Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 8029

1 Thursday, 15 July 2004

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.39 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.

7 Good morning, Mrs. Strugar.

8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.

9 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... that I will ask

10 you whether you solemnly declare that you will speak the truth, the whole

11 truth, and nothing but the truth when you give your evidence today.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak

13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that.

15 Mr. Rodic.

16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.


18 [Witness answered through interpreter]

19 Examined by Mr. Rodic:

20 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mrs. Strugar. Can you state your

21 full name.

22 A. My name is Katica Strugar.

23 Q. Tell us, please: Where and when were you born?

24 A. I was born on the 23rd of August, 1934, in Novi Sad.

25 Q. What are you by ethnicity?

Page 8030

1 A. I am an ethnic Croat, Roman Catholic.

2 Q. Where did your family live?

3 A. My family lived in Serbia for a while. Later, my father -- we

4 were quite many in our family. We were ten children, in fact. Five of us

5 are still alive. We lived in Serbia. Then my father moved back to

6 Croatia. We lived in Croatia for a while. And then we returned to Serbia

7 again. When my father retired, he was a Dalmatian. Therefore, he wanted

8 to go back to Croatia and he went back to Pula, which is where my parents

9 are buried.

10 Q. Thank you. Madam, do you still have any brothers or sisters who

11 are still alive?

12 A. Yes. Three brothers and one sister. Two brothers and my sister

13 live in Zagreb, and I have one brother who lives in Pula. About two

14 months ago, I visited them, after 14 years, and I also went to my parents'

15 grave.

16 Q. Madam, can you tell us about your educational background, please.

17 A. I completed secondary pharmaceutical education and that was my job

18 later on.

19 Q. After you completed your education, did you get a job, and when

20 was that?

21 A. That was back in 1954. I got a job in the Zemun hospital

22 pharmacy. Soon after I met my husband.

23 Q. How did you get to meet Pavle?

24 A. Well, he too worked in Zemun at the time, and we used the same

25 means of public transportation and we would see each other every day. And

Page 8031

1 as we were travelling to work, we became closer.

2 Q. When did you marry him?

3 A. In 1957, in January, we got married in Pec.

4 Q. What was his job at the time?

5 A. He had already been transferred to Valjevo.

6 Q. So he was a member of the army?

7 A. Yes, the JNA.

8 Q. What was his ethnicity?

9 A. He was a Montenegrin by ethnicity.

10 Q. Was that an obstacle to your life together?

11 A. No, certainly not. I can provide an intimate detail here. Once

12 he met me, he said, "I want to meet your parents too." And I told him,

13 "Well, there's one thing you must keep in mind. I'm a Croat." And then

14 he answered, "Well, that's got nothing to do with it, does it? What

15 matters is our love. And since you've told me this, I have to tell you

16 something too. Do you know who you are marrying? Do you know I'm a

17 military officer? Do you know that I took a vow to serve my country? Do

18 you know that whenever I get a transfer to another possibly even distant

19 place I'll just have to go, and this may be any place at all between

20 Triglav in the north and Djevdjelija in the south." And I just told him,

21 "I'll go with you anywhere, just anywhere."

22 Q. Ms. Strugar, do you have any children?

23 A. We have two sons, Predrag, who was born in 1958, and Nenad, who

24 was born in 1966.

25 Q. Throughout his military career, was Mr. Strugar transferred very

Page 8032

1 often?

2 A. Yes. Not only very often; all too often, I'd say. As soon as we

3 were married, got married -- when we got married, we were in Valjevo, and

4 then after that we were in Belgrade. After Belgrade, we had to go to

5 Slovenia. He was assigned to Bovec, but we lived about 40 kilometres away

6 from him, because that was the only place we could find any private

7 accommodation. And I lived there with our eldest son, and it was on a

8 military cot that I gave birth to our second child in 1966, Nenad. It was

9 only a while later that we were allocated a flat in Bovec. I went there.

