1 Monday, 28 August 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.28 p.m.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: Good afternoon, sir. On Friday you made a
7 declaration to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing else but the
8 truth. I remind you today once again that you are still bound by that
9 declaration. Is that okay?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That is okay.
11 WITNESS: WITNESS MM-116 [Resumed]
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
14 Good afternoon, Mr. Milovancevic.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Examination by Mr. Milovancevic: [Continued]
17 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
18 A. Good afternoon.
19 Q. Today we will continue with your examination-in-chief. The
20 protective measures as assigned by the Trial Chamber are still valid. I
21 appeal to you not to directly refer to the function you had. If need be,
22 we may turn into private session.
23 There is another thing I have to ask you, and that is that both of
24 us should take care to pause between question and answer in order for the
25 interpretation service to be able to catch up with what we are saying.
1 Thank you.
2 On Friday in response to my question, you talked about how the
3 electoral rallies affected the behaviour of the population, how it changed
4 the population in the area of your service. Do you remember that?
5 A. Yes, I do.
6 Q. You described the way in which the population started -- treated
7 you differently; you, the person who had worked there for a long time. Do
8 you recall that?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. These electoral rallies, did they in any way effect a change in
11 the conduct of the population vis-a-vis the other members of the
12 population in Drnis and with regard to the police station?
13 A. The events that took place in relation to electoral rallies caused
14 the population to fear -- caused fear in the population, not only on the
15 part of the members of the police station but imagine how great the fear
16 must have been on the part of the Serbian population.
17 Q. Was there reason for them to start feeling differently?
18 A. Yes, by all means. I would equate it to a plague, because the
19 fear did not appear out of the blue. It gradually grew. It was caused by
21 Q. Can you cite an example?
22 A. I can cite several examples. The last time I mentioned that there
23 were different nationalist songs. All these types of conducts were
24 sanctioned by the Criminal Code; however, the instructions the police
25 received were not to react to such types of behaviour because in early
1 1990s, still the instruction was to prevent any firing up of nationalist
2 sentiments. There were songs to the effect that Serbs should be hung from
3 a tree. For instance, we received a postcard card featuring a
4 nationalist -- a national park of Krk. There was this picture featuring
5 one area and I can still the -- Klucica [phoen] and still to this day you
6 can see that picture.
7 I want to say another thing. Up until 1990, the police reacted
8 most strongly in reaction to nationalist excesses regardless of who the
9 perpetrators were. These nationalist insignia that were sanctioned were
10 mostly the swastika, the Ustasha sign "U," and the chequerboard.
11 Q. Thank you. The reports arriving to the police station on such
12 types of behaviour, did their numbers increase?
13 A. You see, there were two sources of such behaviour. First of all,
14 the Serbs would come to the police station to ask as to what the state
15 would be doing to prevent such behaviour. There were also anonymous
16 reports but these were mostly from the Croat population and these reports
17 were of a provocative character. Those were the two types of reports that
18 came in.
19 Q. You said the latter reports were anonymous and provocative. In
20 what way do you mean that? I believe this is quite relevant for the
22 A. I will give you an example of that. In addition to Catholic
23 churches, there was one Orthodox Church in Drnis, and on that day there
24 was some sort of an Orthodox festivity - I don't know which one - and
25 traditionally, church bells chime on that day. We had about 200 or even
1 more anonymous reports to the effect that public law and order was being
2 disrupted and -- to the effect that such types of conduct would no longer
3 be tolerated.
4 Q. You did not explain to us in what way it was thought that the
5 public law and order was disrupted and what caused you not to react to
6 such reports?
7 A. You see, customs and religious ceremonies do not constitute a
8 disruption of public law and order. If that were the case, then even the
9 sound of a passing car would constitute the disruption of law and order.
10 Q. Thank you very much. I would not wish to be myself to be the one
11 to infer conclusions but rather I leave it up to you. So what was it
12 specifically that the citizens were complaining about?
13 A. This category of citizens did not mind the chiming of the bells
14 but rather the Serbs who were honouring their religious observance. It
15 was, in short, the Serb population that they had problems with.
16 Q. I will leave it at that but let me say this, that they minded the
17 fact that the bells chiming were the ones on the Orthodox church?
18 A. Yes, exactly. That was what I said. It was the Orthodox church
19 that was in question.
20 Q. When did this event take place? I'm referring to -- or actually I
21 have in mind the part of the year.
22 A. I can't be specific but it may have been April or May, sometime in
23 that part of the year.
24 Q. Witness, you had been working for the Drnis police station since
25 1975, and this was 1991 -- 1990. Had there been any such reports before?
1 A. No, never, because on the occasion of such Orthodox religious
2 ceremonies, you didn't find only the Serb population in front of the
3 Orthodox church but also the Croat population and the community in
4 general. This had been the case up until 1990.
5 Q. In order to complete this topic and to avoid any misunderstanding,
6 you said that Drnis had mixed Croat and Serb population. Does this mean
7 that there were Catholic and Orthodox churches in Drnis? Is this what you
8 were talking about?
9 A. Yes. In Drnis, there used to be one Orthodox church, as far as I
10 remember, and two or three Catholic churches.
11 Q. And up until 1990, the relations were harmonious; is that correct?
12 A. Yes, absolutely.
13 MR. BLACK: Objection, Your Honour. I apologise for the
14 interjection but this is one of many leading questions so far and I think
15 counsel could get the same answers just by asking things in a
16 non-leading -- non-leading way: "How were relations?", instead of,
17 "Relations were harmonious, weren't they?" It's just example of many.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we received very
20 direct answers by this witness to that effect. I merely wanted to wind up
21 the topic because the witness was discussing these matters very
22 specifically in answer to questions that were not leading. My point of
23 departure was that whatever the witness thought was quite clear, might not
24 in fact be as clear to us and that was why I insisted on the question and
25 this sort of situation was not ordinary. In my understanding it was quite
1 extraordinary, in fact.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: I'm not quite sure I understand what you're talking
3 about, Mr. Milovancevic, but I've said to you before, if you want to refer
4 to a statement the witness has made previously you've got to say so.
5 You've got to link it up to that statement, not just come up with a
6 statement out of the blue which suggests that you are leading the witness.
7 You know? You've got to link that statement; if it's a repetition you've
8 got to link it to a previous statement. But as for what you are saying, I
9 just don't understand what you're saying. I'm not quite sure you're
10 addressing the objection. In the circumstances, I will therefore uphold
11 the objection.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] By your leave, I will proceed,
13 Your Honour.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Please do.
15 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. What were the interethnic relations like in the everyday life, in
17 the street, in cafes, and so on and so forth? Did there come a time when
18 there was a change?
19 A. Yes. I believe there were significant changes. People no longer
20 went to have coffees together and so on and so forth. In the -- in Drnis
21 there were a dozen cafes, perhaps, but only two of them were frequented by
22 Serb citizens because otherwise they were exposed to provocations. One of
23 these cafes was owned by a Croat and the other one by a Serb. Eventually
24 this cafe owned by the Croat experienced a lot of difficulties, especially
25 because of the fact that Serbs used to drop by. In public transportation,
1 in stores, at workplaces, the situation was the same. There was this
2 separation process along ethnic lines because people no longer trusted one
4 Q. Was there anything that changed in the human resources policies of
5 the police station in Drnis?
6 A. This wasn't the case only at the police station, in the municipal
7 government, at -- in the judiciary, you would have a change in terms of
8 the fact that the Serbs were dismissed and Croats took their place. In
9 the police station, the same thing happened because the chief of the
10 station was replaced by a Croat who did not have as many years of
11 experience or as many skills as the incumbent person.
12 Q. Can you tell us approximately in what period of time did this take
13 place, the reference point to be the elections in May 1990. When did this
14 take place?
15 A. At the police station, the change took place in February. That's
16 to say before the elections. As for the other institutions, these
17 replacements took place before, during and after the elections.
18 Q. Now that you're mentioning these replacements, can you tell us,
19 if you know, what was the reason for the dismissal of the persons who had
20 up to that point been holding these positions and the arrival of new
22 A. The main precondition for the replacement of these persons was the
23 ethnic and party affiliation of the people. Primarily the political
24 affiliation. If the person was a member of the HDZ, then he would be
1 Q. You talked about this happening in Drnis but did this also happen
2 in other parts of Croatia, if you know?
3 A. To my knowledge, based on what I heard from my friends, this
4 process took place throughout Croatia. Even later on - I believe it was
5 in April or May - for instance, at the police high school, the management
6 there was replaced by some new personnel. I even heard cases of these
7 hitherto professors who had been thrown out of their offices and their
8 residence in Zagreb without being allowed to take their belongings. As
9 far as I know the people who replaced them came -- were actually
10 outsiders. They came from outside of the profession.
