1 Wednesday, 14 May 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.00 a.m.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, kindly call the
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. Good morning,
8 everyone in and around the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-74-T,
9 the Prosecutor versus Prlic et al. Thank you, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 Today is the 14th of May, 2008. My greetings to Mr. Scott and his
12 colleague. My greetings to the witness, the Defence counsel, the
13 accused, and all the other people helping us out.
14 The examination in chief is going to continue. Apparently,
15 Mr. Karnavas, you still have one hour based on the calculations of the
16 court deputy. Thank you. You have the floor. You may proceed.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President. Good morning,
18 Your Honours. Good morning, everyone in and around the courtroom.
19 WITNESS: DAMIR ZORIC [Resumed]
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 Examination by Mr. Karnavas: [Continued]
22 Q. Good morning, sir.
23 A. Good morning.
24 Q. Yesterday there was quite a bit of a discussion concerning a
25 couple of -- the decree and then the decision. The decision I'm speaking
1 of is 1D 02638. We're not going to refer to that immediately but that's
2 the one and we talked a little bit about who was a refugee. Now, you had
3 indicated yesterday that it was on the basis of this particular decision
4 in the previous decree that the refugees, be they Croats or Muslims or
5 others, were being provided protection in Croatia; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Now, for the purposes of -- and there was some questions from the
8 Bench and so I thought it might be rather illustrative if we could look
9 at 1D 01581, 1581. You have it in front of you. It's a separate sheet
10 of paper. We see this is a -- this is already, Your Honours, in
11 evidence. It was introduced, as I understand it, when we had Ms. Krajsek
12 here, also it was on the list up until Monday when we tried to streamline
13 the -- our case in keeping with your instructions. We thought we might
14 be able to do this in three hours.
15 In any event, if we look at this document, 1D 01581, dated
16 6 April 1994
17 very first paragraph. If you look at the second sentence in that
18 paragraph, it says, "We are applying the same principles that we have
19 been applied to the refugees in the Republic of Croatia
20 conditions for return, primarily safety are created somewhere, the
21 refugee status for persons from that area is revoked and their return
22 made possible, as well as the return of these persons who had decided to
23 return of their own accord." Then we see in parentheses, "(See Law on
24 the Status of Expelled Persons and Refugees, Article 9, paragraphs 1 and
25 2, Official Gazette number 96/93."
1 Now, if we could go, with that in mind, if we could go to
2 Articles -- to Article 9 in the decision, 1D 02638, the decision, the law
3 itself. If you go to that. Look at Article 9. If you could tell us
4 whether what Dr. Rebic is referring to is this particular Article,
5 paragraphs 1 and 2.
6 And while you're looking it up for the Trial Chamber's benefit,
7 this can be found on the internet, this law, the Gazette actually, and
8 the one that we have here before us is indeed 96/93.
9 Now, is that what you were referring to, sir?
10 A. I believe that the decision or the letter by Mr. Rebic confirms
11 what I was saying yesterday that both the decree and the law were
12 consistently applied to refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Furthermore, I
13 would perhaps like to add something that we didn't mention yesterday. As
14 a member of the United Nations, Croatia was also applying the UN
15 Convention on the Rights of Refugees, dated 1951. When it became a
16 member, Croatia
17 UN conventions as well as the later protocol on the implementation of
18 that particular convention. As far as I can tell, the documents have not
19 been included anywhere so far.
20 Therefore, this is not only about a consistent application of
21 domestic legislation but rather also about the application of
22 international laws, in this case, the rights of the refugees in the
23 Republic of Croatia
24 Q. Thank you. You anticipated my next question. Let me make sure
25 that we're thoroughly satisfied with what I'm showing you. Is what
1 Dr. Rebic pointed out, this particular Law on the Status of Expelled
2 Persons and Refugees, Article 9, paragraphs 1 and 2, is that what is
3 being referred to in the decision which is 1D 02638?
4 A. Yes, that's it.
5 Q. All right.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: And if the Court wishes, I have the web site for
7 the Official Gazette we can put it on the ELMO if that's necessary. I do
8 have it here to make it part of the record.
9 All right.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment, Witness. I have a
11 question, related question for you but I'm using this document to tackle
13 In this document, 1D 1581, signed by Dr. Rebic, on page 2,
14 penultimate paragraph in the English version, it is said that nobody can
15 return because their houses were destroyed and so on and so forth. Last
16 time, you were not here, Dr. Prlic made a statement and at one point in
17 time he said this and this sort of puzzled me. I was waiting for a
18 witness to come in order to check this.
19 Dr. Prlic told us that with regard to the ownership of
20 apartments, there was some kind of social right. I was under the
21 impression that Yugoslavia
22 communist system, there was no ownership right as such. It was the state
23 that would allocate apartments and dwellings to individuals who would
24 occupy it but it was social ownership, and because of what Dr. Prlic
25 said, I was under the impression that in the Republic of Croatia
1 system was somewhat different. I believe, I understood that the Croats
2 were owners of their apartments.
3 Could you shed some light on this as to the system that was in
4 place before the breakdown of Yugoslavia
5 the owner of your apartment because you had some deed of ownership that
6 was authenticated by a notary public or was a social ownership,
7 collective ownership, that you were given your apartment by the
8 municipality, you could occupy it and the municipality could, in turn,
9 give that apartment to somebody else and then when the state of
11 economy and there was ownership for individuals.
12 Could you shed some light on the issue of ownership of an
13 apartment that can apply to displaced persons or to refugees equally?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I'm privy to
15 the inner workings of this particular matter in Croatia as well as in the
16 whole of the former Yugoslavia
17 was also private property; private property, however, was not to exceed
18 some very strict limits. People had the right to actually own flats and
19 homes. That was my case as well. My parents owned a house. There were
20 flats, for example, that were allocated by a municipal body, a company or
21 an institution. Such flats would remain socially owned, as they say. A
22 family or a person would be granted the right to use that flat, but under
23 a certain set of conditions.
24 If there was a failure on the part of this person or family to
25 comply with these conditions, the authorities allocating the flat were
1 free to simply take the flat away from that person or family and allocate
2 it to someone else. As far as I know, however, socially-owned property
3 to all practical intents was viewed and dealt with in the same way as any
4 other form of property because that was what people did in practical
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Karnavas.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
8 Q. All right. Let's go on to the next -- let's go on to the next
9 document, 1D 02606, and you'll see there are several pages to this
10 particular document. If you could please take a look at it first,
11 especially the copies in the original language, in Croatian.
12 My first question would be: Do you recognise this document?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What do you recognise it to be?
15 A. This is a table. It is a report or a partial report on how and
16 when and where the Office for Refugees was ordering and distributing
17 heaters. Preparations were underway for the winter season and obviously
18 one needed to get a certain amount of heaters in.
19 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, could we get a date -- I have
20 not been able to find a date on the document.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: I haven't finished with my direct examination. I
22 haven't laid a foundation.
23 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, counsel. You were going to provide it.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I don't mean to snap but, I mean, we're
25 professionals around here.
1 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, when one shows a witness a
2 document or provides a document to a party, usually the information about
3 date is provided. Thank you.
4 MR. KARNAVAS:
5 Q. How do you recognise this document, first of all?
6 A. I would receive reports such as this one, and that's why I'm
7 familiar with the document.
8 Q. Now, to answer the Prosecution's question: Do you know when this
9 document was generated? And I don't want to lead you but if you look at
10 it closely, you'll see some dates on the document as far as when certain
11 incidents are reported.
12 It's the European version of putting down the dates so maybe that
13 might cause some confusion.
14 A. I think we did this just on the eve of winter of 1992.
15 Q. All right. Now let's just go to the next -- by the way, if we
16 just look at the one document, we can see the date, 1992, rather very
17 clearly. You have a listing, this would be on -- I believe it's the
18 fourth page. You see several hotels that are being mentioned. Can you
19 tell us where are these locations?
20 A. These facilities, all of them, are somewhere along the coast.
21 The Split
22 that happens to be in the Zagreb
23 Q. If you flip to the next page --
24 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I just for precision -- thank you for the
25 precision's sake, there is a mistake in the translation. The entry
1 for -- under number 9 for Gortan says 4 January 1992, which is amazing
2 because all the rest is referring to winter 1992, 1993, and if you look
3 at the Croatian version then you see that it should read 1993. I think
4 it's just a bit awkward and I think we want everything to be precise and
5 correct. Thank you.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Now, if you go to the next page, where it says, "Adaptation of
8 facilities, UNHCR." Do you see that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And we see all these dates are 1992. And if you look under
11 number 8, it says "Gasinci." Is that the island?
12 A. No. Gasinci is not an island; it's a refugee centre near
14 Q. And that's --
15 A. What this shows, however, is that it was the UNHCR that made over
16 a former military officers's HQ into a refugee centre.
17 Q. That's the one that Azra Krajsek was saying that the weapons were
18 pointed at, is that the one?
19 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, excuse me, this is -- I'm going to
20 object to that for this kind of commentary. The witness doesn't know
21 that except what Mr. Karnavas tells him, so he has no -- this witness has
22 no information about what did or didn't happen. So, Your Honour, I'm
23 going to make the point. This is why I'm constantly on my feet about
24 commentary, comments, arguments by counsel, characterizations. It's not
25 necessary and it's not done properly in the common law system. You ask a
1 question. This is direct examination, cannot be leading. You ask an
2 open-ended, non-leading, non-suggestive question. That's all we need.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll withdraw the question. We'll see the
4 document next week when we have our next witness because there is --
5 there are documents that were in the packet that we had prepared to show
6 to this gentleman but next week we will see complaints from Krajsek and
7 Turkovic that weapons were being pointed at that particular facility.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, isn't that a bit of a strange
9 argument? What does what happens next week to do with how you now
10 question this witness? And in fact, you have asked him to comment on
11 what another witness has said. He hasn't, to my knowledge, been present
12 when the other witness deposed, I don't think whether he saw the
13 transcript. I think the Prosecution -- the objection must be sustained.
14 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay. Well, first of all, let me just respond.
15 I wasn't making an argument, I was responding to the Prosecution.
16 Secondly, yesterday, we discussed this incident. Yesterday, I
17 pointed to portions of the transcript from the witness. He had indicated
18 yesterday that at that particular camp which had a UNHCR centre, under no
19 circumstances, to his knowledge when he visited it, and mind you he's up
20 there until 1993 in his position, were any weapons being pointed.
21 Now we see a date 1992. My whole point is that because there are
22 complaints that these two particular centres of which those are the only
23 two out of nearly 600 that there are complaints, we have as of 1992
24 people being stored over there. Now who are the displaced persons or
25 refugees? Where are they coming from on this particular date? That's
1 the point.
2 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, once again, fortunately we have a
3 continuation of the problem. Now Mr. Karnavas is testifying when he says
4 of 600 centres there were only two complaints. We don't know that.
5 There's no evidence of that.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Yesterday there was evidence there were 596.
7 MR. SCOTT: And as far as this witness knows, which he wasn't
8 even there between March 1993 and late 1995, as far as he knows -- as far
9 as I know, nothing ever happened in Croatia. I wasn't there. As far as
10 I know. As far as this witness knows, he knows nothing about it.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll move on, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, I have to say
13 something on this issue. The issue you raise is as follows: There is
14 some accommodation for refugees. Apparently these premises were premises
15 where senior officers were accommodated previously, so there was a
16 military connotation to the premises. Based on that, it may be that
17 there were weapons, guns on the premises. I don't know. And based on
18 that, you try to clarify what another witness may have said. Two things
19 are here an issue. In my country, a defence counsel could tell a witness
20 the following: Witness, another witness stated that in this location,
21 there were guns directed against the refugee camp and the witness could
22 agree or disagree. This is something that can be done. A question that
23 can be asked.
24 In a common law system, according to Mr. Scott, that is not done.
25 I note that. However, in the system -- a mixed system as applied in this
1 Tribunal, you may find a mixture of both system, both systems and
2 sometimes they collide and that causes procedural incidents. This is
3 what I wanted to say but since you're moving on to another subject, you
4 may proceed.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you, Mr. President, but just to make sure.
6 I don't agree with Mr. Scott's insinuation that this is improper direct
7 examination. It may be where he comes from but where I come from, I'm
8 perfectly capable of referring to what another witness has indicated and
9 asking the witness to comment if I can establish that that witness has a
10 basis, they have a factual basis to answer the question.
11 Q. Now, sir, have you visited Gasinci?
12 A. Yes, many times.
13 Q. Now, at that point in time, if you look at the date, this is
14 2/12/92, could you please tell us whether there were any displaced
15 persons or refugees staying at that location?
16 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, could we have the dates of
17 Mr. -- Dr. Zoric's visits to the place, if we're talking about visits in
18 1991, 1992. I'm quite serious about this. We need to know a date. What
19 happened in 1991 can be completely irrelevant to what happens in 1993.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, we've indicated already that the
21 gentleman worked in that capacity. When he visited a particular location
22 is absolutely irrelevant. What's relevant is: During that period when
23 he was working did he know whether people were housed over there? That's
24 the foundational question. So I don't see why the Prosecution is getting
25 so excited. I really don't.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think here you're right, Mr. Karnavas, and I
2 would overrule the objection.
3 MR. KARNAVAS:
4 Q. So do you know, based on your position, whether -- who was there,
5 if anybody, at that period?
6 MR. KARNAVAS: Look at the date, Mr. Scott, please. I know that
7 this is European style of -- look at it, it's 2.12.92. You're wearing
8 your glasses, you must be able to see it.
9 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I reject this kind of personal
10 commentary. This is not required, this is not called for. It is just
11 attacks on counsel and the Court, with all respect, should not allow this
12 and Mr. Karnavas should be admonished.
13 Now, I'm looking at the -- I don't have a translated document in
14 front of me. Yes, I can read the date. If counsel says -- excuse me,
15 Your Honour, let me make my record. If counsel says, if counsel says
16 that all he's referring to is that particular date -- in December 1992,
17 and that's all we're talking about because sometimes it's not clear, then
18 that's fine.
19 JUDGE TRECHSEL: But here it was absolutely clear, counsel has
20 started off his question by referring to this date.
21 MR. SCOTT: If I am mistaken I stand corrected. I'm not perfect
22 but I did not understand that going into it. Thank you.
23 MR. KARNAVAS:
24 Q. Was anybody staying in that location, to your knowledge, back
25 then; and if so, who?
1 A. Both refugees and displaced persons at the time.
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could Mr. Karnavas please
3 try to speak closer to the microphone. Thank you.
4 MR. KARNAVAS:
5 Q. Could you tell us how often you have visited this particular
6 location on or about that period of time?
7 A. Three or four times, perhaps.
8 Q. Okay.
9 A. To see how the facility was being set up and what exactly was
10 going on. It was my job to tour places that like that to see whether
11 they were operating properly. Again, I must point out that there were no
12 weapons being kept there. The fact that the facility had been used by
13 senior officers of the former army doesn't necessarily mean that they
14 left any weapons behind. That particular army never left a single weapon
15 behind, at least that much is generally known.
16 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, and at the risk of being
17 criticised by the Court again, I'm sorry but I'm back to my saying -- so
18 when he says he visited it three or four times, during what period are we
19 talking about? During December 1992, that time, or throughout a three-
20 or four- or five-year period, or -- I'm sorry, but I'm going to ask for
21 the information.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, so you -- well, I
23 would find it difficult to say in which month I was in which location 15
24 years ago, but maybe you have a better memory than I do. Could you more
25 or less tell us when you visited the facility or are you not in a
1 position to do so, which I would understand perfectly well.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's difficult to be particularly
3 specific about dates but it was certainly the case whenever there was
4 something very important going on. When the larger groups arrived, when
5 there were things to be done, or when UNHCR teams went, I would tag
6 along. I think there was a total of maybe three or four times that I
7 visited Gasinci in 1992, but I can't be any more specific about the
9 MR. KARNAVAS:
10 Q. All right. Just one last question about this document, you see
11 at the very top it says, "Adaptation of facilities UNHCR." Can you tell
12 us what exactly are these figures? What does this mean? And you may
13 have to look at the next page as well.