10 But then we left Bovec for Kranj. From Kranj we had to go to Prokuplje

11 Q. That's the south of Serbia, isn't it?

12 A. Yes, that's correct. From Prokuplje, we were back in Belgrade,

13 and then from Belgrade to Pirot, and then from Pirot to Zajecar, from

14 Zajecar to Sabac, from Sabac to Belgrade, and from Belgrade to Podgorica.

15 And this is something that I must point out. Regardless of

16 whether we had a flat to live in or not, he always tried so hard. He did

17 his best to keep the family together so we could spend time together at

18 all times.

19 Q. What about these many transfers? How many times did you have to

20 move?

21 A. I'd say about 20 times, because we were never given a flat, and he

22 had to look for private accommodation so we could stay with him. This is

23 something he always wanted.

24 Q. Madam, what about your children? Did they go to the same school

25 or did they have to change schools all the time?

Page 8033

1 A. No. Especially my eldest son, he had to change seven different

2 schools throughout his elementary education, and in terms of secondary

3 education he went to three different schools. Therefore, he began his

4 last grade of secondary school in Pirot and completed it in Zajecar. The

5 same applies to my youngest son. He had to change schools about five

6 times.

7 Q. Tell me, Madam: What is their educational background? That of

8 your sons, I mean.

9 A. My eldest son had completed two years of a school for economics,

10 and then later he wanted to go to military academy. He completed military

11 academy and also he completed a PE college. My youngest son completed a

12 school for catering and tourism.

13 Q. Every time your husband got a transfer, did you manage to hold on

14 to a job throughout this time?

15 A. No. It was often the case, for example, when we were in Slovenia,

16 I was out of a job. I worked in Zemun. I worked in Valjevo. I worked

17 while we were in Pirot, in Zajecar, in Sabac, and also in Belgrade. And

18 that's where I finally met all the conditions for early retirement.

19 Q. How long have you been married for, Madam?

20 A. 47 years.

21 Q. Pavle Strugar, what's he like as a husband and father?

22 A. As a husband, very sensitive, very tender to me, especially since

23 I've taken ill. He devoted every spare moment he had to take me to

24 hospital for checks and examinations and to stick with me throughout this

25 difficult time. He respected me, and I respected him back.

Page 8034

1 He was a very good father to our children, very tender, but he

2 could also be very strict when that was required. He wanted them to

3 respect his every word. And he wanted to have the final say, after all,

4 especially when they were young boys and he would usually tell them by

5 what time they had to come back in. There was no way they could have gone

6 against that. They had to comply with what he said.

7 Q. In addition to his regular job with the army, did he also try to

8 pursue specialised studies?

9 A. He was not an overly ambitious man, not in a bad way. He just

10 worked hard to create a future for his family. He worked hard. He

11 pursued specialised courses and training to make himself a better

12 professional and he earned everything that he got.

13 Q. Did Pavle like his job?

14 A. Very much so. He very much liked his job, and he respected his

15 job.

16 Q. Did he keep job and family apart or was his family affected

17 because of the kind of work he did?

18 A. No. He kept the two apart and we were never affected. When he

19 came home, he dedicated himself to me and our children, and he wanted his

20 children to do lots of sports. He was a very proficient skier, and when

21 we still lived in Slovenia, he wanted our children to learn to ski, and

22 they were very successful in that. They won distinctions and medals in

23 different competitions. Therefore, he wanted his children to do lots of

24 sports and he spent all the spare time that he had with me and our

25 children.

Page 8035

1 Now, as for his work, I never talked to him about it. It was just

2 something we didn't talk about at home.

3 Q. You've told us that Pavle is a Montenegrin by ethnicity and you

4 are a Croat yourself. In your relationship, have you ever noticed that he

5 showed any hostility to someone who was of a different ethnicity than

6 himself?

7 A. No. That was never the case. That's not the sort of man he is.

8 He has a mixed ethnic background in terms of his family, and so do I.

9 Some of my relatives are Serbs, some are Croats. He has both Muslims and

10 Slovenes in his family. It was a mix. All he ever tried was to be an

11 honourable man.

