1 Monday, 14 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.18 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon, everybody. Just a word of welcome
6 to everybody from the recess. I hope everybody is well-rested and all
7 ready to move on with the case without much delay.
8 Before we start, I have a few remarks to make.
9 And I'll be addressing myself mainly to the Defence team,
10 Mr. Milovancevic, if you can be listening to what I'm going to be saying.
11 When we parted, Mr. Milovancevic, the Defence had undertaken to
12 file documents by Monday, the 17th of July. And these were not filed
13 until 1.00 on the 19th of July without any reasons being provided for the
14 delay. That's the one point that I have to complain about. And
15 apparently the list that was provided on that day instead of having ten
16 witnesses it had only eight witnesses, the majority of whom were not in
17 the original ten that had been supplied to the Prosecution as the starting
18 witnesses of the Defence.
19 Are you able to update the Court as to what has happened from that
20 point and what the position is right now?
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] What Your Honour has said is
22 correct. After departing from the Tribunal for Belgrade, the Defence team
23 contacted the witnesses. The changes in the names of the witness list
24 occurred due to the physical impossibility of contacting witnesses who are
25 away on holiday. This was a big problem for the Defence team and we did
1 our utmost to contact those witnesses we could in order to continue with
2 the trial. Of course, we were very unhappy about this but we had to cope
3 with the situation such as it was. We were unable to contact and prepare
4 the witnesses we had intended to call as the first ten. That is the only
5 reason. We did inform the Chamber of our fears that this might happen.
6 We didn't know, however, that the problems would be as great as they
7 turned out to be.
8 We are, however, ready to continue with our case now. The delay
9 so that the 19th is the date rather than the 17th when the documents were
10 submitted in July is due to the fact that when we arrived in Belgrade, we
11 had many deadlines to meet and we did our very best. The delay is a
12 result of circumstances we could not influence. We did our best to meet
13 all the deadlines but we were late. We tried to explain to our learned
14 friends that this was due to objective reasons and I hope that the Chamber
15 will take this into account.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes. The only thing is that you didn't even give
17 the Chamber the courtesy of an explanation with your filings that came
18 late. This is the problem. And the Chamber was now in the dark as to,
19 are you flouting the Chamber's orders or what are you doing? To get an
20 explanation now, when the Chamber is asking for the explanation, is not
21 absolutely appropriate. It would have been better to give your
22 explanations with your late filings or even before the late filings, just
23 to explain why it was difficult for you to meet the deadlines.
24 Thank you any way for your explanation.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] May I add something,
1 Your Honour? I accept Your Honour's criticism and I understand that we
2 have made an omission. We were doing our best to meet the deadlines but
3 this is no justification and I apologise.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you for that apology. Yes, Mr. Whiting?
5 MR. WHITING: If I may, unfortunately the situation is actually
6 much worse than what was described by the Court and I think it's important
7 that it be put on the record. On the 19th of July, Your Honour is correct
8 that the list of ten witnesses was provided. It was ten witnesses that
9 were provided on the 19th of July and that was the list that was supposed
10 to be provided on the 14th of July. So that was five days late.
11 That would have been fine. We could have lived with that. We
12 got to work on the ten witnesses, we have been spending these weeks
13 preparing them. However, on -- one week ago, on the 7th of August, we
14 received a new list and that is the list that I think Your Honour was
15 referring to with eight witnesses. Now if those eight witnesses had been
16 eight of the ten, fine, that would have also been no problem.
17 Unfortunately not the case. Of the eight witnesses only three were from
18 the original list of ten. So -- and this week, the three witnesses -- we
19 then tried to see through Chambers if the list could be somehow
20 reorganised, no, unfortunately that seemed to be impossible so there week
21 the three witnesses who are scheduled to testify are witnesses that we
22 were first notified about one week ago. Which is really disadvantaged the
23 Prosecution, has made it very difficult for us to prepare properly for
25 I find it very hard to believe that the Defence only knew one week
1 ago that this was going to be the list of witnesses that they were going
2 to call and that they didn't know in the 19 days between the 19th of July
3 and the 7th of August that they didn't know that that list had changed in
4 some respect and they never notified us. They could have notified us on a
5 sort of rolling basis about adjustments that were being made to the list.
6 That did not happen.
7 I can see no other reason than to gain strategic advantage and to
8 leave us disadvantaged. I cannot imagine any other reason because they
9 had to have known before last Monday that the list of ten was not going to
10 be their list for the first witnesses. The practical consequence much
11 that, we considered last week seeking a delay in the trial of one week;
12 however, we are aware of the pressures to move forward, we decided not to
13 do that. However, there are -- as I see it -- two potential consequences
14 to this having been done. The first is that we may have exhibits that we
15 will seek to use in cross-examination that are not translated because we
16 did not have time to both identify them and get them translated.
17 The second is that we may seek a short delay after the testimony
18 of one of the witnesses this week of a day, perhaps certainly no more than
19 a day, perhaps if it finishes one day and start the next day, we'll try to
20 avoid that but it's very difficult with this short notice to be completely
21 and fully prepared. So I wanted that to -- the Court to be aware of that
22 and for that to be on the record.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. May I just understand:
24 You're talking of exhibits that may not be translated. Do you get these
25 exhibits in B/C/S and it's your responsibility to translate them or do you
1 get them translated for you by the Defence?
2 MR. WHITING: No, I'm sorry, these are not exhibits that the
3 Defence is going to use. These are documents that we have identified on
4 our own as being potentially relevant during the cross-examination of the
5 witnesses. And they are at present only in B/C/S and we are endeavouring
6 to get them translated as quickly as possible but they may not be -- it's
7 quite likely that some of them will not be fully translated and we'll have
8 to use them in court in an untranslated form. That can be done, we can
9 show the witness and have the witness read out the relevant portions and
10 they will be translated here in the courtroom but of course it takes more
11 time. It's awkward, it's not optimal for the court or the parties to be
12 using documents which are not translated.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 I guess you have said what you have to say, Mr. Milovancevic,
15 unless you have anything else to respond specifically to what Mr. Whiting
16 has said. If not, I would like to move on. I don't want us to waste more
17 time on these procedural issues. I would like us to get on to the witness
18 as soon as possible.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We may proceed with the
20 witness, Your Honour, thank you.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 Well, before we do that, I think as a result of the happenings of
23 the last couple of weeks, the Trial Chamber will find it very difficult to
24 extend any courtesies to the Defence in terms of allowing them time for
25 extensions unless the extensions are requested in terms of the Rules and
1 are accompanied by cogent reasons.
2 Mr. Milovancevic, you may call your next witness, sorry,
3 Mr. Whiting.
4 MR. WHITING: Sorry, I just had a few small matters and they won't
5 take much time. The first is that there are a few other things that have
6 not been complied with that are long overdue.
7 The first is that on the 7th of July the Defence stated that Mr.
8 Martic will testify and that they would provide a 65 ter summary for him
9 along with the other witnesses by the 14th of July. Of course, those 65
10 ter summaries as we've just been discussing weren't provided until the
11 19th of July but notably absent was a 65 ter summary for Mr. Martic. We
12 have not to date received that so it's now some four or five weeks overdue
13 and we think that should be provided immediately. We think we are
14 entitled to it.
15 Second point is that of the 53 witnesses for whom we were provided
16 65 ter summaries, seven of them did not have 65 ter summaries. We have
17 provided this list to the Defence and asked for their 65 ter summaries.
18 The Defence has indicated these witnesses may be dropped from their list.
19 This is something that I think we should be informed about as soon as
21 That leads me into my the next point which is the Defence
22 indicated on the 14th of July that no later than one week before trial
23 they would essentially provide a kind of revised witness list. I think
24 indicating which witnesses might be dropped but also indicating which
25 witnesses would testify pursuant to 92 bis. That has not been done. It
1 was not ordered by the court but it was indicated by the Defence that they
2 would do that.
3 The final thing -- no not the final thing only the next thing is
4 that on the Defence has indicated repeatedly that after we requested it
5 and it was ordered by the Trial Chamber, that they would provide to us all
6 of the exhibits that were referenced during their opening statement but
7 which were not contained on the exhibit list. On the 14th of July, the
8 Defence indicated that some of the exhibits they believed were in fact on
9 their exhibit list though contained within other documents. The Court
10 ordered the Defence to tell the Prosecution by the 17th of July wherein
11 the exhibits those documents were contained and if they were not contained
12 in their exhibits to provide them to us.
13 That has also not been complied with.
14 We were also supposed to get translations of the exhibits that
15 did -- were on their exhibit list. Today we did receive some translation
16 was a note indicating that a number of exhibits are being dropped from the
17 list but no indication as to which ones are being dropped.
18 It seems to us that that also should be provided.
19 Finally in the category of unfulfilled obligations the Defence has
20 been ordered, and this was on the 11th of July, to provide the expert
21 reports and translations by today. I don't know if the Defence is
22 prepared to do that. We have not received them as of yet.
23 Just as final matter while I'm on my feet, we received on Friday a
24 protective measures motion with respect to certain witnesses. I'm
25 prepared to provide an oral response if that suits the Court to that now.
1 Though of course we would have to do that in private session.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: That last point we'll deal with later. Can we
3 first deal with the seven points that you raised apart from that last one
4 of protective measures.
5 Mr. Milovancevic, if I may just sort of lead you on these issues
6 that have been raised by your learned friend, is Mr. Martic going to
7 testify? And if he's going to testify, when we can expect his 65 ter
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have informed
10 the Chamber that Mr. Martic will testify. In the meantime, we were in
11 Belgrade until two days ago to prepare witnesses for the trial, and we
12 were therefore not in contact with Mr. Martic. This is a circumstance
13 making our job more difficult. Within the following week, we shall fully
14 update the Chamber about the situation.
15 Secondly, I have the impression from what my learned friend has
16 said that he feels we are trying to obstruct the work of the OTP. But
17 this is not the case, Your Honour. There are objective problems. The OTP
18 also overstepped some deadlines. For example they were supposed to submit
19 something by the 25th of December 2005 and they were seven days late and
20 submitted it in 2006. In the meantime one of our witnesses has died,
21 others are not available. Some lack passports. They are refugees. And
22 it's very difficult to get them to come here because we have to get them
23 passports and the passports are valid only for a week. So these are the
24 problems we have been dealing with.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I interrupt you, Mr. Milovancevic? We are
1 dealing with Mr. Martic's testimony. Can we deal with that and that only?
2 And not -- don't clutter it with problems that you have around other
4 Now, you did say to the Court that Mr. Martic was going to
5 testify, yes, indeed. You did undertake yourself, and this is where the
6 problem comes, where you make an undertaking and you don't live up to it.
7 You did undertake to supply, to finish Mr. Martic's 65 ter summary at the
8 same time as you were to furnish the other summaries. Now, at the time
9 you made that undertaking, it was quite conceivable that you are going to
10 be in Belgrade during the recess. It's not as if it was something that
11 was obscure to you. You just make arrangements to have somebody interview
12 Mr. Martic while everybody else is in Belgrade so that his 65 ter
13 statement can be prepared. In any case, you don't even need to talk to
14 Mr. Martic to do that because he has given you instructions. You know
15 exactly what he's going to say and from what he has instructed you just
16 summarise that and give the 65 ter summary. You don't really need to meet
17 him to draft that statement.
18 You are going to be asking him questions. You know what you're
19 going to ask him to talk about and you summarise that. From what
20 instructions he has given you. But whatever the problems you had, my
21 problem, and that's the problem of the Chamber, is that you made an
22 undertaking after you'd been given indulgences, several of them. I mean,
23 the 65 ter documents that we talked about and the witnesses we talked
24 about, we talked about the 14th of July. This should have been filed on
25 the 5th of July to start with and you have been getting indulgences up
1 from that time.
2 Now, I don't want to you say in the coming weeks we will
3 get Mr. Martic's 65 ter summary. I would like you to give a specific
4 date on which you say you are going to give that summary. What date can
5 we expect? Can we expect it tomorrow?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think that would
7 not be possible. Today we are sitting in the afternoon and tomorrow we
8 are sitting in the morning, so tomorrow would not be a realistic deadline.
9 Mr. Martic asked us to talk to him about this and today is Monday and we
10 will inform Your Honours of everything by the end of this week. If Mr.
11 Martic testifies, it will be at the very end of the Defence case so that
12 the OTP will have enough time to study his summary and prepare for the
13 cross-examination. We are fully aware of the commitment we are
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: But the Chamber is not satisfied with say we will
16 inform the Chamber about everything by the end of the week. What does
17 that mean? You've got to tell me when you are furnishing Mr. Martic's 65
18 ter summary. Give me a date and you've got to specify specifically what
19 it is not just let us know about everything. The question specific is --
20 the specific question to you is when can we expect the 65 ter summary for
21 Mr. Martic?
22 [Defence counsel confer]
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may we have until
24 next Wednesday? And then we shall submit the 65 ter summary next
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Any comment, Mr. Whiting?
2 MR. WHITING: Well, Your Honour, that seems like an awfully long
3 time but, you know, it's not just for us to be able to prepare to
4 cross-examine Mr. Martic. It's so we have an understanding of the full
5 Defence case because it's relevant to all of our preparation. But having
6 said that, you know, if we say any earlier we probably won't get it until
7 next Wednesday anyhow so next Wednesday is fine for the Prosecution.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: And what is the date next Wednesday?
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I believe it's the 23rd of
10 August, Your Honours.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: By next Wednesday the 23rd of August the Defence
12 is ordered to furnish the 65 ter summary for Mr. Martic.