14 A. These figures show the dates when contracts were signed and they
15 show how much money was spent under the terms of those contracts. They
16 also show the amounts of money remaining and they also show the deadlines
17 for this makeover. The UNHCR is bankrolling the whole project.
18 Q. Okay. So I know yesterday we saw a document 1D 2609 and that was
19 a letter of mutual intent to conclude an agreement and we saw that your
20 office, ODPR, was to report in financial and narrative form the use of
21 all contributions received. Now, granted this is at a latter date, this
22 document I'm referring to right now, and it's about something slightly
23 different but may I ask, the funds that were being received from UNHCR,
24 was your office responsible for accounting for how that money was spent
25 where and for what purposes?
1 A. Yes, the office was accountable for that and joint bodies decided
2 how and on what that money is to be spent. We cooperated with the UNHCR
3 and after the job had been done, we submitted reports on what we had done
4 and how much money we had spent.
5 Q. All right. If we look at 1D 01294, that's the next document.
6 This refers to a Dr. Bisera Turkovic, appointed ambassador to the
7 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Republic of Croatia
8 this woman?
9 A. Yes, I met her several times at receptions.
10 Q. Did you have any official dealings with her while she was the
11 ambassador, and I'm speaking now for time-frame purposes, up until the
12 time when you were the office ODPR in 1993, that is, did you have any
13 official meetings with her?
14 A. No, I had very little contact with the ambassador.
15 MR. KARNAVAS: Okay.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Why did you have so little
17 contact with her? I see that she was appointed in the month of January,
18 1993. I know that you were there until the month of March so you had the
19 entire month of February to have contacts. And if there were refugees
20 from Bosnia and Herzegovina at that time, should she not have contacted
21 you in order to solve these problems?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I suppose so and that was actually
23 part of her mandate to take care of BiH citizens but they contacted me
24 very rarely. I met the lady once or twice. We spoke politely,
25 introduced each other, exchanged a few courteous phrases and that was
2 MR. KARNAVAS:
3 Q. Now, to make sure, to follow up on what you had indicated
4 yesterday. Above you was Dr. Rebic; correct?
5 A. That is correct.
6 Q. And given his position, would it have been more likely that she
7 or her representative would have contacted Dr. Rebic as opposed to you,
8 you being the number two albeit you're the one handling the day-to-day
10 A. Yes. Dr. Rebic represented the office and it is natural for the
11 representatives of foreign countries to contact him first. But if he had
12 been approached about any activities that we should do, I would have
13 learned about it because I would have been the one to implement that.
14 Q. All right. Now, where was your office with respect to
15 Dr. Rebic's office?
16 THE INTERPRETER: Can Mr. Karnavas speak into the microphone to
17 the right.
18 A. We were sitting in the same building, he was on the first floor
19 and I was on the ground floor.
20 MR. KARNAVAS: All right.
21 Q. If we could go on to the next document 1D 02607. 1D 02607. This
22 is dated February 3, 1993
23 says, "One-time financial assistance for refugees from BiH who organised
24 their lives independently and for their hosts." Now, can you just
25 comment very briefly what does this mean? I know you touched upon it
1 yesterday but we had that whole argument about whether the law applied
2 and whether Croatia
3 refugees, but if you could look at this, could you please tell us what
4 does this mean?
5 A. This is an instruction to regional offices and local offices of
6 social welfare centres who worked with refugees about the distribution of
7 financial assistance to refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina; namely, to
8 those refugees who lived independently rather than in collective
9 accommodation centres but who were registered as refugees in Croatia
10 Those who were registered and lived in collective refugee centres had
11 their costs covered by us; and those refugees who lived independently
12 received financial assistance occasionally in the form of one-time
13 financial assistance. This is for refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
14 Q. All right. Now, if we look at just paragraph number 4, keeping
15 in mind your testimony yesterday about the centres and then the regional
16 office and the reporting system and keeping track of the data and
17 updating the census, can you comment on this a little bit?
18 A. This paragraph speaks about the obligation to forward data to the
19 centre. Dr. Kurent, at the time, was the head of the international
20 department of our office and she closely cooperated with the UNHCR. He
21 was sort of our minister of foreign affairs.
22 Q. So the data would come from the centres to the regional office
23 and then from the regional office to the head office; am I correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. If we could go on to the next document, 1D 02283, dated
1 25 February 1993
2 government of the Republic of Croatia
3 Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina
4 Republic of Croatia
5 aid sent to the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
6 Now my first question is: Were you aware of this protocol?
7 A. Yes, I knew of its existence.
8 Q. All right. If we go back to the second page, we see
9 Dr. Mate Granic, that's the individual that initially got you involved;
10 correct? And that you were working for?
11 A. Yes, correct.
12 Q. All right. Now, were you involved in any way with implementing
13 this protocol albeit it's now February 25th and you're only there shortly
14 in that office in ODPR before you go and take your seat on the
16 A. At that time, few organisations that wanted to help
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina went there directly. It was much easier for everybody
18 to bring the aid to Croatia
19 and BiH organisations or governments was that aid transported to
21 At the time, there was heavy fighting going on in
22 Bosnia-Herzegovina and many companies were reluctant to go there apart
23 from soldiers, the UNPROFOR but civilian companies very rarely did so,
24 only to some regions. So Sarajevo
25 centres in Croatia
1 was our duty according to the instructions given by government to assist
2 them in finding warehouses and we did, at least in Zagreb, and I took
3 part in that. We found warehousing facilities in the Zagreb
4 International Trade Fair premises. Some existing facilities were
5 converted into warehouses and from there, they independently organised
6 the distribution of goods to wherever they felt necessary.
7 Q. If we could go on to the next document, 1D 027 --
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one moment, please. I
9 have a follow-up question.
10 Witness, you just said something that struck me as being very
11 important. You talked about a document which relates to the cooperation
12 between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia
13 been put in place in order to receive refugees coming from Bosnia
15 that it's linked to Serb or Serbian actions which seems to be responsible
16 for the displacement of these persons which means that at least for a
17 certain period of time, an agreement existed between Croatia and
18 Bosnia-Herzegovina so that Croatia
19 worked in that way.
20 Am I right when I say this, when I draw this conclusion?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if you're referring
22 to this protocol, it is about logistics and we had other protocols signed
23 about receiving and taking back refugees from and to Bosnia-Herzegovina,
24 those are protocols between our two countries. This protocol is about
25 the establishment of logistical centres in Croatia but such centres that
1 would be managed by the representatives of the Sarajevo authorities.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So if we understand correctly,
3 an agreement existed between the parties so that the Sarajevo government
4 is in charge of the implementation of these centres.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, sir.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So this
7 cooperation, to your knowledge, how long did it last? The two states had
8 this agreement for how long in order to make sure that things work well?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The agreement was being implemented
10 throughout the war. Now, it's because these centres assisted in the
11 return of these people. In an operational fashion, I believe that they
12 were active until 1997.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Now you're saying
14 throughout the war. I no longer follow you. Which war are you talking
15 about? There are many wars. Would you kindly be more precise?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can be more precise. From
17 the humanitarian aspect, there was one single war. We may be able to say
18 that there were many wars if we look at it from different angles. I mean
19 the war that went on until 1995.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just to make sure I understand
21 you absolutely well. Do you mean that during the BiH offensive in the
22 Lasva Valley
23 were taking place, this agreement between the Republic of Bosnia
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. As a part of the
1 paradox that we lived through, and it was a bitter part of our work.
2 People complained to us and there were situations, sometimes, that
3 soldiers spent their leave with their families who were refugees and
4 watching the news, some of them would rejoice and others would cry. And
5 it was -- those were very hard times.
6 MR. KARNAVAS:
7 Q. All right. So just to pick up on that. You said "soldiers."
8 Where were these soldiers? Where were they from? Where would they go?
9 I don't want to lead you, just tell us, and give us an example if you
11 A. Soldiers, as you know, were in the position to get weekend leave
12 and the like and they would come from Central Bosnia or Herzegovina
13 mostly to Dalmatia
14 mostly with their families who were refugees there.
15 It was very difficult to cross lines in the war, the lines held
16 by Serbian forces because they -- their forces were strong. But the
17 front line between the Croatian and the Bosnian forces were soft lines so
18 it was possible to cross them at some places and so did I. And there
19 were situations and reports were made about that, about great emotional
20 stress that practically in the same small town or facility, you would
21 have people from one and the other side. But all obligations that the
22 government had taken upon itself were being implemented. All logistical
23 centres were functional and all aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina went through
25 Q. Let me stop you here. I asked you a very concrete question if
1 you could give us a concrete answer.
2 The question is: You said "soldiers." Are we talking about
3 Muslim soldiers killing Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the weekdays
4 and then going to visit their family in say Makarska during the weekend.
5 That's a concrete example. Is that what you're talking about?
6 A. Well, I don't know whether those who killed others actually came
7 to Croatia
8 citizens. But as citizens, they were admitted to Croatia freely because
9 there was no visa regime in place with Bosnia-Herzegovina nor could it --
10 nor could there have been such a regime because Croatia was the immediate
11 neighbour of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just a small detail that might
13 be interesting, those soldiers who would go visit their family in
15 come wearing their military fatigues?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honours, they couldn't
17 come in uniforms. They could come in civilian clothes but we're talking
18 about people from small towns or villages and everybody knows everybody
19 else. And Central Bosnia is a small place where you can't be anonymous
20 and it wasn't hard to recognise people if they were from the same town or
21 village as you.
22 Apart from that, the logistical centres were the destination of
23 delegations and convoys, et cetera, from Bosnia-Herzegovina including
24 military personnel.
25 MR. KARNAVAS:
1 Q. Just one final question on that. When we're talk about soldiers,
2 which particular armies are we talking about?
3 A. We're talking about soldiers of the army of BiH or soldiers of
4 the HVO.
5 Q. So in other words, a soldier from the army of BiH could take off
6 his uniform, go across the border, have a nice little weekend, visit the
7 family then go back to the front line in Central Bosnia? That's what
8 we're talking about?
9 A. Some of them were able to do so, not everybody, but some, yes.
10 Q. All right. If we could go on to the next document 1D 02778,
11 1D 02778. If we look at the bottom, we see that this is from the
12 Office of Displaced Persons and Refugees, February 1993, Zagreb. And
13 sir, first of all, do you recognise this document?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. What is this document? Without going into the
16 contents, just tell us what is it, basically?
17 A. It's a flyer containing information or an appeal of our office
18 which was distributed on a regular basis to everybody willing to help.
19 Q. All right. Now, I want to focus everyone's attention to
20 paragraph number 2, especially in light of our discussion yesterday and
21 today as far as aid to refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It says here,
22 "At present, (February) there are approximately 400.000 refugees from
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina registered in Croatia
24 persons (people who came from occupied or war-ravaged area in Croatia
25 That is to say that Croatia
1 than 650.000 people, of which are accommodated in hotels, private homes,
2 schools, huts, and train cars."
3 Question: Is that an accurate statement?
4 A. Yes, it is.
5 Q. What was the purpose for this flyer, because we see that they are
6 requesting assistance of people to give, basically.
7 A. We are asking for donations and assistance and we're trying to
8 maintain the awareness of people that there is a need to give.
9 Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to bear this burden. So we were
10 constantly raising the awareness of the general public letting them know
11 that we must help our -- we must all help each other and help ourselves
12 to live through this difficult period.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You, witness, you talked about
14 650.000 people or that's what the document states and it's a huge number
15 and we see that these people were accommodated in various places, hotels,
16 schools, and so on and so forth and even in private homes. To your
17 knowledge, had you heard of the fact that Croatians would have
18 accommodated in their own homes Muslims that they would have accommodated
19 during the war? Do you have any examples to give us, for instance?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. There are many
21 examples of this type. In towns and villages, people would receive
22 refugees in their homes. More than half the refugees were not put up in
23 organised camps or facilities but they were put up in the homes of
24 Croatian citizens who were not forced to take them up. They did so of
25 their own accord. Of course you would first admit your relatives or
1 friends, but many people took up persons who had simply turned up and who
2 needed help. And there are many examples of this kind.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Financially speaking, if a
4 Croatian family was accommodating, for instance, Muslim refugees who had
5 absolutely not a penny, they only, let's say, came with a suitcase, do
6 you know if that Croatian family, for instance, could receive a financial
7 aid from either the municipality or the government in order to help them
8 to feed these Muslim refugees? Do you know if there was a system in
9 place of social protection that existed to help these people who were
10 accommodating these refugees?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Such families could get support if
12 there were funds available. This assistance was not paid out regularly.
13 There were no set dates but rather as one-time financial assistance. The
14 system of distribution, of humanitarian aid to such families functioned
15 rather well and those humanitarian aid mostly consisted in food and
16 household items.
17 Many organisations were engaged in that such as Karitas,
18 Merhamet, the Red Cross, and other smaller organisations. Families who
19 had put up refugees in their homes would get aid from these. The
20 financial assistance was scarce, though, which, as a consequence,
21 financially exhausted the host families because the overall economic
22 situation in Croatia
23 connected with housing. So that one-time financial assistance was made
24 available to the office to distribute to these families and sometimes we
25 would get resources from UNHCR and also distribute them to these families
1 but that was no regular assistance. It was provided occasionally.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please proceed, Mr. Karnavas.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
4 Q. That's in contrast to what you told us yesterday if somebody were
5 to go to say Germany
6 per individual would be a thousand marks a month; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, but Germany
8 There was some federal states where refugees received that type of
10 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I bring the correction, I think the witness
11 says up to a thousand mark which does not mean that everybody got
12 automatically a thousand marks. Do I understand you correctly, Witness?
13 MR. KARNAVAS: You're shaking your head, you have to say ...
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right.
15 MR. KARNAVAS:
16 Q. Now, let's go on to the next document, 1D 02626, 2626. It's
17 dated 12 June 1998
18 all, do you recognise this document?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And have you had a chance to look at the document?
21 A. Yes, I wrote reports such as this one.
22 Q. All right. And some of the data that's included there, at least
23 during the period that you were there in that particular office, and we
24 know that you went back in 1995, can you please tell us where this data
25 came from?
1 A. This is a summary of what went on over a number of years. There
2 are a number of different sources for this report, the Office for
3 Refugees and Displaced Persons, the UNHCR, and other organisations that
4 were working with refugees and displaced persons in Croatia at the time.
5 This document gives you a general picture of the situation as it was. It
6 also gives you precise statistics as to what was going on with these
7 refugees and displaced persons in Croatia over the years.
8 Q. All right. Now, I want to focus on two things in this particular
9 document, not everything -- we can all read it. If you look at footnote
10 number one it talks about elections for BiH that were held in 1996. Can
11 you tell us whether the Office of Displaced Persons and Refugees
12 participated in any way with the elections that were held for BiH?
13 A. Yes. The first post-war elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina were
14 held in September 1996. This was organised and monitored by the OSCE. A
15 decision was taken that elections would be held among Bosnia's refugees
16 living abroad as well. There was another decision to hold elections in
18 Refugees and Displaced Persons with this project. I was appointed
19 coordinator for this whole registering procedure. All Bosnia's refugees
20 in Croatia
21 register first. A total of about 120.000 refugees eventually registered.
