1 Monday, 13 February 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: You may continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examination by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff: [Continued]
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, before the break we saw three clips related to your
12 speech in Borovo Selo. In the second video, you refer to the audience as
13 offsprings of the heroes from Vucin Dol. That relates to victories of the
14 Montenegrins won in summer 1876 against the Turks; right?
15 A. That's right.
16 Q. In these victories a huge amount of Turks were killed; right?
17 A. A large number of both Turks and Montenegrins were killed. The
18 Turks were the occupiers.
19 Q. And calling upon an audience in a village in which a lot of people
20 have already been killed, in particular also Croat policemen, that sounds
21 to me like encouraging further violence, does it not?
22 A. Well, you might have drawn that conclusion but my conclusion is
23 quite different to yours. I was addressing the people, the public, who
24 until then had lived in freedom and who loved their freedom. Now, the
25 participants of the Vucin Dol battle were Montenegrins who had fought for
1 their freedom, and that's how I saw the peaceful inhabitants of Borovo
2 Selo who rose up, quite simply, against those who had come armed to impose
3 their power upon them.
4 Q. And in the third video clip that we saw, you compare the policies
5 of the Croatian leadership with, as you said, "the frenzied Croatian
6 ideology from 50 years ago." That does not calm down the situation in
7 that hot spot; right? It rather does the different.
8 A. Well, had not everything resembled the policy of Hitler's Croatian
9 state, Pavelic's state of 50 years ago, then probably the inhabitants of
10 Borovo Selo wouldn't have behaved that way during those days. But
11 everything that was happening during those days at that time very vividly
12 reminded the Serb population of Borovo Selo to what happened to the Serbs
13 50 years earlier, and that is what disturbed them, and that is what made
14 them organise themselves and put up resistance, because up until those
15 days, that population was a peaceful population. The people lived in
16 their houses, they tilled their fields, and then suddenly they were faced
17 with a situation where they felt themselves to be under threat, under
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, in that third speech you also refer to the suffering
20 of the Serb people. Mr. Kostic, non-Serb inhabitants in Borovo Selo
21 suffered, too, didn't they? But you don't refer to them. Why is that?
22 A. I don't think you're right on that score, but I should like to ask
23 you, in view of the fact that 15 years have passed since then and that we
24 saw the clips just four days ago, may we just show -- see that third clip
25 to remind ourselves of it for me to be able to answer you and to see on
1 the basis of what you draw your conclusions?
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, I don't think we need to see the clip again, but I can
3 quote -- I can quote from the transcript that I have here in front of me,
4 and I was actually referring to the following that what you said --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, to be fair to the witness,
7 we'll see the clip.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Okay.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: As for the AV booth, we do it on Sanction.
11 [Videotape played]
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are we to have a translation?
13 THE INTERPRETER: The volume was down. We cannot hear the
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Would you start again so we can have a
17 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] In addition he said that we have a
18 revamping of the ideology that was started 50 years ago. Europe and the
19 world remembered that policy very well, and I'm convinced that Europe and
20 the world will finally understand it today as well, come to realise what
21 the policy and politics meant and what consequences such a policy can
22 have, not only on the Serb people living in this area of Croatia, who is
23 most directly in jeopardy, but also the consequences that such a policy
24 could have further afield in Europe as well. Our federal organs,
25 especially the Federal Executive Council, up until now have not been on a
1 par with their job, because due to force of circumstance, we are dealing
2 with an area in jeopardy where the Serb people are suffering, and it is
3 the concern of the Federal Executive Council in this case and in all other
4 cases to be expressed fully and materially viewed regardless of the ethnic
5 composition of the population which that unfortunate situation has
6 engulfed. We'll do everything in our power to see that that Yugoslav
7 People's Army of ours, which is strong and mighty and which has the
8 wherewithal to act even more than before to offer its assistance and
9 support to all parts of the population who are jeopardised or who have
10 already been jeopardised, regardless of where they reside, where they are.
11 Today it is the Serb people in Croatia that are under threat. Now, if
12 future developments take the course none of us would like to see, I don't
13 exclude the possibility of certain other parts or other ethnic groups find
14 themselves in jeopardy in certain areas as well. Then our army must be
15 the force to act. It must be truly a popular national army that will
16 stand up to protect each and every citizen under jeopardy regardless of
17 which ethnic group it belongs to or which religion or which political
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. I think that's enough. Yes.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
21 Q. Yes. That was the third clip that I was referring to, Mr. Kostic,
22 and as I hear you here, you are referring to the suffering of the Serb
23 people of Borovo Selo and not to the suffering of the non-Serb people of
24 Borovo Selo. And my question to you was why do you refer only to the
1 A. Madam, I don't think you understood the sense of what I said
2 properly, and that is why I asked that it be played again. I spoke, and a
3 moment ago, before we actually saw the clip, I repeated this, that the
4 Serb people on the territory of Croatia during World War II, that is to
5 say 50 years previously, experienced a terrible genocide. Over 700.000
6 Serbs, Jews and Gypsies were on the execution sites of Jasenica and others
7 in World War II on the territory of Croatia. And so when I spoke of the
8 suffering --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Jasenovac, interpreter's correction.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So when I spoke of suffering, I was
11 speaking about the suffering due to the same forces and the same ideology
12 that had raised its ugly head again. So it was in that sense that I spoke
13 about the suffering of the Serb people. But I'm fully conscious of the
14 fact that with the situation as it was, and when we talked about it 14
15 years ago Croatian policemen were killed, Serbs were killed. Wherever you
16 have weapons, wherever you have guns, then it is quite clear, especially
17 if you're dealing with an inter-ethnic clash, that there will be
18 casualties. The result the mistrust on both sides and the terrible
19 experience of the past. There must be victims, and I am very sorry for
20 each and every victim that falls.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, we saw Goran Hadzic sitting next to you in that video
23 just played. Mr. Hadzic, he was a close associate of Jovica Stanisic and
24 Mr. Milosevic; right? Do you know that?
25 A. I don't know that. I met Mr. Hadzic for the first time on that
1 occasion when I visited Borovo Selo. When I visited Borovo Selo. Now,
2 whether and to what extent Mr. Hadzic cooperated with Mr. Stanisic, whom I
3 don't personally know nor did I ever have occasion to meet him, I don't
4 know, or with anybody else. I know that I met Mr. Goran Hadzic later on,
5 during the long meetings when the entire leadership of the Republic of
6 Srpska Krajina had a 40-hour long meeting and then several other meetings
7 that lasted five or six hours when we tried to persuade them to accept the
8 Vance Peace Plan.
9 Q. Mr. Kostic, do you know that Mr. Hadzic closely cooperated with
11 A. No. I never saw Arkan myself.
12 Q. But you know that he was stationed in Erdut, do you? Do you not?
13 A. I don't know. I learnt about that, or I heard about that later
14 on, that his forces were there, and when I attended these proceedings,
15 actually, when I followed this trial, but at the time I didn't know that,
17 Q. When you were in Borovo Selo, you did not just visit refugee
18 camps, you also visited the barricades; right?
19 A. No, no barracks.
20 Q. I didn't say barracks. I said barricades, the barricades that
21 were put up by the people at the entries of the village.
22 A. I didn't visit any barricades either. We crossed the Danube River
23 on -- on a raft because it was impossible to communicate via the bridge.
24 And to tell you the truth, I don't know the area very well, so I don't
25 know whether the river flows upstream or downstream at that particular
1 point where we crossed in the raft. But I do know that there were
2 paramilitaries positioned all around, Croatian paramilitaries, that they
3 had mortars, and I also know that in crossing the river in the raft, in
4 crossing the Danube, we could have been under threat and the target of
5 mortars of the Croatian paramilitaries. And that is why instead of the
6 time announced when we would cross the Danube, we crossed two hours later
7 on the raft. But we didn't visit any barricades at all, nor did I notice
8 any barricades, for that matter, in crossing from the embankment to Borovo
10 Q. Mr. Kostic -- and also I would like to put a translation of a
11 Tanjug domestic service report to the witness. We only have the English
12 translation of this report. We don't have the B/C/S version of this
13 Tanjug report.
14 It's from the 29th of July, 1991, referring to your visit in
15 Borovo Selo.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Professor Kostic.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I ask a question? That is to
19 say I owe Mr. Bonomy an answer about -- to a question about the
20 constitution of Bosnia-Herzegovina. So I was just going to ask you, shall
21 I take this opportunity to answer that question now while that is being
22 set up, or shall we leave it 'til later?
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. We'll have your response at the end of the
25 Please continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, this article is actually -- or, rather, this Tanjug
3 report is actually quoting you, and it is very much like the clip that we
4 saw, but on the last line in this report, it says: "Kostic also went on a
5 tour of the defenders of Borovo Selo and the barricades at the entry of
6 this village."
7 That is what is written here by Tanjug domestic service. Can you
8 comment on this? They say here that you visited the defenders of Borovo
9 Selo and the barricades at the entry of this village.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. What do you say to that, Mr. Kostic?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have to say that Tanjug's
12 information at that time was mostly correct, and from that point of view
13 as far as any information coming out of Tanjug, I had no criticisms to
14 make. I think that everything that happened in Borovo Selo was recorded
15 in the three clips shown by the Prosecution.
16 So I visited the inhabitants of Borovo Selo, I went to the centre
17 of Borovo Selo, and the welcome there, the address I made and the talk to
18 the leaders of the Serb people in the area, you've seen all that. But I
19 don't know where the barricades were. I don't recall seeing any
20 barricades. Perhaps I passed by them without knowing they were there.
21 And even if I had visited or toured the barricades, I don't see anything
22 bad in that.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we would like to tender this
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. It's admitted.
2 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, that will be Exhibit 945.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, when you visited the village and you spoke to the
5 people there, did you notice that it was not just local Serbs but also
6 Serbs from Serbia there?
7 A. Madam, I was in the area for the first time. I'd never been there
8 before. And you asked me a moment ago about Arkan and about Mr. Stanisic.
9 They were - how shall I put this? - well, let me say well-known figures,
10 but I never met them. Now, how I could have recognised somebody and known
11 they were from Serbia proper or from Borovo Selo, I don't know. All I
12 could do was to recognise the people who came in the delegation with me,
13 and amongst them there was Mr. Brana Crncevic, as you were able to see,
14 but I said he didn't come there as a writer but he went there as a man in
15 charge of refugees.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... ask the question.
17 Mr. Kostic, your visit to Borovo Selo was understood by the Croats and
18 also by others as endorsement of the killing of the Croat policeman. Was
19 that said about your visit? Do you know that?
20 A. Well, madam, I assume you talked to the Croats over there, but on
21 the basis of everything I stated publicly and on the basis of the tape of
22 my speech that you showed here, neither the Croats nor anybody else could
23 have understood it that I was lending my support to someone while coming
24 out against someone else. I stated quite clearly, and I can repeat it
25 again, that at this point in time and in that case it was a matter of the
1 Serbs being jeopardised on the territory of Borovo Selo, but in other
2 cases, in other instances, what could easily happen was that the Muslims,
3 Albanians, Macedonians and Croats might be mentioned - I don't know if I
4 mentioned all of them - but in all events we with our Yugoslav People's
5 Army, which is truly a people's army, will stand up in protection of
7 Q. Let me interrupt you. I simply asked you whether your visit in
8 Borovo Selo was understood by others as an endorsement of the killing of
9 Croat policemen, and I ask you this because you yourself mentioned that
10 this visit to Borovo Selo was the reason why Mr. Mesic did not accept you
11 as the head of the monitoring mission. So he, at least, understood it
12 this way, didn't he?
13 A. Well, madam, you would have to ask Mr. Mesic that. Mr. Mesic, at
14 The Hague conference, told me when I had visited the units of the Yugoslav
15 People's Army at Dubrovnik, told me, "Ah, so that's it, Branko, you're
16 visiting the Chetniks around Dubrovnik." And there was nothing else left
17 for me but to tell him, "No, Stipe, I'm not visiting the Chetniks. I'm
18 visiting the members of the Yugoslav People's Army, the sole legitimate
19 armed force in this country, of which you are the supreme commander but
20 unfortunately you are not performing your duty pursuant to the
21 constitution, so I had to do it instead of you." So if you gained that
22 conclusion on the basis of what Mr. Mesic said, I myself didn't arrive at
23 that conclusion, nor was my visit turned against anybody. My visit took
24 place to mitigate the suffering and pain of that unfortunate jeopardised
25 people of which 8.000 had already crossed the river Danube and fled.
1 Q. Mr. Kostic, we -- Mr. Nikola Samardzic testified in this court in
2 the Prosecution case, and he also referred and said, "Borovo Selo was
3 understood as endorsement of the murder of the Croat policemen for the
4 Serb cause." He refers to your visit in Borovo Selo.
5 And it's Exhibit 339, page 7, Your Honours.
6 He also mentioned that this was understood as an endorsement of
7 what had happened in the past there. What do you say to that?
8 A. Madam, it was not my intention to mention that individual, because
9 he -- he is dead. We say never speak ill of the dead. But since you
10 mention Mr. Samardzic, I did follow these entire proceedings, this whole
11 trial, and I have to say that the most -- or the ugliest assessment of the
12 situation was made by Mr. Samardzic, because in his testimony, the only
13 thing that he said correctly was in that portion of his testimony when he
14 said that I asked that he be replaced.
15 Well, you must allow me to answer your question and to complete my
16 line of -- train of thought. If you've referred to Mr. Samardzic, then
17 let me say what I think about Mr. Samardzic, because you are drawing
18 conclusions on the basis of his testimony now.
19 So the only thing that I am going to say is that Mr. Samardzic,
20 the only thing that he said during his testimony was that at that time I
21 called upon the responsible people in Montenegro to replace him because he
22 was occupying the post of the minister of foreign affairs in Montenegro
23 and he wasn't serving his people.
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, let me interrupt you again. I would like to move on,
25 and I would like to put to you a quote from your book --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness omitted to say the only
3 thing that Samardzic did say in the course of his testimony, but he said
4 the only thing he said correctly was that he asked to be replaced.
5 Everything else was not correctly stated by Samardzic, but the transcript
6 seems to say differently.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic. That's noted.
8 Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
10 Q. I would like to put now a quote from your book or, rather, a
11 letter that you mention in your book to you. That's Exhibit D33, tab 72,
12 and it is on page 265.
13 Can it be provided?
14 Mr. Kostic, it is --
15 A. I have found it.
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, it's a letter by a group of 40 professors of your
17 university, the Podgorica University, and they say the following: "It is
18 no credit to us that our university does not lag behind in the slightest
19 with a number of teachers and fellows who propagate violence and hatred
20 from prominent positions within the ruling and other political parties."
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: We don't have copies.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I'm sorry, Your Honour. I thought it would
23 have been provided.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's not it. That's not the
25 portion you read out. It's not there. It's not page 265.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
2 Q. Would you please read from what actually was provided to you. It
3 was -- at least in the version of the book that I have, it's page 265.
4 A. The last paragraph, the one that is marked, it says: "In the
5 second part of the 10th Extraordinary Congress held --" but this is not it
6 -- "when the League of Communists changed its name into the Democratic
7 Party of Socialists --" this is not it. You want to quote something else,
8 I know.
9 Q. Yes. I was actually referring to this letter, this letter from
10 the university, the colleagues from the university of Titograd, and I
11 think you have it in your book; right?
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, the B/C/S that is attached to
13 the translation you have is obviously not the correct one. We will change
15 Q. But luckily you have --
16 A. I have found it.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is it in the English version?
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The English version is correct. The English
19 is correct.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. What page, then?
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's the second page, in the middle, I
22 started to read. "It is no credit to us that our university does not lag
23 behind --"
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, here.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: "-- in the slightest with the number of
1 teachers and fellows who propagate violence and hatred from prominent
2 positions within the ruling and other political parties.