13 The next point you raised, Mr. Whiting -- I'm not quite sure and
14 I'm not pre-empting your point here or trying to defend the Defence. I
15 think they had indicated that some of these missing witnesses that they
16 are not able to come across may have to be dropped. Are these the seven
17 witnesses that Mr. Whiting was referring to, Mr. Milovancevic? Mr.
18 Whiting says of the 53 witnesses that you are supposed to call, seven have
19 no 65 ter summaries. Are those the witnesses that you say you are not
20 able to trace and you may have to drop?
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, these are the
22 witnesses we were unable to trace, so very likely we will drop at least
23 four of these witnesses. But could the Chamber and our learned friends
24 bear in mind that our work has been derailed by the fact that one of our
25 most important witnesses has died, and that is one of the reasons we find
1 ourselves in the situation we are in today. However, we will inform the
2 OTP in time about these seven witnesses.
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, can I ask you to please stay to
4 the point when we talk? The death of the one witness cannot be the reason
5 why you are not able to trace the seven others. That could never be the
6 reason. So don't conflate these things that are not completely unrelated.
7 The Chamber obviously does sympathise with the Defence that one of
8 your witnesses has passed on. Ipso facto, that is obviously going to be
9 dropped off. The seven for whom you do not have 65 ter summaries. By when
10 are you able to indicate whether or not you're dropping them, Mr.
11 Milovancevic? And if you are going to drop only four of them, which four?
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we shall try once
13 more to contact these witnesses. We will do so by the end of this week.
14 So next Wednesday, on the 23rd, we will also supply this information
15 because by then we will have solved this problem.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
17 I guess that also deals with the issue you raised, Mr. Whiting,
18 the third one, that the Defence had undertaken that a week before trial,
19 they would give a list of people to be dropped.
20 Mr. Milovancevic, has the Defence made up its mind about which
21 witnesses are going to testify in terms of 92 bis?
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, not as yet. We
23 have seen Your Honour's suggestions about the timetable, but we would like
24 to respond by the 23rd of August because this has to do with the whole
25 problem of witnesses.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, but remember what you have seen, in terms of
2 our suggestion, is contained in a decision. What you need to do. And
3 the decision does indicate that it is not for the Chamber to prosecute
4 your case. You prosecute your case yourselves. And that's the view of
5 the Chamber in terms of who could and who could not testify in terms of
6 Rule 92 bis but it's still within the discretion of the Defence to decide
7 who is going to testify in terms of Rule 92 bis.
8 I take note that from what you are saying, you are probably
9 indicating that you are taking into account what the Chamber indicated in
10 the decision and hopefully you'll take it to heart when you compile your
11 92 bis list.
12 Am I right, are you saying, 23rd of August, you'll also resolve
13 the question of the 92 bis witnesses?
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Now, the exhibits that you referred to
16 in your opening statement but which were not in the exhibit list and
17 which you had undertaken before recess to provide copies of to the
18 Prosecution, what is the position about them?
19 [Defence counsel confer]
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a problem
21 with these exhibits that they are not on our exhibit list and if we decide
22 to use them we will submit them and we will apply for a change of the list
23 and we will inform the OTP accordingly and submit the evidence translated,
24 of course, as necessary. The reason why we are in this position now is
25 precisely and literally that we have a sea of obligations
1 that are burdening us simultaneously and we are doing our best. As
2 regards the evidence referred to by Mr. Whiting, if that evidence is not
3 on our list and we should decide to use them, we would apply for an
4 extension of the 65 ter list, we will apply for a decision of the Chamber
5 and submit the evidence to the Prosecution.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: It looks like we are talking at cross purposes,
7 Mr. Milovancevic.
8 Mr. Whiting, in his statement, refers specifically to exhibits
9 that you referred to in our opening statement. Now, unless you withdraw
10 them, you stand up formally and say I withdraw these exhibits, I'm not
11 going to use them, these are exhibits that you have given notice of your
12 intention to use, and he says, "I would like to have sight of these
13 exhibits." It's not a question of as and when you, during the trial,
14 decide to use them, you will provide him with copies of those exhibits.
15 It's a question of you have given notice of your intention to use those
16 exhibits. Therefore, where are they? You understand the distinction? So
17 he's saying, "We can't wait for you to decide as you go along that you are
18 going to use a specific exhibit when in fact you have given notice of your
19 intention to do so. He says you've given your notice of intention, let's
20 have it so that we can study it in the meantime. And the only way you can
21 change that is to delete by way of withdrawal all whatever you want to
22 delete from the list of exhibits that you referred to in your opening
23 statement and say formally on the record, "The following that I referred
24 to I'm not going to use any longer so you can forget about studying them."
25 But what answer you gave is not really an answer.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it's a whole
2 series of evidence that witnesses may refer to in their testimony. They
3 may give evidence about these documents, such as speeches that were made
4 and various other documents. And that is why the obligation lying on the
5 Defence regarding the documents mentioned in the opening statement is
6 relatively complicated. We need time for that. Quite simply, within the
7 short time we had, we did not manage to work on it as well as we would
8 have wanted to, as the rules require, as we wanted to do. But we had a
9 whole series of other obligations that absorbed our time.
10 I think it would be a shame for the Defence to renounce this
11 evidence completely, the evidence that was mentioned in the opening
12 statement. But of course we will enable the Prosecution to familiarise
13 themselves with every document that is available in writing.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: I guess you understand the Chamber's point that
15 it's not -- you're not being asked to renounce any evidence, you're just
16 being told that if you say you're not going to use that evidence you must
17 say up front that you're not going to use that evidence but you're not
18 being asked to do so. Once again I don't follow your explanation, Mr.
19 Milovancevic. Can the Chamber expect that, by the 23rd of August, you
20 also would have dealt with this problem? Can we flag it that way? Or by
21 when do you think you can sort it out?
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we will do our
23 utmost to deal with this issue by the 23rd.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
25 Then there are translations of exhibits in the list, some of which
1 are dropped without specific identification of which are dropped and which
2 are not dropped. I'm not quite sure I understood the points you raised
3 there. Is that it --
4 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, it's just if we could have an
5 indication if they already know that exhibits are going to be dropped from
6 their list, and therefore that's why they have not translated them, if
7 could just tell us which ones those are because they also say there are --
8 they are continuing to translate so it's impossible to tell just by
9 looking at the list and see what with they have translated to determine
10 what they've dropped. They have to tell us what they've dropped.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. You understand that request from your
12 opposite number, Mr. Milovancevic? If there are any exhibits that you
13 intend dropping, if -- the sooner you can tell them the better so that
14 they don't have to waste time studying those exhibits.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Precisely, Your Honour. We
16 will do precisely that. And that work is already underway, such as
17 translation. Whatever evidence remains on the list, we will inform our
18 colleagues from the Prosecution in the shortest possible time.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
20 Now, the next point related to the expert reports which you were
21 supposed to be provided today and which are not provided. Do you have any
22 response to that?
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, we have submitted
24 the military expert's report to the translation service of the Registry
25 but it's some 250 pages and it's expected to be finished in early
1 September. That's the information we got. If it means something to our
2 colleagues from the Prosecution we can submit it immediately in B/C/S but
3 I believe they needed it together with the translation. It's a technical
4 issue that I believe depends solely on the translation service of the
5 registry. That's as far as one expert report is concerned.
6 The second one we did not submit due to problems we had in
7 communication with the Registry, namely our expert has not been designated
8 yet. The expert report is completed, by the way, but we cannot officially
9 submit it until our expert is designated. We believe that this issue will
10 be resolved soon and the second expert report is much shorter than the
11 first one so we will expect it to be translated much more quickly than the
12 first one.
13 To avoid any confusion, the second expert report refers to the
14 circumstances from 1990 and 1991, the application of international law,
15 and the nature of events that took place in the territory and in the
16 period covered by the indictment.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: For my own edification, Mr. Milovancevic, what is
18 meant by -- I don't understand -- what is meant by your second expert has
19 not been designated by registry? What does that mean?
20 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in order nor an
21 expert to appear before the Tribunal, it is necessary for the Defence to
22 apply to the Registry with a request that this person, with their details
23 specified, be appointed as an expert. Concerning the second expert, we
24 made the application, put it in the locker as envisaged and when we
25 checked before our travel, I think around the 10th, because by that time
1 we still hadn't received a decision, it turned out that the Registry had
2 not received our application at all. And we made the necessary steps to
3 have this issue dealt with. However, until the expert is officially
4 appointed by the Registry we cannot submit his report either to the Trial
5 Chamber or to the Prosecution. That is a technical issue indeed and I
6 believe it will be resolved soon.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: The other witness whose report has been submitted
8 to the Registry translation services to translate, when was it so
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe it was
11 submitted early last week, although I can't tell you precisely. It was a
12 very serious -- it's a very serious document and I really don't want to
13 be wrong about the date. But I'll check it after the first break.
14 Anyway, we submitted it for translation and we expect it to be
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: And you expect the translation early in September?
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] That is the information we
18 received from the Registry.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: I don't imagine there is anything you can do about
21 MR. WHITING: No, Your Honour, though again the Defence undertook
22 on the 11th of July to get this translated and have it ready for today. I
23 don't think, if I hadn't raised it, I don't think it would have been
24 addressed, the deadline would have just been ignored once again. So I'm a
25 little concerned about that. There is nothing we can do about that but we
1 will seek 30 days from the receiving of the translation of the report to
2 study it and be able to counter it. Hopefully that won't mean any delay
3 in the trial.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: 30 days.
5 MR. WHITING: So if it's 30 days from the beginning of September
6 it shouldn't be a problem.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session?
8 [Private session]
11 Pages 6361-6363 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: And Mr. Milovancevic, call your witness.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
9 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
12 May I request witness Ratko Licina to be brought into the
13 courtroom? That's our first witness.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Microphone not activated].
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the witness please make the declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
18 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: RATKO LICINA
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. You may be seated, sir.
22 Examination by Mr. Milovancevic:
23 Q. Witness, good afternoon.
24 A. Good afternoon.
25 Q. Please, for the record, tell the Trial Chamber your full name.
1 A. Ratko Licina.
2 Q. Can you tell us when you were born and where?
3 A. I was born on the 24th December 1964 in Gracac.
4 Q. Your ethnicity is Serb?
5 A. Yes, Serb.
6 Q. We will now start hearing your evidence. At the very beginning I
7 would like to ask you, since we speak the same language, and easily
8 understand each other, to take into account the interpreters so that we
9 have a good transcript, to make a short pause between your answers and my
10 questions, so that the interpreters can do their job. I will try to take
11 care of that but I will appreciate your cooperation.
12 You told us that you were born in Gracac. It's a place in the
13 former Yugoslav republic, Croatia, isn't that so?
14 A. Yes. It's a place in the former SFRY, the former Socialist
15 Republic of Croatia.
16 Q. Did you go to the elementary and secondary school in your place
17 of birth?
18 A. Yes. In Gracac I completed my elementary and secondary education
19 and after the secondary school I went to do my military service in Bjeline
20 and after that, I went to Zagreb to the school of economics of the
21 university of Zagreb, after which I started working in a newspaper, so I
22 spent from 1984 [Realtime transcript read in error "1994"] to 1990 in
24 Q. So you have a degree in economics, don't you?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. To give the Trial Chamber a picture of the place where you were
2 born, I would like to say that in the atlas that we have used often during
3 the proceedings, it's page 25, quadrant D2. That's where we can see the
4 place called Gracac, where the witness was born.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. Just a little problem
6 here. The witness said after which I started working in a newspaper so I
7 spent from 1994 to 1990 in Zagreb.
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: It should have been 1984.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. Thank you very much.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I explain? From 1984 I studied
11 in Zagreb so I'm talking about the period when I studied and worked in
12 Zagreb. I lived in Zagreb from 1984 to 1990.
13 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. So that's when you lived in Zagreb?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. Perhaps it would be good to make an overview of your CV at the
17 beginning, to see what you did from 1990s onwards. You said you were in
18 Zagreb until 1990. And after that?
19 A. Until 1994 I lived in Gracac where I was born. As I said earlier,
20 a year after that, 1993 and 1994, I was in Bjeline doing my military
21 service, from 1994 to 1990 I lived in Zagreb. I left Zagreb on the 17th
22 of August 1990 and from that time, I haven't lived in Zagreb. I returned
23 to my birthplace, Gracac, where I was until Operation Storm, the 5th of
24 August 1995. Then together with a column of refugees, I went to Serbia.
25 I lived for three years in Zrenjanin in Serbia and two years after that in
1 Novi Sad, and from 1999 onwards, I have been living in Zemun a suburb of
3 Q. Regarding the jobs you did, I would like to know if you had
4 anything to do with the establishment of the SDS party and if so, what
5 kind of connection?
6 A. I was there in the initiative council for the establishment of the
7 Serbian party because at that time it was still not decided what the party
8 would be called.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can we hold it there, please? We've got an SOS
10 from the translator's booth there.
11 THE INTERPRETER: We just wanted to ask you, Your Honour, if the
12 second microphone of the witness could be turned on, please.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Can we please turn on the second
14 microphone of the witness? Thank you very much. You may proceed, Mr.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Sorry for interrupting you.
18 A. I'll repeat. I was there on the 27th of January 1990 in
19 Donji Lapac when the initiative council for the establishment of the
20 Serbian party met. Later it became the Serbian democratic party. That
21 gathering was held by an unmarked pit from the Second World War in a place
22 called Kuk and later, in Kamensko, near in Donji Lapac, that was the
23 so-called initiative council, the initiative board for the establishment
24 of the Serbian Party.
