solution to the problem, and the EC had hundreds of
13 monitors in the country, mostly in Croatia, almost exclusively in Croatia,
14 but a few in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was a group called the European
15 Community Monitoring Mission, ECMM. You'll see references to them in my
16 diary notes. So the situation in Croatia was of high attention and
17 urgency at the time.
18 Q. Was Vukovar at any time mentioned in those preliminary
19 conversations or briefings?
20 A. Yes. Indeed. Vukovar would be almost invariably mentioned
21 because the siege of the city had been going on since August. It was, I
22 think fair to say, along with the events in and around Dubrovnik, the
23 siege -- the attack on Vukovar by the JNA received more prominent
24 attention, publicly and privately, than any other single occurrence during
25 the combat in Yugoslavia.
1 So one heard and read about the attack on Vukovar in the press,
2 from the humanitarian organisations, and also from concerned governments.
3 For example, on our arrival in Belgrade, I think it was the 17th, the
4 German ambassador called on Mr. Vance and me to convey to us the deep
5 concern of Foreign Minister Genscher about the worsening situation in
6 Vukovar. So that the overall problem Vukovar specifically the
7 humanitarian situation, and what many people saw as a looming tragedy, was
8 widely known. Indeed, the situation of the people in the besieged city
9 was known. The ICRC rep and others referred to those who were underground
10 in hiding, and hospital and other places, as "mushroom people." I noted
11 that in my diary.
12 Q. What reference do you have in your diary about that, please. Is
13 it page 59?
14 A. Might I look for it?
15 Q. Yes, certainly.
16 A. No. It's not on page 59. Excuse me. If you give me a moment, I
17 can find it. It's on page 39. Page 39, date Monday, 18 November, 1991,
18 in a meeting with the representative of the UN High Commissioner for
19 Refugees, Ms. Cumin, and the representative of the International Committee
20 of the Red Cross, Mr. Mira [phoen]. If I may read, it's only a few lines.
21 Q. Yes, of course.
22 A. I note in the diary on page 39, and I quote, "Heavy shelling at
23 Osijek, four deaths a day. Mushroom people of Vukovar. Dubrovnik
24 shelling heavy, now quiet." So Vukovar was -- the mushroom people were
1 Q. Thank you very much.
2 Can we deal, then, please, with tab 1? It refers to top --
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic?
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I apologise
5 for interrupting my learned friend, the Prosecutor, as he was
6 cross-examining. There was a need to react, though. I believe the
7 Defence is now facing the same sort of situation that my learned friend
8 spoke about at the beginning of today's session. We heard the witness
9 today talking about events that he personally witnessed and recorded in
10 his diary. The Defence, however, has not been given copies of these
11 entries. We find it extremely difficult to follow the witness's testimony
12 as we are not able to follow what he actually wrote down in his diary. We
13 did receive other pages of the diary from the OTP but not the ones in
14 reference to the events that the witness is now being cross-examined on.
15 We have no idea what is stated in those pages, and I start out with the
16 assumption, of course, that the OTP is in possession of these pages. I
17 believe it would be extremely useful for both the Defence and the Chamber
18 to have these pages in front of us so that we may be better able to follow
19 as the witness is testifying.
20 MR. MOORE: We can get a copy very quickly from page 39. We
21 thought it was at page 59, actually.
22 JUDGE PARKER: If it helps, my papers commence at page 60.
23 MR. MOORE: Yes, it does. And indeed all should commence at page
24 60 because that's the relevant date as such but we'll certainly get a copy
25 of that. It can be done immediately.
1 JUDGE PARKER: You say that it's on the E-Court system?
2 MR. MOORE: I don't believe the whole diary, because the diary
3 document itself is an enormous document. It's two full files, and so one
4 has tried to extract documents that relate merely to what I will call
5 Vukovar because clearly Ambassador Okun's missions over a period of time
6 related to a much broader spectrum much time and geographic location.
7 JUDGE PARKER: So we haven't got page 39.
8 MR. MOORE: You wouldn't have page 39.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We look forward to receiving the paper
11 MR. MOORE: That can be done today.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Vasic for mentioning that.
13 MR. MOORE:
14 Q. Ambassador, could we be kind enough please to move to page 60
15 which I know all parties do have a copy of. Here we have got, I believe,
16 the 18th of the 11th; is that right, in Belgrade?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. If you go to tab 1, which are photocopies of your original diary,
19 you see page 60 and then page 61. We've got Belgrade 18th of the 11th,
20 can you tell us, please, in very general terms what your entry on page 60
21 relates to, please?
22 A. The entry on page 60 is the concluding page of the day in
23 Belgrade. It was a busy day. It began in my diary on page 39. The rest
24 isn't particularly relevant. It's meetings with Milosevic, Jovanovic,
25 lengthy meeting with those two gentlemen. Lunch with Milosevic and
1 Jovanovic. Then on to General Kadijevic, Admiral Borovac,
2 Colonel Obradovic, long meeting, long meeting with General Kadijevic and
3 his men.
4 Q. And at page 60 --
5 A. And page 60 concerns a meeting with the federal Prime Minister,
6 Ante Markovic, which was the last meeting and therefore the last entry of
7 the day.
8 Q. If one looks at the bottom of page 60, there is reference to
9 "general discussion of." Can you tell us please to what that relates?
10 A. Yes. This it was a meeting, as I say, with Mr. Vance and I, along
11 with meeting with Prime Minister Markovic and then an undersecretary from
12 the Yugoslav foreign ministry, Mr. Veres, and it was not our first meeting
13 with the Prime Minister. We had met with him several times before. And I
14 note at the bottom of page 60, that, in addition to the specific subjects
15 that we covered above, that we discussed the role of President Tudjman,
16 that is to say how secure he was in his position, his attitudes towards
17 the attacks on his country and people. That sort of thing. We had a
18 general -- a discussion, an important one, of the rising extremism
19 throughout Yugoslavia because that was evident to us, and of great worry
20 to Mr. Vance and to me, and also to the Prime Minister. And we discussed
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina, which, as you can see from the notes, Prime
22 Minister Markovic referred to as an atom bomb.
23 Q. Yes. Can we then move, please, to November the 19th, page 61?
24 It's a Tuesday. And clearly, there is reference to locations of places
25 that you went, Belgrade, Sid, Vukovar, Belgrade, Grac [phoen], and Zagreb
1 and leaving at 6.30 in the morning. Now, what was the purpose of your
2 visits on that day, November the 19th?
3 A. Because we had heard so many disturbing reports about Vukovar,
4 Mr. Vance and I thought that it would be useful for us to see with our own
5 eyes what, in fact, was occurring there, and if possible take some action.
6 So we decided to visit Vukovar and asked -- requested from Milosevic and
7 General Kadijevic assistance in doing so, and they agreed.
8 Q. Thank you very much. Can we just deal, please, with the reference
9 to 8.45 at the very bottom of the page, departure, and then 10.00 a.m.
10 Arrival Negoslavci? Have you got that?
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Bottom of the page? Now, can you please remind us of what your
13 entry is in respect of that meeting at Negoslavci?
14 A. Yes. I should say by introduction, we were taken this entire trip
15 we were in the hands of the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA. We went
16 there in APCs, in armoured personnel carriers, and at 8.45 we left Sid
17 which is in Serbia, and an hour and 15 minutes later arrived in
18 Negoslavci, which is due south of Vukovar in Croatia, and I note, if I may
19 just read the three lines, at Negoslavci, "half hour briefing by JNA
20 colonel, the commander of the southern front."
21 Q. How did you describe him, please?
22 A. Excuse me?
23 Q. How did you describe him?
24 A. And then I describe him. I quote from the diary about this, the
25 colonel, "militarily correct but hard."
1 Q. How did you come to the conclusion that he was hard? What did you
2 mean by that?
3 A. Hard is a polite way of saying brutal, and I came to that
4 conclusion by his manner, of his half hour manner, the briefing, the
5 strutting, the attitude, highly belligerent, not towards us. His general
6 military bearing, as I said was quite correct, but it was also quite clear
7 that this was a hard man.
8 Q. Thank you very much. I'm going to play now a video and I hope to
9 freeze it. This video is part of your visit to Negoslavci.
10 [Videotape played]
11 MR. MOORE:
12 Q. We see the back of whom I expect will be admitted to be
13 Colonel Mrksic. Is that Mr. Vance?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And that relates to the visit to Negoslavci.
16 We'll play on if we may.
17 [Videotape played]
18 MR. MOORE:
19 Q. Can you tell us what was happening at this time?
20 A. Well, we arrived and we were led into Mrksic's headquarters.
21 Q. And what was discussed?
22 A. And here we are seated at the table, and on the left you see
23 Mr. Vance, in the middle is the peacekeeping fellow and I. And we are
24 discussing -- Mr. Vance, that is, is asking about the overall military
25 situation, describing the ideas we had, he and I, for the possible
1 peacekeeping operation.
2 Q. Thank you very much.
3 A. And that sort of thing. But the focus was on Vukovar.
4 Q. Yes?
5 A. Because we were en route to Vukovar, of course.
6 Q. Can we turn the page, please, to page 62, which should be tab 2?
7 We have a reference to 10.35 a.m., departure Negoslavci. If I may just
8 move on in time for a moment, in APCs and then 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.,
10 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, in relation to this part of the video,
11 that was caught by television cameras and we have the transcript of what
12 was said. It's only a very short transcript but it may assist all parties
13 and the Defence have had it served on them. May I just hand that out at
14 this stage? It's in hard copy, just for ease.
