1 Thursday, 15 January 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. Could you call the case for hearing,
7 THE REGISTRAR: Case number IT-01-42-T, the Prosecutor versus
8 Pavle Strugar.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Somers.
10 MS. SOMERS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning, Your
11 Honours. I would just like to take a preliminary introduction moment to
12 let the Court know to my left, Ms. Lamb, my colleague, will be leading the
13 evidence this morning, and to my right, Ms. Andrea Matacic, a research
14 officer and lawyer, will also be present this session. The first witness
15 for the Prosecution this morning, is Ms. Ljerka Alajbeg.
16 JUDGE PARKER: It was Ms. Martin, was it?
17 MS. LAMB: Ms. Lamb.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Lamb. I beg your pardon, yes.
19 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, with your leave, I
20 would like to address you for a moment.
21 Your Honour, may I say a few words?
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, indeed, Mr. Petrovic.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before
24 today's witness enters the courtroom, I would like to raise an issue which
25 seems important to me, in view of the contents of the testimony of this
1 witness. From the statement we received, relating to Ljerka Alajbeg, we
2 will see that this witness will testify about two main points. The first
3 of these is when, in the witness's opinion, Croatia acquired the epithets
4 of an independent state and became a subject of international law; and the
5 second issue which arises from this is the question of the existence or
6 non-existence of an international armed conflict, which is of importance
7 for the application of appropriate instruments, on the basis of which our
8 client has been charged.
9 What concerns me, and what I would like to hear your standpoint on
10 is the following: This witness will testify about two legal issues.
11 These two legal issues are contained in the appropriate counts of the
12 indictment, and they are something that in our view is a legal question to
13 be resolved by the Tribunal. In our jurisdiction, legal issues are solved
14 by the Court. It is the Court that can decide whether an entity is an
15 independent state, and as of which date, and whether there is an
16 international armed conflict. If the Court requires assistance in
17 clarifying either of these two issues, the parties to the proceedings, in
18 our jurisdiction, have to bring in an expert who is able to give the Court
19 information important for reaching this decision.
20 Therefore, the expert can clarify certain points for the Court,
21 and this expert has to have the required knowledge and information and has
22 to be independent. The expert will give opinions in accordance with the
23 rules of the profession and of scholarship.
24 In this situation, we have a witness appearing here as a witness
25 and not an expert, and this witness will testify about two legal issues
1 and will give her own interpretation of these two legal issues. This
2 witness cannot be considered to be independent. The principle that I have
3 set out is something that is not peculiar to my own jurisdiction. Before
4 this Tribunal, issues such as the existence or non-existence of an
5 international armed conflict, the date of recognition of a certain entity
6 as a subject of international law, these are points on which opinions have
7 been given by experts in these areas.
8 Let me just remind you of the Prosecutor versus Dokmanovic. In
9 that case, both sides brought in experts who clarified the issue of the
10 existence or non-existence of an international armed conflict. The same
11 time period covered here was relevant and was discussed.
12 Before this witness enters the courtroom and gives her testimony,
13 the Defence raises an objection to this approach and to what is expected
14 to be presented as information before this Bench, because the information
15 we are expecting is supposed to be information that should be independent.
16 It should be the result of something that is the result of professional
17 knowledge and appropriate information. The witness who will be brought
18 before you will testify about the circumstances of an international
19 conflict and the independence of the state, and we believe that this
20 witness is not independent, that this witness has an interest in this
22 Thank you, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic, for raising two
24 interesting questions.
25 Ms. Somers.
1 MS. SOMERS: Thank you, Your Honour. First and foremost,
2 Mrs. Alajbeg is a fact witness who was involved in the process, and she
3 will indicate to the Chamber what was done by the Croatian -- by the
4 Republic of Croatia at the time and its reasoning. We understand fully
5 that the legal issue of international armed conflict or not is a matter
6 that is within the sound discretion or finding to be made by the Chamber.
7 There is no attempt to interfere with the triers of fact. The Chamber is
8 entitled to have the information as to what happened at the time, and I'm
9 sure the Chamber recognises that there may always technically be mixed
10 fact/expert witnesses. But this is a person who is indeed a player at the
11 time of the event and will provide evidence to this Chamber of what
12 happened, what the reasoning was, what the events were which triggered.
13 Should the Chamber seek any further expert, dispassionate,
14 disinterested opinion, the Prosecution is always happy to commission said.
15 It is in our view, through a fact witness who, at the time, can explain
16 the hows, whys, whens, and put in context the various events, documents,
17 conferences, that are relevant for the Chamber's knowledge on this issue.
18 It is with this purpose that she is brought, and we believe she is the
19 best person to present these facts to the Chamber.
20 There is ample precedent in this institution for persons who have
21 sat at the time in positions or have played roles in shaping the events
22 that are the crux of the background to the conflict. I bring to the
23 Chamber's attention Mr. Stjepan Kljuc who was the Bosnian Croat member of
24 the presidency, who gave evidence in the Kordic case, President Stipe
25 Mesic, president of Croatia, who has given evidence in the Milosevic case.
1 It is not an unusual or unexceptional phenomenon to bring those persons
2 before the Chamber who are best placed to give the information needed.
3 The Defence's position is without merit, and I might add, done
4 beyond the 11th hour, but there is no merit to the position and we believe
5 that this will be helpful to the Chamber. And again, should any
6 additional evidence or type of proof be sought, upon the Chamber's
7 direction we would be very happy to bring in an expert.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Somers.
9 Mr. Petrovic.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'll be very brief.
11 This witness is not a fact witness. Why? This witness did not
12 participate in any of the events that the documents mention. At the time
13 of significance and relevant to the indictment, this witness was not in
14 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia. She only
15 joined the ministry in December 1991, which is a time after the time
16 covered in the indictment. So that this witness is in no way directly
17 connected to these events. This witness was not present when any of these
18 documents were drawn up and was not present at any of the meetings that
19 are mentioned here. So this is something that is completely outside the
20 experience of this witness. And this is the reason for our objection to
21 what we expect this witness to testify about before you today.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Petrovic. And I thank both counsel
23 for the clarity of their submissions.
24 [Trial Chamber confers]
25 JUDGE PARKER: It should first be clear that the issues whether,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 and if so, when, Croatia became an independent legal state, and whether,
2 at the time relevant to the indictment, there was an international
3 conflict, are questions of law, as Mr. Petrovic submits, which will be
4 determined as matters of law by the Trial Chamber at the appropriate stage
5 of the hearing.
6 When each of those matters might have occurred, and whether they
7 occurred, are questions that, while of, in the end, of a character which
8 is one of law, each must be determined in light of the factual
9 circumstances that led to those matters occurring, if it is the case that
10 they occurred. The facts which will help the Tribunal to assess whether
11 or not either of those matters has been established are matters that will
12 come from witnesses as to facts and from various documents that were
13 contemporaneous at the time, if those documents exist. They are matters
14 which may properly be the subject of evidence led before this Chamber,
15 with a view then to the Chamber assessing whether, in light of that
16 factual evidence, there is established the critical legal issues.
17 It is our view, Mr. Petrovic, whilst appreciating the importance
18 and the very appropriateness of your submission, that we should hear the
19 evidence of this witness, but please be assured that we well respect the
20 concern that you have that the witness is speaking only as a witness of
21 fact. The witness will not be speaking as an expert witness, so that the
22 evidence given by the witness will be regarded by the Chamber merely as
23 evidence of fact, and whether or not it helps the Prosecution in the
24 establishment of those two critical issues are matters which we will have
25 to weigh at the end of the day.
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE PARKER: If the witness could be called.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE PARKER: If the witness could take the affirmation. Good
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
7 WITNESS: LJERKA ALAJBEG
8 [Witness answered through interpreter].
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Please be seated.
12 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Lamb.
14 Examined by Ms. Lamb:
15 Q. Good morning, Your Honours.
16 Witness, are you now seated comfortably and can you hear me?
17 A. Yes, I can.
18 Q. Could you please state your name, your nationality, and date of
19 birth for the record.
20 A. My name is Ljerka Alajbeg. I was born on the 9th of April, 1946,
21 in Zagreb. I am a Croat by nationality.
22 Q. What is your current occupation?
23 A. At present I'm the ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, to the
24 Kingdom of Belgium, and to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
25 Q. For how long have you held this position?
1 A. Two years now.
2 Q. What did you do before that?
3 A. Before that, I worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the
4 Republic of Croatia. I am still an employee of the ministry. From 1991
5 up until the present.
6 Q. And what was your function or title as an employee of the Croatian
7 foreign ministry?
8 A. From 1991, I worked in the international legal affairs office,
9 first as a legal advisor, then as the chief, and then as the chief legal
10 advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the meantime, I was the
11 ministerial advisor in our embassy in Ottawa.
12 Q. As chief legal advisor of the international law section, what was
13 some of your responsibilities?
14 A. There were very few of us in the ministry at the time. In 1991,
15 there were only 50 employees there, and we had to do everything. The
16 ministry was being set up at the time, and I worked on various
17 international law affairs, ranging from giving my opinion, advice, to work
18 on international treaties, and I worked on this very closely. I was very
19 closely involved. We also had multilateral affairs, contacts with various
20 international organisation. We also dealt in protocol. We did all kinds
21 of work, because there were very few of us with some kind of experience.
22 I was one of those who had some experience in the former Ministry of
23 Foreign Affairs in Yugoslavia and at that time we helped introduce others
24 to the job. So all my work was in the field of international law and
25 international contacts.
1 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, encompassed within the scope of those
2 responsibilities, were you frequently called upon to advise on matters of
3 treaty law application and to advise on issues of recognition pertaining
4 to states? A yes or no answer would be sufficient.
5 A. Yes. Yes, certainly. The international law service always gave
6 its opinion on every international treaty.
7 Q. Thank you. Ms. Alajbeg, you commenced your foreign service
8 career, however, as an employee of the Yugoslav federal Ministry of
9 Foreign Affairs; is that correct?
10 A. Speaking of my legal career, this began in the INA Naftaplin
11 company, which was the largest company for petroleum and gas in Croatia
12 and in the Yugoslavia of the time.
13 Q. At what point did you first join the foreign service?
14 A. In 1979, first on contract, when I was preparing to become a
15 consul in Pittsburgh, in the USA, and then an advisor in the Yugoslav
16 cultural centre. And on my return, I was given a permanent job, and as of
17 that time I worked on international law affairs. This was my own wish,
18 because of my legal background.
19 Q. To clarify, Ms. Alajbeg: At that point, this was with the federal
20 Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade; is that correct?
21 A. Yes, correct.
22 Q. So to perhaps summarise this, Ms. Alajbeg, if I am correct, you
23 have almost 30 years of foreign ministry experience on matters of
24 international law; yes or no?
25 A. Not quite 30. I have 35 years of experience all together, and I
1 would say I have 25 years of experience in international law matters.
2 Although you know that diplomats are also sent abroad, and I had several
3 appointments abroad at that time when I was not involved in international
4 law affairs, but I was frequently consulted. So I kept in touch with this
5 area throughout this time.
6 Q. Ms. Alajbeg, I'm going to turn now to your whereabouts, where you
7 were located professionally during 1991. Did you remain in Belgrade
8 throughout 1991?
9 A. Not all the time, because at the end of that year, I returned to
10 Croatia, because I was received into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
11 the Republic of Croatia. Before that, I put myself at the disposal of the
12 Croatian government, because the Croatian government had called upon all
13 those who originated from Croatia and were employed in the then federal
14 administrative organs, and this included us who were in the Ministry of
15 Foreign Affairs. I responded to that invitation and put myself at their
16 disposal. There were a number of circumstances on which the time when we
17 would be transferred depended. These were both objective and subjective
18 circumstances. Some people had their own personal problems which they had
19 to solve, and also objectively, the Republic of Croatia was looking for
20 civil servants, and this is how we came to be transferred from the federal
21 ministries to the Croatian ministries.
22 In 1991, I spent most of the year in Belgrade physically, although
23 my transfer began in the summer, when I put myself at the disposal of the
24 Croatian government, until the end of the year, because there were still
25 matters that I had to attend to, so I was actually in both places at once.
1 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, in order to provide you with some form of road map,
2 this morning I will be leading your testimony around four separate factual
3 questions. Firstly, we will examine the process of the dissolution of the
4 SFRY and the emergence of the independent state of Croatia. I will then
5 move to the recognition of Croatia by other states. I will next proceed
6 to the degree of effectiveness of Croatian state organs. And finally, I
7 will be examining documents which speak to the effective date of Croatian
8 succession which have emerged subsequent to these events.
9 Before commencing, however, I would request that all documents
10 contained in Prosecution Exhibit -- in our Prosecution Exhibit binder, be
11 entered into evidence, and assigned an exhibit number.
12 JUDGE PARKER: I take it, Ms. Lamb, these are the black binders
13 that are before the members of the Chamber; is that correct?
14 MS. LAMB: That is correct, Your Honour. And in the course of
15 this examination, I would propose to refer to each of these documents by
16 the tab numbers that appear before you also.
