1 Friday, 23 January 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Just before you commence,
6 Ms. Somers, I would just draw attention to two decisions of the Chamber
7 which were filed last evening, copies of which I believe have been
8 distributed to counsel this morning, concerning the 92 bis application and
9 the Defence objections to the Prosecution's opening statement.
10 Now, Ms. Somers.
11 MS. SOMERS: Good morning, and thank you very much, Your Honours.
12 I would like to call the Chamber's attention to the fact that I'm informed
13 that our Sanction function is not operative at this moment. So there may
14 be some difficulties in the visual presentation with respect to a video.
15 We will see if there's any improvement during the course of the sessions.
16 If not, then we would attempt to use an original, and then request the
17 Chamber's leave to put in an appropriate copy, of course, providing to the
18 Defence as well. Otherwise, there is -- there are physical copies of
19 things available. We regret this. I think the change of courtrooms and
20 the updating of a system last weekend, updating in inverted commas, has
21 caused us a little grief, and I apologise for any inconvenience to the
23 The Prosecution is still in the course of examining in chief
24 Mr. Nikola Samardzic.
25 JUDGE PARKER: If Mr. Samardzic could be brought into the
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Please be seated, Mr. Samardzic, and good morning
4 to you. If I could remind you that you are still subject to the
5 affirmation you gave at the commencement of your evidence.
6 Ms. Somers.
7 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
8 WITNESS: NIKOLA SAMARDZIC [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Examined by Ms. Somers: [Continued]
11 Q. Good morning, Mr. Samardzic.
12 A. Good morning.
13 Q. When we left off, just to take you back - it's been a few days -
14 we were discussing, and you had just indicated in response to my question
15 the distance between Trebinje and Dubrovnik, and you had indicated 24
16 kilometres. There had been a discussion before that about a person named
17 Vucurevic, and I would like to ask you if you could explain something you
18 said in response to my question. I had asked: "Are you aware of any
19 particular attitude that Mr. Vucurevic held toward Dubrovnik, and
20 particularly during the time of this conflict?" Part of your response, a
21 part of your response, was: "He said he was the tourism person and would
22 run tourism the way he saw fit and when he saw fit."
23 I wonder, please: Are you able to explain what you understood the
24 meaning of this to be, the relationship of Mr. Vucurevic to tourism, and
25 how he could run it as he saw fit, when he saw fit?
1 A. That was in fact quite a savage threat, that Dubrovnik would be
2 demolished. He knew that Dubrovnik was a tourist centre in the southern
3 part of the Adriatic Coast, and now that Dubrovnik was attacked and being
4 demolished, his intention was to create a new form of tourism. It was
5 well known that he had said: "I'm going to build a new old Dubrovnik,"
6 meaning that he was going to destroy the old one and build a new one. So
7 he had made these kind of jokes and jests in order to demean Dubrovnik and
8 turn it into something that was supposed to be the subject of ridicule.
9 So these are kind of peasant jokes that maybe common people saw as
10 humorous. However, this kind of humour was built on crime, on the
11 destruction of a town, and even deaths of people. So if you target
12 hotels, there's a risk of killing people there. And therefore, Vucurevic
13 is greatly responsible for the events that had taken place in and around
14 Dubrovnik at the time.
15 Q. Are you aware of any name or title he may have used about himself
16 in relation to Dubrovnik and tourism?
17 A. He used to call himself the minister of tourism of Dubrovnik, so
18 that was another of his jokes. That was actually partly true, because
19 through his activities, he brought a lot of evil and bad things for the
20 tourism of Dubrovnik, because there were not too many tourists coming at
21 the time there. His title was the president of the town of Trebinje,
22 while he was just a common truck driver. However, he gained popularity in
23 Trebinje and its environs due to his ultranationalist attitudes and his
24 hatred towards the Croats and the Muslims. This has elevated him to a
25 position that he had held, that is, the mayor, and he became influential
1 among the people advocating the aggression on Dubrovnik.
2 Q. Are you familiar, Mr. Samardzic, with a formation, a military
3 formation, entitled "the Trebinje Brigade"?
4 A. I personally never saw this brigade, but I did hear about it very
5 much in Boka Kotorska, that this brigade did exist and took part in the
6 battles around Dubrovnik. It was well known that it took part in the
7 looting and demolishing. It was composed of people from Herzegovina, not
8 only from Trebinje but from other places, like Bileca and other places.
9 Everyone they managed to mobilise joined this brigade, and this brigade
10 was very, very active.
11 Q. If you know, if you know, are you able to tell us where the
12 headquarters of the 2nd Operational Group that you referred to with
13 respect to the Dubrovnik conflict, if you know where the headquarters
14 were, if you can tell us?
15 A. I cannot say exactly where the headquarters was situated during
16 the Dubrovnik operation, because, as far as I know, it changed places. At
17 one time it was in Trebinje, and then was relocated around the theatre of
18 battle, as was requested. So I couldn't know exactly where the command of
19 the 2nd Operational Group was. But as I said last time, I had means of
20 getting in touch, through Pavle Bulatovic, the minister of foreign
21 affairs. However, the exact location was never disclosed. I heard that
22 it was Trebinje and some other places near Dubrovnik, such as Kumbor and
23 other places. But I cannot say surely, because nobody had ever told me
24 exactly the location, because I was not part of the military, so they
25 didn't tell me where the command of the 2nd Operational Group was located.
1 Q. I'm sorry. You mentioned Pavle Bulatovic, and it said minister of
2 foreign affairs. Is that what you meant, Pavle Bulatovic was minister
3 of ...
4 A. No. This is a slip of the tongue. Pavle Bulatovic was the
5 minister of the interior.
6 Q. Thank you very much.
7 A. The late Pavle Bulatovic.
8 Q. Thank you, Mr. Samardzic. Mr. Samardzic, just for a point of
9 clarification: You referred to the term "Herzegovina." Would you be
10 able, very briefly, to describe what area you are referring to when you
11 say "Herzegovina," in connection with the comment about the headquarters
12 of the 2nd Operational Group? What is Herzegovina?
13 A. Herzegovina is part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
14 In fact, that is the south-western part of the former Yugoslav Republic of
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina. It stretches between the River Neretva, up to the
16 Montenegrin border. That is the width of this area. And from the south
17 to the north, it ran along the Croatian border, which means very close to
18 Dubrovnik, up to the River Sutjeska and the place called Cemar. Now, this
19 is the area that is commonly referred to as Herzegovina, and the places
20 there are Gacko, Bileca, Trebinje, Nevesinje.
21 Q. Can you tell us whether or not Trebinje was included in
23 A. Yes, it was. Trebinje is in Herzegovina, and this is the second
24 largest town in Herzegovina after Mostar. However, we should add that
25 part of Montenegro used to be part of Herzegovina. However, after the
1 liberation from the Turkish occupation in 1878, this part of Herzegovina
2 became part of Montenegro. So this particular area is now in Montenegro,
3 located to the east from Trebinje and Gacko.
4 Q. Mr. Samardzic, as you were minister of foreign affairs on the 8th
5 of October, 1991, I wanted to take a very brief couple of moments to ask
6 you, by recalling a document which is already in evidence - we have copies
7 for the Chamber. It is from P20, tab 6.
8 MS. SOMERS: There are sufficient copies for counsel as well. I
9 believe we'll have to use the ELMO because of Sanction. I'm so sorry.
10 Q. Mr. Samardzic, if you could take a look at the document in front
11 of you. It is labelled -- it is from the Assembly of the Republic of
12 Montenegro of Titograd, October 8, 1991, and it is signed by a person, or
13 purports to be signed by a person named Dr. Risto Vukcevic. Do you know
14 such a person?
15 A. Yes, I do.
16 Q. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
17 A. Mr. Risto Vukcevic was the president of the parliament of
18 Montenegro. Unfortunately, he died. But at the time, he was the speaker
19 of the Montenegrin parliament.
20 Q. And did you know of his functions during the course -- on the 8th
21 of October, 1991? Are you aware of his relationship to this document?
22 Did you have any particular role to play in either the drafting or
23 implementation of this document, called "Initiative"?
24 A. In his capacity of the president of the Montenegrin parliament, he
25 signed this document, but it was me who drafted the document. These were
1 attempts, in that difficult situation when the war had already broken out,
2 to find a solution in order to put an end to the war. And we appealed to
3 the president of the Croatian parliament, Mr. Domljan, to start
4 negotiations, claiming that we in Montenegro played no parts in the
5 aggression on Croatia, although we did, in fact, have, because our boys
6 were very much engaged and involved in the army. But we, as the
7 government, wanted to distance ourselves on the 7th October 1991 from the
8 whole affair and to initiate a procedure in order to bring peace.
9 In that sense, I wrote this initiative, which was accepted by both
10 Miro and Momir, and signed by Risto Vukcevic. I established direct
11 telephone line with the Croats, because other telephone lines were
12 severed. I had to buy a special telephone in Italy and to have a beacon
13 on a hill, so via Italy, I was able to converse with Zagreb. That was how
14 we established this communication. And it resulted in many people from
15 the counter-intelligence service being surprised, because they knew that
16 we were communicating with someone, but they couldn't find out in what
18 This was no intelligence or spy operation. We were simply trying
19 to establish contacts with Croatia in order to conduct at least some kind
20 of negotiations with them.
21 After that, an initiative was launched, and the response came from
22 Croatia, which was favourable. We were invited to come to Zagreb to see
23 Mr. Domljan and to have these negotiations with him. However, at the last
24 minute, Momir Bulatovic stopped this initiative and I didn't go there.
25 Q. Mr. Samardzic, can I just ask you to help us possibly correct
1 something in the record. On page 7, line 9, you said: "I wrote this
2 initiative, which was accepted by both --" and the record says Miro,
3 M-i-r-o, and Momir. Did you mean Miro, M-i-r-o, or another name?
4 A. I drafted this document and took it to them to show it to them.
5 They made no objections to it, and they basically saw it as something that
6 is -- that doesn't have too many prospects for success. Therefore, they
7 were not either against this, but they were not also very enthusiastic
8 about it, because the war was going on. Risto and I, however, counted
9 that something would come out of that, and the only correction that I see
10 here, on page 2 in the statement of reasons, when I explained in my letter
11 that Montenegro would not allow or would not be good to allow to establish
12 a military base in Boka Kotorska, even if that was the friendly army of
13 Croatia. My version was a brotherly army from Croatia. That was the only
14 change, because I was warned that we cannot be brothers because we were at
15 war. Otherwise, everything remained as it is, and this version was sent
16 to Zagreb.
17 Q. Thank you. Just to clarify again: When you say "Miro and Momir,"
18 whom do you refer to? Could we have their correct, full names.
19 A. I will repeat: Momir Bulatovic, he was the first one to whom I
20 took the document, and I showed it to Milo Djukanovic, who was the Prime
22 Q. Thank you very much. That was -- I just wanted to make sure that
23 we understood each other.
24 Just a couple of questions about this document. Paragraph 1, I
25 will refer to the English, if you're comfortable, at least for purposes of
1 this document. Taking into consideration the decision -- excuse me. I'll
2 back up. Initiative for the determination of the sea and land border
3 between the Republic of Montenegro and the Republic of Croatia, by
5 Now, the subject matter of this document, then, is -- relates to
6 borders or issues that concern borders; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And it is a direct communication from Montenegro to Croatia, is
9 that correct, without Belgrade?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. It's fine to answer in your native language, sir. I just wanted
12 to have you read it, if you didn't mind.
13 A. The beginning of the initiative shows, in my opinion, the
14 launching of this initiative, shows determination on the part of the
15 Republic of Croatia to become an independent state. The Assembly of
16 Montenegro decided that, in addition to opening up a number of state
17 issues between the two states, would also entail the changing of
18 present-day borders between Croatia and Montenegro. It is by saying this
19 that the parliament of Montenegro recognises the independence of the
20 Republic of Croatia, which up to that point, no one had recognised, with
21 the possible exception of Slovenia. The Montenegrin parliament states
22 clearly: We hereby recognise the independence of the Republic of Croatia
23 and its sovereignty.
24 This is a contradiction. We are at war. We are fighting each
25 other, yet the parliament says that we recognise Croatia's independence.
1 In addition to this statement, also the issue of the sea border is being
2 raised, which was necessary at the time. There had been one state, and
3 now there was secession, separation. Therefore, both sea and land borders
4 had to be determined. The land border existed, the old administrative
5 border, where the Prevlaka area belonged to Croatia, but the sea border
6 remained to be determined, because there had been no border up to that
7 point between Croatia and Montenegro. The sea was shared.
8 What this initiative makes clear is that Croatia and Montenegro
9 must start negotiations to determine the exact border of the internal
10 waters in the Boka Kotorska Bay and in the Epi continental belt
11 surrounding Boka Kotorska Bay at the open sea. I think this was in full
12 compliance with international law, and Croatia did indeed agree to
13 negotiate with us on these issues. This, however, was abruptly
14 interrupted, probably pursuant to orders from Belgrade, just several days
15 later, and we could not follow up with this.
16 Q. Mr. Samardzic, was it contemplated, or does this document that you
17 participated in drafting contemplate direct, continued contact between
18 Montenegro and Croatia over matters such as borders?
19 A. This document clearly shows that we had direct contact with
20 Croatia in order to resolve these issues. These issues have not been
21 fully resolved to this very day, ten years later. The sea border has
22 still not been determined in the Boka Bay, between Croatia and Montenegro.
23 There has been a great success, though, because it was officially
24 recognised that the Prevlaka area belonged to Croatia.
25 As for the sea border, it still remains to be determined by a
1 special commission. Back then, when this document was written, to say
2 that Prevlaka belonged to Croatia was a mark of treason for most of the
3 printed media in Boka and in Montenegro. Whoever said that Prevlaka
4 belonged to Croatia was either considered as mad or as a traitor.
5 I remember my own experience. There was a journalist who wrote
6 that I was totally out of my mind if I was saying that Prevlaka was
7 Croatian, to begin with, and then I wanted to negotiate.
8 My intention was to get Prevlaka, the area, by negotiations,
9 peacefully. I did not want to conquer it by waging war on the Croats. I
10 wanted to negotiate over Prevlaka, and this for many people meant that I
11 was mad, that I was not in my right state of mind. Because their strategy
12 was that they should have something that wasn't theirs. It's been quite
13 long since, and in the meantime, all these clever people have finally
14 ended up recognising that Prevlaka belonged to Croatia.
15 Q. Mr. Samardzic, the very last paragraph of the initiative, above
16 the sign-off, as it were, by Dr. Vukcevic, establishes a contact person
17 for the Croatian parliament to work through on behalf of the Montenegrin
18 side. And who is established as that contact person for continued
19 contacts over territorial issues and other issues that are dealt with in
20 this document? It is at paragraph 4.
21 A. This last paragraph, or item 4, it says that negotiations should
22 continue, that we should continue negotiations with Croatia, and I was
23 appointed as the person who should run these negotiations. There was also
24 Asim Dizdarevic, in addition to myself. He was the vice-president of the
25 Montenegrin Assembly. And another person whom I cannot remember at the
1 moment. On the Croatian side, there were Hrvoje Kacic, Zarko Domljan.
2 When I look more closely at this document, because I have
3 forgotten all about it in the meantime, they expected us to come to Zagreb
4 first, and that was the original agreement. On the 25th of October, we
5 were supposed to show up in Zagreb and start negotiations on Prevlaka and
6 other issues that remained to be resolved. But then we couldn't go, and
7 that's what was eventually said.
8 In this difficult situation, when Dubrovnik was being fired on and
9 demolished, we wanted to have negotiations, but getting Prevlaka was not
10 our sole aim. We wanted to put an end to the war. However, we were in no
11 position to order General Strugar to stop fighting and to stop the war.