15 As I say, I've got page 39 which I'll hand out in a moment.
16 Q. Mr. Ambassador, if you could be kind enough, please, to look at
17 the video screen? Have you got a copy of the transcript or not? Have you
18 been given one? And what we are about to see is a short clip of the drive
19 from the APCs and then a meeting that you have with Mr. Sljivancanin.
20 MR. MOORE: Can we play that, please?
21 [Videotape played]
22 MR. MOORE:
23 Q. Ambassador, does that correspond with what you saw at Vukovar?
24 A. Those houses looked in rather better condition than the ones I
25 saw. Ah, yes. This is a familiar sight.
1 Q. Can you tell us who this is, please?
2 A. Yes. On the extreme right, wearing the tan rain coat is Cyrus
3 Vance. To his right is the interpreter, and then the very tall chap in
4 military uniform with the mustache is Major Sljivancanin.
5 MR. MOORE: Your Honour, the actual transcript flows from this
6 particular time and I hope that the sound quality is good enough to
7 correspond with the transcript.
8 [Videotape played]
9 MR. MOORE:
10 Q. Can I just deal, please, with your notes for this particular
11 period? If we just deal with your first entry, please, at 11.00 a.m. to
12 1.00 p.m., what does your note say?
13 A. It says, "Situation report," which I wrote in
14 German, "Lagebericht," and I wrote "the JNA obstructs the visit, but Cyrus
15 R. Vance retrieves the situation by firmness and patience and
17 Q. When you say "JNA obstructs visit," what gave rise to that entry?
18 A. That was -- that was specifically about the behaviour of our
19 escort officer, Major Sljivancanin.
20 Q. In what way did he attempt to obstruct you?
21 A. Well, you saw part of it on the video that you just showed. You
22 heard him say to Mr. Vance, "I can't do that. I can't take you to the
23 hospital." You could see the look of anger and sternness on Cyrus Vance's
24 face because he had said it several times already. They had more than one
25 interchange. And it was self-evident that Sljivancanin was not telling
1 the truth. We were already suspicious because he had so told several
2 obvious falsehoods to us already. For example, he claimed that the small
3 JNA barracks in the town, in Vukovar, had been shelled and that hundreds
4 of shells a day had fallen on the barracks but we walked through that
5 barracks. We saw it ourselves. And it was almost untouched. There was
6 almost no damage whatsoever done to the barracks.
7 Q. Can I just deal with your note on that, if I may? It's slightly
8 out of sequence, but I do so.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If one looks down to the third subheading on your note on page 62,
11 there seems to be a reference to "visit to JNA barracks." Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Would you be kind enough, please, to read out what your notes are
14 in relation to that?
15 A. Yes. It gets a separate reference in my notes, and I
16 write, "Visit to JNA barracks," underline it, and then I write, and I
17 quote, "Object of attack, JNA says, was to free relatively small barracks.
18 They troop us through." So we had the opportunity to see with our own --
19 with our own eyes the physical and other situation, the entire situation n
20 the barracks, bearing in mind that we had been told that this was the
21 reason for the attack, for the JNA's attack on Vukovar, that they had been
22 attacked and we could see that there was no damage done to the barracks.
23 Q. In relation to the transcript that the court have, there is
24 reference to Major Sljivancanin, referring to before the Yugoslav People's
25 Army unit liberated Vukovar, some 400 to 500 mortar missiles were being
1 launched on our barracks daily. That's on line 1415. Have you ever
2 served in the army?
3 A. Yes, I have, in the infantry.
4 Q. And looking at the JNA barracks, what was the extent of the damage
5 that had been occasioned to those barracks?
6 A. Well, as I said, it was almost totally undamaged.
7 Q. May I just then return to what you said about the obstruction by
8 Major Sljivancanin? How would you describe the mood between Vance and
9 Sljivancanin when they met?
10 A. It started out polite. Mr. Cyrus Vance is a distinguished former
11 Secretary of State. He was, of course, courteous. But it deteriorated
12 quickly, as Sljivancanin very obviously was seeking to prevent, indeed
13 insisting, that Mr. Vance not be allowed to see what he came to Vukovar to
15 Q. And was there anything specifically that Sljivancanin did that
16 demonstrated to you that particular approach or attitude by him?
17 A. Yes, there was one striking moment when they were engaged in what
18 was more than an animated discussion. It really was a shouting match. I
19 have never in decades of close association with Cyrus Vance, seen him as
20 angry as he was that day, and he started to walk in the direction of the
21 hospital that we were trying to visit because it was visible. We could
22 actually see the building or see what we were told was the building, which
23 in fact was correct, and at that point, Sljivancanin raised his weapon,
24 his rifle, and that was a very memorable moment. He pointed it at
25 Mr. Vance.
1 Q. When Sljivancanin pointed his rifle at Vance, what occurred as a
2 result of that? Did Vance continue?
3 A. No, he stopped. I don't think that he thought, nor did I, I must
4 say, at the moment, that Sljivancanin would shoot Secretary Vance but he
5 was brandishing this long weapon, and talking at the top of his lungs
6 very, very -- shrieking at Mr. Vance, and so it was quite clear that he
7 was -- he was serious.
8 Q. Can I just try and ascertain location as best you can? Please
9 don't guess. We have a map which you need not see, perhaps, as it's not
10 necessary, but there is what's called the Vuka River and there are three
11 bridges that cross it. How close were you to the bridges at that time?
12 Are you able to say?
13 A. Well, of course, at the time I didn't know the name of the river.
14 We knew that Vukovar was on the Drava but we could see the bridges and we
15 could see beyond. We were standing in a square, a rather small square, in
16 the middle of the city. We had disembarked, of course, from the APCs that
17 we were travelling in and we were expecting to walk to the hospital, which
18 as I say was pointed out to us. So this scene, this shouting match,
19 occurred in the middle of a small square.
20 Q. I would like, if I may, to deal with one other aspect of your
21 entry before we take perhaps a short break. If we look at the second head
22 or subheading on page 62, I think you've written in French in this time;
23 is that right, meaning setting?
24 A. I wrote mise en scene, yes, the setting. What the place looked
1 Q. And what is -- what was your impression at that time from what you
2 had seen? Can you tell the Court?
3 A. Yes, if you'll permit me to quote directly from the diaries, I
4 write mise en scene, I underline it, and then I read, and I quote, "Do not
5 see downtown but much of the town seen nonetheless. Almost every
6 building, every structure, is destroyed or shattered by shell fire. A few
7 destroyed tanks litter the streets. Destruction everywhere."
8 Q. Thank you.
9 A. Closed quote.
10 Q. Thank you. I'd like you just now to look at a short video and see
11 if it corresponds with your recollection and, indeed, entry in your diary.
12 Would you please watch the monitor?
13 [Videotape played]
14 MR. MOORE:
15 Q. You have informed us that you had seen much of the town
16 nonetheless. How does that video represent the town as a whole?
17 A. The video is accurate. It describes visually quite accurately
18 the -- it was a horrific scene, with almost every structure in the city
19 destroyed or shattered, and the video is accurate.
20 Q. You are, if I may respectfully suggest, a gentleman of mature
21 years and perhaps have seen other towns or cities that have been ravaged
22 by bombs and war. Would that be right or not?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. How does Vukovar compare with some of the cities that you have
25 seen in your life?
1 A. As respects Yugoslavia, it was the most thoroughly destroyed city
2 that I saw, and I think it's fair to say that existed. I was in
3 Dubrovnik, Osijek, Sarajevo, and nothing in those cities, even Sarajevo,
4 compares to the destruction of Vukovar. Nothing. It's as light today. I
5 was in Europe in 1949 as a student, fours years after the Second World
6 War, when a great deal of cleanup work had been done, but there was, of
7 course, destruction in the west. I didn't go to the east. And I saw
8 nothing that compared to what I saw in Vukovar.
9 Q. Did you see Berlin?
10 A. Yes. Well, Berlin was pretty bad.
11 Q. Can we then finally in respect of this part of your entry, there
12 is a fourth head, "visit to reception centre." It is the -- actually the
13 third specifically. Would you be kind enough, please, to indicate to the
14 Court what you found there?
15 A. Yes. We were taken to this reception centre, as I called it here.
16 One could equally, accurately call it a refugee camp or a camp for
17 displaced persons. But that's what it was. And I wrote as
18 follows: "Visit to reception centre. Many affecting scenes of weeping
19 civilians, reunited families, et cetera. Mr. Vance talks to the displaced
20 persons. Many foreign press on scene. The centre is full of JNA and many
21 rough customers, armed irregulars et al, and others. An air of brooding
22 and imminent menace is conveyed by the Chetnik types."
23 Q. When you refer to phrases such as "brooding and imminent menace,"
24 when did you actually write those words? That day or days afterwards?
25 A. Oh, absolutely that day because you could see the diary continues
1 and at 7.00 I'm in Zagreb. It was written that day. It was probably
2 written within the hour. On that trip and normally when we travelled, I
3 would write my diary notes in the vehicle so they were usually written
4 within oh, an hour, a couple of hours, of the actual event.
5 Q. And then finally, there is a reference to "visit to small
6 hospital." Do you see that?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Would you be kind enough, please, to read that?
9 A. Yes. "A visit to small hospital. Mr. Vance is" -- that CRV is
10 Cyrus Vance, "Cyrus Vance's request to visit the main hospital is
11 rejected. Weak excuses by JNA. A scene ensues."