17 JUDGE PARKER: It's apparent from the nature of it that it may be
18 convenient to treat the binder as one exhibit.
19 MS. LAMB: I would be much obliged, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE PARKER: And there are then internal tab numbers that will
21 serve to separately identify each document within the one exhibit. We
22 should look forward to the possibility, just born out of cautious
23 experience, that you in fact may not prove or may not use one or more of
24 the particular documents. Could I suggest that at the end of the evidence
25 of the witness, if there is one or if there are more than one document
1 that has not been specifically dealt with, that they might then be removed
2 from the bundle, so that they are left only with documents that have been
3 properly dealt with.
4 MS. LAMB: I would be happy to advise on that, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE PARKER: On that basis, and subject to that possibility, the
6 black binder of exhibit documents will be received as an exhibit.
7 MS. LAMB: In that case, Mrs. Alajbeg --
8 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number P20.
9 MS. LAMB:
10 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, on this basis, I will then go firstly to the events
11 of the 1991, and I would ask you to turn to the document contained in tab
12 1 of our Prosecution binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, I would ask you to look at
13 this document, which bears the date 23 April 1991, and tell the Court
14 whether or not you recognise it.
15 A. If we're talking about the conclusions on political circumstances
16 in the Republic of Croatia, yes, this is the document which can be found
17 in the Official Gazette, the Official Gazette of Republic of Croatia,
18 issue number 19, dated 23rd April 1991, yes.
19 Q. Could you now then, within that document, kindly turn to the
20 document numbered within it, bearing paragraph number 589, and bearing the
21 date 17th of April, 1991. And as you've mentioned, this is entitled
22 "conclusions of the Croatian assembly." I would refer you in particular
23 to paragraph 6 and 7 of these conclusions. They will be appearing on the
24 screen in front of you. That would assist you as well.
25 Briefly, what conclusions are contained in paragraph 7 of this
1 document concerning the legitimacy of the SFRY presidency?
2 A. This document, I have to give you a brief introduction. This
3 document speaks of the state of affairs in the former state, the SFRY.
4 The Republic of Croatia has reacted -- had reacted to those political
5 state of affairs. This document is no exception. In item 7, it is
6 established that the presidency of the SFRY was formed in an
7 unconstitutional manner in terms of the representation of the Republic of
8 Serbia and the autonomous regions in that state body, and the question of
9 legitimacy is therefore rightfully raised. And the assembly of the
10 Republic of Croatia asked that the constitutional court of Yugoslavia
11 immediately issue a decision on that matter. So this is one of the
12 reactions to the unconstitutional composition of the presidency of the
13 then-Yugoslavia, because not everybody was represented in an adequate way.
14 Q. And in paragraph 6, Mrs. Alajbeg, what conclusions are drawn, what
15 statement is made as to the preferred future constitutional relationship
16 between the Republic of Croatia and the then-SFRY?
17 A. In paragraph 6, it says that the assembly of the Republic of
18 Croatia considers it crucial to accelerate the process of disassociation
19 from the present SFRY and the possible membership of the Republic of
20 Croatia in a confederation of sovereign states and express its readiness
21 to cooperate on an interparliamentary level in that process.
22 Q. As a senior federal foreign ministry official, what overall
23 observations did you make during this period concerning the functioning of
24 the federal presidency? Can you give examples of how it appeared to
25 function in this period? I'm not at this point referring to a particular
1 place in any document.
2 A. I must react to this "senior" official in the federal organs. At
3 that time, I was just an official, an expert. I was not a political
4 figure. I was not appointed as such. So I cannot give you any crucial
5 political statements. However, as an expert who worked in the Ministry of
6 Foreign Affairs, I obviously noticed the non-functioning thereof. Later
7 on, we would see that the Croatian representative in the then-presidency
8 of the SFRY was prevented from taking over his constitutional duty of
9 president. It was obvious that the organs were not functioning properly,
10 that there were -- that there was no constitutional order in place, and
11 that we were facing a new situation in the then-state which would then end
12 up in the dissolution of the state.
13 The climate, the atmosphere in the federal bodies reflected that
14 and the foreign ministry was no exception to that. As time went on, it
15 became more and more obvious. Everybody was turned towards their own
16 republic, and the joint organs stopped functioning already after that
17 summer. Certain representatives of certain republics started abandoning
18 federal bodies. I remember a group of our colleagues from Slovenia
19 walking out and going back home. We from Croatia did it on an individual
20 basis, and finally it turned out that even those colleagues who did not
21 return did not have any work to do in this particular federal organ.
22 There were also some other problems that we heard of. We were
23 informed about the conclusions reached at various sessions of the
24 then-federal bodies. There was a lot of discord, and this all reflected
25 on our work in our body.
1 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm now going to turn to events within Croatia
2 itself in this period, and I would ask that you turn to tab 2 of the
3 Prosecution Exhibit binder. And I refer at this point to the document
4 dated the 2nd of May, 1991. I would ask you whether you recognise this
6 A. Yes. This is a decision on calling a referendum, also published
7 in the Official Gazette, issue 21. The date is 2nd May 1991.
8 Q. Thank you. Within this document, could I please refer you to the
9 document numbered 646. What is the title of this document and what
10 subject matter does it refer to?
11 A. Yes. This is decision to call a referendum. This was passed by
12 the president of the Republic of Croatia. And this deals with the
13 referendum which would raise two issues, two specific issues, that
14 mentioned here.
15 Q. Very briefly, what was this referendum to decide?
16 A. In a nutshell, the referendum was supposed to answer the following
17 questions. That is, the citizens of the Republic of Croatia were supposed
18 to answer the following questions. The first one: Are you in favour of
19 the Republic of Croatia remaining in Yugoslavia as a state or not?
20 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, can you turn you now to tab 3 of our
21 binder. Can you mention -- tell the Court whether you recognise this
22 document, and if so, what do you recognise it as?
23 A. Again, this is issue 24 of the Official Gazette, published on 27
24 May 1991.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. That is the document.
2 Q. And the document contained therein, numbered 708, what is this
4 A. This is a decision, a decision passed by the president of the
5 Republic of Croatia after the referendum, which was held on 25th April
6 1991. The decision was passed on the 23rd of May, 1991.
7 Q. And briefly --
8 A. And in this decision, it says that -- what the results of the
9 referendum are.
10 Q. And what were the results of this referendum?
11 A. The result was that the Republic of Croatia would not remain in
12 Yugoslavia as a unified state, but that it would become an independent
13 state which would be entitled to forming alliances with other independent
14 states, independent republics.
15 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, can you now turn to the document at tab
16 4 of the Prosecution binder. Do you recognise this document, and if so,
17 what do you recognise it as?
18 A. Official Gazette, issue number 31, dated 25 June 1991.
19 Q. Document number 872 within this Gazette is what?
20 A. This is the constitutional decision on the sovereignty and
21 independence of the Republic of Croatia. The decision was passed by the
22 parliament of the Republic of Croatia at its session held on 25th June
24 Q. What is this constitutional decision colloquially referred to as?
25 A. Pursuant to this constitutional decision, the parliament of the
1 Republic of Croatia promulgated a Republic of Croatia as a sovereign and
2 independent state.
3 Q. Is this document frequently referred to, Mrs. Alajbeg, as
4 the -- to as the Croatian declaration of independence?
5 A. Yes. A corresponding declaration was also published in the same
6 issue, so these two documents combined are considered the Croatian
7 declaration of independence. Pursuant to this same decision, Croatia
8 started a process of dissolution from other republics of the former
9 Yugoslavia, and it also started the process aimed at international
11 Q. What did you observe about the character of the relationship
12 between the Croatian Republic and the republics of Yugoslavia and
13 Montenegro around this time?
14 A. The character of the relationship. It is a generally known fact
15 that an aggression had been launched against the Republic of Croatia, and
16 that this aggression started in 1991. All these documents are the result
17 of the situation in which Croatia had already been invaded by foreign
18 troops, troops that had come from other republics. I cannot talk about
19 all the republics, of course. It goes without saying which republics
20 those were.
21 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, are you aware of the response by the European
22 communities to this observed increase in tensions between the various
23 republics at this time?
24 A. Of course. The international community realised that something
25 was going on. They tried to preserve the former Yugoslavia in all sorts
1 of ways. However, things had stopped functioning. Later on, it turned
2 out that one of the ways by which to preserve Yugoslavia was the proposal
3 by the international community for this decision, which is almost
4 identical to the one that was passed on the same day in the parliament of
5 Slovenia, for Slovenia. So the republics of Croatia and the Republic of
6 Slovenia were working in sync, because they were attacked at the same time
7 and they wanted both to gain their independence at the same time.
8 The international community wanted the effect of both these
9 decisions to be postponed by three months in order to preserve the former
10 Yugoslavia. And this was done, and this was stipulated by a document, the
11 so-called Brioni Declaration.
12 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, let us turn to that Brioni Declaration right now.
13 It is found at tab 5 in the Prosecution binder. Could you summarise
14 briefly who were the main participants within this so-called Brioni
15 Declaration? I apologise. Perhaps firstly you could identify this
16 document, which commences on the page bearing the ERN number 00570261.
17 Does the text which you see in front of you on this page, is this the
18 Brioni Declaration, to which you have just referred?
19 A. Just a moment, please. Yes, this is dated 7 July 1991, and the
20 title is "joint declaration."
21 Q. Who were the participants within that process, as identified
22 within the preambular provisions of that declaration?
23 A. In the preamble of this declaration, it says that the
24 participants -- the document is in English, so I will read it in English.
25 The European Ministerial Troika [In English] With representatives of all
1 parties directly concerned by the Yugoslav crisis.
2 Q. Thank you. What impact did this declaration have upon the timing
3 of the Croatian declaration of independence? What was -- in essence, what
4 was agreed at Brioni with regard to the timing of the announcement of the
5 Croatian declaration of independence?
6 A. [Interpretation] Basically, the effects thereof were suspended.
7 Also, this served to introduce some measures and procedures which would
8 help to resolve some discords. And the cessation of initial hostilities
9 is also mentioned. Also, this serves to deal with some other practical
10 issues and introduces the European Monitoring Mission.
11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what was the impact of the cumulative measures set
12 up at Brioni? That is, did it appear to have the desired effect on the
13 ground? Did it appear to bring about a rapprochement between the parties?
14 A. The goal was to stop hostilities and for the army to withdraw and
15 maybe to achieve some sort of agreement that would lead to the
16 establishment of some sort of a union. At the beginning, Croatia was in
17 favour of establishing a confederation that would comprise the former
19 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I apologise. The -- my question was in fact: What
20 did you observe about the quality of the relationship in the aftermath of
21 Brioni? Did you observe -- it is clear that the Brioni Declaration sought
22 this result, but did it in fact achieve it? Did you observe any lessening
23 in the tension between the parties?
24 A. You're correct. On the contrary; tensions continued to grow.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 A. And immediately after that, we had a full-blown war.
2 Q. Let us now turn to the relationship that existed between the
3 belligerents within this armed conflict to which you have just
4 described -- just referred. I refer you at this juncture to the document
5 contained at tab number 6. In particular, I would refer you therein to
6 the document bearing the date 8th of October, 1991, and the ERN number
8 A. 6. Okay.
9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, do you recognise that document, and if so, what do
10 you recognise it to be?
11 A. If I have the right document in front of me, then this is --
12 Q. I apologise.
13 A. I'm sorry. There is also a Croatian version, so I think I will
14 rather read it in Croatian.
15 Q. Yes. I'd be much obliged, Mrs. Alajbeg. And I apologise. The
16 correct page number is in fact 01074958.
17 A. Thank you very much. This is an initiative of the Assembly of the
18 Republic of Montenegro, dated 8 October 1991.
19 Q. Thank you. In the light of the Croatian Declaration of
20 Independence to which we have just referred, what does paragraph 1 of this
21 initiative acknowledge about the border between the two republics?
22 A. In paragraph 1, the Assembly of the Republic of Montenegro, taking
23 into consideration the decision of the Republic of Croatia to become a
24 sovereign and independent state -- so this is clear what the Republic of
25 Croatia wants. The assembly finds this decision to change the status of
1 the border between the Republic of Montenegro and the Republic of Croatia.
2 In this document, further on, it says that the state border
3 remains, the land border remains what it is because this was in accordance
4 with all the documents that were in effect within Yugoslavia, and it is
5 emphasised that the land border should become a state border. And as for
6 coast waters, which had been shared and where there had been no
7 international border, this border had to be determined.
8 Q. So if I understand you correctly, Mrs. Alajbeg, the border had
9 issues of contention to be determined, but it was nevertheless
10 acknowledged that in due course it would become an international border.
11 Would that be the gist of your testimony?
12 A. Yes. There was no dispute about any of the borders. It was
13 confirmed that a land border, pursuant to the international law, would
14 become a state border, whereas the border on the sea, which had never been
15 determined between the former republics, had to be determined. So this
16 document calls for the determination of this sea borders between the two
17 newly formed states.