12 We were looking for ways to have negotiations that would eventually force
13 the army to cease hostilities. The whole initiative was about this,
14 re-establishing peace, although the very first thing that was said during
15 those negotiations were all about Prevlaka. We were all perfectly aware
16 that Prevlaka was not the crux of the matter, although it seemed foremost
17 in the media and in people's stories. We knew that the most important
18 thing was that Dubrovnik was being demolished, and this had to be stopped.
19 Everyone did whatever they could. Some did more and some did less
20 to stop this. However, Montenegro's leadership, especially those of us
21 who tried to do something about it, and I was not the only one, were
22 facing a very delicate situation. We were out to achieve something at a
23 time when weapons were firing. And as we say in Montenegro, when heads
24 are falling, it's difficult to achieve anything else.
25 Q. Mr. Samardzic, was this initiative, to your knowledge,
1 communicated to the Croatian parliament? Did they in fact acknowledge
2 receipt of it? Do you know?
3 A. Of course I know receipt and answer, and I have this on me right
4 now as we speak. They received everything. They were glad to receive
5 that. Their answer was very favourable, and they agreed to talk to us,
6 very much so.
7 Q. Mr. Samardzic, just to clarify, and I don't have a map up now, but
8 perhaps if you could give us a description of where Prevlaka is located,
9 just points of orientation, if it's not too difficult to do verbally.
10 A. It shouldn't be too difficult. Prevlaka is a narrow strip of
11 land, a narrow strip, which is at the mouth of the Boka Bay. It's long,
12 but it's small, so you can reach the open sea from inside the bay. That's
13 precisely why it's called Prevlaka, an isthmus. It's several kilometres
14 long and closes off, in a manner of speaking, the Boka Bay. This belongs
15 to the Konavle people, people from the Konavle area. It belongs to
17 However, if we go back in history, we see that the
18 Austro-Hungarian army set up camp there a long time ago, so that none of
19 the farmers who actually owned the land never dared bring up the issue.
20 It is barren ground. If you go from Prevlaka towards Konavle, the ground
21 becomes fertile. And this was the situation in the old Yugoslavia. The
22 situation was the same in Tito's Yugoslavia, and civilians had no right to
23 be there at all. But everyone in Herceg-Novi reckons that this was
24 Montenegrin territory and everyone was surprised when Croats started
25 claiming that Prevlaka belonged to Croatia. It was that far from
1 everyone's minds during Tito's Yugoslavia that no one even considered the
2 question, and this only cropped up when the new republics emerged. Of
3 course, at the time, Prevlaka became ever more important, because it was
4 considered an important strategic location at the mouth of the Boka Bay.
5 In the Balkan mindset this became an issue of enormous importance.
6 Montenegro and Serbia believed that the entrance to the Boka Bay should
7 not belong to any other state but Montenegro or Serbia.
8 If you look at the River Schelde between Belgium and the
9 Netherlands, on the one hand you have the Belgian ship and on the other
10 hand the Dutch ship, and no one really cares which ship is Dutch and which
11 ship is Belgian. However, we did have a problem with this, unfortunately,
12 I regret to say. Negotiations got off the ground, people started
13 insulting each other after that. There was talk of war over Prevlaka.
14 Prevlaka remained a problem for a long time, and I even dare say it is
15 still a problem today.
16 Q. Mr. Samardzic, you have indicated that it appears that Prevlaka
17 took on an issue of great importance. Can I ask you to clarify whether or
18 not, at the meeting of the government that you described, where General
19 Strugar was in attendance, on or about the 1st of October, 1991, was the
20 issue of Prevlaka ever raised at that particular meeting as a basis for
21 conflict? At that meeting.
22 A. It may have been the case, but I didn't hear anything like that.
23 I came late to the meeting, because I had seen off Mr. Wejnaendts. I
24 wasn't aware that anyone said anything about Prevlaka that particular
25 evening. They talked about defending the country, about liberating the
1 area, about routing the Croats. All in all, that evening I heard nothing
2 that -- said about Prevlaka. There were quite a number of people there;
3 however, the meeting focussed on other things on the 1st of October. It
4 certainly wasn't on Prevlaka. On the 3rd or 4th of October, yes, Prevlaka
5 was back into focus, when everyone realised that there were no Ustasha
6 entering Boka, but rather we were invading Croatia. It was then that
7 people started saying, yes, indeed, it's all about Prevlaka, we want to
8 liberate Prevlaka, because the Croats had taken it from us. The first
9 evening was more about defending, but certainly also about liberating the
10 area. That's precisely what was said. And about shattering the Croatian
11 invasion, the Croat invaders who were allegedly trying to conquer Boka
13 Later on, people started talking about liberating this area, about
14 establishing another Dubrovnik Republic, although in my first statement
15 dated the 2nd of October, 2002, I said that Montenegro's government did
16 not meddle with establishing any sort of second Dubrovnik Republic. It
17 was the national party of Montenegro. They were dreaming about
18 establishing some sort of second Dubrovnik Republic, and they were totally
19 involved with this. Novak Kilibarda, the president of the national party,
20 Novak Kilibarda, was even talking about the gross national product for
21 Dubrovnik Republic, once he is there.
22 Q. Then if -- I just want to make sure I understand you correctly.
23 Then when you heard General Strugar speak at that meeting, are you saying
24 he did not mention Prevlaka?
25 A. Today I can't remember that he said anything about that that
1 evening. He may have mentioned it, but his main point was that we have to
2 defend our country from 30.000 invading Ustashe and that we needed to
3 defeat them at a minimum cost. He said this would all be dealt with
4 swiftly. He said this in his military way. He was talking very
5 peacefully, and he provided the lead for everyone else at the meeting.
6 Momir Bulatovic was his most fervent supporter, but all the others who
7 were there, including myself, who were present, acknowledged that we
8 needed to defend. The main point raised at the meeting was that
9 Montenegro was under attack and that it had to be defended, that it had
10 for defend itself. All the other issues concerning Prevlaka, conquering
11 territory, this was all being said over the following days, but that first
12 evening, the talk was of the defence, of the necessity to defend
13 ourselves, and that we wouldn't allow the Ustasha to walk over us and just
14 lie down and die. Bozo Babic reminded us of what Ustashe had done during
15 World War II, and said that this should never be allowed to happen again.
16 That's what was being said and that was the general atmosphere on the 1st
17 of October, 1991, late in the evening.
18 And this was the impression I had when I left the meeting and
19 drove back home to Kotor. It was clear, to my mind, at least, as soon as
20 I switched on my TV set, that there had been no invasion by any Ustasha.
21 I had cable TV also, and I could watch foreign television programmes,
22 international television programmes. I realised immediately that nothing
23 like that was possible and that no Ustashe were entering Montenegro, but
24 rather that it was the other way around, that our units were entering
1 Q. Moving on, Mr. Samardzic, I'd like to ask you -- I'm so sorry.
2 Moving on, I'd like to ask you if as a member of the cabinet, as a
3 minister, particularly minister of foreign affairs, were you aware of any
4 awareness at the highest levels of power in Montenegro at the time, how
5 the conflict was affecting the Old Town of Dubrovnik? And by highest
6 levels of power, I would include cabinet level persons, assembly-level
7 persons, and military officials. By military, I would include TO or any
8 other formations.
9 A. My impression was that, from the 1st of October, their idea was
10 that they would take Dubrovnik and manage to avoid great losses or
11 destruction. They thought this would go smoothly. Especially the top
12 brass believed there would be no great destruction but that several days
13 later we would be able to enjoy our coffee peacefully on the main street
14 in Dubrovnik, as we had before. The fierce -- or the resistance that the
15 Croats were putting up was growing. The enthusiasm on our side was
16 dampening. Two weeks later, on the 17th of October, when
17 Lord Carrington's plan was brought to the assembly to be speedily
18 translated and the assembly was to continue throughout the night, the
19 enthusiasm to liberate Dubrovnik was falling off, was decreasing, because
20 it was clear that Dubrovnik was defending itself. And then people started
21 talking about the need to demolish or to spare Dubrovnik. You can imagine
22 the stories being told by extremists who were sitting in that parliament,
23 who advocated the alleged need to invade Karlobag and Virovitica and to
24 establish Greater Serbia. There were others yet who claimed that
25 Montenegro should be independent, should become independent and that what
1 was being done against Dubrovnik was a disgrace. You can imagine what the
2 discussions were like there and the stories that people said.
3 My own speech lasted for over an hour and a half, following which
4 I was insulted and even hit by some people who had invaded the parliament.
5 Those were not deputies; those were nationalists from elsewhere.
6 Q. May I ask you, though, going back to --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
8 MS. SOMERS:
9 Q. Going back to my more focussed question: Was there an awareness
10 of what was happening in the area of conflict to the Old Town of
11 Dubrovnik, the historical Old Town?
12 A. What happened in Dubrovnik could best be conveyed by those who
13 came back from the front. People often came back. I had never seen
14 fighting on that scale, but many of those who had came back to Boka
15 Kotorska. You could see that. They had with them things that they had
16 probably looted and they passed through Boka Kotorska and Ucin [phoen].
17 They were talking very openly about what was being done. So people were
18 quite well aware of what was going on, even without official reports. The
19 official reports on Titograd TV and radio were mostly about our units
20 gloriously shattering the Ustasha forces and liberating new areas. But
21 certainly there were no reports of looting. The reports focussed on our
22 forces liberating more and more ground, that they were making great
23 progress, and that losses were low.
24 Another thing was that people in Boka Kotorska and in the more
25 developed parts of Montenegro had cable TV, so they could watch for
1 themselves. They could watch Croatian TV, they could watch CNN, SkyNews,
2 BBC, the Italian channels, Rete Uno and Rete Due, whose reporters had
3 managed to sneak behind the lines, sneak onto the front and record what
4 was going on there. Therefore, the people were quite well informed about
5 what was going on, although the military administrators did their best to
6 prevent news from spreading around the world. However, the disgrace soon
7 became well known. I remember clearly that a meeting was once scheduled,
8 a meeting of ambassadors in Belgrade, ambassadors from western countries.
9 They arrived in Boka Kotorska with the intention of visiting the front
10 line. I was supposed to come with them, but I didn't go, because I heard
11 that Admiral Jokic would receive them and that he would not allow them as
12 far as the front line. They would just be taken around by boat from Tivat
13 to Herceg-Novi, to Budve and to other places which I now cannot remember.
14 Dr. Kacic, who was also present, put this in no uncertain terms. On the
15 one hand, the military allowed Anfilohije, the priest, to walk around the
16 front line for days on end and spill hatred of Muslims and Croats, whereas
17 foreign ambassadors were not allowed to go to the front and see for
18 themselves what was happening, which is also a great shame and a great
19 disgrace to the JNA. The priest Anfilohije, was a sworn enemy of the
20 liberating army in World War II. He is the most important figure in the
21 Orthodox Church in Montenegro, and he celebrated the cooperation between
22 Drazo Mihajlovic, the Chetniks, and the German forces in World War II.
23 Drazo Mihajlovic for them was a saint.
24 Q. In the interests of time, I wonder if I can ask you, please: Had
25 you personally, or in your capacity as a government person, been made
1 aware of shelling or damage on the Old Town, Stari Grad, in Dubrovnik,
2 during this conflict?
3 A. I as a minister did not find out about the shelling in my capacity
4 as member of government, but I saw on TV, even Montenegrin TV was showing
5 this, Dubrovnik being shelled. But there was smoke rising, and the
6 allegation was that people in Dubrovnik had been burning car tyres because
7 they wanted to show the international community that people from Dubrovnik
8 were attacking themselves. The smoke that was rising from the town
9 itself, they said, came from car tyres that had been set fire to, and they
10 wanted to accuse us in the face of the international community of having
11 attacked the town. But when I watched other TV stations, it was clear
12 from the images that there was an attack under way, that those were no car
13 tyres being set alight, but rather that historical monuments were
14 specifically targeted to cause damage.
15 So in answer to your question, yes, I was informed, and I even
16 made video-recordings of this. I brought the tapes to Momir Bulatovic,
17 showed him what was going on, and asked him what he believed this was.
18 Because for a while even he was saying: They're just burning car tyres.
19 And I said: Well, these are no car tyres being burnt. Look what's going
21 Q. Was the military reporting to the political leadership in
22 Montenegro about what was happening in Dubrovnik, and particularly with
23 relation to the Old Town? If you know.
24 A. The military did not have much respect or consideration for us
25 cabinet ministers. They had their so-called inner collegium [phoen], and
1 they held meetings, and this sometimes took place in the office of Momir
2 Bulatovic or Milo Djukanovic. So this inner cabinet composed of a few
3 generals took place, but I don't think that all the generals took part in
4 these meetings. Some were directly involved, some were just indirectly
5 informed. Therefore, the government learned about the true situation only
6 after it had all been over. I'm referring to the government as a whole.
7 However, whether there were rumours spreading around that this or that
8 happened, yes, there were these kind of rumours and there were one-on-one
9 exchange of information of the looting part, for the airport, and other
10 things. But this was not officially mentioned at the meeting, because
11 decisions were made on the spot among ministers.
12 We were aware of what was going on, but no true and genuine
13 political position was taken on these issues.
14 Q. Was any action taken by the leadership in Montenegro to stop the
15 attacks on the Old Town?
16 A. As far as I know, there was no action in that respect, except that
17 we tried, through negotiations with Croatia, to reach at least some kind
18 of peace and to have the army involved, included in that, in order to stop
19 further conflicts. I don't know how this all took place. There were two
20 or three ceasefires. The negotiations were in progress, but they were
21 suspended, primarily because of the army. Because these ceasefires could
22 not have been effected had not the Yugoslav army conceded to that, and it
23 agreed under the enormous pressure of the international community, and of
24 course they realised that there was no prospect of capturing Dubrovnik so
25 easily and without great sacrifice, other than by trying to intensify the
1 attacks and use more heavy artillery in order to demolish the city and the
2 walls completely. So one of these ceasefires stipulated that the army
3 should withdraw to Cilipi and therefore afford the citizens of Dubrovnik
4 at least some kind of normal life. I don't remember the exact date. This
5 ceasefire was in place for a certain period of time. The citizens of
6 Cavtat were allowed to go to Dubrovnik. Cavtat was under occupation, but
7 it was not destroyed, so the army allowed them to go to Dubrovnik. This
8 kind of facilities were provided by the army in periods of time, but
9 during the battle, they really caused tremendous damage and destruction.
10 In my view, the arrival of Hrvoje Kacic for negotiations in
11 Titograd on the 24th of October, 1991, who came from Zagreb with
12 Mr. Turko, who was the Croatian MP, he landed in Titograd and he requested
13 that the army withdraw at the distance of 16 kilometres from the Dubrovnik
14 walls. Only myself and Risto Vukcevic received him, but everybody heard
15 what he had to say, and eventually his request was accepted. So
16 therefore, for a certain period of time, the army accepted and agreed to
17 what Kacic requested for them to withdraw 16 kilometres from the walls.
18 That did not mean that the army abandoned Konavle, just allowed, to a
19 certain extent, for people of the town to have a normal life, because they
20 did not have water supply, electricity supply, food. So they allowed for
21 this period in which the army accommodated their defenders, so to say, and
22 accepted this ceasefire. But I think that after the 16th [As interpreted]
23 of December, it was -- the fighting was resumed.
24 In any case, there were --
25 Q. Mr. Samardzic, I'm sorry to interrupt you. It says 16th of
1 December. You're giving a date. Is that 16th? Is that what you said?
2 A. I said the 6th of December, because on that day there was a huge
4 Q. Of what? What was shelled on the 6th of December?
5 A. On the 6th of December, the centre of the town was shelled from
6 all sides, and the major damage was caused exactly on that date. Two or
7 three days before or after - I don't remember exactly - there was a truce,
8 and after this truce, the shelling was resumed very intensely.