22 I believe a total of 97.000 actually took part in the elections.
23 I think the document actually states the exact number, 93.456 people,
24 eventually took part in the elections. We organised and held these
25 elections in cooperation with the OSCE. The OSCE had a permanent
1 representative in our office and they also had dozens of monitors all
2 over the country where elections were being held and in our office as
3 well. There was this permanent representative of the OSCE who was in
4 charge of monitoring the procedure on their behalf. He was from
6 that's the extent of what I know about him. I don't think I've ever seen
7 him again.
8 It was necessary to get funding for the elections to be held and
9 it was necessary also to get technical assistance and this is something
10 that either we or the OSCE made sure was the case.
11 Q. All right. And as a result of your participation and your
12 office's participation, did you ever receive --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the counsel, please.
14 MR. KARNAVAS:
15 Q. As a result of your participation and your office's participation
16 in this election, did you ever receive any accommodation or any comments
17 from OSCE?
18 A. The then representative of the OSCE Bosnia-Herzegovina
19 Ambassador Frowick sent a very nice letter. As a result, we were all
20 very proud. He said something to the effect that the entire procedure
21 was a major contribution to the growth of democracy in
23 Q. All right. Was that ever published so that the world would know
24 your office's participation in this event?
25 A. Yes, this was widely publicised. It was on the news and I think
1 he sent a separate letter to the Foreign Minister and the letter was
2 forwarded to the media. It was on the news.
3 Q. One quick question on this. Why was it that the embassy for
4 Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zagreb
5 the Office of Displaced Persons and Refugees?
6 A. Perhaps this is a question for the OSCE and not for me. I do
7 believe, however, that the embassy back then did not really have the
8 level of organisation that an effort like this would have demanded.
9 Q. Let me ask you this: Did the embassy ever complain that this
10 particular office, the ODPR, had been unfair, had been unkind, had been
11 uncaring to its citizens and therefore should not be entrusted with this
12 rather important function?
13 A. No, there were no complaints like that. Quite the contrary, in
14 fact. The embassy was one of the monitoring institutions. Parties from
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina dispatched their own representatives to observe, since
16 there was quite a large number of votes being cast, especially in those
17 municipalities that wanted to go back to their ethnic make-up as it was
18 before the war; therefore, every single vote counted. Parties also sent
19 their leaders over to promote their own parties in major centres where
20 refugees from staying. Those were Croat parties from Bosnia and
22 groups. That's what I'm trying to say.
23 Q. All right. If we could go to page 3, page 3, paragraph 4, the
24 last paragraph within the section where it says, "Between the summer --
25 between summer 1995 and May 1996 in Croatia
1 from Velika Kladusa and Cazin stayed in Krupljensko, Republic of
3 mentioned above. The camp was closed in May 1996 when the last group of
4 refugees moved to refugee settlements in Gasinci and Obonjan." Let's
5 stop right there. Do you have any information regarding this particular
7 A. Refugees who arrived in Krupljensko were refugees from the
8 Velika Kladusa and Cazin areas. They made two attempts to enter Croatia
9 There was a lot going on there and I think Abdic's forces lost out
10 eventually. I'm not going into what was actually going on in Velika
11 Kladusa at the time, however, much of Croatia's territory was still under
12 occupation. It was somewhere near Karlovac that they tried to cross the
13 front line but they were unable to, the front line separating the Croat
14 forces from the Serb forces. As a result, they were returned to Velika
15 Kladusa. An operation was then launched to liberate those areas.
16 Following an operation by the BiH army taking Velika Kladusa and Cazin,
17 the followers of Abdic, about 20.000 of them, arrived in a small village
18 in Croatia
19 into a major international problem. They refused to go back. They
20 refused to be put up anywhere else.
21 International organisations and our own office provided them with
22 assistance and food. The conditions in that village were truly
23 miserable. Nevertheless, the Republic of Croatia
24 the authorities of the newly-established Federation of B and H set up a
25 system of police patrols that were operating throughout western Bosnia
1 Cazin and Velika Kladusa. In this sense, this gave the refugees a
2 feeling of safety and made it possible for them to go back.
3 Nevertheless, they had heard while still in the camp of several cases of
4 revengism and refugees being killed. It was very difficult for them to
5 take this step and decide to go back. Despite this, after months of
6 ongoing activity by the police forces of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 and Turkey
9 return. We ended up allowing those 4.000 persons to remain in Gasinci
10 and we put them up. Some of them sought asylum in third countries. Most
11 of them, however, eventually returned to their homes in B and H.
12 Q. First of all, where they were initially settled, was that camp
13 that was sanctioned and operated by ODPR?
14 A. No, this was a village. They came to that village, it was that
15 simple, and they settled down. They put up tents that they had brought
16 along on lorries. They built mud huts. This wasn't a very dignified
17 kind of housing, it was just very makeshift.
18 Q. Were there complaints about this particular camp; and if so, who
19 was complaining? And keep it brief, sir.
20 A. Dealing with this issue, I think, was the last term for Croatia
21 to be admitted into the Council of Europe. As you well know, Croatia
22 eventually admitted and we dealt with the Krupljensko problem.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, your answer adds one
24 more complex features to the issue we're seized of. We've seen various
25 documents with figures concerning the refugees. Initially, refugees
1 coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina can be put into two broad categories,
2 the Croats and the Muslims. As for the latter, on the basis of your
3 answer, I see that there were among them Muslims who were in favour of
4 the Croats, for instance, Abdic's troops. So there were Muslims who were
5 pro-Croats. They were accommodated and accepted as refugees and are
6 included into the general statistics. So that's one additional factor
7 that we'll have to take into account and assess.
8 With regard to your office, when you were informed of the arrival
9 of these Muslim refugees, did you ever make a distinction between one
10 category and the other or were they all refugees, Muslim refugees without
11 your office making any distinction?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we didn't draw that
13 type of distinction, nor indeed was it possible to draw one. I didn't
14 think of Muslims as being pro-Croat or perhaps another kind. They were
15 what they were, even those in western Bosnia. The history of this
16 conflict is quite complex. I think some of those forces --
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We know that, you don't need to
18 go into that. It's very complex and every passing day gives us further
19 evidence of that.
20 I am interested in knowing whether there were any distinctions
21 among Muslims. You, see, why I'm raising this issue because I have a
22 follow-up question.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour, there was no
24 distinction. We didn't draw one.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The reason why I asked you this
1 is that in the document, 1D 2637, first page in the English version,
2 figures are mentioned 1.8 million refugees, 900.000 from BiH and these
3 figures clarify things, but there is a second paragraph that says that
4 there are people who returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This return to
5 BiH is to be found in paragraph III of page 2, (i) in December of 1992 in
7 situation prevailing in May 1993 is described when they registered
8 271.096 refugees from BiH that were granted the status of refugees and
9 that's where things get interesting in my view. It is said that many
10 went to European countries and there is a small group that was not
11 granted that status, apparently. That group of people returned to BiH.
12 That's what I'm interested in.
13 On the basis of this paragraph, one could have proof that
14 individuals came to Croatia
15 and then they returned back to BiH. It's written in this document. You
16 could not have drafted this document because it was drafted in 1998. It
17 may be that you were informed of this, but I am interested in the
18 situation in May. This document says that Muslims returned to BiH. Were
19 you aware of this? It may be that you were no longer in the office in
20 May, but you were an MP so as an MP, in theory, you must be informed of
21 various things.
22 Did you know that Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina arrived in
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Indeed. Your Honour, when reports
25 talk about the numbers of refugees that were put up in Croatia at a given
1 point in time, the reference is only to those who were in Croatia at this
2 precise point in time. It doesn't necessarily mean there weren't any
3 other refugees there but they'd either left for third countries or had
4 returned to BH.
5 We handled nearly a million people through our office in
6 different ways who came, left, went elsewhere, or perhaps returned to
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina. At times, there were as many as 200 to 300.000
8 people at a time. Some came, some left, some went back to Bosnia
10 refugees again. Between 1993 and 1995, and this might strike one as
11 petty and not enough, but we worked with humanitarian workers,
12 representatives of various organisations and so on and so forth, we
13 managed to have about 5.000 people returned to B and H. This may seem as
14 little but it was a huge success.
15 In 1993, we started cooperating with the German authorities in
16 terms of bringing people back. If you look at the statistics in Bosnia
17 and Herzegovina
18 towns from which we, in Croatia
19 receiving refugees all the time such as Zenica, for example. These
20 cities would provide their own figures on the numbers of refugees that
21 they were facing at a given point in time. There was a lot of migration.
22 People were moving about a lot, but between 1993 and 1995, in particular,
23 people started returning more and more.
Sometime in March 1995, the respective governments of Croatia
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Office For Refugees on the one hand and
1 the directorate from Mostar on the other signed a protocol on the return
2 of refugees and displaced persons, there was an international tripartite
3 agreement also that was later to be --
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Since this is an important
5 issue, I'm going to be more specific. I'm interested in the year 1993
6 and the beginning of 1994, in that period. You have just said that
7 between 1993 and 1995, 5.000 people returned to BiH, fine. Could you be
8 more specific in your answers? Among these 5.000 individuals in that
9 period from 1993 to beginning of 1994, could it be that some of them
10 returned to Herzegovina
11 the HVO? It's very important for us to know that. Could it be, as far
12 as you know, that Muslims who returned to the territory that was
13 controlled by the HVO in 1993 and early 1994?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, and there were Muslims among
15 the people who returned.
16 MR. SCOTT: For the record, and if the Chamber will allow me. In
17 looking at the information and just so the record is not confused,
18 there's -- these numbers did not distinguish between Croats and Muslims,
19 where it says, "5.000 people from BiH returned." We don't know if they
20 were 5.000 Croats or 5.000 something else or a mixture. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Well, we're going to specify
22 this. My question was very, very specific. It dealt only with Muslims
23 who may have returned to BiH to areas controlled by the HVO in 1993,
24 early 1994.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There were Muslim refugees, too,
1 who returned.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Are you absolutely certain of
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Karnavas, you
6 have a few minutes left before the break and you don't have much time
7 left anyway, do you?
8 MR. KARNAVAS: I have enough to conclude, Your Honour, but
9 perhaps it might be better to just take the break.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you'd rather we took the
11 break now? We'll have a break. In the meantime, the court deputy is
12 going to tell us how many minutes or seconds you have left and then when
13 we resume, you will be able to proceed to finish. Let's have a 20-minute
15 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas, you have nine
18 more minutes, or 450 seconds.
19 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President.
20 Q. If we could go back to the document that we were on, just one
21 technical question or two to finish it up. 1D 02626, going back to
22 paragraph 4 which is on page 3. You had indicated that there were about
23 4.000 persons that refused to go back to BiH and they had to be
24 resettled, and they went to Gasinci and Obonjan. So my next question is
25 who moved them?
1 A. The ODPR moved them.
2 Q. Now, we talked earlier about the fact that there were elections.
3 Were they still there when the elections took place?
4 A. I think so.
5 Q. All right. And were there voting booths over there or were
6 people allowed to go to various centres to vote? How was it organised?
7 A. At Gasinci, there was a polling station because there were people
8 from Bosnia-Herzegovina there. Whoever was there and was registered and
9 wanted to vote could do so at Gasinci.
10 Q. All right. Now, let's move on to something else. You had
11 indicated in 1993, sometime in March, you became a member of parliament
12 and we know that as of March 1993 and thereafter, and to some parts of
13 1994, there were some clashes between the army of BiH and the HVO and we
14 have refugees from both sides coming into Croatia. My question is this:
15 While you were a member of parliament, do you ever recall having any
16 discussions and the government passing any proposals or the parliament,
17 to limit the entry of Muslim refugees into Croatia or to limit the
18 assistance that they would be receiving once into Croatia?
19 A. The parliament never passed such decisions, but I know that the
20 government turned to the international community requesting assistance
21 and that many governments reacted and notified us of their quotas, say,
22 the number of refugees they would accept. Germany was willing to put up
23 the greatest number of refugees, some countries were unwilling to accept
24 any, and some Islamic countries such as Malaysia, Sudan
25 others were also willing to accept some. There were also offers saying
1 we were ready to accept so and so many in this country.
2 Q. Recognising the events in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Central Bosnia
3 in particular, where you indicated that refugees that were both Croat and
4 Muslim coming there, were there any efforts to somehow discriminate
5 against the Muslim refugees that were coming in?
6 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm sorry but -- excuse me --
7 MR. KARNAVAS: That he's aware of.
8 MR. SCOTT: I can't get my microphone, Your Honour.
9 MR. KARNAVAS: Sorry.
10 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. I appreciate Mr. Karnavas
11 says that he's aware of but that's an extremely broad question and that
12 he's aware of. I mean as a member of parliament not involved with these
13 issues on a daily basis, is he aware of? And I mean, again, as I
14 mentioned earlier this morning that's like asking anyone, you know, did
15 Joe wear a blue shirt yesterday that you are aware of? Well, I'm not
16 aware of it but that doesn't mean anything. I think there has to be some
17 specification here and some indication of personal knowledge other than a
18 wild guess as, well, I never heard of anything. I mean, was he involved
19 in these issues? Was he sitting on a committee? Was there a particular
20 report? During this entire period, we're talking about a year's -- a
21 long period of time, is he aware of anything by anyone, anywhere in the
22 Croatian government to discriminate?
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
24 MR. KARNAVAS: I'll ask a series of questions.
25 Q. From March 1993 until the time that you go back to the ODPR, were
1 you aware of what was happening in Croatia with respect to the refugees
2 and displaced persons? We'll go step-by-step, Mr. Scott, please.
3 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I'm not trying to be difficult. I'm
4 really not. But I do have to make a fair record here and I am a party to
5 this as much as anybody else. What does that mean? "Aware of what was
6 happening in Croatia
7 MR. KARNAVAS: We have to go step-by step. First, if he says no
8 then that's the end of the series of questions.
9 MR. SCOTT: Of course he's going to say presumably, anyone who
10 read the newspaper on a daily basis is going to say, Well, I had some
11 awareness of what was happening.
12 MR. KARNAVAS: I will refocus it.
13 Q. Were there any discussions in parliament with respect to the
14 refugees and displaced persons keeping in mind that you've indicated that
15 there were budgetary constraints and also there was a budget with respect
16 to the financing of the various centres? So were you aware of this?
17 A. There were debates in parliament about these issues. There were
18 public -- there was public debate, there were political debates and some
19 people took part in them, so did I sometimes. It was the goal of all of
20 us to appease the situation, to end the conflict and to create the
21 conditions for the people to return to their homes. These positions were
22 uttered publicly and officially asserted.
23 Q. Now, during the course of these proceedings, we've been making a
24 record and at which point I asked concretely on the record for the
25 Prosecutor to tell us whether it was in his opinion whether the
1 government of Croatia
2 they were being charged with a failure to provide adequate assistance to
3 the refugees and whether Mr. Rebic was a member of the joint criminal
4 enterprise by virtue of his occupation. That could be found on page
5 20.009, so 20.009.
6 Mr. Scott responded as follows on the following page, 20.010
7 starting with line 6, he says, "I'll respond directly. Yes, that is part
8 of the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Bosnia-Herzegovina and from
9 Herceg-Bosna area. This was part of a system as charged in the
10 indictment to move Muslims out of Herceg-Bosna and it was done any number
11 of ways. One of those ways was to move them either at least temporarily
12 into Croatia
13 further in parts or -- of the testimony of this witness or to move them
14 on to other countries but not to return them to Bosnia-Herzegovina."