3 "A special place among them belongs to Dr. Branko Kostic,
4 vice-president of the country's non-existing Presidency, who considerably
5 contributes to the disintegration. Dr. Kostic's controversial political
6 activities in the past three years, beginning with his recommendation to
7 save the bullets for the coming war and a street brawl and signing up to
8 become a volunteer in the army to the scandalous statements at the
9 Conference in The Hague ..."
10 Mr. Kostic, first of all my question is: Did you actually say
11 "Save the bullets for the coming war," and what was the location?
12 A. At one occasion at large rally, which was attended by over 700.000
13 [as interpreted] people as was assessed, when there was a shooting
14 incident and people were sitting up in the trees in clusters, and others
15 were firing into the air. I wanted to keep control over the rally, so I
16 said to the seething crowd, "Keep your bullets. Don't waste them." And I
17 have to say that after that not a single shot was fired.
18 What I said has been used and abused, very often by people who do
19 not share my opinions. At a rally which I did not organise but which was
20 organised by a political party led at the time by a person who is still a
21 persona non grata in Sarajevo, who was unfortunately a colleague and
22 professor of mine at the university and who changed his opinions more than
23 once, he quoted this under the title "Organiser from the background." I
24 will tell you exactly on which page of my book it is all explained.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, you had an answer.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. That was the answer. Thank you.
2 Q. And this other --
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By your leave, Mr. Robinson, it's
4 page --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, Mr. -- No, Mr. Kostic. Let's move on.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Again another -- Could that please be
7 admitted, Your Honour? And it's actually the B/C/S version would be page
8 270, not as said here, 265. It's actually following, when you look into
9 the batch, little batch that you have, it's following in the B/C/S, it's
10 attached here just a few pages later.
11 Can this be admitted?
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kostic, what about the reference to a street
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can say the following in this
15 connection: At the time I was president of the Presidency of Montenegro.
16 This happened in June. We were supposed to be celebrating the anniversary
17 of the so-called Belvedere demonstrations of 1937, when there was
18 bloodshed. The regime of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia shot into a crowd of
19 peaceful demonstrators. Several people were killed or wounded. My father
20 was also seriously wounded then. Even without regard to my post as
21 president of the Presidency of Montenegro, I felt duty-bound to attend
22 because of my family.
23 Mr. Momir Bulatovic was also there. We met in the municipal
24 building of Cetinje municipality before leaving for the ceremony. In
25 front of the Cetinje monastery there was an event that had been organised.
1 A group of young men who were being rowdy and causing a disturbance had
2 been brought in to the police station. Their supporters then organised
3 themselves and arrived in front of the Assembly building. There were
4 about 20 or 30 of them in a group, and they arrived at the moment when I
5 was leaving the building. I was in the building and I was president of
6 the Presidency, so I should have been informed of this, but unfortunately
7 none of the security personnel informed me. I didn't know that a group of
8 young men had been arrested, nor did I know that another group was moving
9 towards the building in an organised manner. Although there were some 20
10 or 30 policemen there, this group walked up to me. I didn't know what
11 this was about. Of course I could have avoided them, but I met them to
12 see what this was about. They were shouting, "Let our comrades go, let
13 our comrades go. Release them." I didn't know what this was about.
14 One of the young men in the group, who was in the second or third
15 row and was taller than all the others, said, "You are a traitor of
16 Montenegro. You are selling Montenegro." And he spat at me. This whole
17 group was surprised by his action. They moved back a few metres, and my
18 security men advised me to withdraw to the Assembly building, the
19 Municipal Assembly building.
20 Cetinje is my town, and I was ashamed. Not that someone was
21 spitting at me as president of the state, but that someone should be
22 treating me in this way. And I --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Kostic. That's -- is that your
24 account of the street brawl? Did you do anything?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was just about to say this. I was
1 angry and confused. I walked towards the group, and I kicked the young
2 man who had spat at me in the lower part of his body. The police then
3 moved the young men 20 or 30 metres off, and from there they continued
4 yelling. I didn't want to take refuge in the Municipal Assembly building
5 but waited for the situation to calm down. Once everything was under
6 control, I walked towards the group to see what this was all about,
7 because I still didn't know why they had gathered.
8 As I was walking towards them, they started yelling, "Throw away
9 the pistol. Throw away the pistol." It was summertime. I unbuttoned my
10 jacket. It was light jacket. I opened it, and I said, "I have no pistol.
11 I don't need a pistol in my town of Cetinje." And they yelled, "And the
12 policemen behind you?" I turned around and I really saw a group of
13 policemen following me. I ordered them to go back, and they obeyed. I
14 approached the group, a small group, because in the meantime my driver had
15 pulled me back. This young man was bleeding. He had been hurt and some
16 young man had taken him across the street. I had quite a normal
17 conversation with some of these young then. They addressed, "Comrade
18 Branko, this was not intended for you." We had quite a normal
20 I later went to attend the ceremony, but people still remember the
21 misinterpretation that I was actually taking my jacket off in order to
22 start fighting.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... the end of
24 the account now, yes. Thank you.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
1 Q. Mr. Kostic, just one more question. You said that the
2 demonstrators said, "You are selling Montenegro." What did you mean?
3 Selling Montenegro to whom?
4 A. Well, you can draw your own conclusion, but it's quite clear to me
5 why you're asking me that. That's why I asked Mr. Bonomy not to be angry
6 at with me at one point in time. You see Mr. Bulatovic in his book
7 talking about our disagreements about the legal status of Montenegro and
8 the future state, accused me of siding with Mr. Milosevic. Because of
9 these accusations constantly hurled at me, even by my party comrades, I
10 kept repeating that I was not siding with anyone, that nobody loved
11 Montenegro more than me, and that my concern was for the future of my
13 Q. You have answered my question. It's no need to go in so many
14 details. Try to answer my questions as short as possible so that we can
15 finish the cross-examination as soon as possible.
16 Mr. Kostic, another -- another chapter in your book --
17 A. Madam, your questions are malicious. That's why I have to be more
18 extensive in my answers.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: The questions are not malicious. They are, in
20 fact, quite appropriate.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, another section in your book, and I would like to
23 refer you now to the pages 217 starting. And I would like to have the
24 translation provided to everyone in the court and the document also for
25 Mr. Milosevic.
1 Mr. Kostic, it's actually a speech, a rally on the 2nd of October,
2 1990, and I think that's the rally that you just spoke about with the
3 700.000 people attending. Is that the speech that you refer to in your
5 A. Madam, all of Montenegro doesn't have 700.000 people in it. I
6 said 70.000 people. That's the rally. And thank you for drawing
7 attention to this text.
8 Q. Yes. A little bit -- on page 3 in the English, the second
9 paragraph. And it should be marked, actually, for you. You see the
10 following -- you said the following: "The looming tragedy in this
11 country, the looming tragedy of the Serbian people in Croatia is too great
12 for us to divide ourselves into parties and sympathisers. Serbian
13 children and Serbian women and the helpless elderly are fleeing their
14 homes again, once more they are forced to seek help or salvation in
15 military barracks."
16 Mr. Kostic, you gave this speech on the 2nd of October, 1990.
17 That is a little bit later than the so-called log revolution where certain
18 barricades were set up. What you are talking about, Serbian children,
19 Serbian women and the elderly having to flee, that hadn't happened then,
20 had it? How can you say those things?
21 A. If you're talking about Borovo Selo, it hadn't happened. Borovo
22 Selo happened only in 1991, and this was in May. I visited it in June. I
23 was, however, referring to what was happening in the territory of
24 Republika Srpska Krajina, Knin, Benkovac, and other places in Croatia
25 inhabited by Serbs. And it was already evident. The media were already
1 reporting that Serbian people, women and children, were trying to take
2 refuge, inter alia, in JNA barracks.
3 Inter-ethnic tensions and conflicts did not start in 1991, but
4 the --
5 THE INTERPRETER: In 1990, interpreter's correction.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were already attacks on the
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
9 Q. Mr. -- Mr. Kostic, we are hearing evidence now for quite some
10 time, and the first violent clashes we hear about is actually Plitvice and
11 Pakrac. That's all in 1991. But here in 1990, you speak about Serbian
12 women and Serbian children fleeing, and the elderly. That's an
13 extraordinary exaggeration. Wouldn't you say that? Isn't it? That
14 didn't really happen at that time.
15 A. Madam, this rally, which an opposition party attempted to organise
16 and the aim of which was evidently to win me over for that party, as they
17 told me later, but of course they didn't succeed, this whole rally was
18 organised in order to calm down tensions, not to exaggerate. What is
19 certain and beyond dispute is that in the municipalities in the
20 Knin-Krajina, where the Serbian population was in the minority and where
21 large-scale ethnic conflicts had not yet broken out where the JNA was not
22 engaged and where the police forces of the Tudjman government had not
23 attempted to entered and disarm the police on the territory of the Serb
24 municipalities, there was uncertainty, and there certainly was fleeing by
25 the Serb population, and there certainly were helpless people seeking
1 refuge in JNA barracks.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic. Mr. Kostic, in that same page -- or, rather, in your
3 book you refer to that event as an atmosphere, indeed inferno, singing
4 slogans, banners, calls for taking up arms, and in such an atmosphere you
5 speak of the Serbian children and Serbian women being threatened. And you
6 also speak about the genocide threatening the Serbian people in Croatia.
7 That's actually fuelling the wave of nationalism and what was going on
8 there. That's fuelling the wave, isn't it? It's adding to the tension,
9 not calming.
10 A. That's not correct, madam. You can draw your own conclusion, but
11 if you read my book carefully, you will see, and this is perhaps one of
12 the things that brought me to the post of president of the Presidency in
13 Montenegro, I'm referring to the fact that at that time when ethnic
14 passions were already seething, I was the one putting out the flames in
15 Montenegro, calming down the passions of the crowd, and getting the crowds
16 to disperse peacefully. This happened at this rally as well as the
17 rallies in Rozaje and Plav, where only Muslims and Albanians had gathered
18 on one side, and Serbs and Montenegrins on the other, separated only by a
19 police cordon. And they couldn't be made to disperse throughout the day,
20 and at the end of the day, when I arrived, I managed to get the crowd to
21 disperse peacefully, thus avoiding bloodshed. All my efforts at the time,
22 madam, were aimed at calming the tensions and not fanning the flames, but
23 you can draw your own conclusions.
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, you already spoke with Mr. Milosevic about the Ohrid
25 peace declaration and it's actually at page transcript --
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, I'm just reminded, I would like
2 to tender that speech -- that part of the book, that is.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, it's admitted.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The Ohrid peace declaration testimony part,
5 Your Honour, is at transcript 47819 to 47820. In relation to the Ohrid
6 peace declaration, that's tab -- that was Defence Exhibit D333, tab 20,
7 there is also, on page 2, but I think it's enough that I read it to you,
8 it's actually said that: "The Presidency will form a state commission to
9 determine the facts of the situation and examine the implementation of the
10 peace declaration. In this declaration there's also mention that it will
11 be requested that the European Community Monitor Mission would
13 Q. Do you remember that? It's actually on page 2 in the English, the
14 third paragraph. It says here: "The SFRY Presidency will form a state
15 commission to determine facts of the situation and examine the
16 implementation of the decision, and it will request the European Community
17 Monitoring Mission to participate in monitoring the execution of these
19 However, Mr. Kostic, do you recall that you had a meeting with
20 Mr. Jovic and Mr. Milosevic on the 2nd of August, 1991, regarding that
21 issue and where you decided to not allow the European observers to
22 participate? Do you recall that?
23 A. I remember the Ohrid Declaration very well and also the entire
24 Ohrid meeting. You omitted to mention that the Ohrid meeting was
25 concluded unsuccessfully. It was broken up by Franjo Tudjman, who walked
1 out of the session before we had adopted the Ohrid Declaration. In spite
2 of this, the rest of us who remained adopted the Ohrid Declaration.
3 Stjepan Mesic insisted that the JNA withdraw to its barracks. The rest of
4 us did not agree to this. The rest of us wanted the JNA to withdraw after
5 the disarming of the paramilitary formations in Croatia.
6 Q. Mr. Kostic --
7 A. As regards your specific question, I'm just coming to it. I was
8 just about to answer your question. With respect to this meeting with
9 Jovic and Milosevic on the 2nd of August, as you say, I really don't
10 remember it. I can, however, confirm that from the very first day we had
11 reservations with respect to the internationalisation of the Yugoslav
12 crisis. We were doing everything not to internationalise it.
13 Mr. Tudjman, Mr. Mesic, Mr. Ante Markovic, and the minister of the
14 interior, Mr. Loncar, were doing everything to internationalise the
15 Yugoslav crisis. Therefore, I do not exclude this possibility.
16 I really don't remember this meeting, but it's possible I attended
17 some such meeting and that I expressed reservations towards the engagement
18 of the European Community in the solving of our crisis. Later
19 developments proved me to be right, because the international community
20 took a very one-sided approach.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kostic, you must endeavour to answer the
22 questions more directly and more briefly than you have been. Just get to
23 the point.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, I was actually referring to
25 Mr. Jovic's testimony and his book, "The Last Days of the SFRY," entry 2nd
1 August 1991.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, during your testimony you spoke about two visits of a
3 delegation from Western Slavonia that saw you - and that's at transcript
4 47642 - and you said that the army did not have enough resources to
5 protect the people in Western Slavonia. Mr. Kostic, my question in this
6 regard is: You are aware that Seselj's volunteers and the White Eagles
7 came to Western Slavonia, in particular Ploce, and did engage in clashes
8 there. Do you know that?
9 A. Neither with respect to Seselj's men nor with respect to the White
10 Eagles did I know anything about this at the time. I know that Seselj's
11 men were in the area of Western Slavonia when the Serbs who fled from
12 Western Slavonia asked me to address them in the trade union hall in
13 December, if I'm correct, 1991. And on that occasion Mr. Seselj called me
14 on the telephone to ask me whether he could also attend this rally of
15 refugee Serbs from Western Slavonia, because he said that he had
16 volunteers whom he had sent there.
17 I have already said that I was informed that Seselj sent
18 volunteers but that he did not organise them as separate units; rather, he
19 sent them to join the JNA and the Territorial Defence units.
20 Q. Mr. Kostic, you spent quite some time with Mr. Milosevic on the
21 wording of the Brioni Declaration, and it was Defence Exhibit D333, tab
22 68, and you both agreed that there was no mentioning of the three-month
23 suspension on the independence declaration, and you -- do you recall that?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. However, among the documents related to the Brioni Declaration,
1 there is also a memorandum of understanding on the monitor mission to
2 Yugoslavia of 13th July, 1991. Do you know about this memorandum?
3 A. Could you please remind me what this is about. Was it an annex to
4 the Brioni Declaration or is it a different document? Because with
5 respect to the Brioni Declaration, I already said that we didn't have a
6 meeting of the Presidency at Brioni. Mr. Jovic and I went there and came
7 back, but no meeting of the Presidency was held. It was only the
8 presidents from the secessionist republics and representatives of Croatia
9 and Slovenia that attended. The Brioni Declaration was accepted only
10 later by the Presidency and by the federal government.
11 Q. In the Brioni Declaration, there is an Annex II that refers to
12 monitor mission, and what is now put to you is a memorandum of
13 understanding of the working of the monitor mission.
14 A. You mean Annex II, the guidelines for the mission in Yugoslavia,
15 the monitor mission in Yugoslavia?