11 Q. You said that these were outsiders. Do you mean that they came
12 from abroad or do you mean that they simply came from a different
14 A. I primarily had in mind the countries abroad, like Germany,
15 Australia, and so on and so forth.
16 Q. The people who arrived from abroad, which ethnic community did
17 they belong to? Who were they?
18 A. With your permission I'd like to explain this in detail. They
19 were part of the Croatian ethnic community, and were mostly emigrants; not
20 economic emigrants but political emigrants. Some of them had been
21 involved in sabotage activities before the multi-party elections and were
22 active from their centres in the United States or wherever they were.
23 They were committed to the Ustasha ideology and for the most part were
24 members of terrorist organisations and were classified as such.
25 Q. You say that they were classified as terrorists. Where did you
1 get that information from? Does it come from your service or did you come
2 by that information in any other way?
3 JUDGE MOLOTO: Again, you're asking a leading question,
4 Mr. Milovancevic. You started very nicely, where did you get that
5 information from? That's where you must stop. The remainder of that
6 sentence, then, is leading.
7 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
8 accept your suggestion.
9 Q. Sir, I will rephrase my question. Where did you get the
10 information from?
11 A. Now, see, I did not go to Zagreb at that time, and I did not see
12 this firsthand but the police officers who used to work in Zagreb and left
13 Zagreb, they had personal contacts with these people and they were the
14 source of the information I received.
15 Q. You said that these persons were members of terrorist
16 organisations and you also used the term Ustasha. Do you know how long
17 such organisations had been in existence?
18 A. You see, extremist Ustasha organisations had been in existence
19 ever since the year 1945, when the Ustasha army fled the area, leaving for
20 different parts of the world, Munich, Canberra, Perth, and other parts of
21 the world. There they created terrorist organisations and there are many
22 examples of sabotage terrorist actions carried out in Yugoslavia, ever
23 since 1945. The last such action was, I believe, in 1988 in Drnis, in my
24 hometown, and this was a sabotage action that was directed against a
25 monument erected in the memory of a national hero.
1 Q. Does the name Vladimir Rolovic ring a bell in any way?
2 A. Yes, Vladimir Rolovic belonged to HOS, I believe. I'm not sure.
3 This is therefore an extremist Ustasha nationalist organisation, and I
4 believe he assassinated a Yugoslav ambassador, Mr. Trolovic [phoen]. Or,
5 rather, I may have been mistaken in the ambassador's name.
6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... because in your answer you
7 said that both the assassin and the victim were named Rolovic?
8 A. Yes, yes. I may have been wrong there, about the ambassador. I
10 Q. An operation on the Radusa mountain, does that ring any bells? Of
11 course, if you cannot recall it just give us a very brief answer; let us
12 not waste any time.
13 A. We actually studied such operations at our courses and in our
14 instructions -- instruction manuals. We read a lot about it and I have
15 talked to some colleagues who participated in that operation, which
16 actually was the arrest and the conducting of other actions in relation to
17 a group of some 19, I believe, terrorists, whose task was to carry out
18 sabotage operations in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. They were
19 supposed to assemble at the Vran mountain in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina
20 and then proceed on from there. That sabotage group was liquidated, I
21 believe, except for the youngest participant who was arrested and was put
22 on trial and convicted and sentenced to some years - I don't remember how
23 many - but one of those members of those groups organised an attack on JNA
24 tanks in the area of Kupres, and that is about my knowledge of this
1 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, perhaps this is not important but could
2 we have dates for these episodes? Otherwise it's since 1945 is all we
3 know at this point.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic?
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, it is an
6 incontrovertible fact that we are talking about 1945 and the period
7 thereafter, when we talk about the terrorist activities of the Ustasha
8 emigres and their coming to Yugoslavia. I just wanted to see whether the
9 witness had any specific knowledge about that topic, generally speaking.
10 I have no specific questions apart from this last situation described by
11 the witness. I should just like to learn from him who these terrorists
12 were. I'm just trying to verify a fact that these were indeed members of
13 a terrorist organisation who came, as he said, in 1990 to Croatia.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Are you then contextualising in terms
15 of time, these events around 1990? Is that where we are supposed to
16 concentrate, 1990? From 1945 to the present moment is a very long time,
17 Mr. Milovancevic. You've got to give us some time when you're -- that
18 you're speaking about.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. That
20 is correct. I am referring to 1990 and that is my last question also.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation].
23 Q. In connection with the operation on Radusa mountain which you
24 talked about a while ago, do you recall the exact period of time when this
1 A. That was in 1972.
2 Q. Whom did you have in mind when you said that members of the
3 Croatian emigre circles were coming, arriving in the country in 1990?
4 A. Well, you see, to the -- to my knowledge, it was precisely from
5 those circles, from those extremist emigre circles, that they sent people,
6 i.e. from which people came. It was actually such criminal circles, as it
7 were, that actually financed the HDZ for a good part. I should also like
8 to say that there were sabotage actions also in 1968 when two policemen
9 were killed on Mount Velebit apart from this one in 1990.
10 Q. Thank you. You mentioned Drnis as the city in which you served.
11 Can you tell us whether there were any military facilities, any military
12 installations of the JNA, that is, in that town?
13 A. Yes. Quite near, perhaps some three kilometres off Drnis, there
14 was a naval barracks and below it was another depot. I don't know how
15 many soldiers there were. That was some two kilometres farther away than
16 that. So it was in the vicinity, in the immediate vicinity of Drnis.
17 Q. You -- when you mentioned this storehouse, this depot, to whom did
18 it belong? Can you tell us that?
19 A. The naval barracks belonged to the naval military district. They
20 held some ammunition and resources necessary for the navy, whereas the
21 depot belonged to the Knin Corps.
22 Q. Thank you. What were the relations between the police station,
23 your police station, and the JNA like until 1990, that is?
24 A. Our relations, according to our rules and the -- generally
25 speaking, were more than correct and that was so not only with the army
1 but also with all other structures, with the judiciary, with other public
2 services. With the social work centre we had exceptionally good and
3 correct relations.
4 Q. Thank you. In view of the period in which you discharged your
5 service in Drnis, from 1975 to 1990, what are your impressions about the
6 attitude of the Yugoslav People's Army which maintained and held those
7 facilities and the local population?
8 A. Until 1990, the relations between the members of the Yugoslav
9 People's Army and the members of the local populace were excellent. Many
10 officers from all over the former Yugoslavia were on duty there, many of
11 them got married there and stayed on in Drnis and there were no problems
12 whatsoever between them and the local population.
13 Q. What was the relation in terms of the competences or the
14 jurisdictions of the police and the army? Was the one in control of the
15 other or vice versa? Can you tell us something about that particular
17 A. This was regulated under the law. Military security organs, as
18 they were called, they regulated issues within their own facilities,
19 within their own compounds, and this was under their competence. Public
20 security organs on the other hand, which is to say the police, were in
21 charge of, of course, public law and order, traffic control in the broader
22 territory, and such issues. But if you will allow me, this relationship
23 was actually disturbed as of 1990. But, of course, I'm jumping ahead of
24 your question.
25 Q. So these relations as you say were regulated by laws and
1 regulations. Were they harmonious until 1990? Can you describe them as
3 A. Absolutely harmonious, absolutely by the book, by the law, and
4 according to all the custom which governed this matter.
5 Q. What happened in 1990 in relation to that particular relationship?
6 Were there any changes at that time?
7 A. In 1990, in the army itself, among the officers themselves and
8 between the citizens and the officers, between the population and the
9 officers, there was so -- there arose mistrust. I have a specific
10 example. Actually I didn't realise immediately at the time what that was
11 about but in 1990, I believe it was in April, the state security service
12 of Croatia, of the Republic of Croatia, undertook some security
13 assessments -- security assessment, of course, is an operation to regulate
14 and assess the defence of specific facilities in a specific moment of time
15 in relation to sabotage and such other groups. So in April there were two
16 operatives of the State Security Service of the Republic of Croatia --
17 yes, I'm sorry.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Yes, please slow down, says the interpreter.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So there were two operatives of the
20 State Security Service who came there from Sibenik, and they undertook
21 this security assessment of the barracks in the place called Trbovnija
22 [phoen] quite near Drnis. As these were people unfamiliar enough with the
23 terrain, they approached me to assist them in their task. I did help
24 them, but I found it quite strange when they told me that for their
25 particular -- that they -- that the military security organs should not
1 know that they were there and doing that particular task.
2 Q. When they told you this, did you ask them why that was so or did
3 you just -- did what they asked you to do for them?
4 A. I didn't ask them anything. We just had such relationship of
5 cooperation that we didn't doubt one another, did not suspect one another.
6 I did find it strange but I did understand why that had been so in 1990.
7 Q. Why do you say that you understood why that had been so only in
8 1990? What particular circumstance led you to understanding that
10 A. Because in August and September in 1991, precisely that barracks
11 was attacked by the forces of the HDZ, the National Guards Corps, meaning
12 that they had actually been collecting data, gathering intelligence, for
13 the attack on the barracks which was to ensue by paramilitary forces a
14 year after.