9 Q. Thank you. A quick question. When you say "centre," are you
10 referring to the Old Town?
11 A. Yes, the Old Town, inside the town walls, and that is the centre
12 of Dubrovnik. The Stradun is not the only centre of the town. That
13 includes everything within the town walls and surrounded by the town
14 walls. That's the centre of the town.
15 Q. Mr. Samardzic, in the twentieth century, I just wanted to ask you
16 if you are aware of whether or not damage had occurred during this period
17 of modern warfare, was there bombing or shelling damage that you can
18 recall to the Old Town in the course of two world wars? If you know. The
19 Old Town of Dubrovnik. Are you aware of any campaign that resulted in
20 bombing or shelling the Old Town of Dubrovnik in the course of modern
21 warfare, the twentieth century, other than what you've described here?
22 A. No. During the twentieth century, not even during the 14th
23 century, there was never any incident of Dubrovnik being shelled or
24 bombed. Very powerful armies of the world arrived to the walls of
25 Dubrovnik, but that's where they stopped. That was a rule. And I can say
1 that in 1944, when the allied forces captured Italy and when the American
2 and British airplanes flew over the Adriatic in order to bomb the
3 oilfields in Romania controlled by the Germans, they passed over
4 Dubrovnik, which served as a benchmark, because they didn't have radars.
5 A colonel of the Yugoslav Peoples Liberation Army forced our General Peko
6 Dapcevic to send a dispatch to General Aleksandar, the commander of the
7 Allied troops in Italy, saying: Please don't let your aircraft fly over
8 Dubrovnik, because accidentally a bomb may drop on the town. Please have
9 your aircraft flying to the south or to the north of Dubrovnik, but never
10 over Dubrovnik, because it can or may be damaged.
11 This is just a comparison, because -- a comparison between the way
12 in which Tito's Partizans waged the war and between the soldiers of
13 Strugar. All armies in the past did their best and refused to wage war
14 and to target and to bomb the city of Dubrovnik. This was simply
15 impossible for anyone to attack and demolish Dubrovnik.
16 In the 1800s, Dubrovnik was captured by Napoleon, but without a
17 fight. The Russian fleet of Admiral Senjanin came to attack Dubrovnik but
18 they lowered their guns and gave up on the attack. There was not a single
19 shell or bullet fired at Dubrovnik. That's Dubrovnik's history, and that
20 indicates the level of the human civilisation, the level of respect
21 afforded to Dubrovnik. What we did is the greatest shame that was done in
23 Q. Can I ask you, please, if you know a person named Slavko Perovic
24 in Montenegro?
25 A. Yes. He's the president of the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro.
1 Q. Do you know what his attitude was toward the conflict in Dubrovnik
2 at the time?
3 A. I do. He was very much opposed to the attacks launched by
4 Montenegro and the Yugoslav army on Dubrovnik. He and his whole party
5 condemned this. They tried whatever was possible to do to prevent this.
6 But the government and the authorities accused them of being spies and
7 traitors and all kinds of things. But during that period, they really
8 showed that they were honest people, which does not mean that in the later
9 period they reversed their views to a certain extent. However, during the
10 war against Dubrovnik, they really did credit to their party. At the
11 time --
12 Q. Can I ask you, please: Are you aware of any protest rallies or
13 gatherings in the area of Cetinje that may have occurred during the
14 conflict? And if so, was there any participation by Mr. Perovic?
15 A. There were rallies, demonstrations, protests against war and
16 against the attack on Dubrovnik in several places around Montenegro,
17 particularly in the old capital of Cetinje, which is the most proud town
18 in Yugoslavia, -- in Montenegro, enjoying the glory and history. And they
19 held those rallies and demonstrations. Even though Cetinje is high
20 above -- high up on the mountains and covered with snow, but on occasions
21 there were between 15.000 -- 15 and 20.000 people chanting: The fairy is
22 singing from the top, Dubrovnik, please forgive us. And that was -- this
23 was really going to be recorded as a glorious moment of Cetinje for
25 In addition to that, many people deserted the army, because they
1 were just unwilling to fight. For example, Momir Bulatovic was inspecting
2 the units, and he said: Those who don't want to fight for their homeland,
3 let them leave the ranks. And many people did step out of the line. Many
4 never responded to the call-up. The whole company was disbanded, and they
5 sang that this army is not going to shoot at Croatia.
6 Q. Mr. Samardzic, thank you for your very full explanation. I wonder
7 if -- I'd like to try, if we can, to finish before our break, and I note
8 that you made reference to a phrase that you seemed to cite from folklore,
9 perhaps, of Montenegro, of, "Forgive us Dubrovnik." I would ask to please
10 pass around a -- distribute, please, to the Chamber and to Defence, a
11 document which also bears that phrase. If it were also possible to
12 request the usher to put it on the ELMO. It may be helpful. There's a
13 copy, a copy for Mr. Samardzic as well. Thank you.
14 Mr. Samardzic, I would ask first if you know of a person whose
15 name appears at the bottom of what appears to be an article, a Branko
16 Vojicic, the very last page of the article. Do you know of this person?
17 A. [In English] Yeah.
18 Q. Who is it?
19 A. [Interpretation] He's a journalist with the magazine Monitor. I
20 think he's now editor in chief of Monitor. He is a very acute journalist,
21 and unlike other journalists, he turned out to be an honest person and
22 someone who instantly took a position against the aggression on Dubrovnik.
23 And he condemned this. He wrote articles saying how Montenegro should
24 behave in those difficult times. I really liked his style. However, he
25 is very much criticised by the authorities.
1 Q. Can I ask you this, please: You said Monitor. Is that a
2 publication or a newspaper out of Montenegro? Just a yes or no would be
3 helpful, so we could move along.
4 A. Yes, that's the magazine, a weekly paper.
5 Q. The date on this particular article refers to 25 June 2000. And
6 I'm going to ask you: Are you familiar with what is discussed in this
7 article, which is a meeting which took place between President Stipe Mesic
8 of Croatia and Milo Djukanovic, on 25 June 2000, or thereabouts? Are you
9 familiar with the content and the facts of the meeting?
10 A. Since I live in Australia, I just followed from afar what took
11 place at this meeting. Otherwise, I don't know anything else. I do know
12 the participants. I had known Mr. Bulatovic and President Mesic, and I
13 was happy to see them meeting. And this article was written, the
14 headline "Forgive us Dubrovnik," and that was said by Milo Djukanovic.
15 That was a major event, not only for Montenegro but for Croatia as well.
16 After all, the suffering, the war, it is good that we have this kind of
17 reconciliation, and I think that it is very good that this journalist
18 wrote this article. No matter how critical he was of Mr. Djukanovic, he
19 praised what he did in Cavtat, and he believes that this will contribute
20 to establishing completely new relations between Montenegro and Croatia.
21 Q. Mr. Samardzic, in relation to some of the items that came out of
22 the meeting, and also what Mr. Djukanovic had to say, I would turn your
23 attention to the very bottom of the first page of this. And I will simply
24 ask you if this -- if you are aware of this particular aspect of the
25 discussion. In this way, Djukanovic unmasked the whole scenario. He
1 explicitly admitted that the "liberation" of Dubrovnik had not been
2 undertaken because the Ustasha had attacked Montenegro (interpretation of
3 General Strugar and Djukanovic himself at the time), nor for "reasons of
4 humaneness" in order to unblock the military barracks and protect the
5 "threatened Serbs" in Dubrovnik region (according to Branko Kostic and
6 Defence Minister of Montenegro, Babic) nor "because of fascism", and
7 Kadijevic's "war trap" (Momir Bulatovic). But that the war had been waged
8 for Greater Serbia.
9 Does this explanation about no Ustasha attacking Montenegro, is it
10 consistent with your understanding or your belief of what the real state
11 of affairs was at the time of the meeting in October 1991, at which you
12 heard General Strugar speak of an Ustasha attack? And I use the term in
13 inverted commas.
14 A. From these few lines said by President Djukanovic in Cavtat, it is
15 clear that the policy that had been initiated on the 1st of October, 1991
16 had been completely unmasked. We were never attacked by the Ustasha,
17 which Djukanovic states very explicitly. There was no need to liberate
18 Dubrovnik. There was no need to rout any Ustasha, because there were no
19 Ustasha around. There was no need to wage a war for peace, because there
20 was no war with Dubrovnik. There was no war trap, as Kadijevic claimed,
21 that there weren't 30.000 Ustasha around. Milo Djukanovic's admission in
22 Cavtat helped to show clearly the true nature of the criminal policy of
23 the JNA, Serbia and Montenegro towards Dubrovnik at the time.
24 Q. Thank you. Mr. Samardzic, one other point I'd like to ask you
25 about: On the first page, in the middle of the second complete
1 paragraph -- on the first page, in the middle of the second complete
2 paragraph, starting with the sentence, after the word "Cavtat,": "And as
3 concerning the crimes committed under the walls of Dubrovnik, Djukanovic
4 said that the responsibility had to be personalised, that it was the only
5 and the best way to lift the mortgage of national responsibility, which
6 was through history imputed, or at least there was an attempt to do it, to
7 the Croat people, and nowadays there was an attempt to impute it to the
8 Montenegrin people."
9 Having published that, are you aware, looking back from 1991,
10 after the conflict - I'm sorry - after the damage on the Old Town, are you
11 aware of any discipline that may have been imposed on any of the military
12 persons involved in the Dubrovnik campaign?
13 A. No, not that I'm aware of. I don't think a single military
14 official, to the best of my knowledge, was ever called to account for
15 their actions in and around Dubrovnik. There's quite a lot of work to be
16 done there, but it seems that nothing has so far been undertaken. Maybe
17 some people were awarded higher ranks, but I don't think anyone was ever
18 called to account over Dubrovnik.
19 Q. I would ask, briefly, I think because we have to resort to the use
20 of a real video, and it's a very brief one. I'm sorry. I'd ask to have
21 this item moved into evidence, first and foremost.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit P32.
24 MS. SOMERS: If it were possible to present at least the opening
25 part of a video, and to distribute a transcript of this video. If the
1 Chamber would allow, I'd like to try to really conclude within the next
2 few minutes, if that would be possible. If it were possible to ask our
3 colleagues in the audiovisual section to run it. And I'll try to get my
4 points across very quickly.
5 [Videotape played]
6 MS. SOMERS:
7 Q. Can we stop for one minute? Can you just point out, please, who
8 is who in this particular video, just the personalities, who is President
9 Mesic and who is President Djukanovic.
10 A. President Mesic, Stjepan Mesic, is the president of the Republic
11 of Croatia. President Milo Djukanovic was at the time the president of
12 the Republic of Montenegro.
13 Q. Right.
14 A. And now he is the Prime Minister.
15 Q. Right. Who is the person with the beard in this video? The
16 person with the beard. If you could show us who is President Mesic and
17 who is President Djukanovic.
18 A. The one with the beard, that's President Mesic. And the one
19 sitting next to him, the tall one, that's President Djukanovic.
20 Q. And there was a mention of the place Cavtat. Does this meeting --
21 is this the meeting that is ascribed in the "Forgive Us Dubrovnik"
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you. If we could move on.
25 A. Yes. Yes. That's at a hotel.
1 [Videotape played]
2 MS. SOMERS: Stop for one second. I'd just like to turn the
3 Chamber's attention to the -- and I don't believe the interpreters maybe
4 have been given a copy. We're now looking at, on the first page, the
5 third complete paragraph, where Mr. Djukanovic is explaining the purpose
6 of the particular session. Thank you.
7 [Videotape played]
8 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
9 It would certainly be possible to go through the whole video, if
10 the Chamber wishes to do so, but I think perhaps in the interests of time,
11 if it would be permissible to leave -- we will have it submitted
12 correctly. Unfortunately, Sanction has limited us. But if we could ask
13 for both the transcript and the video to be assigned a number, we will
14 then substitute what our original is with a proper copy and provide the
15 entire document, as it were - sorry, the entire video, or a portion that
16 we have in the original, to the Chamber. We'll provide our original,
17 sorry. But I'm terribly sorry about the situation with Sanction this
18 morning; it couldn't be helped. If the Chamber is minded to do so, we
19 would ask that this exhibit be entered into evidence.
20 JUDGE PARKER: The video and the transcript will be received into
22 THE REGISTRAR: The video will be Prosecution Exhibit P33, and the
23 transcript, P33.1.
24 MS. SOMERS: Your Honours, at this time, the Prosecution has no
25 further questions. Thank you for your patience on letting us finish.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Somers. We propose now to
2 adjourn for 20 minutes for a break, and we'll then resume. An opportunity
3 for a little break, Mr. Samardzic.
4 THE WITNESS: Thank you very much.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
7 JUDGE PARKER: The cross-examination should now commence. Yes,
8 Mr. Rodic.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. However,
10 before I start my cross-examination, I would like to point out something
11 very important. When this witness was announced by the OTP, the estimate
12 was that the examination-in-chief would last between two and three hours.
13 In spite of that, the examination-in-chief effectively, questions and
14 answers, lasted for four hours and ten minutes, which is significantly
15 longer in relation to their original estimate.
16 What I wish to point out, in view of the remaining time, and
17 especially in view of the effective session of question and answers, and
18 the large number of questions asked by the OTP, and this witness is
19 equally important for us as for the OTP, I can now immediately inform the
20 Honourable Chamber that I will not be able to finish my cross-examination
21 today, in view of the many open issues and the considerable significance
22 of everything that has been said in this courtroom during this witness's
23 testimony. Of course, I'm aware of the comments that have been made to
24 the Defence team in relation to situations where our cross-examination was
25 longer than the examination-in-chief. However, we do not believe that
1 these general guidelines can always be strictly complied with. Sometimes
2 the OTP believes that they will take up less time questioning a witness
3 than it turns out to be, and sometimes there can be sudden and unexpected
4 situations that arise during a witness's examination.
5 What I wish to say is that this witness is a very material witness
6 to our case, and I don't think I will have enough time today to finish my
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that indication, Mr. Rodic. We do
9 see that the time taken in the course of the evidence in chief of the
10 witness is longer than was anticipated, and we will bear that in mind as
11 you proceed. Perhaps you could move into your cross-examination now.
12 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
13 Cross-examined by Mr. Rodic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Samardzic, good morning. My name is Goran
15 Rodic, attorney at law from Podgorica, appearing on behalf of General
16 Strugar. On behalf of General Strugar, I will ask you questions to do
17 with your prior testimony.
18 First of all, can I please have the usher's assistance, if the
19 ELMO could be removed, so I that could have direct eye contact with the
21 Mr. Samardzic, my first question to you is: Before coming to the
22 Tribunal and prior to the start of your testimony, did you provide any
23 written statements to the investigators of the Tribunal?
24 A. Yes, I did provide a written statement. I believe in the year of
25 2000, that was three and a half years ago, roughly speaking.
1 Q. Allow me to remind you. I'm looking at the first page of your
2 statement. Is it true that it was on the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 23rd
3 of October, 2000?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. In the course of your answers to the Prosecutor's questions, we
6 heard a brief history of your life. However, I don't think this issue was
7 raised, and I do think you testified about this in your statement. Can
8 you please tell the Trial Chamber whether, in the course of your career,
9 in the course of your life, in relation to the territory of Montenegro,
10 where you lived and worked for a long time, did you ever suffer any
11 persecutions, personally? If so, please, what was the reason? If you
12 could please elucidate.
13 A. When I was still quite young, I faced difficulty because my father
14 had been awarded a medal of courage by the Partizans army. He fought
15 fascism since 1941. In 1948 he was accused in connection with the inform
16 bureau resolution. This was not true, however. My father was arrested
17 and sent to Goli Otok penitentiary. A son of someone who was on Goli Otok
18 could not have a normal life in Montenegro at that time. This person
19 would face many problems, and it would be very hard for this person to
20 assert him or herself. And this was the situation I faced throughout my
22 Q. Does this mean that throughout your education, and when you found
23 a job afterwards, you were facing great problems, great adversity?