18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, were armed hostilities ongoing between the Republic
19 of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro around this state?
20 A. The problem is that aggression on Croatia was also waged from the
21 territory of Montenegro, not necessarily by Montenegrin bodies. But it is
22 well known that the JNA also acted from the territory of Montenegro.
23 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I would now ask you to turn to the document
24 contained at tab number 7. Do you recognise this document, and if so,
25 what as?
1 A. Just a moment, please. This is a document published in the
2 Official Gazette, number 53, of the 8th of October, 1991. It's called a
3 decision, and the decision is also dated 8th of October, 1991. And it
4 pertains to breaking the relations of public law between the
5 then-republics, or rather, with the former state of SFRY.
6 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, to clarify: The document to which you have just
7 referred, does it bear the number 1265? Just for the purposes of the
9 A. Yes. Yes.
10 Q. Thank you. I would turn now to the document contained at tab 8.
11 Do you recognise this document, and if so, what do you recognise it to be?
12 A. Number 8, the Official Gazette, number 66, of the 9th of December,
14 Q. Could you refer therein to the document numbered 1681.
15 A. Yes. This is a conclusion.
16 Q. [Previous translation continues]... What --
17 A. This is a conclusion of the parliament of the Republic of Croatia,
18 of the 8th of October, stating that on the 8th of October, Stjepan Mesic's
19 function, as member and president of the Presidency of the former
20 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia shall be terminated as of 8th
21 October 1991.
22 Q. Briefly, who is Stjepan Mesic and what position did he hold at
23 this time?
24 A. Stjepan Mesic was then a member of the Presidency of the SFRY, and
25 he was the president of the Presidency. After the Brioni Declaration, he
1 was --
2 Q. Thank you. What date does this decision bear?
3 A. The conclusion bears the date 5th of December, 1991.
4 Q. Nevertheless, when -- at what date does this declaration purport
5 to take effect?
6 A. This is not stated in the conclusion itself, although it was
8 Q. Perhaps if I could --
9 A. It was promulgated in the Official Gazette of the 9th of December,
10 but I think that it came into effect on the date it was made, it was
12 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg --
13 A. Or rather --
14 Q. -- Rephrase my question. Within this document itself, from what
15 point --
16 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Objection, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic -- could I ask you to wait, please, a
19 Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
20 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I object. The witness
21 answered the question very clearly. The witness stated that this
22 conclusion came into effect on the date it was issued. I don't see why my
23 learned friend continues to insist and why she is about to put the same
24 question again, after receiving a reply. Of course, the witness can
25 clarify, but the question was put and the answer was given.
1 MS. LAMB: Perhaps I could --
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may --
3 JUDGE PARKER: If you would wait a moment please, Ms. Lamb.
4 You're quite right, Mr. Petrovic. We've noted the question and we've
5 noted the answer. I believe Ms. Lamb is now to rephrase and put another
6 question, but that doesn't overcome the fact that there has already been
7 an answer given, and we've noted that. Thank you.
8 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Ms. Lamb.
10 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE PARKER: And could I mention that I've noticed a couple of
12 times you have moved on to another question whilst the interpretation is
13 still continuing to the witness. It requires a little bit of patience
14 until the interpretation is finished before you move to your next
15 question. We applaud your desire to get on quickly, but I think it would
16 only confuse the witness to try and listen to two people at once.
17 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour. I'm much obliged.
18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you kindly read the first sentence which
19 immediately follows the word "conclusion" within this document.
20 A. I have to go back to this conclusion. I think that it is so clear
21 in itself, it speaks for itself. Because the conclusion pertains to the
22 date when the function of Stjepan Mesic is terminated. The conclusion
23 itself states that this date is the 8th of October. I only said that the
24 conclusion was made on the 5th of December, but its effect is as of the
25 8th of October, because that is the date when all public law connections
1 were broken. So whatever anyone did on behalf of the Republic of Croatia
2 after that date would have no effect. We cannot speculate about when his
3 function ceased, because the conclusion says it was on the 8th of October.
4 There may have been a misunderstanding, because the conclusion was issued
5 on the 5th of December but the effective date is 8th of October.
6 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. May we now proceed to the documents
7 contained at tab 9 within the Prosecution binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, do you
8 recognise these documents, and if so, what are they collectively referred
9 to as?
10 A. Yes, I do recognise them. This is a set of opinions of the
11 arbitration commission, popularly referred to as the Badinter Commission.
12 Q. Can you describe briefly what the Badinter Commission was?
13 A. The Badinter Commission was a body of the then-European Community,
14 which tried to solve the crisis in the former Yugoslavia and established a
15 conference on Yugoslavia, and within the scope of this conference, the
16 Arbitration Committee was set up to give answers to the legal issues and
17 the issues of contention between the sides.
18 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you kindly read the paragraph of the
19 Badinter Commission's opinion number 1 of 29 November 1991, which is
20 contained at the page bearing the ERN number 01171655. I apologise.
21 That's 1656. In particular, I refer you now to paragraph 2A. Can you
22 simply read out the conclusions contained in the first clause of this
24 A. The text is in English, so I will read it out in English. [In
25 English] "The Arbitration Committee notes that although the SFRY has until
1 now retained its international personality, notably inside international
2 organisations, the Republics have expressed their desire for
4 Q. Thank you. Can you now turn to the following page, at paragraph
5 3. And again, could you read out the first conclusion of the arbitration
7 A. Number 3. In paragraph 3, the first conclusion is [In English]
8 "Arbitration Committee is of the opinion that the Socialist Federal
9 Republic of Yugoslavia is in the process of dissolution."
10 Q. I would like to refer you to the conclusions of a later opinion of
11 the same commission, opinion number 8, which is dated the 4th of July,
12 1993. It is found further on in the same -- tab of documents, at ERN
13 number 00359855.
14 A. Please excuse me. Could you tell me again the number of the
16 Q. Yes. It's opinion number 8, and the specific page to which I
17 would like you to refer is the page bearing ERN number 00359855. In
18 particular, I would refer you to paragraph --
19 A. Yes, I've found it.
20 Q. -- paragraph 4, the final paragraph of that opinion, and ask you
21 to read that out, please.
22 A. Paragraph 4. [In English] "The Arbitration Commission is
23 therefore of the opinion that the process of dissolution of the SFRY
24 referred to in Opinion 1 of 29th of November, 1991, is now complete, and
25 that the SFRY no longer exists."
1 Q. Thank you. And finally, can I refer you to the last of the
2 Badinter Commissions, number 11, which was rendered on the 16th of July,
3 1993, and which you will find as the last -- which you will -- which is
4 the last document under tab 9. And I refer you in particular to the third
5 and final page of that opinion, bearing ERN number 00359858.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. When does the Arbitration Commission therein determine the
8 effective date of Croatian independence to have been?
9 A. In paragraph 10 [In English] "... takes the view that the dates
10 upon which the states stemming from the SFRY succeeded the SFRY, 8th
11 October 1991, in the case of Republic of Croatia and the Republic of
13 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, just to give you an indication
14 of where we are in this testimony, we have now concluded the first section
15 that I referred to at the outset, and I am now going to consider the
16 recognition of Croatia by other states during this period. I would refer
17 you at this point to the document contained at tab 10 of the Prosecution
19 Mrs. Alajbeg, do you recognise this document, and if so, could you
20 briefly describe it.
21 A. This document is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and
22 it's found on our website. It gives the dates of recognition and the
23 dates of establishing diplomatic relations with other countries in
24 alphabetical order.
25 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could I now refer you to the documents contained at
1 tab 11. The various documents at tab 11, Mrs. Alajbeg, can you describe
2 briefly, in general terms, what they are?
3 A. These documents in tab 11 are documents on the recognition of the
4 Republic of Croatia, not all of them, of course, just some examples of
5 such documents, from which it is evident how Croatia came to be recognised
6 in the international community. These are relatively early documents of
8 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, from a survey both of these individual statements of
9 recognition to which you have referred and the list showing the overall
10 pattern with regard to recognition, could you comment briefly, could you
11 briefly describe to the Court, the dates upon which the earliest
12 recognitions of the state of Croatia occurred, just approximately.
13 A. The first recognitions of the Republic of Croatia began on the
14 date of its declaration of independence, that is, on the 25th of June,
15 when Croatia and Slovenia recognised each other. Then we have the 30th of
16 July, when we see that Latvia recognised Croatia. Then we have
17 recognition by other Baltic states, up until December. I'm trying to find
18 the document now. This is the Lithuanian one, but I know that we have
19 documents from other Baltic states in the same year. Then we have
20 recognition by Ukraine. I know that the Vatican recognised Croatia on the
21 12th of December, 1991. And finally, on the 13th of January, then we
22 have -- just a moment, because there are also translations here. We have
23 Latvia, on the 14th of December, 1991; Estonia, on the 13th of January,
24 1992; San Marino, on the 14th of January. These are all countries that
25 recognised Croatia before the European Community as a whole recognised
1 Croatia. We have the Ukraine, on the 11th of December; Iceland, before
2 that date. I'm trying to find Iceland. It was certainly before the 15th
3 of January, 1992, when all the countries of the European Community, as it
4 was then, recognised Croatia.
5 These are just some examples of recognition.
6 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. Could I ask you to clarify for the
7 record the date on which Latvia recognised the state of Croatia.
8 A. The 14th of December, 1991.
9 Q. And what about Lithuania?
10 A. Just let me find it. The 30th of July, 1991.
11 Q. Thank you. Mrs. Alajbeg, from your survey of the totality of the
12 recognition statements in front of you and the list in front of you, when
13 would you say that momentum with regard to Croatian recognition started to
14 build, and when would it be fair to say that most states recognised the
15 state of Croatia?
16 A. With respect to Europe and a good part of other countries in the
17 world, the process started on the 15th of January, 1992, when all the
18 countries of the European Community recognised Croatia. There were
19 instances of recognition both before and after that date, but the general
20 recognition is viewed as having taken place when Croatia joined the
21 United Nations, and this happened in April 1992.
22 Q. Thank you. Did your duties as head of the international law
23 section of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs include advising your
24 foreign minister on whether or not to accord recognition to particular
25 states? This question isn't asked in reference to any document at this
1 point. Perhaps if I may clarify my question.
2 In general terms, did your duties as a legal advisor to the
3 foreign ministry extend to giving advice on issues of recognition?
4 A. All the documents on recognition arrived in our department,
5 because we had a collection of international treaties and intersection
6 documents. Not only this, but every document, for the purpose of
7 responding to it, passed through our department. As for the acts of
8 recognition themselves, each act of recognition at that time was extremely
9 welcome. So we didn't have to give advice on whether to accept this or
10 not, because we accepted all these documents and recognition. But as for
11 other states, we were happy to recognise them if they met all the
12 requirements for their own sovereignty. But of course it was more others
13 who recognised us than we them, because we were a newly created state.
14 Q. Let's follow on from this, Mrs. Alajbeg. In providing advice on
15 according recognition to others, even acknowledging that you were
16 infrequently called upon to do so, what types of advice would you seek to
17 provide in such a situation to your foreign minister? What would you aim
18 to avoid in giving such advice, or to ensure in giving such advice?
19 A. We endeavoured, with respect to our legal infrastructure, to solve
20 issues as quickly as possible. One such issue was establishing diplomatic
21 relations, because Croatia wanted to become an international legal
22 personality as soon as possible and enter into diplomatic relations with
23 others. So that we would immediately establish diplomatic relations after
24 recognition, in order to raise our relations to a higher level, and this
25 would include an act of recognition.
1 Q. In according recognition to a state or advising that such
2 recognition ought to be given, would such advice be given casually or
4 A. If a country met the requirements, we advised that that state be
5 recognised. That's how we accorded recognition to other states that arose
6 on the territory of other composite states, on the territory of
7 Czechoslovakia, the former Soviet Union, for example. But we did not
8 accord recognition to the Republic of Northern Cyprus, the Turkish
9 Republic of Northern Cyprus, which did recognise Croatia.
10 Q. Why not?
11 A. Because that state did not meet the requirement for international
12 legal recognition, and it is not an international legal entity today.
13 Q. What particular requirements did this entity not meet, in the view
14 of your government?
15 A. I just want to go back and establish that according to
16 international legal theory, the prevailing theory, the act of recognition
17 is not a constituent but a declaratory act. A state is -- what I want to
18 say is that recognition is a factual and not a legal act. This is the
19 prevailing theory today. Therefore, if a state meets the fundamental
20 requirements, that is, it has its own territory, its population, and its
21 organised government, and it desires to function as an international legal
22 entity, then that state is an international legal entity. Recognition
23 only confirms this.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I wonder, Ms. Lamb, whether that's a convenient
1 MS. LAMB: It would indeed be a convenient moment to break.
2 JUDGE PARKER: You've had an hour and a half there, Ms. Alajbeg,
3 and I think it would be convenient for us now to have a morning break.
4 The break will be for 20 minutes.
5 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
6 --- On resuming at 10.54 a.m.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Lamb.
8 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.