15 Now, based on that, to your understanding, based on your
16 involvement both when you were in that office up until 1993 and
17 thereafter 1995, but more specifically while you were out of the office
18 but a member of the parliament, to your understanding was there a
19 concerted effort on the state of Croatia or officials of the state of
21 centre to force Muslim refugees outside to third countries, the further
22 away, that is, so they couldn't go back -- go back to their homelands and
23 thus ethnically cleansing the area. Can you answer that question?
24 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, do I understand Dr. Zoric now
25 to be speaking on behalf of every person, every official, every authority
1 in the Republic of Croatia
2 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, we have a joint criminal enterprise.
3 This is the office that is responsible for these refugees. You have
4 Dr. Rebic who is at the top. This gentleman was second in command. As I
5 understand from all the objections, and I can only guesstimate but from
6 all the objections, it's the Prosecution's argument that sometime when
7 this gentleman was outside of that office, when the events are happening
8 in Central Bosnia, it is at that point at least with respect to ODPR that
9 they become a member of the joint criminal enterprise and thus Dr. Rebic
10 or others may be either aiding and abetting the crimes or are members of
11 or are the physical perpetrators, one of those three. Those are the
12 three options.
13 Now, it is the Prosecution's argument that Croatia is turned into
14 a transit centre. I'm asking this gentleman because if this is an
15 argument, if this is an office of the government of the state of
16 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and if this gentleman is a member of the parliament,
17 and if it's being budgeted, clearly something must be aware of what is
18 happening. Dr. Rebic could not be acting on his own. Is he getting --
19 we're going to see the gentleman, but to his knowledge, to his knowledge,
20 is this office part of the joint criminal enterprise as a result of it
21 being an agency of the state of -- the Republic of Croatia
22 that's the danger of this joint criminal enterprise. But we have -- you
23 know and this is -- this is the alleged JCE and of course we have
24 Mr. Scott's words, so I'm asking this gentleman, being aware of the
1 Q. So, sir, can you answer that question?
2 A. I think I can. I think that drawing conclusions about ethnic
3 cleansing and linking that to the activities of the ODPR would be wrong.
4 I will give a number of reasons. Firstly, in our documents, as far as I
5 can see, we can see complaints from Bosnia-Herzegovina that the ODPR did
6 not grant people the right to enter Croatia in -- every time. So if you
7 are ethnically cleansing then why don't you let people enter your
8 country? Why keep them where they were? Secondly --
9 Q. Slow down a bit.
10 A. Secondly, the ODPR was in no position to send anyone to a third
11 country without the consent of the person in question and the country in
12 question. And so the -- if we were to make this conclusion, this would
13 be very discriminatory towards the governments of Germany, the
15 also accepted refugees.
16 All transportation, all departures of these refugees were
17 organised at an international level and the international community at
18 the time operated in Zagreb
19 International Organisation for Migrations so that many countries,
20 including the USA
21 organisation, also accepted people from Bosnia-Herzegovina. I do not see
22 how Dr. Rebic could have influenced or exerted influence on the Canadian
23 government to set a quota or any other government, for that matter, or a
24 quota saying how many people they would accept. That was not our job.
25 What I would like to say is that throughout the time people were
1 received in Croatia
2 the reverse direction, albeit limited, of return to Bosnia-Herzegovina,
3 especially in 1995 when five European countries joined the
4 German-Croatian agreement on the return of refugees through Croatia to
5 Bosnia-Herzegovina. Starting from March that year, this was done in
6 accordance with the protocol and the agreement signed by the government
7 in Sarajevo
8 In March, I was not yet in the office, but later on that year, I
9 was and saw the agreement and implemented it for two years. It was
10 through that office that people returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina and that
11 can, by no means be called ethnic cleansing.
12 Q. Very well. Thank you, sir. Now, I misspoke on page 41,
13 Your Honours, I believe it was line 2, I said the government of BiH, it
14 should have been the government of Croatia
15 correct myself, that is.
16 All right, sir. Now, just one final question. We know that in
17 May, June, July, there are all sorts of things that are happening in
18 Central Bosnia
19 the questions asked by the Bench that the situation was difficult and
20 there were complaints. Could you please tell us how difficult was that
21 situation knowing that you have Croats that are now coming as refugees
22 along with Muslims that are coming as refugees and you have the fighting
23 going on. Could you please give the Trial Chamber some indication of
24 what is really happening, how difficult the situation is, because, after
25 all, we need to have all of these events in context.
1 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Mr. Karnavas, I think you forgot to mention the
2 year. You gave the months. 1993, probably.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: 1993.
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Okay. Thank you.
5 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, I was going to ask the same thing but
6 when you suggest 1993, I think it was during 1992 this man was in
7 position, not in May, June, July 1993. He was no longer in that position
8 so I assumed, I thought correctly, that Mr. Karnavas was talking about
9 1992 which is the focus of this man's evidence.
10 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, again I don't mean to be -- we're not
11 living in a bubble. The gentleman was there, was in Croatia, and I can
12 paint a picture for the Court. Imagine seeing people getting killed
13 and --
14 MR. SCOTT: Excuse me, Your Honour, we don't need a long speech.
15 It's not --
16 MR. KARNAVAS: Well, that's my whole point --
17 MR. SCOTT: We want -- Mr. Karnavas wants to make another speech.
18 Your Honour, I submit to the Chamber the Chamber has heard the testimony
19 of this witness. The Chamber knows the Prosecution's been quite
20 transparent about its position on this timing and it's not appropriate
21 for this witness, this person, to give evidence concerning about these
22 detailed matters or any such things when he was not in that position.
23 And we've made no secret of that. I simply want the Chamber to have fair
24 evidence and this witness has talked about the period up to March 1993
25 and then he comes back later in 1995. Yes. He may have had some limited
1 ongoing connection but this witness has never testified, has never
2 testified since yesterday about any extensive involvement in these
3 matters in mid-1993 and I do object. There's no basis for that.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may be heard very briefly on the matter.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Karnavas.
6 MR. KARNAVAS: If I may be -- if I may be heard, Your Honour,
7 just for the sake -- because he was living in Croatia, he's in the
8 situation. He can see it. I'm asking him as a human being as someone
9 who was over there. If I may be allowed -- we're hearing comments from
10 the peanut gallery now. If I may be allowed to make my comment for the
12 He is there. You can take it for whatever weight you wish but he
13 is there. I'm not asking him the situation in the camps, but in general,
14 the atmosphere. Is this gentleman not capable of commenting in general
15 about the atmosphere in Croatia
16 with the transitional period? Of course. Now we're talking about huge
17 amounts of refugees coming from both sides and I'm asking him to give us
18 his impression from his experience.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please rephrase your question,
20 and that will be your last question since your time is up.
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you.
22 Q. Can you please describe to us the situation, the atmosphere of
23 what it was like to be in Croatia
24 July, August, when you had Croats being driven out in Central Bosnia when
25 the conflict was occurring and Croatia
1 are Muslims and Croats.
2 A. It wasn't easy to live in Croatia
3 reports about massacres committed against Croats and it wasn't easy to
4 stay aloof. Many people, including members of the Croatian parliament
5 and myself tried to go there and did indeed go there. I went to Central
7 present, I didn't see any of you there. I was there. And we tried to
8 establish some links, open channels of communication, reach members of
9 the BiH parliament. And I was successful on one occasion. I led a
10 delegation of my fellow MPs to Nova Bila which is a village in
11 Central Bosnia
12 It was built and as the highest-ranking official, I was supposed to lay
13 the foundation for it and apart from Croatian officials, we also invited
14 representatives from Zenica, Doboj and other places under Bosnian Muslim
15 control to the ceremony. I'm mentioning this as an example. I asked the
16 colleagues to take me to Bugojno because it was practically impossible to
17 go there so I was taken there by Bosnian Muslims and they, in return,
18 asked me to take them Kiseljak because it was impossible for them to go
19 there and we asked them to take us to Vares because without their help it
20 wasn't possible for us. And they asked me to take them to the part of
21 Vitez that was off limits for them and we did all that and talked to the
22 people and tried to set up channels of communication.
23 Eventually, we went to Mostar and I enabled them to have talks on
24 the western side and they and Mr. Kosnik who was the international -- who
25 was the international manager, the military officer in charge enabled
1 them to cross to the other side so we were crossing front lines and that
2 was dangerous but I believe that such activities contributed to putting
3 an end to the conflict.
4 We lived in such circumstances and we tried to do something to
5 bring about peace and enable people to return.
6 Q. What was the period of this, so we have a framework? What
7 period, especially with Nova Bila because there are allegations that are
8 allegations that we're trying to ethnically cleansing -- reverse ethnic
9 cleansing of the Croats and now you're talking about building a hospital
11 A. That was around about the signing of the Washington Agreement, I
12 believe that was in the fall of 1994, probably or 1995. I believe it was
13 in 1994. Yes, why should we have invested so much money, so much of our
14 own money in the construction of a hospital and we also had people in
16 hospital is still open. There are ethnic Croats and Bosnian Muslims
17 working there -- doctors, I mean, and there are also other medical
18 facilities specialised for the respective activities and I believe that
19 the existence of this hospital in Central Bosnia is the best evidence for
21 I remember that a stone that weighed several tons was taken there
22 from Zagreb
23 the Croatian wish for the people who had been wounded to stay there and
24 live there.
25 MR. KARNAVAS: Thank you very much. I appreciate your honesty
1 and your forthrightness in answering all of my questions and if you would
2 be so kind to do the same with my colleagues and questions that come from
3 the Prosecution or from the Bench. Thank you very much, sir.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. For the
5 cross-examination, how are we going to deal with the other accused?
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I will need some 15
7 to 20 minutes to deal with two topics. I don't believe I will need more.
8 And Ms. Alaburic may need a little more than that. The other Defence
9 counsels, as far as I know, have not expressed a wish to interrogate the
10 witness. [In English] I would kindly ask assistance of the usher to
11 distribute some documents.
12 [Interpretation] Your Honours, bearing in mind the Chamber's
13 guidelines in the ruling dated the 24th of April, 2008, my examination
14 can be classified as cross-examination. I will refer to subjects that
15 have been broached in a way but I do believe that there are some
16 remaining details that merit further examination. By your leave,
17 Your Honours.
18 Cross-examination by Mr. Kovacic:
19 Q. Good morning, Mr. Zoric.
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. My name is Mr. Kovacic, I defend General Praljak. I thank you
22 for your willingness to testify. I would like to ask you the following
23 question: You worked in Croatia
24 1993 and late 1995, you were an MP. You said that at page 20, lines 10
25 through 14 of yesterday's transcript. The first question that I would
1 like to ask you is this, or rather, to speed things along a little,
2 you've been handed the bundle of documents. Can you please look at the
3 second document in that bundle. The number is 3D 01092. Have you got
4 that, sir?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Have a look. It should be easy enough for you to recognise, this
7 is a diplomatic note dispatched by Croatia's foreign ministry on the
8 30th of April, 1993, to the embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zagreb
9 in order to notify them of the desire by a multi-party parliamentary
10 delegation of Croatia
11 If you go to the second paragraph of that document, the purpose
12 of that visit is defined. At the time, you were an MP. We are looking
13 at the 30th of April, 1993. Are you aware of this parliamentary
14 delegation? Why was it set up? Why did they want to go to Bosnia
15 A. As I said a while ago, this is about what was going on in Bosnia
16 specifically Central Bosnia
17 political terms in Croatia
18 believe, was the first time ever that a parliamentary delegation like
19 this visited this neighbouring country. They wanted to go there and see
20 for themselves what precisely was going on.
21 Q. Thank you very much. Witness, do you know or do you remember any
22 specifics as to what had preceded this decision by the parliament to
23 dispatch this delegation and how did that come about? Who brought this
24 about? Can you tell us anything about that, sir?
25 A. I think it was prompted by the development over there. The
1 excuse, as it were, for this was as follows: Mr. Praljak, one fine day,
2 turned up in front of the parliament and he started lobbying with the
3 delegate. I think there were other people with him but the -- he is
4 quite a striking character and his physical appearance is difficult to
5 forget. He stood out in that group and he was talking to the delegates
6 out in the hall.
7 "It's nice to be in Zagreb
8 bandied about, some of which are simply untrue. Please go there, see for
9 yourselves what's going on and help us put a stop to it." Roughly
10 speaking, that was, in my understanding, the gist of what he was trying
11 to say.
12 This was followed by a session of the delegates. One of the
13 conclusions that was reached was to set up a multi-party parliamentary
14 delegation to visit those areas. Upon their return, they were to submit
15 a report. I think this was the course of action that was eventually
16 taken. Some of the areas were reached with the assistance of
17 international agents and international organisations had been informed
18 about this.
19 Q. Just for the transcript to be perfectly clear, you say Praljak
20 was lobbying about them needing to go over there or down there. When you
21 say "down there," I suppose that's a reference to Bosnia-Herzegovina?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. All right. What about the assistance of the international forces
24 bearing in mind of course the situation that prevailed on the ground at
25 the time, the checkpoints, the war that was going on, the checkpoints
1 along the roads and so on and so forth. Can you please look at document
2 number 2. This is 3D 00566. It's a letter signed by Ivo Sanader, at the
3 time Croatia
4 stamp Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was sent to
5 General Wahlgren who, at the time, was the UNPROFOR commander at the
7 Is this document consistent with what you actually know, that the
8 assistance of the international forces had been requested?
9 A. Yes, Mr. Wahlgren at the time was the commander of all the
10 international forces and the foreign ministry asked for their assistance.
11 Q. Thank you very much. If we look at both these documents, they
12 both tell us who exactly the delegation comprised, a total of seven
13 persons. I'm not reading their names now, it's not entirely necessary.
14 You see the parentheses there and -- but their party affiliations are
15 specified as well. It is quite clear that we are looking at a
16 multi-party delegation including representatives of all the political
17 parties and can you tell the Court, the Court knows what the HDZ is, I
18 think that has been addressed sufficiently. They know who HSLS are, and
19 the SDP and the other parties.
20 A. Yes, this is a multi-party delegation. Three members of the
21 ruling party, the remaining persons belonging to opposition parties, a
22 total of four.
23 Q. Thank you very much. More on this, if you could just look at the
24 last document in my binder, 3D 01091. 3D 01091.
25 Look at the title and look at the introduction. That will suit
1 my purpose for the time being. It's a report of the multi-party
2 parliament delegation of national assembly, the Republic of Croatia
3 the mission of goodwill in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We can all read the first
4 paragraph so I'm not reading it out loud. Is this the delegation that
5 you are talking about?
6 A. Yes, this is the delegation that I was talking about except for
7 the fact that one of the representatives of the ruling party was
8 replaced, he was away on business somewhere and he was replaced by
9 someone else but this is the same delegation.
10 Q. I'm not going any further into these reports. It is apparent
11 they had meetings over there. They had talks. They are specific about
12 the detail of those talks.
13 Just for the sake of the transcript, all these three documents
14 for the benefit of the Chamber have already been admitted into evidence.
15 Let me just go back to General Praljak's lobbying. What you said
16 a while ago. You told us what you thought was the gist of that. Do you,
17 perhaps, remember whether General Praljak was given a chance to address
18 the parliament directly to address the delegates concerning this
19 discussion that was going on at the time, about the situation in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the possibilities of an improvement?
21 A. I have no idea about that. I belonged to a different chamber.
22 This was a chamber of delegates so we are looking at a different section.
23 Q. All right. That was what I was going to confirm. Unless I'm
24 wrong, you were the member of the county chamber; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And this was for the delegates; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. So logically --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note, could the speakers please
5 be asked to speak one at a time. Thank you very much. The
6 interpretation will then proceed.