12 Q. How did he treat your family?

13 A. With respect. He was and he still is dearly loved by them. They

14 always ask questions about him, and now that I was in Croatia, they send

15 him greetings and their love. They want this to come to a speedy end so

16 we can spend the rest of our lives, what little remains, in peace.

17 And there is another thing I wish to say. Every time we went on

18 vacation, he wanted us to spend half the vacation with my family and the

19 other half with his family. That's how it was.

20 Q. What do you know about Pavle's family?

21 A. I've been part of that family for a very long time, so I know

22 quite a bit. He also comes from a big family. They were 12 children in

23 his family. Three of his brothers got killed in World War II, in the

24 national liberation struggle. They were partisans in World War II. Three

25 of his sisters also took part in World War II, and one of them was awarded

Page 8036

1 a badge of courage. It's a working family, a family of honest people.

2 They accepted me as if I were their daughter.

3 Q. Thank you. Back in 1990 and 1991, what was Pavle's reaction to

4 what was going on in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia?

5 A. Well, as I said, precisely on account of our mixed backgrounds,

6 what started to happen was a tragedy, for him and for me, and we couldn't

7 even assume back at the time what would happen. But we were really afraid

8 and we were really concerned.

9 Q. In 1991, did Pavle go to the front?

10 A. Yes. He had no choice. He had taken a vow to serve his country.

11 Q. Was that what he said to you at the time?

12 A. That's precisely what he said. He said, "My love, I have to go.

13 Take heart." We just wanted to believe that the whole thing would settle

14 down gradually and that the end would not be so painful.

15 Q. Can you tell us when Pavle retired?

16 A. He retired in 2000 and -- I can't remember the exact year. I

17 think it was 2001, but I can't be sure about this. I'm sorry. I really

18 don't know.

19 Q. Fair enough. Thank you. Did Pavle have any health problems?

20 A. Yes. He did too, especially with his kidneys. There's something

21 else I can tell you. Whenever he was the one to be ill, he wanted to

22 spare me the trouble. He wanted to cope on his own. He had had about ten

23 stone kidneys extracted and he knew what enormous pain that was. And he

24 just wanted to be shut up in a room before the emergency arrived. He

25 wanted to spare us watching him in pain.

Page 8037

1 Q. Tell me, Mrs. Strugar: Where do you live now?

2 A. I live in Podgorica. But in view of my health condition, I cannot

3 live on my own. There always has to be someone by my side. So our

4 children take turns and they bring me to Belgrade. We have four wonderful

5 grandchildren. They have very small apartments, 54 square metres each.

6 But it's not too small for us. We want to overcome this as soon as

7 possible.

8 Q. Tell me: Do your sons have jobs?

9 A. No.

10 Q. Tell me, Mrs. Strugar: What is the condition of your own health?

11 A. Since 1981 or 1982, I have severe health problems. I have

12 glaucoma on both eyes. I got ill while we were in Sabac, then he urgently

13 transferred me too Belgrade to the military academy where surgery was

14 performed on both eyes immediately, and after that I had two more

15 interventions. Unfortunately, I lost my left eye. As for the right

16 eye -- I'm terribly sorry. I'm under therapy all the time, and I have to

17 go for check-ups.

18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please distribute a

19 document.

20 Q. Mrs. Strugar --

21 A. Please go ahead.

22 Q. Can we go ahead?

23 A. Yes, yes.

24 Q. Tell me: What's the situation like with your other eye now? Is

25 it damaged?

Page 8038

1 A. Yes. I had surgery recently, cataract, and I went for eye

2 correction less than a month ago. My eyesight was corrected. I have to

3 go for check-ups all the time. And I put a lens in my left eye because I

4 have an inflammation there, the cornea.

5 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please put the

6 original document there.