15 Q. Just another question: You say that state security was collected
16 [as interpreted]. State security belonging to whom? When they were
17 controlling this security situation around the barracks, as you said?
18 A. Well, you see, in organisational terms, the security -- the state
19 security does not belong to any MUP. It does belong to the MUP of Croatia
20 but it is a specific department, a separate department. So they operate
21 from the centres, from Split, Karlovac and Osijek, and also subcentres or
22 departments like Sibenik and some smaller places so they did not belong to
23 the MUP, they directly belong under the republican SUP, the Secretariat of
24 the Interior, in other words.
25 Q. What was your position when the HDZ won the elections in Drnis
1 municipality and came to power? Were there any changes in terms of your
3 A. Well, there were provocations, you see. I will give you a
4 concrete example. My superior from the SUP of Sibenik didn't bother me,
5 he didn't make any changes. He did offer me certain positions which I
6 could not accept. However, in the field, itself, there were quite a few
7 provocations. So I would go to tour the traffic patrols and, for
8 instance, I would go to a cafe for a coffee, midnight or any time after
9 that, 2.00 in the morning, and there would be -- there was a company of
10 Croats sitting at a table and people that I was on good terms with prior
11 to the war. One of them told me, "You still dare come to this place?"
12 And the other ones actually tried to calm him down, "Oh, come on, don't
13 pick up on this guy." So you can see how secure I was. I was carrying
14 arms, and I was in that kind of a situation. So what could the other
15 Serbs, other Serbs who did not wear arms, expect and how secure would they
16 feel to be going around?
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: The Chamber wants to remind you that according to
18 your estimate of this witness's time, it's three hours. You're
19 approaching almost half of that and it's about time we switched over to
20 the Prosecution to cross-examine. I'm going to have you keep you on toe
21 this time, after that experience of the last witness.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we have promised
23 to reassess the time that we need for this witness and for witnesses.
24 This is one of exceptionally -- of the exceptionally important witnesses.
25 So by your leave, I would like to proceed. I have a number of very
1 important questions which I should like to put to this witness.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: As long you finish during this session so that the
3 Prosecution can cross-examine after this. Got to keep to that three-hour
5 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
6 Q. Do you know anything about the situation -- I'm sorry?
7 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, the interpreter didn't hear counsel.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: The interpreter didn't hear you, Mr. Milovancevic.
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise.
10 JUDGE MOLOTO: Do you know anything about -- and then the
11 interpreter didn't hear you for the rest of it.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. The question was: Does the witness know anything about the
14 armaments of the reserve police force at the time we are discussing which
15 is 1990?
16 A. Yes. I know something about that. I know what the situation was
17 like and I'm going to explain it for your benefit. I don't recall what
18 month it was exactly, 1990, the MUP of the Republic of Croatia adopted a
19 decision that from all municipalities with a majority of -- majority
20 Serbian population, the armaments of the reserve forces should be seized.
21 That meant Dalmatia, the municipality of Obrovac, the municipality of
22 Benkovac, the municipality of Knin. They did not touch my municipality
23 because the majority population was Croatian. In Lika, Gracac, Korenica,
24 Lapac, in Kordun, Vojnic, Vrginmost, the municipalities, and other
25 municipalities up there on the Banija, Dvor Na Uni, et cetera.
1 Q. Was -- were these arms, were these weapons, taken, seized? How
2 did this situation resolve itself?
3 A. The weapons were seized in places. I'm not sure what particular
4 municipalities. That was quite a long time ago. But at any rate, the
5 reaction of the Serbian population of the Serbian police, was vehement
6 because this was an illogical decision. I believe that they took, seized
7 the weapons in Obrovac and other municipalities, I'm not quite sure which
8 ones at this point in time.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Is that the reaction of the Serbian population or
10 is it the reaction of the Serbian police or is it the reaction of both?
11 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. You said that this attempt at seizing the arms of the reserve
13 forces led to a reaction. Can you describe whose reaction it was?
14 A. First of all, it was the reaction of the Serbian population
15 because the Serbian population was desperate because a truly new Ustasha
16 state was nascent, with all the elements that that entailed, so this
17 weapons of the reserve force was their last hope that they would be
18 protected in a way by some sort of a police from an imminent future.
19 Q. What was the attitude of the police towards this action of seizure
20 of arms of the reserve forces?
21 A. The police also shared the position of the people. The police
22 also would not accept this to happen because the police, of course, was in
23 the service of the people.
24 Q. Do you know anything about the erection of roadblocks in 1990,
1 A. Yes. I know. I'm aware of that having happened. I was on duty
2 that day. There was some sort of a gathering in Drnis, as a matter of
3 fact, and we could hear the special Croatian police units were heading
4 towards Knin to seize the arms of the reserve police force there. The
5 people were increasingly in fear from day to day and there was an
6 unorganised erection of roadblocks on roads in Drnis municipality. For
7 instance, in the place called Klanac. If I remember correctly, there was
8 a truck which they placed across the road and some sort of logs also.
9 Q. Thank you. In relation -- in connection with this obstacle near
10 Drnis, this roadblock near Drnis, do you know what that was?
11 A. That obstacle that barrier was between Drnis and Knin
12 municipalities, in a place of Klanac, between Kosovska Dolina and Petrovo
13 Polje. This is where this block, roadblock, was erected.
14 Q. Did the Drnis police station take any steps with regard to that
15 particular barricade?
16 A. You see, the barricade was erected on the 17th of August 1990 by a
17 group of younger men who were controlling the situation there, to inform
18 the population in case the special police forces were to make an incursion
19 into the area. This was on the boundary between the Knin and Drnis
20 municipalities so the police did not take any steps until the 20th of
21 August. Therefore, three days later.
22 Q. Can you therefore tell us what it was that happened three days
23 later on the 20th of August 1990?
24 A. On the 20th of August 1990, the Sibenik SUP secretary, Ante Bujas,
25 and the chief in Vugosic [phoen] came to the Drnis police station with a
1 special unit, some 30 strong. The reserve force of the police had been
2 called up. I only did the night shift that week and it was at 7.30 in the
3 evening that I came to work that day, and I saw the reserve force equipped
4 with weapons and live ammunition.
5 As I entered the office that belonged to the secretary there, I
6 found between seven and 10 inspectors there who were partly members of my
7 station and partly members of the Sibenik station. Ante Bujas chaired the
8 meeting. There was a police guard at the door, who I didn't know, and I
9 was no longer able to leave the room once I entered it.
10 Q. Can I just ask you, was Ante Bujas, your superior, the superior of
11 all of you, was he issuing you with any orders at the time?
12 A. I was just about to say that. As soon as I came, Ante Bujas
13 said, "Gentlemen we have been given the order to neutralise the barricades
14 in the Klanac area. The JNA, the Presidency of the SFRY, are in session
15 and have decided that the barricades be proclaimed illegal. Milan
16 Babic" -- and I don't know if he mentioned Milan Martic was arrested and
17 some officers of the JNA had been arrested. "We must head for the
18 barricades to destroy them and, I repeat, you are permitted to use any and
19 all means available to you."
20 Q. And how did you understand this order that all and any means were
21 available to you and you were free to use them?
22 A. Well, the order was quite clear. We were free to proceed to kill
23 the persons manning the barricade.
24 Q. What happened further?
25 A. Well, the situation developed in a way I will never forget as long
1 as I live. It was a very difficult situation. I told Bujas that if this
2 should indeed be the case, that I would myself take an official vehicle to
3 the barricade and I will personally arrest these young men and bring them
4 to the station. I told it him that we should not use any force and that
5 this should be solved with political means. Bujas's answer was quite
6 strong, and he said, "No and no and no. We have to settle this once and
7 for all."
8 If you'll allow me I would like to tell you the whole story about
9 the barricades and how it all happened. It's a very simple story.
10 Q. Please go on.
11 A. Bujas therefore set out a plan. I was supposed to take a group of
12 40, 50 or 60 police officers and approach the barricades from the
13 south-western side and hit the right flank of these people. I don't
14 think there were many of them and they only had hunting rifles, nothing
15 more. My colleague had -- who had to say -- have the same number of men
16 was supposed to approach them on the right-hand side and then a group of
17 special police officers were supposed to use a drey [phoen], and they were
18 supposed to throw teargas at the men, at the men manning the barricades,
19 and I also heard that helicopters were supposed to land later on to the
20 north of the barricade and kill all the people. Of course, later on we
21 found out that there were some civilians there and so on.