16 Q. No, I do not refer to Annex II. I refer to the memorandum of
17 understanding on the monitor mission to Yugoslavia on the 13th of July,
19 A. Well, can you give me the text, madam? What I have here is the
20 Brioni Declaration, Annex II.
21 Q. I -- there seems to be a problem, Mr. Kostic, with the B/C/S
22 version. Therefore, I think we put the English version on the ELMO. It's
23 -- it's referred to as page 21. Could it please be put on the ELMO, and
24 the section memorandum of understanding - the other side, please - and the
25 lower part. Please move it so we can read the memorandum of
1 understanding, please, so that we can see the lower part. The lower part.
2 Please, the lower part. Yes.
3 It says here that we can see number b). It says here "Article I
4 (Mandate)," and letter b) says here: "To monitor the suspension of the
5 implementation of the declarations of independence for the period of three
6 months, as agreed between the Host Parties, in the context of the
7 arrangements reached in Brioni, particularly on the border regime and the
8 boarder security."
9 Mr. Kostic, in this regard there is no doubt that Brioni included
10 a three-month suspension of the independence declaration; right?
11 A. No. The Brioni Declaration, where three months are mentioned and
12 in the portion that you just read out, it speaks about a three-month
13 period in which the situation at the borders should be returned to what it
14 was, and just on Slovenia. The international borders on Croatian
15 territory were not taken up by the Croatian paramilitaries. It was just
16 the Slovenian paramilitaries that had taken up positions along the borders
17 of Slovenia. And the decision made was to give a three-month deadline -
18 so that's the three months that are mentioned in the Brioni Declaration as
19 well - that in a three-month period a suitable solution be found for the
20 situation along the borders, which would imply solutions which were
21 closely related to those in the European Community. Which means that
22 since it was the military, the JNA, that provided security at our borders
23 and frontiers, that a solution should be found that would imply most
24 probably that police forces should be called upon to protect the borders.
25 So this was the three-month period relating to the frontiers on the
1 territory of Slovenia.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, are you telling us here that the Brioni Declaration
3 and the discussions in Brioni had nothing to do with the suspension of the
4 implementation of the declaration of independence? Are you really telling
5 us that?
6 A. Well, how do you mean have nothing to do with it? They do have
7 something to do with it, but the Brioni Declaration in no place states
8 that within the space of three months that, unless a solution is found,
9 independence would be proclaimed. The Brioni Declaration speaks about the
10 establishment of peace and that a peaceful settlement should be found to
11 the political crisis, and three months as a suspension period is only
12 mentioned with respect to Slovenia, that the situation should be returned
13 to before the 25th of June where, only when it comes to the question of
14 the border and to protect and secure the border, that would be similar to
15 the European border belt. And there is similarity in the Brioni
16 Declaration and the Presidency decisions taken on 4th of July in fact are
17 none other than attempts for the European Community to fulfil its two
18 obligations taken upon itself as the three points in the package deal when
19 we elected Mr. Mesic as president, which meant suspension of the acts on
20 secession, the establishment of peace, and a political peaceful solution
21 to the problem, along with the simultaneous pressure on the part of the
22 European Community on the Croatian and Slovenian leadership not to block
23 the institutions of the federal state, which means the Presidency, the
24 Assembly, and the government.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, let me just refer to Defence Exhibit D333, tab 68 --
1 sorry, 86. 86.
2 Mr. Kostic, it is an Assembly of the Republic of Croatia
3 declaration of 8th of October, 1991. This Assembly document refers to the
4 Croatian referendum of the 19 March 1991 -- May 1991. It refers to the
5 date 25 June 1991 that is mentioned in the Brioni Declaration, and it says
6 here: "Having established that the three-month deadline and the deferment
7 of implementation of the constitutional decision determined in the Brioni
8 Declaration expired on 7 October 1991, having established that in the
9 period up to the deadline set in the Brioni Declaration aggressive
10 operations by the so-called JNA and Serbian terrorists against towns and
11 villages gained momentum."
12 Then I drop a few lines, and it says then: "Having established
13 that Yugoslavia no longer exists as an association of states, a joint
14 session of all the Chambers held on 8 October 1991, the Assembly of the
15 Republic of Croatia adopted the following decision: On 8th of October the
16 Republic of Croatia will sever its constitutional ties on the basis of
17 which is created a former SFRY with other republics."
18 And actually, that's the decision taken on the 8th of October, the
19 independence decision.
20 Mr. Kostic, they also refer to the Brioni Declaration. What do
21 you say?
22 A. Well, madam, your main problem lies in the fact that you wrote the
23 indictment in Zagreb and Zagreb alone, and so many times --
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, I really reject those kind of comments.
25 A. If I might be allowed to continue my train of thought. As I was
1 saying, so many times --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Kostic, we don't want a train of thought, we
3 just want an answer, a direct answer.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Not that thought, another thought.
5 What the lady just read out is what it says in the text, but during my
6 testimony I have shown so many times and with so many examples that the
7 Croatian leadership and Croatian authorities in their attempt and desire
8 to have an independent state interpreted in their own way everything that
9 was mutually agreed upon, including the two truces concluded at The Hague
10 in -- at The Hague conference, which was decided upon with the presence of
11 the top European leaders, and it was an unconditional cease-fire, an
12 unconditional deblocking of the barracks, and they did not do that on
13 either occasion. They interpreted it in their own way.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to tender this
15 memorandum of understanding, that document in that group of documents
16 relating to the Brioni Declaration, because our finding is that this
17 memorandum of understanding was not tendered before.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we'll admit it.
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And I'd also like to --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is the number, first?
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 946.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would also like to tender this exhibit --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I also would like to tender this Defence --
25 that was originally Defence Exhibit tab 86. Mr. Milosevic, at least as I
1 saw, didn't tender this.
2 JUDGE KWON: It was --
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It was? Okay.
4 JUDGE KWON: But I wonder whether 68 was or not.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I was actually speaking of 86. 68 isn't,
6 Your Honour.
7 JUDGE KWON: I was told I was right. 86 was already admitted. So
8 we'll admit 68.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you.
10 Q. I will now turn to the 1st of October, 1991. Mr. Kostic, you may
11 remember that in your testimony Judge Bonomy asked to see the official
12 document in which a state of imminent threat of war was declared or
13 concluded, and first of all I would like to show you a clip from an
14 interview that you gave to -- for the documentary "Death of Yugoslavia."
15 And it's in Sanction. And for the AV booth, it's in Sanction. And just
16 before we play that, the transcript should be handed out.
17 [Videotape played]
18 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] But we needed a two-third majority
19 to pass that decision in the Presidency. Drnovsek did not come to the
20 sessions. Mesic was boycotting them too. Bogicevic and Tupurkovski would
21 come occasionally. It was the session of the 30th of September where the
22 only item on the agenda was the political and security situation in the
23 country. We prepared lengthy conclusions, an eight-page document, which
24 included some provocative stands which we knew would provoke many
25 objections, both by Tupurkovski and Bogicevic, and so on. And towards the
1 end of that document, we sneaked in that formula from -- saying that the
2 country was facing an imminent threat of war. And when we -- the debate
3 started, we spent a lot of time discussing the first part of these -- of
4 the document, these controversial assessments, and then we accepted their
5 objections and removed one sentence from that document and then another,
6 but the assessment that the country was facing an imminent threat of war,
7 the very sentence that exists in the Yugoslav constitution, went
8 unnoticed. They simply did not have any objections to it. And so those
9 conclusions which were carried by two-third majority, by six votes, was
10 published. We gave it to Tanjug. And nobody can deny it happened that
11 way. We have transcript from that session from which you can see that
12 that was the assessment adopted by six votes, that is to say carried by
13 two-third majority.
14 On the next day, Bogicevic and Tupurkovski were reprimanded in
15 writing by Mesic and Drnovsek for attending that session in the first
16 place. And on the next session, Presidency session held on the 3rd of
17 October when we started operating in conditions of an imminent threat of
18 war, they did not appear at all, but that document empowered us to work
19 and make decisions with as many members that were present at the session
20 under the constitution; one, three, or all five members of the Presidency
21 where the peacetime conditions were no longer valid. So we really did use
22 a sort of, if I can say so, political trick, small political trick, but
23 that wasn't the first or the last time such methods were resorted to. But
24 we did this because we wanted to remain within the limits of the
25 constitution defining that question, and we did remain within the limits
1 of the constitution, and we did not take a single law having -- decree law
2 that was not done in that way."
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, you knew that Mr. Bogicevic and Mr. Tupurkovski would
5 not be in favour of declaring or concluding an imminent threat of war, and
6 that's why you tricked them, right?
7 A. Well, these were moments of honesty. I think that that was the
8 case, that it was so, but bear in mind the fact that we were not able to
9 meet one month previously. The country was at war and they boycotted the
10 work of the Presidency. And after their arrival on the 1st of September,
11 Izetbegovic writes a letter to Mesic and Gligorov, criticising why they
12 had attended the Presidency session on the 1st, whereas they took it upon
13 themselves not to block federal institutions. They made that pledge to
14 the international community. So what can I say? I can just confirm what
15 I said.
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, I was also, as Judge Bonomy, looking for a document
17 where it really actually says that the Presidency concluded or declared
18 that a state of war existed, and actually in all the documents I didn't
19 find that particular official statement. Can you help us with that?
20 A. Well, at that point in time when Mr. Bonomy asked that question,
21 at that point I didn't even know that that had been published, for
22 example, in the Official Gazette. Truth to tell, Mr. Bonomy considered
23 and probably still considers that that should have been some sort of
24 separate decision taken. But I am still convinced that it wasn't a
25 decision, it was an assessment of a situation which was the imminent
1 threat of war, and that state of imminent threat of war and that
2 assessment was published in the Official Gazette, and I think that
3 Mr. Milosevic at the following meeting attached this Official Gazette and
4 made it part of the list of documents.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In the transcript which we have
8 received, the excerpt from Prosecutor Kostic's interview for television,
9 he said in Serbian, in the Serbian language that -- the following: "That
10 the assessment of an imminent threat of war was placed in the broader text
11 in a fairly unnoticeable manner," whereas in the translation, it says, "We
12 sneaked in that formula," which has quite a different connotation and is
13 not correct. When he says that it wasn't bombastically stated but that it
14 was within the context of the entire text that they used that, that's one
15 thing, but to say "sneaked in that formula" was something rather
17 So please bear in mind the fact that the translation, the written
18 translation of what Mr. Kostic really did say in the television interview
19 and this is different, and all that relates to - how shall I put this? -
20 the political tactics does not relate to any sneaking in of anything, but
21 to an unnoticeable way in which this element was introduced.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic. We'll --
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Could we have this clarified, though --
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: -- by placing this on the ELMO.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We would have to play it again and it's in
3 the middle of it, or the interpreters could actually --
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters agree with the explanation just
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well, then. Very well.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. And, Your Honour, I would like to
8 tender that clip.
9 [Trial Chamber confers]
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we thank you for the
12 And you want to tender --
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, this clip. It's an interview given for
14 the documentary "Death of Yugoslavia" but it's not yet tendered.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I just wish to have something
18 clarified. What is being tendered, the videotape and not the transcript?
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: What are you tendering?
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We are tendering the video clip and the
22 translation as it shows actually on the transcript here in the courtroom.
23 We have the translation and then the clarification of Mr. Milosevic. I
24 think that should actually be sufficient.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. It's both, of course subject
1 to the clarification has been given.
2 JUDGE KWON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, who translated this one? I
3 remember there was -- used to be a general problem of translation --
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The translation was --
5 JUDGE KWON: -- in relation to "Death of Yugoslavia."
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. The translation was made by the people
7 who produced the documentary.
8 JUDGE KWON: The BBC.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, yes.
10 MR. KAY: If I can just help with this, because the translation
11 booth are assisted by getting these documents in advance, and of course
12 will be relying on the documents as the video is playing, and we saw an
13 example there of where Mr. Milosevic made a correction, and of course the
14 interpreter properly accepted that, but of course had been using the
15 document originally provided, which if we -- we must bear that in mind
16 when these problems arise. They are not giving a translation of what is
17 on the video but often with an aided source.
18 [Trial Chamber confers]
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: The English translation will be marked for
20 identification pending -- pending translation.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 947.
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, I had already moved on to the documents that relate to
25 the 1st of October, 1991. And in relation to Defence Exhibit -- tab 33,
1 that's a statement by the SFRY Presidency of the 1st of October, 1991, I
2 read this document carefully, and I didn't find any official statement
3 that a conclusion was made about an imminent threat of war. It was more
4 or less just, as it appears to me, that there was a talk about a danger of
5 an all-out war breaking out.
6 Can we please have this document in front of everyone.
7 Mr. Kostic, in that document it only says here on the first page
8 in the middle of that page: "The relevant federal departments informed
9 the SFRY Presidency that the political and security situation of the
10 country was extremely serious and dramatic, and that there was danger of
11 an all-out war breaking out."
12 That's actually the information that the Presidency members got.
13 And in the rest of the document I couldn't see anything that -- that it
14 was concluded that such a state of war or imminent threat of a state of
15 war existed. Is that how it went?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The text that you referred to is a
18 text of the statement by the Presidency from its session of the 3rd of
19 October. That is the 3rd of October session statement.
20 Now, the 1st of October session, the 1st of October session we
21 were the two-third majority of Presidency members, in conformity with the
22 constitution, took note of the existence and assessed that there was a
23 situation of imminent threat of war. We tried to convene a session for
24 the 2nd - I've already said that - and then at the intervention of Mesic
25 neither Tupurkovski or Bogicevic turned up, so we scheduled it for the
1 3rd. At their request we moved it forward, but they didn't come then
2 again, and contrary to the constitution, Alija Izetbegovic, as president
3 of the Presidency, made it impossible for Bogicevic to arrive. He did
4 that -- Gligorov did that too, contrary to the constitution, because the
5 Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Macedonian Assembly was -- were the
6 only presidencies who could stop them coming to the Assembly session, the
7 FRY Presidency session, so --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Excuse me, this doesn't seem to deal with the point
9 that's arisen. The copy I have of this document is dated the 10th of
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's a mistake, Your Honour. It's actually a
12 mistake in the translation. When you look at the B/C/S, it says the 1st
13 of October. It's mistake.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: And therefore it refers to the 30th of September,
15 because it talks about "what happened last night" at the bottom of the
16 page. At the bottom of my page, the last paragraph: "In these
17 circumstances, last night the Supreme Command Staff discussed the possible
18 measures to be taken."
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. But it is the, as it says here,
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Meeting yesterday. So it's the 30th of September
22 that this relates to on the face of it. I thought it was the 9th of
23 October but now that you've clarified that, it's the 30th of September.
24 JUDGE KWON: The preceding paragraph has the 30th of September.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
1 Q. Perhaps Mr. Kostic could help us. We have here this document that
2 relates to a Presidency session held "yesterday in Belgrade," and it
3 refers to Bogic Bogicevic, the -- the Assembly session -- sorry, the
4 Presidency session in which Mr. Bogicevic took part in. When did it take
5 place, and does this document that is now in front of you refer to it?
6 A. Please. The 1st of October session resulted in a SFRY statement
7 that was broadcast by Tanjug and that we already brought up during the
8 examination-in-chief and tendered into evidence. That is the 1st of
9 October meeting one. And Tanjug, on the 1st of October in the evening,
10 published the Presidency statement, informing the domestic public and the
11 international public --
12 JUDGE BONOMY: What does this document relate to? Can you just
13 clarify that and then we can make some progress.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, this document, which the
15 lady mentioned, and page -- on page 31 of the book is a Presidency
16 statement from its meeting of the 3rd of October.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: We're looking at tab 33.
18 JUDGE KWON: Please look at tab 33 of your binder.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please. Tab 33 is a statement by
20 the SFRY Presidency from a session held on the 1st of October, 1991. It
21 was broadcast by Tanjug on the 1st in the evening.