7 Q. Mrs. Strugar, could you please take a look at this and tell us

8 whether these are your medical findings. Are these the findings of your

9 doctor?

10 A. Oh, yes, Professor Kuljaca. He actually performed surgery on my

11 eyes and I went to be treated by him only recently. He did this eyesight

12 correction. He has been monitoring the condition of my health and this is

13 the original document.

14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. We won't be needing it any

15 longer.

16 Q. Tell me, Mrs. Strugar: Due to your health problems, was Pavle

17 always by your side?

18 A. Yes, all the time. And we sought help everywhere. He took me

19 everywhere, just in order to help me.

20 Q. Tell me, please: Due to your poor eyesight, do you need an escort

21 in order to be able to move about?

22 A. Yes. I can't walk on my own.

23 Q. Tell me, please: How did Pavle Strugar react in October 2001,

24 when the indictment against him was made public?

25 A. That was very painful for us, for the entire family. When this

Page 8039

1 became public, many people gave him advice: Do this, do that. After

2 having slept on it, or rather, not having slept on it throughout the

3 night, he called me and he said, "Dear, I have to tell you that I want to

4 surrender this very minute and go before this Honourable Court, to prove

5 my innocence." I accepted that, as always. I made no comment. I trust

6 this Honourable Court and I believe that the truth will prevail.

7 Q. Tell me, Mrs. Strugar: Did you stay in Podgorica on your own?

8 A. Yes. Pavle has a nephew there, the son of his late brother, and

9 for a while they were by my side, and then our sons came.

10 Q. Tell me, finally: Let me just ask you one more thing. You've

11 been married for a long time with Pavle. Have you ever heard anything bad

12 about him from anyone?

13 A. No. On the contrary. I told you how many apartments we changed,

14 owned by landlords, owned by the army, wherever. As a family, we were

15 welcomed everywhere, and everybody respected us. We never had any

16 conflicts with anyone, anywhere.

17 Q. Mrs. Strugar, thank you.

18 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have concluded my

19 examination-in-chief, and I would just like to tender this document, the

20 medical findings of Mrs. Strugar. Could it please be assigned a number.

21 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.

22 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the number will be D107.

23 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.

24 MS. SOMERS: Just a very brief couple of practical questions, Your

25 Honour.

Page 8040

1 Cross-examined by Ms. Somers:

2 Q. Good morning, Ms. Strugar.

3 A. Good morning Mrs. Somers.

4 Q. Nice to see you. Mrs. Strugar, I wonder if you could just help me

5 understand about where your treatment for your eye condition is taking

6 place. Is it -- I see the seal of the letter. There's a stamp on the

7 letter. It says "Belgrade." Are you being treated regularly in Belgrade?

8 A. Yes. When I live in Podgorica, I have a doctor there as well who

9 comes every now and then. This is this doctor, Professor Kuljaca, who

10 performed surgery on my eyes, so I'll always under medical control.

11 Q. Okay. Do you still -- if I understand correctly, you still do

12 live in Belgrade, you have your house in Belgrade. Are your boys living

13 part time in Belgrade -- I'm sorry. In Podgorica. Excuse me. You still

14 have your house in Podgorica? That's your -- where you really live?

15 A. Yes. Yes. Where you saw us. That is locked up now. There's no

16 one there, because I cannot live on my own. I'm staying with either one

17 of the boys or the other one. I told you, both my sons have two children

18 each. They're big children. And their apartments are 54 square metres

19 only. So I stay with them, but never mind, it's not too small for us.

20 Q. But that's in Podgorica or in Belgrade? Have they moved

21 completely to Podgorica or are they in Belgrade?

22 A. Yes. They live in Belgrade, with their families.

23 Q. So you're spending most of your time now in Belgrade?

24 A. For the most part, yes.

25 Q. Thank you for clearing that up.

Page 8041

1 Besides this trip, in addition to this particular trip that you

2 have made to come see your husband, have you been outside of the former

3 Yugoslavia before? Have you ever travelled foreign before this trip

4 today?