7 A. [No interpretation]
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please stop. There seems to be
9 a problem, a technical problem. Can you resume your answer?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I remember Mr. Praljak. I remember
11 him from the lobby of the parliament. I remember him -- seeing him in
12 the press room and outside the parliament too. He's easy to spot. He is
13 very direct when he speaks and he is very outspoken. Not a difficult man
14 to notice. It was a surprise for me when I first set eyes on there but
15 he was very graphic about he was asking people to do. He didn't mince
16 his words. He said, "Go over there, see for yourself what's going on."
17 That was the gist of what he was telling people. I can't remember who
18 else was with him. There were other people with him at the time but I
19 can't remember who specifically. I am sure he was the one who played the
20 principal role in this situation.
21 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I think
22 that's sufficient and we can now move on to something else.
23 Q. The next subject that I wanted to raise with you is this. This
24 is something that was brought up several times during your chief. First
25 of all, you mentioned yourself that you visited Bosnia-Herzegovina
1 several times back in 1994 and 1995 on humanitarian convoys. This is
2 just to assist others. The transcript reference, yesterday's transcript
3 this is page 79, lines 19 through 22.
4 Today, towards the close of your examination in chief, page 45,
5 you mentioned a visit to Bosnia
6 the visit that we've been discussing so far, that was the first one and
7 others followed; right?
8 A. Yes. As far as I know, this was the first one and other visits
9 followed at a later stage.
10 Q. Thank you very much. Just for the transcript, we have to wait
11 and avoid overlapping.
12 Okay. Let's move on to something else now. Towards the end of
13 your cross today, I think that's page 45 and there was something at page
14 21 and page 22, I think you mentioned something about soldiers, BH army
15 soldiers who, in some cases, individuals even visited their families in
17 Displaced Persons but also your position in the parliament, I'm sure you
18 were following the situation and you knew what was going on.
19 Sir, is it true that there were soldiers of the BH army who were
20 being accommodated in various medical institutions in Croatia
21 hospitals and rehabilitation centres?
22 A. Yes, that was the case throughout the war and this particularly
23 applied to Split hospital. They were admitting on a permanent basis many
24 wounded members of the BH army but it also applied to some extent to
1 underwent surgery and were then moved on to rehabilitation centres, just
2 like anyone else. I think we're looking at quite a large number of
3 people. I wasn't following this situation very closely but I know there
4 are reports that were written about this and I know that many of them
5 were provided this type of medical assistance with a focus on Split
6 hospital. I think they have in-depth documents, they have case histories
7 of each and every patient that was treated at the hospital back then.
8 Q. I apologise. We need to make a pause. Nevertheless, I'm really
9 looking to get something else from you about what was going on, another
10 aspect of this situation.
11 These patients obviously are also receiving visits from family
12 members, from neighbours, from people from their home village. Were
13 there refugees in Croatia
14 as those?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You've mentioned this in a way, but let me raise this: Those
17 people both the refugees and the soldiers who were in hospitals, they
18 were watching Croatian TV, reading Croatian newspapers, they were just
19 there. And they watched the TV and they see their own side winning or
20 losing over in Bosnia
21 A. Yes, that was the case. We had cases, for example, where people
22 within the same facility were at the same time rejoicing and weeping
23 about the fate of their family members. I witnessed a situation like
24 that and it really shattered me.
25 Q. This was a complex situation. It would be best, perhaps, to cite
1 a number of examples to illustrate what exactly was going on. You
2 mentioned something about witnessing a situation like that yourself. Can
3 you please tell us more about it?
4 A. I'm talking about a facility near Makarska, an accommodation
5 facility with refugees from Central Bosnia. There were both groups
6 there. I'm talking about a family of a friend of mine who was a native
7 of Vitez, his family was there. They had lost a number of their
8 relatives. There were some other people who were also there at the time
9 who had just caught wind of news that pleased them, that was in a way
10 favourable. This was a difficult situation and they addressed me, they
11 came to speak to me and asked me to move them elsewhere.
12 It was in situations such as these that it was very difficult to
13 expect that people such as these should be kept together. I put in a
14 word for them and asked them to be moved to a different facility. I
15 asked for the Croats to be moved to a different facility.
16 Q. Bearing in mind your background in terms of education, could we
17 perhaps say that incidents such as these gave rise not just to political
18 problems but also to social problems, if you like, that there were
19 ethical issues at stake? Issues regarding human behaviour, if you like?
20 A. That's quite right. It's very give to keep your presence of mind
21 in situations such as these but it is at the same time indispensable.
22 Q. Thank you. I have information on an incident in a hospital in
24 someone won and someone lost and then there was some wounded Bosnian
25 soldiers around who sang for joy when they had heard something, some news
1 that pleased them. This led to an incident. This was sometime in the
2 summer of 1993. Were you aware of this particular one or were you aware
3 of perhaps other such incidents involving the same type of behaviour?
4 A. I'm not aware of this specific one but I am aware of there having
5 been incidents such as the one you've just described.
6 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. I have no
7 further questions. Thank you very much.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak.
10 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Could I please be given a
11 chance, Your Honours, to ask a single question?
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one. Why? Prompted by
13 what reason?
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Clarification.
15 Clarification of this situation.
16 We are sort of beating about the bush and I would like to ask a
17 more direct question regarding the same subject.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I'm going to discuss with my
19 fellow Judges.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I asked you something you did
22 not answer. My colleagues are asking what the reason could be for a
23 question put by you based on the guidelines we issued, namely, that you
24 would have a personal technical knowledge of the issue, that you may have
25 met with the witness. On what grounds would you be authorised to ask a
1 question since that was the decision by the Trial Chamber.
2 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] All I need is to shed some
3 light on the situation, it goes like this. There were refugees in
5 were specifically set up. Very often Croats and Bosniak Muslims were
6 together. Incidents occurred in places such as those. To my knowledge,
7 incidents were like this and I'd like to ask the witness whether he knows
8 anything about that. There were places where Bosniaks were celebrating
9 certain victories of the BH army over the Croats and this constituted
10 unpleasant behaviour on their part. So that is the gist of my question.
11 Were there celebrations going on whenever important victories were won by
12 the BH army in Central Bosnia, were these celebrations going on in
13 refugee centres across Croatia
14 same villages and were in the same refugee centres view these
15 celebrations. It's a simple enough question.
16 Once that is done, Your Honours, I would like to be given the
17 floor to address the Court about my right to conduct examinations. I
18 remember your ruling and your ruling states clearly if having special or
19 personal knowledge, may I therefore please be allowed to address the
20 Court to find out exactly how far the restrictions imposed on me would go
21 and will it be within the Court's discretion every time to potentially
22 compromise my right to a fair trial. Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One moment. There are two
24 problems. The first problem is that you want to ask a question of the
25 witness. We're going to discuss this first issue.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, you wanted to put
3 a question. This is without any purpose because the witness already
4 answered. He said that there were incidents, there had been incidents
5 linked to various events, for instance, that event in Bugojno, that was
6 an example. So he answered already. Therefore, your question would not
7 be of any additional value. It is moot, and there is no reason why it
8 should be asked.
9 However, you wanted to address the Court and I'm going to ask my
10 colleagues again as to our decision.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, following this
13 discussion amongst the Judges, the Trial Chamber recalls that it handed
14 down a decision on the scope of the questions you are authorised to ask.
15 This decision was confirmed, was affirmed by the Appeals Chamber. It was
16 handed down during the Prosecution case. The Trial Chamber is of the
17 view that the same system should apply to the stage of the Defence case.
18 Of course you can always file a request in writing. The Trial Chamber,
19 after it has heard the Prosecutor, will rule, and you can always ask for
20 a certification for appeal. This is what I have to say. It is a
21 decision by the Trial Chamber affirmed by the Appeals Chamber so your
22 right to ask questions is no way restricted all the more so since your
23 counsel could have further presented the issue you wanted to raise.
24 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honours, the ruling
25 never says technical issues. Can you please be more specific about the
1 exact meaning of the words that you signed? As far as I understood, this
2 regarded questions pertaining to --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Praljak, I do not have the
4 decision in front of me and I don't have the translation into your
5 language of the decision. If you have that translation, read it again,
6 because in our minds, it was very clear. Technical issues such as
7 gunfire, anything related to the army in which you have a personal
8 technical knowledge, you are entitled to ask questions. As to a special
9 knowledge you might have with regard to a witness and precisely I wanted
10 to ask a question of this witness and then you were on your feet and you
11 prevented me from asking the question. Depending on the answer provided
12 by the witness, you could have then intervened. All this is set out in
13 our decision. You challenged it and the Appeals Chamber affirmed the
14 position by the Trial Chamber. And I remind you, you know this better
15 than anyone. There was a discussion within the Trial Chamber, I was in
16 favour of not restricting your right but my colleagues decided otherwise.
17 There is a majority that handed down a decision and I have to comply with
19 This decision was affirmed by the Appeals Chamber. The majority
20 decision of the Trial Chamber was confirmed. That's all I can say. I
21 can't say anything else.
22 Yes, Mr. Kovacic.
23 MR. KOVACIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I don't think this is
24 the time for us to go into the specifics. Your ruling is what it is and
25 I think we have so far remained in full compliance, especially during the
1 OTP case. We were in keeping with the ruling. It defines what it
2 defines; however, I cannot but state that towards the end of the OTP
3 case, the Chamber's interpretation of that ruling was gradually and
4 little by little becoming more restrictive until the Chamber said it loud
5 and clear, military matters alone in relation to Mr. Praljak. Well, that
6 wasn't the spirit or indeed the letter of your decision dated May 2007.
7 I'd propose we don't waste any more time on this now. I will be
8 filing a motion for this ruling to be reviewed, which is also my right.
9 There is another thing that I have to say for the sake of the
10 transcript. Bearing in mind the progress of this entire issue, bearing
11 in mind the reasonably comprehensive right that the accused was given at
12 the outset to take part in the cross-examination of a witness to a very
13 high degree, and given the ruling passed by the Chamber which took a more
14 restrictive approach, I appealed this but the Appeals Chamber turned me
15 away and said that the original ruling by the Trial Chamber should apply.
16 Despite all of this, the ruling was being interpreted in a more
17 restrictive manner and that's why I think it needs reviewing.
18 As a lawyer, however, at the same time, I'm afraid and I will be
19 open about this, of the possibility of another even more restrictive
20 ruling being passed. I think the one that was passed in May last year,
21 although I did not fully agree with it, at least makes sure that the
22 accused enjoys a minimum of rights that he would enjoy in the run of the
23 mill European proceedings. However, should there be increasingly a more
24 restrictive interpretation of the ruling, and that is my theory, that
25 that's what we see happening here, then we'll be running into more and
1 more problems because we are turning the accused into an object of these
2 penal proceedings, according to our theory, especially the continental
3 law theory, he should be involved in the proceedings.
4 Another matter altogether, of course, is if an accused wastes
5 time by asking irrelevant questions. Were that the case, the Chamber
6 would have every right to put a stop to any such malpractice and save
7 more time from being wasted. I do, however, propose to bring this to a
8 conclusion. As far as my contribution is concerned, we shall be filing a
9 special submission raising all these issues.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much.
11 Mr. Praljak, your Defence lawyer explained to us that he is going to file
12 a motion explaining his reasons and he is going to do that later. What
13 did you want to add?
14 THE ACCUSED PRALJAK: [Interpretation] Your Honour, let me add
15 that according to your ruling, which I know very well, whenever I have
16 special knowledge and when I'm involved, I am entitled to ask questions,
17 not only about military matters, although such a crystal-clear question
18 clearly refers to the right of leading an army only 20 kilometres away
19 from such events.
20 This is essential to my view of things. I'm not accused only of
21 military actions. The indictment says that I am the connection between
22 the Croatian part of the joint criminal enterprise and it doesn't say
23 only military but also politically. And I'm not only a soldier, but in a
24 way, I engaged myself almost to the point of forcing the Sabor delegation
25 to go down there. And I remind you that it says if the individual was
1 involved in the events or has a special knowledge. It isn't only general
2 knowledge. It's also the frame -- prevailing frame of mind and
3 everything else pertaining to the chaos down there.
4 I ask you once again to allow me to ask the question to be
5 crystally clear.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I was going to talk about it.
7 Witness, I wanted to ask you the following question. You've told
8 us as an MP and we've learned that you were a member of the High Chamber
9 whereas there's also the Chamber of Representatives. You have heard
10 Mr. Praljak lobbying and we also know that you yourself have been there.
11 You've been there because the counsel showed us some documents stating
12 that other MPs went on the premises as well. So I wanted to ask you some
13 questions before the intervention of Mr. Praljak.
14 Do you personally know Mr. Praljak?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I knew him. He lived in
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Second question:
19 When you were in Central Bosnia, and we know that you were there during a
20 period while -- where warring parties were warring, so to begin with, who
21 were you taken care of, by the HVO or by the BiH?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We never acted on the behalf of
23 either one or the other side. We were always acting on our own behalf
24 but we needed the assistance of both parties to reach some areas. We
25 didn't have big problems with the HVO, but when we came as far as Prozor,
1 for example, we often had to negotiate and seek contact with all parties
2 to be let to pass through. And we involved everybody from who we
3 expected assistance and we tried to make our stay there public because it
4 was a sort of guarantee for our safety.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Amongst the
6 contacts that you had, did you have a contact, for instance, with
7 Mr. Praljak either in writing, on the phone, orally, through someone?
8 Did he play a role so that you and your MPs were able to go there?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, not in my particular case. He
10 may have played a role but I'm unaware of it. Anyway, I didn't ask him
11 for any such services or favours.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So during your
13 stay, you never had any contacts with Mr. Praljak; is that right?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. While he was in his position,
15 while he led the HVO or whatever he did, I don't know, I'm not a military
16 expert, he certainly was an important personality there, but I never had
17 contact with him about these issues.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Now, talking about the ABiH,
19 who was your contact there? Who was your main contact in the ABiH?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We were never able to reach high
21 ranking people. We always negotiated with the local commanders or
22 directly with the soldiers at checkpoints. Most times we had to speak
23 with local commanders, and there were always many local commanders, and
24 speak to the soldiers at the checkpoints themselves to let you pass.
25 Sometimes they would do so; sometimes not. Sometimes they would order us
1 to return or, then again, they would say, Wait until the situation calms
2 down, et cetera.
3 To us, the local commanders were always the most important people
4 or their immediate superiors. I never contacted high level commands.
5 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Just for clarification, the introduction to this
6 series of questions was linked to the mission of parliamentarians but you
7 of course are speaking of other visits which you paid to Bosnia because
8 you were not, as far as I can take from the documents, a member of the
9 parliamentary delegations although you were an MP at the moment. Is that
10 correct? Could you confirm?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was indeed not a member of that
12 delegation although I was an MP. This delegation left in an organised
13 fashion, supported by international forces that had been notified, as
14 well as the BiH embassy in Zagreb
15 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you very much
17 for your answers. We are now going to give the floor to Ms. Alaburic.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Good morning -- good afternoon,
19 Your Honours. Good afternoon, everybody.
20 Cross-examination by Ms. Alaburic:
21 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Zoric. My name is Vesna Alaburic and I am
22 Defence counsel of Mr. Milivoj Petkovic. Tell me, did you know
23 Mr. Petkovic?
24 A. Yes, I did.
25 Q. Can you describe the circumstances in which you got to know him?
1 A. I got to know him through his career. He was a public
2 personality and he was present in the media so I learned about him and on
3 some occasions, we met in person but I cannot say I know him well. I
4 know that he was a soldier and I know roughly what he did.