12 Q. And when you refer to "weak excuse by JNA," to what are you
14 A. I'm referring here specifically again to Major Sljivancanin, whose
15 name incidently I did not know at the time, but he was our he is court and
16 was with us and I'm being rather diplomatic when I say weak excuse. I
17 might easily have written "lies" by JNA because we were told obvious
18 falsehoods. For example, Mr. Vance and I were told that the bridge across
19 that river, the Vuka, I believe you called it, yes, the bridge across the
20 river, which by the way is very small, it's more like a street across a
21 stream, that it was mined and therefore dangerous and therefore we
22 couldn't proceed to the hospital. We could see traffic on the bridge. So
23 that was an obvious untruth. And we were told that, alternatively,
24 alternately I should say, alternately we were told that the bridge had
25 been destroyed. Now, mark you, this was told to us while we were within
1 eyesight of the bridge. So there was -- it was a pretty clumsy and pretty
2 obvious negative. I mean, in other words, it was immediate clear to us
3 that no matter what you did, you weren't going to get to see that
5 Q. And I think it's right to say that we can see from the entry on
6 page 62 of your diary that you depart Vukovar by armoured personnel
7 carrier at 1.00 p.m.; is that right?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. Then you had a fairly day thereafter.
10 MR. MOORE: I'll deal with briefly, but with the Court's leave I
11 wonder if that might be an appropriate moment.
12 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the first break at this moment,
13 Mr. Moore. The -- given the time, to allow the minimum time needed for
14 the tapes, we will resume at 4.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 3.38 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 4.04 p.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore.
18 MR. MOORE: Thank you very much.
19 Q. Ambassador, can we just perhaps move now to page 63 of your diary,
20 top right-hand corner as we have it? I'll bypass certain parts if I may.
21 I think it's right to say that between the hours of 7.20 p.m. and 11.15
22 p.m., you had a meeting with the Croatian President Tudjman; is that
24 A. Yes, and his staff.
25 Q. And his staff. In relation to that meeting, it's at page 63 of
1 the original, do you have that?
2 A. Yes, I do.
3 Q. Thank you very much. Is it right that Mr. Vance indicated to
4 President Tudjman that you had visited Vukovar that very day?
5 A. Yes, he did, and I noted it in the diary.
6 Q. And would you be kind enough, please, to tell the Court what was
7 said in relation to Vukovar between Mr. Vance and Mr. Tudjman or
8 President Tudjman?
9 A. Well, as I've noted in the diary on page 63, President Tudjman
10 raised Vukovar and Kljuc and he said we are experiencing aggression, the
11 Serbs are breaking the cease fires in Vukovar and Kljuc, and then he
12 continued, Vance said, and here I quote from the diary, "We visited
13 Vukovar earlier today. Tragic. Humanitarian problems serious. ICRC
14 active, difficult task."
15 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. I needn't go into other matters. It
16 may well be there will be some cross-examination in relation to that.
17 You have mentioned that to President Tudjman. Would you be kind
18 enough now then please to move to tab -- I think it's tab 4. It is page
19 97, top right-hand corner of your original document.
20 A. 97?
21 Q. Well, it certainly seems to be 97 on the photocopy. 3.35 p.m. to
22 4.30 p.m., and I'm reading off the --
23 A. Well, I have on page 92, beginning on page 92, was our meeting
24 which lasted a little less than an hour.
25 Q. Yes, but I think that's with another party. I'll come and deal
1 with that in due course?
2 A. Excuse me, which page is it, then, sir, I'm sorry?
3 Q. That's right. Could you please turn to page 97?
4 A. 97, yes.
5 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. The top of that page 3.35 p.m., 4.30
7 A. Yes, I see it now.
8 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. I think it's right that you had a
9 meeting at that time with whom?
10 A. It is with Milosevic.
11 Q. And who was present at that time?
12 A. He had a notetaker with him and it was Mr. Vance and me, and our
13 technical team.
14 Q. And I think it's right to say that you described it as a
15 tete-a-tete, a one on one?
16 A. Well, for a few minutes before the general meeting, Vance and
17 Milosevic spoke privately. I knew what Vance was going to say because we
18 prepared these meetings very carefully.
19 Q. Thank you very much. And would you be kind enough please to tell
20 to the Court whether in actual fact Vukovar was actually mentioned?
21 A. Yes, it was mentioned. It was the first thing that Vance talked
22 about with Milosevic. If I might read from my notes.
23 Q. Yes, by all means.
24 A. You see it in the middle of page 97 where it says CRV, Milo,
25 that's, of course, Vance Milosevic. And I quote, "disagree strongly but
1 politely about Vukovar. Vance, disproportionate violence, et cetera.
2 Milosevic, Vukovar is a special case. The world will understand. Truth
3 will out. The barracks were blocked, et cetera. Croats are brutes. One
4 wore a necklace made of fingers of children. Now he's in jail, et cetera.
5 Q. Did Milosevic say what he meant by Vukovar being a special case?
6 A. He did not expand on it, but it was so noticeable at the time, and
7 this would have been written simultaneously, as he said it, that you'll
8 note in the diary it's in quotation marks, meaning those were his exact
9 words. We assumed at the time and we discussed it afterwards, Mr. Vance
10 and I, between ourselves, that the word special case referred to something
11 that either had happened or would happen which would be of a horrific
12 nature but that somehow the world would understand it, but it was a
13 noticeable remark, particularly coming from Milosevic, who was not given
14 to that kind of statement.
15 Q. Would you be kind enough now, please, to turn back to divider 3?
16 It relates to your pages 92 and 93, and refers chronologically to a
17 meeting prior to the meeting with Milosevic.
18 A. Yes, I see it.
19 Q. Thank you very much. We see it's at 2.00 p.m. to 2.50 p.m., a
20 meeting in Belgrade on the 21st of November. Who was that with, please?
21 A. That meeting was at the Defence Ministry, with General Kadijevic,
22 Admiral Brovet, General Jovic, and Colonel Obradovic.
23 Q. Can I deal then please with Mr. Vance's observations, of which you
24 have made a note? Did he express any matters of concern in that meeting?
25 A. Yes, he did. If you note, and again this would have been written
1 at the time, General Kadijevic at the bottom of page 92 says, and I
2 quote, "Thank you for trying to help my country." End quote. "Your
3 assessment is correct. You've pinpointed the problems." He was there
4 referring to the discussion of the peacekeeping operation. And then
5 General Kadijevic goes on to say, "garrison at Vukovar had been blockaded
6 for two months before we moved in. Food had run out. People asked for
7 the army's help." Vance uncharacteristically interrupted the general at
8 this point because he was quite annoyed at hearing this same falsehood
9 from the top of the JNA, so he interrupted General Kadijevic which as I
10 say was quite unusual, and he went on to describe the obstruction of his
11 Vukovar visit and I note that he did so "briefly but strongly."
12 Q. And whether you use the phrase "but strongly," when you're
13 applying it to Mr. Vance, what does that represent?
14 A. Well, he was, of course, furious at the treatment he had received
15 at the hands of Major Sljivancanin, particularly, and the JNA in general,
16 in Vukovar. We've discussed the obstruction, the physical efforts to
17 intimidate, the falsehoods that were told us, the demonstrative falsehoods
18 that we had to endure. So, Vance in reporting this at his first meeting
19 with General Kadijevic subsequent to the events was quite exercised.
20 Q. Thank you very much. I want to deal with two aspects of this
21 entry. If we look at page 92, in the middle of the page, we can see a
22 reference to CRV, describes visit to the caserne. Can we just move down,
23 please, to what had been given apparently a subheading of matters of
24 concern? Do you see that?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And what were the areas of concern described by Vance to these
2 joint chiefs of staff?
3 A. The first one I noted was the blocked garrisons and the reason it
4 appears first was because, A, it was indeed a problem, and B, it was the
5 principal item on General Kadijevic's agenda, that is to say the
6 barricades of JNA barracks by the Croats. So naturally Vance would raise
7 that first, and then he immediately raised Vukovar, the entry
8 reads, "Increasing violence. Vukovar," and I write it in the diary it's
9 written all in capital letters because he made such an emphasis on the
10 point. Indeed he went in to talk about it at some length but I had no
11 reason to write it all down because I knew what he said and I knew what he
12 would say and I knew what I had seen. He described it about the way I've
13 described it to you, Mr. Moore, this morning.
14 Q. And do you have actually in that entry actually words used by
15 Mr. Vance in this meeting?
16 A. Well, he certainly used the word, "Increasing
17 violence.""disproportionate use of force" I put in quotes, so it means he
18 used those words, yes.
19 Q. Thank you very much. Now you've told us that Kadijevic had
20 referred to the blockade for two months. One of the parties who were
21 present in this meeting was General Jovic?
22 A. M'hm.
23 Q. Are you able to assist the Court with regard to subsequent
24 knowledge whether in actual fact that two-month period was accurate or
1 A. I think I can, because subsequent to this, indeed I think a year
2 or so later or two, the former Serb member of the Yugoslav Presidency,
3 Borisav Jovic, not the same Colonel Jovic -- General Jovic who is in this
4 meeting but Borisav Jovic who was one of the leading members, if not the
5 leading member along with Milosevic of the people's league of Serbia, that
6 is the ruling Communist Party, and at this time in 1991, in the fall of
7 1991, Borisav Jovic was in fact the rotating president of the rump
8 Presidency of Yugoslavia. Well, Mr. Jovic, this Mr. Jovic, later wrote a
9 book about the collapse of the Yugoslav state, and I've seen it, and in it
10 he says that the garrison at Vukovar had been relieved on September 20,
11 1991. Of course, we didn't know that at the time but it -- he certainly
12 is in a position to know as the leading Serb president of the country, and
13 if what he says is true, and there is no reason to disbelieve him, the
14 shelling of the city continued for almost two months after the garrison --
15 excuse me, yes, after the JNA garrison had been freed.