22 Q. How did this particular meeting at the police station end?
23 A. I tried to intervene and suggest that the action take a different
24 course. However, Bujas insisted that I take along all the police
25 officers, there may have been even 70 of them, including the reserve
1 force. He proceeded to inform all the police officers of the plan and
2 repeated the plan in the same way as I had heard it. The people's
3 reaction was a negative one. They hooted and said that they did not wish
4 to kill their own people. I have to say that the police officers were
5 members of Croat population, Serb population, even some Muslims. All of
6 them started laying down their arms saying that they would not go against
7 their own people. One of the Sibenik force even brought a rifle into the
8 room but there was one of our inspectors who took the rifle away from him.
9 Another police officer was carrying a machine-gun and he was walking to
10 and fro outside at the door. We practically chased the special police
11 unit and their superiors out of the area, out of Sibenik -- out of Drnis.
12 Q. Was the order issued by Ante Bujas carried out or not?
13 A. Of course it was not carried out and this was thanks to the
14 intervention of the members of both the active and the reserve force of
15 the Drnis police station.
16 Q. At that time, did the Yugoslav press report on the event?
17 A. All the Yugoslav press covered this particular event in great
19 Q. Did you yourself give a statement for the press to tell them
20 precisely what you've just told us?
21 A. I'll try to be brief in my answer. That night, my house was fired
22 upon, and these were really the most difficult days of my life. If I had
23 to ever -- if ever I had to go through that nightmare again I would commit
24 suicide. I read in the papers that some police officers recounted these
25 events the way I told them now; however, Ante Bujas denied these stories.
1 And I felt compelled to call a press conference and, in 45 minutes, I
2 retold these events to the journalists in detail.
3 Q. The information conveyed to you by Ante Bujas that it was the SFRY
4 Presidency and the JNA's decision that this action should be carried out
5 and these people killed, did you double-check whether this was indeed
6 their decision?
7 A. We doubted the information given by Ante Bujas and we actually,
8 based on the intelligence we collected, realised that the truth was quite
9 different. There were a couple of police officers who were in my police
10 station and who were tasked with assassinating me and some others. Their
11 idea was that all of us together should attack the barricades and in the
12 process they should kill us. So that the HDZ-led armed forces should
13 finish us off and that, the following morning, they would all inform the
14 general public of Yugoslavia and say that it was a gang of people who
15 attacked the Yugoslav police. So that was the purpose of the action, this
16 misinformation and to kill us.
17 Q. We have an article from a newspaper that was published on the 28th
18 of August 1990. Could we have the usher's assistance in distributing
19 these articles to the Trial Chamber? And they talk about the -- the
20 article talks about these events. We have copies for our learned friends
21 from the OTP and for the Trial Chamber.
22 Do you have before you a text published in Politika Ekspres, the
23 date is the 28th, and it says Knin? It bears signatures of some persons.
24 Can you tell us what this text is about?
25 A. Roughly speaking, this is a letter to the journalists recounting
1 the events of the night. Over 25 police officers confirmed that the
2 information contained there was true, with their signatures.
3 Q. Thank you very much.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could this be
5 tendered as a Defence exhibit, please?
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: The document is admitted into evidence as a Defence
7 Exhibit. May it please be given an exhibit number?
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will become Exhibit number 899.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 Your Honours, I wanted to ask you one thing. I believe we started
12 20 minutes late today. I believe that I should be given these 15 minutes,
13 that I am entitled to them, and that I should perhaps use them after the
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: Did we start 20 minutes late or did we start ten
16 minutes late?
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] 15 minutes, in fact, I believe,
18 Your Honour. I believe it was around half past 3.00 and we can double
19 check that.
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. You've got --
21 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
22 Q. Can you tell us briefly what the reaction of the Drnis population
23 to this -- these events was or the reaction of the population in Krajina,
24 in general, if you know?
25 A. Shortly after these events, a -- certain Croat citizens came to me
1 to congratulate me on thwarting this action; however, there were different
2 situations as well. Several days later, 2.000 people gathered in front of
3 the Drnis police station and criticised the Drnis police for not carrying
4 out their duties properly. I will tell you another story. I had one
5 member of the reserve force whose wife was a Croat. There were quite a
6 few mixed marriages in where I lived. He had one child. The moment his
7 wife heard that he had refused to go and kill Serbs, she abandoned him and
8 never spoke to him again. That was how strong the hatred was.
9 Q. Had the town of Zadar ever belonged to the territory of Krajina or
10 the Republic of Serbian Krajina in the period between 1990 and 1995?
11 A. As far as I know, never, no.
12 Q. Is this a town that had mixed population?
13 A. As far as I know, the town of Zadar does have a mixed population,
14 with a very significant size of the Serb population.
15 Q. Is the same true of the police station? That's to say the Zadar
16 SUP. Or was the situation the same?
17 A. As far as I know, in the same period, a similar situation arose in
18 the town of Zadar which resulted in the police officers of Serb ethnicity
19 fleeing the area.
20 Q. My question to you was whether the workforce in the Zadar police
21 station was also of mixed --
22 A. Well, I believe this was true for all the police stations. There
23 was never a one-population workforce.
24 Q. Could we please look at the Zadar police station letter? This is
25 number 0280-8282, an OTP document that we had translated. We have for 142
1 signatures by people of various ethnicities, members of the MUP Zadar, who
2 sent an open letter to the president of the Republic of Croatia, to the
3 Prime Minister of Croatia, to the Minister of the Interior of Croatia, to
4 the Presidency of Yugoslavia, to the federal executive council and the
5 federal Interior Ministry of Yugoslavia.
6 All of this transpired on the 5th of November 1990.
7 THE INTERPRETER: The number is 0280-5282, interpreter's
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Could this document please be
10 distributed to the OTP and the Trial Chamber?
11 Q. Do you have the document before you, Witness? Do you have before
12 you the open letter by the Zadar police officers?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Do you know whether the HDZ was in power at the time in Zadar?
15 A. To my knowledge, the HDZ was in power in Zadar at the time.
16 Q. This letter was sent to all these addresses in Yugoslavia and I
17 will read out to you the first three paragraphs and I will have a question
18 in relation to that.
19 The first three paragraphs in the English language can be found on
20 page 1.
21 "Why is the weapons from the Zadar police depot taken out and
22 distributed clandestinely at night to Croat civilians in the
23 municipalities of Zadar, Obrovac, and Benkovac? Why, after the MUP
24 Croatia order to activate the reserve force" --
25 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter notes that they don't have the
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] -- "the reserve force of the
3 police. Why are the weapons and ammunition distributed to the persons
4 that had not been previously designated for that purpose?"
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, the interpreters just indicated
6 that they don't have a text from where to read. You would have to go very
7 slowly for them to interpret. I don't know whether you intend to read all
8 that because now you've given it up. I don't know whether --
9 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] No, no, Your Honour. Only
10 three paragraphs and one after that. I think we have an extra copy that
11 we could give to the interpreters, if that can be of assistance to them.
12 We should have one copy.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: It would certainly be of assistance to the
14 interpreters, Mr. Milovancevic.
15 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, they're happy to take one of my copies.
16 At this point, though, I would object that there has been no
17 foundation laid for how the witness knows anything about this letter which
18 is from Zadar. He hasn't testified that he was from Zadar, he didn't work
19 in Zadar. It's not clear he knows anything about what's happening. He
20 just said that he'd heard of something like this, but at this point I
21 would object to lack of foundation, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, lack of foundation alleged for
23 this document.
24 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the witness
25 testified about the admission of new members into the reserve force of the
1 police and their arming. I was interested in this phenomenon in general.
2 I'd like to know whether the witness has any other knowledge about this
3 matter dating from that time so I'm inquiring about the general situation
4 and about the witness's knowledge about it. The witness also talked about
5 the situation in the police station in Zadar.
6 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have not told anything about the foundation
7 you're laying for this document, Mr. Milovancevic. This whole explanation
8 that you give has nothing to do with the question of foundation. The
9 closest you do come, and you're still miles away, is when you say the
10 witness also talked about the situation in the police station in Zadar.
11 That doesn't lay a foundation for this document.
12 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, if I could also respond briefly, as far
13 as I can see on page 25 there were three questions asked about Zadar, and
14 the witness prefaced every answer with, as far as I know. And to me that
15 indicates that, well that there hasn't been a foundation laid for how he
16 could have some useful information to share with -- about this document.
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic [Microphone not activated].
18 ; this might be a convenient time to take the break. Maybe you
19 can think about it during the break and decide what to do with this
20 document when we come back. Thank you very much.
21 Court adjourned, come back at 4.00.
22 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 --- Recess taken at 3.32 p.m.
24 --- On resuming at 4.04 p.m.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, have you thought what you want to
1 do with this document?
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I withdraw my
3 question and I withdraw the document. Thank you. This is what I intend
4 to do at this particular moment.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I should like to
7 ask you a question, at the outset, by your leave. I have assessed the
8 time I require for the gentleman who is at the stand here in the capacity
9 of witness. Can I ask the Trial Chamber to grant us an additional half
10 hour in addition to the time already allotted to us in order for me to
11 properly finish my interrogation. If that would be all right with you, I
12 would be grateful. Thank you.