5 Q. Good. I do not think I will need to speak to you long, but we
6 need to clarify some details. You explained to us here that Croatia
7 a signatory to the International Convention on the Status of Refugees and
8 to the protocol on the status of refugees from 1967, do you remember?
9 A. Yes, Croatia
10 1957, I believe, and the convention from --
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: May I recall what my learned friend Judge
12 Prandler was going to say. Wait so the interpreters can translate the
13 answer before you continue speaking because you were again overlapping to
14 an extent that was hardly manageable even to these excellent interpreters
15 that we have. I want to pay homage to them and support them.
16 JUDGE PRANDLER: Yes. I would like to confirm that I am of the
17 same views, but I also would like to say that actually the
18 Geneva Convention was concluded in 1951 and not in 1957. For the record
19 I would like to add. Thank you.
20 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours, for these
21 instructions which I hope we will follow. And thank you, Judge Prandler,
22 for this correction. The witness stated correctly that the convention
23 was from 1951 and the protocol from 1967.
24 Q. Mr. Zoric, let us try and see when Croatia became a party to
25 these international documents. Do you know that Croatia through the
1 notification about succession from the first day of its independence on
2 the 8th of October 1991, became a party to many international agreements
3 including agreements on the status of refugees?
4 A. Yes, I'm aware of that but Croatia, upon the request of the EU,
5 suspended its declaration of independence for a period of three months
6 but I think that under all international conventions of the UN, including
7 the ones we've mentioned, that Croatia
8 conventions after it was admitted as a member of the UN.
9 Q. My apologies to everybody in the courtroom, but, Mr. Zoric, I
10 believe that you made an inadvertent mistake. Can we agree that Croatia
11 declared its independence in July 1991, but the three months' suspension
12 was proclaimed in July 1991 and that it expired in October 1991 so that
13 we celebrate our day of independence in October 1991; is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's correct.
15 Q. Can we then agree that through the notifications on succession,
16 the Republic of Croatia
17 a party to these international agreements?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Good, I just wanted to clarify. Tell us, Mr. Zoric, do you know
20 that international agreements under the Croatian constitution are part of
21 the Croatian legal system, of course, provided that Croatia is a party to
22 those agreements?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know that under the Croatian constitution, such
25 international agreements have greater force, take a priority over
1 Croatian legislation, national legislation?
2 A. Yes, I know that international legislation takes priority over
3 national legislation.
4 Q. I would like to remind you of a very important document which you
5 discussed extensively with Mr. Karnavas. You needn't waste time looking
6 for this document, it is document 1D 2626, and of the set of documents
7 submitted by the Defence of Jadranko Prlic, under number 4, the dynamics
8 of the refugee crisis, it is said that the Republic of Croatia
9 with a huge number of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina from the April of
10 1992 onwards.
11 Can you confirm that this is correct? That from April 1992,
13 A. That is correct. In three or four months only, the number rose
14 by over 200.000.
15 Q. In paragraph 4, their exact data of this growth in April, there
16 were already over 190.000; in August, over 360.000; in December, over
17 370.000 and so on. According to your knowledge, are these accurate data?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Let us now together establish which regulation on refugees was in
20 force when Croatia
21 take a look at your set of documents. Document number 4D 1232.
22 A remark to the Trial Chamber. The Law on the Movements and the
23 Stay of Foreigners is not translated entirely but only up to Article 43
24 so I consider it necessary to refer to that piece of legislation to show
25 how Croatia
1 individual provisions in any detail with the witness.
2 Mr. Zoric, please take a quick look at Article 22 which speaks
3 about the stay of foreigners based on the recognised status of refugees.
4 And then the entire chapter 5, refugees, in other words, Articles 31
5 through 38, and there are other articles also. My question with regard
6 to this is: Is it correct that getting the status of refugee in the
7 Republic of Croatia
8 Foreigners which I have referred to?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. If we look --
11 MR. SCOTT: I apologise in advance if I've missed it. Do we have
12 an English translation of any of these materials? No. Okay. Thank you.
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] I will repeat. I am very sorry
14 that the law is not translated in it's entirety. I announced yesterday
15 that in my cross-examination, I would be referring to this law.
16 JUDGE TRECHSEL: Again you say in it's entirety. Can you point
17 out the parts that are translated?
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] It is translated up to and
19 including Article 43.
20 JUDGE PRANDLER: I just wanted to help Ms. Alaburic and say that
21 the law had been translated into English here and we find it here. And
22 also, actually, in the very first part of it in Article 2, it refers to
23 the refugees, the meaning of the refugees and also to the fact that it is
24 being based on the 1951 Convention of the Status of Refugees and the 1957
25 Protocol on the Status of Refugees. I would add that that protocol was
1 adopted in New York
2 whereas the 1951 Convention was adopted in Geneva by the states who
3 participated in that diplomatic conference. Thank you.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Just one moment, please,
5 Ms. Alaburic. We have a problem. In your binder, we have the document
6 4.131. There's also the document 4D 1232. And that document is not
7 translated. In other words, I don't have the translation in English of
8 that particular document. So when you are mentioning section 22 and
9 section 22 of which document? We don't have the translation in English
10 and it's also not in e-court.
11 JUDGE TRECHSEL: If I may go on. What we have is the Law on
12 Asylum but I suppose it's not the same, is it?
13 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in my set of
14 documents, there are two laws. One is the Law on Asylum and the other is
15 the Law on the Movement and Stay of Foreigners. The Law on Asylum is
16 translated into English. It was passed in 2003 and that law overruled
17 some articles, some provisions of the Law on the Movement and Stay of
18 Foreigners which was passed in 1991, and the provisions overruled pertain
19 to refugees. The law that I do not have translated is the
20 latter-mentioned Law on the Movement and Stay of Foreigners. I said that
21 I had an English translation of the first half of that law and if you
22 want to establish that Chapter 5 indeed deals with the issue of refugees,
23 I'm willing to put this document on the ELMO. I didn't deem that
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, I don't know what
1 you wish to highlight by putting these questions to the witness. If your
2 questions are of paramount importance, then you have to make sure that
3 the Judges have the English version of the text. How can we give a
4 probative value of a text that we do not see, we don't have a translation
5 of that text and you're going to present some fragments and portions of
6 the text. This is what I don't understand.
7 When you prepared the cross-examination of this witness and if
8 you want to raise some very important points that could have an impact on
9 us and this trial, please come to trial with translated documents. We --
10 you know what we are doing. We can look at the text from section 1 to
11 the last section. We of course -- we're not sitting here with crossed
12 arms and listening to you. We're sitting here but we're also looking at
13 the document and I scanned the documents from back to back, in fact, so I
14 scanned the document to see if you did not omit to mention something.
15 But if you show me a document in your own language and if I cannot do my
16 job, then all I have to do is just sit here with my arms crossed and wait
17 for your next question.
18 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I said right away
19 that I do not intend to analyse laws with this witness who is not a
20 lawyer by profession. I submitted this law for a simple reason.
21 Yesterday, we spoke about the Law on the Status of Refugees and Displaced
22 Persons and the Chamber asked a number of questions from which I
23 concluded clearly that they do not understand based on which basis people
24 from Bosnia-Herzegovina were granted the status of refugees because the
25 law that had been submitted pertained only to citizens of the Republic of
2 It is my intention for this witness to say that the status of
3 refugee was regulated in the Law on the Movement and Stay of Foreigners.
4 We have a -- the translation of half that law. I do not tender that into
5 evidence because it isn't entirely translated but we intend to do so and
6 then tender it into evidence.
7 For the purposes of cross-examination, it suffices for this
8 witness to say to you, Your Honours, that the -- getting the status of
9 refugees for persons of Bosnia-Herzegovina was regulated by the Law on
10 the Movement and Stay of Foreigners.
11 What is additionally important for me is to establish that this
12 law was passed in June 1991, that it came into force on the 8th of
13 October, 1991, namely on the day of -- when Croatia
14 And now the issue I wanted to discuss with the witness whether, at the
15 moment this law was passed, anybody expected that Croatia would be faced
16 with such a refugee problem, refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina. So it was
17 my intention to point out which law regulates what and then I can enable
18 you to consult that legislation, if you deem it necessary, once it has
19 been translated.
20 You can see that I'm telling the truth in document 4D 1231, which
21 is the Law on Asylum and which exists in an English translation, and in
22 its final article, Article 72, it says which provisions of the Law on the
23 Movement and Stay of Foreigners are being overruled by this new act and
24 that these provisions pertain to refugees. This is all I considered
25 necessary to state about this.
1 So I just merely wanted to point out which Croatian
2 legislation regulated these issues.
3 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, I must join the Prosecution --
4 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I think Mr. Scott was on his feet before you.
5 MR. KARNAVAS: I didn't see that. I didn't see that. I didn't
6 see him.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Judge, please.
8 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I absolutely accept that.
9 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honour. Thank you, Mr. Karnavas.
10 Your Honour, I will make clear at the outset I'm not raising the
11 slightest question whatsoever about counsel's good faith or good
12 intentions. There's no question about that in my mind at all.
13 However, there is a fundamental problem here and that -- and
14 again, I take counsel absolutely at her word but she's just represented
15 to all of us in the courtroom that the very law that is not translated is
16 apparently the law that she says applies despite after a day and a half
17 of evidence and those of us in the courtroom who do not speak Croatian
18 don't have that law available to us. I can't ask questions. I can't
19 conduct cross-examination based on that and unless -- I mean, I don't
20 want to read back but I think what counsel's told us in the last few
21 minutes is that everything we've been talking about for the last day and
22 a half, the status of refugees in Croatia is regulated by this law that
23 we don't have a translation of. How can it possibly be more central than
24 that? And I can't conduct -- I can't go forward and conduct a
25 cross-examination when I don't have a document that I can work with.
1 Again, I know it's difficult to prepare all these documents, the
2 Prosecution faces the same situation, but I can't possibly go forward
3 without a translation.
4 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I also wish to join the Prosecution
5 in their objection because I am entitled to redirect and if I understand
6 Ms. Alaburic has indicated that we don't know what we're doing here. As
7 you've noted, I've shown Dr. Rebic's letter which referred to the
8 decision which was in the Official Gazette, the specific paragraphs which
9 at least in Dr. Rebic's mind that was the law that applied.
10 Also, if you look at the timing of it because after this, you
11 have a decree then you have the decision. We heard why the decision was
12 necessary. And so if Counsel Alaburic wishes to take us on, then I
13 suggest that she provide us with an English translation. Far be it for
14 me as a foreigner to discuss Croatian law; but as lawyer, I think I'm
15 pretty capable of reading this and so is my colleague. And I would
16 object to her characterisation that this was the law that applied versus
17 the law that we showed, both the decree and the decision, especially
18 given that Dr. Rebic refers to the decision in his letter and his answer
19 to Ambassador Turkovic with respect to why certain individuals were being
20 sent back to Bosnia-Herzegovina when it appeared, at least to Dr. Rebic,
21 the situation there had calmed down and therefore they no longer enjoyed
22 the status of refugees. So I would say unless we have an English
23 version, I would object to any further questioning on this matter.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ms. Alaburic, this issue of the
25 legal status of refugees is not a novel one. For months already or
1 months ago, I can't remember which witness, it was I personally had said,
2 asking this of the Defence, I'd asked them what were the legal
3 instruments that were applicable in the Republic of Croatia
4 state of refugees. I myself had asked the question and I remember
5 quoting the Geneva
6 Croatian law. I'd raised the issue. That was months if not over a year
7 ago. And today, you appear to say something which is fine, you may be
8 right, I'm not saying that you're wrong, but then you have to come
9 prepared with the translation into English of this law so that precisely
10 the Judges may ask questions. The Prosecutor objected because he said
11 that if he wants to cross-examine, he needs the text; and Mr. Karnavas
12 has just said that he, too, wants to have that text in his language. So
13 that's the situation as it is now.
14 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I may, I'd just
15 like to offer an explanation. I was going to call my own witness to talk
16 about refugees and the Law on the Status of Refugees by that time
17 certainly would have been translated into English. It was because you
18 raised the issue yesterday, not just because Judge Antonetti had raised
19 the issue but also because of the kind of answer that Mr. Zoric provided
20 when he said that it wasn't just the Decree on the Status of Refugees and
21 Displaced Persons but rather that there were also regulations defining
22 the status of all foreigners.
23 I was preparing my cross-examination yesterday and I decided to
24 ask the witness this question. I thought it would be fair to raise this
25 law, to refer to it, invoke it, but I'm not going to delve any deeper
1 into that; it was just a foundation for my next question. My next
2 question is about the status of refugees and displaced persons which is
3 something that was in force when he was still in office and the document
4 is 1D 2588. This is in the set of documents handed to you by the
5 Prlic Defence team. Can you please have a look.
6 Q. My question is: Can we agree that this document was in force
7 until October 1993 when a new law was passed, the one that you discussed
8 yesterday when prompted by Mr. Karnavas? 2588.
9 A. Yes, we can agree on that.
10 Q. Look at Article 26 that Mr. Karnavas invoked in relation to this
11 law and the Article is contained in this provision, the provisions of
12 Article 13 through 19 of this decree shall be applied in an appropriate
13 way to refugees. Can we therefore agree that in Articles 13 through 19
14 of the decree what we see defined there is assistance for refugees?
15 A. Yes. Articles 13 through 19 tell us about the sort of assistance
16 that refugees would be provided. Article 26 says that both refugees and
17 displaced persons should be treated in this same way.
18 Q. So was this the legal basis for displaced persons in Croatia
19 be enjoying exactly the same rights as refugees from Bosnia and
21 Republic of Croatia
22 A. Yes, that was the legal foundation for that.
23 Q. All right. Let us go back to 1D 2626. I'll read the relevant
24 portion for you so you don't waste any time looking for it. This is
25 section 5, paragraph 5, it reads, "In Croatia there exists and there
1 existed from the very outset of the humanitarian and refugee crisis a
2 unified system under which one was looking after the refugees from both
4 ethnicity. All refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina regardless of their
5 ethnicity received the same treatment and same status."
6 Mr. Zoric, can you confirm that this conclusion I just read out
7 to you is accurate?
8 A. Yes, I can. The conclusion is accurate. If I may just be
9 allowed to add a couple of words. Given the context that we're talking
10 about, we often only discuss refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, be
11 they Croats or Bosniaks or Muslims; however, over in Croatia, as
12 statistics show, we had not a major amount of Serb refugees, but there
13 were some Serb refugees and there were Jewish refugees who fled Sarajevo
14 They were part of Sarajevo
15 me about my preference, we -- I would like to discuss persons who are
16 refugees. It is not entirely necessary to talk about their ethnic
17 background in purely humanitarian terms.
18 Q. Were our indictment not worded the way it is, to the effect that
19 Croats were doing something to undermine the Muslims, I would be all too
20 happy to agree with you. This way I have to talk about the various
22 Over 360.000 people had already reached Croatia from B and H by
23 August that year, refugees. Can you please go back to my set of
24 documents. I'm talking about the agreement on cooperation dated the 21st
25 of July, 1991, by Izetbegovic, President Izetbegovic and President
1 Franjo Tudjman. Can we please look at item 3 of the agreement. This is
2 P 0339. It's in my binder. It's a document that we've already seen
3 quite often in courtroom. Paragraph 3 or Article 3 reads, I quote, "The
4 state delegation of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed
5 their gratitude to Republic of Croatia
6 refugees from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to an extent that is
7 far above its real potential, realistic potential or capacity."