22 As you can see --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, why -- in that case -- excuse me --
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- on page --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Excuse me for a moment. In that case, why does it
1 have the date the 1st of October and then start by saying, "The SFRY
2 Presidency held a meeting yesterday in Belgrade"?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, this doesn't exist in
4 the original text. It says: "In Belgrade a session of the Presidency of
5 the SFRY was held." It doesn't have the word "yesterday" in the original.
6 You can put the Serbian text on the ELMO and have the interpreters
7 translate it for you. I've been wondering what it was that was in
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... about the
10 last paragraph, which says: "In these circumstances, last night the
11 Supreme Command Staff discussed" so-and-so.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It says here: "In these
13 circumstances, last night the Supreme Command Staff discussed the possible
14 measures to be taken, and sent a warning to the president of the Republic
15 of Croatia ... and the Main Staff of the Croatian army a warning." It
16 says what they had discussed.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see, and in the one, two, three, four, fifth
18 paragraph we have something, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, which comes fairly close
19 to some kind of a formal assessment. The paragraph beginning: "Many
20 lives have been lost," in English. The last sentence reads: "It has been
21 assessed that this poses a serious risk of even fiercer inter-ethnic
22 conflicts and conflicts between the republics and that Yugoslavia was
23 facing an imminent threat of war."
24 So that looks, to me, like an assessment that there was an
25 imminent threat of war.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: In this regard, just one question to
2 Mr. Kostic.
3 Q. Who made this assessment, those who were reporting to the
4 Presidency or the Presidency members themselves?
5 A. This is a statement adopted by the Presidency of the SFRY in its
6 six-member composition with a two-thirds majority. It was the Presidency
7 of the SFRY that adopted this statement. It considered the situation and
8 concluded that the country was facing an imminent threat of war. All six
9 members of the Presidency adopted this unanimously at a session held on
10 the 1st.
11 During the discussion, what Mr. Milosevic said, that the previous
12 night the Supreme Staff -- the Supreme Command Staff, and so on, was
13 considered and taken into account. This is an assessment of the political
14 and security situation in the country which was adopted just as it stands
15 by all six members of the Presidency.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: We're going to take the break now. Is there a
17 point you want to make?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just a correction. Listening to you
19 just a while ago, you quoted the passage mentioning an imminent threat of
20 war. I heard the word "risk." It is not the word "risk" that is used but
21 "threat" in the Serbian text; that there is a threat that all this will
22 happen. "Risk" and "threat" are two different concepts.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: I don't want to get into that now. We will take
24 the break for 20 minutes.
25 --- Recess taken at 10.37 a.m.
1 --- On resuming at 10.59 a.m.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please continue, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Your Honour, during the break I just noticed that the document
5 that we just spoke about, that's Defence Exhibit tab 33 is basically the
6 same document as Exhibit 328, tab 6. However, the translation of tab 33
7 seems to me more accurate. There are quite some differences in the
8 English translation, therefore my proposal will be to tender this tab 33
9 so that we have a better version.
10 JUDGE KWON: It's already admitted.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: We've already admitted it.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
13 Q. Mr. Kostic -- Mr. Kostic, we have also - and I would like you to
14 have a look at it - we have also some draft minutes from the same
15 Presidency session, and I would like to -- it's tab 328 -- tab 28. It's
16 Exhibit 328, tab 28. That was already used.
17 If you please put the third page with the agenda onto the ELMO --
18 or, rather, the B/C/S version, please. The B/C/S version with the agenda.
19 Looking at the agenda -- and it's page 3 in the English. Looking
20 at the agenda, it's a quite a lengthy agenda, and there's only the two
21 full points that relate to the situation in --
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: This is tab 28, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff?
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Exhibit 328, tab 28. That was --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: So where do we get a copy?
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Well, usually, Your Honour -- I was told
1 usually from exhibits that we have previously tendered, you do not get the
2 copy, but we have put on the ELMO page 3.
3 Q. And I just want to ask you, Mr. Kostic, when you look at the
4 agenda points, there is no mention made of a discussion about an imminent
5 threat of war; right?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It would have to be another tab
9 number, because in tab 28 I only have the 17th of August, and that's a
10 single page, both in the Serbian and in the English version.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... of
12 Prosecution Exhibit 328. It's not in any of the tabs that you have, but
13 it's on the ELMO now.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Can we -- Mr. Usher, could you please move
17 the page so that we can see the -- the end of the page. The lower part.
18 Yes. Yes.
19 Q. And I would like you to -- I think, Mr. Kostic, you haven't asked
20 my -- answered my first question. In the agenda there is no mentioning
21 that an imminent threat of war should be discussed; right?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Where is the agenda? I see b, c, and d.
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Can we see the English on the ELMO now.
24 JUDGE KWON: Page 4.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Page 3 there is the agenda, and it continues
1 on page 4. There is just the first two points, where it says: "The
2 political and security situation in the country," and second, "Agreement
3 about further work on finding a solution for the future Yugoslavia," and
4 the rest of the agenda is basically something more or less administrative
6 Q. Mr. Kostic, why is this point, which is a very important one, not
7 on the agenda mentioned?
8 A. I have to say that I don't understand your question, madam. The
9 first item on the agenda is the key item, and it reads: "The political
10 and security situation in the country."
11 Within the scope of this first item on the agenda, the Presidency
12 concluded that the country was facing an imminent threat of war. You
13 don't expect us to discuss this item under Miscellaneous.
14 Q. Can we now have the B/C/S on the ELMO.
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I want the B/C/S on the ELMO
16 because the English translation that we have provided within the Exhibit
17 328, tab 28 is, as we found out now, incorrect, and I would like to
18 clarify this point.
19 On the ELMO, please, the page -- let me see what it is. In the
20 B/C/S it's page 2, and the lower part of it, please.
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, could you please read the second paragraph under item
22 1, which starts with "Predsednistvo."
23 A. "The Presidency of the SFRY assessed that the political and
24 security situation in the country is extremely difficult and dramatic and
25 that there is a threat of an all-out civil war."
1 This is what Mr. Mesic wrote in his book when he claimed that an
2 imminent threat of war was not mentioned anywhere here.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, in the exhibit that we provided
4 earlier in this case, it actually speaks of "concluded," but as we know
5 now, it is "assessed."
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kostic.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour --
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I say something?
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very briefly.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The lady said that this is a draft
11 minutes. I see that these are the minutes of the session, judging by the
12 agenda, but as this is a draft, I cannot vouch for the correctness of
13 every single word here.
14 In my book I have the original text of the statement that we
15 issued and which was published in the media.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's annex 1, page -- and tab 73.
18 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter did not hear the page number.
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, the Prosecution has meanwhile
20 received the shorthand notes of the entire session. We received it in
21 December from the Serbian government or, rather, from Serbia and
22 Montenegro, and it's 136 pages thick document, and we were not able to
23 translate it for this session here. Ms. Tromp, however, has read the
24 entire document, and her finding was that in -- in this document it's not
25 the Presidency members that make assessments but, rather, the
1 institutions, the federal institutions, like Mr. Gracanin and the JNA
3 My proposal would actually be that we prepare a complete
4 translation of these shorthand notes and provide it as exhibit from the
5 bar table at the moment when it is actually translated so that everybody
6 can read what is actually said there. That would be my proposal. What
7 we, of course, could do is we could ask Mr. Kostic to go through the B/C/S
8 version and direct us, tomorrow, to the section where the conclusion is
9 made or an assessment is made by the Presidency members and not by anyone
10 else that took part in that session, because in addition to that - because
11 Ms. Tromp provided us with a few bits of translation - and the only page
12 where we actually have mentioning of the state of -- imminent threat of
13 war is on page 26 in the B/C/S, where Mr. Branko Kostic says the following
14 - and maybe you can confirm that, Mr. Kostic - he says: "Firstly, how
15 should we qualify the momentary constitutional legal state in the country?
16 Is it an emergency state, a state of war in the bigger part of the country
17 without the declaration of war, a state of imminent threat of war in the
18 entire country? What is the real influence of the foreign factor onto
19 these happenings?
20 "Secondly, how is the legal and factual subjectivity of
21 Yugoslavia being estimated? In which measures is the SFRY constitution
22 still being respected, and which are the real endurance of the federal
23 organs? How do we provide a minimum functioning in the federation,
24 especially in the domain of defence and security until a solution of the
25 future organisation of the country?"
1 That's questions that Mr. Kostic raised. And do you recall this,
2 Mr. Kostic? And do you recall whether any vote was taken, any conclusion
3 that there was an imminent threat of war by the members of the Presidency?
4 A. You said that you have a 136 pages of shorthand notes. Fifteen
5 minute -- 15 years after the event I cannot remember every word you read
6 out. All I can say is that that corresponds to my thoughts at the time.
7 However, I do not know whether this is the original text, these are the
8 original shorthand notes. They always had to be authorised. I don't know
9 if what you are reading from is the authorised version.
10 I can confirm, so that I don't have to read these 136 pages again,
11 in tab 73 on page 339, 340, and 341, and these are just three pages, you
12 have the official statement by the Presidency of the SFRY, which was
13 adopted by all six members of the Presidency. That is a text nobody can
14 dispute. If there are any misunderstandings in this regard, this is the
15 only original text, the only true text that I refer to, that I can vouch
17 Q. Mr. Kostic, you have on the ELMO at the moment --
18 JUDGE KWON: Just a moment. Did you say tab 73 or tab 72, which
19 is your book.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't have the tab number. It's
21 either 72 or 73. It's my book.
22 JUDGE KWON: That's tab 72. Thank you.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but in my book there is an
24 annex, and that's the original text of the statement. It was published by
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, in the Prosecution's case,
2 what is the significance of this question of the declaration or conclusion
3 that there was an imminent threat of war?
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The position of the Prosecution is that the
5 Presidency -- the six Presidency members did not declare or conclude that
6 there was an imminent threat of war, and therefore that's why the
7 Presidency, the Rump Presidency, as we call it, is illegal, and all the
8 decision and steps they took were illegal. That is the point. In
9 particular, the use of the JNA, and I will come to this point right after
10 I finish this one. The movements of the JNA directed by this Rump
11 Presidency, that's our focus, that this was all illegal.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. Thank you very much.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
14 Q. Mr. Kostic, what you have on the ELMO and what is also marked in
15 the -- for you in the B/C/S is a translation of what you said on page 6 of
16 these shorthand notes, and my question to you was whether the Presidency
17 members ever voted on the conclusion of an imminent threat of war.
18 A. The members of the Presidency never voted about the formulation
19 you read out, which purports to be something I said, but they all voted on
20 this statement in which it is concluded that the country is facing an
21 imminent threat of war. This was published, and it was adopted by all six
22 members of the Presidency.
23 Q. Mr. Kostic, and if I put to you that within this huge document of
24 stenographic notes that we got from the government of Serbia and
25 Montenegro there is no mentioning of any such vote, what do you say?
1 A. All I can say is that these notes are incomplete, that's all.
2 Q. I now would like to move on to the -- the Presidency session of
3 the 3rd of October, 1991, and it's Exhibit -- it's Prosecution Exhibit 300
4 -- 328, tab 13. It's draft minutes of the Presidency session.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And can we have the -- on the ELMO the B/C/S
6 version. Mr. Usher, the B/C/S version with the first page. It's actually
7 the second page. The second page.
8 Your Honour, I do this exercise because in the translation that we
9 provided to you, we tendered Exhibit 328, tab 13, there is also a
10 translation mistake in there that we find quite important to clarify.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, would you read, please, under the -- under the
12 headline "Agenda," there is little paragraph starting with the word
13 "Dogovor." Could you please read this.
14 A. What passage is that?
15 Q. Sorry, you have to put the other page. The previous page. The
16 previous page, lower part, please. Further down. Yes.
17 If you read what is standing behind "Dnevni Red."
18 A. "1. Agreement on securing continuity of the work of the
19 Presidency of the SFRY, pursuant to the assessment of the Presidency of
20 the SFRY from the 143rd Session of the Presidency of the SFRY of the 1st
21 of October, 1991, on the existence of an imminent threat of war, and
22 passing over to work of the Presidency of the SFRY in conditions of the
23 existence of an imminent threat of war.
24 "2. Some --"
25 Q. That's enough. Thank you very much.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just to also point out again
2 that it's here "assessment" and not, as it is in the previously provided
3 translation, "conclusion."
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, during this session of the Presidency, you actually
5 made quite important changes and decisions, and you say, and I quote now
6 myself from the English - you can now put the English on it, item 1 -
7 "Proceeding from the above assessment --" it's again a change here;
8 assessment -- "the SFRY Presidency noted that the requirements had been
9 met for the SFRY Presidencies to start working and functioning as
10 envisioned by the SFRY constitution in a state of imminent threat of war
11 and in accordance with the SFRY Presidency decision number 36 of the 21st
12 November 1984. The changeover to work in conditions of imminent threat of
13 war will enable the SFRY Presidency to avoid the possibility of having its
14 work --"
15 THE INTERPRETER: The Prosecutor is kindly asked to slow down.
16 Thank you.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
18 Q. "... of having its work obstructed and to take over certain
19 functions of the SFRY Assembly, which is unable to convene."
20 And a little bit further down, it says --
21 A. I'm not getting the interpretation. I'm not getting
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, let's try again, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. I read only --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can this document be given to me,
2 the document on the ELMO? I want to see it in the Serbian language.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Let it be passed to the accused.
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
5 Q. And I start, Mr. Kostic: "The changeover to work in conditions of
6 imminent threat of war will enable the SFRY Presidency to avoid the
7 possibility of having its work obstructed and to take over certain
8 functions of the SFRY Assembly, which is unable to convene."
9 And: "The SFRY Presidency adopted the decision on the work and
10 methods of the Presidency in the event of imminent threat of war which
11 will ensure the continuity of its work. According to the decision, the
12 SFRY Presidency will adopt decisions by a majority vote of its present
14 Mr. Kostic, that meant that you could from now on make all the
15 decisions among the four members that attended; right? No more need for
16 six members.
17 A. As of the 3rd of October, we could reach decisions with that
18 number of members of the Presidency who were present, based on a simple
19 majority. So if five were present, three votes would be sufficient; if
20 four were present, or three, we could still issue decisions.
21 I wish to draw attention, however, to the following, madam: The
22 document you have quoted from, you yourself stated that these are draft
23 minutes. You see, in the Presidency of the SFRY, there are shorthand or
24 phonographic records. This document becomes valid only after it is
25 authorised by each member of the Presidency. As far as I know, we did not
1 authorise this.
2 Secondly, minutes of the Presidency do not contain any details,
3 only the general gist of the discussion under each item of the agenda.
4 Statements for the public are special documents, separate documents
5 considered at the Presidency and then issued for the public, and one such
6 document is the one I have already mentioned, which is in my book.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, was there any minimum number of members
8 of the Presidency who had to attend to make the meeting valid?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Up until the 3rd of October, the
10 Presidency could hold sessions --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ...
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] After the 3rd of October, pursuant
13 to the decision reached in 1984, if there is an imminent threat of war,
14 there is no minimum number. So the number that can be gathered together.
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, a little bit further down in that document, it says:
17 "With regards to the implementation of the Decision, it was concluded that
18 all members of the SFRY Presidency be immediately informed that the SFRY
19 Presidency will continue to convene in Belgrade during the imminent threat
20 of war, which makes it necessary for the members of the SFRY Presidency to
21 stay in or near Belgrade, so that the Presidency can begin its work within
22 two hours of convening a session."
23 Mr. Kostic, that does actually exclude Mr. Mesic, Mr. Drnovsek,
24 and the other members that were not close to Belgrade, does it not?