25 Q. What you just said applied to the entire party. Did you also play
1 a role in establishing the party branch in Gracac?
2 A. Yes. Throughout the time I was the president of the municipal
3 board and the founder of the party in Gracac. I was also a candidate in
4 the elections in 1991, the first multi-party elections in Croatia for the
5 parliament. Later on I was elected. So that's all as far as Gracac is
7 Q. In the SDS itself, did you hold any positions?
8 A. I was a member of the executive board.
9 Q. When I asked you about positions held, you mean the main and
10 executive board of the SDS?
11 A. Yes, the main executive board of the Serbian democratic party, the
13 Q. You mentioned that in the first multi-party elections, in 1991,
14 you were elected a delegate to the Croatian parliament called Sabor. Did
15 you also play a role in holding a gathering in Srb and what kind after
16 gathering was it?
17 A. Yes, the party initiated this gathering in Srb. Prior to that,
18 there was an initiative to establish an association of Serbian
19 municipalities. Perhaps we should touch upon that as well.
20 Q. In relation to this gathering in Srb, held on the 25th of July
21 1991, did you have a particular role in what transpired there?
22 A. On the 25th of July, 1991, a Serbian gathering was held in Srb, at
23 which time Serbian National Council was elected with me as one of its
25 MR. BLACK: I apologise for the interruption, Your Honour there
1 seems to be what I think is a persist tends translation error referring to
2 this year as 1991, the 25th of July 1991. And there is also I think
3 another reference to 1991. Whereas I think the witness means to say 1990
4 but if that could be cleared up I would appreciate it. Thank you.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is it 1990 or 1991?
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, I am grateful to the Bench
7 and to my learned friend. This is about 1990. It all involves events
8 from 1990, not 1991.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thanks for letting us know. You are the one
10 involved in this case. I thought it was Mr. Whiting. Thank you,
11 Mr. Black. You may proceed.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. In addition to this position you held as a member of the Serbian
14 National Council for which post you were elected at this assembly in SRP,
15 did you also hold a position in the SAO Krajina government and the
17 A. Yes. Later on, I was a delegate, both in the assembly of
18 Krajina. And in the government and later on in 1993, once again I was a
19 candidate in the elections, both for the assembly of SAO Krajina and for
20 other bodies. I didn't mention it in my previous answer because this
21 assembly was founded in December 1990.
22 Q. If I understood you well, you were a delegate, a member of the SAO
23 Krajina assembly, and later on, in the RSK assembly and then following
24 that in 1993 in the elections once again, you were elected a delegate, a
25 member. Can you tell me when that was in 1993?
1 A. I'm still a delegate of that assembly, when I was elected in 1993,
2 because this assembly never stopped working. Rather it renewed its
3 operations on the 26th of February of last year. It elected government in
4 exile and I'm one of the members of that government.
5 Q. You say that you are one of the ministers of the government in
6 exile. Which government?
7 A. The government of the Republic of Serbian Krajina in exile.
8 Q. If you are a member of the government in exile, can you tell us
9 which portfolio is under your responsibility?
10 A. There are no particularly defined portfolios. I generally cover
11 the information affairs.
12 Q. Thank you. Based on this short summary of the positions you
13 held, roles you played, it seems that you got involved in political
14 events in 1990 when the first multi-party elections were held in
15 Croatia. Can you tell us which month that was, when were the first
16 multi-party elections held?
17 A. The elections for the Croatian parliament, as far as I can
18 remember, were held in late April. I'm not sure about the date. That
19 was the first round of elections and the second round was on the 6th of
21 Q. Those elections were called the first multi-party elections. Can
22 you tell us what political parties participated in the elections?
23 A. Yes. Certainly. Up or rather by that time, a lot of political
24 parties had been established most of them Croatian and I will list the
25 most important ones. Croatian democratic alliance, union, held -- led by
1 Tudjman. Croatian social-Liberal Party led by Budisa. Croatian national
2 party led by Savka Dabcevic Kucar. Croatian Peasant Party, I think led by
3 Cicak [phoen] and also some political organisations had been reformed.
4 For example, the League of Communists of Croatia was transformed into the
5 party of democratic changes and the former socialist alliance of working
6 people of Croatia was transformed into Socialist Party. What was typical
7 for these two parties is that they appeared together in the elections
8 under a name of the left bloc. I think they were led by Ivica Racan. As
9 for the Serbian parties or rather there was another small political party
10 Yugoslav Socialist Democratic Party which later ceased to exist and later
11 there was the Serbian Democratic Party of which I was a member.
12 Q. Thank you. You mentioned quite a number of parties which in their
13 name are designated as Croatian parties and then you said there was one
14 Serbian party as well. Do you remember when these Croatian parties were
15 established and when was the Serbian democratic party established in
16 Croatia, of course?
17 A. Croatian parties were established as early as 1989 whereas the
18 Serbian Democratic Party was established quite late. I told you that the
19 initiative council was held on the 27th of January 1990, which is to say
20 that it was officially founded on the 17th of February 1990 in Knin. The
21 reason for that was that previously there were obstructions to the
22 political organisation of Serbs. They even banned cultural societies.
23 Back in 1989, we were unable to establish Serbian cultural society in
24 Knin. They banned it in July and it wasn't until November that this
25 society was finally established.
1 Q. Just before the break, and we are about to break shortly, I will
2 put another question to you. Is it possible to give a common feature of
3 the parties which in their name had the term "Croatian"? What was the
4 common political feature and what was the common political goal of these
5 parties which were founded in the course of 1989?
6 A. The common feature of all Croatian political parties was
7 Croato-centricism and Serbo-phobia. Croato-centricism was manifested
8 through the fact that all of these political parties, Croatian political
9 parties, wanted to redefine Croatian political reality. The Socialist
10 Republic of Croatia, up until that time, was in the constitution defined
11 as a state of two peoples, and Serbian peoples. All of these political
12 parties advocated that the constitutional status granted to the Serb
13 people be terminated.
14 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
15 Your Honours, I think it's time for our break.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic. We will
17 take a break and come back at 4.00.
18 Court adjourned.
19 --- Recess taken at 3.30 p.m.
20 --- On resuming at 4.01 p.m.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Q. Before we continue, Witness, I'm going to ask you to slow down
24 when giving your answer so that the interpreters can manage to interpret
1 A. Very well.
2 Q. Before the break, we discussed the nature of the newly established
3 parties in the then Republic of Croatia. You said that when it came to
4 Croatian parties, they were Croato-centrist and Serbo-phobic. You
5 remember that?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Can you explain to us what is it that you mean when you say that
8 these parties were Croato-centrist?
9 A. The term Croato-centricism in my mind means, and I will repeat
10 this once again, that it means the following: Up until that time, Croatia
11 was defined in its constitution as a state of two nations, Serbian and
12 Croatian. All of these Croatian political parties advocated that the
13 rights granted to Serbs be terminated, and also other rights that we will
14 get to.
15 Q. Serbo-phobia that you described, was it a result of this first
16 feature, Croato-centricism, was it a product of that and how was it
18 A. Serbo-phobia was manifested through hatred of Serbs and fear of
19 Serbs, fear of Serb expansion in Croatia. And it also was manifested
20 through hatred towards Serbs.
21 Q. Where and when? Where did you notice such a phenomenon and in
22 what form?
23 A. As I said, in the beginning of my evidence, during that period of
24 time, from 1984 until 1990, I lived in Zagreb. Croatian political parties
25 were established in 1989 and in 1990. I was quite familiar with the
1 then-prevailing atmosphere in Croatian media and also in various political
2 gatherings, assemblies, and public appearances of political parties.
3 Through that I was able to see their attitude towards Serbs. Let me give
4 you a few examples. There was a case where an explosive was planted in
5 the representative office of a company called Progres [phoen] from
6 Belgrade. I think that this was in Maksimirska street in late 1989. As a
7 result of that, the man who was head of that office suffered a heart
8 attack and died. So he was a victim of sorts of the events at the time.
9 The second example, in Zagreb streets at the time, one could buy metal
10 cans, such as for example beer cans or resembling beer cans which were
11 white in colour with a chequer-board symbol and the can was called
12 Croatian air or it was entitled Croatian air which was supposed to denote
13 that it was Serb-free.
14 Q. You said that in May of 1990, the first party elections were held.
15 Can you tell us about the atmosphere that preceded the elections? Can you
16 tell us about the pre-elections campaign? Did you follow the events from
17 that time and did the media report on that?
18 A. Yes. In the campaign preceding the elections, the messages sent
19 by Croatian political parties were quite negative when it came to Serbs.
20 The slogans that they used is all Serbs should be hanging from trees and
21 basically indicated that the Serbs would be exterminated. Let me also
22 give you some other facts. At the time when the HDZ, Croatian Democratic
23 Union was established and I think that their founding assembly was held in
24 Vatroslav Lisinski hall, the then president of the HDZ, Franjo Tudjman,
25 stated that the Independent State of Croatia which was a quisling fascist
1 creation from the Second World War, was not just a mere fascist creation
2 but rather also an expression of thousand year long desires and
3 aspirations of Croatian people.
4 The second message or rather the second statement was uttered by
5 Stjepan Mesic, who said that after they complete their political mission,
6 all of Serbs would be able to fit under one umbrella. The third statement
7 was also uttered by Stjepan Mesic. I think that he uttered both of these
8 statements in Lika, in the vicinity of where I was. I think in Gospic and
9 in Brinj. His second statement was to the effect that the Serbs could
10 only take with them as much soil as would be stuck to their shoes.
11 Q. You said that the shoes that he referred to were called apansi
13 Apansi. Can you describe that?
14 A. Apansi is a traditional Serbian foot-wear. That's how I could
15 describe it.
16 Q. The statements that you mentioned, those that stuck in your memory
17 that were quite memorable, were stated in various rallies, rallies
18 preceding the first multi-party elections; is that correct?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell me what the --
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Excuse me, Mr. Milovancevic, can we get the witness
22 to testify and not the counsel from the Bench -- from the bar? That last
23 statement, "The statements that you mentioned, those that stuck in your
24 memory, that were quite memorable, were stated in various rallies, rallies
25 preceding the first multi-party elections; is that correct?" You are
1 testifying, you are telling him what to say in answer.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I understand.
3 Q. Witness, you mentioned these statements. On what occasion were
4 they uttered and before whom?
5 A. As I said previously, these were statements made by high-ranking
6 people from the HDZ, later holders of office in the Croatian state, Franjo
7 Tudjman and Stjepan Mesic and they were uttered during the pre-election
8 campaign in 1990. I have also mentioned the places where these things
9 were said, in the Vatroslav Lisinski hall in Zagreb, at the HDZ founding
10 convention. That's when Franjo Tudjman made his statement. And the other
11 two statements I referred to are statements made by Stjepan Mesic
12 at rallies in Brinj and Gospic.
13 Q. When you mention Mr. Mesic, you are referring to Stjepan Mesic,
14 are you not, who was a politician in Croatia. What post does he hold
16 A. Yes. I'm referring to Stjepan Mesic, then a member of the HDZ,
17 the Croatian Democratic Union, the first Prime Minister of Croatia, who
18 was later on elected a member of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal
19 Republic of Yugoslavia, from Croatia, and later on, on his return to
20 Croatia, for a while he was the speaker of parliament in Croatia. Now,
21 as far as I know, he is the president of the Republic of Croatia.
22 Q. In connection with the political programmes and platforms of the
23 Croatian political parties, can you tell us what their standpoint was in
24 relation to the federal state of Yugoslavia?
25 A. During the pre-election campaign, all these Croatian parties, the
1 HDZ, the Croatian Social-Liberal Party, the Croatian Peasant Party, the
2 Croatian party of rights, all advocated during the election campaign
3 either a confederation, which would imply a reform, or dissolution. The
4 only Croatian parties advocating in their election campaigns, the
5 preservation of the federal state, were the left bloc parties, Party of
6 Democratic Changes, the former communists of Ivica Racan and the other
7 Socialist Party who were their allies.
8 Q. In relation to the point in time when all these parties were
9 established, when was the Serb Democratic Party established, before or
11 A. The Serb Democratic Party was established after all these Croatian
12 parties were founded and let me repeat once more, it was officially
13 founded on the 17th of February 1990, but to make this clear to Their
14 Honours, elections in Croatia were held in the second half of April 1990.
15 The party was therefore established two months before the elections and a
16 lot of work had to be done for the elections. I therefore feel that the
17 Serb Democratic Party was established very late.
18 Q. Could we please see Exhibit number 138 on the screen in this is a
19 document dated the 16th of March 1990 and before it appears on the screen,
20 I will explain what sort of document this is. It's a decision issued by
21 the republican Secretariat for the judiciary and administration of the
22 Socialist Republic of Croatia bearing the date the 6th of March 1990.
23 Do you have the document before you on the screen?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Do you see the text in the upper left hand corner? Can you see
1 who issued this document? And also can you tell us what the decision
2 refers to? Could we scroll down a little bit? Thank you.
3 A. Well, as the document says, it was issued by the republican
4 secretariat for the judiciary and for justice and administration, and it
5 is a decision approving the registration of the Serb Democratic Party with
6 the competent organ in the Republic of Croatia.
7 Q. Witness, are you aware that the Serb democratic party was founded
8 on this date and that it followed the procedure described in the decision?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Could we please look at paragraph 2? Paragraph 2 mentions the
11 aims and tasks of the Serb Democratic Party. Can you read what it says?