13 JUDGE MOLOTO: You've got 15 minutes. You have 15 minutes,
14 Mr. Milovancevic, I'm afraid. Sorry.
15 Yes, Mr. Black?
16 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, if I might, our position on this would be
17 it would be nice to have a procedure set up. Gather that Defence counsel
18 is going to provide a revised list of estimates of time and in the future
19 perhaps we could work on that. We would not be opposed to a request for
20 additional time as long this was justified with an explanation of why is
21 more time was necessary, precisely, or the best estimate of how much time
22 is necessary and things like that. And I spoke to Defence counsel about
23 this, and we wouldn't be opposed to them making such a request under those
24 circumstances. I just wanted to put that on the record because I had
25 spoken with Defence counsel about it, although I think if such an
1 application is made, it would be appropriate to excuse the witness.
2 JUDGE MOLOTO: That's the thing. And because I don't want to
3 excuse the witness now, you've got to say to me now whether you -- do you
4 have any strong objection to me -- to Mr. Milovancevic having an extra 30
5 minutes? And we can sort out the question of times later. The reason I'm
6 going the way I am is precisely because we need to look again at the 65
7 ter list of the Defence, in view of the changes that have occurred and
8 most probably give a revised 73 ter decision. And right now, because of
9 that fluid situation, that's why I'm going on the original estimate,
10 estimated time, by the Defence.
11 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, as a one-time thing, I would not be
12 opposed to an additional 30 minutes, understanding that this has not
13 been -- that this will be dealt with in a systematic way in the future.
14 But for this particular time I'm not opposed to that.
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: You have 30 minutes, Mr. Milovancevic, 25 to 5.00,
16 I stop you.
17 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
18 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic.
19 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Witness, before the break, you referred to a situation related to
21 an order for an armed attack on a roadblock near Drnis. Do you recall
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. What happened then in the public security station in Drnis after
25 that? Can you tell us briefly, please?
1 A. After this order was refused in the police station in Drnis, we
2 had the Sibenik forces abandon the station and flee in the direction of
3 Sibenik, and the members of the public security station of Drnis took over
4 control. (redacted)
16 Q. Did Mr. Bujas, as the chief of the Sibenik SUP, when he was
17 transmitted to you -- transmitting to you this order of attacking with
18 arms the barricades, did he tell you whose decision it was?
19 A. Mr. Bujas told us, and I repeat, that the Presidency was in
20 session, the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
21 was still in session, and it had outlawed the roadblocks and issued an
22 order. The president of the Supreme Command; that is, the Presidency as
23 the Supreme Command to the units of the JNA and to the police units to
24 dismantle the barricades.
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: One moment, Mr. Milovancevic, I'd like to find
1 out -- my apologies.
2 I'd like to find out from Mr. Witness, the gentlemen - Nenad, is
3 it? - who you said came to the station in his bathing trunks and had had a
4 breakdown and told you those things, was he in the throes of the breakdown
5 when he said those things or had he had the breakdown before?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, well, this is a sort of a
7 caricature on my part. When I say that he had suffered a nervous
8 breakdown, what actually was at work were his pangs of conscience. He had
9 come to apologise to his colleagues, and he actually was supposed to kill
10 us and that is why he came. He came to say that that was -- actually,
11 what he wanted to portray by his behaviour was how monstrous an order it
12 had been and that he was supposed to carry out such a monstrous order.
13 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: So when you said that he came there in his
14 swimming trunks and had a breakdown, you weren't intending to convey to us
15 that he had a nervous or mental breakdown, then? This is a breakdown of
16 morality? Or it's a breakdown of conscience, rather? Because I just want
17 to understand fully.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I couldn't say that he
19 had actually suffered a nervous breakdown. I'm no doctor and cannot say
20 that with certainty, but it is a question of conscience because this was a
21 man of high morality, Mr. Metesi.
22 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Thank you very much.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: If I may just pick up on what you said. You have
24 made the declaration to tell us the truth and nothing else but the truth.
25 Please refrain from using caricatures in characterising your evidence.
1 Tell us honestly what you know, what happened, without giving any
3 You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. In connection with the mention of the mentioned Metesi, did you
6 ever refer to him in your earlier statement in connection with the
7 situation when the order was issued for the barricade to be attacked with
9 A. Yes, I did mention Mr. Metesi because in the yard of the public
10 security station of Drnis, he was walking around in that yard with a
11 machine-gun in hand.
12 Q. When he came later, as you say, in his bathing suit, what was he
13 saying in connection with his role?
14 A. When I saw Mr. Metesi with a light machine-gun, we didn't know
15 what his task was. However, he didn't go with us into the meeting room
16 where we were having a meeting and were being issued orders. He only came
17 after an hour. And then he told me and explained what his task had been,
18 and it had been to kill those people.
19 Q. Thank you?
20 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, it is being suggested that maybe
21 page 31, line 6 to 7 needs to be edited. I'm not quite sure. Can we just
22 have a look at it and say whether --
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I agree, Your Honour. Yes. I
24 fully understand. It crossed my mind a while ago. Yes, I'm sure that
25 needs to be done, Your Honours.
1 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. May then page 31 line 6 to 7 please be
2 edited out? Thank you very much. You may proceed, Mr. Milovancevic.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation].
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I should like to present to
17 Your Honours, to the Trial Chamber, and to my learned colleague the
18 Prosecutor, this decision assigning the witness to a new work post, but --
19 and after handing you a copy, a hard copy, because we do not have an
20 electronic version, I should like us to move to private session for a bit
21 because of the text of the decision itself and the possibility of the
22 witness being identified on its basis.
23 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Milovancevic.
24 Again, I'm being asked to ask you to direct your attention to page
25 31, lines 13 and 15. Just look at them and tell me whether you think they
1 require redaction.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I believe of
3 course that it would be certainly recommendable for it to be redacted.
4 Thank you. I failed to react at the right moment.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: So be it. Then lines 13 to 15 of page 31, may they
6 also be deleted? Thank you very much.
7 You may proceed.
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Mr. Witness, you see in front of you a decision brought by the
10 Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia. It bears a date and
11 the number. We do not have to read it out although we are in private
12 session. Does this decision refer to you?
13 A. Yes, this decision refers to me.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: We don't seem to have asked that we move into
15 private session. Are we in private session? We are not in private
17 May the Chamber please move into private session.
18 I'm sorry, about that, Mr. Milovancevic, I was still looking at
19 other things.
20 [Private session]
11 Page 7250 redacted. Private session.
20 [Open session]
21 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
22 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much.
23 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Before you is a document with a date in the top corner, 14th of
25 October 1990. It is an audio recording, it says, and this is a section of
1 a conversation between ministers Martin Spegelj and Josip Boljkovac. So
2 this is a text in relation to which I'm going to ask you a couple of
3 questions. Martin Spegelj says, "Listen, if the need arises, say, in a
4 crucial moment, find two or three men to get rid of the most dangerous
6 Josip Boljkovac says, "Okay.".
7 And then Martin Spegelj goes on to say, "To get rid of them
8 physically. Somebody goes to the flat, a courier. He appears at the
9 door, bang, bang, bang, and goes down the stairs."
10 To this Josip Boljkovac says, "And then they can call the police
11 and ask them who did it."
12 To this, Martin Spegelj replies, "Then down the stairs, goes to
13 another one and then kills him. That is at the same time. The most
14 dangerous ones can be killed at the door step. Never mind about women and
15 children. None of that."
16 Was this the film that you say you saw on television?
17 A. Yes. That is the film I saw. I saw it twice, as a matter of
18 fact, I think.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, let me say this again. If that's
20 the point you wanted to establish, that's not how you do it. You ask him
21 first to tell you what it is he knows. That's why we keep on saying, lay
22 the foundation. By the time you show him this document, he must have told
23 you what he knows about that film and if he's able to quote these things
24 then he can quote them before he looks at them. For you to show him this
25 and then say is this the film that you saw, it's leading. I wish you
1 could respond.
2 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, if I remember
3 correctly, the response -- the previous response of the witness, he said
4 that he had listened to the conversation of these two officials, that he
5 has -- had seen the film. It is a fact that I didn't ask him about the
6 details of that conversation. There you are right.
7 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... the detail you
8 must ask about and confirm that in fact what he says he knows is what you
9 are talking about.
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I
12 Q. Do you remember any other details which have to do with this
13 conversation and this film? Was Knin mentioned in it? Do you recall that
14 or not?
15 A. Let me tell you. It's been a long time. I recall some details.
16 I might not be as precise as necessary, but they said something to the
17 effect of Knin will be easy to crush. We'll crush Knin, something along
18 those lines, but I can't be precise. It's been 16 years since. Or Knin
19 will be the last one we'll deal with or something like that.