25 A. No, you're not correct on that score, madam. Both Mr. Mesic and
1 Mr. Drnovsek, as well as Mr. Tupurkovski and Mr. Bogicevic, were regularly
2 invited to attend the session of the 3rd of October. They were invited on
3 the 1st of October. We thought that it would be the 1st, then at their
4 request we moved it to the 3rd. They were invited to attend the meeting,
5 and not only that one but every subsequent Presidency meeting that we had,
6 we regularly issued invitations, and Mr. Mesic recognises that in his
7 book. We regularly sent out invitations for the session, with all the
8 attending documents, and Mr. Mesic, 15 days after this, presided over the
9 Presidency meeting in The Hague where we were all present. But they
10 consciously wanted to block the work of the Presidency.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, would it at least be a practical problem for them who
12 are in Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia or Bosnia to come to your sessions?
13 Just from a practical standpoint of view.
14 A. Well, no, it would not present any problem at all, because both
15 Mr. Mesic and Mr. Drnovsek were accommodated in one of those same villas.
16 And in Dedinje they had a 65-square-metre apartment, like I did, and so
17 they lived in those apartments. That was their official accommodation, as
18 it was mine, and it was their duty as Presidency members to live in
19 Belgrade, to reside and work in Belgrade, because it was Belgrade that was
20 the venue of the Presidency sessions. And that also applies to
21 Tupurkovski and Bogicevic, so their place of work was in the Presidency of
22 the SFRY in Belgrade and their accommodation was in Belgrade.
23 Now, the fact that they consciously left Belgrade and Mesic tried
24 to convene and schedule meetings in Brioni or Zagreb or wherever else, the
25 rules governing the Presidency work stipulated that Presidency sessions be
1 held in Belgrade.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, the rules also allowed that Presidency sessions could
3 take place at other places, would it not?
4 A. Only in cases when agreement was reached on the part of all
5 members of the Presidency on that point. But in principle, the Presidency
6 sessions were held in Belgrade. If the Presidency president could assume
7 that a change of venue for the Presidency sessions could not -- might not
8 be accepted by certain members of the Presidency, then he must hold
9 consultations previously, and he cannot schedule a meeting outside
10 Belgrade unless agreement is reached on that point, to change the venue.
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, you said that the other members of the Presidency, as
12 Mr. Mesic and the others, would receive documentations from the
13 Presidency. However, I quote now again from these minutes, and it's still
14 under item 1, it says here: "Also, it was concluded that the members of
15 the SFRY Presidency who were absent from today's session be informed of
16 the contents of this Decision should be informed when they arrive in
17 Belgrade, because it cannot be faxed to them owing to the high degree of
19 Mr. Kostic, I read this to mean that they wouldn't get all the
20 important decisions immediately afterwards but only when they come to
22 A. Well, we're talking about two quite different matters, madam. I
23 -- what I'm saying is this, that all the Presidency members received
24 material not from the session but material for the session, documents for
25 the session. So they received the documents before the session takes
1 place, not from the session. Now, here they were invited to attend the
2 meeting once the agenda was declared for the 3rd, but they didn't come to
3 the meeting. And then we said that they must be informed, but all the
4 sessions we had after that, for those sessions they received invitations,
5 they received agendas set out in advance, and if they didn't turn up, then
6 we would send back to them the information about what was decided at the
7 sessions in their absence. And Mr. Mesic says that in his book, and he
8 thanks -- expresses thanks to some Mr. Bogicevic and that -- he says that
9 somebody sent him the documents from the offices of the cabinet, but it
10 wasn't that man, it was us. So not from the sessions. Not documents from
11 the sessions but documents for the sessions.
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, just one more quote from these minutes. It's item 2,
13 the second paragraph. It says: "The SFRY Presidency approved the
14 activities of the Armed Forces Supreme Command so far in implementing the
15 decisions of the SFRY Presidency regarding mobilisation."
16 That's what you did; right?
17 A. Well, there must be a mistake in the text there again, at least as
18 you read it out. You say that that was a draft of some minutes? It
19 wasn't the Supreme Command. We were the Supreme Command. The Presidency
20 was the Supreme Command. And all we could do was to authorise the
21 measures that the staff of the Supreme Command or, rather, the General
22 Staff had taken with respect to mobilisation, and then that is true. With
23 the proviso that Mr. Tudjman had already proclaimed general mobilisation
24 in Croatia.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In the original text, it is not
3 state -- it doesn't say "Supreme Command." It says "the work of the staff
4 of the Supreme Command." "The Presidency authorised the work of the staff
5 of the Supreme Command."
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Thank you.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you. Thank you for that clarification.
8 Q. I would like now to turn to Exhibit 328, tab 11, and it's draft
9 minutes of the Presidency session of the 4th of October, 1991.
10 A. Which tab did you say?
11 Q. It's a Prosecution -- it's a Prosecution exhibit that was provided
12 earlier in the case. That's the Presidency session of the 4th of October.
13 And just under item 1, it says: "The SFRY Presidency adopted the order on
14 partial mobilisation to bring up to strength commands, staffs, units and
15 institutions of the armed forces to ensure their combat readiness."
16 That was done Mr. Kostic?
17 A. Yes. That order on partial mobilisation was passed, but not to
18 strengthen the Supreme Command Staff. What it says here quite literally
19 is the following: "The order on partial mobilisation to bring up to
20 strength the commands, the staffs, and units and institutions." So this
21 decision on partial mobilisation was the result of the fact that Slovenia,
22 Croatia, Kosovo, had already taken decisions not to send their recruits to
23 the Yugoslav People's Army, and the Yugoslav People's Army, to all intents
24 and purposes, was cut down in strength under normal conditions whereas war
25 was already going on.
1 Q. Mr. Kostic, you don't need to go into details. This was already
2 addressed sufficiently.
3 Under item 2, it says: "The vice-president of the SFRY Presidency
4 briefed the Presidency on the documents related to control and command of
5 the SFRY Armed Forces that he signed in the absence of the president of
6 the SFRY Presidency. In this connection, it was concluded that the
7 vice-president of the SFRY Presidency would continue to sign documents
8 from this domain in the absence of the SFRY president and inform the SFRY
9 Presidency later."
10 First of all, what documents does this first sentence relate to?
11 Which documents did you sign on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd of October that
12 relate to the military?
13 A. Well, in the original it doesn't say that they were documents. It
14 -- it says that they were decrees, signed decrees from command. So if we
15 say decree, especially in the field of command of the armed forces, then
16 this refers to acts, to documents that either relate to promotions of
17 certain officers to certain ranks, or possibly it was some sort of
18 recognition and things like that. So those are decrees relating to
19 certain officers, not all of them.
20 And a part of these decrees -- some of these decrees are signed by
21 the minister of defence, some by the chief -- the head of the General
22 Staff, and for the top ranks this is done by the president or
23 vice-president of the Presidency in the absence of the president.
24 Q. Mr. Kostic, my question actually was very precise. I asked you
25 which decrees, or whatever you call it, which decrees you signed in that
1 few days to this briefing on the 4th. What did you sign on the 1st, 2nd,
2 or 3rd of October in relation to the control and command of the SFRY armed
3 forces? Do you recall that?
4 A. Well, you're asking me too much. After 15 years, to tell you what
5 I signed on the 3rd or 2nd of October, what decrees they were, I really
6 can't say. What I did say is that they were decrees either relating to
7 promotion to rank or recognition, commendation, things like that. Those
8 were the sorts of decrees that would be signed.
9 I think I signed decrees about new officers having completed the
10 military academy and the new commissioned officers. But of course you can
11 get more information about that from the people that sent you this.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: And would they also have, Mr. Kostic, the final
13 version of these minutes confirmed by all members of the Presidency?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean these minutes here, this
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: You made the point that these are drafts, that
17 the minutes are draft minutes and that they are ultimately confirmed.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, we didn't confirm the minutes.
19 Truth to tell, minutes were adopted. So minutes from the previous session
20 would be adopted at the forthcoming session. The minutes as minutes just
21 states roughly what the items on the agenda were. However, the
22 stenographic notes from each Presidency session, especially if they go
23 public, have to be authorised beforehand. So every participant in the
24 discussion at Presidency sessions, if these are going to be made public,
25 has to authorise - I don't know what the deadline is, within the space of
1 three days or five days - and only once it has been authorised can the
2 shorthand notes of meetings of that kind go public, whereas the minutes
3 are adopted from one session to the next.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. So wherever you have a draft, there
5 is a subsequent authorised version.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There should be one. But as I say,
7 an authorised version of the stenographic notes, where every word of
8 participants in the session is recorded. Not an authorisation of the
9 overall minutes compiled by the Secretary-General of the Presidency.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, you said that the other members of the Presidency that
13 were not coming any more, they did that because they didn't want to come.
14 This is at least my understanding. They had opportunity to come. And I
15 would like to play now an intercept to you.
16 For the AV booth, it's on Sanction.
17 And it is Exhibit 613, tab 123. It is an intercept between
18 Radovan Karadzic and Mr. Kostic, held on the 18th of November, 1991, and
19 it's quite a lengthy intercept, and we only play a little sequence of it
20 where it relates to the work of the Presidency.
21 [Audiotape played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Yes, yes, we took this man
23 Bogicevic to talk to him and see what we're going to do.
24 "That he should do his job for which he took the solemn oath. He
25 doesn't have to vote in favour, he can vote against.
1 "Well, I'm not sure either. He wants the constitutional basis,
2 we'll give him -- we discussed the Prime Minister.
4 "You know that some people mentioned me there.
5 "Slobo told me -- well, it wouldn't be a good idea. I have to
6 finish what I started here. That's the most important thing. And on the
7 other hand, we need a technician, somebody who knows how to manage the
8 system. I sent Jovic a fax, a message that the Serbian Democratic Party
9 does not have its candidate or a Bosnian candidate, and we considered that
10 Serbia that had not -- did not have a Prime Minister for 30 years, that it
11 should be Serbia who should provide -- which should provide a Prime
13 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters apologise for not having the
14 written text of the tape played.
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, first of all in relation to this conversation, it's
17 you and Mr. Karadzic; right?
18 A. What I can say is that is certainly Radovan Karadzic's voice. As
19 to my voice, as you were able to mention, is very indistinct. Quite
20 possibly -- I often listened to tapes of my conversations and public
21 appearances, and I must say it is very difficult for me to recognise my
22 own voice very often, so I really can't confirm whether, from what you've
23 just played, from the intercept you've just played, whether the other
24 person on the line was me, whether that was my voice or not. But what I
25 can say is this: On the basis of the contents of the conversation, I
1 don't exclude the possibility that it is my voice as well. And if it's me
2 and Mr. Radovan Karadzic talking at a certain point when we as the
3 Presidency tabled to the federal parliament an expose, and when the
4 Federal Executive Council of the Assembly withdrew its trust from Mr. Ante
5 Markovic, and when Ante Markovic was revoked and a new Prime Minister
6 about to be nominated, we addressed all the republics that in keeping with
7 procedure they should put forward their own candidates for president of
8 the federal government. So that's what I can tell you about that.
9 Q. And Mr. Kostic, you are discussing here with Mr. Karadzic about
10 the role of Bogicevic. To me it sounded as if you didn't want him to
11 participate in the Presidency, or that there was at least a problem with
12 him participating in the Presidency. Is that my misunderstanding or what
13 does -- what was that about?
14 A. Well, madam, quite obviously you've misunderstood. All I could
15 have done was to complain to Radovan Karadzic and say that Mr. Bogicevic
16 was obstructing the work of the Presidency. And as you were able to see
17 from his response, he says that they talked to him, too, and were trying
18 to indicate the constitutional foundations. And the Bosnian constitution
19 is quite clear on this point, and I'll tell you that later on, where it is
20 only the Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina that can revoke Bogicevic's
21 participation in the work of the Presidency.
22 I was complaining that Mr. Bogicevic, like the others, was
23 obstructing the Presidency and trying to block its work.
24 Q. I would now move on to another topic, and I would like to have
25 Exhibit 338, tab 2 in front of the witness. It's an exhibit previously
1 tendered by the Prosecution. It's an order of the 1st of October, 1991,
2 signed by Mr. Bulatovic in his function as president of the Presidency of
3 Montenegro, and it says here under "Order": "On 2 October 1991, between
4 1500 and 1700 hours, carry out a mobilisation of a Special Police Unit the
5 strength of a reinforced Infantry Company tasked with carrying out combat
6 operations of the armed forces in the conflict of war on the border of
7 Republic of Montenegro and the Republic of Croatia."
8 And it says as item II: "Together with units of the Yugoslav
9 People's Army and the Territorial Defence, the unit will perform specific
10 military and police tasks in accordance with the Mission Plan to be
11 devised by the Operative Command on the Dubrovnik front."
12 Mr. Kostic, it's on -- this order is of the 1 October 1991, and on
13 that same day the Rump Presidency or, as you like it, reduced Presidency
14 starts to function. That's not a coincidence; right? That's related.
15 A. That's not correct. You see that this order of Mr. Momir
16 Bulatovic is entitled the 1st of October, and the Presidency in its
17 reduced form started working only on the 3rd of October. On the 1st of
18 October we had six members working. So that conclusion is not correct.
19 Q. This order, does that relate to an extensive military campaign in
20 the Dubrovnik area?
21 A. This is the first time I see this order. And you could ask
22 Mr. Bulatovic about that. This is the involvement of a police unit,
23 engagement of a police unit numbering about one company strong. All I
24 know is that at the time in Montenegro, the initiative was launched and
25 that Montenegro at the time there was a reinforced police unit that was
1 sent to the border between Montenegro and Croatia, and in that border
2 belt, because for 20 years when we didn't have a single armed soldier over
3 there, much more numerous Croatian police forces appeared in the area, and
4 paramilitaries as well, that started to threaten the border and our
5 barracks, the JNA barks at Prevlaka. Otherwise, Mr. Bulatovic, pursuant
6 to the constitution, as president of the Yugoslav State Presidency, was
7 placed -- the person best placed to take a decision of this kind. But
8 this decision of Mr. Bulatovic has nothing to do with the Presidency
9 moving to working within conditions of an imminent threat of war, because
10 this was on the 1st of October and it was only on the 3rd that we began
11 working in reduced composition.
12 Q. Did you know about this mobilisation of police forces in
14 A. At that point in time, no. I learnt about that later on. It
15 didn't come within my purview so it wasn't my duty to know things like
17 Q. When the Rump Presidency took over, the -- the JNA --
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, can we use the other
19 term, the "reduced Presidency" as a term instead of the "rump"? I think
20 that Mr. Robinson gave the right term. Unless you want to implement Mr.
21 Mesic's terminology to the letter.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... issue an
23 edict on this. I leave it to the Prosecutor.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, I use this term because it's used in the indictment --
1 A. I just asked.
2 Q. And I just tell you I will use it because it's used in the
3 indictment and therefore I stick to it, but you, of course, can call it
4 whatever you like.
5 Mr. Kostic, at that time when the Rump Presidency took over, that
6 was a few days before the moratorium on the suspension of the independence
7 of Croatia and Slovenia came up, the deadline came up. Does that -- did
8 you make all this decision because of that? Is that related?
9 A. That had nothing to do one with the other, because we were
10 surprised by the decision of the 8th of October, and I said that the 8th
11 of October decision cannot find support in the Brioni Declaration anyway,
12 it can only find a point of support in the one-sided interpretation by the
13 Croatian leadership of the contents of the Brioni Declaration. So that we
14 really didn't expect that anything special would happen on the 8th of
15 October, anything --
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, also on the 1st of October -- no. Rather, let us play
17 first an intercept. There is another intercept which I would like you to
18 listen to, and it's Exhibit 613, tab 128, and it's an intercept again
19 between you and Mr. Karadzic. At the time it's on the 26th of November,
20 1991, and again it's on Sanction and we play it because it's not long.
21 [Audiotape played]
22 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Hello?
23 "Good morning.
24 "Hello, Radovan, how are you?
25 "How are you?