16 Q. Thank you very much, indeed. I have no further questions for you.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Moore. I expect there will be some
18 questions for you.
19 Mr. Vasic?
20 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
21 MR. MOORE: Before my friend commences I think perhaps if he
22 permits me I would make application for the documents that are compiled
23 collectively in that small blue file as an exhibit. I'm quite happy for
24 it to be done now. If there are any objections perhaps they can be aired
25 now or indeed subsequently. But I would make application that the small
1 bundle that I have prepared should go in the set as a single exhibit.
2 JUDGE PARKER: They will be received.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be Exhibit number 68.
4 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
5 Cross-examined by Mr. Vasic:
6 Q. Good afternoon, sir. First of all, please allow me to introduce
7 myself. I'm Miroslav Vasic, counsel for the accused Mile Mrksic.
8 You testified in chief today that from October 1991 to May 1992,
9 you were special adviser of Mr. Cyrus Vance, who was a personal envoy of
10 the UN general secretary, is that the case?
11 A. Excuse me, sir.
12 THE WITNESS: Could somebody make the translation come through a
13 bit louder?
14 JUDGE PARKER: That will be attended to now. I think we will move
15 on a little and you can indicate to the Court officer whether it's running
16 too loudly or too quietly for you. Perhaps the Court officer could stay
17 close at hand for a little while.
18 THE WITNESS: It's all right.
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Is it all right now? While preparing for this mission that you
21 took part in, I assume --
22 A. Now I hear nothing.
23 Q. Can you hear me now, sir?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thank you. While preparing for this mission that you took part
1 in, which lasted from October 1991 to May 1992, you must have familiarised
2 yourself with the constitutional provision of the then SFRY as a federal
3 state and the constitutional provisions of the -- of its constituent
5 A. I would not claim to be a constitutional specialist, but yes, in
6 general, I knew the Yugoslav constitution, the one of 1974. I don't think
7 I can fairly say that I remember very much about the previous
8 constitutions. As you know there have been several.
9 Q. Thank you for this answer, sir. We are interested in that
10 specific one from 1974 because it was still in force at the time -- period
11 of time we are discussing now.
12 Prior to your mission, you had worked as political adviser to the
13 NATO commander for the Mediterranean, and you were involved in studying
14 problems during Tito's time, problems with Tito's policies, that sort of
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. This new mission that you were assigned in 1991 must have appeared
18 to you to be a much easier one since you were already familiar with the
19 political circumstances as well as with some fundamental constitutional
20 issues in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?
21 A. On the contrary, it appeared to be a very difficult mission
22 because there was a conflict going on, war was raging, people were being
23 killed, and, as I've mentioned, there were already by October, November,
24 that period, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. It was by no
25 means an easy mission, nor did we think it was.
1 Q. Thank you, sir. Just before your mission, did you find yourself
2 on another mission to Yugoslavia back in 1990?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you please tell us what sort of mission and on behalf of which
6 A. I visited Yugoslavia in 1990, December, with Mr. Vance and a team
7 of financial and economic specialists. I was then, in addition to my
8 other functions, the director of an organisation that indeed Mr. Vance and
9 I had founded, along with some others, called the Financial Services
10 Volunteer Corps. I repeat, the Financial Services Volunteer Corps. The
11 purpose of this not-for-profit, private organisation, was to assist the
12 former communist countries of Eastern Europe, all of whom had just come
13 out from under Soviet domination at one level or another, and indeed to
14 help the former Soviet Union after 1991, to help them in establishing
15 market economies and free market financial institutions. Of course, they
16 had none of that under the socialist system, so-called, in the Soviet
17 Union or the former countries of the bloc. Nor did Yugoslavia have much
18 of it under the system of worker self-management. So we visited
19 Yugoslavia in 1990 to introduce ourselves, to let the leaders of the
20 country know, and we visited all of them. We travelled from Slovenia to--
21 down to Montenegro and Macedonia, to let them know of our availability and
22 that of the American financial community, to assist them in what was
23 already evidently a difficult transition from the old command-oriented
24 socialist system to that of the free market. In addition, in -- by
25 December 1990, there were already indications that the political situation
1 was becoming tenser. Indeed, while we were there in 1990, nationwide
2 elections were held. So that was the purpose of our visit.
3 Q. Thank you, sir for your explanation of this 1990 mission. In view
4 of everything that you have just said -- can you hear me?
5 I must tell you that the fundamental principles of the 1974
6 constitution, the SFRY constitution that was still in force in 1991, and
7 at the time your mission took place, the fundamental principles of this
8 constitution defined the right of all peoples to self-determination,
9 including the right to secession.
10 A. You're telling me that?
11 Q. Yes. Are you familiar with that?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Therefore, the people were granted this right. It's the people
14 that were granted this right by the constitution, not the republics, which
15 is only logical, if you consider the fact that Yugoslavia was a state
16 composed of different republics, all enjoying different -- equal rights.
17 Do you agree with that?
18 A. [Previous translation continues] ... I am -- as I said earlier, I
19 am not a specialist in Yugoslav constitutional law, so that I hear your
20 assertions, I hear your statements, and my answer is I hear you.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. All I wanted to know is whether this was
22 something that you read at the time, these fundamental principles
23 enshrined in the 1974 constitution. All I want to know is whether you're
24 familiar with all of these. I'm not asking you to give an opinion. I
25 just want to know whether you in fact read these at the time, the 1974
1 constitution more specifically?
2 A. Yes, I'm aware that the first sentence of it speaks of the right
3 of the people or of the nations, as it is sometimes translated, "naroda"
4 [phoen], into English, to self-determination and to secession. Yes, I
5 know that is said in the constitution.
6 Q. Thank you. Are you familiar with the fact that following the
7 multi-party elections in Croatia, which you said took place in Croatia in
8 1990, as you were touring the former Yugoslavia, and following
9 specifically a HDZ victory in December of 1990, the constitution of the
10 Republic of Croatia was in fact amended?
11 A. I don't think I was aware of that at the time. Of course, we knew
12 the results of the 1990 election. That was reported normally in the
14 Q. As you were preparing for the mission, did you never hear about
15 the fact that the Serbian people living in Croatian territory were in fact
16 concerned following these amendments to the constitution in December 1990,
17 because they thereby ceased to be a constituent group in the Republic of
18 Croatia and were to all practical intents transformed into a national
20 A. We were aware of that fact, yes, and also through the European
21 Community, because, as we've already mentioned in previous questioning,
22 from June or July 1991 on, the EC maintained active diplomacy with all of
23 the Yugoslav parties and, of course, the situation in Croatia, in view of
24 the fighting in Croatia, was known to the whole world.
25 Q. Thank you, sir. In the context of my previous question, were you
1 familiar with the concerns caused by the fact that the Cyrillic script,
2 which up to that point had been the official script in the -- one of the
3 two official scripts in the Republic of Croatia, was deprived of that
4 status, although the Cyrillic script is the script used by most Serbs
5 living in Croatia?
6 A. Yes. We were aware of that.
7 Q. Thank you. Bearing in mind the provisions of the 1974
8 constitution and its fundamental principles on the rights of the people to
9 self-determination, bearing in mind the fact that the Republic of Croatia
10 proclaimed independence unilaterally, do you not believe that this act
11 amounted to a violation of the rights of Serbs in the Republic of Croatia,
12 their right to self-determination?
13 A. Again, sir, I can only tell you that I can only state an opinion,
14 not being a -- for two reasons. I should say three reasons I can only
15 state an opinion. First because I'm not an expert on Yugoslav
16 constitutional law at either the federal or the state level. Second, this
17 issue is debated and very controversial and argued to this day by people
18 who are specialists and experts on Yugoslav law at every level. And
19 third, the European Community convened its own arbitration commission, the
20 Commission d'Arbitration, under the chairmanship of Judge, now senator,
21 Robert Badinter of France. That commission was composed exclusively of
22 judges from the Supreme Court of various members of the EC, and they
23 issued a number of opinions and decisions on these questions. So I'm
24 prepared to accept what the experts say on this point.
25 Q. What about the first conclusion of Badinter's commission? Did it
1 not explicitly state that the SFRY continued to exist at this point in
2 time, and that the republics failed yet to meet the requirements for
3 independence? I'm talking about the very first finding of this
5 A. One would have to look to the subsequent findings because they
6 will, of course, the subsequent ones naturally took precedence over the
7 earlier ones, and I do recall one of the avis by the Badinter Commission.
8 I believe it was in December, and I believe it was number 4, but that's
9 just a recollection, in which it stated, in answer to the question posed
10 to it by Lord Carrington, that the answer was that the Yugoslav state was
11 in un processus de dissolution. The Yugoslav state was undergoing a
12 process of dissolution. That was the avis. That was the decision of the
13 Tribunal -- excuse me, of the arbitration commission.
14 Q. Yes. In December. I fully agree with you. What I was asking is
15 whether you're aware of their first decision dated September? If not,
16 please state so. I will no longer be pursuing that matter.
17 A. I may have been aware. I don't recall. In September I was not
18 active on the Yugoslav case.