8 Mr. Zoric, did people from the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina
9 often express their gratitude to the Republic of Croatia
10 good care that was taken of their refugees in Croatia and because of the
11 assistance that they were provided?
12 A. I don't remember a single meeting occurring with
13 President Izetbegovic without him repeating this over and over again.
14 Therefore, any time there was a meeting, whenever there was a meeting
15 with President Izetbegovic this was one of the topics that were raised
16 and then gratitude was always expressed. It was always something that
17 was an incentive and a very encouraging thing to hear.
18 Q. All right. Let -- it reads on, "The Republic of Bosnia and
20 of mass expulsions, particularly of the Muslim and Croat populations of
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will continue to cooperate in putting up
22 refugees in the Republic of Croatia
23 will continue to cooperate in collecting the humanitarian aid for
24 refugees. They will continue to build refugee centres in safe areas
25 throughout B and H and they will continue to work on the return of
1 refugees from the Republic of Croatia
4 Mr. Zoric -- Mr. Zoric, can you tell us whether you know whether
5 such a protocol on cooperation was signed?
6 A. Yes, protocol on cooperation was signed and there were later
7 protocols that dealt more with the return of refugees. The first ones
8 were mostly about refugees being provided accommodations and assistance.
9 I think the first protocols date back to the first half of 1995 that talk
10 about cooperation in terms of the refugees being allowed to return.
11 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Can you please look at 3D 2710 in my set of documents, this is a
13 General Praljak Defence document, protocol on cooperation of the
14 government of the Republic of Croatia
15 Bosnia-Herzegovina on dealing with the problem of refugees from B and H.
16 This was signed on the 22nd of July, 1992. It was signed by the
17 following: The prime ministers, Franjo Greguric and Jure Pelivan. Can
18 you look at the protocol, please, and they you can tell us whether this
19 is the protocol that we've been talking about.
20 A. This is the protocol that we've been talking about. It's a
21 result of this agreement and one thing that I must point out is that if
22 you look at who has signed this document, it says Franjo Greguric, who
23 was then prime minister, but the signature actually belongs to his deputy
24 Mate Granic, who, at the time, was in charge of business such as this.
25 Q. Can you please look at Article 4 of the protocol it says that ...
1 MR. SCOTT: I regret that it seems to always fall to me. I would
2 be happy to share the burden with anyone else in the courtroom but unless
3 I'm the only one, I don't have an English translation of this exhibit.
4 And if anyone else does see this, I mean, all kidding aside, I would
5 appreciate not being the only one who has to raise these objections.
6 Thank you.
7 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we run checks, we've
8 checked the Praljak Defence documents and we ascertained that this was
9 one of the documents that were still being translated. This is a
10 document that has not been translated yet, therefore, it cannot be
11 tendered. However, I don't think this constitutes a sufficient reason
12 for us to not discuss this document right now. We can have it placed on
13 the ELMO, if necessary, and then we can try to interpret any points that
14 we deem necessary. All that I'm interested in right now is item 4. I
15 will try to read it and then the interpreter can easily interpret this
16 for us.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
18 continues] ... would be faster.
19 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Indeed. Article 4 reads, "The
20 government of the Republic of Croatia
21 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall seek an increase in
22 international aid from the international community especially as regards
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina. It shall also ask for more refugees to be
24 admitted by neighbouring European countries, refugees who it will not be
25 possible to provide assistance for in Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 republic, the government of the Republic of Croatia
2 to cover the costs of transport or indeed international humanitarian aid
3 that is being shipped into Bosnia and Herzegovina."
4 Q. Mr. Zoric, based on this it would seem that the two governments
5 spoke and they agreed to address Europe
6 There were more refugees coming and Croatia could no longer absorb these
7 new refugees. They were now to be sent to third countries. Is my
8 understanding of this protocol is correct?
9 A. Yes, I think your understanding of this protocol is correct. The
10 governments did meet. The Croatian government on the one hand and the
11 Bosnian government on the other addressed European countries. It was
12 something that was widely debated in international conferences that there
13 was contact in progress about this and some European governments
14 responded to this request. They came up with specific quotas in terms of
15 how many refugees would be admitted ranging from Hungary, Austria
17 European governments that I've been mentioning here. It was through the
18 mediation of international organisations that they expressed their
19 willingness to admit a certain number of people.
20 Q. All right. If we go back to Defence document -- Prlic Defence
21 document 1D 2626, if you look at Article 4 of that document, paragraph 6
22 of Article 4 and I will read it to you. It reads: "Following an appeal
23 that was launched by the government of the Republic of Croatia
24 July 1992 to countries of western Europe to admit and take in Bosnian
25 refugees, a section of a huge refugee convoy from Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 will be heading west through Croatia
2 This appeal that I'm referring to here, is that appeal in keeping
3 with the protocol signed by the presidents or prime ministers of the two
5 A. Yes, that appeal is perfectly in keeping with that protocol.
6 Q. Okay. Now tell me this, we're talking about July, the middle of
7 1992. Mr. Zoric, sometime halfway through 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina
8 are there any armed clashes going on between Muslims and Croats, I think
9 there were none; right?
10 A. No, none had erupted by this time. At least none that I was
11 aware of.
12 Q. Can we therefore conclude that the departure of refugees from
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina for so-called third countries halfway through 1992
14 and at later stages as well by it's very nature could not have been a
15 result of some clashes between Croats and Muslims?
16 A. Yes, that is a perfectly logical conclusion.
17 MS. ALABURIC: [Interpretation] Thank you very much. This
18 concludes my cross examination. I apologise yet again for having to use
19 documents that have not been yet translated, but as I said, there was
20 simply no other way to go around this. Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You have completed your
22 cross-examination. I think on the Defence side nobody else had any other
23 questions which means that after the break, Mr. Scott, you can start your
24 cross-examination. Yes, Ms. Nozica, is this the way things are going to
25 unfold or am I wrong?
1 MR. NOZICA: [Interpretation] You're not off the mark,
2 Your Honour. There is just one thing that I would like to raise before
3 the break. This document that was used today in chief by Mr. Karnavas,
4 the number being 1D 02626, is already an exhibit and the number is
5 2D 00486. Just a note to avoid confusion about this document being
6 admitted. I think it will probably be used quite often and I think it's
7 important to point this out now before we get into any further confusion
8 surrounding this. Thank you.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [No interpretation]
10 MR. SCOTT: I'm just waiting for the translations -- the Judge's
11 comments haven't been recorded. Well, anyway, I'll go ahead.
12 Your Honour, I just wanted to make for the record just so, again, that
13 there's no argument or waiver or why I didn't raise it before that in
14 connection with Ms. Alaburic's examination and these other follow-up
15 examinations, the Prosecution continues its opposition to leading and
16 directive questions by the supplemental examinations. The Prosecution
17 will be filing -- making a written submission on that and just lest
18 someone comes back and says that we've waived that or didn't raise it,
19 I'm going to make it clear that continues to be our position. But we
20 will make a written submission.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In 20 minutes' time, we shall
22 resume our proceedings and you'll have 45 minutes for the beginning of
23 your cross-examination.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.40 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 1.00 p.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] The hearing is resumed. You
2 may proceed, Mr. Scott.
3 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Your Honours. Good afternoon to everybody
4 in the courtroom, counsel, and Dr. Zoric.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Scott:
6 Q. Good afternoon.
7 A. Good afternoon.
8 Q. Dr. Zoric, I'd like to jump straight away into the question of
9 refugee status and I will tell you that I'm also going to be drawing back
10 upon your testimony in the -- what we call the Tuta-Stela or
11 Naletilic/Martinovic case. And you recognise the difference, do you not,
12 between someone who is "a refugee" and someone who is a "displaced
13 person." Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, I think I spoke a great deal about that yesterday, didn't I.
15 Q. And further, you recognise and, in fact, in the Tuta case you
16 said there was a "big difference" between someone who has "refugee status
17 and someone being a foreigner." Is that correct?
18 A. I'm not sure what sort of difference you're talking about.
19 Q. Is it correct, sir, that someone who has been granted refugee
20 status has substantial number of rights, at least on paper, as opposed to
21 someone who is only considered a foreigner in the country?
22 A. No, they both have the same rights but there could be other
23 differences such as origin, language, ethnicity. In terms of rights, I
24 believe they have the same rights.
25 Q. Well, sir, in your Tuta-Stela testimony, you testified that there
1 was a "big difference" between refugee status and someone being a
2 foreigner. If someone is a refugee, the country is "bound to provide him
3 with accommodations, schooling for the children, medical treatments, and
4 all the rest that is necessary so that such a person is taken care of for
5 life." Of your testimony. Then went on to answer that, "A foreigner,
6 that is a person in Croatia
7 does not have those rights."
8 Now, are you giving a different answer today than you gave in the
9 Tuta-Stela case?
10 A. I don't have the transcript in front of me so therefore I can
11 hardly be expected to comment. A foreigner could be a tourist, a
12 student, a businessman, a foreigner is a person who comes from another
13 country. A refugee is a person also who comes from another country but a
14 person who enjoys certain rights once their status as a refugee has been
15 recognised. Therefore, there can be certain differences. There are
16 certainly big differences between mere tourists and refugees.
17 MR. KARNAVAS: Just a point, Your Honour, if Mr. Scott will be
18 referring to portions of the transcript from the previous testimony, I
19 would respectfully request page and line. I do have it in front of me in
20 anticipation of his cross and so if he could be so kind. I'm sure he's
21 going to quote accurately just so I can follow.
22 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Karnavas. For the record I was just
23 now referring to the testimony of the witness at page 11018 of his
24 previous sworn testimony.
25 Q. Sir, you did say there that it was a "big difference" and I take
1 it you've now modified your initial answer today to say, well, yes, in
2 fact there are differences, refugees have rights, foreigners do not. Is
3 that correct?
4 A. Foreigners have rights too, but they don't have the rights that
5 refugees have. Regardless of that, I don't see why I should change what
6 I said before about this. I think what I said before is consistent with
7 what I'm saying now. I'm using plain language to put my point across,
8 I'm not using legalese and I'm speaking in colloquial terms and my
9 understanding is time is a valuable commodity in this courtroom. I'm
10 trying to keep my answers short. What I said then I would say today.
11 Q. Thank you, Dr. Zoric. Let me be very clear then and I'm trying
12 to be fair to you as well so let me be very transparent. I, for these
13 purposes, am not going to be speaking generically or broadly. When I'm
14 going to use the word "refugee" for purposes of my cross-examination,
15 other counsel can do what they wish, but when I talk to you this
16 afternoon and probably tomorrow, when I use the word "refugee," I'm
17 talking about someone who has been granted refugee status under Croatian
18 law. That's what I'm talking about, all right.
19 MR. KHAN: Well --
20 MR. SCOTT:
21 Q. Can we agree on that, Dr. Zoric?
22 A. Yes.
23 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I don't know if it assists. Perhaps
24 the -- it may save time. The ambiguity perhaps, at least to me, appears
25 to stem not from refugee but what is meant by rights. Of course there
1 are rights conferred under the Criminal Code, the Penal Code, and there
2 are peculiar specific rights conferred by the Geneva Convention on
3 Refugees, and, Your Honours, perhaps if one is specific on the question
4 to what type of rights one is talking about, we may get clarity on the
5 issue and no confusion. I don't know if it helps my learned friend.
6 MR. SCOTT: Thank you, counsel. That could be a source of
7 confusion. If it is, I apologise for that.
8 Q. Sir, I'm speaking specifically in the context of refugees and
9 I'll just simply, again, use your own words when you testified previously
10 on page 11017 that if someone who has been granted a refugee status, the
11 country granting that status is "bound to provide him with
12 accommodations, schooling for the children, medical treatment, and all
13 the rest that is necessary so that such a person is taken care of for
15 Those are the rights I'm talking about now. And someone who is
16 not a refugee, who has not been granted refugee status, does not have
17 those rights. Correct?
18 A. Someone who has not been granted refugee rights could enjoy the
19 right to an education or to receive assistance in some country. There
20 were people in Croatia
21 entitled to an education and especially to medical assistance.
22 Q. Well, let's again, as one of my colleagues likes to say, let's
23 proceed then step by step and I'm talking now about perhaps some kind
24 soul in Croatia
25 I'm talking now about the law of the state of the Republic of Croatia
1 And while someone might have given someone some benefit, a person who was
2 from outside the country who was in Croatia
3 status of a refugee did not have the legal right, under Croatian law, to,
4 as you said again, "... accommodation, schooling for the children,
5 medical treatment, and all the rest that is necessary so that such a
6 person is taken care of for life."
7 A. We have a foreigner in Croatia
8 then pursuant to the laws envisaging the answers to these questions, they
9 would be receiving assistance. What happens in other countries other
10 than Croatia
11 or lesser privileges. But it's also --
12 Q. Let me cut across you because, as you say, time is precious, and
13 if I'm not being clear, I apologise to you. My questions now are -- I'm
14 talking about the Republic of Croatia
15 answers to what happens in other countries, you can't say. For the
16 moment, with all due respect, sir, I don't care about any other country.
17 I'm talking about the Republic of Croatia
18 You are also going in circles because a moment ago when you just
19 answered, "If we have a foreigner in Croatia and this foreigner is a
20 refugee ..." that begs the question, sir, you can have foreigners in
22 under the law; correct?
23 A. Which exact foreigners do you mean? Can you explain? Do you
24 mean foreigners who came to Croatia
25 granted it or foreigners who came to the sea side? I don't know which
1 ones you mean.
2 Q. Dr. Zoric, we've been talking since yesterday for some hours now
3 about refugees and displaced persons. I'm not talking about tourists.
4 If a person from Bosnia and Herzegovina during wartime conditions arrived
5 in the state of Croatia
6 status, was not considered a "refugee" and I told you a moment ago, when
7 I say refugee, I'm talking about someone who's been granted legal status
8 as a refugee under Croatian law, if they are not granted that status then
9 they do not have the rights that you previously listed yourself; correct?
10 A. Persons who have been granted refugee status who, due to the
11 wartime activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and came to Croatia
12 the same rights but in Croatia
13 did not have that status. Fortunately, not all parts of
14 Bosnia-Herzegovina had been affected by the war so that there were areas
15 from which people came for other reasons but didn't have refugee status.
16 Q. All right. We'll continue on for a moment and see if we can come
17 at this maybe a slightly different way.
18 Maybe you can assist the Chamber with this, just as a point of
19 general information before we continue. I understand, based on what
20 you've said before, that in the beginning, approximately 70 per cent of
21 the refugees or -- excuse me, let's say to avoid confusion. In the
22 beginning, 70 per cent of the persons coming from BiH under these
23 conditions were Muslims. This later changed to approximately 50/50
24 Croat/Muslim; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, that's correct. The first refugees to arrive in Croatia
1 were from eastern Bosnia
2 refugees corresponded to the development of military activities either
3 immediately preceding the activities or during those activities. There
4 was an especially extensive arrival of refugees after cease-fire
5 agreements had been signed because most towns only then civilians were
6 willing to leave. So the refugees who had first arrived in Croatia
7 mostly Bosnian Muslims but then the proportions changed due to the events
8 in that country.
9 Q. And further, it is correct, is it not, that of the total -- of
10 these total persons coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina, approximately half
11 came from what might be described as Serb-controlled areas, parts of the
12 country, and about half came from areas controlled at that time by either
13 the so-called Croat or Muslim sides? Correct?
14 A. Yes. There is precise data about that, although from a military
15 point of view, it may be necessary to scrutinise which territory was
16 controlled by which forces. But -- people even coming from areas
17 controlled by the ABiH could be refugees. Due to the harsh conditions
18 and being afraid of shells coming from areas controlled by their forces,
19 they were also refugees and we were unable to establish precisely those
20 boundaries or delimitations.