20 Q. Thank you. The details you mentioned also stemming from the
21 conversation of these two persons?
22 A. Yes, from the conversation between Spegelj and Boljkovac, as far
23 as I can recall, but don't hold me to that specifically.
24 Q. Thank you. Let's look at page 13 of the document in the English
25 version. On page 13 of 22 of the English translation,
1 Mr. Josip Boljkovac, Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia
2 says the following, according to this transcript: "We are going to use
3 all means. We are going to use weapons and the Serbs in Croatia will
4 never be what they have been so far. Their supremacy is history. Their
5 Knin is not going to be Knin any more. We will take over Knin. Knin is
6 going to disappear." The sentence goes on as follows: "All the Croats
7 should keep this in mind. We will establish a state, no matter what the
8 price is going to be, and no matter if blood is spilled." This is one
9 portion of the text. And another portion of the text which is uttered by
10 Minister Spegelj on the 14th of October 1990, and this is page 14, "This
11 is the way we will solve the issue of Knin. We will massacre them and we
12 will receive international recognition for it. We will butcher them.
13 Especially now that the son of a bitch in Serbia" - and he's referring to
14 Milosevic there, and so on and so forth. Do you recall these details?
15 A. Yes, I do. I recall the film that was broadcast and I recall the
16 discussions among people who were very much frightened by the film and
17 what it contained.
18 Q. Were these people arrested and were they brought to trial?
19 A. As far as I know, they never stood trial.
20 Q. Did you hear about the illegal imports of arms, the illegal
21 trafficking in arms, in that period in Yugoslavia, 1990, 1991?
22 A. Yes. I heard that it was in the month of October 1990 that a
23 contingent of arms arrived in Croatia. Part of it was distributed to HDZ
24 activists in the area of Drnis. Part of the weapons were transported by
25 members of the civilian protection of the municipality of Drnis.
1 Q. What was the purpose of the exercise, to your knowledge?
2 A. To my knowledge, the purpose of the exercise was for Croatia to
3 build up its own armed force. The same situation existed in 1945 as it
4 did in 1990, and that was to create an armed force to resist the Serb
5 population in the area.
6 Q. In the month of September, you moved to Knin from Drnis after all
7 these events. What was the reaction of the population to all of these
8 events in general, or of your family in particular?
9 A. On the 17th of August 1990, my family fled the area because on the
10 26th of July 1990, my house came under fire. I was really on my guard
11 throughout the time because I was afraid that my family was going to get
12 killed, that I was going to get killed.
13 Q. Let me stop you there for a moment. You said that your family and
14 you yourself came under fire. Who was it who fired shots at you? You
15 worked for the Drnis police station. You had an employment there. Who
16 was it who opened fire on you?
17 A. On the 26th of July 1990, I believe it was, it was after midnight,
18 past midnight, a car went past my house with two persons in it who opened
19 fire at me. It was later on that I found that the chief of my police
20 station fired at me and hat -- what was later to become -- who was later
21 become the assistant Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia.
22 Q. Do you know their names and how did you establish their
24 A. After the shooting incident, I reported this event, and some
25 police officers conducted the investigation to the effect that they were
1 supposed to obtain witnesses who would say that no gunfire was heard on
2 the night, so as to come to a conclusion that I had falsely reported this.
3 Smiljan Reljic was the person who became later on the assistant of the
4 Minister of the Interior and my chief was Zoran Perica. Later on, the
5 investigation did not come to any results although there was reasonable
6 suspicion to doubt that the two of them had been the perpetrators of the
8 Q. Why was it that this ended like that?
9 A. Well, you see, I was a peaceful person at the time. And I wasn't
10 the only person who came under fire. There was a Croat aged 70 who had
11 also come under fire because he came into conflict with Perica for his
12 peaceful views and I believe he came into conflict with him in 1990 and I
13 believe that they fired shots at my house because I followed my own
14 consistent views and did not wish to abide by what they were saying.
15 Q. You said that your family fled the house. Where was it that you
16 resided in Knin?
17 A. I resided in the Tepljuh neighbourhood. I served in the police at
18 the time and when I came back home on the 17th of August, my family was no
19 longer there. They fled to my brother's who resided in a village two
20 kilometres away. It was because in that recent period that we felt uneasy
21 because my dog barked throughout the night, we had the feeling that
22 someone was around the house, and I relocated my family.
23 Q. When you moved to Knin, did the accused in this case, Milan
24 Martic, work in that public security station?
25 A. I found myself in a very difficult situation. I had no where to
1 stay. I didn't know where to go. My brother could not take me in because
2 my wife was already there and I -- he had two small children, and I
3 applied to Mr. Martic and some other colleagues I knew from before to help
4 me with accommodation. They offered me some cottages but, however, in the
5 meantime, a relative of my wife's came up with an apartment that he was
6 able to give me to stay in while I was in Knin. So I stayed with my
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I have several more questions,
9 Your Honour, by your leave, to finish the examination of this witness. I
10 am nearing the very end of his examination but I would like to finish one
12 Q. For how long were you on the police force and did you come to know
13 Mr. Milan Martic? What kind of a person is he?
14 A. I believe that Mr. Martic and I were born in the same year, 1954.
15 I had known him for 30 years. I have known him for 30 years. And his
16 reputation was a very good one. At the time, he was considered a person
17 of very broad-minded views and of moral integrity. I believe that
18 Mr. Martic was like myself, of left-wing positions and his station was
19 mostly manned by persons who were not extremists but rather of a moderate
20 centre-left views.
21 Q. Do you know whether Mr. Martic exhibited any sort of intolerance
22 towards anyone, especially in terms of interethnic relations?
23 A. You see, at the time, there was no place for persons who
24 discriminated against people in our station. I know that in 1989, during
25 the 600th anniversary of the Kosovo battle, he exhibited intolerance for
1 any sort of discrimination, even if it was exhibited by the Serb
2 population. In this way, he was against any discrimination whatsoever.
3 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I have
4 no further questions.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you, Mr. Milovancevic. It has been suggested
6 that maybe lines 3 to 15 at page 34 should be redacted. Can you just have
7 a look at that, Mr. Milovancevic?
8 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I think it is
9 vague enough and it is not sufficient for the witness to be identified.
10 If you're of a different opinion, I am not opposed to redaction.
11 JUDGE MOLOTO: Okay. I have no opinion actually. I just wanted
12 your guidance. Maybe for safety's sake, shall we redact those lines,
13 then? That's page 34, lines 3 to 15.
14 Thank you very much.
15 Mr. Black?
16 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Black:
18 Q. Sir, my name is Mr. Black, I'm one of the prosecutors on this
19 case. I'm going to be asking you some questions. Do you understand that?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. First of all, you just talked a little bit about the accused Milan
22 Martic. I was wondering, when was the first time you said those things to
23 the Defence counsel? When did you first give them your views on Milan
25 A. The first time was when we discussed Milan Martic, when we met for
1 the first time.
2 Q. Do you remember when that was, approximately? I don't need an
3 exact date but just approximately when it was?
4 A. About a month or a month and a half ago.
5 Q. You also testified not too long ago about an incident where
6 someone actually shot at your house. Do you remember when the first time
7 was that you discussed that with the Defence counsel? Or with the Defence
8 investigators, for that matter?
9 A. About a month or a month and a half ago, in Belgrade, because I
10 didn't know Mr. Milovancevic before that. I talked about my case when I
11 met him, simply because I didn't know the man before.
12 Q. Sir, I understand that. Another detail that you mentioned about
13 this person Nenad who actually came back, the Croat who came back after
14 the episode on the 20th of August 1990, was that another thing that you
15 discussed with Defence counsel when you met with them before?
16 A. Yes. One correction, though. I don't know whether Nenad Metesi
17 is a Croat. I really don't know what his ethnicity is.
18 Q. I apologise. That was an assumption on my part. Thank you for
19 that clarification.
20 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I would just like to complain as I did on
21 one past occasion, that many of these things that have been testified
22 today about today do not appear on the 65 ter summary. Things that do
23 appear on the 65 ter summary have not been covered, and maybe that's
24 because there wasn't enough time for counsel to get everything, but I
25 specifically asked Defence counsel for a supplementary information sheet,
1 and they did give me one. It provided a little more information, but
2 these are details which obviously were known to the Defence, were not
3 provided, and it's consequently almost impossible for me to cross-examine
4 on them. I'm not asking for a delay. I'm going to go on with the other
5 cross-examination that I provided, and hopefully on the breaks I can make
6 up for that. But I just would like to say that a procedure was
7 established and we hope that in the future it's complied with, providing
8 this supplemental information to the Prosecution.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, you hear that?