19 Q. Are you familiar with the fact that the constitutional court of
20 the SFRY adopted a decision establishing the non-constitutionality of
21 Croatia's decision to proclaim independence?
22 A. That may have been mentioned in a conversation but I'm -- I can't
23 recall it. I should mention, sir, that the political solution, if I may
24 repeat what I told the gentleman earlier, the political solution to the
25 Yugoslav problem was, at this time, in 1991 and 1992, the exclusive domain
1 of the European Community. It was their job to deal with all these
2 matters, and as I've also indicated, our job then, in concert with them,
3 certainly we were in opposition, or competition, nothing like that, but
4 Mr. Vance's job and mine was to explore the possibilities for a
5 peacekeeping operation, which we recommended to the Security Council and
6 then that was our task during this entire period until January 2, and then
7 until February 21, 1992, when the Security Council passed Resolution 743
8 endorsing our recommendation that a peacekeeping operation be established
9 in Croatia. So from October to February, and indeed afterwards, that was
10 our focus, not constitutional questions.
11 Q. By all means, sir. However, if this was to be a peace conference
12 discussing the fact that one of the republics broke away from its state,
13 it had to have some sort of constitutional foundation for these
14 negotiations to ensure, do you agree with that?
15 A. Yes, indeed. Lord Carrington worked very hard at that at the
16 conference. I attended myself the meeting of the conference on
17 Yugoslavia, of October 18, 1991, at which Lord Carrington put down the
18 arrangements for a general settlement, the AGS, as the EC people referred
19 to it, and these arrangements for a general settlement were a
20 comprehensive solution to the problem of Yugoslavia, that problem it was
21 encountering, and it included the kinds of rights that you are discussing,
22 sir, namely the protection of the individual peoples, nationalities,
23 minorities, however defined, and indeed there was a vote held on the
24 Carrington proposal, the arrangements for a general settlement, with all
25 of the Yugoslav republics present. The presidents of every Yugoslav
1 republic were present that day in the conference, six of them.
2 President Milosevic was there, Tudjman was there. They didn't vote but
3 the others all did. The six republics voted on the Carrington proposal
4 for a comprehensive settlement and five of the six republics voted in
5 favour of it. One voted against. The five who voted in favour were
6 Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Macedonia. The
7 republic that voted against was Serbia.
8 Q. If I remember correctly, and please correct me if I'm wrong, was
9 this the October meeting at which the Yugoslav delegation walked out
10 because --
11 A. [Previous translation continues] ... excuse me, I must correct
12 that. Some walked out. In fact the Serb delegation walked out. It was
13 the Serb delegation, plus Montenegro, yes. The rest of the conference,
14 the rest of the participants, remained in the room. It was the Serbs who
15 walked out.
16 Q. Does that mean that Mr. Milosevic too was among those who walked
18 A. No. As I said previously, he was not an active participant in the
19 conference. He was there rather as an observer. But Kostic walked out.
20 Q. Was Mr. Kostic not there on behalf of the federal state, the SFRY
21 and its Presidency?
22 A. He was there on behalf of the rump Presidency.
23 Q. Thank you. In the talks held in order to reach a solution to the
24 Yugoslav crisis, there must have been discussion of unilateral decisions
25 made by certain republics to break away from the federal state or to
1 secede. Can you then please tell us whether Croatia at the time had one
2 of the necessary attributes to meet the criteria for independence? And
3 that is power, effective power, throughout its entire territory?
4 A. I participated in no such talks.
5 Q. I won't ask any further questions, then, about that particular
7 Although you were still not special adviser at the time, but later
8 on, when you talked to those who had been involved in these negotiations,
9 did you ever hear that as early as in late 1990, the SFRY Presidency was
10 informed by the secretariat for All People's Defence of the fact that
11 paramilitary units were being set up in Croatian territory, in the
12 territory of the Republic of Croatia?
13 A. We were aware after we began to visit the fighting areas that
14 there were paramilitary units on both sides, that is Serb auxiliaries,
15 paramilitaries, they were given various names, and also on the Croatian
16 side. We were made aware by sort of normal conversation of the Croatians.
17 The Serbs would tell us about the Croatians and the Croatians would tell
18 us about the Serbs. So we usually received the information from the
19 opposing party. That's not surprising.
20 Q. Do you know that the Presidency of the SFRY at one point in time
21 in early 1991 passed a decision to disarm paramilitary formations?
22 A. Excuse me, I'm sorry, but could the translation be made a bit
23 louder? I've just got a lady's voice that I can barely hear. Can you
24 raise the volume?
25 THE INTERPRETER: Is it better now? Can you hear it now better?
1 THE WITNESS: No.
2 THE INTERPRETER: No?
3 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Can you hear me now, Mr. Okun?
5 A. Yes, I can.
6 Q. Do you know that in early 1991, the Presidency of the SFRY adopted
7 a decision to disarm paramilitary formations?
8 A. Both General Kadijevic and Milosevic, I believe, yes, made that
9 point to us. It would be somewhere in my diary.
10 Q. Do you know that in accordance with the 1974 constitution, the
11 JNA, in the period of time that we are now dealing with, had a
12 constitutional obligation to defend and protect sovereignty, independence,
13 and territorial integrity of the entire SFRY? Was it its main
14 constitutional obligation?
15 A. Well, all armies are charged with the duty of defending their
16 country against foreign - I repeat, foreign - invasion. That is invasion
17 from without. In my own country, the United States of America, the army
18 is expressly forbidden to act inside the country except with exceptional
19 approval, and, if I may point out the importance that is attached to that,
20 during the recent hurricane Katrina, the one that we all read about that
21 flooded and buried New Orleans, the principal reason that the army didn't
22 intervene earlier was precisely because the American army, like most
23 democratic armies, is designed, its purpose is to fight foreign enemies,
24 not to shoot at its own people.
25 May I come back with your permission to your previous question,
1 regarding the decision in 1991 to ban paramilitary units? I said that I
2 was aware of it from Milosevic and General Kadijevic, but we have a saying
3 in English, actions speak louder than words, and we saw with our own eyes
4 Serb paramilitaries and auxiliaries on the ground, as I've reported to you
5 earlier, and I so noted, we saw them in Vukovar at the reception centre,
6 dominating and leering, passing the slivovitz from hand to hand with the
7 refugees there. We saw them on other occasions as well. Later in that
8 mission, in December, on a mission to Osijek, we went through Dalj which
9 was the command headquarters for the JNA then attacking Osijek. This was
10 December 1991. It's all in my diary. You may read it. And Arkan and his
11 gang were there physically. We saw them. So I think -- I appreciate your
12 recalling for my attention the fact that they -- somebody passed a law but
13 it was clear to our eyes that it was not being observed.
14 Q. Did you see paramilitary formations in the Republic of Croatia?
15 A. You mean on the Croatian side? On the Croatian side. We saw them
16 only at a distance but we were informed regularly of allegations that were
17 made against Paraga and the HOS, the so-called party of rights. We knew
18 very well that this was a neo-fascist outfit of the worst sort. Yes, we
19 were aware. Our mission, sir, was to bring about peace between the
20 parties. We went there with no animus towards either side. The record is
21 clear in my diaries. We were always received, even at a moment's notice,
22 by General Kadijevic, Admiral Brovet, by Milosevic, by Tudjman, Kucan,
23 Izetbegovic, all the leaders were available to Mr. Vance because they knew
24 that we were there at the behest of the United Nations Security Council
25 and our task was to bring peace.
1 Q. I have no doubt concerning that, Mr. Okun. Your mission had a
2 successful conclusion ultimately but I believe that if you indeed wanted
3 to achieve that successful outcome, prior to that you had to familiarise
4 yourself with what preceded the conflict, how the conflict came about.
5 This is why I put questions to you regarding the events which preceded
6 your involvement in peaceful -- or peace negotiations.
7 While you were active, while you were involved, did you receive
8 information - were you told - about the attacks carried out by Croatian
9 forces against the Serb population in Croatia in the spring and summer of
11 A. General Kadijevic and Milosevic frequently alluded to that sort of
13 Q. General Kadijevic, the person you have mentioned, throughout the
14 negotiations conducted there, did he ever express his concern and fears
15 about numerous barracks that were blocked throughout Croatia by the
16 members of Croatian forces?
17 A. Yes, indeed. That concern, the blockaded barracks, was upper most
18 in General Kadijevic's mind and we took it very seriously. We insisted
19 with the Croatians that this stop, and I personally spent weeks going up
20 and down the coast, in the Marshal Tito barracks in Zagreb, at the Zmaj
21 factory, at the Zagreb airport. It was my task, Mr. Vance asked me, to
22 take on the responsibility of ensuring, to the maximum possibility, that
23 the Croatians stopped this activity of blocking the JNA barracks. We --
24 General Kadijevic took it very seriously and so did we.
25 Q. Thank you. Before I suggest that we take a break, and thus adhere
1 to the schedule that has been pre-agreed, let me ask you something else.
2 You mentioned that you visited the Marshal Tito barracks in Zagreb. If
3 it's not too much trouble, would you be able to discuss to us the
4 situation that was in place there at the barracks upon your arrival?
5 A. I covered it very thoroughly in my diaries, which are available to
6 you, precisely because we were so concerned with the situation of the JNA,
7 and not just the soldiers, the officers, but their families as well, in
8 the Tito barracks, as well as others. It is -- if I may, the report on
9 the visit begins on page 82, Zagreb, November 20, 1991, and continues from
10 page 82 through 85. So there are four pages. It's lengthy. I can
11 summarise it for you briefly or I can read it all to you. It's a meeting
12 we took with great seriousness. Shall I read some of it? Whatever you
13 say. I'm at your disposal but it's all in the diary.
14 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Okun. Since we have not received these
15 pages of the diary, I would kindly ask you to give us the gist. Please
16 describe to us in briefest terms, the feelings that dominated among the
17 people in the barracks.