24 A. Yes, initially there were problems. Afterwards, however, people
25 realised that I was no enemy, that I was an honourable man, and those
1 problems ceased to exist. My further development was smooth and normal.
2 However, initially I did face great difficulty. One year they wouldn't
3 allow me to enroll in the maritime school. They believed that, as a
4 sailor, I had no right to travel abroad, being the son of an inform bureau
5 person. Later they allowed me to travel abroad, but the issue was brought
6 up whether I should be allowed to sail abroad or not. You could sail
7 along the Adriatic Coast without leaving the Yugoslav territory. Also
8 there was the Jugolinija, where you travelled abroad. I was allowed to
9 join Jugolinija, and for my career to develop. I soon became the youngest
10 president, the youngest manager ever in that company. I was the youngest
11 sea master in the entire Yugoslavia at that time. So yes, initially there
12 was trouble, there was difficulty. Afterwards, this trouble, this
13 difficulty, disappeared, thanks to my own work and effort.
14 Q. Did these problems cause you to look for a job in Croatia after
15 your schooling because you were not given a job in Montenegro?
16 A. I wouldn't say that it was because I was not able to get a job in
17 Montenegro. I did, as a matter of fact, get a job in Montenegro. My
18 first job was with Jugooceanija, as an apprentice. Once my apprenticeship
19 was over, I was given a job with Jugolinija, because there were no
20 vacancies in Jugooceanija. And it was in Jugolinija that I was first
21 promoted. When I was 25, I was first mate, and when I was 27 I was the
22 commander of the ship.
23 Q. Let us not waste any more time with this. As early as 1974, you
24 worked for Jugooceanija, in Kotor. At that time, the director of
25 Jugooceanija retired. As far as I know, you were proposed, your name was
1 put forward to replace him as the manager, general, of Jugooceanija; is
2 that correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Was there something that prevented you from taking up that
5 position at that time?
6 A. I was not personally prevented, but people believed it was still a
7 bit too early for me to become the manager of Jugooceanija, and I was
8 appointed an MP in the Yugoslav parliament.
9 Q. We'll discuss that later. My answer [As interpreted] now is
10 specifically about the first period after the manager retired and before
11 the new manager was appointed.
12 A. Yes. People were saying that I should perhaps be appointed
13 manager. But it wasn't only me. Whenever a new manager was appointed,
14 Mr. Rodic, there are several candidates, and I was among those candidates.
15 Eventually, I was not appointed. Another more senior person, Bokcevic,
16 was appointed.
17 Q. Let me remind you, on page 3 of your statement you said:
18 "However, the Montenegrin Communist Party opposed my appointment. They
19 still viewed me as the son of a traitor and thus unworthy of promotion."
20 That's what you told the investigators; is that true?
21 A. I don't believe that was precisely the statement that I made.
22 There was something like that. People believed that it was still a bit
23 too early for me to become a manager, and yes, I was the son of a man whom
24 they considered as a traitor. Therefore, I was not appointed.
25 Q. Did you go through your statement before signing it?
1 A. Yes, I did. I don't believe that what you're saying now is
2 particularly relevant.
3 Q. Please, can you just answer my questions. This will keep us from
4 wasting time, because we don't have much time on our hands right now.
5 THE INTERPRETER: Can the speakers please be reminded not to
7 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... For some order
8 here. You are each interrupting each other, and each of you is jumping in
9 ahead of the translation. You are well aware of the needs of the
10 translator for pauses between questions and answers. But more
11 importantly, of course, when a question is asked, Mr. Samardzic, if you'd
12 be kind enough to answer that question, and you obviously understand the
13 question. You should be able to answer that question. And that will then
14 enable Mr. Rodic to move on to his next question. If there are matters
15 that concern you, they can be raised by -- later in the hearing by
16 questions in re-examination by Ms. Somers.
17 Thank you, Mr. Rodic.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
19 What I want to achieve is to have brief answers to my questions, which
20 will expedite our work.
21 Q. Mr. Samardzic, this wasn't something I made up. I simply read the
22 first passage on page 3 of your statement where this is stated, and that's
23 why I asked you whether you had gone through your statement before signing
25 A. Yes. I did read the statement before I signed it, and that's
1 precisely why I signed it.
2 Q. You placed your signature there because you believed that the
3 statement accurately reflected your words during the interview, I assume.
4 A. There were a number of errors, which we promptly corrected. But
5 if you insist: My choice in 1974 -- or rather, my appointment as general
6 director, probably there were a number of factors contributing to this, as
7 well as the ones that you have referred to. I was the son of a man who
8 was considered a traitor, and probably people said he can't become
9 manager. I'm not trying to dispute that.
10 Q. My opinion is quite different, and I will tell you why.
11 A. Please do so.
12 Q. After finding a job with Jugolinija, you made headway very
13 quickly. You became a manager in that company, and in 1974 you got a job
14 with Jugooceanija. In 1970, you attended a course in maritime transport,
15 in management, under the aegis for the UN conference for trade development
16 in Geneva, while you still had a job with Jugooceanija. Once you
17 completed the course, you were invited to go back to Jugooceanija
18 headquarters and work there as a commercial administrator, processing
19 bills from all over the world. In, 1974 you were promoted to become port
20 captain, and later you became the maritime supervisor. In 1974, the
21 League of Communists, of which you were a member, appointed you a deputy
22 to the Yugoslav Assembly. In 1978, your term of office expired and you
23 were appointed as president of the association for self-management in
24 foreign trade in Montenegro, where you spent four years. Towards the end
25 of 1982, you were appointed a representative of the Yugoslav Chamber of
1 commerce in Australia, and in June 1983 you took up your post in Sydney.
2 Five years later, having lived in Sydney for five years, you went
3 to Brisbane, where you helped organise the Expo in 1988. Early 1989, you
4 returned to Montenegro. On the 9th of May, 1989, soon after your return,
5 you were appointed director of Jugooceanija. In November of the same
6 year, you were elected deputy to the Montenegrin Assembly at the first
7 free general elections in Montenegro. You were an appointee of the League
8 of Communists, which soon changed its name into Democratic Socialist
9 Party. In July 1990, you were appointed as a representative of Montenegro
10 to the Federal Chamber of the Republics.
11 In February 1991, you were elected foreign minister in
12 Montenegro's government, the Prime Minister was Milo Djukanovic, and you
13 held on to your post as deputy in the assembly and your post as manager
14 for Jugooceanija, which means that you had three positions at the same
16 In 1992, if I'm not mistaken, in May, on the 26th of May, 1992,
17 you resigned as foreign minister. You stepped down. On the 8th of June,
18 1992, you moved with your family to Malta, due to the sanctions that had
19 been imposed, and from Malta you could run the activities of the company
20 of which you were the manager, Jugooceanija. As far as all the positions
21 that I've enumerated, is the list correct?
22 MS. SOMERS: There appears to be no question put to the witness,
23 but rather a narration of the statement. And if --
24 JUDGE PARKER: There's just been a question put about the whole
25 list: Is it correct?"
1 MS. SOMERS: Okay.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, your question was: "Is all of that
4 Mr. Samardzic?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For the most part, what you read is
6 correct, with a few exceptions that you added. I wasn't appointed, as you
7 said, by the party.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. I must interrupt you. Please listen. There is no mention of the
10 party in my enumeration of your posts, except that you were a candidate
11 put forward by the League of Communists, that soon after that, it changed
12 its name into the Democratic Party of Socialists. So I never, ever
13 mentioned the Communist Party in that context. What I want to hear is
14 whether this information contained in your c.v. are correct. If there is
15 something that is incorrect, please tell us what it is.
16 A. First of all, when you say "appointed," it is well known who
17 appoints people. When you speak in that manner, it is sometimes
18 understood that people are appointed by the Communist Party. That was not
19 the case in my life. Even some dates are wrong. It is true that I
20 attended in 1974 a specialised course held by UNCDAT. So you made a
21 mistake by four years. And the difference is that after 1970, I got a job
22 with Jugooceanija in Kotor, and before that time I sailed on ships. These
23 were not very significant differences, but since you insist on details, I
24 felt it was necessary to say that.
25 Q. I accept that I perhaps may have quoted a wrong year. But in your
1 statement, it says that you took the course in Geneva in 1970.
2 A. It was in 1974.
3 Q. But basically, all these functions are part of your c.v.?
4 A. Yes. And if you look at the sequence and how they occurred, it
5 wasn't according to the usual practice that prevailed in the former
6 Yugoslavia. For instance, I was not appointed the director by the party
7 but on a referendum by the workers, which was totally contrary to the
8 opinion of the party committee. And when I was appointed the manager --
9 the director of Jugooceanija in 1989, the party was against it. But my
10 point is that whatever you read here has another side of the coin.
11 Q. Were any other people similar to you that were branded in the same
12 manner who were removed from their positions and quite simply could not
13 advance in their careers due to being attributed the same things that had
14 been attributed to you?
15 A. Yes, there were. It was particularly difficult for me in my early
16 youth, because they didn't know what I was going to do. So on two
17 occasions I was banned from attending the school. I was expelled in
18 Cetinje. In the fourth year I was expelled from some other schools as
19 well. You didn't read that. And that was only because my father was at
20 Goli Otok. And one really needed strength to go through that.
21 Q. Yes, I understand that. But tell me: Do you know any other case
22 that people were accused of similar things and who managed to achieve such
23 a career as you did? Can you give us a few examples?
24 A. I cannot give you the exact number. There were lots of them.
25 There were other people who faced difficulties but later on were accepted.
1 The situation in Yugoslavia was such that you first become punished and
2 rejected, and then they accept you. You know very well that that was the
3 system in Yugoslavia. They could never pin it on me that I was in favour
4 of inform bureau [As interpreted]. They would always say that I was the
5 son of a man
6 Q. I think that -- I think you're rather exaggerating your position
7 and all the obstacles that you had faced in your early youth, given the
8 fact that you discharged very important functions and positions in
9 Montenegro and Yugoslavia.
10 You said that you were away from Montenegro for nearly five and a
11 half years, up until 1989, when you returned; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. Is it correct that in July 1992 you left Montenegro again?
14 A. No. In June 1992 I left for Malta. I returned in July to meet
15 the UK foreign secretary, and I spent two days in Belgrade at the
16 invitation of Milo Djukanovic, and then after that I returned to Malta
18 Q. So since July 1992, up until today, you have been -- you have not
19 been living in Montenegro; is that correct?
20 A. No. I visited Montenegro in the meantime.
21 Q. Did you come to live and work in Montenegro or you just visited?
22 A. I don't know how you can qualify that. Up until 1994, I was the
23 director of Jugooceanija, and during all this period I was in Malta, but I
24 came often to Kotor, to the company headquarters, because the majority of
25 the offices were in Kotor.
1 Q. Between 1994 and 2004, have you been living in Montenegro [As
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Can you tell me what are you doing in Montenegro?
5 A. I am a pensioner, as far as Yugoslavia is concerned.
6 MS. SOMERS: I'm sorry to interrupt, but I must point out that the
7 translation and what has been on the screen appear not to be in sync. The
8 question was: "Between --" on line 17, page 42, "Between 1994 and 2000,"
9 [sic] I believe the question was, "Have you been living outside
10 Montenegro," and it shows, "Living in Montenegro."
11 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] That's correct. I asked the witness
12 whether between 1994 and 2004 he has been living outside Montenegro.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Rodic.
14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Can I hear your answer again?
16 A. After the -- after I was dismissed from Jugooceanija in 1994, I
17 continued living in Malta for a certain period of time, and then I moved
18 in Australia, where I live now.
19 Q. Do you regularly follow the developments in Yugoslavia, which is
20 now called Serbia and Montenegro, and before that the SFRY?
21 A. Yes. I surf the Internet, I receive newspapers, and I'm fully
22 informed of what's happening there.
23 Q. I presume, then, that after you resigned from the position of the
24 foreign minister, you also followed the events in Yugoslavia through
25 newspapers or through your occasional visits, when you used to come to
1 Kotor while you were still working for Jugooceanija.
2 A. Yes. I followed the events, as far as it was possible. Of
3 course, I wasn't very close or a part of the top leadership, but whatever
4 other ordinary people could find out, I did.
5 Q. Given the time distance between now and these events in 1991 and
6 1992, when you are testifying today, do you see any difference between
7 your conduct and your way of thinking and acting in the period 1991 and
8 1992, and now, or do you that nothing has changed in the meantime?
9 A. As far as my way of thinking and my attitude towards the events
10 that took place in Yugoslavia, nothing has changed. I could never accept
11 the events that took place in Yugoslavia, as many did, qualifying it as
12 the defence of Yugoslavia. I rather thought that that was a tremendous
13 disgrace and that we were making -- doing terrible evil that Montenegro
14 was involved in, and that's what I think today.
15 Q. Thank you. Did you appear as the witness in the Milosevic case?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Can you tell us when?
18 A. In 2002, about one and a half years ago.
19 Q. Since you said that you are following the situation in the former
20 Yugoslavia, and particularly in Montenegro, were there any reactions in
21 Montenegro after you gave testimony at this trial, and do you know what
22 these reactions were?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you rebut any of those reactions, or did you make any
1 A. Yes, although it is difficult to rebut anything. It was a
2 terrible attack on my person. It would have taken me 20 days to write all
3 the rebuttals to whatever was written in the press about me, and apart
4 from so many ugly things, there were some good things written about me.
5 Part of the press agreed with me, but most of the press, particularly from
6 Belgrade, attacked me. And I think it would have been better if I had
7 ignored that, but I didn't. I responded.
8 Q. Were you attacked by anyone from the Montenegrin press?
9 A. Yes. The Chetnik daily Dan launched such a fierce attack on me. I
10 don't think it's worth mentioning, although maybe it might be necessary,
11 because unbelievable lies were written in this newspaper Dan, which is
12 renowned for its lies and made-up stories. I follow this on a regular
13 basis. I try to write rebuttals. They did publish some of my articles,
14 not all of them, but they did publish them nevertheless.
15 Q. Generally speaking, tell me: Do you face any problems in
16 Montenegro, or was it because of business or some other reasons that you
17 decided not to live in Montenegro any more?
18 A. Well, there are no particular problems. There is the problem of
19 Jugooceanija. The company that I used to run, it's been destroyed, and
20 I'm convinced that while I was at the helm of the company, I did my job
21 well, that I should have gotten recognition after that. However, certain
22 parts of the government who wanted to grab Jugooceanija for them --
23 Jugooceanija used to be the company that had 22 ocean liners. It survived
24 the sanctions.
25 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you. Let us not waste any more time on
1 this. Does that mean, if I understand you properly, that your problem
2 with Montenegro is related to what you just said, because of this former
3 company of Jugooceanija?
4 A. Yes. My problem concerning Jugooceanija exists, because
5 Jugooceanija is located in Kotor and there are many people who think,
6 unrightly, that I was the blame for what happened to Jugooceanija. It's
7 been ten years since then, and in that period, Jugooceanija went down the
8 drain, and I left it with 17 ships.
9 Q. Have you ever been called to account for that?
10 A. No. Nobody did that, except for certain newspapers, like Dan, who
11 dig out some journalists and seamen who write lies and provocations about
12 men. However, never I was ever held accountable officially for what I did
13 [As interpreted]. This was just hearsay and rumours by people who could
14 have properly been paid or not paid to do this, spread these rumours and
15 lies. But as far as the official policy is concerned, the government, the
16 trade unions, never found anything wrong, because I think I was very
17 successful as the manager of this company.