1 "I'm fine. I was on another telephone yesterday, but I wanted to
2 see how we could suggest this about Ploce."
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters note that they do not have the
4 transcript of the intercept, and the sound isn't clear enough for us to
5 follow without it being placed on the ELMO.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. Please, can you put it on the ELMO,
7 Usher, so that they can follow.
8 [Audiotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] Hello?
11 "Hi, Radovan.
12 "How are you?
13 "Fine, how are you?
14 "Excellent. Listen, I was on Nikola's phone yesterday, so I
15 don't know what the situation is like, and I thought we could discuss how
16 we could suggest this communication from Ploce, because Ploce is vital to
19 "And they can take the part from Ploce downward.
20 "Towards Dubrovnik?
23 "Is there any chance of that happening?
24 "Well, I don't know. We agreed that they would come with detailed
25 maps, you know.
1 "Uh-huh. Maybe they should be told that somebody in Bosnia
2 believes, that, for example, our side believes that Ploce is of great
3 importance and that it has destroyed the Bosnian economy so far, and that
4 it should -- maybe it would be a good thing to do, it seems to me, since
5 Yugoslavia can -- Requests regarding that have already been made.
6 "... the Neretva, right?
7 "A bit to the left of the Neretva.
8 "A bit to the left of the Neretva.
9 "Yes, a few kilometres, a bit.
10 "All right, I'll bear that in mind. We'll see, then we'll also
11 see about that with those people from the army.
12 "Yes, well, that is the Bosnian economy, but it should, yes, no,
13 it won't be able to oppose. On the contrary.
15 "Because everything depends on down there, entirely.
17 "And inside, on the mainland - nothing, we must not consider it.
18 One side is entirely against it and there's nothing there in the end, and
19 the army can have full control over it.
20 "All right. The Neretva, practically that is-- defend it with the
21 idea of demilitarisation of Dubrovnik, like the surrounding area.
22 "Yes, and the surrounding area, and Plo ...
23 "Practically, to demilitarise that whole pocket.
24 "Yes, all of it, and Ploce are a strategic importance there and
25 generally they are of economic importance. So it can be said that ... it
1 can be requested that Ploce should be --
2 "Okay, I'll take that into account.
4 "So there while we're discussing it, for the army, a bit about
6 "Okay. I think that would be a good idea.
8 "They have the means to defend themselves.
10 "All right, speak to you later."
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, you are speaking here with Mr. Karadzic on quite
13 massive operations of the JNA, right; is that correct?
14 A. No, that is not correct. It wasn't a large-scale operation at
15 all. The units of the JNA at the time were already on the territory of
16 Dubrovnik. I already said that I was not clear myself why the Supreme
17 Command Staff sent 30.000 to such a small area. And the assignment of
18 those units was not to take over Dubrovnik, and on one occasion I just
19 presented my assumptions, that I don't exclude the possibility of the
20 General Staff or, rather, the staff of the Supreme Command at that time
21 having requested the Supreme Command to have mobilisation of up to 150.000
22 men and that the Yugoslav People's Army should then cut across certain
23 axes on Croatian territory and reach the barracks where our 25.000 army
24 members were located, to disarm the Croatian paramilitaries, and then to
25 bring Tudjman to the negotiating table, because all negotiations had
1 proved unsuccessful to date. So that I don't exclude the possibility that
2 it was precisely the General Staff by sending out such large numbers, such
3 large units to such small territory perhaps had the intention of reaching
4 the Neretva River and joining up with the Knin Corps up there, and so on
5 and so forth. But it wasn't any separate massive operation that we were
6 planning. Here Mr. Karadzic in this conversation just leads us to the
7 conclusion, because there was a lot talked about the need to demilitarise
8 the entire area of Dubrovnik and the surrounding parts. So we considered
9 that this demilitarisation of the Dubrovnik belt could be a good solution
10 and linked to the problem of the Prevlaka as well, which shuts off the
11 entrance to the Bay of Kotor. So within the frameworks of all those
12 negotiations, discussions, and talks, Mr. Karadzic is talking about the
13 port of Ploce which was treated as a Bosnian and Herzegovinian port in
14 peacetime, and he highlights that question.
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, you said you cannot exclude the possibility that there
16 was such bigger operation goals in existence, but you are actually talking
17 with Mr. Karadzic about that, and for this purpose I would like to use the
18 atlas again. That's Exhibit 336, page 37 and 36.
19 Mr. Kostic, you are speaking about Ploce, and we find Ploce at
20 the coast in quarter 2 -- 1, 3, and you speak about Ploce, which is in the
21 Neretva Delta, and we see -- we hear you speak about the Neretva River.
22 That's not just Dubrovnik, that's about a huge territory; right?
23 Ploce is a little bit upwards, south-west -- north-west.
24 North-west, yes. Ploce. And then you have the Neretva River between
25 Mostar and the coast. So this is actually what you are also talking
1 about. And my question to this is: At that time --
2 JUDGE KWON: The witness hasn't found the location.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No? I think he pointed at Ploce.
4 Q. Mr. Kostic, did you --
5 JUDGE KWON: Yes.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, I've found it.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
8 Q. And Neretva River. My question to you is: At that time, the
9 Bosnian Serbs had actually six goals, strategic objectives. Do you know
10 about these strategic objectives?
11 A. As for the six strategic goals of the Bosnian Serbs and the
12 Bosnian leadership, I really don't know about these. I can find Ploce and
13 Neum here. I knew and had known previously that Ploce was practically the
14 main port of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even for part of Croatia, because
15 they used communications going through Bosnia. Bosnia had a small part of
16 the coast at Neum.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Next question, please.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. Mr. Kostic, in that territory between Ploce and Dubrovnik, there
20 were no barracks; right?
21 A. No. As far as I know, no.
22 Q. So there was no reason to attack this area; right? Other than
23 what you already mentioned that link up certain corps and certain
25 A. As far as I know, madam, the JNA never attacked that area at all.
1 I assert that with confidence. The JNA did not go any further than Slano.
2 I didn't visit this part of the coast many times, so I'm not really sure
3 of the distance. But as far as I know, the JNA didn't even get as far as
4 Neum. It was at Cepikuce, Slano, but it didn't go further up.
5 You should know that at that time the Serbian leadership of Bosnia
6 and the leadership of the Muslims and Croats in Bosnia were having
7 intensive talks at the time about Bosnia getting certain territory around
8 the port of Ploce, and so on and so forth, should Croatia secede. They
9 were discussing this.
10 Q. And, Mr. Kostic, in that territory that you just mentioned where
11 the JNA was actually heavily involved, there were -- there was no Serb
12 majority and not even a substantial minority of Serbs; right?
13 A. I never said, madam, that the JNA went there to protect the Serb
14 ethnic majority. The JNA went there to block Dubrovnik and the
15 surrounding area and thereby prevent the spreading of the flames of war to
16 the territory of Montenegro. Also, to protect the barracks on the
17 peninsula of Prevlaka. Just as the army did not set out to conquer
18 Dubrovnik, it only set up a military blockade, a naval blockade there in
19 order to prevent the war spreading to Montenegro. That was the main task
20 of the JNA in that area.
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, you said that at that time the leadership, the Serbian
22 leadership and the leadership of Muslims and the Croats in Bosnia were
23 having talks on Ploce. Who exactly did have these talks, and could it be
24 that you confused this with talks in 1992 or 1993?
25 A. I really don't know who had discussions at the time, but I know
1 that for the Serb people in Bosnia who were expecting some sort of
2 independence within the framework of Bosnia, the issue of Ploce as a port
3 and of railroads and transport was very, very important when one could
4 sense that Croatia was about to be recognised and become independent.
5 These talks were more between Bosnia and Croatia than inter-ethnically
6 within Bosnia, but I really don't know much about that.
7 Q. Mr. Kostic, before we move on to other questions about the JNA,
8 just one further remark in relation to the session of the Presidency held
9 on the 1st of October, 1991. I asked you whether the actions in relation
10 to the -- the changes of the Presidency on the 1st of October and the
11 following one, I asked you whether it had anything to do with the expiring
12 of the deadlines for Croatia and Slovenia, and you said it didn't.
13 However, I have -- I quote now from these extensive stenographic notes,
14 and on page 44 in the B/C/S, and here is the translation: Mr. Milivoje
15 Maksic says: "They agreed on the following: In a still to be prepared
16 declaration, all sides in Yugoslavia will, after the expiration of the
17 moratorium, be called upon to continue the participation in the Conference
18 on Yugoslavia in The Hague ..." and so on and so forth.
19 It was discussed, Mr. Kostic, on that 1st of October, and you were
20 aware that this was upcoming, and it played a role, did it not?
21 A. You can draw your own conclusions, madam, but what you have just
22 quoted is the opinion of Milivoje Maksic. He was the deputy of
23 Mr. Loncar, the federal secretary for foreign affairs. I really don't
24 remember this, but even if I did, such a statement by Mr. Maksic would
25 only go to confirm our expectations that a peaceful political solution
1 would be found rather than a solution based on violence and force. We
2 hoped it would be found at The Hague conference.
3 Six days after -- or, rather, 23 days earlier, on the 7th of
4 September, at a session of the Presidency we agreed on the four basic
5 principles which Mr. Mesic set out at the first inaugural conference in
6 The Hague. These principles were agreed on by all the members of the
7 Presidency and all the republican presidents. I don't actually remember
8 what Mr. Maksic said at the time.
9 Q. Mr. Kostic, when discussing Defence Exhibit D333, tab 67, that was
10 the 7th May 1991 declaration of the top command of the JNA in raising
11 combat readiness, you said that throughout all of 1991 and 1992 the JNA
12 acted with restraint.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honour, that's on transcript page
15 Q. You remember that you said that?
16 A. I kept saying, and I still assert today that throughout the war
17 crisis in the former Yugoslavia the JNA acted with extreme restraint. No
18 other army would have acted with such restraint. The JNA suffered
19 enormous losses, respected all cease-fires, was always under threat.
20 Q. We don't need to repeat that. I just asked you and you confirmed
21 that you said that. However, I have here a Tanjug report on a
22 declaration, a statement of the Supreme Command headquarters of the SFRY
23 armed forces of 1st of October, 1991.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: And, Your Honour, it was part of the Exhibit
25 643, tab 1 or, rather, it's mentioned in the report of the military expert
1 Mr. Theunens. It was not tendered separately. It's just mentioned there.
2 Q. And I would like to quote from what is said here. And as you say,
3 Tanjug is usually correct in its reporting. And in the lower part of the
4 document, it says: "For each attacked and overrun of Yugoslav People's
5 Army facility, one facility of vital importance of the Republic of Croatia
6 will be immediately destroyed.
7 "2. For each attack and taken garrison, vital facilities of the
8 town in which the garrison is located will be destroyed. The civilian
9 population is warned to withdraw in time from inhabited places.
10 "3. As a military response to taking several barracks and other
11 military facilities since the latest cease-fire agreement, we will launch
12 offensive actions in part of the Republic of Croatia."
13 Mr. Kostic, that's on the 1st of October. That's quite now
14 different from being a buffer between ethnic groups; right?
15 A. Madam, this was after ten cease-fires had been agreed, and in each
16 of these it was the obligation of the Croatian paramilitary formations to
17 lift the siege of the JNA barracks. Great Britain moved its whole armada
18 to the Falklands, and our members on their own territory were under threat
19 from the unconstitutionally established paramilitary formations of Croatia
20 which we had tolerated for months.
21 I know about this warning issued by the Supreme Command Staff, and
22 it only goes to confirm what I said. They were fed up. They were fed up
23 waiting for the Croatian paramilitaries to respect the cease-fire.
24 Q. Mr. --
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, we're going to take the break
1 now. We will adjourn for 20 minutes.
2 --- Recess taken at 12.17 p.m.
3 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 Q. Mr. Kostic, in that warning that was made by the Supreme Command
7 headquarters, there is no more a distinction made between civilian and
8 military targets. You know that targeting civilians and civilian
9 institutions and facilities could be a war crime; right? You know that?
10 A. It could represent a war crime, yes, but if vital facilities are
11 being targeted which can be used by the paramilitaries to make it
12 impossible to bring water, electric power, telephone communications, and
13 similar things, then of course the army can threaten to destroy such
14 facilities. And as you may have seen, the army issued warnings to the
15 civilian population, telling them to take refuge in a timely manner.
16 Q. Mr. Kostic, when you heard and got aware of this warning, what did
17 you do about it? Did you address the Supreme Command Staff about it and
18 warn them that what they are threatening here could be -- amount to war
19 crimes? Did you do anything about it?
20 A. I have to tell you I read and learned about this warning when
21 preparing for this testimony. At the time, I was not aware of this
22 warning, but I reiterate: If the Croatian paramilitaries were
23 counter-constitutionally cutting off water, electricity, telephone
24 communications --
25 Q. We need to make --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, I don't necessarily
2 understand those three paragraphs in that way. Why shouldn't it be
3 assumed that they're talking about military facilities?
4 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: What he is actually -- what is actually
5 stated here in paragraph 1 -- in point 1, it's actually that they want to
6 destroy a facility of vital importance for Croatia, and there is no
7 distinction between whether it's military or civilian. And in one -- in
8 the next one it's even more clear, at least to me. It says here, "Vital
9 facilities of the town." That, to me, actually can or will include
10 civilian facilities. At least, there is no distinction made. And it is
11 said here: "The civilian population is warned to withdraw in time from
12 inhabited places." In other words, they want to -- to retaliate on
13 inhabited places. That's why I actually put this to Mr. Kostic.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see. Okay. I think there may be some basis
15 for that, yes.
16 JUDGE KWON: You cannot -- you could not locate the document other
17 than the -- Mr. Theunens' report yourself?
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: We actually have only this -- this previous
19 translation. That's a translation made on the basis of this original
20 Tanjug domestic service report, and we don't have the report as such.
21 However, I would like to tender this document, Your Honour, as a separate
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
24 JUDGE KWON: Do we have the B/C/S version as well?
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, we don't. That is what we don't have,
1 Your Honour. We just have --
2 JUDGE KWON: Have we heard from the witness that he confirmed the
3 authenticity or the content of this document? He just dealt with it.
4 Could you confirm it again?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Mr. Theunens, Mr. Theunens dealt with it, and
6 Mr. Theunens referred to this item in his report.
7 JUDGE KWON: So this was not admitted at that time.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No. It was just -- there were so many
9 exhibits related to Mr. Theunens' report that only part of it were
10 tendered officially.
11 JUDGE KWON: And, Professor Kostic, you do not dispute the
12 existence of this order or report?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, you see, I looked at the
14 English version of this. I cannot say this is the very document, but I do
15 know that in the collection of documents I have in which one can find all
16 the decisions and orders issued by the Presidency of the SFRY and the
17 Supreme Command Staff, I think I saw a similar document in the
18 Serbo-Croatian language.
19 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Kay is on his feet.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
21 MR. KAY: Your Honour, this must come from somewhere originating
22 in the B/C/S language, and that's really what this Court should be given
23 primarily. I think this document should be marked for identification
24 pending production of an original.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. We'll do as Mr. Kay has suggested.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, just in this context, you said that there -- you --
3 you have read something in a collection of documents. What kind of
4 collection would it be, and do you have it? Could you provide the B/C/S
5 to us?
6 A. I don't have it with me at present, but I can bring it tomorrow
7 morning, if I can find it. I don't have it here now.