18 A. Yes. Well, we met with General Raseta plus eight of his officers,
19 Vance and myself and General Raseta described quite strongly the
20 situation, how they had been blockaded, that their apartments had been
21 confiscated, and that the Croatian authorities were demanding that the
22 caserne be evacuated, with the weapons left behind. Mr. Vance explained
23 our mission to them, said in firmest terms that we believed that all of
24 the garrisons should be unblocked and we're there to help. And then
25 General Raseta continued and said that the JNA was being humiliated, that
1 he himself had served in a UN peacekeeping force in 1963 and had very high
2 opinion of the problems -- of the UN, a very high opinion of the UN. He
3 said the situation should improve.
4 Then he called upon General -- Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel
5 Djurovski. Then Colonel Djurovski read us a prepared statement telling us
6 about the barracks and giving us their view of the situation. He
7 discussed threatening phone calls that were made, rude remarks, telephone
8 lines had been cut. He said the caserne was fired upon, that they
9 returned fire but small arms only. As you know, the Tito caserne is in
10 downtown Zagreb. He stressed the ill treatment that he said the
11 Croatian -- the families of the officers were receiving. And Mr. Vance,
12 we asked them if they had reported this to the EC monitors, and Djurovski,
13 Colonel Djurovski said yes, and then he told us he was born near Bitola in
14 Macedonia, et cetera, et cetera. So we will a full discussion and indeed
15 it was a very important one because we raised this with the Croatians and,
16 as I said, Mr. Vance gave me the special charge which was a heavy charge,
17 to ascertain, to make sure that the Croatians stopped blockading the JNA.
18 Mr. Vance made it a condition for the erection of a peacekeeping
19 operation, that is to say he told the Croatians that he would not
20 recommend, that there was no possibility whatsoever that he would
21 recommend a peacekeeping operation unless and until they freed the JNA
23 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Okun. I'm about to propose the Trial
24 Chamber to allow us to take a well-deserved break, if they find that this
25 is an appropriate time.
1 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now and resume at half past five.
2 --- Recess taken at 5.05 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 5.33 p.m.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic.
5 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Before the break, we talked about how the barracks were blocked.
7 Can you tell me, do you know what happened to the Bjelovar barracks after
8 the members of the National Guards Corps entered the barracks? Were there
9 any victims there? Casualties?
10 A. No, I don't. I never heard anything about those barracks.
11 Q. That was before you became involved in your mission.
12 Tell me, please, in the basic document of Mr. Vance's plan, was
13 there also an agreement to lift the siege of the barracks in the territory
14 of the Republic of Croatia?
15 A. By all means. That was an essential component of the peacekeeping
16 operation, as I've previously mentioned, we insisted upon it. And perhaps
17 here, with your permission, I could describe very briefly the meeting of
18 November 23, 1991, in Geneva at which this was agreed to by the parties.
19 We brought them all to Geneva on November 23, Milosevic, Tudjman,
20 General Kadijevic. We asked Lord Carrington to come to observe, Mr. Vance
21 and I. We met at the UN's Palais des nations, and the result of that
22 meeting was a public document that had four points. They were, first, a
23 comprehensive general cease-fire. Second, the unblocking of the JNA
24 barracks. Third, a commitment by the parties, that is the Serbs, the
25 Croatians, and the JNA, a commitment to control their irregular forces,
1 the paramilitaries, the auxiliaries. And fourth point, a promise to
2 permit humanitarian assistance to go to the suffering people. That was
3 signed in Geneva by Vance, Milosevic, Tudjman and Kadijevic. Of course,
4 it was not observed in many respects and we had to take additional
5 actions, but that was the fundamental -- one of the fundamental documents
6 that we worked on. So the answer to the question was, again, on the
7 unblocking of the barracks, was it a matter of concern, is not only yes
8 but it was a matter of the highest concern to Mr. Vance and me.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Okun. We will return to the issue of signing this
10 agreement in Geneva somewhat later. Now I would like to turn to the
11 negotiations that were led on the peaceful resolution of the crisis.
12 Initially these negotiations were held under the auspices of the European
13 Community, isn't that right? You yourself were not part of it initially.
14 A. The negotiations for an overall peaceful settlement of the problem
15 of Yugoslavia, the political-level negotiations, as I have mentioned, were
16 the exclusive domain of the EC, and the period that it remained the
17 exclusive domain of the EC was the summer of 1991, July, until August
18 1992, when, at a conference in London, the decision was made to merge the
19 EC and the UN effort, and that led directly to the creation and the work
20 of the international conference on the former Yugoslavia.
21 Q. Thank you. You mentioned this period of time, summer of 1991
22 until August 1992, when the negotiations were organised or led by the
23 European Community at the political level. Would you agree with me that
24 during that period of time, they were not very successful in relation to
25 these negotiations, not even when it came to the compliance with the
1 cease-fire agreements?
2 A. Yes. There was no question about that, that the EC effort was not
3 successful, nor were their cease-fire demands ever met. I've already
4 mentioned and don't need to repeat the Serb walkout, when Lord Carrington
5 presented the arrangements for a general settlement on October the 18th,
6 1991, so it is correct to say that the EC effort failed.
7 Q. We have heard, if I understood it well, that your observer role in
8 these negotiations at one point in time changed and then you and Mr. Vance
9 became active participants in the process, which led to the stage where
10 Mr. Vance proposed a plan which solved the crisis in Croatia; isn't that
12 A. Yes. The plan -- what you call "the plan" we call the
13 "peacekeeping operation." I don't mean to correct you, and forgive me,
14 but people often to this day speak of the "Vance peacekeeping plan" and it
15 was not that. It was routinely referred to by all the parties as a peace
16 plan but it was not. It was in fact the peacekeeping operation based on
17 the Geneva agreement that I've talked about and the implementing agreement
18 which we signed with the parties on January 2, 1992. Yes. We -- that, as
19 I've mentioned earlier, that was our principal purpose beginning in early
20 November, to work out the peacekeeping operation with the consent of the
21 parties and, of course, the JNA. The JNA was perhaps the most important
22 party. That was our sole purpose and that's what is often referred to as
23 the Vance plan for Croatia. It was in fact the peacekeeping operation.
24 Q. Thank you for your explanation, Mr. Okun. Did General Kadijevic
25 present to you his claim that actually during the first stage of
1 negotiations, when this was still conducted by the European Community,
2 those who were -- conducted negotiations were precisely those who had
3 initiated this crisis, aiming to see the dissolution of Yugoslavia, led by
4 Germany among others? Did Mr. Kadijevic ever tell you about this concern
5 of his?
6 A. Yes, he did so frequently, as did Milosevic and others.
7 Q. Did these doubts and concerns, in fact, bring about a more active
8 role of the United Nations and yourself and Mr. Vance in these
10 A. I don't think you can say, even now in retrospect, that it was
11 just that issue. We were concerned about the fighting in general. Of
12 course, we were aware of these concerns expressed by the Serb side, the
13 political level, the military level. It was our job to find out what was
14 on their minds. You can't devise a peace until you know the root causes
15 of a conflict and above all, what the parties to the conflict are all
16 about. So it was certainly something that was in our minds but I wouldn't
17 call it the primary cause of the mission. The cause of the mission was
18 the fighting itself.
19 Q. Thank you. Mr. Vance and you were special envoys of the UN
20 Secretary-General at the time. However, if I'm not mistaken, both of you
21 came from the ranks of American diplomats. Can you please tell me what
22 was the position of the American administration, in view of the Yugoslav
23 crisis, in the summer of 1991, if you know that?
24 A. The American position had several parts. First, there was this
25 same deep concern that the European countries had expressed, that the
1 world was expressing but, of course, particularly Europe because they were
2 the neighbours of Yugoslavia. Second, Yugoslavia was or had been for a
3 long time a friend of the United States. The United States provided a
4 great deal of economic assistance, weapons, trained JNA officers in
5 American training camps for the military. Indeed, General Kadijevic told
6 us that he had received training at the officers' training school in
7 Arkansas in the United States. So there was a good relationship between
8 General Kadijevic and Mr. Vance and me and all of the other officers, I
9 may say, General Raseta, others. We had very good relations.
10 In the summer of 1991, the American government at the time
11 expressed its concern. You will recall that secretary baker visited
12 Yugoslavia and Belgrade in early July, I believe it was, and at that time
13 one was looking back at the history of Yugoslavia. All of us had been
14 concerned particularly during the Soviet period for the independence of
15 Yugoslavia. We were concerned about its territorial integrity, which was,
16 as you know, under serious threat after Joseph Stalin evicted Yugoslavia
17 and Tito from the Kominform in 1948. I don't need to tell you your own
18 history. You remember it although it's long in the past. But beginning
19 with that period, and even earlier, when American soldiers fought
20 together -- fought with the partisans in the mountains of Bosnia and
21 Slovenia during the war against the Germans and the Italians. So our
22 relations were good and went back a long way.
23 So that when Secretary Baker visited Yugoslavia, at the beginning
24 of July 1991, he made all of this clear and expressed the hope and, of
25 course, it could be no more than a hope, that the country would solve its
1 problems peacefully, and remain together in some form. But the United
2 States was not an active participant in the EC negotiation, and I think
3 it's fair to say that Mr. Vance and I were the only ones on the scene
4 aside from our normal diplomatic representation.
5 Q. Thank you. One thing I would like to ask you: You mentioned
6 Mr. Baker's visit, the U.S.A. Secretary at the time. Do you know whether
7 perhaps during his visit he ever clearly stated that the United States
8 were in favour of the territorial integrity of the SFRY - at that point in
9 time I'm talking about July 1991 - and that the US in fact would not
10 recognise any attempts at unilateral secession by any of the Yugoslav
11 republics? Do you know if he stated that?