10 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the information we
11 submitted to the OTP could certainly have been more detailed, but it was
12 produced under the time constraints and in the conditions in which we
13 were. We tried to cover all the topics and for some other events we
14 considered them to be matters of common knowledge. We gave a certain
15 range of topics and events and we considered them to be sufficient to put
16 the OTP on notice about the testimony. It was not our intention to hide
17 anything from the counsel by not furnishing them with the details. It was
18 merely that we were under great pressure to honour the time limits. The
19 initial summaries we gave were even more general and we simply tried to
20 respond the best way we could under the circumstances of the case.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Milovancevic, I just want to warn the Defence
22 that, you know, proceedings at the Tribunal here, like in any other court
23 or Tribunal, are carried out in terms of certain procedures. And the
24 procedures prescribing how we run proceedings in this Tribunal are
25 contained in the Statute and the Rules of this Tribunal.
1 Now, we cannot run this proceedings -- these proceedings
2 efficiently if at every turn you're going to be telling us that you were
3 not able to do A, B, and C, because of the terms that you're working under
4 and you expect at every turn the Chamber to accommodate your failure to
5 comply with Rules of Procedure.
6 You knew -- there are -- you have a team that works with you. I
7 see no reason for you at times to be all three in court, if I may say so
8 now. I've held myself from saying so all the time. When some of them are
9 not doing anything in court, when they could be in the office doing these
10 very things that you say you don't have time to do. And if you come and
11 sit all in court, the assumption is that you've done your job. Now,
12 you -- here is -- we are now in a situation where the Prosecution is
13 saying to you that you didn't mention these things in your 65 ter and yet
14 you have the time to lead them in evidence. How are they supposed to
15 cross-examine on them? To think that things are common knowledge is
16 neither here nor there. Common knowledge, if it's common knowledge, why
17 do you lead it in evidence at all? It's common knowledge. But if you're
18 going to call somebody to testify on it, then you've got to mention it in
19 your 65 ter summary that I am going to call -- lead this witness on this
20 issue. Common knowledge or no common knowledge. It is no reason to leave
21 out information that you intend to lead in court. It is no reason that
22 you are working under certain pressure to -- not to be prepared properly.
23 We all worker pressure. We all have to meet deadlines here. You're not
24 the only ones. Now, I hope this is the last time I hear about this
25 because I think the Chamber will have to look at very drastic measures to
1 get your team to fall in line, if this continues.
2 Sorry, Mr. Black, you may proceed.
3 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honour?
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, what do you want to say, Mr. Milovancevic.
6 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] We provided the information we
7 considered to be normal.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... you have told
9 me that and we don't have time. We've got to finish quickly. I don't
10 want you to repeat what you've just told me. You told me what information
11 you provided.
12 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] There is one other matter I
13 wanted to say.
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: [Previous translation continues] ... don't repeat
15 what you told me.
16 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the working
17 schedule of the Defence team is distributed between the members of the
18 team. Now, it is quite rude and incorrect to say that something was not
19 done simply because one of the members of our team is absent. We have
20 divided our work and are trying to do our best to perform our duties
21 properly and not to place our learned friends in a position where they are
22 surprised by some topics that they were not put on notice about. Thank
24 JUDGE MOLOTO: Who is being rude by saying that something was not
25 done simply because one of the members of your team is absent?
1 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Mr. Milovancevic
3 stated -- said "strong" or "harsh" rather than "rude."
4 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] I presented my view that the
5 assessment about someone's presence or absence and about this being used
6 as the basis for inferences about someone's work cannot simply be made
7 because one cannot know and have a full insight into the work load carried
8 out by each and every member of the team.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: That may be so. That's not the only basis and I've
10 given you many bases as we've gone along with this case, Mr. Milovancevic.
11 You know. And I don't want to say much about this with the witness here.
12 Maybe if you want to take this up we can do it after this witness is
13 finished. I would like this witness to be cross-examined and done with.
14 Can we please go ahead?
15 MR. BLACK: Of course, Your Honour, thank you.
16 Q. Sir, let me go on with some questions for you now. You testified
17 that in 1990, the HDZ held some political rallies in connection with the
18 elections, where fascist songs were sung and Ustasha salutes were seen.
19 You remember testifying about that, right?
20 A. Could you please repeat the latter part of your question? I
21 didn't understand.
22 Q. Of course. In 1990 -- or you testified that in 1990 the HDZ held
23 political rallies and that at those rallies, fascist songs were sung, you
24 could see people giving the Ustasha salute, and other things like that,
25 right? You remember that now?
1 A. Yes, I do.
2 Q. And then you also testified that most Croats, they refused to use
3 that kind of language or those kind of symbols and they even denounced it,
5 A. Yes. I didn't say most Croats. I said some Croats left that
6 rally. This was the rally at Grac, and they said this is really ugly. We
7 don't want to be here. And I observed this. It wasn't most of the
8 Croats. It was some of the Croats. But at the time, you wouldn't even be
9 able to say most of the Croats acted this way because this was just
10 several thousand Croats who were present at this rally and this was just
11 the early days of such rallies.
12 Q. Okay. I understand. Even beyond this rally, there were a lot of
13 Croats who didn't accept this kind of language, they didn't use it and
14 they didn't support it, right? Is that right?
15 A. You see, I can't talk about this in figures. I can tell you that
16 a large part of Croats did accept this. Now, whether this was 60, 70 or
17 80 per cent of the Croats, I can't tell you. I wasn't in a position to
18 know this. Of course among the Croats there were honourable and honest
19 people who were bothered by such statements but let's say there was a
20 gathering of 3.000 Croats. You can't say that all of the Croats were
21 there, that 99 per cent of the people were behaving this way.
22 Q. Well, and that was also true about the HDZ, wasn't it? There were
23 extreme elements and then there were other, more moderate elements, is
24 that right?
25 A. It is true that there were moderate elements in the HDZ but there
1 was just a handful of them, you know. I saw people who condemned such a
2 conduct and who said they didn't want to be in such a nationalist party as
3 HDZ was but these were just a handful of them. I recall that the
4 president of the municipality wept and was very sorry about what had
5 happened to me when they -- when there was this incident and so on.
6 But -- or there was this other person who took my cap, my police cap off,
7 and said no more stars here we are going to have chequerboards, and so on
8 and so forth. But this was the one person, the one isolated incident.
9 Not all the Croats were like that.
10 Q. Let me just make sure I understand you. Are you saying that all
11 Croats except for just a handful, just a very few, were fascists or are
12 you agreeing with me that there were actually quite a number of Croats who
13 weren't fascists who didn't support that kind of idea nor those kind of
14 symbols? Which is it?
15 A. I never believed that all Croats were fascists. There are good
16 and bad people in the Croatian as in any other people but there was this
17 euphoria that had spread among the masses of the Croatian people fueled by
18 the propaganda which was the order of the day, and carried by all the mass
19 media and also propagated at various meetings and rallies. There was
20 fascists much course, among the people but the Croatian people is a good
21 people, as a people. I've never met a bad people, speaking about peoples.
22 Q. Let me ask you one or two questions about media because you
23 mentioned it. In fact the Serb media focused on those most extreme
24 elements at these Croat rallies, isn't that right? That was the part that
25 they really focused and paid attention on.
1 A. The Croatian media as well is, like the Slobodna Dalmacija, the
2 Free Dalmatia, wrote quite correctly, quite realistically about the
3 situation, and the paper Danas also wrote about the situation quite
4 realistically but the situation in the field was much more complex, much
5 worse, than portrayed by the media, believe you me.
6 Q. Okay. Well, let me just try to have you focus on my questions.
7 It's important that you listen closely to my questions, okay?
8 What about Serb media? They focused on those extreme Croat
9 elements, didn't they? That was one of the main focuses of their
10 reporting, rather than on the moderate Croats?
11 A. Many Serb papers, and I read the papers of both, not too many
12 because of my work and the constraints with time, there were articles
13 which were out of the -- of a certain line. There were individual cases
14 like that, which focused more on some aspects of the situation, in other
16 Q. Well, let me see if I can get a clear answer to my question
17 because I'm not sure that you've answered it. You would agree with me,
18 wouldn't you, that at least parts of the Serb media focused attention on
19 those extreme Croat elements? Do you agree with that or do you not agree
20 with that?
21 A. I cannot fully agree with you, Mr. Prosecutor because no Serbian
22 paper actually tried to pinpoint the extremist elements on the Croatian
23 side, but there were individual articles that could -- that were out of
24 this regular, so to speak, line. Not -- neither the Tribjun Novos [phoen]
25 Theme, nor Danas, nor the dailies actually focused on these extremist
1 phenomena on the Croatian side, but there were individual instances of
2 such articles having been written.
3 Q. Let me ask you about leaders, and especially Serb leaders in the
4 Krajina. You would accept that the Serb political leadership focused on
5 that extremism among the Croats as a way to kind of motivate the Serbian
6 population to vote for them, right? You would accept that?