12 A. Certainly. The aims and tasks of the Serb Democratic Party are
13 advocating the abolition of a party state, freedom of association into
14 political parties, the creation of conditions for the full affirmation of
15 the spiritual and cultural identity of each Yugoslav nation, especially
16 separately regardless of what federal unit it is in, ensuring the
17 constitutional possibility of establishing territorial autonomies within
18 the framework of federal units, if the population on these territories
19 with a special ethnic composition or cultural historical identity decides
20 this in a referendum, establishing private ownership as an element of
21 entrepreneurship and economic progress and the spreading of market
22 institutions and constantly caring about the situation of all the
23 diasporas of the Serb nation in Yugoslavia, especially in Croatia.
24 Q. So the party was registered on this date. Could we please take a
25 look at the statement of reasons for this decision? In English it's on
1 page 2, Your Honours. Could we scroll up a little bit? Could we look at
2 the next page? Can we scroll up? Yes. On page 2, at the top of the
3 page, it says that the application is well-founded. Can you read the text
4 below that sentence, which contains the statement of reasons as to why the
5 statement -- the request is seen to be well-founded?
6 A. In the proceedings the following was established: First, that on
7 the 17th of February 1990, a founding assembly, a constituent assembly was
8 held at which the Serb Democratic Party was established or constituted.
9 Secondly, that the Statute of the Serb Democratic Party, which was adopted
10 at the assembly held on the 17th of February 1990, is in compliance with
11 the provisions of the law on social organisations and associations of
12 citizens. Furthermore, that all the legal conditions for the inscription
13 of the Serb Democratic Party into the register of social organisations
14 have been fulfilled.
15 Q. Thank you. Can we take a look at the bottom of the document? In
16 the lower right-hand corner there is a seal and the -- it also says who
17 signed this decision.
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. So who issued this document, in fact?
20 A. Well, the signature is the republican secretary, Mr. Ivan Fumic
21 and the seal is that of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, the republican
22 Secretariat for justice and administration in Zagreb.
23 Q. On the left-hand side we see to whom the decision was delivered.
24 Could you read points 1 and 2?
25 A. 1, to the Serb Democratic Party in Knin, at the address Jovomir
1 [phoen] Dragovico street 22. And secondly to the republican Secretariat
2 of the Interior for its information.
3 Q. Thank you, Witness. What we have seen in this document, is this
4 the procedure envisioned for the registration of any political party,
5 including the Serb Democratic Party?
6 A. Yes. This was then the standard procedure for registering a
7 political organisation in Croatia.
8 Q. Thank you. The document can be removed from the screen. It has
9 been admitted into evidence.
10 In view of the fact that you were one of the founders of the Serb
11 Democratic Party, in the Statute and programme of the party, was there
12 anything that was not in line with the democratic principles and the
13 social principles accepted at the time in the Republic of Croatia?
14 A. No. There wasn't and could not have been because it would not
15 have been registered otherwise. As we can see from this document, the
16 party was registered, which means that it was correct in all respects.
17 Q. The reason I put this question to you was that we have heard
18 statements here to the effect that this was a nationalist party. In your
19 work as someone active in the party from 1990 to 1995, did you see
20 anything that might be described as nationalistic in the work of the
22 A. No. The Serb Democratic Party could not be referred to as a
23 nationalist party. It was the national party of the Serbs in Croatia but
24 certainly not nationalist.
25 Q. As you are one of the founders of the party, can you tell us what
1 the immediate cause was for the establishment of the party at that time?
2 A. The immediate cause was the need to organise the Serb people into
3 Croatia politically. Up to that time, the Serbs for the most part were
4 politically organised in the League of Communists of Croatia. However, it
5 was transformed and as we shall see later, it betrayed its principles and
6 the promises it had made during the election campaign. It was therefore
7 urgently necessary for the Serb people in Croatia to have a Serbian
8 political party established.
9 Q. In relation to the point in time when the party was founded, the
10 first multi-party elections in Croatia were held in April and May 1990,
11 can you tell us which party won the elections and what the results of the
12 Serb Democratic Party were, of which you were a member?
13 A. The elections in Croatia were held at the republican and local
14 levels. They were majority elections. The party which won a decisive
15 victory was the Croatian Democratic Union, because it had the majority in
16 all three councils of the Croatian parliament. At that time the Croatian
17 parliament consisted of three councils, the social political council, the
18 council of municipalities and the council of associated labour. The HDZ,
19 as far as I can recall, had a two-thirds majority in two of these three
20 councils. The only one it did not have a two-thirds majority in was the
21 council of associated labour. As I said, the Serb Democratic Party was
22 established late, only two months before the elections, on the 17th of
23 February 1990. And in many Serb towns and villages, it had not had time
24 to establish its committees, where it had it won. And the SDS then
25 existed only in the municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and southern
1 Lika. It won five seats in the Croatian parliament, three
2 representatives from Knin municipality went to the parliament, one from
3 Donji Lapac and I from Gracac. As for elections for the local
4 parliaments, the SDS won an absolute majority in the municipalities of
5 Knin, Gracac and Donji Lapac, and it also held power, together with other
6 assemblymen in the municipalities of Benkovac, Obrovac, Korenica and Glina
7 and I think Vojnic.
8 Q. Thank you. You've given us a very detailed reply to this
9 question. Maybe in order to understand the overall situation in the
10 Croatian parliament at the time, it might be a good idea if you were to
11 tell us how many Members of Parliament there were. You said that the SDS
12 won five seats. How did the Serb electorate vote in Croatia, if you have
13 any information about this?
14 A. Yes. The Croatian parliament, as far as I can recall, had about
15 350 seats. Of that, there were about 40 or 45 Serbs, five of us from the
16 SDS and the remaining 40 were mostly from the so-called left bloc, which
17 means Ivica Racan's party, the League of Communists transformed into the
18 Party of Democratic Changes and the Socialist Party, I think its
19 president was called Madzar and at the elections they said they were in
20 favour of the survival of the joint federal state. However, the majority
21 of Serbs, especially in northern Lika, Kordun, Banija, western Slavonia,
22 Eastern Slavonia and Baranja, as the SDS did not have its candidates in
23 those areas, voted for these representatives. Later on, it turned out
24 that the left bloc abandoned its pre-election promises and joined Franjo
25 Tudjman and his HDZ in implementing Croatian independence. It therefore
1 betrayed the votes of the Serbian voters it had gained.
2 Q. To avoid any vagueness in the transcript, when you say there were
3 45 Serbs in the parliament, are you referring to Members of Parliament,
5 A. Yes. I am referring to deputies or Members of Parliament.
6 Q. In view of the length of your reply, could you just very briefly
7 repeat the Serb Democratic Party had how many Members of Parliament?
8 A. The Serb Democratic Party had five Members of Parliament,. Five
9 seats in parliament.
10 Q. The party of democratic changes, the former League of Communists
11 of Croatia, headed by Ivica Racan had how many seats in parliament?
12 A. I can't be precise but around 40. This is approximate. It's one
13 or two more or less but that was the approximate number.
14 Q. These 45 deputies or Members of Parliament, were people for whom
15 the Serb electorate had voted, is that what you said just a while ago?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. As the Croatian Democratic Union won a majority in the Croatian
18 parliament, and the elections were completed in early May, what were the
19 political developments that followed, for the benefit of Their Honours?
20 How can we best understand the situation with regard to the position of
21 the Serbs in Croatia?
22 A. Well, the status of the Serbs in Croatia continued to
23 deteriorate. Practically there was ethnic cleansing of Serbs from all
24 state institutions, primarily the police and the state organs, as well as
25 public companies, companies established by the state or municipal organs.
1 An illustration of this is, for example, when in May, during the
2 Dynamo/Red Star soccer game a large number of Serbs, who had been
3 policemen, lost their jobs and later it turned out that they had been set
4 up so that those people could be fired because there was an incident that
5 happened at that soccer game.
6 Q. You mentioned something that will be hard for Their Honours to
7 understand. So this was a game between two soccer clubs. Where were they
8 from? You say there was an incident. Who was blamed for that incident?
9 A. This was a game between Dinamo and Red Star. Dinamo is a club
10 from Zagreb. The Red Star is a club from Belgrade. Most Serbs from the
11 Krajina supported the Red Star. There was an incident and the soccer game
12 was interrupted. Because a certain number of Serbs were employed in the
13 police, after that soccer match, most of them were replaced because of
14 that incident.
15 Q. We'll come back to the problem of labour relations. Do you know
16 anything about the political changes such as changes to the constitution
17 that took place at that time after the first multi-party elections?
18 A. Yes. Huge changes occurred in politics. After winning a land
19 side victory, the HDZ, the Croatian Democratic Union, moved on to change
20 the constitution. The amendments to the constitution were adopted in July
21 1990. Already then, we saw the first signs that a new constitution would
22 be adopted and in that constitution, Croatia would be defined as a state
23 of the Croatian people only. Serbs did not accept that. Serbs for their
24 part moved to organise themselves as they had a legal right to, and in the
25 municipalities that I enumerated, where the SDS won power, formed a union,
1 an association of municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and Lika that was
2 later joined by other municipalities. The Croatian assembly kept avoiding
3 legal procedures in amending the constitution because it refused to form a
4 commission for the equality of nations and ethnicities that had existed
5 earlier in the Croatian parliament, and every topic that related to
6 equality among nations and ethnicities had to be discussed by that
7 commission. That commission however was not elected until the end of
8 1990, so that some legal changes and amendments to the constitution and
9 also the new constitution of Croatia adopted in December 1990 did not have
10 a chance to go through this commission.
11 Q. You mentioned the intent of the new authorities of Croatia to
12 define Croatia as a state of the Croatian people only. Can you tell us
13 why this was so important to the Serb people in Croatia, to prevent these
14 changes from happening and how did the Serb people react their through
15 legal representatives?
16 A. I don't want to go too deep into the historical background but in
17 all constitutions starting from 1945 to 1990, Serbs were a constituent
18 nation and of course they wanted it to stay that way. Imagine if
19 something like that happened in some European country, Switzerland or
20 Belgium or some other multi-ethnic European state, just imagine if one of
21 the nations were to be deleted from the constitution.
22 Q. Did the Serb representatives, the representatives of the Serb
23 people in Croatia, react to the proposed amendments to the constitution?
24 Did they make counterproposals and if so, what kind of counterproposals?
25 A. I was a member of the Croatian parliament and I can say that there
1 was not a single proposal from the Serbian Democratic Party or any
2 Serbian MP that was accepted. This voting machinery just outvoted us
3 time and time again, although it didn't have the right to because we were
4 not a minority. We were a nation.
5 Q. Can you explain to us why it was so important for Serbs in Croatia
6 to preserve their status of nation in matters decisive for the fate of the
7 state and the people?
8 A. In the past century, Croat Serbs suffered two major pogroms and
9 both happened in very similar situations. The first time was in 1941 to
10 45, during the times of the Independent State of Croatia when Serbs were
11 outlawed and the second time was recently, in 1991 to 1995, and it was
12 logical and vital for us to preserve our status of nation because if we
13 didn't, we thought we would -- we thought that that -- that there would be
14 open season on us and indeed that's the way it was, the way it turned out
15 to be.
16 Q. The proposed amendments to the constitution of Croatia envisaged
17 that Serbs would get the status of a minority. Under the constitution,
18 can a minority decide the status of a state or does that right belong only
19 to nations?
20 A. No. A minority cannot do that. As defined by the constitution,
21 the constituent nature of a people belongs only to a nation, not to a
22 minority, and if the Serbs lost the status of a nation they would lose
23 the right automatically to decide what kind of state they want to live
25 Q. You said that all proposals of Serb MPs in the Croatian parliament
1 were rejected, one after another. What were the activities of Serb
2 representatives in that month of July? Was there anything note worthy?
3 A. Among the most important events in July 1990 was the assembly in
4 Srb on the 25th of July, when the Serb National Council was established
5 and the declaration on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serbian people
6 was adopted.
7 Q. Could we see on the monitor Exhibit number 141? Before we see it
8 on the screen, I'll say that it's a declaration on the sovereignty and
9 autonomy of the Serb people adopted on the occasion of the Serb assembly
10 held in Srb on the 25th of July 1990.
11 In the introductory part of this declaration, Mr. Licina, the
12 latter part of this introduction, it says that the Serb people living in
13 the historic territories unified by the present borders, the Socialist
14 Republic of Croatia, adopts and promulgates at this Serbian Assembly held
15 in Srb on the 25th of July 1990, the following declaration. Can you read
16 for us paragraph 1? The first paragraph?
17 A. Within the borders of the Socialist Republic of Croatia which is
18 also the state of the Serb people living in SR Croatia, the Serb people
19 is, on the basis of its geographic, historic, social and cultural peculiar
20 its a sovereign people with all the rights inherent in the sovereignty of
21 a nation. The Serb people has every right to opt for a confederative or a
22 federal state form together with the Croatian people or independently when
23 a new relations are established in Yugoslavia.
24 Q. Do you remember this assembly?
25 A. Yes. I was there on the 25th of July.
1 Q. In this para one of this declaration, there is reference to the
2 sovereignty of the Serb people living at that time in the Republic of
3 Croatia and their right to opt for a confederation or a federation is
4 emphasised. Was that one of the main reasons why the Serb people, the
5 Serb population in Croatia, and their representatives, insisted on that
7 A. Certainly. Serbs had to act in this way because they knew what
8 could happen to them. I just want to inform the Honourable Trial Chamber
9 briefly of one matter. In the state of Croatia prior to the First World
10 War, which was called Banovina Croatia and which encompassed approximately
11 the territory of today's Croatia, but also including a territory populated
12 by Croats in western Herzegovina, in that Banovina Croatia, there were 37
13 per cent of Serbs. After the genocide in the Second World War and the
14 fleeing of refugees, the population of Serbs was reduced to 12 per cent.