12 A. No, I don't. I wasn't involved at all at the time.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. I was made aware of that later.
15 Q. Thank you. Mr. Okun, could we agree that all the way until the
16 end of 1991, the Republic of Croatia had not yet gained recognition as an
17 independent state and the SFRY continued to exist?
18 A. I don't agree completely with your premise, Mr. Vasic. While it
19 is true, the first part of what you said, that Croatia had not yet been
20 recognised by the end of 1991, but already the SFRY, as I mentioned
21 earlier, had been declared by the Badinter arbitration commission to be in
22 a process of dissolution. On that basis I would say that the conclusion
23 you would have to draw was that the state did not exist, that it was, in
24 fact, in a process of dissolution.
25 Q. Thank you. You testified in chief today about the 19th of
1 November and you and Mr. Vance going to Vukovar. Prior to your arrival in
2 Vukovar you mentioned passing through Sid. Can you please tell us, did
3 you see if this town had been shelled at the time you were passing
5 A. I refer you to page 61 of my diary notes because I've written that
6 down explicitly, if I might read it to you, sir, to answer your question.
7 I note that we at 6.30 a.m. we depart Belgrade in a JNA motorcade. At
8 7.45, one hour and 15 minutes later we arrive at Sid and stay there for
9 one hour. And then I report on the situation in Sid. And I write, in
10 German situation report, Lagebericht, "Sid is a large agro-business
11 centre, untouched except for a few shell-pocketed buildings and a
12 kindergarten shelled on November 5."
13 Q. Could you tell us, do you know, if Sid is in fact in Serbia?
14 A. Yes, of course, I know that. I stated that earlier in my
16 Q. Thank you very much. Were you told anything when you were in Sid
17 about a wave of refugees from the Vukovar area, and do you know which
18 ethnic group those refugees belonged to?
19 A. Yes. We were informed about displaced persons. It's the second
20 item on my report on Sid. I read it to you, "Mayor, youngish" meaning a
21 rather young man, not like me, more like you, "gives us a briefing." I'm
22 quoting, "Calls the Croats Ustasha. Refers to refugee in-flow from the
23 fighting zones." I assume he was talking about Serbs. I'm almost certain
24 that would be the case, Sid being very near the border between Croatia and
1 Q. Thank you, sir. Are you familiar with the role played by Goran
2 Hadzic at the time when you were involved in negotiations for a peaceful
3 solution to the conflict in Yugoslavia or more specifically Croatia?
4 A. Yes. We personally met Hadzic, and I'm familiar with his overall
5 role in this period.
6 Q. Did you at one point in time learn that Mr. Hadzic was in control
7 of 95 per cent of all members of the Territorial Defence for East
8 Slavonia, Baranja and Srem, meaning that 95 per cent of volunteers were
9 under his control throughout that territory?
10 A. To be certain in answering you accurately I would have to check my
11 diary because I know I noted it down but my recollection is that
12 Mr. Milosevic made that point to us, that Hadzic and what Milosevic
13 referred to as the SAO of Srem Baranja, well, you know the geography, that
14 Hadzic controlled the Territorial Defence. There was always an argument
15 as to the status of the Territorial Defence because some maintained they
16 were disciplined, others they were undisciplined, some said they were
17 irregulars, others said they were auxiliaries. Many terms were used to
18 describe them. As I said we saw them in action at the refugee centre in
19 Vukovar. We met them again, Arkan and his men, in Dalj, outside of
20 Osijek, in December, just days later than this. So there was a general
21 awareness of the irregular forces, and if I might recall, the third point
22 3, the third item of the November 23, 1991 agreement on the peace
23 operation, first our point was cessation of hostilities, second was
24 unblocking the barracks. The third item was for all the parties to do
25 their best, use their influence to bring the irregulars under control. So
1 that was -- that was widely known. There were many references to it and,
2 of course, irregulars were active on both sides of the conflict. There
3 was no doubt of that.
4 Q. Thank you. Can you please just tell me this? In order to have
5 the agreement implemented, the agreement that you have just spoken about,
6 did that require the approval of Goran Hadzic?
7 A. I don't know that you could say it required his formal approval
8 but it surely required that he take some action with his irregulars or
9 with the TO, whichever you call or both. We raised the subject frequently
10 with Mr. Milosevic, more than once. He told us to see Hadzic. We saw
11 Hadzic. So that I think it is fair to say that Hadzic was certainly part
12 of the problem. Whether he was part of the solution was in the hands of
13 Mr. Milosevic, and you will find in the diaries very clear discussions
14 between us and Milosevic on the need for him, that is to say Milosevic, to
15 bring Hadzic under control because he was under Milosevic's control, and
16 Milosevic assured us that he would do so. He promised Mr. Vance that he
17 would take action with Hadzic and make him behave in a more correct
19 Q. I would like to talk again about your visit to Vukovar on the
20 19th. I suppose you passed the JNA barracks on the way. Prior to your
21 arrival there, did you know that the barracks had been under siege since
22 the summer of 1991?
23 A. We had been informed --
24 Q. What I want to know is since when the barracks had been under
1 A. We were told that the barracks had been besieged since August, I
2 believe, perhaps earlier but certainly since August, and as we've already
3 reported and seen and heard on the tape, we heard Major Sljivancanin
4 allege that 400 to 500 shells a day had fallen on the barracks, and we
5 visited those barracks at the request of the JNA.
6 Q. We've heard that. Thank you.
7 What I want to know is: Were you familiar with the fact that the
8 commissioner of the town of Vukovar had ordered for the electricity,
9 water -- and water supply to the barracks as well as the telephone lines,
10 to be cut off in order to make their lives impossible? Is this something
11 that you were familiar with?
12 A. I don't recall whether that was ever mentioned, but we were in
13 general, as I say, aware that the Croatians were taking that kind of
14 action. We saw it and heard it at the Marshal Tito caserne in Zagreb. So
15 I can say in a general way we were aware that part of the blockade of the
16 barracks was frequently cutting electricity and that sort of thing.
17 Q. Do you know that during the armed clashes in Vukovar, there were
18 several thousands of armed ZNG members and MUP members in the town of
20 A. I don't think we knew the composition specifically of the
21 contending forces. We knew there were Croatians in the city, Serbs in the
22 city, civilians. We knew there were irregulars and probably some regulars
23 in the city, and we knew that the JNA was shelling the city, obviously.
24 We've seen the destruction. And we could see the gunners as we drove in.
25 We -- of course, we visited the city on the day after it fell to the JNA,
1 as they said to the day they "liberated" the city, and their gunners, the
2 artillery men were still in the field, they weren't firing on November 19,
3 but we could see the JNA boys and their guns. So we were, I think, aware
4 of the violence that was going on.
5 Q. But if I understand you correctly, you were not familiar with the
6 specific numbers of the ZNG and MUP in Vukovar offering armed resistance,
7 were you?
8 A. As to specific numbers, no. I don't know that at that time it was
9 possible to know, although I'm not claiming that as a -- any kind of an
10 excuse. The fact that there was resistance, of course, was self-evident.
11 Otherwise the JNA would have taken the city much earlier so it was
12 self-evident that there was some resistance from the Croatian side. Of
13 course, they were much the weaker side.
14 Q. Thank you. In answer to a question by my learned friend, you
15 showed surprise at one point, at one point during your stay in Vukovar.
16 You were passing the barracks and you said that you were surprised that it
17 had not sustained greater damage, and yet this surprise which today
18 appears to be an important part of your impressions at the time, was not
19 recorded in your diaries, was it?
20 A. Well, when I wrote the diaries, of course, I'm not a stenographic
21 notetaker, and also the diaries were basically who said what to whom and
22 what we saw, but it was very clear, sometimes I mentioned it, sometimes I
23 didn't. In Sid, for example, I noted that the town was practically
24 untouched. I might have noted it. On the other hand, you know, that was
25 a very busy day, November 19, and it began at 5.00 a.m. in the morning and
1 ended at almost midnight, and I wrote down on the spot, you know, the
2 things that I thought were most important, and sometimes I would just note
3 where I was, you know, in the barracks case, they took us through the
4 barracks, you know, that sort of thing, because I know very well what I
5 saw. One can't forget that sort of thing. It's easy to forget words but
6 you know what you've seen. I mean, you ask me to describe this room, in a
7 general way I can tell you what it looks like.
8 Q. Thank you. You also spoke about the objectives of the JNA in
9 Vukovar. You confirmed today that you were aware of attacks that had been
10 launched against the Serbian population earlier on in 1991, the summer of
11 1991. You were aware of the sort of situation that prevailed. What do
12 you think would have happened to the Serb inhabitants of Vukovar,
13 specifically had the JNA decided to withdraw from Vukovar, in which case
14 the only forces remaining there on the ground would have been the ZNG?
15 MR. MOORE: I object to that question. It's pure speculation.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Are you proceeding on the assumption that Mr. --
17 that the ambassador has some particular knowledge of this matter,
18 Mr. Vasic? Or are you asking him to theorise?
19 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I fully
20 accept what my learned friend has just stated. I do have to offer one
21 clarification, though. The Defence believes that Mr. Okun was involved in
22 these peace negotiations. He had information from both the Croat side and
23 the Serb side as well as the federal state and the JNA. It struck me that
24 perhaps at one point he may have been in a position to obtain such
25 information that could show us whether the objective of the armed fighting
1 in Vukovar was merely to lift the blockade of the barracks or to protect
2 all the citizens from an aggression by the Croatian armed forces.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Vasic, the particular question you did
4 formulate, and to which objection is made, I must agree with Mr. Moore
5 that it's entirely speculative.