9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, before the break, we had more or less concluded our
10 consideration of issues of recognition. There is, however, just one
11 matter I would like to canvass before we head on to the next point and
12 that is the issue of national minorities within Croatia. Is Croatia
13 entirely ethnically and nationally homogeneous? And I'm not at this point
14 referring to any document.
15 A. Croatia has over 90 per cent of its populations who are Croats.
16 However, there are other ethnic groups in Croatia. Most of the minorities
17 in Croatia are Serbs. There are also Italians, Hungarians, Czechs,
18 Slovaks. There are Albanians, and other ethnic groups.
19 Q. We have already canvassed the EU response to the break-up of the
20 former Yugoslavia generally. I would like now to turn to the position
21 taken by the Badinter Commission on the particular question of national
22 minorities. And in this regard, could you please refer to the fifth
23 opinion of the Badinter Commission, which is contained at tab 9 of the
24 document binder, at ERN number 02989714. It is opinion number 5, which is
25 the third document within that bundle. And I would refer you in
1 particular to the second page of that document, at paragraph 3. Could you
2 perhaps indicate when you have found that paragraph.
3 A. Yes, I've found it.
4 Q. Within paragraph 3, what conclusions does the Arbitration
5 Commission draw about the adequacy of the protections accorded to national
6 minorities by Croatia?
7 A. This opinion refers to the request by the Republic of Croatia for
8 recognition. The opinion describes what Croatia has done with this
9 regard. However, the last paragraph states that: [In English] "The
10 constitutional act of 4 December 1991 does not fully incorporate all the
11 provisions of the draft Convention of the 4th November 1991, notably,
12 those contained in Chapter II, Article 2(c), under the heading special
13 status." [Interpretation] Item 2 of that same paragraph says the
14 following: [In English] "The authorities of the Republic of Croatia should
15 therefore supplement the Constitutional Act in such a way as to satisfy
16 those provisions."
17 Q. So it would therefore seem, Mrs. Alajbeg, that the Arbitration
18 Commission was not entirely satisfied with all details on this matter at
19 this point. But can you nevertheless proceed to the third subclause of
20 this paragraph and their conclusions with regard to the necessary
21 conditions for recognition.
22 A. "Subject to this reservation, the Republic of Croatia meets the
23 necessary conditions for its recognition by the Member States of the
24 European Community in accordance with the Declaration on Yugoslavia and
25 the Guidelines on the Recognition of New States in Eastern Europe and in
1 the Soviet Union, adopted by the Council of the European Communities on 16
2 December 1991."
3 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to now leave the
4 Badinter Commission findings, and I'm going to refer you back to your time
5 as the chief international lawyer for the Croatian foreign ministry.
6 During this period, did you ever advise your foreign minister to
7 withhold recognition from a state purely because of unresolved domestic
8 minority rights issues that may have existed within that country?
9 A. [Interpretation] No.
10 Q. Thank you. In a similar vein, did you ever advise your foreign
11 minister to withhold recognition from a state purely because its borders
12 may have been contested or because it was suffering from high levels of
13 internal strife?
14 A. The answer is no as well.
15 Q. Thank you. Now, that concludes this portion of my direct
16 examination pertaining to recognition practice. I'm now going to turn to
17 the third element that I wish to examine, and that, in general, refers to
18 the effectiveness of Croatian state organs within this period.
19 I would ask at this point that you refer to the documents
20 contained, the official documents which are contained at tab 12 of the
21 binder. Mrs. Alajbeg, you will see that there are many -- that this tab
22 is extremely lengthy, and there are many instruments contained therein.
23 But in general terms, what are these documents?
24 A. I believe that this is a series of documents passed by the
25 parliament of the Republic of Croatia or some other organs, and these
1 documents constitute a number of laws and by-laws and decisions which are
2 all necessary for the proper functioning of a state.
3 Q. And are all of these documents contained in the Official Gazette
4 of the Republic of Croatia?
5 A. Yes. For the most part, although it is not mandatory for all the
6 by-laws to be published in the Official Gazette.
7 Q. Okay. I will refer to each of these instruments in turn now.
8 Could you now go, please, to the first page of this document bundle,
9 dated -- which is the Croatian Official Gazette dated 4th of November,
10 1991, bearing the ERN number 00894321.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. In particular, I would refer you to the index that you see on that
13 page, and could you tell me the subject areas to which the following
14 document numbers refer: 1552, 1557, and 1558. Could you please take each
15 one by one.
16 A. The first one is the decree on ranks, assignment of ranks,
17 promotion into a higher rank, and uniforms of members of the armed forces
18 of the Republic of Croatia. This is not a law; this is a by-law,
19 actually, it's a decree, which deals with the issues of ranks and rank
20 accorded to the members of the armed forces.
21 Q. And the next document, document number 1557, to what does that
23 A. This is a very interesting document. This is the ratification of
24 the agreement on payment transactions between the Republic of Croatia and
25 the Republic of Slovenia. So this is an international agreement which was
1 signed by the two internationally recognised subjects, which had
2 recognised each other as well. And the government ratifies this agreement
3 on payment and transactions, and this agreement then becomes an
4 international agreement.
5 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, before we look at document 1557 in more detail, can
6 you merely read the title of the following document, document 1558.
7 A. Yes. This is the book of rules on military booklet, or military
9 Q. Thank you. Let us now return to the document that you previously
10 mentioned, namely, number 1557. Now, the text of that instrument is
11 contained at ERN number 00894332, and I would ask that you proceed to that
12 page now.
13 A. Yes, I've found it.
14 Q. Again, could you refer -- could you tell us today what generally
15 this instrument is.
16 A. This is an agreement on payment transactions between two states:
17 The Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia. This international
18 agreement was published in both languages, in Slovenian and in Croatian,
19 and the government hereby ratifies this international agreement. This
20 agreement regulates the terms of payment between the two republics; the
21 currency is mentioned here, as well as the ways the whole payment
22 transaction should be carried out between the two states. The document
23 clearly shows that both states act as independent international subjects
24 and enter an international agreement to deal with that part of their
25 mutual relations.
1 The wording follows the rules of the wording of an international
2 agreement. It contains all of the necessary clauses which define such an
3 international legal enactment.
4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what date -- at what date did this international
5 agreement come into effect? And if possible, at what date was it
6 negotiated, if that is clear from the text?
7 A. Just a moment, please. Article 7 of this agreement says that this
8 agreement shall come into effect on the day when both parties inform each
9 other that the procedure had been carried out in keeping with the national
10 legislation of each of the republics. This is the wording used in
11 international agreements. And it will come into effect on the 8th of
12 October, 1991, which is the date when both states, according to the
13 Badinter's Commission, became international subjects. And as of that
14 date, they became legal subjects. The date is the date of succession.
15 Q. This instrument itself, in its concluding paragraph, contains what
17 A. In Zagreb and in Ljubljana, on the 29th of October. However, it
18 became effective as of the 8th of October.
19 Q. Thank you very much. I would now like to proceed through this
20 same exhibit bundle to the second document. I'm referring at this point
21 to the Croatian Official Gazette of the 4th of December, 1991, the index
22 to which is found at the page bearing the ERN number 00328714.
23 A. The following document -- just a moment, please. 714, yes.
24 Q. Have you found the page to which I refer?
25 A. I have.
1 Q. Could you please briefly describe the type and the subject matter
2 of the documents bearing the following numbers: 1663 -- I will allow you
3 to speak to that title first.
4 A. This is the decision on the proclamation of the constitutional law
5 on human rights and freedoms and on the rights of ethnic and national
6 communities or minorities in the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. Now, document number 1665?
8 A. 1665 is the decision on the establishment of a foreign office of
9 the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa, Canada.
10 Q. 1669?
11 A. This is a decree on promoting officers into active officers.
12 Q. That would be within the Croatian army?
13 A. [In English] Within Croatian army, yes. [Interpretation] Yes.
14 Q. And finally, document number 1770.
15 A. 1770 -- I apologise. Are you referring to the same Official
16 Gazette here? 1670, I believe.
17 Q. I apologise. You are correct. 1670.
18 A. This is a decree on assigning ranks and promoting officers into
19 higher ranks.
20 Q. Again, within the Croatian army?
21 A. Of course.
22 Q. Finally, I would like to proceed to the third and the final
23 document within this bundle. I am referring here to the Croatian Official
24 Gazette of the 8th of October, 1991, whose first page, the index page,
25 bears the ERN number 00894265.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, could you please describe the types of instruments
3 which are listed down the left-hand column of this index, and what
4 remarks, if any, would you make about the significance of their subject
6 A. On the 8th of October, 1991, when the important decision was
7 passed on dissolving relations between the republics, the parliament of
8 Croatia passed a number of decrees, by-laws, laws, decisions, as well as a
9 number of laws on adopting formal federal laws in their parts. This was
10 done in order for the Republic of Croatia to regulate its legal
11 infrastructure and for it to be able to function normally. Because as of
12 that date, all the formerly existing legal ties with the former state
13 stopped existing.
14 Regardless of the fact that Croatia, throughout 1991, from the
15 time when the constitution was passed in 1990, throughout 1991, the
16 legislative activity was very busy. There was a very busy time around the
17 date of the declaration of independence in June 1991. However, the whole
18 procedure had to be completed before the 8th of October. On that date,
19 Croatia became an international legal subject and had all the functions
20 like any other state.
21 For that reason, in this Official Gazette - and I believe that
22 several issues were published on the same date - you'll find a number of
23 legal acts, laws and by-laws which regulated different spheres of life.
24 Q. Could you elaborate on what some of these difference spheres are?
25 A. For example, I can read some titles.
1 Q. That would be very helpful. Thank you.
2 A. For example, there is a decision on ratifying the decree on the
3 recognition of the Republic of Estonia. This is just one example. So
4 Estonia and Lithuania, which were recognised at the same time, and there
5 is the law on Croatian citizenship, the law on residence and temporary
6 residence of citizens; the law on travel documents held by Croatian
7 citizens; the law on personal identity card; the law on foreign affairs;
8 the law on entering and implementing international agreements; then the
9 law on public accountancy system; the law on customs; the law on market
10 inspection --
11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg --
12 A. -- and similar laws.
13 Q. Thank you very much. Within the list you have just provided, I
14 would like now to refer your attention particularly to two of these
15 instruments, numbered 1276 and 1277. Before we begin, can you reiterate
16 what is the subject matter of these two documents.
17 A. These two documents deal with foreign affairs and entering in and
18 implementing international agreements and contracts.
19 Q. Now, what involvement did you personally have within the
20 preparation of these two instruments?
21 A. My role was to draft these documents. Since I was among the rare
22 persons who had worked in the former federal foreign ministry. We
23 prepared these drafts, since none of us had any other experience, by
24 compromising between the former federal law on foreign affairs and the law
25 on entering in and implementing international agreements, and the
1 constitution that was then in effect. Every law had to be in accordance
2 with the constitution. So we had to adjust the law to the constitution,
3 because the role of the former parliament in the former state differed
4 from the role of the parliament in Croatia, because president had some of
5 the roles that the parliament had in the former state.
6 Q. You have just mentioned, and indeed you have previously mentioned
7 also, that the Croatian assembly during this period frequently
8 incorporated certain laws of the SFRY within Croatia. As somebody who was
9 closely involved in this process, can you explain why this approach was so
10 frequently taken?
11 A. I would say that that was a procedure that made part of internal
12 succession. The whole legislative infrastructure that existed in the
13 former SFRY, irrespective of whether this was a federal legislation or a
14 republican legislation, dealt with a number of issues in great detail, so
15 we did not have any reason not to adopt some of those solutions which
16 conformed with our system. We wanted to make things as simple as possible
17 when dealing with this problem. That is why the Croatian parliament
18 incorporated in their entirety or most of the legal text as their own
19 laws, until the moment entirely new regulations were to be passed. This
20 bought us some time when it came to dealing with Croatian legislation.
21 The same thing applied to the international sphere. Based on the
22 succession, we adopted international agreements that had been entered into
23 by the former state. The foundation for that was a decision passed on the
24 8th of October, as well as the declaration which was passed on the 25th of
25 June, 1991. Both of these documents said that Republic of Croatia would
1 continue to honour all of its international obligations that arose from
2 the international agreements entered into by the former state if those
3 obligations applied to the Republic of Croatia and if they were not
4 contrary to the constitution and the legal system of the Republic of
6 In that way, we could adopt most of the former agreements, and
7 there were about 3.000 of them. We incorporated those into our system.
8 When it came to bilateral agreements, we entered into those with
9 particular states, and those were agreements on the succession of
10 particular former agreements.
11 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I apologise for interrupting. The -- we will indeed
12 return to the issue of succession to treaty obligations at a later point.
13 I wonder, however, at this juncture, if I could return to domestic
14 Croatian legal instruments for one moment longer.
15 Many of the instruments which have been admitted today seem to be
16 decrees, or else quite sparse in their content. Again, on the basis of
17 your involvement in the process at the time, could you elaborate as to why
18 much of the early Croatian legislation often took this form? That is, why
19 was there --
20 A. Are you referring to decrees?
21 Q. Yes. Both decrees and also very brief pieces of legislation which
22 appears to be scant elaboration. Are there any reasons for why this may
23 have been the case?