18 Q. So if the official authorities do not question your
19 responsibility, what is then the reason that you cannot go to Montenegro?
20 Because I presume you have some extended family there.
21 A. Who told you that I cannot go to Montenegro?
22 Q. You just told me that your living abroad is connected with the
23 problems that you have in Montenegro concerning Jugooceanija.
24 A. Yes, but that does not mean that I cannot go there. I simply
25 don't want to face any unpleasant situation with people who are accusing
1 me about the fate of that company.
2 Q. Let us now proceed to another area of questioning. I suppose that
3 at the time when you worked and lived in the former SFRY, and when you
4 entered the political arena and took the position of the foreign minister,
5 you knew the constitution of the former Socialist Federal Republic of
7 A. Certainly I did. I was even involved in drawing up the
9 Q. Of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or of the Federal
10 Republic of Yugoslavia?
11 A. Just SFRY, not FRY. They should make this distinction.
12 Q. So you know probably the federal laws that were in force in that
14 A. Yes, I know.
15 Q. Are you familiar with the fact when the new Croatian constitution
16 was promulgated? I am referring to the one -- to the period directly
17 preceding these events.
18 A. I suppose in 1990. I can't remember exactly.
19 Q. Did this constitution -- was this constitution in conformity with
20 the SFRY constitution?
21 A. I don't think it was. I cannot say exactly.
22 Q. Based on that constitution, which, if you don't know, I can
23 confirm was in contradiction with the then-SFRY constitution -- so did
24 Croatia establish its armed forces under this constitution?
25 A. Yes. They started forming their armed forces.
1 Q. Can you answer the question: Under the SFRY constitution, which
2 were the only legal armed forces?
3 A. The Yugoslav People's Army and the Territorial Defence.
4 Q. Anything contrary to that could be dubbed as paramilitary forces
5 within the state governed by the law?
6 A. Yes, provided there's not a new state that emerged. However, a
7 new state of Croatia emerged in the meantime. So that is the foundation
8 of all the conflict.
9 Q. This is your interpretation.
10 A. Since Croatia established its own state, then presumably it should
11 establish its armed forces.
12 Q. According to your knowledge, when was it that Croatia established
13 its own state?
14 A. When it proclaimed its independence from other republics.
15 Q. When was that?
16 A. If I'm not wrong, on the 13th of May, 1990. Sorry. 30th of May.
17 And then the parliament adopted a declaration. I don't know the exact
19 Q. Let me remind you. That was on the 25th and 26th of June, 1991,
20 the parliament of Croatia declared independence from the rest of
21 Yugoslavia. Before that date, was Croatia establishing its own armed
22 forces? Was it working on that? And were those paramilitary places
23 already -- paramilitary forces already in place there?
24 A. As far as I know, there was some police unit in Croatia, in Borovo
25 Selo and other places. But as for the Croatian army, I don't know if it
2 Q. Have you heard about the National Guard Corps? And if you did,
3 when was that?
4 A. Yes, I heard about the National Guard Corps about that period, but
5 I didn't believe or consider that to be some kind of new army. Just like
6 we had territorial forces in Montenegro.
7 Q. What you heard about the emergence of the National Guard Corps
8 refers to the period before the declaration of independence, and that is
9 before June 1991?
10 A. I don't remember, because at the time I was more focussed on
11 relations with Dubrovnik, as the manager of Jugooceanija, with Belgrade,
12 and I did not notice any members of the National Guard Corps in Dubrovnik
13 at the time.
14 Q. Let me remind you that this notwithstanding, the first half of
15 1991, in addition to being an economist, you also became a minister with
16 Montenegro's government, minister of foreign affairs. You were also a
17 deputy to the parliament. All these things I'm asking you about, even
18 outside your activity, in your official political capacity, these things
19 were widely debated. They were very much issues in the public eye at the
20 time; isn't that correct?
21 A. Yes, but not the way you're putting it to me now. There were
22 certain things. Please allow me. I attended meetings of the federal
23 assembly, being a deputy to the Chamber of the republics. There were
24 certain problems with this, but not to the extent that a war should break
25 out. There were certain units emerging, but not only in Croatia; it was
1 like that all over the place.
2 Q. Please, first of all, I'm not trying to insinuate anything. My
3 question is very specific. You have the right to answer my question. I
4 would like to avoid political debate here, and I would like you to answer
5 my specific questions with very specific and to-the-point answers, without
6 elucidating too much. We are in no position to exchange views and
7 opinions now. We are in a position only to exchange specific questions
8 and answers.
9 My question is: Did you know about the National Guard Corps being
10 set up prior to the 25th of June, 1991? Briefly, yes or no.
11 A. I heard about certain units being set up but back then I did not
12 realise that a Croatian army was being set up.
13 Q. Very well. During your work in that period, did you hear anything
14 about the Croatian Party of Rights, about Dobrosav Paraga, about Ante
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Did you hear about their own armed formations set up by the party
19 A. I was not aware of their armed units. I knew about their
20 activities and I knew they were working along Ustasha lines, that they
21 were advocating the Ustasha ideology. They were the extreme right. I was
22 aware of that and I condemned it. But I didn't believe they were posing
23 any great danger to Yugoslavia as a state.
24 Q. My question was not about your views on them being a danger or
25 not. I'm asking you specifically about --
1 A. Well, yes. They did exist. That's for sure.
2 Q. Can you please tell us about the heritage of that party, what the
3 guidelines are and what the propaganda was at the time espoused by the
5 A. It follows the ideology of Ante Starcevic, and that's precisely
6 why it's called the Croatian Party of Rights. It advocates an independent
7 Croatian state and secession from the Serbs. It espouses all the
8 nationalistic views that were espoused by the Ustasha in World War II.
9 Q. Is this in any way related to Ante Pavelic and the independent
10 state of Croatia from World War II?
11 A. Yes, they are related.
12 Q. Which side were Ante Pavelic and the independent state of Croatia
13 on in World War II?
14 A. Ante Pavelic sided with Hitler's Germany and fascist Italy.
15 Q. We agree that throughout 1990 and 1991, Paraga was promoting his
16 own party platform and the heritage the party had included his idols or
17 role models from World War II?
18 A. Yes, this may be correct, but I don't think they were a force to
19 be reckoned with.
20 Q. I will ask you this question when we consider your role as a
21 military expert. Then you can give us your opinion about how strong or
22 how much of a menace a certain party may have been. However, that is not
23 my question for the time being.
24 Regardless, and I do not wish now to enter a debate about their
25 force. You have the party setting up an armed unit. Can this be legal at
1 all at the time in the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, with the
2 constitution that was in place and with the JNA as the only legal armed
3 force in the country?
4 A. It should not be viewed as legal, no.
5 Q. Are you aware of the fact that at a meeting of the SFRY presidency
6 on the 11th of December, 1990, reports were presented for the first time
7 on paramilitary weapons being brought into Croatia, extra mobilisation of
8 the MUP, the Ministry of the Interior, and weapons being handed out to the
9 National Guard Corps?
10 A. I heard it on the news about something like this being done. I'm
11 not familiar with any details, however.
12 Q. Did you know about the information published by the Federal
13 Secretariat for National Defence on the setting up of illegal paramilitary
14 units in the SFRY, a well argumented report indicating that in Croatia,
15 work was under way, very much in establishing an armed force in order to
16 threaten the legal state of Yugoslavia, and that for this purpose they
17 were obtaining large amounts of illegal weapons and ammunition in December
19 A. No. I was not aware of that. I knew about the Serbian Krajina
20 being set up.
21 THE INTERPRETER: May the speakers please be reminded not to
23 A. I did not have this information.
24 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Did you watch TV? Did you read the press? During your work in
1 parliament, and as a member of the government, did you ever hear anything
2 about this going on?
3 A. I was an MP at the time, and this was certainly not presented in
4 the parliament the way you make it out to be.
5 Q. Thank you very much. Did you perhaps watch TV programmes where a
6 film was shown on the illegal import of weapons from Hungary into the
7 Republic of Croatia in 1990?
8 A. Yes, I saw a film like that. But I saw different films.
9 Q. Please, please.
10 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour --
11 JUDGE PARKER: There is a continuing problem, Mr. Rodic. You ask
12 a question. You may be getting an answer that is not what you are
13 expecting, but you are butting in over the answer. I think you must allow
14 the answer to come, and if it's not the answer to your question, then
15 repeat your question until you get the answer you are looking for. But we
16 can't have this continuing -- your speaking over the witness. It becomes
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] My apologies, Your Honour. However,
19 I'm trying to achieve the following: Specific question, specific answer.
20 However, once having provided a specific answer, the witness just goes off
21 on a tangent, providing testimony that has nothing to do with my original
23 JUDGE PARKER: I'm conscious of the issue, Mr. Rodic, and if it
24 goes too much, I will raise it directly with the witness. But at the
25 moment, I think the balance is in favour of you waiting until you've had
1 the witness's answer.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honour.
3 Q. Are you familiar with the dispatch from the Presidency dated the
4 9th of January, 1991, talking about the amassing of illegal weapons and
5 setting up of paramilitary units, thereby creating conditions for armed
6 conflict and inter-ethnic conflict of great proportions, which would
7 greatly endanger the safety of citizens and the existence of the state of
8 SFRY itself?
9 A. Yes, I'm familiar with this. But this did not only apply to
10 Croatian paramilitary units, but rather to all paramilitary units emerging
11 at the time. We're talking about the general framework of the
12 disintegration of Yugoslavia, and everyone was ready to undermine
13 Yugoslavia. Everyone was preparing for that, not only Croatia. Croatia
14 was not the only one.
15 Q. Yes, but was Croatia involved in this too?
16 A. Yes, I assume so.
17 Q. You're certain about the others, however, but you merely assume
18 when we talk about Croatia.
19 A. Please don't insinuate. I only said so because I was not sure
20 about any of them, not with sure and certain knowledge. I knew that
21 nationalism was on the rise throughout Yugoslavia at that time, and many
22 different sides were working on undermining the state of Yugoslavia.
23 Q. Did Croatia set out to establish an independent state? Was that
24 part of the platform of the party in power at the time?
25 A. Yes. Croatia wanted to secede. If you have the HDZ, the Croatian
1 Democratic Community in mind, their platform was to secede from
2 Yugoslavia, but in compliance with the constitution that was then in
3 place. The existing constitution then allowed for the possibility of
4 secession, not only for Croatia but for all the republics of Yugoslavia.
5 Self-determination and secession. They were entitled to this under the
6 constitution. The fact that it came to blows and that weapons were used
7 is a different story altogether, but this was allowed under the
8 constitution. I mean secession.
9 Q. Whose right was it to, the right to self-determination and
10 secession under the constitution?
11 A. The right of each and every republic within the state. Each and
12 every republic had the same right. Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro,
13 Macedonia, Slovenia, everyone.
14 Q. Let me just remind you: Did it say each and every republic or
15 each and every people?
16 A. Both. The republic and the people.
17 Q. Having ascertained through your answer to one of my previous
18 questions that the new constitution of the Republic of Croatia was not in
19 conformity with the federal constitution, how, then, can there be any form
20 of legal secession, secession that was still legal? This can in no way be
21 in conformity with the provisions of the SFRY constitution governing these
23 A. My apologies, but the fact that something is not in conformity
24 with something else does not immediately make it illegal. Not in
25 conformity does not mean that it's illegal or against the constitution.
1 The Croatian constitution was not in conformity with the SFRY
2 constitution, which still falls far short of making it illegal. I am not
3 familiar now with the details of the relevant provisions, because it's
4 been a long time and I have not dealt with this, but I do know that
5 Croatia, not only Croatia, but rather every republic, had the right to
6 secede from Yugoslavia.
7 Q. So how exactly did Croatia go about this initially?
8 A. At first, it was peaceful; and after that, it escalated into a
9 full-blown war, because self-managing units or regions were being formed
10 and then conflict broke out, armed conflict, war. In a situation like
11 that, it was only to be expected that legal norms would no longer be
12 complied with and that weapons would speak.
13 Q. Can you determine the period of time, or rather, the way in which
14 Croatia launched this initiative, how it all started and how the whole
15 thing was done, how Croatia tried to implement its right to secession?
16 A. There was a referendum, as far as I remember. There was a
17 referendum in Croatia, a referendum about self-determination and
18 secession, about the creation of an independent state. Most of the
19 Croatian people, and even most of the Serbs living in Croatia, the way
20 I've been informed, voted in favour of an independent state.
21 Q. I do not wish to argue with you on this point. But even so, was
22 there, under the constitution of the SFRY, any other procedure that needed
23 to be complied with?
24 A. Yes. The federal assembly, yes.
25 Q. So was this complied with?
1 A. No, not for the most part.
2 Q. Are you familiar with the fact that the Presidency of the SFRY
3 passed an order, on the 9th of January, 1991, that all armed units that
4 were not part of the unified armed units of the SFRY or organs of the
5 Ministry of the Interior were to be disarmed, and that were not legal
6 under the federal law? Further stating that all equipment and weapons
7 should be handed over to the nearest JNA units within ten days?
8 A. I remember no such order.
9 Q. You don't remember that the presidency took any steps like this,
10 even if you can't specifically remember the wording of the order?
11 A. I know there were meetings and sessions, but which period are you
12 referring to?
13 Q. The 9th of January, 1991. That's what I have in mind.
14 A. The 9th of January, 1991, I can't remember. I know there were
15 problems surrounding this, but I forgot about this order being passed. I
16 knew there were problems about weapons and military equipment.
17 Q. If I may be allowed to refresh your memory. This order was not
18 actually carried out within the next ten days, that's by the 19th of
19 January, but Croatia officially requested an extension of this deadline by
20 48 hours, for this to be done by the 21st of January. Are you familiar
21 with that?
22 A. No, I'm not.
23 Q. Do you know that once this deadline expired, 21st of January, the
24 Republic of Croatia raised the combat readiness of the entire MUP troops
25 and the National Guard Corps and that the Supreme Command Staff
1 reciprocated by raising the combat readiness of all its units in the
2 territory of the Republic of Croatia?
3 A. No, I was not aware of that either.
4 Q. It strikes me as strange that you shouldn't remember these things.
5 These were after all important developments for Montenegro as well as for
6 the other parts of the SFRY.
7 A. Why should that matter to Montenegro? What is it that occurred in
8 Montenegro at the time?
9 Q. Can you view Montenegro as a unit that was isolated from the SFRY?
10 A. No, by no means. It was by no means an isolated part. But can
11 you please repeat what exactly you claim happened?
12 Q. Once this other extended deadline expired, the 48-hour extension
13 for disarming all illegal military units in SFRY territory, the Republic
14 of Croatia, on the 21st of January, raised the combat readiness of all MUP
15 forces and National Guard Corps, while the Supreme Command Staff
16 reciprocated by taking the same measure, for the JNA units that were
17 stationed in the Republic of Croatia. Are you familiar with that? Is
18 this how it happened?
19 A. I don't know. I remember there were problems about that, to do
20 with that, but I don't remember these specific developments that you have
21 just referred to.
22 Q. Do you know that in 1991, which means most definitely before the
23 events that you testified to here occurring in the area of Dubrovnik, so
24 prior to these events, do you know, were there any blockades of the JNA's
25 barracks, attacks on the military installations and facilities and members
1 of the JNA in the Republic of Croatia?
2 A. Yes, there were.
3 Q. Were those -- were there many attacks?
4 A. I don't know. But as far as I know, this took place in Varazdin,
5 Osijek. Yeah, there were several cases in which the JNA barracks were
6 blocked in certain parts of Croatia. That's true.
7 Q. Was the situation the same in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb?
8 A. I don't know about Zagreb. I knew that there were problems, but I
9 don't know there were any blockades in Zagreb. The whole convoys of the
10 JNA, troops and weapons, passed through Zagreb en route from Slovenia, and
11 they were not detained there. But what else happened in Zagreb, I don't
12 know. However, I know that in other towns, these incidents occurred.