6 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour. I
7 will try to rephrase my question.
8 Q. Did you have any information during your mission to indicate that
9 members of the ZNG had been launching attacks against the Serbian
10 population of the Vukovar area?
11 A. We were of course aware of the violence in and around Vukovar and
12 other areas in Croatia. Western Slavonia, for example. We knew of, in a
13 general way, of the events at Borovo Selo. We knew of the violence and
14 certainly both sides were perpetrating acts of violence. But the fact was
15 that the overwhelming use of force came from the JNA, and the
16 preponderance of the violence came from the JNA, not from the irregulars
17 on either side.
18 Q. Is it your belief or do you know whether the Croatian forces were
19 a regular, legal forces, based on the letter of law and constitution, or
20 were these forces quite the opposite, illegal, military or even
21 paramilitary forces?
22 A. They were of both nature. There was a constituted army of the
23 Republic of Croatia. It had at its chief General Anton Tus whom I met and
24 knew. He had formerly been the chief of the air staff of the JNA, one of
25 the top JNA officers before he departed for his home country. So there
1 was a regular Croatian army. And as I have already said in answer to
2 previous questions, we were also aware that there were Croatian irregulars
3 and paramilitaries, men like Paraga. Yes, we were aware of that.
4 Q. Thank you for this answer, Mr. Okun, but we are facing a situation
5 with difficult legal questions to answer. We have the Republic of
6 Croatia, which is legally not an independent state at this time. We have
7 a situation where it cannot be allowed to have any armed forces proper.
8 It can only be allowed to have TO forces. We are facing a fact that the
9 National Guards Corps has been established but this cannot be based on any
10 of the existing laws at the time because only an independent state can in
11 fact establish its own armed forces. Wouldn't that seem to be the case,
13 A. No.
14 MR. MOORE: I object to that question.
15 THE WITNESS: I disagree -- excuse me.
16 MR. MOORE: I object to that question in any event. This is a
17 matter of constitutional law. If the matter is going to be clarified, it
18 would have to be clarified by a person who is qualified within that
19 particular area, and in my submission, it is beyond the scope, with
20 respect, of the witness.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Moore, I suspect that the witness would agree
22 with you, but in terms of general understanding and impression, which is
23 all that the Chamber would understand that the witness is addressing, I
24 think this is a question which may properly be put.
25 I would indicate to Mr. Vasic that the more you persist in the
1 details of the precise constitutional legal position, the more you're
2 getting away from general, public understandings, and getting into the
3 field of expert opinion so that while the Chamber would allow this
4 question on this occasion, you will understand we receive the answer
5 well-conscious with respect that the witness does not purport to be an
6 expert in this field or on this topic.
7 THE WITNESS: May I answer?
8 No, I don't agree with your presumption. If I think of the
9 history of my own country, its fight for independence, from 1776 to 1783,
10 the United States had an army and according to what you've said, it would
11 be illegal. I don't consider it illegal. General George Washington is a
12 name perhaps known to you. I think almost every country that has had to
13 fight for its independence has an army.
14 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Sir, what about Mr. Kadijevic? Did he not at one of the meetings
16 with Mr. Vance state, as far as the document signed in Geneva was
17 concerned, that he was only able to take over command responsibility over
18 the JNA but certainly no political role, that this was up to the
19 Presidency of the SFRY and that the JNA would abide by any decisions plead
20 by the presidency? Do you remember perhaps something to that effect being
22 A. Yes. He frequently said, more than once, that he was a servant of
23 the state, that the JNA would always act within its area of competence,
24 that sort of thing. He would make that statement.
25 Q. Thank you, sir. When he signed the agreement in Geneva, did he
1 perhaps also qualify it by saying he was signing only the parts of the
2 agreement that pertained to the JNA and its duties?
3 A. I don't recall he said that. In fact, all four points of the
4 Geneva agreement of November 23, 1991, came within the area of competence,
5 at one point or another, of the JNA. To repeat: The cease-fire; the
6 unblocking of the barracks; the control of the paramilitaries and the word
7 used was influence, so it wasn't necessarily direct control. We knew that
8 the chain of command was sometimes loose and informal. And the fourth
9 point, the permission for humanitarian aid to go through the lines. So
10 all four of those points came within the competence of the JNA, and
11 General Kadijevic knew that surely. There was no argument about it.
12 Q. Perhaps I am mistaken in my conclusion that in November 1991, the
13 decisive and dominant role, when it comes to the implementation of this
14 item 3, was the role that the commanders and representatives of the TO
15 Staffs had, as well as other commanders in that area and political leaders
16 in that area called Baranja, Western Srem, and Slavonia. We touched upon
17 this when we mentioned their leader, Goran Hadzic.
18 A. Well, they certainly played a role but we were always of the view,
19 and we could see at the time the intimate relationship between the JNA and
20 the Serb irregulars in the field. As I've already testified, and it's
21 noted clearly in my diary, that at the refugee reception centre in
22 Vukovar, there were JNA soldiers and intermingled with them, lounging
23 about, passing the slivovitz from hand to hand were the irregulars and
24 some TO. We had the impression, and very clearly the impression, that the
25 JNA could basically do what it wanted with the irregulars. To start with,
1 they supplied them with the weapons. And these people didn't have arms
2 factories, and they had to get their weapons from somewhere. And they got
3 them from the JNA. There was no secret about that.
4 Q. Will you agree that at one point in time, both sides were armed,
5 meaning the Croatian and the Serbian side, and that further arming was not
6 needed because they had already had armed formations that they had command
7 over in their local territory?
8 A. Part of that is accurate, and part in my opinion is not accurate.
9 It's true that both sides, to a certain degree, were armed. Of course,
10 the JNA being an army, serious army was more heavily armed than anyone,
11 particularly in 1991. That both sides had small arms and that sort of
12 thing, rifles, pistols, the occasional grenade, of course, was true, but
13 in terms of the armament and in terms of the violence, in terms of the
14 damage done, it belonged overwhelmingly to the JNA and we so reported to
15 the Security Council at the time. So I am not speculating now 14 years
16 later. I can give you the citation of Mr. Vance's report at the time,
17 concerning the J -- the violence wrought by the JNA.
18 Q. The agreement that was signed in Geneva was signed by Mr. Vance as
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. I apologise to the interpreters. I didn't make a pause.
22 Was this agreement also signed by Lord Carrington?
23 A. I don't recall whether Carrington signed it. He might have.
24 Certainly, Mr. Vance, Milosevic, Tudjman, and General Kadijevic signed it.
25 Carrington was present at the meeting, at Mr. Vance's invitation. The
1 document is a public document. One could find that out.
2 Q. I don't wish to challenge that, but it seems to me that
3 Mr. Carrington left before the agreement was signed, and I wanted to know
4 whether you knew the reason for that. Now you just told us that he was
5 not involved in the implementation and the signing of this agreement, if I
6 understood you well.
7 A. Let me clarify it for you, if I may. The meeting of November 23,
8 1991, in Geneva, at the Palace of Nations of the United Nations, was a UN
9 meeting convened by Mr. Vance in his capacity as the special
10 representative. He invited General Kadijevic, Milosevic, Tudjman, there
11 for the purposes that we have discussed. As I said earlier, he invited,
12 as a courtesy, Lord Carrington, as an observer, and that was what it was.
13 It was a courtesy. If you now tell me, or recall for me, that
14 Lord Carrington left early, I would not find that surprising in the least.
15 The day was Saturday, in fact. There was no reason for him to hang around
16 once the agreement had been reached, and I think he -- I'm sure he shook
17 everybody's hand quite politely and said good buy to them. He knew he was
18 going to see them all in a few days in his capacity as chairman of the
19 political conference on Yugoslavia. So I don't find it at all unusual
20 that, as you now tell us, Lord Carrington departed somewhat earlier than
21 we did.
22 Q. Now that you have clarified his role, it doesn't seem so unusual
23 to me either, as it did at first glance.
24 After the unblocking of barracks, did the JNA forces withdraw from
1 A. That's a long story. The short answer is yes, but it took a very
2 long time.
3 Q. Yes, thank you. I understood that.
4 A. It took until -- in fact, until October 1992. The implementing
5 accord for the Geneva agreement concerning the unblocking and the total
6 withdrawal of the JNA from Croatia was signed on January 2, 1992. The JNA
7 left finally from Prevlaka in October 1992. So they did withdraw, one has
8 to say, at a very leisurely pace.
9 Q. We are aware of the problems with Prevlaka. Thank you very much,
10 Mr. Okun.
11 MR. VASIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have no further
12 questions for this witness.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Thank you very much,
14 Mr. Vasic.
15 Because, Mrs. Tapuskovic, we've been limiting our sessions to
16 about an hour, we have just had an hour, and it would seem that we would
17 need to have a break now. That would leave us less than ten minutes after
18 the break. I think it might be the more practical course, unless there is
19 something you feel that you would very much like to ask in the next five
20 minutes, the more practical course for you might be to continue tomorrow
21 rather than this evening.
22 MS. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. If you
23 have decided to take a break now, and this was a prior arrangement, to
24 make breaks every hour, then I would gladly avail myself of this
25 opportunity you just presented to me to begin the examination of the
1 witness tomorrow. Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mrs. Tapuskovic.
3 Given the hour and the circumstances, it would seem the most
4 practical use of time would be to adjourn now rather than break for 20
5 minutes and then resume for a few minutes until seven.
6 So an earlier evening, ambassador, than you were describing in
7 your tours and work. But we will resume tomorrow at 2.15.
8 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.33 p.m.,
9 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 17th day of
10 November, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.