5 A. No. No. No, unfortunately.

6 Q. Do your sons have automobiles? Are they able to transport you

7 when you need to be transported, or do you have to rely on trams or --

8 A. Yes. Yes. Yes. They do, yes.

9 Q. And there are -- their wives are also assisting in whatever

10 assistance you might need, your daughters-in-law help out?

11 A. Oh, indeed, yes. I'm on very good terms, exceptionally good terms

12 with my daughters-in-law. They're very attentive to me and their children

13 are, so there are no problems in that respect.

14 Q. Your sons, you indicated, are presently not working. What are

15 their professions, if they have professional training, or what is their

16 vocation?

17 A. I've told you that our older son completed the military academy

18 and the college of physical education, and every now and then he has a

19 part-time job teaching. The younger son also has part-time jobs, but

20 neither sons -- neither one of my sons have permanent jobs.

21 Q. Are your daughters-in-law working?

22 A. One daughter-in-law is a pharmacist, my older son's wife. She

23 went to university and has a university degree in pharmaceutics, and the

24 younger one is still looking for a job. She has also applied -- she is

25 also registered with the bureau of unemployment.

Page 8042

1 Q. Q. I observe that one of your sons accompanied you to

2 The Hague today. I'm sure you're very happy about that. Has -- have your

3 boys been outside? Have they travelled foreign besides the trip that one

4 of your sons has made today? Or is this the first time either of your

5 sons has been outside Yugoslavia, or the former Yugoslavia?

6 A. Well, I know they went skiing. I told you that, that the younger

7 son went with my sister, because my sister has no children. Then she took

8 him to Italy. The older son was in the Tatra mountains with skiers. But

9 otherwise, no, they didn't.

10 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Mrs. Strugar. There's nothing

11 more I have to ask you.

12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too, Mrs. Somers.

13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Rodic, is there anything further?

14 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have no additional

15 questions. Thank you.

16 JUDGE PARKER: Mrs. Strugar, thank you very much for coming to

17 The Hague and for the evidence you've given to assist the Tribunal. That

18 concludes your evidence. You can just stay seated for a little while and

19 we'll attend to one or two other matters, and then you will be able to

20 spend a moment here with your husband.

21 Mr. Rodic, what is the next position with the next witness?

22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, unfortunately, the

23 Defence cannot bring in the next witness who was planned for today due to

24 health problems. We had our last contact with the witness this morning,

25 before entering the courtroom, and he was waiting to go and see a doctor.

Page 8043

1 So during the course of the day, we hope that the witness's health

2 condition will improve after he sees the doctor and after he receives some

3 therapy. Then perhaps the witness may be ready to appear before the

4 Honourable Trial Chamber tomorrow.

5 We tried last night too. We went to see him. But he had these

6 health problems. He pointed out what the health problems were, so he

7 could not really speak to us properly last night in order to be able to

8 appear in Court this morning. The situation continued until this morning.

9 This morning, before entering the courtroom, we contacted him. His

10 condition remained unchanged, and he was waiting to go and see a doctor.

11 That's the last witness we have here in The Hague, the last

12 witness who was planned for this week in The Hague, except for tomorrow.

13 What we have planned for tomorrow, the videolink witness.

14 JUDGE PARKER: I take it, first, that you see no prospect of the

15 witness being available this afternoon.

16 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, right now, at this

17 moment, I really cannot say anything about that. I can take it upon

18 myself to contact the witness after the break to see what the result of

19 the medical examination was, to see what the situation is, and to ask

20 him. But you will understand that I wouldn't want to force him to do

21 anything. It really would depend on his health. But I will certainly

22 contact him, and I will notify the Honourable Trial Chamber.

23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that, Mr. Rodic. We would appreciate

24 that, in particular because your phone call will determine whether the

25 accused needs to just continue to wait here or whether he can go back to

Page 8044

1 the Detention Centre, and I can well expect that he would be much happier

2 going back to the Detention Centre. So the sooner you can get word to

3 Ms. Musser, the better on that.

4 The second matter is that the witness tomorrow certainly won't

5 take the whole of the morning session, by the look of things.