8 Q. Yes. That would be very helpful, if you could do that, thank you.
9 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 948, marked for
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I would like also, Your Honour, as we are
12 dealing with exhibits, I would like to tender the -- the stenographic
13 notes of the -- of the Presidency session of 1 October, as far as I have
14 quoted them, and it's the quote related to page 26, Branko Kostic. And
15 the other one is related to page 44, Milivoje Maksic's remark. And as I
16 said before, I would like to, from the bar table, if we have completed the
17 entire translation, we would want to submit it from the bar table. It
18 will be provided.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Judge Kwon is inquiring whether the witness
20 confirmed this.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I understood him to confirm this, that he --
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will admit those pages to which reference was
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Exhibit 949.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
1 Q. Mr. Kostic, I would now like you to look at another statement made
2 by the Federal Secretariat of National Defence, and it's Exhibit 446, tab
3 64, and perhaps we have the first page -- first page of this document on
4 the ELMO. It's a document dated 12 October 1991, of the Administration
5 for Moral Guidance within the SSNO. And I just quote from the bottom of
6 this document. It says here: "It is obvious that the war which has been
7 imposed upon the Serbian people in Croatia and the JNA by the Ustasha
8 forces and their leadership, is not about the conquest of Croatian
9 territory, as some peacemakers falsely insinuate and pretend. It is
10 rather about defending parts of the Serbian people from genocide and
11 biological extermination with which they are threatened by resurrected
12 fascism in Croatia, securing the safe withdrawal of the JNA
13 forces currently under blockade and families ..." and so forth.
14 Mr. Kostic, the JNA is not a buffer here according to their own
15 statement. They are now defending parts of the Serbian people; right?
16 And that's October.
17 A. I have repeated several times: Initially in April, May, and even
18 in June 1991, the JNA was really acting as a buffer, separating the
19 conflicting sides and preventing the spread of inter-ethnic conflicts.
20 However, as the Croatian paramilitary formations grew in size, and I did
21 mention that in only two months the number of policemen was increased from
22 17.000 to 90.000 men, as they grew in size and numbers and armed
23 themselves, they intensified their attacks on the JNA. I have stated more
24 than once during this testimony that one of the strategic aims of the JNA
25 was to ensure the physical protection of the imperiled Croatian -- of the
1 imperiled Serbian people --
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, in Croatia.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- where they were in the majority.
4 When the United Nations sent in the Blue Helmets with the priority task of
5 defending the Serbian population, the JNA withdrew.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
7 Q. Mr. Kostic, there is also on the next page, page 2 in the English
8 and I think also in the Serbian, it says: "That is why the SFRY
9 Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has taken a
10 clear position that the JNA units withdrawal from Croatian territories
11 inhabited by Serbs would be unacceptable because that would expose them to
12 physical liquidation ..." and so on and so forth.
13 Mr. Kostic, those units, the JNA units within that territory
14 inhabited by Serbs, their barracks were not at that time blockaded, right?
15 The blockaded barricades were in other parts of Croatia; correct?
16 A. The barracks located on the territories where there was a majority
17 Serbian population were not blockaded. It was the barracks on the
18 territory of Croatia which had been there in peacetime, where there was a
19 majority Croatian population, that were blockaded.
20 Q. And one last quote from this document here. It's the very last
21 paragraph. It says here in the first line: "All armed units, be they
22 JNA, Territorial Defence, or volunteer units must act under the single
23 command of the JNA."
24 That's what you have already also mentioned that did happen;
25 right? The JNA were in command of all the troops.
1 A. What is your question?
2 Q. My question was that indeed this did happen. The JNA on the
3 ground were in command of all these troops that are listed here in that
4 paragraph that I just read; correct?
5 A. According to the law on national defence, all armed units were
6 under the command of the JNA. This includes the police force, the
7 Territorial Defence, and the regular units of the JNA. They all had to
8 act in unison. However, we were unable, when some paramilitary units were
9 formed by some opposition parties, to put these under the control of the
10 JNA. The task of the JNA was, however, to prevent those units from
11 operating on that territory.
12 Q. What about Arkan's unit, Arkan's Tigers? Were they also included
13 under the JNA command?
14 A. I couldn't say that. I couldn't say that. I don't know if and
15 when Arkan's units were there. The only thing I know for certain is that
16 in Western Slavonia, the volunteers sent by Mr. Seselj's Serb Radical
17 Party did not go there as separate volunteer units of Mr. Seselj's but,
18 rather, they joined the JNA and Territorial Defence units.
19 As for Arkan's men, I really don't know if, when, or where they
20 were put under the control of the JNA. I don't know if they were under
21 their control or not. And the same goes for the White Eagles.
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, during your testimony on Monday, at transcript 48056
23 and 48557, you referred to the composition of the JNA, and you said that
24 even in 1992 in both the General Staff and in many units there were
25 non-Serbs from the highest to the lowest level.
1 When you said that, Mr. Kostic, the Office of the Prosecutor
2 actually looked at the commanders of corps and military districts that
3 relates to Croatia, and I would like to put some names to you to see
4 whether this was correct what you told us.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we have here a sheet with all
6 these names. I think just for ease of reference, it's better that
7 everybody has it in front of everyone. It's easier to follow.
8 Q. Mr. Kostic, we do not need to speak about Mr. Kadijevic, Brovet,
9 and Adzic because we have already mentioned them quite frequently. Also,
10 Zivota Panic, we have spoken about him as well. General -- Major General
11 Mile Mrksic --
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: How far down do you go for the seniority?
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: I go down to the commanders of the
14 operational groups and tactical groups. Not below that.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Okay. Thank you very much. Please continue.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
17 Q. So the first one I just want to mention here, Mile Mrksic, major
18 general, commander of the Guards Motorised Brigade. He's a Serb; right?
19 A. I think he is. I really can't say.
20 Q. We don't need --
21 A. Don't expect too much of me, that kind of data, because of these
22 officers on the list here, I know very few of them except those who were
23 at the top of the General Staff with whom I communicated. So I won't be
24 able to give you reliable data as to the ethnicity of all these people
25 there, but I'll do my best.
1 Q. I thought you as the member of the Presidency and Supreme Command
2 would know at least the generals. But let's see how it goes.
3 It says here Aleksandar Spirkovski. He was commander of the 1st
4 Military District. He --
5 A. He was a Macedonian.
6 Q. He was replaced in September 1991; right?
7 A. I don't know exactly when he was replaced, but I do know that he's
8 a Macedonian.
9 Q. Zivota Panic, his successor actually, he is a Serb?
10 A. Yes, he is.
11 Q. Vojislav Djurdjevac, from the 4th Corps, command of the 4th Corps
12 Sarajevo, what is he?
13 A. I don't know.
14 Q. Commander of the 5th Corps, Nikola Uzelac, is he a Serb?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. Vladimir Vukovic, commander of the 5th Corps after Uzelac, is he a
18 A. I would think that he would be a Montenegrin rather than a Serb,
19 but I don't know.
20 Q. Momir Talic, commander of the 5th Corps, Serb?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Mladen Bratic, commander of the --
23 A. I don't know.
24 Q. If you don't know these people, just look down the list and tell
25 me whether you can identify any of them being a non-Serb and
2 A. Well, what I can tell you is Konrad Kolsek, for example, is a
3 Slovene, and I knew him personally because he was corps commander in
4 Podgorica a long time before that. He's a Slovene.
5 Q. Yes. And he was replaced in July 1991 by Zivota -- Zivota
6 Avramovic. Is he a Serb?
7 A. Who?
8 Q. The one replacing --
9 A. Who is he, a Serb?
10 Q. The one replacing Mr. Kolsek.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Avramovic.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
13 Q. Avramovic.
14 A. I think he is a Serb, but I really can't say, this national
15 composition. I see Vladimir Vukovic appears twice here. I don't know if
16 it's the same man or not. Ratko Mladic is a Serb. Miodrag Jokic is a
17 Montenegrin. Zvonko Jurjevic is a Croat.
18 Q. And he was replaced --
19 A. And Anton Tus, for example, was a Croat. He was the commander of
20 the air force. Anton Tus escaped to a paramilitary organisation of
21 Tudjman's --
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
23 A. -- and instead of him, there was Jurjevic Zvonko who was
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, you do not answer my question. I was asking you
3 whether Mr. Zvonko Jurjevic, the Croat, was replaced by Bozidar
4 Stevanovic, a Serb.
5 A. Madam, Zvonko Jurjevic was replaced, but it is very important in
6 view of the substance of your question for me to answer this. Zvonko
7 Jurjevic was appointed commander of the air force instead of Anton Tus who
8 was himself a Croat who had fled to join up with Tudjman's paramilitary to
9 all intents and purposes, and we had nothing against appointing another
10 Croat as commander of the air force.
11 Now, he was replaced, the second commander was replaced, whether
12 intentionally or not. The UN helicopter on a mission was shot down. I
13 think there was some Italians and some Frenchmen there, and we thought
14 this was a direct mistake on the part of the commander of the air force,
15 and that's why he was replaced, because we thought that the downing of
16 that UN helicopter, they wished to undermine our actions and drive to
17 bring in the UN peace forces to Bosnia. I'm finished.
18 Q. Mr. Kostic, we don't need all these details. It was a simple
19 question. And I understand Mr. Bozidar Stevanovic is indeed a Serb. Now,
20 we look at the 2nd Military District of Sarajevo. You know Milutin
21 Kukanjac. He was a Serb; right? And Mr. Ratko Mladic definitely too;
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. And looking at the Operational Group commanders, we have here
25 Andrija Biorcevic of the Operational Group North, involving Baranja and
1 for northern part of Eastern Slavonia, he was a Serb or not?
2 A. Well, I can't say for certain. All I can do about these other
3 people -- Spiro Nikovic is a Montenegrin, Pavle Strugar is a Montenegrin.
4 As to the other people on that second page, I really don't know. Judging
5 by the name, name and surname, I can assume they might be Serbs but I
6 don't know their ethnicity because I don't know them personally.
7 Q. And besides those listed, can you name any high-ranking - I mean
8 really high-ranking - non-Serbian officer who was still in command in
10 A. Well, I've already told you that most of these generals here are
11 one -- people I don't know. I never met them, never saw them. The ones I
12 do know is Kadijevic, Brovet, Adzic, Panic. As to the others, I don't
13 know them. You could have asked Mr. Vasiljevic that, who was a witness of
14 yours. He could have given you all that information.
15 Q. Mr. Kostic, let's move on. I would like to now refer you again to
16 the testimony of Mr. Jovic, and actually paragraph 84 of his 89(F)
17 statement. Your Honour, that's Exhibit 596, tab 1.
18 Mr. Kostic, Mr. Jovic refers here to a meeting before the
19 Presidency session on 11 July 1991, and he says -- he says here the
20 following: "On 11 July 1991, before the Presidency session, Kadijevic,
21 Milosevic, Kostic and I met. We assessed that the JNA cannot remain
23 I skip now a few lines, and then it says --
24 A. May I be given the document in Serbian, please?
25 Q. Yes.
1 I don't have it at hand, Your Honours.
2 You have to listen to the translation, Mr. Kostic, but it's only
3 very brief sections.
4 And it says here: "Internal orientation, defending the future
5 Yugoslavia. First variant of defending the future Yugoslavia: Serbia,
6 Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbs outside Serbia and possibly
7 Macedonia. Second variant: Serbia, Montenegro, the Serb nation in
8 Yugoslavia, and possibly something else."
9 Do you recall having this meeting where you discussed the future
11 A. No, I really don't remember that, that Mr. Jovic refers to in his
12 book. We did have very frequent consultations, almost on a daily basis.
13 Now specifically what he says here, I really don't remember any of that.
14 He claims again -- or ten days later, if you say it was on the 4th of
15 July. I think on the 14th of July we took the decision to withdraw police
16 forces from Slovenia. This was on the 18th. He put this in order in the
17 form of a diary but quite obviously he did not keep a diary.
18 Q. He actually speaks of a meeting of 11 July 1991, but we don't need
19 to dwell on the date. Mr. Kostic, the first variant, as it is called
20 here, of the future Yugoslavia, including Serbia, Montenegro,
21 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbs outside Serbia, and possibly Macedonia, is that
22 basically reflecting the Belgrade Initiative that you have already spoken
23 about or is it different?
24 A. I don't know what Mr. Jovic's thoughts on that were during those
25 days and how he wrote it down, but what we were thinking about and the
1 what -- the way my thoughts were going has been repeated many times and
2 written down many times. We considered that quite obviously Slovenia --
3 we cannot keep Slovenia and Croatia within the composition of Yugoslavia.
4 I personally considered, and all the other people that I associated with
5 said that we should not use the force of the Yugoslav People's Army to
6 force anybody to live together. And I must say that to the last day,
7 practically, we did think that that reduced Yugoslavia would include
8 Bosnia-Herzegovina as a republic in its entirety with Montenegro and
10 And as for the Serb people who were under threat on the territory
11 of Croatia, where they were an ethnic majority, we had a very clear-cut
12 vision that that people over there must be physically protected with the
13 Yugoslav People's Army until a political settlement had been found or,
14 rather, until the Blue Helmets had arrived who would take on the role of
15 physical protector, and then we withdrew the Yugoslav People's Army from
16 that territory.
17 Q. Mr. Kostic, the second variant that you -- that you were
18 discussing, according at least to Mr. Jovic, that's including Serbia,
19 Montenegro, and the Serb nation in Yugoslavia and possibly somewhere else,
20 that's actually the same that was later the territories that you discussed
21 in -- on the Convention on Yugoslavia on the 3rd of January, 1992; right?
22 That's basically the same, is it not?
23 A. Madam, I cannot tell you what went on in Mr. Jovic's head. He was
24 a witness of yours, and you could have asked him yourself about matters of
25 that kind. All I can do is to confirm what was quite clear to me and my
1 own personal options dating back to those days, is that on the one hand we
2 had no pretensions towards Serb territories in Croatia, and the best proof
3 of that is that the UN peace forces were invited over by us. We had no
4 pretensions, secondly, towards Bosnia, and it is clear from day one we
5 supported both the Cutileiro Plan and the Vance-Owen Plan, without
6 excluding the possibility that in some -- at some point in future there
7 should be a redeployment of those forces in the Balkans which would lead
8 to some sort of unification, but we rejected as the Yugoslav state
9 Presidency, and the Assembly of Yugoslavia rejected --
10 Q. Mr. Kostic, let me interrupt you. I had actually -- I thought I
11 had asked a very simple question. Were the two -- were two concepts
12 discussed on a future Yugoslavia? One with Bosnia and one without.
13 A. Madam, what do you expect me to say? You want to hear what you
14 want to hear? I said that I don't specifically remember that particular
15 meeting, but I also said how I thought and what my thoughts were and all
16 those making decisions and all the people that had the greatest
17 responsibility was what I described a moment ago. We even rejected
18 including the Serbs within Yugoslavia and nominating the representative to
19 the Presidency of the SFRY. So you can't expect me to say what you want
20 to hear. I'm telling you what our thoughts were, and I can confirm that
21 with steps taken, with documents written, with -- and so on, the way we
22 thought at that time.
23 Now, what Mr. Jovic thinks and what his calculations were, well he
24 was a witness of yours here and you can call him back.
25 Q. Mr. Kostic, I will go on and now I will quote from paragraph 86 of
1 the 89(F) statement of Mr. Jovic. It's related to a meeting of the 8th of
2 August, 1991, and he says here: "... Milosevic, Kostic, Kadijevic, Adzic
3 and I met to agree on the further political orientation in connection with
4 the decision on the cease-fire in Croatia. Milosevic insisted on
5 heightening combat readiness by the military because he felt that further
6 clashes were imminent. He asked, almost insistently, when and where the
7 military would finally begin the definitive showdown ..." And also as the
8 second last sentence mentioned: "We really have no alternative but to
9 intensively expel the Croats and Slovenes from the military ..."