15 At least that is the figure that is being used today. So this is why the
16 Serbs didn't want to be outvoted in certain bodies just by using majority
18 Q. In para 2 of this declaration on sovereignty and autonomy, there
19 is reference to the right to autonomy. Can you read for us this
21 A. On the basis of its sovereignty the Serb people in Croatia is
22 entitled to autonomy. The essence of that autonomy will depend on whether
23 Yugoslavia is constituted as a federation or a confederation.
24 Q. What political arrangements were envisaged for either of these
1 A. Since I was a member of the party that politically inspired this
2 document, I can confirm that it was our position that if Croatia should
3 remain part of the federation of Yugoslavia, if Yugoslavia remains a
4 federation, Serbs would want and advocate cultural autonomy. However, if
5 Yugoslavia is constituted as a confederation, then Serbs would want
6 territorial autonomy and Serbs would anyway have the right to express
7 themselves and their desires as to which state and what kind of state they
8 want to live in.
9 Q. In order to have that possibility to express themselves, what was
10 it necessary for the Serbian people to preserve? Which feature? Which
12 A. It was essential for us to preserve our capacity of nation, a
13 constituent nation.
14 Q. This declaration was mentioned many times and it is indeed
15 curious, in view of certain elements. Let us look at this paragraph 2
16 that envisages autonomy. In both options confederate or federal, would
17 the Serb people seek anything other, anything more, than autonomy?
18 A. No, preceding from those principles, we wanted cultural autonomy,
19 redefining our right to our own language, in the case of a federation.
20 However, if there should be a confederation, we wanted territorial
21 autonomy but we did not make any moves to secede before that happened in
23 Q. Item 3 mentions that the representatives of the Serb Assembly and
24 it says that the representatives of the Serb nation should establish a
25 Serb Assembly and that the executive organ of that assembly would be the
1 Serbian National Council. Is that the same council that you were a member
3 A. Yes. That's correct. Serbian National Council consisted of Serb
4 deputies in the assembly, plus the presidents of municipalities where
5 Serbs constituted a majority and the president of the SDS and some
6 representatives of the Serbian orthodox church.
7 Q. Could you please read out item 4 of this declaration? What does
8 it say about a right of the Serbian National Council?
9 A. Item 4 reads, Serbian National Council has a right to organise a
10 plebiscite for the Serb nation to express their will on all issues which
11 are vital for its position in Croatia and Yugoslavia as well as all other
12 issues which concerned the exercise of Serbian sovereignty and autonomy.
13 Q. Thank you. Did this declaration also include the relations or the
14 attitude of Serb representatives towards the constitutional amendments?
15 Could you please read out item 6?
16 A. Item 6, Serbian Assembly in its session in Srb on the 25th of July
17 1990 hereby declares null and void, as far as the Serbian nation is
18 concerned, all constitutional and legal amendments which deny its
19 sovereignty as a nation and minimise its autonomy.
20 Q. In your view, did this also include any intention to secede from
21 the territory of Croatia, to expel another nation just because of the fact
22 that they are of a different ethnic background?
23 A. None of the items of this declaration contains anything of that
25 Q. Would you please read out item 7, sir?
1 A. Item 7, Serb nation in Croatia does not seek anything above the
2 rights which have been enjoyed for a long time by other contemporary
3 nations in Europe.
4 Q. Can you tell us whether this declaration reflects your political
5 views and attitude towards the status of Serb nation in Croatia and
6 Yugoslav crisis?
7 A. Yes, certainly.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We can take this document off
10 the screen. Thank you.
11 Q. As for the provision of this declaration about the right of the
12 Serbian National Council to schedule or to organise a plebiscite or a
13 referendum where Serb people would be able to vote on their status within
14 Yugoslavia, do you know whether such a decision was passed after all by
15 the Serbian National Council?
16 A. Yes. The assembly was held on the 25th of July and several days
17 later, I'm not quite sure which date it was, Serbian National Council held
18 its first session in Knin. The first decision adopted was the one on the
19 right of Serbs to express their will on autonomy. It was scheduled for
20 the 19th of August, which is the Orthodox holiday of transfiguration.
21 Q. So far, Mr. Licina, you mentioned autonomy in your evidence quite
22 frequently. The term itself denotes what, in your view, that a territory
23 belongs to a state and is within that state or is seceding from a state?
24 A. In my view, autonomy means that a territory exists within a state
25 but with special political and other rights.
1 Q. Is this what the Serb representatives and Serb people in Croatia
2 at the time sought?
3 A. Yes. The Serbs advocated their right to autonomy and they wanted
4 it to exist on multi-levels, which is to say they wanted cultural or
5 territorial autonomy depending of -- depending on the form in which the
6 future state was to exist, confederate or federal.
7 Q. Could we see document from the 65 ter list marked 431? Before
8 the document comes up on the screen, in order to be as efficient as
9 possible, I will tell you that this is a newspaper article dated the 31st
10 of July. This is the article written by Tanjug which was the news agency
11 of Yugoslavia. The time is 1739. This is a newspaper report on the
12 decision adopted by the Serbian National Council. I would like to hear
13 your comment.
14 I don't know whether I was sufficiently accurate. This document
15 comes from the 65 ter list and is marked 431. Yes. There it is.
16 This is the document, or rather a news report. Could you please
17 read out the first two paragraphs of this document?
18 A. "Accordance with the decision adopted in a recent assembly of Serbs
19 at the constituent assembly held this evening, Serbian National Council
20 took the decision to call for a referendum at which the Serbs in Croatia
21 would express their views as to whether they wanted autonomy. President
22 of the Serbian Democratic Party, Jovan Raskovic pointed out that this
23 would be a response to Croatian leaders who claim that only a very small
24 number of Orthodox residents in Croatia desire Serb autonomy within the
1 Q. Did this report accurately reflect what was discussed at this
2 session of the Serbian National Council and did you take part in adopting
3 this decision?
4 A. Yes, correct.
5 Q. The news report mentions a statement by Jovan Raskovic. What did
6 Mr. Raskovic say there when mentioning the reasons for organising the
8 A. Croatian authorities at the time attempted to establish contact
9 with the SDS. However, the SDS was unable to accept the constitutional
10 redefining of Croatia. Following that, they tried to present the SDS as a
11 minority, which was formally the -- formally the case but only due to
12 procedural reasons. We were unable to establish the party in -- on time.
13 And this was a good opportunity to show what was the political will of the
14 Serbs in Croatia, and what was their attitude towards these demands.
15 Q. Thank you. Would you please read out the following two
17 A. The referendum is to be held in Croatia between the 19th of
18 August and the referendum is to be held in Croatia between the 19th of
19 August and the 2nd of September of this year. Serbian National Council
20 in today's session rejected all amendments to the constitution of the
21 Republic of Croatia adopted by the Croatian National Assembly. The
22 assembly also rejected the use of Croatian national symbols, especially
23 coat of arms as symbols of the Republic of Croatia especially in areas
24 where Serbs constitute majority.
25 Q. Thank you. This last sentence of the report saying that the
1 president of the National Assembly of Knin, Milan Babic was elected
2 president of the council, was that statement accurate?
3 A. No, because formally, it should say that he was president of Knin
4 municipality. That was his formal position. And in the preceding
5 paragraphs, there is a formal error as well because it should say Republic
6 of Croatia and the Croatian assembly should be referred to as Sabor which
7 was the formal name of the parliament. The essence is accurate but some
8 formal titles and names are not.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I move to have
10 this document from the 65 ter list admitted into evidence as Defence
12 MR. BLACK: No objection, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Black.
14 The document is admitted into evidence. May it please be given an
15 exhibit number.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the document will become Exhibit 871.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
18 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
20 Q. Mr. Licina, you gave us your view of the reasons due to which
21 Mr. Raskovic, who is a professor and a member of the academy of arts and
22 sciences and also a founder of the SDS, claimed that the statements of
23 Croatian authorities were incorrect when they said that it was only a Serb
24 minority that wanted the autonomy. Let us now talk about the elections.
25 What happened with the representatives elected by the Serb voters who were
1 members of the former League of Communists of Croatia, the newly renamed
2 Party of Democratic Changes led by Ivica Racan. You started talking about
3 this but let us go back to this issue?
4 A. The Party of Democratic Changes and that entire left bloc led by
5 Ivica Racan in the pre-election campaign came up with slogans reflecting
6 that they were in favour of a joint state of Yugoslavia, a federal state.
7 These messages and slogans were accepted first and foremost by the Serbs,
8 and as such the Party of Democratic Changes was the second-strongest party
9 in the Croatian parliament, owing to a large extent to the votes of Serbs.
10 However, the party was abandoned by its leadership as soon as they
11 entered the parliament, and the members of the party changed their
12 platform and completely accepted the political platform of the HDZ and
13 Franjo Tudjman. Thus, a government of national unity was elected. Its
14 vice-president was Zdenko Tomac, who was a highly placed member of the
15 Party of Democratic Changes, and Spegelj, who was also a member of that
16 party, was elected to another high post in the government. As a result,
17 the remaining members left that party and joined the SDS, so that
18 dramatically changed the political scene in Croatia after these first
19 multi-party elections.
20 Q. When it comes to this political change that you just described,
21 this change in the attitude of the Party of Democratic Changes which won
22 the votes of the majority of Serbs in Croatia, can you please briefly
23 describe what this change in their platform entailed? What did they
24 support before the elections and what after?
25 A. Before the elections, the Party of Democratic Changes, at least
1 formally, supported a federal state. Following the elections, they
2 completely changed their political platform and, just like the HDZ, first
3 they advocated the confederation, and then secession. This was manifested
4 through the attitude and conduct of their members, first as parliament --
5 Members of Parliament and later on as members of government.
6 Q. So you say that the representatives who were on the ballot of the
7 Party of Democratic Changes following the election started joining the
8 ranks of SDS; correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. We will discuss the plebiscite and referendum in greater detail
11 later on, the one that was scheduled to be held between the 19th of August
12 and the 2nd of September, and the Serbs there were supposed to vote on the
14 Now, please tell us this: How did the Serbs in Croatia vote in
15 that referendum when it came to Serb autonomy?
16 A. The Serb residents in Croatia voted for Serb autonomy in great
17 numbers. I think that the number was over 97 per cent, so an overwhelming
18 majority. I'm not sure about the exact number but it could probably be
19 looked up.
20 Q. When the Serb National Council, on the 31st of July, 1990
21 scheduled this referendum, was such a political decision unconstitutional,
22 unlawful or illegal?
23 A. No. It was not unlawful. The referendum or plebiscite is the
24 most democratic form of expressing voters' will, so there should be
25 nothing unlawful or illegal about it. It is unlawful to use force and
1 there was nothing violent about this. This was just a democratic
2 mechanism for expressing the will of the people.
3 Q. So they were expressing the will on the Serb autonomy, Serb
4 autonomy of Serbian people within Croatia; correct?
5 A. Yes. This referendum was not to define this autonomy, to specify
6 whether it was a cultural or any other sort of autonomy. It was just for
7 them to vote about the right to autonomy.
8 Q. You explained earlier that there was no success in attempts to
9 find a political, peaceful resolution. Can you please tell us what was
10 the reaction of Croatian authorities to decisions adopted by the Serbian
11 National Council to hold a referendum between the 19th of August and the
12 2nd of September?
13 A. The then Croatian authorities tried to prevent this referendum by
14 use of force. This is evident because on the 17th of August, they moved
15 with APCs and helicopters in an attempt to prevent this referendum from
16 taking place. They moved in the direction of Benkovac, Gracac and other
17 Serb-populated areas.
18 Q. We heard some other explanations given about these events; we
19 heard it here during this trial. Based on what, Mr. Licina, do you
20 believe that the Croatian authorities used force in order to prevent the
21 referendum from taking place?
22 A. Certainly, yes, I can explain based on my personal experience.
23 The 17th of August was the last day of my residence in Zagreb. That was
24 the last day I went to work in my company.
25 Q. I apologise for interrupting. Could you please give us the year?
1 A. The 17th of July, 1990.
2 On that day, it was Friday, so I was on my way to go home to my
3 mother and especially since the referendum was scheduled to be held that
4 weekend, so I was travelling home in a bus from Zagreb to Gracac, which is
5 a distance of 220 kilometres. 70 kilometres prior to Gracac lies
6 Korenica, which is another municipality, and I saw Croatian APCs there. I
7 saw people who came out to protest. There were Croatian APCs there. The
8 bus stopped, and I spoke through the window with some people outside of
9 the bus and they told me that the barricades had been erected near Gracac
10 and that these units were at the ready to raid Gracac.
11 Since the bus turned off that highway between Zagreb and Zadar, it
12 was rather turned away to -- and took another road. I reached Gospic and
13 then from Gospic I took the train to Gracac and arrived there in the
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Licina. Before I go on with my questions, for
16 Their Honours to understand this more easily, on page 25 of the atlas, in
17 square D1, in the middle, there is a place called Titova Korenica. That's
18 the place the witness is referring to in describing his trip from Zagreb
19 to Gracac. Gracac is in the 2 and Zagreb is to the north.
20 You say you entered Titova Korenica and saw an APC. What is an
21 APC, to avoid any misunderstanding?
22 A. Well, that is what we call a police combat vehicle. It's on
23 wheels, not on caterpillar tracks.