21 Q. Thank you, sir. So the answer to my question is approximately
22 half came from Serb-controlled areas and approximately half came from
23 Croat or Muslim areas; correct? Yes or no?
24 A. At certain periods, that might apply, I'm not sure about which
25 periods we are talking. But precise data can be found in reports
1 submitted to this Court.
2 Q. Well, sir, what I just quoted you is what was your testimony in
3 the Tuta-Stela case at page 10973. Now, we can agree and I think
4 everyone in the courtroom has agreed over these past two days that by the
5 spring, then, the late spring of 1992, the situation with persons coming
6 from Bosnia and Herzegovina was such that Croatia
7 or had run out of accommodation. Is that correct?
8 A. Yes. We constantly had problems with accommodation because even
9 the accommodation we had was deteriorating in quality with time due to
10 the long stay of people there.
11 Q. And is it correct -- isn't it correct, sir, that on the --
12 because of those -- at least in part because of those conditions, that
13 situation, on about the 13th of July, 1992, Croatia
14 would not accept any more refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina in terms of
15 giving them, as I said, "refugee status"?
16 A. Yes. At that time, Croatia
17 fully exhausted and the government appealed to international
18 organisations to become more involved in this problem. After receiving
19 aid and additional capacities, we continued granting refugee status to
20 everybody who could meet the conditions for that status.
21 Q. I would like you -- you should have a binder there, sir, which
22 should be tabbed in a similar fashion to the exhibits that you were
23 looking at for the Prlic Defence and others, perhaps. If I could ask
24 you, please, to turn to P 10406. I hope that they've all been provided
25 to everyone in the courtroom at this point. P 10406. If you look behind
1 it, sir, you should be able to find a Croatian language version. If you
2 don't have it, please let me know.
3 On the topic that I just raised with you a moment ago, this is an
4 article from the Reuters news service dated the 13th of July, 1992
5 Starting off with the statement, "Croatia said on Monday it would not
6 accept any more refugees from war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina."
7 If we go in the English version it's the first line on the second
8 page, but I'm not sure about in the Croatian language, sir, but if you
9 scan down the article, you will see, I believe, your name, "Damir Zoric,
10 senior secretary of Croatia
11 supplies were scarce. 'It is unbearable,' he told Reuters. 'It is not a
12 question of good will. We don't have anywhere to put these people.'"
13 And then at the end of the article it concludes with this, "The
14 government statement said that refugee camps would now serve only as
15 transit centres and that the new ruling would be enforced by the interior
17 Now, does the situation as reported in this Reuters article, is
18 that an accurate description of the situation at that time?
19 A. I believe I stated correctly that the situation was unbearable,
20 if I understand English well enough, and that it isn't our good will that
21 is the problem, but we have nowhere to put those people. Every public
22 appearance of mine was useful for all of us because it was a way of
23 motivating people all over the world to help us and so did this public
24 appearance of mine. But even after this, we did admit people and granted
25 them refugee status which is a fact that can be verified easily.
1 MR. SCOTT: If you can be provided with the Prlic Defence binder,
2 if I can have the assistance of the usher, please.
3 Q. If you have that, sir, can you please turn to 1D 02606. Again,
4 if you can't find it, please let me know. My apologies, that's not the
5 right one. Give me a moment, please. 2607, my apologies. 2607. My
6 staff has corrected me, Your Honour. 2608. 2608. I'm not sure how that
7 happened but ...
8 Dr. Zoric, if you can bear with me, please, and if you can find
9 2608. Now, this is a letter written later that I think may have been
10 shown to you during the Defence questioning dated the 29th of October,
11 1992, concerning what's been referred to and what is referred to here as
12 a "one-time financial assistance."
13 Now, if I can direct your attention, please, to paragraph
14 numbered 1, it says, "To strictly obey" -- they ask the regional offices
15 "To strictly obey the stipulations of the Government of the Republic of
17 refugees who have arrived to Croatia
18 a fact, sir, that that date continued to be a very important date that
19 persons who had arrived before the 13th of July, 1992, could receive
20 refugee status and those who arrived after the 13th of July, 1992, were
21 not given refugee status?
22 MR. KARNAVAS: Mr. President, before he answers the question, I
23 would ask that the Prosecutor read the rest of that paragraph or I can
24 read it for him. "It is because there have been some irregularities." I
25 think it's within that context. So maybe now he can answer the question.
1 MR. SCOTT:
2 Q. My question, Dr. Zoric, is the same: Isn't it correct that
3 persons who arrived before July 13th, 1992
4 otherwise meet the criteria, those persons who arrived before that date
5 were granted refugee or could be granted refugee status, but persons who
6 arrived after that date were not granted that status?
7 A. Persons who arrived later could also be granted that status. It
8 is difficult for me to say which irregularities are specifically being
9 referred to but we tried to prevent people from getting that status if
10 they were not entitled to it such as forging documents to be included and
11 the -- in aid schemes or people who were from areas not affected by the
12 war. I believe that this is what Dr. Rebic means by irregularities but
14 Q. I'll refer you back to your testimony a moment ago and as
15 reflected in part or at least as consistent with the Reuters news
16 article, "As of the 13th of July, 1992, Croatia announced that it would
17 grant no more persons refugee status." That statement said nothing about
18 irregularities, it said that, we will no longer accept and take refugees.
19 Isn't it -- I go back to my question, sir. After -- persons arriving
20 after the 13th of July, 1992, were not given refugee status; correct?
21 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, I'm going to object on the grounds
22 that it's been asked and it's been answered. The gentleman did indicate
23 that they were granted, now he can accept it, he can accept that answer
24 or not. Now, I don't mind him asking it again but I believe that
25 Mr. Zoric has answered the question.
1 MR. SCOTT: Your Honour, he answered -- he gave an answer and
2 then he changed his answer with the reference to the irregularities. A
3 few moments ago, he said, he agreed with me that on the 13th of July,
4 1992, there would be no more refugees. Then now he said, well, based
5 upon something about irregularities, and that's not what he said
6 previously so I'm trying to come back and clarify that.
7 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, with all due respect and I understand
8 that under cross we can get a little excited but --
9 MR. SCOTT: I don't need to be lectured by Mr. Karnavas,
10 Your Honour.
11 MR. KARNAVAS: I'm not lecturing the gentleman. He was pointed
12 to one document. He indicated, yes, that's what it says, however, we
13 continued to provide status to them. That was his answer. It's in the
14 record. He was then asked again and he was pointed to this document. I
15 asked for purposes of completion, in fairness to the gentleman, that it
16 be put into context.
17 Now, the question can be asked again one more time and let the
18 gentleman give an answer but I don't think that there is an
19 inconsistency, and the record speaks for itself. It's in the record. I
20 don't wish to complicate matters.
21 MR. SCOTT: I don't think there was anything unclear about my
22 question but let me --
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Please continue.
24 MR. SCOTT: -- state it again, sir.
25 Q. You appeared to add, if I heard you correctly, you appeared to
1 comment a few moments ago that refugee status was stopped as of the 13th
2 of July, 1992, and then I think I heard you say that at some point in
3 time in the future, it was granted again; that is, people were given that
4 status beginning at some future time.
5 Now, if that's your answer, and we'll come back to that in a
6 moment if he we need to, but if that's your position, can you tell us
7 when refugee status began once again to be granted to persons arriving
8 from Bosnia-Herzegovina?
9 A. That is difficult for me to provide an answer now, but I am sure
10 that there is extensive documentation to that effect.
11 Q. Well, sir, I'm going to have to ask you to do your best. You've
12 answered extensive questions on behalf of Defence counsel and I want you
13 to do your best to tell us when refugee status was again granted, 1995?
14 1996? Please assist us.
15 A. No, it was that same year that we continued granting refugee
16 status. But I cannot give you an exact date. It would be very difficult
17 for me to do so now.
18 Q. Can I ask you, please, to turn to, in the Prosecution binder,
19 P 10407. In the Prosecution binder, I think I see you have the right
20 one. Thank you. Sir, this is a letter or a communication signed at
21 least over the name of Mr. Rebic who we've talked about extensively in
22 the last day and a half. And did you have -- looking at this document,
23 did you have occasion to see communications like that or perhaps to even
24 prepare some similar communications yourself prior to the time that you
25 became a member of parliament?
1 A. Yes, I have seen similar documents. This is a document by which
2 the office gave its approval to anyone to stay in Croatia temporarily but
3 that somebody did not apply for refugee status.
4 Q. Well, this is dated the 9th of April, 1993 --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Scott, I was told that this
6 document is not part of the e-court system.
7 MR. SCOTT: I don't know, Your Honour. I'll have to ask
8 Ms. Winner. It should be. Our records show that it is. If you want me
9 to provide you with hard copy, I can do that but -- or we can put it on
10 the ELMO.
11 MR. STEWART: Your Honour, I can't find it either so we're having
12 the same problem. Is it 10407? Is that ...
13 MR. SCOTT: 10407. So I don't have a clean copy I'm afraid. Can
14 someone provide me with a clean copy.
15 If we can look on the ELMO, sir, and I'll just indicate that, and
16 everyone in the courtroom I'm sure will correct me if I'm wrong, this is
17 a letter as I mentioned the a moment ago dated the 9th of April, 1993
18 and I'm directing your attention to the second page. In connection with
19 these individuals, the letter makes a very specific reference to -- that
20 while these persons will be allowed to come into the country, "Pursuant
21 to the decision of the government of the Republic of Croatia
22 1992, the above mentioned persons cannot request or be granted a refugee
23 status in the Republic of Croatia
24 Q. Now, this is April 1993, some nine or ten months after that
25 decision and that decision, sir, continued to be in effect and was still
1 used to deny people refugee status in Croatia for a long period of time;
3 A. We must bear in mind that Croatia
4 displaced persons as Croatian citizens and 300.000 refugees which makes a
5 total of 600.000.
6 Q. Can you not tell me whether it was good or bad will or how many
7 people were in Croatia
8 people coming from Bosnia-Herzegovina into Croatia. I don't question
9 that. You needn't remind me of that. This document says that these two
10 individuals be allowed to come into the country but the letter is very
11 clear and explicitly stating that according to the law dated 13 July
12 1992, they will not be granted refugee status; correct?
13 A. But, Mr. Prosecutor, this document reads that these persons from
14 Jablanica wanted to go to Zagreb
15 an invitation from Zagreb
16 address. As far as I know, Jablanica was controlled by the army of
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina during the whole war. I don't see why anybody should
18 be a refugee fleeing from their own army. These persons asking for this
19 permission were Bosnian Muslims.
20 JUDGE TRECHSEL: I'm sorry, Mr. Scott.
21 Witness, the Prosecutor asks you so-called directive questions.
22 That is something he's allowed to do. And they are questions which call
23 for an answer, yes or no. I have followed this and I do not think that
24 one single time you have actually answered the question. Every time, you
25 took the floor, you started an excursion upon some kind of explanation.
1 I can very well understand your urge to do this and I have had an
2 experience, it's the same with me. Unfortunately, these rules are rather
3 strict and we lose quite an amount of time because you do not, for
4 reasons that I really understand, but you do not conform -- confirm to
5 this rule and that makes the task for the Chamber more difficult than
6 would -- than it is anyway.
7 So if I may ask you to respect these rules, we would be very
8 grateful. Thank you.
9 MR. SCOTT:
10 Q. Sir, just to clarify so we can go forward, so that we have your
11 answer. You're telling the Trial Judges under oath that you did not
12 consider Jablanica in 1993 to be a war area?
13 MR. KARNAVAS: Your Honour, excuse me, excuse me. He's
14 mischaracterizing the evidence. He said it was controlled under the army
15 of Bosnia-Herzegovina, that's number one. Number two, there's nothing
16 here to suggest that they were requesting and that they were denied. We
17 don't know why they wanted to go to Croatia and go to some place else but
18 I think that Mr. Scott is assuming facts which are not in evidence. The
19 document is what it is, but I don't think that we can say that somehow
20 they were -- they were -- they asked for refugee status or they were
21 denied but they were merely given this permit to go through.
22 So he needs to lay a predicate. And I don't think that we can
23 conclude -- we cannot conclude from the second paragraph that there was a
24 request and that there was a denial. I don't see that in the facts, and
25 perhaps I can be assisted.
1 MR. SCOTT:
2 Q. Sir, are you familiar with the concept that -- during the time
3 that you were associated with these issues were you familiar with a
4 concept of someone obtaining a so-called letter of guarantee and a
5 transit visa, some permission to travel or pass through or to the
6 Republic of Croatia
7 A. I'm familiar with such documents.
8 Q. And do you say, sir, that in the first page of this document that
9 it says, right under the subject and et cetera, "The Office for Refugees
10 and Displaced Persons of the government of Croatia agrees to allow entry
11 and temporary residence for the following persons ..." it gives the names
12 of the individuals, the place from which they will travel, Mostar, "The
13 above-mentioned person will be provided with full financial support and
14 accommodation by the following individual." One could take that in the
15 light of what we've come to understand as the guarantee and then the
16 Rebic letter goes on to make it very clear, however, that while that will
17 be allowed, we want to make it very clear these persons are not being
18 given refugee status.
19 Now that's what the letter says; correct?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And wasn't that in fact --
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Excuse me.
23 Witness, I'm following carefully and reading carefully this
24 letter. Mr. Rebic will testify as well, and we will be able to put him
25 questions but Mr. Karnavas is very right when he says that nothing tells
1 us in this letter that these people requested a refugee status. There is
2 no evidence to that effect. They did not ask for a refugee status even
3 if, in the last sentence, it says that, "In accordance with the decision
4 of the 13th of July 1992, the above-mentioned people would not receive a
5 refugee status."
6 I notice that this document has to be shown at the checkpoint and
7 I wondered the following: So we have these two people, they live in
8 Mostar, because we see that they are from Mostar. They want to go to
10 that appears here. So they want to live in Zagreb for a certain amount
11 of time but we don't know how much. I would like to know if the office
12 was capable of giving these types of temporary documents for these people
13 to stay in Croatia
14 reference to a temporary residence. So these people will -- would not
15 stay in Croatia
16 I would just like to know if this office was authorised to
17 deliver temporary permits to foreigners who wanted to come and spend some
18 time in Zagreb
19 would never obtain a refugee status and that in order to allow them to
20 cross the border they had to show this document at the checkpoint.
21 I would like to know if this is something that you are familiar
22 with, if what I'm describing to you is exactly how it is.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think you're
24 entirely right. The office declares here that they've received the
25 letter of guarantee from someone in Zagreb. The office also declares
1 itself willing to have this person arrive in Croatia; however, the office
2 also claims that nothing was sought from it. Therefore, these do not
3 constitute sufficient reasons to grant refugee status. The office had no
4 power over the border police. The office simply said that it would in no
5 way oppose the arrival of those persons. The office, however, also
6 stated that they didn't believe those people should be recognised as
7 refugees and that was as far as its remit went.
8 Had the documents shown been different, the reply by the office
9 would also probably have been a different one. I don't know to what
10 extent people are familiar with language issues here, but this is in the
11 passive voice, not in the active voice. The office agrees that entry
12 should be granted. It's not about the office itself granting entry, it's
13 about the office agreeing that access or entry should be granted which
14 means that a suggestion is being made to whoever is in charge. We in no
15 way oppose this.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We shall stop here
17 because it is the end of our working day. We will resume tomorrow at
18 9.00 a.m.
19 I wish you all a good afternoon.
20 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.45 p.m.
21 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 15th of May, 2008
22 at 9.00 a.m.