24 A. Like in every other state, under extraordinary circumstances,
25 decrees were passed with legal effect. Those decrees would later on be
1 ratified by the parliament. The situation at the time was not normal, and
2 the parliament sometimes could not sit physically.
3 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, you've perhaps quite euphemistically referred to the
4 circumstances of the time being not normal. In fact, the armed conflict
5 was still ongoing in this period; is this correct?
6 A. Yes. These extraordinary circumstances don't necessarily have to
7 be an armed conflict. However, in Croatia, the situation was
8 extraordinary. I wouldn't agree with you that there were so many decrees;
9 the legislative activity was carried out in a normal way. If you look at
10 all these documents, there are more proper legal documents. And as for
11 the decrees which would then be ratified, I believe that there were fewer
12 of those than the proper legal texts.
13 Q. Thank you very much. I would refer you now to tab number 13 of
14 our binder. Again, we see there are many instruments within this binder,
15 but I would be obliged if you could comment, in general terms, on what
16 these instruments are and where in particular they are published.
17 A. This is document 265. I apologise. We are looking at two
18 different binders.
19 Q. I'm referring at this point to tab number 13. Could you confirm,
20 these are official documents published where?
21 A. They were published in the Official Gazette, number 4, on the 2nd
22 of February, 1991.
23 Q. That is indeed the first of the documents to which I will refer
24 you now, and this document -- in particular, within this document, I will
25 refer to that containing the number 86. What is the subject matter of
1 this document?
2 A. This is the law on general defence, the expunged version, which
3 shows that there was the original version and some amendments, and that
4 the expunged version was actually published in the Official Gazette. And
5 the document's title is "The law on general defence."
6 Q. Now, this document -- was this document a federal document or a
7 republican law or a federal law, and what date does it bear?
8 A. This is a republican law. This is not a federal defence law.
9 This is the republican defence law. At that time, the republics as well
10 had their respective defence laws, because they had some authorities
11 within the scope of defence, particularly in the field of Territorial
13 Q. I would now like you, Mrs. Alajbeg, to move to the second document
14 within this bundle, which is published in the Croatian Official Gazette,
15 bearing the ERN number 00894235. It is some way through the documents
16 under this bundle, approximately one half to two-thirds of the way though
17 the totality of the documents.
18 A. This new issue -- different issue of the Official Gazette? I'm
19 looking at the issue number.
20 Q. The version I am looking for -- yes, in particular, number 49.
21 Can you indicate when you have found the first page of that document. If
22 it would assist, I can reread the ERN number and question. Are you now at
23 ERN number --
24 A. 4235. What is the ERN number, please? 4235. This is the law on
25 defence, which was published in the Official Gazette issue number 49,
1 dated 20 September 1991.
2 Q. Thank you. And within that document, within that gazette, can I
3 refer you to document number 1230. What is the title of that document?
4 Again, it commences on the first page.
5 A. Yes. Decree promulgating the law on defence. And the law itself
6 is called the law on defence.
7 Q. And when did this law come into effect?
8 A. I have to see, because evidently the decree was dated the 28th of
9 June, 1991. The law was published on the 20th of September, 1991, but we
10 have to see the final provisions in order to see when the law took effect.
11 This law shall come into effect on the date of its publication in the
12 Official Gazette. If the date of publication is the 20th of September,
13 1991, then that is the date when this law took effect.
14 Q. What is the difference between this law and the law on defence, to
15 which we have previously referred?
16 A. The law we spoke about before was passed in the '80s, and then the
17 revised version was published in February 1991. The difference between
18 these two laws is that now Croatia has its own law on defence and is no
19 longer applying the federal law on defence. The former law was the
20 republican law, which was an addendum to the federal law and applied only
21 to the territory of the Republic of Croatia and dealt with the authorities
22 of the local communities in the area of defence, whereas the new law has
23 provisions covering all areas, the rights and duties of all citizens of
24 the Republic of Croatia, the administrative bodies, the defence of the
25 territorial integrity, and the constitutional order of the Republic of
1 Croatia. It deals with the armed forces of the Republic of Croatia,
2 compulsory military service, and other issues of significance for the
3 defence system. So this is an independent law of the Republic of Croatia.
4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to now refer you to the final instrument
5 within this bundle, and that is toward the end of these documents and
6 bears the first page number 00894295. I refer -- can you kindly confirm
7 for the record the type and nature of the document that you are now
8 looking at.
9 A. In the Official Gazette number 53A of the 8th of October, 1991, if
10 this is the document in question --
11 Q. And within the index --
12 A. -- the number 1350 is the law on amendments to the law of defence.
13 This is the law on defence that we mentioned before, and now it is being
14 amended, because this is the law on amendments to the law on defence. The
15 legislative activity in the field of defence was very active, as we can
17 Q. Thank you very much. I'm now going to refer you to tab number 14
18 within the document binder. Again for the record, can you describe the
19 first page of the document before you, ERN number 00894260.
20 A. Yes. On page 1 again, we have a list of laws and by-laws. The
21 Official Gazette is dated the 3rd of October, 1991, and this is issue
22 number 52. For example, under number 1244, we have an example of the
23 taking over of certain laws from the field of defence, former federal laws
24 which are now applied in the Republic of Croatia as republican
1 Q. And what about document 1247?
2 A. This is a decree on the taking over of assets of the JNA and the
3 SSNO, which was the federal secretariat for National Defence, on the
4 territory of the Republic of Croatia, which were owned by the Republic of
5 Croatia. So there was a decree that these assets would be taken over and
6 would become the ownership of the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. The process that you have just referred to in these two documents,
8 is this common to the process you have described in relation to many of
9 the other instruments that have been admitted as legislative instruments
10 of Croatia?
11 A. You mean other areas of activity?
12 Q. Not really their subject matter; the process that you describe of
13 laws being adopted and taking over, does this -- is this another example
14 similar to the ones you gave previously on this matter?
15 A. Correct, yes.
16 Q. Thank you. I will now turn you to tab number 15. Could you state
17 what type of document it is and its date, please.
18 A. Again, it's an Official Gazette, number 73, of the 31st of
19 December, 1991.
20 Q. Thank you. I'm going to stay with the first index page of this
21 Official Gazette and refer you in particular to the titles of a number of
22 documents. These document numbers are 1864 through to 1878. Can you
23 comment on what the Croatian assembly sought to achieve via these decrees?
24 A. The first two documents are conclusions, and the next series of
25 documents are decisions on the recognition of the former Soviet republics
1 as independent states.
2 Q. On what date did Croatia recognise these states?
3 A. Evidently, this was published in the Official Gazette. We will
4 just look at the date now. The dates are the 28th of December. This was
5 the recognition at the session of the parliament on the 28th of December,
6 1991 --
7 Q. Thank you.
8 A. -- for all the former Soviet republics.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, finally on this issue, Mrs. Alajbeg, would you
10 say that all of the legislative instruments we have been discussing this
11 morning, and the other official documents that we have referred, would
12 these represent all of those produced by the Croatian state organs during
13 late 1991?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. There would be, in your view, no other legislative instruments
16 passed during this period?
17 A. There was a whole series of legal instruments that were passed by
18 various ministries and bodies of government administration, but these were
19 not necessarily published in the Official Gazette. They would be
20 published in the gazettes of these bodies. So the activity was far
21 greater. These were various technical regulations, by-laws, and so on and
22 so forth. All this was part of enormous legislative activity taking place
23 in Croatia at the time.
24 Q. So if I understand your testimony correctly, the documents that we
25 have mentioned today in fact are simply a small sample of the totality of
1 instruments that one could find if one looked; would that be correct?
2 A. Yes, correct.
3 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, what similarities, if any, could you observe between
4 the state structures that were in place at this time in Croatia and those
5 of the present-day Republic of Croatia, in terms of both their structure
6 and function, if that would assist?
7 A. There is continuity. We still have the constitution of 1990, and
8 many of these laws that we have just mentioned. Therefore, we are
9 functioning or have been functioning as a state since then.
10 Q. Thank you. And overall, Mrs. Alajbeg, what observations did you
11 make regarding the efficacy of the Croatian state organs during this
12 period? How comprehensive was its legislative activity around this time?
13 A. In spite of understaffing at all levels, Croatia simply had to
14 consolidate, and there was an enormous amount of activity. As a civil
15 servant in one of these bodies, all I can say is there were no office
16 hours. We worked under all kinds of circumstances. When Zagreb was
17 bombed, the parliament had its session in the INA company in the
18 basement. They sat there in the basement for days on end, passing laws.
19 Q. Thank you very much. Mrs. Alajbeg, that concludes, actually, the
20 third portion of my examination-in-chief on this issue.
21 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, if it would be convenient, this would be
22 an ideal time for a break. I'm equally happy to move on to the next
23 point, if required.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I think it preferable that you continue. Our
25 timing is directed not only to our personal convenience, but the needs of
1 those who are assisting us outside the courtroom, and it would be better
2 if we continued for a little time.
3 MS. LAMB: Very well, Your Honour.
4 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, we've referred to, in great detail, many documents
5 that were produced more or less contemporaneously with the conflict in
6 Croatia. I'm now going to be moving to the final category of issues to be
7 addressed here, and these are instead documents which were produced
8 subsequent to the conflict, and other forms of practice which is
9 noticeable only at a later date.
10 I would ask you at this point to return to binder number 9 -
11 sorry - to tab number 9, the Badinter Commission findings to which we have
12 referred earlier. Would you please indicate when you have found Opinion
13 number 11 of the Badinter Commission, bearing ERN number 00359856.
14 A. Yes, I have found the document.
15 Q. I would refer you in particular to its final paragraph, found on
16 ERN number -- page number 00359858.
17 A. This is Opinion number 11; is that right?
18 Q. That is correct. Again, I'm referring you in particular to
19 paragraph 10. Could you kindly indicate when you have found this
21 A. Yes, I've found it.
22 Q. And could you simply recap for the Court the date upon which the
23 Badinter Commission found Croatia to have seceded from the SFRY.
24 A. The date of succession was the date from which Croatia is
25 definitely considered an independent legal entity in the international
1 community, the date on which it took over all its rights and obligations,
2 as confirmed by a series of documents in the international community. I
3 would especially like to mention depositories of the secretary-general of
4 the UN. I think there are examples here in the material of various
5 countries recognising that the 8th of October is the date in question.
6 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, we will indeed get to those documents in just a
7 couple of moments. But before we leave paragraph 10 of the Badinter
8 Commission, could you simply indicate the date upon which the Badinter
9 Commission made its ultimate conclusions on the basis of all evidence
10 before it. The date is found on the bottom of Opinion number 11.
11 A. The date is the 16th of July, 1993. That is the date of this
13 Q. Thank you.
14 A. However --
15 Q. Thank you very much. At this point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I will ask you
16 to move to binder -- tab number 16 within the binder. Are you now at that
17 place in the binder?
18 A. Yes, I have.
19 Q. I refer you to the document numbered on this particular document
20 as number 196. But I wonder if you can identify that document, and if so,
21 describe to the Court what it is.
22 A. Document number 196 contains the General Assembly resolution
23 number 46/238, on admission of Croatia to United Nations membership.
24 Q. And this resolution --
25 A. [In English] Adopted at the 86th plenary meeting, 22nd May, 1992.
1 Q. Thank you very much. I would now at this point request the ushers
2 to hand the text which I have here to both the witness, the Bench, and our
3 learned friends.
4 I am referring you now to Article 4 of the United Nations Charter.
5 According to Article 4(1) of this text, to whom is membership of the
6 United Nations open?
7 A. [Interpretation] According to Article 4, paragraph 1, the
8 following can become a member of the United Nations. I will read it out
9 in English. [In English] "The membership in the United Nations is open to
10 all other peace-loving states which accepts the obligations contained in
11 the present charter and, in the judgement of the organisation, are able
12 and willing to carry out these obligations."
13 Q. Thank you. Now, Article 4(1) refers to all other states,
14 presumably because Article 4(2) refers to the initial membership of the
15 United Nations. Very briefly, who comprised the initial -- that initial
16 membership? States of -- the original signatory states of this treaty?
17 A. [Interpretation] All other states, of course, which means any
18 future member, any future state. So these are peace-loving states who
19 accept the obligations mentioned in the charter. Of course, the decision
20 of the organisation is necessary, and this decision was made at a session
21 of the General Assembly.
22 Q. At that point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I would like to perhaps interrupt,
23 because the decision that would have been made in the General Assembly on
24 the 22nd of May, 1992 would have been made on what basis, pursuant to what
25 conclusion of the totality of the membership of the United Nations? This
1 doesn't refer to the text of the document.
2 A. Of course, the decision was made on the basis of a request by the
3 Republic of Croatia. Every state has to apply, and Croatia did that. And
4 along with the application, a letter was forwarded from the president of
5 the republic, in which he explains the reasons why Croatia wishes to
6 become a member of the UN and why it should become a member of the UN.