24 Q. So is it a passenger vehicle, is it armoured?
25 A. It's armoured and it has a weapon. I think it's some sort of
1 machine-gun, but I don't know exactly what sort of weapon it is. That's
2 what it looks like.
3 Q. And this happened on the 17th of August?
4 A. Yes, the 17th of August, in the afternoon.
5 Q. Do you know what was happening in other parts of the Krajina or
6 the Socialist Republic of Croatia on that day? Did you learn about that?
7 A. At the same time something else was happening. In those
8 municipalities where the Serbs were in the majority, the Croatian
9 authorities, in some smaller areas of those municipalities, where there
10 were Croat populations, established some small police stations, police
11 outposts. For example, in Obrovac municipality, this happened in
12 Krusevo. In Knin municipality such a police station was opened in Kijevo.
13 In Titova Korenica municipality, I think there was a police station in
14 Podlapaca. And in Glina municipality, I think there was one in Vidusevac.
15 At the same time, the regular police stations, which were in the
16 municipal towns I mentioned, Gracac, Obrovac, Benkovac, Knin and Korenica,
17 weapons of the reserve police force were taken from those police stations.
18 At the same time, they were creating and arming new police units in places
19 where previously there had been no police station.
20 Q. What was the reaction of the Serb population to such events? You
21 mentioned something to do with Gracac. Do you have information about
22 other places?
23 A. I know that in Gracac, because I used to go there over the weekend
24 and later on I lived there, the people were very upset, and justifiably
25 so. Overnight the chiefs of those police stations took out weapons and
1 these people were nearly lynched.
2 Q. Did you hear about barricades and, if you did, what was this
4 A. The barricades were erected on the 17th of August, because
5 Croatia, as I said, had moved its police forces. New police stations were
6 being opened in the places I mentioned. During the night, weapons were
7 taken from Serb municipalities, and, of course, the people were very tense
8 or very upset.
9 Q. Did you have occasion to see any barricades? Who erected them?
10 What were they made of? Were the people manning them armed or unarmed?
11 A. Well, the barricades typically were erected where the people
12 organised. They were self-organised. They would chop down a few trees or
13 put sandbags across the road, and then they would stand there with their
14 own personal or hunting weapons to try to prevent incursions into our
16 Why did this happen? Well, quite logically, the Serbs had vivid
17 memories of what had happened to them 50 years before. They had been
18 slaughtered in many places, their numbers reduced, so it was quite logical
19 that people should be afraid.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: On the 17th of August, which year were these
21 barricades erected?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] On the 17th of August, 1990,
23 Your Honours. All of this happened in 1990. Everything we are talking
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. This
1 may be a convenient moment for a break.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. We will take a break and come
3 back at quarter to 6.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 5.16 p.m.
5 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Before the break, Mr. Licina, we were talking about barricades
9 being erected. The term "log revolution" has been used. Have you ever
10 heard of such a term?
11 A. I have heard of the term "log revolution." This was a pejorative
12 name for the Serb barricades.
13 Q. You were one of the founders and leaders of the SDS in your town.
14 You say that you were on your way back to Gracac from Zagreb on the 17th
15 of August and that you saw barricades along the way. Did you participate
16 in the erection of these barricades or did the SDS participate in it? Can
17 you tell us something about this?
18 A. On that day, I was on my way from Zagreb, so I couldn't have
19 participated in the erection of the barricades because I wasn't there.
20 This was done by self-organised local people. There was no organisation
21 carried out by a party or anything like that. It was simply that people
22 were frightened, they were under pressure, they were afraid because police
23 stations in Serb municipalities had been disarmed, new police stations
24 were being established, and people were afraid. So the emergence of the
25 barricades was simply a logical step.
1 Q. We have had occasion to hear different interpretations, that these
2 barricades were used to mistreat the non-Serb population, as it is
3 referred to, that their role was different. Do you know anything about
5 A. No, I know nothing like that. The role of the barricades was
6 defensive. A barricade in itself is a defensive device. It's not used to
7 attack but to defend from an attack, so it cannot constitute a threat to
8 anyone. Whether there were any individual excesses, no one can say.
9 There may have been individual excesses, but in general, the barricades
10 were a way for the Serbs to protect themselves from what was about to
11 happen to the Serbs.
12 Q. Were there barricades in other places besides Gracac? Do you know
13 anything about that?
14 A. Yes. There were barricades around Gracac, Knin, Benkovac,
15 Obrovac, around most of those Serb municipalities at that time.
16 Q. You said that you saw Croatian armoured personnel carriers in the
17 Titova Korenica area. Were there such attempts in places around Zadar,
18 such as Benkovac and Obrovac? Did you hear anything about that?
19 A. Yes, yes, I did. The area we are referring to, when you set out
20 from Zagreb, from the north, you go through Korenica and Gracac. If
21 you're coming from the side of Dalmatia, from Zadar, Sibenik or Split, you
22 first come to Obrovac, then Benkovac, then Knin. And as far as I know,
23 the same things happened in Benkovac. Weapons were taken away, the people
24 became afraid, and as far as I knew, I think a helicopter of the Croatian
25 Ministry of the Interior set out in the direction of Benkovac but a JNA
1 plane turned it back.
2 Q. Do you know anything about a state of war being declared in Knin
3 on the 17th of August, 1990?
4 A. On the 17th of August, 1990, as I said, that was the day I
5 arrived, and I heard from others that the then-president of Knin
6 municipality, Milan Babic, had proclaimed a state of war. He later denied
7 this, but I heard this from others.
8 Q. Barricades were erected, you say, and after all this, was a
9 referendum held and who participated in it. Where was it held, under what
11 A. The referendum was held in all Serb municipalities where the Serbs
12 were in power. As far as I know, this was in the Dalmatian area, in Knin,
13 Benkovac, Obrovac, and Drnis municipalities. In Lika, it was in Gracac,
14 Donji Lapac, and Korenica municipalities, and then in Kordun and Banija as
16 The referendum was also held in some places where the Serbs were
17 in the minority, but it was prevented there. There was violence, even
18 burning of ballots. In areas where the Serbs were in a significant
19 minority, amounting to 30 or 40 per cent of the population, the referendum
20 was prevented and especially so in towns.
21 I wish to remind Their Honours that apart from the areas in which
22 the Serbs were in the majority, there were very many Serbs living in the
23 urban parts of Croatia, in Zagreb, Split and Rijeka. According to our
24 information, there were over 100.000 Serbs in Zagreb alone and their
25 voting was interrupted, prevented, and that is why the referendum was
1 extended until the 2nd of September. 90 per cent of the referendum was
2 completed that weekend, the 19th, in fact.
3 Q. As the referendum was envisioned as the expression of the will of
4 the Serb population, in the areas where the Serbs were in the majority in
5 the then Republic of Croatia, was there any ban, prohibition or limitation
6 on members of other ethnic groups to vote in the referendum or were they
7 prohibited from voting?
8 A. No. There was no prohibition. People came out and voted. I even
9 know of some Croats living in Gracac who came and voted at this
11 Q. You said that the vast majority of Serbs voted in favour of Serb
12 autonomy and sovereignty?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did the representatives of the Serb people have occasion to
15 present the results of the referendum to the Croatian parliament and
17 A. The referendum was held on the 19th of August, 1990, and a few
18 days later, I think on the 26th of August, there was a session of the
19 Croatian parliament, and the evening before this, the Executive Board of
20 the Serb Democratic Party held a session. It was decided that one
21 representative, and that was me, should go to the parliamentary session
22 and present the standpoints and conclusions from the assembly in Srb, and
23 as 90 per cent of the referendum had already been completed, as far as
24 numbers go, we were also to present the results of the referendum. On
25 that occasion, I went to the parliament and I presented all this.
1 At that session, there was quite a lot of pressure. The entire
2 state leadership of Croatia was there, with Franjo Tudjman at their head.
3 The previous Prime Minister, Stipe Mesic, was elected as a member of the
4 Presidency of the SFRY and Josip Manolic was put in his place, and the
5 previous member of the Presidency, Stipe Suvar was replaced. I was there
6 at that session, and I presented the standpoints of our party and the
7 decisions reached that because of the actions of the Republic of Croatia,
8 this was actually voting, although we called it a referendum, and they had
9 tried to prevent it by force. And for this reason, I told them that the
10 Serb Democratic Party was suspending its participation in the Croatian
12 Q. After this information and everything that happened, were any
13 political agreements reached? Did the situation improve or did it
15 A. Well, the situation deteriorated. The Croatian authorities,
16 instead of inviting us for talks, failed to respond. The crisis
17 continued. In September, there was an incursion by the Croatian police in
18 Petrinja, and the people in Petrinja municipality, that's a municipality
19 with a Serb majority in the area of Banija, when the people who were
20 frightened of these police forces fled to the JNA barracks called
21 Vasil Gacesa.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Sorry, excuse me, sorry, I don't understand what
23 you mean by "the Croatian authorities, instead of inviting us for talks,
24 failed to respond."
25 Respond to what, if they are supposed to invite you for talks?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, until then, Croatia was
2 trying to make out that the position of the Serbian Democratic Party was a
3 position of the minority of the Serb people in Croatia. However, with the
4 turnout at the referendum being so huge and with the result being what it
5 was, legitimised our position as representatives of Serbs in Croatia and
6 as such we expected the Croatian authorities to talk to us, to talk to us
7 about stopping further conflicts and redefining our relationship.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, but what were they expected to respond to?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were supposed to respond to our
10 position that, well, nigh, all the Serb people in Croatia were in favour
11 of sovereignty and their opposition to Croatia becoming a state of the
12 Croat people only. Those views of ours were also confirmed and
13 legitimised at the referendum.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
15 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Q. Concerning the question just asked of you by the Judge, you
18 mentioned in your answers that after the first multi-party elections held
19 in April and May 1990, an initiative was made to amend the Croatian
20 constitution whereby the Serbs would be thrown out of it as a people, as a
21 nation. And when you were answering the question of Judge Moloto what the
22 Croatian authorities were to respond to, can you tell us what the Serb
23 expectations were? Did they expect that there would or would not be by
24 changes to the constitution?
25 A. The Serbs did not want the constitution to be amended in that way.
1 And with that referendum they clearly made it known that there could be no
2 constitutional amendments reducing the Serb people to the status of a
4 Q. You said that the then Croat authorities did not respond to your
5 demands as representatives of the Serb people and you mentioned the
6 situation in Petrinja. Who intervened in Petrinja and why did the people
7 run to the barracks, to the army barracks? Who were they fleeing?
8 A. In Petrinja there was a raid by the police forces of Croatia and
9 there was some fighting or something like that around the police station,
10 and the people panicked, seeing the general situation in town, and they
11 fled to the army barracks, the barracks of the JNA, called Vasil Gacesa.
12 Q. You mentioned that initiative of the Croatian authorities aimed at
13 disarming police stations in majority-Serb localities. In addition to
14 that, were there any changes to the size and composition of the units of
15 the MUP, Ministry of Interior, of Croatia?
16 A. As far as I know, Croatia built up its police force by about
17 100.000. They employed 50.000 new policemen and dismissed a lot of Serbs.
18 Until then, the requirements for a policeman were to have no criminal
19 record, no ongoing prosecution, but at that time, those requirements no
20 longer applied. The only thing required of a new recruit was to be a
21 Croat and to be as extreme as possible.
22 Q. You said that a requirement was to have no ongoing prosecution and
23 no criminal record. You talked -- you meant prior requirements for
24 somebody to be employed as a policeman?
25 A. Yes. In order for somebody to be employed as a policeman, one of
1 the requirements was to have no criminal record. With these new members
2 of the police force, that particular rule was not observed.
3 Q. In addition to beefing up the police force, you mentioned some
4 measures applying to police stations, the disarming of police stations in
5 certain localities, such as Lovinac. When did those changes in Lovinac
6 occur? You mentioned the elections in 1990.
7 A. Lovinac, Sveti Rok, Lisica and Licko Cerijev [phoen] are all
8 localities within the municipality of Gracac where I was head of the
9 Municipal Board of the SDS and where I was also elected as MP to the
10 Croatian parliament. At the first founding session of the local municipal
11 parliament, they walked out of the local parliament, and they no longer
12 participated in its work. And immediately after that, a police station
13 was set up and we had no passage through a part of our municipality.
14 Let me emphasise that as you go from Lovinac towards Gospic there
15 is a line of Serb villages that also conducted a referendum in June and
16 July concerning their joining to Gracac. This was a completely legal
17 referendum, and Gracac reacted positively to their referendum. And after
18 the legal term, the legal delay, expired, those municipalities became part
19 of Gracac. However, we could not function as a single municipality
20 because you couldn't reach one part of that municipality from another
22 Q. You told us about these changes from April to May 1990, and you
23 used terms "we" and "they," talking about the local parliaments,
24 et cetera. To avoid confusion, what were the election results in Gracac,
25 what parties participated and who were "they" and who were you?
1 A. I was talking about the local elections. The municipality of
2 Gracac had 78 per cent, I believe, Serbs, and around 20 per cent Croats,
3 approximately. And at those local elections, the Serb Democratic Party
4 came out victorious. We had an absolute majority. There were some
5 independent candidates from SK -- that is the League of Communists of
6 Croatia, the Party for Democratic Changes and some other parties from the
7 areas of those two -- four municipalities such as Lovinac, Sveti Rok,
8 Lisica and Licko Cerijev. At the first session, although we invited them
9 and suggested that one of them co-chair the founding assembly, they walked
10 out and they did not participate in the work of the local parliament.