13 Q. Due to the blockades and attacks on the JNA, did the JNA suffer
14 any tragic consequences and material damage to their facilities and
16 A. Yes. There were people who were killed. There was equipment and
17 facilities damaged.
18 Q. When you mention these military convoys being relocated, were
19 there any attacks on those convoys and the seizure of weapons from there
20 while they passed through Croatia?
21 A. There were some delays of these convoys, but I don't think there
22 were any major attacks on them. They were just stopped or detained.
23 However, they passed through to Serbia and Bosnia, and also they travelled
24 by sea, for instance, on the ship "ST. STEPHEN", the army troops from
25 Pilan and Kopir, in Slovenia, withdrew and arrived in Boka. Yes, there
1 were such cases that you mentioned.
2 Q. Thank you. Do you know that the Croatian paramilitary units, and
3 later the armed forces of this republic, took part, or rather, crossed
4 over to the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to join the battle
6 A. When was that?
7 Q. In 1992 or 1993.
8 A. I don't know about 1992, but yes, in 1993. In 1993, they entered
9 Bosnia, while the war was there in full swing, because the war in Bosnia
10 started in 1992. At that time, the Croatian army did not participate in
11 the conflict. But they did take part in conflict since 1993.
12 Q. Generally speaking, was the Croatian army involved in war
13 operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina against the BH army?
14 A. Yes, in 1993.
15 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. This is irrelevant to the
16 issues surrounding 1991, and I'd ask that we stay focussed on the scope of
17 direct, or at least within the temporal period.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, is there any particular purpose that you
19 pursue this? I know that you have earlier dealt with matters that are
20 directly relevant, but this does seem to be getting well away from the
21 issues important to this case.
22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I do understand this
23 intervention by my learned colleague, the Prosecutor, and by yourself as
24 well. It's not my place to evaluate the accurateness of the answers
25 concerning certain information -- information allocation given by this
1 witness. I just want to highlight how the issue of military troops and
2 territories were intertwined in his testimony and in his answers to the
3 Prosecutor's questions. I think this is very relevant, because during his
4 testimony, at the time mentioned in the witness testimony, the Republic of
5 Croatia established its paramilitary forces and whether any such actions
6 were minimised or totally covered up through the answers given to the
7 Prosecutor. If the opposite was the case, then we shall try to prove
9 If I may ask one more question regarding the previous theme, and
10 then I will proceed with another area.
11 MS. SOMERS: I'm continuing my objection. 1993 references are
12 utterly irrelevant. The time period, I submit, should be really
13 restricted to the time period involved in the indictment, on this
14 particular issue, unless there is some really significant impact, which
15 has not been, in my view, articulated.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, you may ask one more question on this
17 theme, and then I will ask you to move on.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will comply
19 with that.
20 Q. Concerning the period that you mentioned that the Croatian
21 paramilitary formations were involved in the conflict in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina, my very short question is: Was Croatia in any way
23 threatened or attacked by the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in order for
24 its actions to be warranted in terms of sending its troops to
1 A. I don't think that Croatia was threatened by Bosnia-Herzegovina.
2 However, there was an excuse for that, as far as I understood at the time.
3 Their intention was to protect the Croats living in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
4 Q. Thank you. Let us proceed.
5 Do you know that the president of the Republic of Croatia at the
6 time that we are discussing now, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, on the 24th of May,
7 1992, at a rally on the Ban Jelacic Square - I said on the 24th of May,
8 1992 - convened to celebrate the anniversary of independence? He said,
9 and I quote: There would not be any war had Croatia not wished to have
10 the war. But we judge that our only way towards independence was war.
11 Therefore, we conducted political negotiations, while at the same time we
12 were establishing our own armed units. Had we not done that in that way,
13 we would not have achieved our goal. Therefore, the war could only have
14 been avoided had we abandoned our main objective, and that is the
15 independence of the state of Croatia."
16 A. I don't know about this speech, and especially I don't know
17 anything about this politicising of the issues that -- I don't think that
18 the president of Croatia -- I think that the president of Croatia seems to
19 have said that Croatia would not have gained independence without
21 Q. So let us not dwell any further on that.
22 Have you heard the name of Hrvoje Sarinic?
23 A. Yes, I know about Mr. Hrvoje Sarinic.
24 Q. What was his position?
25 A. I think he was an advisor to President Tudjman. And in the
1 Croatian cabinet and he had some other positions, but he was a very
2 important figure who negotiated with Slobodan Milosevic and with the
3 Serbian side. He was a very active Croatian politician of the time.
4 Q. Do you know anything about his statements regarding the division
5 of Bosnia and Herzegovina between the two aforementioned presidents?
6 A. I read something about the agreement between Mr. Tudjman and
7 Mr. Milosevic, about how to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina, but I personally
8 don't know anything about that.
9 Q. You often mentioned your friend, if I understand you properly -
10 and correct me if I'm wrong - Hrvoje Kacic. Can you tell us if that is
11 correct? And if it is, what was he involved in at the time? What did he
12 do at the time?
13 A. At the time, he was the president of the parliamentary commission
14 for foreign policy. He was also the professor at the Zagreb University.
15 He was born in Dubrovnik. We met when we were young men. We were both in
16 swimming, in sports. And I think he was a very correct person who was
17 very benevolent concerning Montenegro. He was not a communist. He didn't
18 want to become part of the Communist Party. He consistently advocated his
19 views that throughout his life he was fighting for an independent state of
20 Croatia, and he made no secret of that.
21 Q. Were you acquainted with the former president of the Republic of
22 Croatia, Franjo Tudjman?
23 A. Yes, I met him a few times in The Hague during the peace
24 conference on Yugoslavia. I met him in Igalo, in Montenegro, when I
25 hosted his meeting with Milosevic on the 16th of September, 1991, before
1 the outbreak of hostilities. And that's about all. I met him only
2 officially, a few times. And the same applies to President Milosevic.
3 Q. Did you have any private contacts with President Tudjman?
4 A. I wouldn't qualify that as private contacts. If you are referring
5 to a separate meeting between Momir Bulatovic and myself, on one side, and
6 President Tudjman and Minister Separovic on the other, people qualified
7 this as a private meeting because we did not inform President Milosevic.
8 We had a meeting with President Tudjman on the issue of Prevlaka, and that
9 took place either during a break or after the conference in The Hague.
10 Q. Did President Tudjman, during the last conference in The Hague,
11 approach you and greet you, and did you exchange some greetings or did you
12 have any conversation at that time?
13 A. I always greeted President Tudjman, without fail, and this last
14 time was particularly friendly, was because President Tudjman greeted me
15 warmly when he heard that I was a relative of Jovan Baldani, also a
16 university professor in Zagreb, and Baldani, while he was a student, he
17 visited Tudjman when he was in prison. And he just reminded me of that,
18 because Jovan Baldani and I are very close relations.
19 Q. Why was Tudjman in prison at that time?
20 A. Most probably because he advocated the independent state of
21 Croatia. He was an army general who did not agree with the policy pursued
22 at the time. He was convicted. But in any case, he was in prison because
23 of his nationalistic views.
24 Q. Can you tell us approximately when he was in prison?
25 A. I think it was in late 1950s or early 1960s. I can't remember
2 Q. Was that, especially at that time, which was very close to the end
3 of the Second World War, and having a JNA general involved, was this kind
4 of his activity contrary to the heritage of this national -- Peoples
5 Liberation War?
6 A. I wouldn't qualify him as an enemy of the heritage of the peoples
7 liberation struggle. His father and his brother were killed by the
8 Ustashe. He was also awarded the medal for bravery and valour during the
9 war as a Partizan. However, if he had certain views about the status of
10 Croatia, he was not pursuing the idea of creating some new, independent
11 state of Croatia, but rather a new democratic Croatia that would secede
12 from Yugoslavia and exist like that. I'm not saying that he was not
13 guilty and convinced accordingly, but I would never qualify him as an
15 Q. I never mentioned the term "Ustasha."
16 A. But you are -- your questions are leading to this. Tudjman fought
17 for an independent state of Croatia in his own way, with his ideology. We
18 need not accept this, but we should not spit on that.
19 Q. Do you see me, or do you answer my question in fear that I'm
20 trying to lead you to something? I'm just asking you very specific
22 A. Mr. Rodic, I am not afraid of anything. I am not a coward, so I
23 have no fears from you, but that you are leading me in a certain way, you
25 Q. Can you be more specific as to --
1 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Rodic, we might interrupt the debate
2 there, and we will have a 20-minute break. And it may be possible for you
3 to just continue with your cross-examination afterwards.
4 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Rodic.
7 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Mr. Samardzic, in relation to my last question before the break,
9 I'll repeat it for you. Mr. Tudjman's activity as a general of the JNA,
10 was it contrary to the common struggle of the Yugoslav peoples and the
11 tradition of the liberation struggle and the creation of a unified state?
12 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. There's no indication of
13 what a common struggle is. This is a term that has not been defined, and
14 I would ask that the question be narrowed.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I will try to rephrase my question,
16 Your Honours.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. The SFRY, was it created as a result of the common struggle of the
20 Yugoslav peoples and based on the tradition of the liberation struggle?
21 A. Yes. The common struggle of the peoples, including their right to
22 secession and self-determination. This was set down at the second session
23 of the AVNOJ, and this was still valid until the 1974 constitution.
24 Q. General Tudjman's activity throughout the period, was it then
1 A. I don't know what specifically President Tudjman did in that
2 period of time, but I believe he had the right to fight in a legal way for
3 Croatia's independence. If that's what he did, then he was perfectly
4 entitled to it. But I don't know what he was tried for, and not knowing
5 that, I can't tell you whether he was tried for reasons fair or unfair.
6 The tradition of the liberation struggle, which you have mentioned,
7 entails exactly that, that all the peoples in Yugoslavia had the right to
8 self-determination and secession. This is a very important part of our
9 tradition. There is no doubt about that.
10 Q. Is the most important single tradition or heritage of that
11 struggle a unified state of all the Yugoslav peoples?
12 A. Certainly, this is an important tradition of our peoples, but let
13 me also repeat this --
14 Q. No need to. I've already heard that answer.
15 A. Well, why are you asking, then?
16 Q. With the emergence of the multiparty system in the SFRY in the
17 same period of time, 1990 and 1991, the iconography employed by the
18 propaganda of the leading political party in Croatia, immediately before
19 the outbreak of the war in 1991, were there any references to Croatia in
20 its Austro-Hungarian borders? Was there any reference to Boka as always
21 having belonged to Croatia and ready to return to the Croatian fold?
22 A. Yes, there were stories and references like that, but on the
23 opposing side, you had Serbia as having borders near Virovitica, near the
24 White Krajina, both sides unofficially and in certain media put forward
25 position that is were damaging for Yugoslavia as a unified state. This
1 goes for both Serbs and Croats. Let me just remind you that Serb
2 politicians then adored Ducic [phoen], who believed that Serbia should
3 stretch as far as the White Krajina, or as far as Slovenia. Therefore,
4 let's not go any further into this.
5 Q. These formulas used by propaganda, did this elicit any reaction in
7 A. Yes. Not only in Montenegro, but rather all over the place.
8 Q. Can you please try to keep to the question and not stray from the
9 question. I'm asking you about Croatian propaganda as addressed to
10 Montenegro. I'm asking you about reactions in Montenegro. Please try to
11 narrow your answer down to the specific target of my question.
12 A. If my propaganda you mean the claim that Boka Kotorska and the
13 Montenegrin coast should belong to Croatia, I only heard Sime Djodan say
14 anything like this, a Croatian politician. He wrote about this, and
15 President Tudjman had him removed. But I never heard anything like this
16 being said by anyone else, or by the Croatian press at the time, for that
17 matter. Sime Djodan was the only exception to this. This was used both
18 in Montenegro and in Croatia for propaganda purposes.
19 Q. Very well. Just briefly: In relation to this kind of propaganda,
20 were there negative reactions in Montenegro?
21 A. Yes, of course. The people refused to come to terms with these
22 positions, and they refused to come to terms with the fact that Boka
23 Kotorska might belong to Croatia. But we are only talking about Sime
24 Djodan, this one specific politician now. I did not hear anyone else make
25 any such claims.
1 Q. Very well. When you talked about the government session held,
2 purportedly, on the 1st of October, 1991, you said that you went to that
3 meeting, or rather, that you came to the meeting around 8.00 or 9.00 in
4 the evening.
5 A. Yes, that's right. I can't say if it was 8.00 or 9.00 o'clock,
6 but night had fallen already.
7 Q. You also said that you were informed about this by police officers
8 who had pulled you over on your way back home to Kotor. Can you tell us,
9 please, specifically, which police officers, where, and how they informed
10 you about this?
11 A. I was on my way back from the airport. We were driving. My
12 driver was there too. The Morica [phoen] Bridge, it's a roundabout route.
13 The police officer pulled us over, and he asked me: "Minister, where are
14 you headed for." He said: "You can't go home now because there's a
15 government session underway and you're wanted there. Your presence is
16 required. They want you in Podgorica." So that was our entire
18 Q. Do you remember the car in which you drove? Was that an official
20 A. Yes. Jugooceanija's official car. It's a Peugeot, a new one,
21 owned by Jugooceanija. The driver's name was Zlatko Jovanovic.
22 Q. Very well. Was this car marked in any special way, rotating
23 lights, blue or red lights, or anything like that?
24 A. I'm not sure if it was marked or not. It was an official
25 Jugooceanija car, the manager's car. It was evening by the time he pulled
1 us over. We turned around. We took a different road that took us
2 straight to the government headquarters, and I was on my way within
4 Q. Did it ever happen to you, before or after that police officer
5 handed you a summons, to attend a government meeting?
6 A. I don't remember anything like that happening before or after.
7 Something similar may have happened, it's just that I can't remember now.
8 However, it was the case in this particular instance. I did mention that
9 I had seen off Mr. Wejnaendts on that particular day.
10 Q. Let's not go back to that now, please. You said that when you
11 came to the government session, when you arrived there, among other
12 people, you saw that there were generals wearing ceremonial uniforms. Can
13 you explain this, ceremonial uniforms? What exactly does that mean?
14 A. Those are uniforms they use for military drills when they go to
15 war. It's not the same uniform that a general would wear walking about
16 town, wearing trousers and shoes, tightened by belts, wearing caps. You
17 can tell that it's a different kind of uniform from the one they use
18 normally or regularly.
19 Q. Can you please tell me again which military officials, military
20 officials familiar to you, were present at the government meeting held on
21 the 1st of October, 1991, as you said?
22 A. General Strugar was present, General Jeremic. Let me tell you,
23 however: I didn't know these people personally except that they were
24 pointed out to me. Babic was there, who was a member of the cabinet,
25 General Damjanovic, and other military officers whom I did not know. They
1 were seated in the row behind them. There was a group of officers
2 attending the meeting who had never been cabinet members or anything. The
3 atmosphere was tense. The lighting was quite dim. And that was that.
4 Q. Let me just ask you: General Strugar, General Damjanovic, General
5 Babic, and who else?
6 A. I think General Jeremic, because that's what they said his name
7 was. I didn't personally know them. I saw them right there for the first
8 time, with the exception of General Babic.
9 Q. You say General Jeremic?
10 A. I think that's what his name was. I'm not sure, however. Please
11 don't make me go there, because I said before that I didn't know those
12 people. They just told me what their names were. I think it was Jeremic.
13 And there were some other colonels there, I believe, who were seated in
14 the row behind the generals.