7 The formal application is a conventional text in which Croatia agrees to
8 accept the principles of the charter.
9 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, this resolution would nevertheless suggest that
10 Croatia was not -- doesn't suggest, it states that Croatia was not
11 normally admitted as a member until the 22nd of May, 1992. Would it
12 follow from this that Croatia therefore did not meet all requirements of
13 statehood immediately prior to that date?
14 A. Certainly not. Not every state has to be a member of the
15 United Nations. A state may not wish to be a member, or there may be
16 reasons for the UN not to accept such a state. We know very well that
17 such states do exist. We have also established that joining a certain
18 organisation, or the recognition of a state, is not the constituent act
19 for the creation of that state. Therefore, Croatia simply confirmed its
20 desire to participate actively in the international community, and by
21 receiving Croatia, the international community recognised that Croatia was
22 a peace-loving country and that it wished to communicate with Croatia in
23 all the ways provided for in the documents of that organisation.
24 Q. If I understand you correctly, then, while you are saying that
25 admittance of Croatia to membership on this date, although that would
1 suggest that the UN membership was satisfied as to Croatian statehood, it
2 is likely that Croatia had satisfied the necessary preconditions for
3 membership at some date prior. Would that be an accurate summary of your
5 A. We consider that we met these requirements, that is, Croatia
6 considers that it met these requirements when it constituted itself as a
7 state. That is, if not before, then definitely on the 25th of June, when
8 it declared its independence, in 1991. Croatia is considered to be a
9 state since that date, and it has acted as a state since then. The delay
10 of three months until the 8th of October was agreed on, and because there
11 was no improvement of the situation on the territory of the former
12 Yugoslavia, Croatia, on the 8th of October, completely broke all state and
13 legal relations. So we used this date, the 8th of October, in our
14 official documents, although we can consider that the 25th of June is a
15 very important act in the creation of Croatian statehood.
16 Q. Okay. Thank you very much. I would like at this point to move to
17 another issue, and that concerns membership of other international
18 organisations. Around the end of 1991, did Croatia seek membership of
19 international organisations other than the United Nations?
20 A. Yes. After the 8th of October, the government was charged by the
21 parliament to apply to various international organisations in order for
22 Croatia to join these organisations. This was not only an act of
23 recognition of Croatia; it was also a necessity for Croatia, because we
24 had to communicate with a number of organisations, with a view to
25 regulating life, starting from various technical organisations relating to
1 traffic, trade, the protection of individual rights, the rights of
2 individuals and various associations. So the activities began.
3 Q. Thank you, Mrs. Alajbeg. I am at this point going to refer you
4 right back, I'm afraid, to tab number 8 of the Prosecution Exhibit binder.
5 Can you confirm for the record the type of document this is and its date
6 and provenance, please.
7 A. Official Gazette number 66, 9th December 1991.
8 Q. Thank you. I'm going to refer you in particular on the index of
9 this gazette to documents number 1678 through to 1680. Can you briefly
10 describe the titles of these documents.
11 A. The title of document 1678 is "Decision on applying to join the
12 Council of Europe," and this is actually misstated as the European council
13 in the Croatian version.
14 Q. So if I understand you correctly, this indicates that Croatia
15 sought admission to these bodies as of the 9th of December, 1991.
16 A. This is an instruction issued by the parliament, which tasked the
17 government on submitting a request.
18 Q. The international organisations to which these instruments refer,
19 are they examples of some of the organisations which Croatia sought
20 membership of during this period? Were there others? I perhaps should
21 rewind a little. Firstly, are these organisations those which Croatia
22 sought membership to in this period?
23 A. These are examples. These are the organisations that were
24 important to Croatia at the time, the Council of Europe, the United
25 Nations, the Central European Initiative. But not all the applications
1 made by Croatia were published in the Official Gazettes. We didn't wait
2 for the parliament to tell us to do this. We asked to join certain
3 organisations pursuant to decisions made by the government. At the time,
4 there was a lot of correspondence, a lot of contacts with various
5 international organisations.
6 For example, I remember personally contacting the International
7 Standardisation Organisation, because we had to have car registration
8 plates, we had to have the country abbreviation for these. We also
9 contacted some organisations in connection with maritime activities. So
10 there was a large number of organisations. I remember applying to the
11 International Organisation for the Protection of Intellectual Copyright,
12 and we joined that organisation on the 8th of October, 1991, and became a
13 party to their basic documents.
14 Q. Thank you very much. At this juncture, Mrs. Alajbeg, I'm going to
15 turn to the very final area that I will canvass and this refers to the
16 technical area of state succession to treaties.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Ms. Lamb, that is a distinct topic. We've
18 now reached a time where it would be convenient for us to have a break
19 before launching into that. It will be a 20-minute break.
20 --- Recess taken at 12.08 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Lamb.
23 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, just prior to when we broke for a coffee break, you
25 testified, and the transcript reference in question is on page 55, at
1 lines 23 to 24. You were speaking at this point, and I would like to
2 return to your testimony just to clarify one small matter. With regard --
3 you were speaking at this point with regards to organisations that Croatia
4 deemed important to join, and you said at that point, and I quote: "But
5 not all the applications made by Croatia were published in the Official
6 Gazette. We didn't wait for the parliament to tell us to do this. We
7 asked to join certain organisations pursuant to decisions made by the
9 In this passage, you seem to distinguish between the words
10 "government" and "parliament," and indeed in Croatian, I understand that
11 the word for parliament is "sabor," while are government is "vlada". Can
12 you explain very briefly for us what both these terms mean.
13 A. Government is actually the cabinet, or the minister and the
14 Prime Minister, and Sabor is our parliament. And that is the difference.
15 However, when people talk about government, very often we refer to
16 government per se, and what we mean is the main state structure. Very
17 often, we refer to the president, to the Sabor, and the government. So
18 when we say our government thinks this or that, then we take into account
19 all the factors, which is not really very precise. However, in our case,
20 the decision on these things, for example, when something -- when an
21 organisation was very important, then it was the parliament to urge us to
22 do as soon as possible. We did it routinely for all international
24 I don't have a document in front of me; however, I remember that
25 there were some instructions that told us to approach all the
1 international organisations. It was a general decision that Croatia
2 should, as soon as possible, become a member of all international
3 organisations, to become an international subject as soon as possible, in
4 all the possible ways.
5 Q. Thank you very much. At this point, Mrs. Alajbeg, I will return
6 to the final matter prefaced before the break, that being the matter of
7 state succession to treaties. You testified previously that in the course
8 of your career as a foreign ministry lawyer, you were once the head of the
9 international treaty section of the federal ministry; is that correct?
10 A. I apologise. I can't hear the interpreters very well. Can this
11 be adjusted, the volume? It is much better now. I believe that I
12 understood your question. Yes, I was in Germany from the beginning of
13 1991 to the moment I joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I
14 was the head of department for international treaties within the
15 department for international legal affairs. In this department, I worked
16 as an advisor. Now it's too loud. I'm sorry.
17 Q. Thank you very much.
18 A. I apologise. I believe it's too loud now. It's better now.
19 Thank you.
20 In that department, I worked even before I went abroad for my term
21 of office there, so I'm familiar with --
22 Q. Okay. Thank you. Would you say that you are, therefore, familiar
23 with the legal regime governing treaties and the contemporary treaty
24 practice of states, contemporary practice of states with regard to
25 treaties in particular?
1 A. Yes. Yes, absolutely.
2 Q. Thank you. I will then refer you directly to tab number 18 within
3 my -- within the Prosecution binder. There are two documents contained in
4 this tab. Could you briefly tell the Court whether you recognise these
5 instruments, and if so, what do you recognise them to be?
6 A. Just a moment. I believe that this may be in a different binder.
7 Q. I apologise, Mrs. Alajbeg. I withdraw this question. I meant to
8 refer you instead to tab number 17, not tab number 18.
9 A. [In English] 17, yes.
10 Q. Now, at tab number 17, there are numerous documents, but how
11 collectively could these documents -- firstly, do you recognise what these
12 documents are, and if so, what do you recognise them to be?
13 A. [Interpretation] Yes, I recognise these documents. These are
14 depository notifications, number 1, number 2. Yes, these are depository
15 notifications with regard to the succession of international treaties.
16 Q. Thank you. And the individual -- the treaties to which these
17 instruments refer are far too numerous to require listing before the Court
18 today, but can you nevertheless describe the date upon which each of these
19 instruments indicate as being the effective date of Croatian succession to
20 these instruments?
21 A. In a number of the depository notifications by the
22 Secretary-General of the United Nations, he being the depository of the
23 international treaties passed within the United Nations, one sentence is
24 in common. [In English] "As of 8 October 1991, the date on which Croatia
25 assumed responsibility for its international relations."
1 Q. Thank you. And on what basis is that date indicated to be the
2 effective date of succession?
3 A. Again, I am not receiving the interpretation, I'm afraid.
4 Q. Can you hear me now?
5 A. I'm afraid I'm not receiving the interpretation loud and clear.
6 Yes, now I can hear it. I didn't hear it before. It is a bit too loud,
7 but I am receiving it now.
8 Q. Having identified the 8th of October, 1991 as the date upon which
9 the depository notifications declare these treaties to have been binding
10 upon Croatia, I wonder if you can elaborate just slightly further and
11 explain why this date was chosen as the effective date of succession.
12 What is the basis for this date being selected, according to the text of
13 any one of those instruments?
14 A. The basis was obviously the widely accepted position by the
15 international community that Croatia became an international subject and
16 assumed its rights and responsibilities as such, as of the 8th October
17 1991 --
18 Q. Thank you very much.
19 A. -- which was confirmed later on by Badinter's Commission.
20 Q. Thank you very much. I refer now to the final tab within the
21 binder, namely, number 19. This tab contains two documents. Do you
22 recognise these documents, and if so, what do you recognise them as being?
23 A. I believe that this is document 717, 29891277. This is
24 another -- this is a series of international treaties which are known as
25 Geneva Conventions, and in more specifically, this is our request.
1 However, behind that, there is also a depository notification. Croatia
2 proposes to become party to Geneva instruments, the four conventions and
3 the two protocols, as of a certain date, the day which has been
4 established, and that is the date of succession. And the depository is
5 the Swiss government, which in the following documents accepts that
6 proposal. I can read this specific sentence. [In English] Republic of
7 Croatia became a party to the conventions and the protocols as of the date
8 of its independence on 8th October 1991."
9 Q. Thank you. To be crystal clear for the sake of the record, let
10 the record note that the witness has indicated that the date of effective
11 Croatian succession to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, in accordance
12 with the depository notification contained in binder 18 is 8th of October,
14 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, that concludes my examination-in-chief.
15 I have two further matters that I would like to raise, with your leave.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
17 MS. LAMB: The first of these, Your Honours, refers to a
18 correction that must be made to the transcript. I refer in this regard to
19 page 34 of the transcript, at lines 7 to 10. Therein, the transcript
20 records as follows: "Did you ever advise your foreign minister to
21 withhold recognition from a state purely because its borders may have been
22 contested or because it was suffering from high levels of international
23 strife?" That last -- those last two words, "international strife," need
24 to be stricken from the record and replaced with the words "internal
1 JUDGE PARKER: Your observation is that the -- is it that it is
2 suggested that you used the word "internal," but the record shows
3 "international," or that you've now had a second thought as to what you
4 should have said.
5 MS. LAMB: To the best of my recollection, Your Honour, it is the
6 former, but I will stand corrected.
7 JUDGE PARKER: I must say, it accords with my recollection as
8 well, but nevertheless, very well.
9 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE PARKER: I think we can arrange for that correction.
11 MS. LAMB: Thank you, Your Honour. The final matter I'd like to
12 bring your attention to -- to your attention is that I'm aware that in the
13 course of my examination-in-chief today I have tendered an extremely large
14 number of documents through this witness. I have therefore prepared a
15 summary of the Prosecution evidence on this matter, which is not intended
16 as a filing, but if it would be of assistance to the Bench in
17 understanding the structure of the Prosecution case in this matter, I
18 would be happy to put it at your disposal.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I think it would assist us, and no doubt it would
20 be of use to Defence counsel as well.
21 MS. LAMB: Your Honours, I would be much obliged if the ushers
22 could convey copies of this summary both to the Bench and to our learned
24 JUDGE PARKER: Will we turn now to cross-examination? Is it
25 Mr. Petrovic?
1 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. Before I
2 start with my cross-examination, I would like to put a question that has
3 nothing to do with the testimony, but the health condition of my client.
4 The Defence can start the cross-examination immediately; however, our
5 client has complained on several occasions of not feeling too well today.
6 I'm duty-bound to draw your attention to that fact and I would kindly ask
7 the Trial Chamber to either adjourn the cross-examination until tomorrow,
8 or maybe limit the time, so as to enable the accused to return to the
9 conditions where he can relax and rest a little, because in addition to
10 all other problems, he hasn't been able to sleep for nights. I believe
11 that you will have understanding for this request and that you will be
12 able to grant our request.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Petrovic, yes, we'd like you to continue now.