11 That's what I meant. That's it.
12 Q. Would I be right in saying that you've just explained to us the
13 political representatives of the Croat population in Gracac municipality
14 were elected on their own lists, they refused any further cooperation with
15 Serbs, and they walked out of the local parliament of Gracac?
16 A. Yes. That happened back in May 1990. I don't know whether the
17 first session took place on the 29th or the 30th.
18 Q. You also mentioned a new police station was set up. What do you
19 mean by "new"? Did it exist before?
20 A. Until then, we only had a Secretariat in Gracac or, rather, the
21 police station, the only police station, was in Gracac. Only in municipal
22 centres did you have a police station. In other localities, no. However,
23 when the new authorities came into power at the republican level, they set
24 up a new police station in the locality of Lovinac.
25 Q. Thank you. Let us return to our general topic. You said the
1 elections were over. You had a seat in parliament, September came,
2 October, November 1990, and when I asked you whether the situation was
3 deteriorating or not, you said that it did get worse. What happened in
4 December 1990? What political events marked that period and had an
5 influence on future developments?
6 A. That period from September to December was marked by a
7 deterioration of the situation.
8 In December, in my opinion, two important things happened.
9 Croatia adopted its constitution and SAO Krajina was proclaimed. The
10 Autonomous District of Krajina. There were deliberations about the
11 Croatian constitution although some rules were disregarded; namely, that
12 it pass through the commission on equality of nations and ethnicities.
13 Why was this important? Since there were 350 or so MPs in total in the
14 parliament, and only around 45 Serbs, they could always be easily
15 outvoted. That's why, until then, in all earlier Croatian parliaments,
16 there was this commission for equality of nations and ethnicities made up
17 of Croats and Serbs together. All issues that related to equality, the
18 status of a constituent nation, et cetera, had to go through that
20 However, the new Croatian government did not elect this commission
21 and all constitutional amendments were enacted without being discussed by
22 that commission. And decisions in the commission were supposed to be
23 taken by consensus. That is one way in which the Serbs were completely
24 betrayed and tricked in this procedure. In order to prevent this, because
25 it was obvious that Croatia had no intention of talking to us anymore, and
1 in line with the will of the Serbian people, expressed both at the
2 assembly in Srb and at this referendum, the Association of Municipalities
3 of Northern Lika -- Northern Dalmatia and Lika, Serbs proclaimed the
4 Autonomous Region of Krajina on the 19th of December, 1990, which is the
5 day of the patron saint, Nicholas, and in the same month, the new Croatian
6 constitution was promulgated. The parliament session began on the
7 22nd December and the constitution was proclaimed on the Catholic
8 Christmas day, the 25th of December, 1990.
9 Q. This new Croatian constitution defined Croatia as the state of
10 which people?
11 A. The new Croatian constitution defined Croatia as the state of the
12 Croatian people.
13 Q. In all prior constitutions after the Second World War, after 1945,
14 Serbs and Croats had equal status of constituent peoples in Croatia.
15 Serbs, however, lost that status with this constitution?
16 A. Yes. This was in violation of all the rights that Serbs enjoyed
17 until that time. That right was guaranteed to the Serbs by the ZAVNOH,
18 which was the anti-fascist council set up by -- set up after the Second
19 World War because the Serbs had a very large contribution in liberating
20 Croatia and the territory of the former Yugoslavia from the Nazis.
21 When the anniversary of Bleiburg was celebrated, that is the
22 anniversary of the pogrom of anti-fascist forces in the territory of
23 Austria in 1945, at that commemoration held under the aegis of the
24 parliament of Croatia, the Croatian government, and the president, Stipe
25 Mesic, an important thing was mentioned; namely, that the so-called Kriz
1 road, there were 200.000 Croats and 500.000 residents. That's the way of
2 the cross.
3 Q. You told us already that the new Croatian constitution was adopted
4 on the 25th of December. What was the Serb response to that? And what
5 happened on the 19th December, 1990? What was established?
6 A. On the 19th of December, as I said earlier, the Serb Autonomous
7 District of Krajina was established. It was formed through an initiative
8 of the association of Northern Dalmatia and Lika municipalities that had
9 expanded by then, and that's when this autonomous district was formed.
10 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Might I ask a question?
11 Within the terms of the old constitution for the federation, how
12 would a constituent people have been defined? And could you tell me also
13 what would determine and distinguish a minority, by way of definition as
14 well as the consequences of that definition? Could you do that for me,
16 Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'm talking about the
18 constitutions of Croatia, not about federal constitutions. And until that
19 time, in all constitutions of Croatia, Serbs and Croats were both at the
20 same footing, defined as constituent peoples. At the federal level, I
21 believe the constitution stipulated that the Socialist Federal Republic
22 Yugoslavia was a state of Slovene, Croatian, Serb, Muslim, Montenegrin and
23 other nations, the peoples of which there was a state were defined in the
24 constitution. But I was talking about one federal unit in Yugoslavia and
25 its constitution.
1 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you for that correction. And I do stand
2 corrected. [Microphone not activated].
3 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: I want to hear then what is the definition under
4 the Croatian constitution. Answer the questions within the terms of the
5 Croatian constitution then, having so corrected me very kindly.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the constitution of Croatia, it
7 was specified or, rather, the new constitution defined Croatia as the
8 state of the Croatian people. The constitution so far specified that the
9 Croatian state was the state of Croats and Serbs in Croatia and both of
10 them were on equal footing. That would be similar to the situation in
11 Belgium where you have Flemish people and Walloons who have equal rights;
12 or, for example, the situation in Switzerland where you have three or four
13 equal nations. Serbs and Croats were constituent nations within Croatia.
14 Had they been a minority, then the situation would have been
15 different. Then they would have not had all the rights, and there could
16 have been a secession without approval of the Serbs. However, if Serbs
17 are a constituent nation, then their consent is required for concession
18 because a nation comes above a republic. This is the essence of that.
19 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Very well. Thank you.
20 Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Q. Mr. Licina, this political decision to establish the SAO Krajina,
23 that is to say Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, this area was defined
24 as part of Croatia. Do you know which laws were applied in the territory
25 of SAO Krajina? Do you remember that?
1 A. I think that all of the laws in existence until then were applied
2 in relation to Serbs. The laws which brought in new changes were not
3 applied but all of the old laws in Croatia were applied as previously.
4 Q. You described this period of time as the time of great political
5 tensions. 1991 was about to start. Was it a year that was marked by
6 something peculiar that was happening in Yugoslavia?
7 A. Well, 1991 is the beginning of the war, although political
8 tensions existed back in 1990, but the war began in 1991. This is the
9 year when Slovenia first seceded, when the federal government sent its
10 forces to Slovenia, to the border there, and when our soldiers were killed
11 in great numbers.
12 Q. I apologise for interrupting you. Can you find a link between
13 Mr. Spegelj, who was a minister in the government of Croatia, and the
14 events of January 1991?
15 A. Yes. I mentioned Mr. Spegelj earlier.
16 JUDGE MOLOTO: Excuse me, just before we get to Mr. Spegelj, I
17 just want to understand what is meant by "our soldiers." You said: "This
18 is the year when Slovenia first seceded, when the federal government sent
19 its forces to is Slovenia, to the border there, and when our soldiers were
20 killed in great numbers."
21 Who are the "our"?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I'm using a colloquial
23 term. I said "ours." Up until that time the only regular soldiers were
24 those of the Yugoslav People's Army, so they should have been soldiers of
25 all of us living in the former Yugoslavia. They should have been also the
1 soldiers of Slovenia, but this is not how people there perceived them
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: So by "our," what do you mean?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Precisely what I just said; namely,
5 that no other regular army existed at the time except for the Yugoslav
6 People's Army.
7 At that time, I was a national of the federal Socialist Republic
8 of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav People's Army was the regular army of that
9 state, so those soldiers were our soldiers or my soldiers.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. The Yugoslav People's Army, you mean
11 the JNA?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Yes.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Yes, Mr. Milovancevic.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. You mentioned Mr. Spegelj, who was the Minister of Defence in the
17 government of Croatia. Is his name linked to the events in late 1990,
19 A. Yes. I mentioned him in the context of the political "salto
20 mortale" that was committed by the Party for Democratic Changes.
21 Mr. Spegelj appeared as a protagonist in a documentary during that period
22 of time which was broadcast by the information service of the JNA, and the
23 film depicted the process of arming. In addition to Mr. Spegelj, there
24 appeared also Djuro Decak and Mr. Boljkovac, also high officials.
25 Recently we heard that on the 30th or 31st of May, when Croatia
1 celebrated their statehood, there was a programme broadcast on Croatian
2 television and I watched it. In it they said that back in September 1990
3 they started arming themselves.
4 Q. You say they were arming themselves in September of 1990. Who
6 A. Croatia was establishing paramilitary formations, first through
7 this irregular increase of employees of the Ministry of the Interior and
8 later on through establishment of the so-called National Guards Corps.
9 Q. Does this also entail the creation of new units that were outside
10 of the JNA, and did this lead to conflicts? Do you know of any conflicts
11 in early 1991, armed conflicts, in the territory of the then Croatia?
12 A. The situation continued deteriorating. Conflicts and clashes
13 erupted; I'm aware of the one in Pakrac, and in the spring there was one
14 in Plitvice. I think it was on the 31st of March, 1991.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I interrupt again? I'm sorry to do this to
16 you, Mr. Milovancevic.
17 A little earlier, Mr. Licina, you said: "Recently we heard that
18 on the 30th or 31st of May, when Croatia celebrated their statehood, there
19 was a programme broadcast on Croatian television and I watched it."
20 30th or 31st of May of which year? You said "recently." Now I'm
21 not so worried -- May 2006 or which year?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm referring to May of 2006. This
23 was a programme on the occasion of their independence anniversary.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you.
25 Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
2 wanted to clarify this too.
3 Q. Tell us, please, who participated in this programme and who spoke
4 about the arming?
5 A. As far as I remember, there was Minister Spegelj, Minister
6 Boljkovac. Mostly people from the then establishment, either ministers,
7 Minister of Defence, Minister of the Interior and some of their military
9 Q. Do you wish to say that now, in May of 2006, during a TV
10 programme, they announced that back in September of 1990, they had started
11 the process of arming in Croatia?
12 A. Yes, yes, correct. And this TV programme should be -- could be
13 located in the archives of Croatian television.
14 Q. Thank you. You mentioned a conflict in Plitvice which was rather
15 close to your birth town. Who clashed there?
16 A. The Plitvice Lakes is an area in Korenica municipality which is a
17 neighbouring municipality to Gracac municipality. Croatian police forces
18 made a raid in Plitvice. They were disguised as Italian tourists.
19 Plitvice is a national park. It used to be one of the most beautiful
20 national parks in the former Yugoslavia. So these police forces raided
21 the area and a conflict erupted. Rajko Vukadinovic, who was a Serb, died
22 in the clash, and Josip Jovic I think is the name of the Croat who died on
23 their side.
24 Q. Did you hear of any possible JNA intervention?
25 A. Yes. The JNA intervened, they separated the two sides, and
1 created a buffer area.
2 Q. That was in late March 1991. The month of May was marked by some
3 events. Can you tell us what happened in Borovo Selo, Trogir, Zadar? Do
4 you know of events in those towns? If not, just say so briefly.
5 A. I know what was generally made public. I know that there were
6 attacks on barracks, and there were two important political events in May.
7 Q. Which events do you have in mind, sir?
8 A. There were two referendums. Croatia scheduled a referendum on the
9 16th of May, I believe, on secession from Yugoslavia, whereas on the 12th
10 of May, the government of SAO Krajina scheduled a referendum on seceding
11 from Croatia and remaining within Yugoslavia. Rather, first of all, it
12 was defined as the annexation to Serbia and secession from Croatia. This
13 is how the question was formulated at the referendum.
14 Q. Can you tell us something about the results of these two
16 A. In the territory of Krajina, once again, over 99 per cent, I
17 believe, voted in favour, so the convincing, overwhelming majority.
18 However, in the territory of Croatia they didn't vote. So the remaining
19 population was, I don't know, 70 to 80 per cent, and within them, those
20 who were Croats voted to secede from Yugoslavia.
21 Q. The issue of remaining in Yugoslavia or seceding from Yugoslavia,
22 was it the main political issue which first arose in 1989 and then
23 continued on through those referendums?
24 A. Yes. That was the essential question, the key to the crisis and
25 to the war, because without that issue there would have been no war. The
1 statement of Franjo Tudjman at the end of the war, I think in 1995,
2 clearly illustrates this. It could have been 1995 or 1996. Tudjman said
3 there would have been no war had Croatia not wanted one.
4 Q. You said that the population in Croatia split. There were those
5 who were Serbs, residents of Croatia, who were in favour of remaining
6 within Yugoslavia, and then there were Croats who wanted independence and
7 secession from Yugoslavia.
8 Do you know whether, in accordance with the then constitution of
9 Yugoslavia it was possible to decide on secession from Yugoslavia or
10 remaining in Yugoslavia without other nations participating in that
12 A. No. It wasn't possible under the then constitution. The decision
13 on whether a republic would secede or not could only be taken by all
14 republics together. This is how it was set forth in the constitution of
16 Q. Did Slovenia and Croatia seek for this consent when they seceded?
17 A. Slovenia and Croatia never received such consent, so their
18 secession was a violent act, a unilateral act.
19 Q. His Honour Moloto asked you about the events in 1991 when you
20 said "our" soldiers. So Croatia and Slovenia declared their secession in
21 late June 1991; correct?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Are you aware with what was taking place in Slovenia immediately
24 following this declaration of secession?