15 Q. What about Admiral Jokic?
16 A. No, no, he wasn't there.
17 Q. Can I please just complete my question before you answer.
18 A. You said was Admiral Jokic there. What else should my answer be?
19 Q. Can you please stop interrupting me and allow me to finish my
21 Admiral Jokic, was he present at the meeting on the 1st of
22 October, 1991?
23 A. Admiral Jokic was not present at the meeting.
24 Q. Is this a categorical statement on your part?
25 A. Yes, very much so.
1 Q. So you remember clearly now that he did not attend the meeting?
2 A. Yes, I remember clearly. I may have made a mistake when --
3 Q. Please. May I just have a moment.
4 A. This is not a police interrogation. You're an attorney at law. I
5 can provide whatever answers I like to your questions.
6 Q. In connection with General Jeremic, could this possibly have been
7 General Jeremija?
8 A. Yes, that may well be the case. I didn't know the people. I was
9 just told what their names were.
10 Q. About these military officials, generals, what were their
11 positions, their specific positions at the time?
12 A. No, not entirely. I know that General Strugar was said to have
13 been the commander of the 2nd Operational Group, and that prior to that,
14 if no longer at that point, he was the commander of the Territorial
15 Defence of Montenegro. General Strugar was the most important person in
16 the group. You could tell by the way they were seated and by the way he
17 was treated.
18 Q. Can you tell me who told you this?
19 A. A neighbour of mine, the one that I was seated next to. The
20 meeting was quite far along. It was night. And I asked him who the
21 people were and he told me and I saw the way those people were dressed.
22 Q. Do you know the name of this neighbour who told you that?
23 A. Yes. It is one of the ministers sitting next to me.
24 Q. By the name of?
25 A. Markovic, if I remember correctly. He was the justice secretary.
1 I forgot his first name. He was sitting next to me. He was the justice
2 minister. And he told me who the people were. I think Abramovic, the
3 agriculture minister, also told me.
4 Q. When you said Markovic --
5 A. Well, Markovic, yes. I'm not sure if that's --
6 Q. Let us avoid confusion, because you're referring to the Ministry
7 of Justice. I believe the minister was Momcilo Knezevic at the time.
8 A. No.
9 Q. Was that after?
10 A. Yes, yes. It was then. It was then. I think it was Knezevic.
11 And he was also in the same place. Now, I don't know. I can't tell.
12 Knezevic was seated just opposite.
13 Q. Fair enough. About the remaining three generals, Jeremija,
14 Damjanovic, and Babic of whom you said that he was the Defence minister,
15 Jeremija and Damjanovic. Do you know what their respective positions were
16 at the time?
17 A. No, I don't. I was never told, and I didn't think about it. They
18 were just there. And they didn't speak much at the meeting.
19 Q. When you asked about Strugar, did you perhaps ask anyone who the
20 other generals were, Jeremija and Damjanovic?
21 A. What do you mean?
22 Q. In terms of their position. I mean what they did.
23 A. No, I didn't.
24 Q. Fair enough. In your statement of 2000, on page 10, I will read
25 to you what you said. I also noticed the fact that about ten highly
1 positioned JNA officials were there, all wearing camouflage combat
2 uniforms. The only ones that I recognised were General Pavle Strugar,
3 commander of the JNA units attacking Dubrovnik, General Radomir Jeremija,
4 the commander of the Uzice Corps, Radomir Damjanovic, commander of the
5 Podgorica Corps; Admiral Miodrag Jokic, soon to become the commander of
6 the Boka Kotorska military naval sector; and Bozo Babic, the Minister of
7 Defence for Montenegro.
8 That was your statement back in 2000 to the investigators of the
9 Tribunal, whereas the answer you have provided today is quite different
10 and there's quite a large discrepancy between your answer today and the
12 A. I can't see the discrepancy. What is the discrepancy you're
13 talking about? I'm afraid I don't understand. What exactly do you mean?
14 Well, explain, please, if you can.
15 Q. Just take it easy, please.
16 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. May I take a moment just to
17 firstly object to the fact that Mr. Rodic is not making reference to the
18 document provided by the OTP before the testimony arose as to corrections
19 to the statement provided by the witness to the OTP.
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my learned colleague
21 Somers is right. Before the examination-in-chief, I received from her
22 this document, without any signature and any specific mark. And I trust
23 that this document was drawn up by her, but the Rules of Procedure of the
24 Tribunal say very clearly how corrections to the statements are to be
25 made, and that is in the same way in which the statements are taken. We
1 have had numerous examples of subsequent amendments and changes; however,
2 here I don't see either the signature of Mr. Samardzic or any specific
3 remarks that this is a corrected version. So if my colleague would like
4 to respond to this.
5 MS. SOMERS: I will indeed, thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
7 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. That is for 92 bis, where
8 the witness is not coming live to give direct testimony. When the
9 statement is either affirmed in the field by members of the Registry or a
10 local notarial type of official, and there are corrections to be made.
11 And that is the reference to the format in which it is done. Live
12 testimony can always be corrected when there is an observation by the
13 witness that there is something wrong. This is not a 92 bis witness; far
14 from it.
15 JUDGE PARKER: May I ask, Ms. Somers: Are you saying that the
16 corrections are ones that were made just before the witness came to give
17 evidence, or are they corrections that were made at the time of the
18 original statement in 2000? I think it was.
19 MS. SOMERS: No, sir. These are not from 2000. These were
20 made -- an investigator, upon being informed that there were several
21 corrections to be made -- this is to a very lengthy statement given in a
22 language other than the native tongue of Mr. Samardzic, in -- under
23 circumstances that were indicated to us were very difficult, following, I
24 understand, a bout of bad health, and a lengthy read-back in a language
25 not his own, he pointed out certain things that he thought needed to be
1 corrected. We got what we were told by way of having an investigator
2 speak to him, and presented these to the Defence so that they would have
3 ample opportunity to inquire on cross-examination.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, I think we can accept that there was a
5 statement in 2000, and you have correctly put the relevant parts of that
6 to the witness. We are told that the two sheets of paper you have are
7 corrections made when the witness came to give evidence here, and I think
8 you can frame any further questions you want in that knowledge.
9 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Certainly, Your Honour. And regarding
10 the corrections, I would also like to note that I have an official and
11 certified statement made by this witness, and I would like just to draw to
12 your attention that our next witness, Djelo Jusic, also made an official
13 and verified statement, and also, after this statement, he provided
14 officially signed and authenticated changes to his statement. However,
15 this one I received only minutes before the witness entered this
17 MS. SOMERS: May I respond, Your Honour?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Is that all you're putting at the moment,
19 Mr. Rodic?
20 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] I would just like to add, specifically
21 regarding this issue: In the 2000 statement, what my question referred to
22 was repeated seven times, and I think that this fully justifies my posing
23 this question and raising this issue.
24 JUDGE PARKER: There's no question about that, Mr. Rodic, and you
25 have, I believe, put the 2000 form, identifying who was present, to the
1 witness, and that is clear on the record and clear in our minds. The
2 concern of Ms. Somers is that you, in your questioning, gave no
3 acknowledgment to the fact that there has been a correction indicated by
4 the witness which today would change the identity of some of the people
5 that he can recall being at the meeting. That's the substance of the
6 matter. The technicality of this debate concerns whether or not there
7 has -- you should have been provided with a signed and properly
8 authenticated statement of corrections. I haven't turned back to the
9 Rules, but in regard to that, I believe Ms. Somers may be correct when she
10 says that the strict requirement of the Rules is that of Rule 92 bis
11 rather than the situation we're now dealing with.
12 It does occur to me, though, Ms. Somers, that to be simply given a
13 sheet of paper with no signature on it is a measure of informality which
14 could lead to a level of dissatisfaction. If there are significant
15 changes to a statement, the changes ought at least to be signed and dated,
16 if that's going to be the basis of notification of changes to the other
17 party, just as a matter of practicality and authentication.
18 MS. SOMERS: I would in no way quarrel with the Chamber's position
19 because of the circumstances, we wanted to make sure that the Defence had
20 adequate notice and that they were not prejudiced.
21 I do want to comment about Mr. Jusic's correction. It is, if the
22 Defence takes notes, from a 92 bis interview in the field, in connection
23 with, if I'm correct, another case, and the statement is being -- and I
24 believe the case most likely would have been Milosevic. I can check, but
25 I recall very definitely seeing the 92 bis certifications in connection
1 therewith. So there is a difference, and of course they do have those
2 particular prior statements under 66(A)(ii).
3 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Rodic, we've spent enough time
4 debating both the substance and the technical requirements. I think we
5 all know where we stand, and certainly in 2000, one list of people present
6 was given, a different list is now the subject of the evidence, and you've
7 correctly drawn attention to those changes. Yes.
8 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] By accepting this suggestion of yours,
9 I would now like to ask a question of the witness, based on this
10 just-received correction.
11 Q. And my question is: How could it be possible that just prior to
12 the trial of Mr. Strugar, how could he possibly remember now that General
13 Jokic was not present at the meeting he mentioned? Just briefly.
14 A. My memory was not refreshed now. I immediately remember that.
15 And when I testified in the Milosevic case, I also said that Jokic was not
16 there. I noticed the mistake. I don't know if I'm to blame or the people
17 who were in Sydney with me. I was just discharged from the hospital at
18 the time. It was just an oversight on my part. I don't remember if I
19 mentioned his name or not. But as soon as I noticed this error, I
20 reacted, and when I testified the last time before the Court, I said that
21 Jokic was not there, and I don't want to claim that, because he wasn't.
22 It was just an error that occurred and that I believe was corrected not
23 today, but more than a year ago, when I testified against Slobodan
25 Q. Mr. Samardzic, I think that you were not so adamant when you
1 testified at the Milosevic's case concerning the presence of General
2 Jokic. However, I will keep this reservation, and after our next break, I
3 intend to check the records and the transcripts to see whether I was wrong
4 or -- whether I was right or not.
5 You made your statement in the year 2000, given to the
6 investigators. You said that you read this statement and signed it. You
7 yourself stated that you speak several languages, particularly English,
8 that you were a foreign minister, in which position I presume that most
9 frequently you used English in your diplomatic contact. And for a long
10 time now you have been living in Australia, where, as far as I know,
11 English is also spoken there. Therefore, the B/C/S version of your
12 statement, which is your mother tongue, and the 2000 statement made in
13 English, should not be of any problem for you when reading them. Am I
15 A. Yes, but the statement made in 2000 happened only two or three or
16 four days after my discharge from the hospital, when I lost my legs. So
17 it was only to be expected for me to make more errors than under normal
18 circumstances. In addition to that, I don't think that these are major
19 mistakes, and I really made an effort to rectify them subsequently. I
20 know, as a lawyer, you insist on them, but it was no bad intention on my
21 side to give misinformation. Because even back then, in the year 2000, I
22 was too unwell and my health was so bad to enable me to remember what
23 exactly happened nine years before. So there was no ill intention on my
24 part, and there were other minor mistakes that I also rectified.
25 Q. Yes. And also without any ill intention -- ill intent on my part,
1 I would like draw your attention now to what you stated in 2000, and the
2 volume and the way it was represented, and just focussing on one fact
3 proves that I was right. So on page 10, you said: "The only ones that I
4 recognised," which means that you didn't ask anyone - you say: "I
5 recognised were the generals Pavle Strugar, Jeremija, Radomir Damjanovic,
6 Miodrag Jokic, and Bozo Babic."
7 Further on, on page -- on the next page, paragraph 2, where you
8 mention that General Strugar said that he was happy that the Montenegrins
9 were going to fight, he said that his words were echoed by Jeremija,
10 Damjanovic, Jokic, and particularly by Babic, who spoke a lot. So you
11 even mention here that Jokic took floor at this meeting.
12 Also, on the same page, the next paragraph, where you describe --
13 where you mention Kristo Djurovic, in your last sentence in the B/C/S
14 version, you said: "Instead, Jokic attended the meeting, and he was fully
15 in support of the attack, and who was later to become Djurovic's
17 Then on the next page, in paragraph 1, you say: "Based on my
18 knowledge, I cannot say what actually happened, but I can say that within
19 an hour, Jokic was prepared to take his command duty, and that is after
20 Djurovic had been killed."
21 On page 19, paragraph 3 from the top, you say: "During this
22 period, I had an opportunity to talk to Strugar and Jokic. That was the
23 only contact that I had with them after the 1st of October meeting, which
24 implies that Jokic was there on the 1st of October."
25 And also on this same page, paragraph 4, you said -- when you
1 called Strugar and Jokic regarding the British men, you say that there was
2 no insolence that they demonstrated at the meeting of the 1st of October,
3 and before that you said that someone had provided telephone numbers of
4 Strugar and Jokic.
5 I believe that you have stated seven times, quite decidedly, not
6 only of the presence of Jokic at the meeting, but also that he spoke at
7 the meeting, and that you even communicated during the meeting on the 1st
8 of October. So it cannot be seen as an error, a minor error, or any other
9 error that you would like to represent here today. Is that correct?
10 A. No, it's not correct. My conversation with Jokic was on the
11 phone, and it happened much later after the 1st of October. It was
12 sometime in November. And this conversation has nothing to do with the
13 1st of October.
14 Further -- allow me to continue. So that was the first mistake
15 which was perpetuated, and I didn't react to that in time, so it just
16 remained in the text. But as soon as I noticed this, I reacted. At
17 first, I did not notice this oversight. It was just an error. Because
18 there was no reason for me to say that Jokic was there if he wasn't there.
19 Q. But what reason could you have to say that his words were echoed
20 by Strugar and Jokic? Who imputed that to you?
21 A. Whoever did that, it wasn't Jokic who could have echoed that,
22 because he wasn't there.
23 Q. Why did you say that six times in the statement?
24 A. Not six times. You are talking rubbish. It says that once it was
25 Jokic who echoed. One mistake was made when the name of Jokic was
1 inserted, and it was perpetuated. I explained that during my testimony at
2 the Milosevic case as soon as I noticed that that was a mistake. And I
3 think that that was not even my mistake, but the people who wrote down my
5 Q. Mr. Samardzic, I read to you passages from your statement where
6 you have repeatedly mentioned, seven times, that General Jokic was present
7 at the meeting.
8 A. Even if you say that it's been repeated 70 times, Jokic was not
9 there. It just somehow slipped in. Because there are 34 pages of this
10 statement, so it's quite to be expected that these kind of errors could
11 occur, especially if the statement was given by a man who was very ill,
12 who was just discharged from the hospital. And even if I said so - and I
13 don't think I did - because at first I couldn't remember all the names.
14 There were five or six people with me in Sydney. They were just asking
15 me: Was this person there, was that person there? I confirmed, and that
16 is how this happened. However, my conversation that I had in late October
17 or early November with Jokic has nothing to do with the 1st of October
19 Q. We shall come later to that.
20 A. You were the one who raised these questions.
21 Q. We'll go back to that later.
22 After you were discharged from the hospital, did anyone coerce you
23 into making a statement to the investigators?
24 A. No, there was no coercion. I gave it on my own free will. But I
25 can't say that I was perfectly healthy.
1 Q. Did any of the investigators insert seven incorrect statements in
2 your statement that you after that signed, after you have read it?
3 A. I wouldn't phrase it like that.
4 Q. Yes. Phrase it in your own way.
5 A. I already said that there was a mistake while I spoke with
6 Mr. Williamson, who speaks in a Louisiana accent, different from my
7 Australia accent, and it is obvious that certain mistakes occurred. In
8 addition, the translation into the B/C/S is not compatible and not
9 adequate to the one that I made in English. So if we analyse both, we
10 could discover many, many more mistakes. There are some wrong dates and
11 things like that which were beyond my control.
12 For instance, I just recently looked at it, and it says that the
13 Lord Carrington's project was discussed on the 6th of October, instead of
14 it was on the 7th of October. And there are many more things like that.
15 About if you wish to use that against him, you are free to do that. The
16 translation is very bad. You cannot translate folklore poems into
17 English, giving them a totally different meaning, and then impute that to
18 me. Please, we can hardly reach any truth if we work on this basis.