10 Do you recall such a meeting and such a conversation?
11 A. I neither recall such a meeting nor such a conversation. In my
12 testimony and in my book when I never -- when it never entered my mind
13 that I would appear here before The Hague Tribunal or be mentioned as a
14 party to the joint criminal enterprise or as a witness in this trial, I
15 stated quite clearly there and wrote down that Mr. Milosevic was precisely
16 one of those people who, when we had to decide whether to undertake an
17 offensive action through the force of the army to deblock the barracks in
18 Croatia, was the man who did not accept that solution. And I have to say
19 that in my intimate thoughts I considered that my ideas were more proper.
20 And I also said that, although I didn't comment this with him, he didn't
21 accept to take steps like that because it would have involved far more
22 widespread mobilisation. So perhaps he was afraid that mobilisation would
23 not have succeeded in Serbia, and an unsuccessful mobilisation in Serbia
24 with the Socialist Party in rule could threaten that and could lead to
25 civil war. I wrote that down.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: I think you have answered the question.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
3 Q. Mr. Kostic, again, I'm now referring to paragraph 91 of -- 91 of
4 the Jovic 89(F) statement, and he speaks here about the meeting on the
5 24th September 1991, including again you, Kadijevic, Milosevic, and
6 Mr. Jovic, and he says here, it's at the end of this chapter: "Kadijevic
7 then concluded the following: Military success cannot be achieved with a
8 semi-legitimate Yugoslavia. Serbia and Montenegro should declare that the
9 military is theirs and assume command, financing the war, and everything
10 else. All the generals on the General Staff, except one, are Serbs, and
11 they all support this approach and think the same way. We could not
12 accept, says Jovic -- We could not accept the demand that the military
13 drop 'Jugoslav' from its name. That would mean Serbia and Montenegro
14 would completely lose all their advantages, both politically and military
16 And just to add to this, in paragraph 94, he says: "At the
17 meeting of the 6th -" and it's now two days -- "on the 28th of September,
18 Kadijevic again raised the question of the state for whom the army should
19 fight for, and last time he offered to run the JNA over to Serbia and
20 Montenegro. And since Serbia and Montenegro do not have their own armies,
21 a formula should be found for turning the JNA over to those nations that
22 want to remain in Yugoslavia. However, this was felt to be bad solution
23 from the international standpoint."
24 Mr. Kostic, do you recall that Mr. Kadijevic raised such issues
25 and that they were rejected by the other members in these meetings because
1 of international reasons or advantages?
2 A. I don't remember that conversation. As I say, we had many.
3 Mr. Jovic is writing about that in his diary. Mr. Jovic also wrote down
4 that he came to see me. He never came to see me. Now, what his
5 intentions were, I don't know. He claims that Mr. Milosevic sort of
6 seemed a bit disoriented. I must say that I had a lot of communication
7 with Mr. Milosevic, and that I never found him to be confused. I think he
8 was much broader in his outlook than Mr. Jovic at that point in time.
9 Now, why Mr. Jovic wrote these things and that he has turned it into a
10 diary as having been recorded in his notebook as a diary, you'll have to
11 take that up with him. But at no point were my thoughts along those
12 lines, nor Mr. Bulatovic's, although he is not mentioned here, nor
13 Mr. Milosevic's thoughts, and the thoughts of the top military echelons to
14 establish a Serbian and Montenegrin army. Instead, we always started out
15 from the fact that it was the Yugoslav People's Army. He always mentioned
16 the date of the 28th of September. Don't forget that that was at that
17 time still the sole legitimate state member of the United Nations, no
18 question of recognising Croatia or Slovenia or their independence or
19 anything like that. So thoughts along those lines can only be the result
20 of Mr. Jovic's line of thinking and not my own.
21 Q. Mr. Kostic, I didn't ask you about Mr. Jovic. I simply asked you
22 whether the military at that time made such demands. It's Mr. Kadijevic,
23 at least according to Mr. Jovic, making such demands which are then
24 rejected by the politicians in the group of six. Do you recall that?
25 A. No, I don't remember Mr. Kadijevic ever voicing those views, but I
1 do remember very well that many opposition parties at that time tried to
2 give -- throw doubt and suspicion on Mr. Kadijevic and that questions like
3 that were asked of me and that later on in my book, and today also, I
4 claim that Mr. Kadijevic always was and remains a Yugoslav --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Kostic.
6 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: You must endeavour to answer more directly and
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, I would like to ask you now something related to the
12 Carrington Plan, and first of all I would like to put something to you
13 from Exhibit 812 that the Prosecution provided in the case. We have this
14 document only in English, Mr. Kostic, because it's a document provided and
15 prepared by the European Union, and therefore it's only in English so it
16 needs to be translated to you while I go through it. And it's a document
17 on the Conference on Yugoslavia, a summary of the -- of the developments
18 in that conference.
19 And I quote from page 2, Your Honour, the fourth point.
20 It says: "The fourth plenary session was held on 4 October 1991.
21 The Chair concluded that all parties involved were breaching the
22 cease-fire. With the exception of Serbia and Montenegro, all parties
23 condemned the constitutional coup launched by Serbia in the collective
24 Presidency. The Chair indicated that the EC and its Member States would
25 not recognise the situation created which could only worsen institutional
2 "Slovenia and Croatia stressed that they would give effect to
3 their declaration of independence from 7 October onwards ..."
4 Were you present in that fourth plenary session, Mr. Kostic?
5 A. No, I was not present. I attended only sessions from the 18th of
6 October and the 5th of November.
7 Q. When such sessions took place, would you afterwards get
8 information about how it went by your -- by these people that attended?
9 A. Well, we were informed through the bulletins and the mass media as
10 far as that goes, but I have it say that unfortunately Mr. Carrington and
11 the leadership of The Hague conference attempted systematically to bypass
12 the Presidency. So I couldn't testify here about what the 4th of October
13 session dealt with. I can tell you what happened on the 18th of October
14 and the 5th of November when I attended.
15 Q. Let me, nevertheless, put something to you from the 4th October
16 because it's so important that you actually should know about it. It says
17 here -- it's point 5, Your Honour, point 5.
18 "In the margins of the fourth plenary, a meeting was held on the
19 4th of October chaired by the minister for foreign affairs of the
20 Netherlands, assisted by Lord Carrington and Ambassador Wijnaendts,
21 between the Croatian President Tudjman, and the Serbian President
22 Milosevic, and the Minister of Defence General Kadijevic. A statement was
23 read out subsequently by the Netherlands minister at a press conference,
24 reflecting the agreement of the Yugoslav parties involved after Minister
25 van den Broek had obtained the acquiescence of all Yugoslav parties
1 present at the plenary meeting. This included the principle that a
2 political solution should be sought on the basis of the perspective of
3 recognition of the independence of those republics in Yugoslavia wishing
4 it, and at the end of a negotiating process conducted in good faith and
5 involving all parties. The recognition would be granted in the framework
6 of a general settlement, and have the following components:
7 "A loose association or alliance of sovereign or independent
9 "Adequate arrangements to be made for the protection of
10 minorities, including human rights guarantees and possibly special status
11 of certain area.
12 "And no unilateral changes in borders."
13 That is an agreement, at least according to this document, reached
14 on the 4th of October, Mr. Kostic. Did you hear about this? Were you
15 informed about this agreement by Mr. Milosevic or General Kadijevic or
16 anyone else?
17 A. There are two questions in your question, actually; one concerning
18 the truce that was concluded, whether on the 4th or on the 10th of
19 October, and the second question that you put, I have to say it's quite
20 unclear to me what was agreed at that session of the 4th of October. That
21 was followed by the session of the 18th of October.
22 At the session of the 18th of October, Mr. Milosevic objected to
23 the document offered by Mr. Carrington and refused to accept it. He
24 reminded Mr. Carrington that on the 4th of October, possible options had
25 been discussed. The possible options were the ones listed in the document
1 as well as the option for those republics that wished to do so to continue
2 living in Yugoslavia and that they would have the same rights and be given
3 the same treatment as the seceding republics. This option was missing
4 from the document. At the session of the 18th, there was evidently a
5 misunderstanding between Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Carrington.
6 In my book, which is in the tab, I wrote about this.
7 Mr. Bulatovic later claimed that at the session of the 4th, The
8 Hague document had been accepted by both Milosevic and Bulatovic. I don't
9 know that, so there's nothing I can tell you about it. I wasn't there.
10 Q. As you --
11 JUDGE BONOMY: That sounds like a "Yes, I heard about it, and it's
12 exactly as you've read out."
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. That is how I understand it.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a pity we can't get these simple answers, I
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
17 Q. And actually, as you mentioned Mr. Bulatovic on this issue, I
18 would like to actually quote now or to show to you a few excerpts from his
19 book "Rules of Silence." Can this be please provided to everyone.
20 I will first quote from what I think is in the B/C/S page 65. And
21 actually, Mr. Bulatovic's understanding is exactly as Mr. Carrington's
22 understanding of what was decided on the 4th of October.
23 "Finally in a meeting in The Hague on 4th October, 1991, they -"
24 and he refers here to Slobodan Milosevic and Tudjman - "accepted together
25 with Lord Carrington and Hans van den Broek, chairman of the European
1 Community Council of Ministers, a document indicating the road toward the
2 adoption of an all-round agreement to solve the war crisis in the SFRY
4 And the solution he quotes as follows: "The basis of the
5 solution, as the document said, will be: '... independence to those
6 republics that want it at the end of the talks, which are to be held bona
7 fide. The independence will be granted on the basis of a general solution
8 and will consist of the following components: A loose association or
9 association of independent and sovereign republics; adequate protection of
10 human rights and a possible special status for some territories, but
11 without any unilateral change of borders.'"
12 So, Mr. Kostic, that's also Mr. Bulatovic's understanding that on
13 the 4th of October, Mr. Milosevic, Tudjman, and everyone else present
14 agreed to that. Can you --
15 A. Can I? You haven't told me anything new. I read what
16 Mr. Bulatovic wrote. I don't know if it's correct. I can only confirm
17 that at the Assembly of Montenegro, Mr. Bulatovic stated that
18 Mr. Milosevic had accepted this, and at the plenary Assembly of
19 Montenegro, as the Presidency of the -- president of the Presidency of
20 Montenegro, in his introductory expose, suggested that The Hague document
21 be adopted. However, this was rejected by the Assembly. That's all I can
23 Q. Mr. Kostic, I would now like to continue with the book of
24 Mr. Bulatovic. We have already mentioned a meeting in Belgrade on the
25 14th of October, 1991, and that's the meeting. I understand you were
1 present. And on page 4 of the translation -- where would it be in the
3 A. Page 66.
4 Q. Yes. Mr. Bulatovic writes the following about what was discussed
5 and agreed: "They --" and I think he refers here to the Serbian
6 leadership because it is related to the previous paragraph: "They hold
7 the view that the status of the Serbian people in Croatia is an issue
8 which has gained an international dimension and could be solved in its
9 essence only as such. Until international mechanisms to protect the two
10 Serbian Krajinas are found, one should maintain military balance with the
11 existing forces and the achieved level of mobilisation of the JNA. They
12 advocate demilitarisation -- demilitarising all areas in which
13 inter-ethnic conflicts may break out. They especially have Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina in mind. It is possible to achieve all of this with a radical
15 peace proposal which they are expecting to see in the near future. They
16 hope that Lord Carrington will shortly present a document stemming from an
17 already-reached agreement."
18 Do you recall this discussion and was it like this?
19 A. I recall this discussion. I wrote about this discussion, which
20 took place on the 14th, in my book. As for what Mr. Bulatovic wrote, I
21 really don't remember it.
22 I have to reiterate there are many things that are incorrect or
23 invented in Mr. Momir Bulatovic's book. I drew attention to this in
24 public and criticised it, but you keep referring to it. All I can say is
25 here are the facts and here are the arguments put forward by both authors,
1 so let's see what is correct.
2 I even wrote down that neither Mr. Bulatovic nor Mr. Milosevic
3 spoke much at this meeting, nor did they engage in much discussion of this
4 very important issue.
5 When Mr. Bulatovic and I clashed about the way to lift the siege
6 of the barracks in Croatia, after Mr. Jovic's response, Mr. Mile
7 Djukanovic stated that he had come to the meeting having the same opinion
8 as me, but that after Mr. Jovic's response he was withdrawing this
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
12 Q. Mr. Kostic, just one point that I actually asked you about. At
13 that meeting on the 14th, could it be understood by everyone that an
14 agreement was reached and that one -- that the Carrington Plan would be
15 accepted? Could that be the impression of those present, including you?
16 A. What meeting, madam?
17 Q. On the 14th of October. The meeting of the 14th of October where
18 Mr. Bulatovic actually wrote these things about.
19 A. Please, had I had any such knowledge, had I known what
20 Mr. Bulatovic states here, that a comprehensive solution would be found, I
21 would not have been shortsighted enough to ask that 150.000 soldiers be
22 mobilised and that the JNA go into offensive action and lift the siege of
23 the barracks in Croatia. If I had known that a solution had been found, I
24 would not have advocated this, madam. You seem to trust Mr. Bulatovic
25 much more than you do me, but you would have more reason to quote from my
1 book than his. However, that's a different matter.
2 Q. Mr. Bulatovic describes in this section of the book also how the
3 Assembly in Montenegro actually dealt with the proposal and that they
4 discussed it in a positive sense and -- but we do not have to dwell on
5 this. But I would quote from you and read from page 7 in the English, and
6 Mr. Bulatovic is here speaking of the Montenegrin Assembly session held on
7 the 17th October 1991, and he says the following in relation to that day:
8 "I received information that Slobodan Milosevic needed to talk to me
9 urgently." And I skip a few sentences, and then it says: "After several
10 casual sentences, he told me that he had changed his position in relation
11 to Lord Carrington's proposal and that he would reject the offered
12 proposal at the plenary session in The Hague the following day. He
13 advised me to do the same. When I realised what he was saying, I asked
14 for more details. I wanted to know which crucial event had taken place in
15 the meantime to change the decision, which as early as two days before I
16 believed was rational, courageous and the only possible one. I was not
17 given an answer, saying that the line that we were using was insecure.
18 Slobodan told me that I need not know the details, just the decision and
19 act accordingly."
20 Mr. Kostic, my question to you is: What did happen that
21 Mr. Milosevic changed his mind?
22 A. Who said that, that he changed his behind?
23 Q. I just read to you what Mr. Bulatovic said, that Mr. Milosevic
24 suddenly called him and had changed his mind, and my question to you is:
25 Why did he change his mind? Why did he not stick to the agreement of the
1 4th October that was confirmed on the 14th of October according to
2 Carrington and according to Mr. Bulatovic?
3 A. Madam, I repeat once again, there are many things that are
4 incorrect in Momir Bulatovic's book "The Rules of Silence." He states
5 that The Hague document was accepted by the Assembly of Montenegro. This
6 is incorrect, and I deny this in my critique of his book.
7 Don't expect me to assist you by testifying about a telephone
8 conversation between Mr. Bulatovic and Mr. President Milosevic. I have to
9 tell you that I have great reservations about everything Mr. Bulatovic
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Are you aware of any event, anything that might
12 have happened that would explain the change of position on the part of
13 Mr. Milosevic?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm really not aware of any event
15 that might have changed his mind. When we met at Batajnica on the morning
16 of the 18th to fly to The Hague, Mr. Milosevic asked me what the position
17 taken by the Assembly of Montenegro had been. I couldn't tell him because
18 I had left the session early so that the Presidency take up a standpoint.
19 He then told me --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
22 Q. Mr. Kostic, what --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: I see it's time. We have to stop, and we will
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just could I please tender this
1 so that it is marked for identification, as we did with other passages of
2 Mr. Bulatovic's book?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
4 JUDGE KWON: How about together 944. The earlier passages which
5 were marked for identification.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, 1 to 14, the English and the B/C/S.
7 Thank you.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. They're all marked for identification, yes.
9 We will adjourn until tomorrow, 9.00 a.m.
10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.,
11 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day
12 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.