25 A. As far as I'm aware, I think that the federal government took the
1 decision for the federal forces to take over border patrol and the border
2 area. The units were sent to the border area. However, the forces of the
3 JNA, to whom I colloquially referred as our soldiers, came under attack
4 there and soldiers were killed. Since the soldiers were not given an
5 order to shoot, this was basically an open season, to hunt the soldiers
6 down. Following some time, the Presidency of the SFRY took the decision
7 to withdraw the forces temporarily, as they termed it.
8 Q. When you said "to withdraw the forces temporarily," which forces
9 were you referring to?
10 A. The JNA forces.
11 Q. Was that in July of 1991; do you remember that?
12 A. Approximately, yes. I can't put the date on it but I think it was
13 the summer of 1991.
14 Q. What happened after that in Croatia? How did the situation
15 evolve? We are now in August of 1991. What was the situation with the
16 Serb people in Croatia and what was the status of the JNA in Croatia?
17 A. The position of the Serb people was deteriorating. They were
18 basically hunted down, especially in urban areas. So that a large number
19 of people where Serbs were not a majority fled those areas. I think there
20 is a report by Boutros Boutros-Ghali specifying that 251.000 refugees,
21 Serbs, fled that area from the territory which was not part of Krajina.
22 Simultaneously there were general attacks against the JNA
23 barracks. Not general attacks but, rather, attacks in those towns where
24 Croats had a significant majority. I remember a very illustrative example
25 in Split, when Croatian extremists strangled a JNA soldier. I believe he
1 was a Macedonian.
2 Q. Do you know anything about the blockades, about how the barracks
3 were blocked off and how electricity and water supply was cut off? When
4 did the conflict, armed conflict erupt?
5 A. It was in the summer of 1991.
6 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. That was a leading question.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, this witness has not told us
8 anything about cutoff of electricity, and the objection is that you are
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I withdraw that part of my
11 question about the cutting off of electrical, water and telephone lines.
12 Q. I will ask the witness whether he knows anything about the armed
13 conflict in the area of the then Socialist Republic of Croatia.
14 A. Yes, I'm aware of that and I've said so previously, that there
15 were blockades. And what you just described is the same thing as the
16 blockades. The blockades meant that the barracks had been cut off, as
17 were electrical, water and telephone supply lines. So this is nothing
19 Q. Were there any armed operations?
20 A. Yes. The barracks came under attack. I remember the case, I
21 think in Bjelovar, when Major Tepic was killed. I think that there were
22 many similar examples. However, I only heard about this from the media.
23 Q. Thank you. We don't need to dwell further on this because your
24 information comes only from the media.
25 What was the situation like in your municipality of Gracac in
1 1991? What were you doing at the time?
2 A. At the time, the 9th Knin Corps was founded, and it mobilised
3 everybody who was fit for military service. All of us at the time, mostly
4 responded to the JNA call-up papers and went to the army. The order was
5 issued to lift the siege of the barracks in the area of responsibility of
6 the Knin Corps. At that time, our Gracac Brigade also was part of the
7 Knin Corps. I think that it was called the 9th Brigade but I'm not sure.
8 Q. As a follow-up question, let me ask you this: When giving your
9 personal details, you said that you served your regular military service
10 in the JNA, and I think you completed it in 1984.
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. Where did you serve? In which branch of service?
13 A. In the signals unit in Bjeline.
14 Q. In the then Yugoslavia, up until 1991, did every male fit for
15 military service have his military assignment within the JNA?
16 A. Yes. After completing our mandatory military service, all of us
17 received our assignments, and then we had to go to exercises, manoeuvres,
18 or received our wartime assignments.
19 Q. When you say "all of us," who do you have in mind, Mr. Licina? Do
20 you have in mind all males fit to serve in the army?
21 A. I have in mind all military conscripts, everybody fit for military
22 service in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. That was the
23 rule at the time.
24 Q. Was the obligation to respond to a military call-up envisioned by
25 law and was there any punishment for failure to respond?
1 A. Yes. Yes. Everyone was legally bound to respond to a military
2 call-up and there were sanctions provided for those who failed to do so.
3 Q. In the autumn and winter of 1991, you were living in Gracac, as
4 you say. You received a military call-up paper and to what unit did you
6 A. Well, I reported to our unit, the Gracac Brigade of the territory
7 of Gracac municipality. That's the unit I was assigned to, according to
8 my military assignment.
9 Q. Were you mobilised into a regular JNA unit or a Territorial
10 Defence unit?
11 A. I was mobilised to a Territorial Defence unit which was part of
12 the regular armed forces. All the units there were part of the
13 Territorial Defence except for some few soldiers who were doing their
14 obligatory military service.
15 When referring to the Gracac brigade, I'm not referring to a
16 brigade that arrived from elsewhere. These were all local people from
17 Gracac who were military conscripts mobilised into that unit.
18 Q. Until when were you part of this Territorial Defence unit as a
19 military conscript?
20 A. Well, practically until the arrival of UNPROFOR, when the Vance
21 Plan was accepted and the UN forces were deployed.
22 Q. As a member of the armed forces of Yugoslavia, did you participate
23 in any military operations and, if so, where?
24 A. Yes. Yes, I did. I participated in the operation to de-block the
25 barracks in Sveti Rok. That's a place on the territory of our
1 municipality. Our Gracac brigade was given the task of lifting the siege
2 on the Sveti Rok barracks. Sveti Rok, or Saint Roko, in the Gracac
3 municipality, is a place where there was a small military crew and a large
4 military depot.
5 Q. Thank you.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this is page 25
7 of our atlas, square D2. Gracac is in the middle, a little to the right,
8 and from there, there is a road leading to a place called Sveti Rok, and
9 then Lovinac.
10 Q. Witness, you said there was an operation to lift the siege of the
11 barracks. Does this mean there were JNA military facilities in Sveti Rok?
12 A. Well, as I said, in Sveti Rok, there was a small military unit and
13 a large JNA depot. This was a depot where mines and explosives were
14 stored for the Zagreb military district and for the Territorial Defence of
16 Q. You said that as a member of the Territorial Defence you were
17 mobilised and that an armed action was carried out to lift the siege. Who
18 was laying siege to the barracks? What forces and where did they come
20 A. The barracks was under siege and this was done by the forces I
21 mentioned previously in my testimony. These were forces of the MUP, the
22 Ministry of the Interior, or the National Guard Corps, established in
23 Lovinac. These were the legal new forces established in the area of
24 Lovinac and Sveti Rok and they were attacking the barracks.
25 Q. Do you remember when this lifting of the siege took place, this
1 military action you participated in?
2 A. This took place in the second half of September nineteen --
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter is not sure of the year. The
4 interpreter heard 1995.
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Can you say what unit participated in this and whether there was a
7 conflict and with whom and how it all ended?
8 A. Yes. There was a conflict. Previously in the area a policeman
9 had been wounded. He came from the Gracac police station. I think his
10 last name was Miljus. After that, two of our citizens from Gracac went
11 missing, Rajko Dragosavac and Branko Veselinovic. After that, two days
12 later, another citizen of ours was killed. His name was Srecko Kolundzic
13 [phoen]. And then we attempted to lift the siege of the barracks and to
14 destroy the military force laying siege to the barracks.
15 There was fighting in which two of our fighters were killed on the
16 first day. Djuro Cedlan [phoen] and Nikolai Ivanic [phoen] were the two
17 fighters of ours who were killed.
18 Q. Thank you, Mr. Licina. I will interrupt you for a moment.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, in the transcript
20 it says that this was happening in September 1995. This must be a slip.
21 It should be September 1991. If this could be put on the record.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Mr. Licina, you said that in Lovinac and the surrounding area
25 there were places of the Croatian government, of the Croatian Ministry of
1 the Interior and National Guard Corps, and you mentioned four or five
2 names of persons who were killed. What ethnicity were the people who were
4 A. The people I mentioned, the one person who was wounded and the
5 five who were killed were all ethnic Serbs.
6 Q. You also explained that the fighting started. Can you tell us
7 with whom you fought, what you attacked, whether there was any resistance.
8 I don't want to put any leading questions.
9 A. Well, our forces were then attacking. We were starting from a
10 Serbian village called Stikada. The next place is called Rucice. That's
11 a passage between two mountains, Velebit and Dresnik, about two or four
12 kilometres. That was the width of that pass. And our forces passed
13 through that valley.
14 The Croatian forces were deployed in the shape of a letter T.
15 Rucice are in the foot-hills, and then there is Cerije [phoen], and then
16 Sveti Rok and Lovinac are on two sides. In Sveti Rok, that's where the
17 barracks is, our forces advanced from the direction of Gracac and, as I
18 say, on the first day, those two men were killed, of ours, and later on
19 during the night, the Croatian forces pulled out through Mount Velebit in
20 the direction of Gospic, and left the area leaving it vacant. As far as I
21 know, most of the population left together with the Croatian forces.
22 Q. Is that how the barracks was de-blocked in Sveti Rok?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Can you describe what equipment and materiel was used -- was in
25 those depots?
1 A. Yes. As I said previously, the barracks in Sveti Rok were in fact
2 a military depot. This was a depot where mines and explosives were
3 stored, both for the Zagreb military district and for the Territorial
4 Defence. It was the most important military warehouse in the area. The
5 size of the depot is best illustrated by the fact that after the siege was
6 lifted and we entered the barracks, our Gracac Brigade, which was there,
7 spent seven or eight or even 10 days loading that materiel onto trucks.
8 So this was taken to Bosnia and to Serbia. So this was a huge depot. You
9 can imagine a company of some 50 people working in the warehouse all day,
10 loading this and you can't see any result. That's how huge it was.
11 Q. Was there only one such warehouse or more than one?
12 A. There was more than one such warehouse.
13 Q. When you say that the mines and explosives intended for the army
14 were taken to Bosnia and Serbia, were they transported for the republics
15 of Bosnia and Croatia or did the JNA do this for itself?
16 A. Well, of course, the JNA transported this to its warehouses
17 elsewhere, according to their own deployment.
18 Q. In connection with the events in Lovinac, we have heard other
19 explanations. We have heard that the aim of the attack on Lovinac was to
20 expel the entire Croatian population in order to create an ethnic space
21 for the Serbs. Does this fit into the information you are giving us?
22 A. No. This is not correct. The Croatian population did leave, it's
23 true, together with those forces. But as far as I know, they had no
24 losses there.
25 Some elderly people even remained in Lovinac. I remember some of
1 those people very well. And in contacts with the Red Cross and their
2 families, we took those people to be reunited with their families.
3 There was a slightly comical situation where some people who
4 remained, who remained among us all that time, there was a man by the name
5 of Ante Pavelic among them. Ante Pavelic was the leader of the
6 independent state of Croatia in World War II. He was a notorious person.
7 Q. Apart from what happened in Lovinac, where there was a JNA
8 warehouse, do you know of any similar cases where new Croatian police
9 stations were established?
10 A. As I said, this happened in every municipality where the Serbs
11 were in the majority, but where there were some villages where there was a
12 Croatian minority within that municipality. I don't want this to sound
13 pejorative. I'm simply referring to numbers. This situation obtained in
14 Lovinac, for Gracac municipality, in Kijevo for Knin municipality, in
15 Krusevo for Obrovac municipality, in Skabrnja, I think for Benkovac
16 municipality, in Vidusevac for Glina municipality, and so on. You could
17 find such cases everywhere. And this was actually what generated the
18 crisis in our area.
19 Q. Apart from the attack on the JNA barracks in Sveti Rok, do you
20 know of anything about attacks on JNA barracks in Dalmatia along the
22 A. Yes. As I said earlier, there was a case in Split, an incident in
23 Split that I remember. And along the Adriatic coast, I think there were
24 similar incidents in Zadar and that the forces of the Knin Corps set out
25 in order to lift the siege in Zadar. I think the brigade commander was --
1 I can't recall his name. Oh, yes, Slavko Lisica. I remember it now.
2 Q. Sir, you were one of the founders and members of the leadership of
3 the Serb Democratic Party in the Krajina?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. You spoke about the aims of that party, the political aspirations
6 and intentions. Can you tell us whether, in this period we are referring
7 to, August to December 1995 -- 1991, at any meeting where you
8 participated, was there any discussion about expelling the Croatian
9 population, creating conditions which would force the Croatian population
10 to leave, killing, persecuting and so on?
11 A. This was never the goal of the SDS and its leadership. As I said
12 previously, the Serb Democratic Party had among its members other
13 ethnicities, even Croats, and what I say can be supported by the fact that
14 there were some soldiers in the army of the Republic of Serbian Krajina,
15 who were killed. For example, in the Medak pocket action, Jure Ivasic
16 [phoen], an honourable Croat from Gracac, was killed. He remained with us
17 all the time and was in our army.
18 Also recently, this year, there was an exhumation, and news
19 reached us that victims of Operation Storm had been exhumed, one of which
20 was Dr. Drazan Koritnik. He was a doctor in Donji Lapac. He was an
21 ethnic Croat but he lived with us throughout the war.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I
23 think this may be a good time for breaking for today.
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
25 May the Chamber please move into private session.
1 [Private session]
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: We are back in open session, Your Honours.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
23 The matter is now adjourned to tomorrow. I think it's at 9.00 in
24 the morning. The matter stands adjourned to 9.00 tomorrow morning in this
1 Court adjourned.
2 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.04 p.m.,
3 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 15th day of August
4 2006, at 9.00 a.m.