19 Q. You are fully -- you're completely right, and I agree with you.
20 But I am not talking about wrong dates, about the Louisiana accent, wrong
21 figures and dates. The issue here is a person, large enough and important
22 enough, for whom, among other things, it is said here on seven occasions
23 that he was present there and that he even took the floor. I wouldn't
24 compare this with the wrong translation or anything like that, and I
25 really don't see how can anyone erroneously translate from English into
1 B/C/S that Jokic was present at the meeting, because that is also the
2 B/C/S version says, the translation.
3 A. Not all of this is correct. I've only given you several examples.
4 I must repeat this again: There was an error, with no ill intent, which I
5 corrected in time. Now you can say whatever you like, but there was no
6 ill will, no bad intentions behind it. The first time I realised there
7 was an error when I testified in the Milosevic case over a year ago, I
8 said clearly that Jokic wasn't there. I think that should be sufficient
9 explanation, both for yourself, Mr. Rodic, and for the Tribunal itself.
10 No one forced me to say that Jokic was there. When I testified in the
11 Milosevic case, I said immediately that Jokic wasn't there. There is
12 absolutely no intent, no intention on my part to place Jokic there.
13 You can criticise me, you can judge me, because I did make an
14 error, but there was no ill intent behind this error, and this error has
15 been set right. I don't think it's an essential error, anyway, no matter
16 how much you insist on it.
17 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Samardzic. And now for what I've
18 promised. In your testimony in the Milosevic case, on page 11185, lines
19 21 and 22, you say that "present at the meeting there were military
20 officials, three or four generals wearing combat uniform." You never made
21 any reference to him as not being there, nor did you make any corrections
22 in relation to your statement of 2000. And along the same lines, let me
23 just say this: If you don't trust me, if you don't believe that what I've
24 read out to you is true, if you don't believe that there are seven
25 references in your statement to Admiral Jokic being there, do you wish to
1 have the English statement --
2 MS. SOMERS: Objection, Your Honour. What is being presented is
3 not the complete version of the testimony, to the best of my recollection,
4 and we'd ask to be given an opportunity, if this is going to persist, to
5 have the actual question and the actual answer about who was present, from
6 the Milosevic case.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Could there be an accurate reading of the relevant
8 questions and answers?
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll try, if you
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic.
12 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] So we're talking about page 11185,
13 and there's a reference in line 13, the following reference: [In
14 English], "Was then a meeting was held, the extraordinary session, or
15 rather, expanded, enlarged session, as it was referred to?"
16 [Interpretation] That's part of the previous answer. The question: [In
17 English] "What was discussed?" [Interpretation] Answer: [In English] "I
18 came to the meeting late. I wasn't there from the beginning, but towards
19 the end, because President Bulatovic sent me, with Lord Carrington's
20 deputy, Mr. Wejnaendts, to visit Cetinje. So when I went into the hall, I
21 was quite shocked. I have never seen a meeting of that kind. There were
22 about eight military persons, three or four generals, at least, wearing
23 war uniforms, and they were sitting at the tables that we would usually
24 sit at when we held government meetings, and the entire leadership of
25 Montenegro was there, who were not government members led by President
2 [Interpretation] Next question, and so on and so forth.
3 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. I will endeavour during
4 redirect to give you the complete line of questioning on this matter from
5 the transcript.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Well, we have that much into the
8 Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. I think, if you wish to pursue the
9 question of what was said at the Milosevic trial, it would probably be
10 useful for you for that to be done when we next resume, so that you've had
11 an opportunity to consider it in full, unless you're about to finish your
13 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm afraid I have not
14 quite understood what you're saying. Do you mean that we should have a
15 break now and run a check on this, or ...
16 [Defence counsel confer]
17 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] It's all right. I understand now. My
18 error. I apologise. I will then continue discussing this later on and
19 continue my examination on this particular issue later.
20 Q. Mr. Samardzic, during the examination-in-chief by the OTP, in
21 answer to questions about who said what at that meeting, a meeting held on
22 the 1st of October, you said a number of times that General Strugar had
23 said that Montenegro had been attacked by 30.000 Ustashe. You state that
24 he said this a number of times, that he said that we had been attacked and
25 that we had to defend ourselves, that 30.000 Ustashe were encroaching on
1 Montenegro. He said that we would defend Yugoslavia with minimum losses,
2 and so on and so forth.
3 So you say this at least two or three times in the course of your
4 examination-in-chief, about General Strugar saying this and about that
5 being the first thing you heard, having joined the meeting.
6 And then you go on to say that Momir Bulatovic, the president of
7 Montenegro's presidency, and other people there, said the same thing later
8 on; is that correct?
9 A. What I said is perfectly correct, but you're trying to twist my
10 words around. General Strugar said that 30.000 Ustashe were encroaching
11 on Boka and that we had to defend ourselves. The first thing [As
12 interpreted] you said was that we have been attacked. There are 30.000
13 Ustashe and we have to defend ourselves. Momir Bulatovic repeated the
14 same thing, and other speakers also said that we should defend ourselves.
15 I said it too. I said if we were attacked, well, then, we should defend
16 ourselves. I see no particular distinction there, and nothing
17 contentious. It is now 12 years later that I'm trying to memorise the
18 exact words spoken on that occasion, and that's all.
19 Q. Again, I must ask you: Do you still stand by your statement, what
20 you said now about the information on 30.000 Ustashe --
21 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
22 MS. SOMERS: It is a misquotation of the record. What was said on
23 the unofficial record that I have from the -- it appears on page 26,
24 line 11: "Was that the first you heard of these 30.000 Ustashe
25 suggestion," not the first thing you heard.
1 So if perhaps we could just make sure that that is what was -- the
2 thrust of the question.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Well, there may be a distinction there, Mr. Rodic,
4 but I don't think it's critical to your questioning. So if you want to
6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] By all means, Your Honour. I will
7 then phrase my question differently.
8 Q. Where was it that you first heard that an attack on Cena Gora
9 [phoen] was in the offing, or rather that 30.000 Ustashe were about to
11 A. The first time I heard this was from General Strugar and Momir
12 Bulatovic. They were sitting next to one another, or rather they occupied
13 the other sides of the table but they were saying the same thing, that we
14 had been attacked, that 30.000 Ustashe were encroaching on Montenegro,
15 were invading Montenegro.
16 Q. Very well. The essence of my question is not about distinction
17 between attack and encroach. But what I want to know is whether General
18 Strugar and Mr. Bulatovic spoke at the same time. What I want to know is
19 who was the first to say this? Who was the first person you heard this
21 A. From Strugar. However, according to my information, Momir
22 Bulatovic said the same thing. Maybe he even said it earlier than
23 Strugar, or maybe even before I arrived. I don't know what they had been
24 talking about at the meeting before I arrived, before I entered the
25 conference room. However, when I came in, General Strugar was the one who
1 said 30.000 Ustashe are on their way and we have to defend ourselves. And
2 then Bulatovic spoke and some other ministers spoke. So the sequence
3 itself, I can't remember who spoke directly after Bulatovic spoke.
4 Knezevic, Abramovic, they all spoke later. Even Obradovic, who opposed
5 the war, spoke. I think he was the education minister. And that was the
6 general course of the debate, and that's what I remember.
7 Q. If you look at it logically, you said that this was a government
8 meeting, an expanded session. And if you look at the logic of the
9 situation, who should be expected to be the first to speak at such a
10 meeting? You being a member of the cabinet, so you should know who opens
11 the meeting and who speaks first.
12 A. This was practically the introduction of military administration
13 in Montenegro. This was no ordinary session of the cabinet. During usual
14 sessions, half the seats are empty, and this evening, the room was full.
15 It was crammed with ministers, generals, assistant ministers, military
16 people. It was a session behind closed doors, and this was the
17 introduction of military administration, to all practical intents and
18 purposes, in Montenegro.
19 Q. So let me get this clear. This was no ordinary government
21 Q. Mr. Samardzic, please understand. I'm not interested in what sort
22 of a session, meeting it was. My question is trying to focus on the
23 essence of this matter. In view of who was present, the cabinet, okay,
24 the expanded cabinet. So we may have visitors, for example, the president
25 of the Presidency of Montenegro and military officials and generals. In
1 view of the presence of the ministers, the Prime Minister, the president
2 of the state, and the generals there, is there an inherent logic to the
3 situation? Who would have been the first to speak? Who was the most
4 senior person present?
5 A. The president of the Presidency. However, he did not preside over
6 the session. So according to the same logic, it might as well have been
7 General Strugar to speak first, because there was a war in the offing. A
8 war was about to begin. So there's another logic there you could apply.
9 However, neither of them were presiding over the meeting. They were the
10 two key figures at the meeting, although they were not technically
12 Q. Very well. Okay. General Strugar was the first person to say
13 this, and he was the first person you heard this from. And then after
14 that, Momir Bulatovic echoed his words?
15 A. I can't rule out the possibility that Momir Bulatovic said this
16 before I got there. I can't rule that out. I'm only telling you what I
18 Q. Well, that's precisely what I want to hear about. That's
19 precisely what I want to know. You heard General Strugar say this. He
20 was the first person you heard. But Momir Bulatovic may have said it
21 before you arrived there?
22 A. Yes. That's because the meeting had already been in course for
23 two hours before I got there.
24 Q. On page 10 of your statement, dated 2002 --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, you're coming in much too quickly for
1 the interpretation.
2 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] My apologies.
3 Q. On page 10 of your statement of 2000, the statement you gave to
4 the investigators, in the last paragraph, you state the
5 following: "Djukanovic presided over the meeting but Bulatovic was
6 present too. Bulatovic spoke about 30.000 Ustashe attacking Montenegro
7 and that we had to defend ourselves."
8 The first person you refer to in your statement in connection with
9 this 30.000 Ustashe claim is Bulatovic. And let me tell you something
10 else too. Before the end of your 34-page statement, you make several
11 references to the specific number, 30.000 Ustashe. But there's not a
12 single reference in your entire statement to the name of General Strugar
13 as being in any sort of connection with anything like this being said,
14 this claim being made, or you ever hearing anything like that. How can
15 you explain that?
16 A. I'm not sure what you want me to say. Even the first time around,
17 I said that I heard General Strugar say this. I never said that he never
18 said this. But this 30.000 Ustashe claim, General Strugar was not the
19 only one to bring it up. They heard from General Strugar, all the others,
20 that there were 30.000 Ustashe, so everyone -- this just perpetuated
21 itself, this 30.000 figure. That's what I said and that's what you find
22 written in my statement. I never said that General Strugar did not say
23 this, but at the same time I must point out that other people present at
24 the meeting, other ministers, were making references to 30.000 Ustashas,
25 because this was something that they had heard from General Strugar and
1 from Momir Bulatovic before I even walked in. Therefore, there is no
2 discrepancy or contradiction whatsoever, as you're trying to insinuate. I
3 see no contradiction there. That's precisely how it was. 30.000 Ustashe
4 about to attack Montenegro. I took this in, because I was there, and
5 later this turned out not to have been true.
6 Q. Can we now continue, please.
7 A. Please. Be my guest.
8 Q. A while ago we had a discussion on a very simple issue before we
9 managed to agree. Again, in the year 2000, which was the first interview
10 you had with the investigators, and you provided a written statement, you
11 said what I assume was the first thing you laid eyes on when you walked
12 into the meeting: "Bulatovic spoke about 30.000 Ustashe about to attack
13 Montenegro and that we had to defend ourselves." It is still my
14 submission to you that in this statement, there is not a single reference
15 by name to General Strugar as even having repeated this 30.000 Ustashe
16 claim, unequivocally, let alone stating that he was the first person you
17 heard this 30.000 Ustashe claim from. So my question to you now is how do
18 you explain the discrepancy between your statement here today and as
19 stated in your 2000 statement?
20 A. I see no difference between the two whatsoever. General Strugar
21 said 30.000 and Momir Bulatovic also said 30.000, and this was a benchmark
22 for the rest of us there. General Strugar was a professional. Please
23 allow me to finish. His reputation was great, and even what
24 Momir Bulatovic was saying, the assumption was that he must have heard it
25 from General Strugar. Bulatovic spoke about it. Milo Djukanovic spoke
1 about it. Other ministers who were there spoke about it. It's all about
2 the psychology of perception, how this seeps into your head. So the
3 assumption is that a professional military man, a general, would have been
4 the first to say it.
5 The reason I didn't point out General Strugar and single him out
6 in my statement is because I simply didn't think it necessary. I don't
7 think anyone else would have even made any reference to 30.000 Ustashe had
8 it not been for General Strugar's presence at the meeting. That's
9 precisely why he was there, why he came to the meeting to tell us that a
10 army was about to attack and it was our duty to defend ourselves. That
11 was the purpose of the whole meeting, that was the purpose of his presence
12 at the meeting.
13 Q. Let me turn this around now. The same thing you just told us now,
14 why didn't you say the same thing to the investigators back in 2000?
15 A. What do you mean I didn't? That's precisely what I told them,
16 that General Strugar was there, that 30.000 Ustashe were about to attack
17 Montenegro. Just ask the investigators. What you're putting to me that
18 the first investigator spoke and the second investigator and then the next
19 one, there was no need for us to talk at cross-purposes like that.
20 General Strugar and all the remaining generals who were present at the
21 meeting were there to tell us that a foreign army was about to attack
23 Q. All right. We've heard that already.
24 A. Well, there's nothing in addition to that.
25 Q. Well, the essential difference is: Why didn't you tell the
1 investigators back in the year 2000?
2 A. What do you mean, I didn't? Of course I did. Maybe not in the
3 same sequence that you're giving us now. Please allow me. I told the
4 investigators precisely as I remembered. I was in a state of shock that
5 evening, and it was my deepest conviction that the army would never attack
6 Dubrovnik, despite all your stories about Croats doing this or doing that
7 or what was in the offing. Your stories just a while ago. Of course
8 that's what I mean. It was my deepest conviction that the JNA would not
9 move to attack Dubrovnik, a peaceful town, that they would not start out
10 to demolish that town.
11 Q. But that was not my question.
12 A. Yes, but it's a statement I'm making now. What I wish to say
13 is -- you're asking me about the things that happened that night. I was
14 deeply shocked by what I had heard there.
15 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could you please caution
16 the witness to provide brief answers to my questions. If he doesn't have
17 an answer, then he might as well say that he doesn't know.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I know plenty. I know more
19 than you believe I do.
20 JUDGE PARKER: I think it would be a profitable time for us to
21 conclude this afternoon's session. We've gone a little over time because
22 you were on an important issue.
23 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] My apologies for that, Your Honour.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I think we have fully appreciated the point that
25 you're making.
1 Before we break, could I mention the issue of the Prosecution
2 request for protective measures in respect of a future witness. The only
3 issue is whether there should be facial, voice, and pseudonym measures
4 accorded. Is there any objection to that, Mr. Petrovic?
5 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I would just like to
6 ask you to have a moment, in view of the essence of this issue. Can we
7 please go into private session for this? We have a brief answer, but also
8 I'm rather worried by the presence of the witness here in the courtroom.
9 I'll try to keep my explanation down to just a couple of words, or
10 Mr. Samardzic may as well stay, in order to save time. But can we please
11 have private session?
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, private session.
13 MS. SOMERS: Your Honour, I can only comment that the purpose of
14 private session is defeated by the retained presence of the witness,
16 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Samardzic, thank you very much for your
18 evidence today. We must ask you to return when we resume on Monday, at
19 9.00 in the morning. I wonder if you'd now go with the court officer.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 [Private session]
12 Page 1217 redacted, private session
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.54 p.m.
22 to be reconvened on Monday, the 26th day of January,
23 2004, at 9.00 a.m.