14 There isn't a great deal of time to go in today's session. We'll continue
15 to keep under observation Mr. Strugar, and it may be that a convenient
16 time will come earlier than the normal close of the day when we might
17 break. But if you'd carry on now.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. Can you give me just
19 a moment.
20 Will the Trial Chamber allow the accused to address the Bench
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic.
23 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
24 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Already a long time ago I was very
1 clear when I heard what my doctor said, and I informed you of my health
2 condition. In an accident, my vertebra broke in three places. And in
3 addition to that, I, from time to time, regardless of all the drink that
4 I'm taking, I have a problem with coughing. I would have to have some tea
5 to warm me up. I'm been here for days and nobody has been able to provide
6 me with a single cup of tea. I must tell you that this makes me feel very
7 uncomfortable. How is it possible that somebody who is still innocent
8 until proven guilty to be treated like that? Could you please advise
9 those who are looking after my well-being if they cannot provide me with a
10 free cup of tea, I'm perfectly willing to pay. They keep on giving me
11 cold water, which my body will not tolerate. That's one thing.
12 Another thing: I don't know why, but for quite a lot of time now,
13 and my doctor is aware of that, I haven't been able to sleep, and this is
14 nothing new. This is something that I experienced already when I was at
15 the hospital in Belgrade. I was receiving medication, light relaxants,
16 which made me sleep. I would receive half a tablet a night. I continued
17 receiving that; however, I can't sleep. I feel sleepy, Your Honours. I
18 am listening to the witness, but from time to time I doze off, and I
19 really feel embarrassed, thinking that you may notice that I'm dozing off.
20 I may be senile, but I am a proud man. I am a proud human being. So I
21 would kindly ask you either to curtail this testimony or to give me more
22 frequent breaks.
23 This would be all. I'm not asking for any leniency. I know
24 exactly where I am. I'm being tried. But I've been listening to
25 something that I already went through. What happened in Yugoslavia, my
1 defence counsel, I suppose, will be able to tell that. However, was I
2 really -- was it really necessary for me to listen to all that has been
3 said today? What has that got to do with my indictment? Why did I have
4 to listen to all that? So much from me. Thank you very much.
5 JUDGE PARKER: I am sure, Mr. Strugar, that it will be possible,
6 and the Chamber now does ask, that arrangements be made for you to be
7 provided with tea, hot tea, during breaks. I don't know why it is that
8 has not been possible until now. If you could take up with the doctor at
9 the Detention Centre your concern about your inability to sleep, I believe
10 it may be possible if some further medication will help, for you to get
11 something extra there. At a time like this, and the stress of an occasion
12 like this, we can certainly understand that your sleep may well be a
13 difficult issue for you, and we can't do anything directly about it. It
14 must be in the hands of the medical people. But I would certainly suggest
15 that you should take that up, and your counsel might reinforce that
16 request by communicating with those in charge of the Detention Centre.
17 The other matter you raised is the evidence. The evidence that's
18 to be tendered here may, I can well understand, appear to you from time to
19 time to have little or nothing to do with what you were doing. A lot of
20 it is in the sense of background and deals with issues that are legal
21 issues, matters of formality, rather than the events on the ground at the
22 time, with which you were directly concerned. But I'm sure that you will
23 come to understand that your counsel and the Prosecution counsel, between
24 them, are watching what matters should be dealt with and what matters
25 should not be dealt with. And if matters that should be dealt with are
1 omitted, then that will be a basis for decision by this Tribunal.
2 So you will understand that counsel must look at those matters
3 carefully. In the case of Mr. Rodic and Mr. Petrovic, they must look at
4 it on your behalf and I'm sure you will be understanding of their
5 continuing efforts on your behalf and will come to understand that if
6 they're accepting certain evidence will be led, nevertheless there's a
7 reason for it, even though you yourself might think it's a waste of
8 everybody's time.
9 We will look at the question of the course of adjournments. It
10 may be possible to arrange for an extra adjournment in the course of an
11 ordinary session by shortening the periods. That may create some problems
12 with the tapes and the recording. I'll make inquiries about that. But
13 perhaps at least getting hot tea will help you in giving you an
14 opportunity to move about during the breaks after that.
15 So thank you.
16 Now, Mr. Petrovic.
17 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour
18 Cross-examined by. Mr. Petrovic.
19 Q. Mrs. Alajbeg, my name is Vladimir Petrovic and I represent
20 General Strugar. I'm going to ask you a few questions about your
21 testimony. Since we speak the same or a similar language, I would kindly
22 ask you to make a break between my question and your answer, since
23 everything is being -- that is being said is being interpreted. Such a
24 break will enable everybody to hear my entire question and your entire
25 answer, which is in our mutual interest.
1 First of all, let me ask you: How did you get in touch with the
2 OTP of the Tribunal in this matter?
3 A. As far as I know, representatives of the OTP came in contact with
4 the international legal department, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
5 through their office in Zagreb, and probably they were referred to the
6 department of international affairs in Zagreb. Since after their first
7 contact, they asked somebody to be a witness, somebody who was best
8 informed. Since I was one of the founders of the department for
9 international legal affairs, and probably one of the most senior legal
10 experts in the ministry - all the others joined much later than me - then
11 I was asked to be the one. And one of the things is also that I live in
12 Brussels, so The Hague is close.
13 Q. Can I please ask you: Who is it who informed you about the need
14 to testify in front of the Court, and what did they tell you?
15 A. Yes. It was the head of the office for cooperation with The Hague
16 Tribunal, Mr. Frane Krnic at the time, and after that, my colleague, who
17 is currently the head of the international legal affairs with the Ministry
18 of Foreign Affairs, Andrea Metelko.
19 Q. Can you tell us when that was, approximately?
20 A. It was last year, sometime last year.
21 Q. When? Towards the end, at the beginning? I'm not asking for any
22 precise dates. Just approximately.
23 A. Yes. I'm trying to remember. It was before summer.
24 Q. How were you prepared for this testimony?
25 A. My colleague, Mrs. Metelko, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
1 told me what would be the interest and what the goal was in order to
2 establish the status of the Republic of Croatia at the time. And since I
3 was aware of a number of those documents that could illustrate that
4 status, obviously I consulted my colleagues in the department, and that's
5 how we were able to pinpoint those documents which might be of interest,
6 and primarily those were international and legal documents, but there were
7 also others.
8 Q. Do I understand you correctly what you have just told us is that
9 documents that are in front of us today, the documents that you commented
10 upon today, they are the result of selection by your colleagues in the
12 A. No, not all of the documents, especially not those documents that
13 deal with the internal laws and regulations, primarily those international
15 Q. Your colleague, Mrs. Metelko told you that --
16 JUDGE PARKER: Could I just ask you to pause a little longer.
17 I've noticed the poor interpreter is rushing hard to keep up.
18 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as you have just
19 realised, at the beginning of my cross-examination, I drew the witness's
20 attention to this mistake, being aware that I am bound to make it myself.
21 So I would like to apologise for making the mistake.
22 Q. You told us that Mrs. Metelko explained to you what the goal of
23 your testimony in front of the International Tribunal would be. What did
24 she tell you?
25 A. It was her first and then the OTP representatives told me. And it
1 was exactly like I told you, that the goal would be to establish the
2 status of Croatia at the time. The status of Croatia primarily in the
3 international community or, in other words, the legal state of affairs in
4 Croatia with regard to its international subjectivity, or Croatia being an
5 international subject.
6 Q. In addition to the conversations with my learned friends from the
7 OTP, what other contacts have you had from the moment when you were
8 informed that you will be testifying until today, and who were your
9 contacts with?
10 A. The only contacts I had were with my colleagues from the
11 international department. I mentioned Mr. Krnic, but soon after that he
12 was replaced by Mr. Jaksa Muljacic, and I spoke with him, and I had
13 contacts with the OTP, and those were my -- all my contacts in that
15 Q. Tell me, please: As regards some of the elements of your
16 professional background, in the statement that you gave to the OTP on 19
17 September, 2003, you say the following: In 1979, you were sent to the
18 federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the republican organs. Can you
19 elaborate? Who was it who sent you and what were the circumstances? I'm
20 not prying for any details; just general information.
21 A. The federal ministry of international affairs comprised of
22 representatives of various republics and autonomous provinces, and they
23 were -- they joined in various ways. One of the ways of joining was for
24 an adequate body. At that time in Croatia, it was proposed that somebody
25 should go and work in the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And this
1 could be permanent employment or it could be based on a temporary
2 contract. In 1979, I was originally sent by the Executive Council of the
3 parliament of Croatia, and I had a temporary contract, and this was at the
4 request of the federal secretary for internal affairs. They had openings
5 and they dispatched a circular to various republics and they said: We
6 don't have candidates in Belgrade. Can you please send us your
7 candidates. And that's how I was proposed for the post of the consul in
8 Pittsburgh, and later on the advisory in the cultural and information
9 centre. I had a four-year contract to start with.
10 Q. To your mind, what was it that qualified you for that position?
11 Because prior to that, you were engaged in commercial law in INA.
12 A. I was an advisor in the legal affairs department and I was engaged
13 in legal affairs. I represented my company. I worked on various
14 contracts, investment contracts. I worked on joint ventures. I even
15 drafted some international contracts. There were all sorts of things that
16 I did, legal departments. There were all sorts of things. I was a legal
17 expert with a solid base, a solid knowledge.
18 Q. However, the job of a consul and the job in INA, what do they have
19 in common in terms of the character of these two jobs?
20 A. There is a lot in common between these two jobs. A consul was
21 supposed to be somebody with a degree in law. They had to be in touch
22 with the profession. They had to be versed in working with judiciary,
23 with governmental bodies, which I did while I worked in INA. For example,
24 I worked on labour law, I worked on all the issues stemming from labour
25 relations, and I also had a bar exam at the time. I was qualified to do
1 this job. This was very important.
2 Q. Another thing that comes to mind is the following: I understand
3 that this may be a good explanation. However, how did you become a
4 cultural attache in your next term of office?
5 A. No. It was in the same term of office.
6 Q. Let's not overlap, please. So in Pittsburgh first you were a
7 consul --
8 JUDGE PARKER: Let the interpreter catch up. She is about half a
9 question behind.
10 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will put it in front
11 of me in very big letters, and I hope it will remind me every time I speed
13 JUDGE PARKER: We'll get a great flag and I'll wave at you when
14 you can start, Mr. Petrovic.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. So what I would like to know: I know what your duties were as a
17 consul. What did you do as a cultural attache? Please can you wait just
18 for a moment. What is a link between a consul and somebody who works as a
19 cultural attache in New York? What are the points in common?
20 A. The job in New York lasted for one year. That was my last year of
21 that term of office, which was four years, according to my contract. For
22 three years I was in Pittsburgh, and then I was transferred to the
23 cultural and information centre. I suppose that there were several
24 reasons for that.
25 One of those reasons was that at the time they were downsizing in
1 some diplomatic representative offices, and they assigned people to other
2 places where there were openings. At that moment, in New York, there was
3 an opening. There were two consuls in Pittsburgh and we were told that
4 one of us had to be transferred somewhere else, so it was a good solution
5 that there was an opening in New York, and there was nobody there. There
6 are lots of Croats in the United States, and there was nobody from Croatia
7 to look after their needs. There were other people from other areas but
8 nobody from Croatia. So they thought that it would be good if somebody
9 from Croatia worked in that centre.
10 In addition to that, the post I was assigned to also comprised
11 relations with the diaspora, and although this should not have been one of
12 the tasks; however, I had very large previous experience and they told
13 this would be a really good post for me.
14 Before that, I organised a lot of cultural events in Pittsburgh,
15 and I had a month of culture at that time. This was a big event. So I
16 proved myself as the person who was capable of organising cultural events.
17 Q. In addition to some other things, I understand that in the former
18 secretariat for foreign affairs, people were tasked with some categories
19 of emigrants. Croats were in charge of Croats, Serbs in charge of Serbs,
20 Macedonians were in charge of Macedonians.
21 A. No, not necessarily. But very often it would happen to me that I
22 would be tasked with Croatian and Slovenian communities, as two
23 communities which share some similar historical developments. However,
24 this was not a rule. We worked with other communities, other ethnic
25 communities. So this was not a steadfast rule. However, it was taken
1 into consideration when thinking about which person in an ethnic community
2 would accept.
3 Q. How -- what kind of verification, what kind of checking would a
4 person aspiring to join the secretariat of international affairs would
5 have to undergo? What security checks?
6 A. I don't know what security checks I had to be subject to. From
7 time to time, I would bump into a colleague or a friend who would then
8 tell me: Somebody was inquiring, made inquiries about you. And then I
9 realised that this was this check, checking procedure.
10 Q. What service was in charge of this checking procedure?
11 A. I suppose that this was done through the Ministry of the Interior.
12 Q. Do you know more specifically which service within the Ministry of
13 the Interior would be in charge of that?
14 A. I really wouldn't know. I wouldn't be able to tell you. At that
15 time, I really don't know who did that.