6 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Well, I think that during the first

7 session, probably not the entire session, the Defence will probably take

8 an hour, an hour and 15 minutes, and we'll do our best to complete the

9 examination-in-chief within that time.

10 JUDGE PARKER: Well, if your witness from today may be able to be

11 heard then tomorrow morning. The effect of all of this, of course, is

12 that it will be necessary for you to be -- and Mr. Petrovic, to be

13 extremely focused and disciplined with the witnesses to come and get to

14 the points that really matter and not worry about the others. Because

15 we've got to make up time.

16 Ms. Somers, I saw you half to your feet.

17 MS. SOMERS: Thank you very much, Your Honours.

18 First of all, we certainly hope that the witness is feeling

19 better. We share the concern for his health.

20 In the event he is suddenly produced, we have not, of course, had

21 a proofing summary. I understand the proofing did not take place. So the

22 Chamber knows we received a call last night about 10.00 in my office from

23 a member of the Defence team, indicating what the problem was and

24 indicating there had been no proofing. So we are assuming hopefully

25 everything is fine with his health, we still do not have any real

Page 8045

1 direction as to whether or not there will be something beyond the very

2 limited 65 ter description.

3 Also, I apologise for taking the time of everybody, including

4 Mrs. Strugar, but the order of witnesses for next week needs -- we need to

5 know. We are obviously under the same time constraints as everyone. We,

6 in an accommodation to the Defence, went with less time than is normally

7 granted under Rule 94 bis, and so if there's going to be any movement

8 above and beyond what is in the 94 bis statement for purposes of direct,

9 it would be very helpful for us to know, because we are, as is everyone,

10 advancing at rapid speed to try to accommodate the deadline. Rapid speed

11 in quotation marks.

12 JUDGE PARKER: I was going to say, by the standards I'm used to, a

13 snail would be galloping past us.

14 MS. SOMERS: Diplomacy is part of my job, Your Honour.

15 I wanted to just indicate that once we have the schedule, the

16 order, and if in fact the Defence has indicated there may be some

17 witnesses who will not be presented, if we could know who not. There's a

18 tremendous amount of work and preparation. All of us are calling each

19 other at very bizarre hours of the night. So we're all working the same

20 hours. It would be helpful and then we would be able to bring everything

21 to a -- I think a good conclusion. But just through that kind of orderly

22 process. Thank you very much.

23 JUDGE PARKER: The ultimate concern in all of this is that it will

24 make an enormous difference to the strain on the accused if we can

25 conclude the evidence before the break. Because if that doesn't occur,

Page 8046

1 the trial will necessarily expand out by at least a month longer. And

2 it's for that reason that we are urging both sides to be extremely

3 disciplined and focused in their attention to what are the material issues

4 in the evidence.

5 Mr. Rodic, if the concerns of the Prosecution to know the order of

6 witnesses for next week, and if there are any significant changes from the

7 information they presently have can be kept closely in mind, and if you

8 can make that information available to them as soon as you have it, it

9 would facilitate their work in preparing at very short notice and enhance

10 the prospects of a satisfactory completion of the evidence in good time.

11 We will adjourn now. Whether we are able to resume later today

12 will depend upon the message that you give to Ms. Musser. And you will

13 have heard my words. The sooner that's known, decisions can be made about

14 the accused and having to just wait around here.

15 We propose now to adjourn. It's possible that we could resume

16 today if the witness is available. Otherwise, it will be at 9.00 in the

17 morning. The videolink will be first, and if the witness of today can

18 then be heard, we will be in a position to do that. When we adjourn, I'd

19 appreciate it if security would allow a little time when Mrs. Strugar is

20 with the accused just in the Court there. Thank you.

21 We will adjourn.

22 MR. RODIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

23 --- Recess taken at 10.23 a.m.