16 Q. Do you know, speaking from the experience working in your
17 ministry, who is it today in Croatia who is in charge of the security
18 checks of the people who are being posted to responsible places abroad?
19 A. I believe again that this is the Ministry of the Interior, but I
20 can't tell you exactly who. I know that in 1991, there was a service for
21 the protection of constitutional order. I know that they were the ones
22 who were consulted every time. But at this moment, really, I can't tell
23 you which service that is. I really -- I'm not interested in that.
24 Q. Would that be the secret police who would be checking who could
25 work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
1 A. This term, "secret service," is something that I really don't
2 understand. Secret police, what does that mean? Is that the security
3 service that used to exist in the past?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. I suppose that that service did have an impact on the checking
6 procedure, but I wouldn't be able to say that for a fact.
7 Q. Can we then conclude that you were very successful, that you went
8 successfully through all these checking procedures? Because from a
9 four-year contract, you were given a permanent job.
10 A. I can only suppose that all these checking procedures were not
11 successful, like you put it, but I suppose that they were okay. However,
12 when I became a permanent employee, I was again invited through the
13 Executive Council of the Republic of Croatia, when I returned to Croatia,
14 I was still an employee of INA Naftaplin, and I was again invited and they
15 told me that they had a request from the federal secretariat for foreign
16 affairs to send people who had already had some experience with the job
17 and who wished to continue working on those jobs. Because in the federal
18 secretariat for foreign affairs, there was a serious lack of Croatians,
19 and that's the way it was put to me, and that's how I went to Belgrade,
20 and with the then-federal secretary for foreign affairs I had an
21 interview, and he confirmed that he told me that they requested Croatia to
22 send people who would be interested in permanent employment. Those people
23 should have already had some experience, because there was not enough
24 representation of the Republic of Croatia in the federal body.
25 Q. Tell me: In the period since you have been involved in foreign
1 affairs - by this, I mean the period of the former Yugoslavia, from 1979
2 to 1991 - who were the secretaries of foreign affairs, and where were they
3 from, if you can remember? But we all know that.
4 A. I think that at that time -- was it Vrhovac? I think it was
5 Vrhovac when I came. Then it was Mojsov. I even think Mojsov was before
6 that. I even think Mojsov was before that, because I know that in
7 New York we prepared some materials for him. And maybe Vrhovac wasn't
8 there any more when I arrived. So it was Mojsov. In the end, it was
9 Loncar. In the meantime --
10 Q. Who was there before Loncar?
11 A. Well, that's what I'm trying to remember right now. Dizdarevic?
12 Was it him?
13 Q. Very well. Let's move on.
14 A. I can't really remember at this moment, but I do know that the
15 last minister was Loncar.
16 Q. Tell me, please, the following: You returned to the country in
18 A. No. Oh, you mean back to the ministry in Belgrade. You mean
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. Yes, that's correct then. It was either in December or January.
22 That's when my term of office in Berlin expired.
23 Q. Until when did you remain in Belgrade, physically?
24 A. Formally --
25 Q. I'm asking you about your physical presence.
1 A. Well, how can I explain this? Physically, I was in both places at
2 once. It's very unusual, but that's how it was. This was a time of
3 transition, and there were things I still had to do. One of these things
4 was to bring on this care the international treaty base. This was agreed
5 on. It was done in a formal manner. Because the then-republican ministry
6 asked to have a base of an international treaty database and that this
7 should be given to all of us as a kind of common inheritance. However,
8 physically it was hard to do, because the PCs were not adapted.
9 Q. I have to interrupt you. I'm asking you something very simple.
10 Until when were you physically present in Belgrade? We'll come to what
11 you were doing, but now I want to know until when you were in Belgrade.
12 A. Well, I would say -- I repeat that I was in both places, but until
13 the end of November I was there physically. Formally, my employment ended
14 on the 15th of December, but that was because I still had some unused
15 annual leave left and things like that.
16 Q. When was the last time you were in Knez Milos Street, where the
17 building of the foreign ministry is? When was the last time you entered
18 as its employee?
19 A. Probably to take back my employment booklet.
20 Q. And before that?
21 A. Well, maybe some 15 days before that, approximately.
22 Q. So until the 1st of December you worked in the federal ministry in
23 Belgrade? We are talking about 1991; is that correct? Tell me, please:
24 You say that starting from the spring of 1991, you were in contact with
25 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia. Is this correct?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. When and how did you establish these contacts, and with whom?
3 A. I would that I established contacts even before that, contacts
4 with the first minister of foreign affairs, because I was so-called
5 republican staff member and I felt it was my duty when he was appointed to
6 contact him and to say to him: Well, I am one of these republican civil
7 servants. I have no interest in remaining in a place where you do not need
8 me, and I am prepared to help in any way I can. And then in March,
9 President Tudjman invited all the diplomats in that federal body for a
10 consultation, and quite a lot of us came. The ministry knew about this.
11 This was done quite officially. They knew we had been invited. And we
12 all had a meeting with him, and with the then-representatives of the
13 Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This was in the spring of 1991,
14 when we were told that we were expected to be working in the interests of
15 Croatia, which had sent us there, and to remain where we were until the
16 circumstances were created for those of us who wished to, to return to
18 Q. What did the president tell you on that occasion the interests of
19 Croatia were, in the spring of 1991?
20 A. He certainly told us that it was in our interest to have our own
21 sovereignty and that, in future, we would see whether we would enter into
22 some kind of community of independent states or in some other way, but at
23 any rate, that at that moment that was the goal of the Republic of
25 Q. So you went to Belgrade to work in a federal body with an aim that
1 was anticonstitutional in relation to the then-existing state?
2 A. No, because at that time it was very well known that Croatia had
3 already enacted its own constitution and had, by promulgating this
4 constitution, declared its desire for independence. And it was also very
5 well known that we, as republican civil servants -- and this was a very
6 difficult thing to understand in times of transition. At that time some
7 colleagues who came to be prepared for assignments abroad spoke quite
8 openly in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in all the departments, that
9 they would advocate the interests of the Republic of Croatia. And this
10 was public knowledge.
11 Q. Could you please be more concise in your replies, if possible,
12 because I get lost and repeat my questions, and we are wasting our
13 precious time, mine and yours and the Court's.
14 From the viewpoint of the federal constitution that was then in
15 force, was the secession of the Republic of Croatia, such as you were
16 instructed about from the president of Croatia at the time, was this a
17 goal that was opposed to the then-valid constitution of the SFRY or not?
18 A. It's impossible to answer this with a yes or no, because at that
19 time we did not feel we were working against the constitution or the
20 system of the then-Yugoslavia. It was simply something that was
21 complementary to that.
22 Q. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, did it
23 contain the categories of secession? I'm speaking of the Socialist
24 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Was secession, disassociation, or
25 anything similar, provided for in that constitution?
1 A. Yes. In the preamble to both the federal and the republican
2 constitutions, it said that the republics had to join together voluntarily
3 on the basis of their right to self-determination, including the right to
5 Q. In the text of the constitution, was there a provision defining a
6 procedure for any republic to secede from the Socialist Federative
7 Republic of Yugoslavia? What article was this?
8 A. No. There was no such article, but there was no -- nothing to
9 prohibit it either. It was simply a gap in the constitution.
10 Q. Does this constitution contain an unambiguous provision which
11 states that any changes of the borders of the Socialist Federal Republic
12 of Yugoslavia could not be made without the consent of all the federal
13 units of that state?
14 A. We have to know that the Republic of Croatia did work on its
15 independence as a legal entity in international law, but at that time it
16 was not certain that the republic wished full independence. It was
17 possibly heading for a confederation, and this was well known. Croatia
18 and Slovenia advocated a confederation at the time.
19 Q. I have to ask you to answer my question. Is there a prohibition
20 in the constitution for the change of the borders of the state without
21 everybody's consent? Yes or no.
22 A. There was no change of borders in this case.
23 Q. Please. If there is a state, and if there are five states there
24 today, how, then, can we say that there were no changes in the borders?
25 Do you understand that? I'm sure you understand my question, so please
1 answer it.
2 A. I know what you're getting at. I know what you want me to say.
3 But at that time, Croatia had not declared independence, nor did Croatia
4 at that time secede from Yugoslavia. So we can in no way speak about
5 changing the borders. We can only talk about an order in which Croatia
6 has its own sovereignty. We know that the characteristics of sovereignty
7 was something that the former republics had.
8 Q. Does the constitution contain the prohibition or not?
9 A. Prohibition of what?
10 Q. A prohibition of a forcible change of borders of the SFRY, without
11 the consent of the constituent elements of that state; yes or no?
12 A. Forcible change? I really can't tell you what article refers to a
13 forcible change. But I repeat: At that time, in no way was any change of
14 borders in question.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I have to apply to you
16 for assistance. I'm asking something very simple: Did the constitution
17 contain such a provision or not? Or does the witness not know this? These
18 are three possibilities. I would like to receive a simple answer.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I wonder if you could assist us there with that. I
20 think you have a reasonable familiarity with the constitution, and I do
21 not have that familiarity. But I would be surprised to find in a federal
22 constitution that there was a provision that expressly contemplated the
23 dissolution or breaking up of the federation. Is there such a provision
24 in the -- or was there such a provision in the federal constitution at
25 that time?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] A provision on the dissolution of
2 the state did not exist.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
4 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] By your leave: Was there a
5 provision on changing the borders without the consent of the federal
7 JUDGE PARKER: Border changes. Was there any provision dealing
8 with that, do you think?
9 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Of the federal state.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know, the provision on
11 changing of borders between the republics existed, because the republics
12 would have to agree on that.
13 JUDGE PARKER: You understand the point of Mr. Petrovic's
14 question, which is directed to the federal borders, that is, the external
15 border of the Federation. Was there any provision dealing with that?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Apart from the general principle
17 that the borders were inviolable, I cannot quote any other provision as
18 regards the external borders.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I think we can take the answer, Mr. Petrovic, to be
21 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, of course, when the
22 time comes, we shall adduce evidence to that effect. Just a moment,
24 [Defence counsel confer]
25 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Does the fact that you don't know the answer to the question I put
2 to you have anything to do with the instructions you were given when you
3 came to this institution?
4 A. What institution are you referring to?
5 Q. The International Tribunal.
6 A. No. I told you that I did not consult anyone, especially not any
7 other experts, apart from the people I've mentioned, and certainly not
8 with people who are not lawyers.
9 Q. Were you ever a member of the League of Communists of Croatia or
10 of Yugoslavia?
11 A. Yes, long ago, and then we simply all stopped being members. I
12 can't tell you exactly when.
13 Q. When did you enter the Communist Party?
14 A. At the time, it was called the League of Communists of Yugoslavia,
15 and more specifically, of the Republic of Croatia, and that was when we
16 were students, either at university or school.
17 Q. Until when were you a member of the League of Communists of
18 Yugoslavia and Croatia?
19 A. This was up to the '80s, as far as I can remember, when all of us
20 stopped paying our membership dues. That was somewhere in the '80s.
21 Q. Can you give me a specific date?
22 A. No, because I didn't formally ask to cease being a member. I
23 simply stopped paying my membership dues, and this was sometime in the
25 Q. The late '80s?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. For how long were you a member of the League of Communists?
3 A. Well, from the '60s to the '80s, so it might have been about 25
4 years or so. But I wish to mention that I never held any posts in that
6 Q. Were you also within the communist organisation of the Ministry of
7 Foreign Affairs?
8 A. We all were, but I didn't have any special function.
9 Q. Were you ever disciplined as a party member?
10 A. No, I wasn't.
11 Q. After being a member of that party, did you join any other party?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Are you a member of a political party today?
14 A. No, I'm not.
15 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in view of the fact
16 that I have completed one topic, I propose that we conclude for today, by
17 your leave.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Petrovic, I think that's a convenient
20 I must ask, Mrs. Alajbeg, if you can return tomorrow. I'm sorry
21 about that. That will be at 9.00 in the morning.
22 MS. SOMERS: Excuse me, Your Honour. I'm sorry to interrupt you
23 before you conclude. I just want I thought it might be helpful since a
24 day or two have passed to remind the Chamber that Mrs. Alajbeg does have
25 to leave The Hague tomorrow afternoon, that she is not able to stay beyond
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
3 MS. SOMERS: Thank you.
4 JUDGE PARKER: We're in the hands of Mr. Petrovic there. I'm sure
5 that he's moving on now, and we can hope to finish in time for you to get
7 MR. PETROVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will do my very
8 best. But this depends to a certain extent on the way in which my
9 conversation with the witness proceeds tomorrow. I will focus on only key
10 issues. Thank you.
11 JUDGE PARKER: I think that will be very useful, if you could do
12 that, Mr. Petrovic, and we're starting to get into a pattern now of
13 allowing question and answer to be concluded so that the interpreters can
14 keep up, and overall, that will speed up the process as well.
15 We will adjourn now until tomorrow morning.
16 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.37 p.m.
17 To be reconvened on Friday, the 16th day of January
18 2004, at 9.00 a.m.