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I do not accept that at all because this does not
8 correspond to the truth in my view, because when we talk about the arming
9 of the Croatian paramilitaries and if I talk about what was actually the
10 beginning of a civil war in Yugoslavia, if I talk about the extremist
11 excesses of a resurgent fascism, of course the other side cannot look
12 favourably upon all that. In my view, the Croatian side had a purpose,
13 had an objective.
14 Q. All right. I wasn't asking you about the Croatian side. I was
15 asking you about the Serb side and I want you to try to focus on my
16 questions, okay? That will help us go through this more quickly.
17 Do you deny that the Serb political leaders played on the extreme
18 elements of the Croats for their own political gain to try to generate
19 Serb nationalist feelings? Do you deny that?
20 A. Well, you see, I do partly deny that because the Serbian people in
21 Croatia, during the multi-party elections, voted overwhelmingly for a
22 pro-Yugoslav or pro-Communist Party rather than a Serbian party, you see.
23 Q. Which party was that?
24 A. It was the SDP, the Party of Democratic Change of Racan. It was a
25 Croatian party, it was not called a Croatian party but it was a party
1 which deceived the Serbs because by placing their confidence in that
2 party, the Serbs were simply betrayed. They actually lost what they had
3 hoped to get. There was another party, Mile Dakic's party and there were
4 some other parties that they voted for. I'm not quite sure now.
5 Q. In fact Serb politicians who were elected to office in those
6 parties then abandoned those parties, didn't they, and they joined the
7 SDS? That all happened in 1990, didn't it?
8 A. Well, you see, Serbian politicians, the Serb politicians, when
9 they came to the Sabor to the Croatian assembly, they were humiliated and
10 sent out, driven away, so they left the assembly.
11 Q. When did this happen?
12 A. I believe it was in 1990 or late in 1990, I'm not quite sure.
13 Q. Let me ask you about one other thing that you said. You suggested
14 earlier that all the Croatian -- the Croatian people, the Croats that
15 returned from abroad, that those were mostly fascists. Did I understand
16 you right?
17 A. I never said that, that all the Croats who returned from abroad
18 were fascists. I said that there was a part of members of extremist
19 emigre organisations who came back and created chaos. But I never said
20 that all of them were fascists and nor would I ever, nor will I ever say
22 Q. Well, let me just read you what you said at pages 8 and 9 of the
23 transcript, and maybe I just got the wrong impression and you can correct
24 it. You said, and this is in reference to people coming back from abroad,
25 you said, "They were part of the Croatian ethnic community and were mostly
1 emigrants, not economic emigrants but political emigrants. Some of them
2 had been involved in sabotage activities before the multi-party elections
3 and were active from their centres in the United States or wherever they
4 were. They were committed to the Ustasha ideology and for the most part
5 were members of terrorist organisations or were classified as such."
6 Now, if you want to change that testimony, please go ahead and
7 clarify it.
8 A. I was speaking about specific target group, not about the Croatian
9 people or Croatian emigrants in general. I was talking about a specific
10 group which was connected with extremist core groups throughout the world.
11 I was not talking about the Croatian people. The Croat people in general,
12 I never want to say anything bad about that people.
13 Q. Another thing you said in your testimony earlier, you said, and
14 I'll quote you, "A truly new Ustasha state was nascent." That's the way
15 you felt then and that's the way you feel now, isn't it?
16 A. Well, if they -- if these groups were calling themselves Ustasha,
17 if they celebrated the letter U and the chequerboard, if they saluted
18 using the fascist sign, how else should I call them but by the name which
19 they call themselves?
20 Q. Well, you see, my confusion -- well, are you suggesting that all
21 Croats were calling themselves Ustashas?
22 A. No. I repeat, not all the Croats.
23 Q. Because you keep making generalisations, like you talk about an
24 Ustasha state and then you say they were calling themselves Ustashas but
25 not everyone in the Republic of Croatia was an Ustasha or called
1 themselves Ustashas. That can't be what you're saying, right?
2 A. I assert, I repeat, I cannot call the whole people -- I cannot
3 call any people a negative name. But the formations which were illegally
4 coming into existence in the 1990s in Croatia which illegally armed
5 themselves, who wore these insignia and emblems were Ustashas in my book
6 because they called themselves Ustashas, because they were Ustashas
7 indeed, and they are Ustashas to me today.
8 Q. Another thing that you said in your testimony was that you
9 basically said that -- well, a couple of times you equated the Ustasha
10 government of 1945 with the Croatian government of 1990.
11 A. According to my modest historical knowledge, and I was born to an
12 anti-fascist family, we never forgot the massacres suffered at the hands
13 of the Ustashas because in 1945, they -- in 1941, they massacred a very
14 good part of the Serbian people. So it is upon the same principles or
15 perhaps upon similar principles that the HDZ was coming into existence and
16 actually held its public events and had public manifestations with the
17 same trappings as the 1941 Pavelic state.
18 Q. With all due respect to the suffering of Serb and other people in
19 the Second World War, what you're saying now in this focus of Serb leaders
20 on equating the Croatian government with an Ustasha fascist government
21 from World War II, the constant references to genocide and Ustasha, that
22 was -- that was a political manoeuvre to create fear in the Serb
23 population, wasn't it? It was a common Serb propaganda technique in the
25 A. Distinguished Mr. Prosecutor, a while ago, ten minutes ago, the
1 Defence counsel was actually reading out what the -- Spegelj as the
2 Minister of Defence and Boljkovac as the Ministry of the Interior, namely
3 members of the Croatian government, what kind of an agreement they had,
4 which was slit their throats, kill and there will be no Serbs. Why --
5 what else should I say? Why shouldn't I equate them? What is the
6 difference between Spegelj and Boljkovac and these people from 1941, Brdak
7 [phoen] namely.
8 Q. Since you made reference --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Budak, sorry.
10 Q. -- what Spegelj and Boljkovac were actually talking about, they
11 were actually talking about an operation against JNA, they weren't talking
12 about killing Serbs or Serb civilians, were they?
13 A. Well, you know, they actually used different names, when they were
14 talking about the killing, they considered the Yugoslav army the
15 Yugo-Chetnik or the Serbo-Chetnik armada, they actually were referring to
16 Serbs. Because in 1991, a number of the officers of the Yugoslav army of
17 Croat and Slovene ethnicity left that army although it was an army based
18 on parity, namely based on the number of inhabitants. In 1991, in my
19 assessment, the Yugoslav army had perhaps a majority of Serbs because they
20 had left, so this was something which did not suit Spegelj. It was no
21 longer his army.
22 Q. Are you saying that these things that happened in 1991 were
23 Spegelj's reasons for saying something in October of 1990?
24 A. Well, sorry if I misspoke or if I spoke in haste. So in April
25 1990, my colleagues whom I know talked -- came to me and we cooperated
1 very well, and they had carried out a security check. Had they talked to
2 the organs of military security, that wouldn't have been suspicious to me.
3 Q. I'm sorry to interrupt you but you already testified about that so
4 it's not necessary for us to repeat that testimony.
5 A. All right. I think that much is clear. That was by way of
6 preparations for what was to follow.
7 Q. Just one more question on this and then I think I'll move to a new
8 topic but just to clarify: You're not saying that extreme comments or the
9 use of extreme symbols by the HDZ or other Croats could have justified
10 crimes committed by Serb police or armed forces, right? You're not saying
11 that that would justify crimes?
12 A. Well, you see, I condemn every Serb crime, every crime by an
13 individual, whether a soldier, a policeman, or a civilian, and, to my
14 knowledge, and I spent all the time there in the area, I heard that there
15 had been crimes. But there were no crimes that were instigated by the
16 state or by the legitimate authorities. But there were crimes, and I
17 would be the happiest of men if all of those crimes or rather the
18 perpetrators were to face this Tribunal.
19 Q. Are you saying that there were no crimes by police or by armed
20 forces against -- Serb police or Serb armed forces against Croats?
21 A. No. I'm not saying that. That's not what I said. There were
22 individuals in whatever uniform. There were individual crimes. But it
23 wasn't a state that was the instigator or the principal, the orderer of
24 these crimes for Croats or any other ethnicity, people of any other
25 ethnicity to be killed. That was a civil war and it was a terrible
2 Q. So just so I'm clear, I guess you're saying that any time that a
3 Serb policeman or a member of the Serb armed forces committed at crime
4 against Croats or against anyone else for that matter, then they were just
5 acting individually, even though they were wearing their uniform? Is that
6 what I'm supposed to understand from this?
7 A. I never heard that any commander had -- or any chief of police had
8 issued any orders to the effect that harm should be inflicted on anyone
9 else. But in the units of both parties, there were criminals, there were
10 murderers, there were bad people, and as I tell you I would be happy to
11 have all those people face justice here and to tell them who was it that
12 ordered them to kill people.
13 Q. Just we are going to take a break in a second but one question.
14 You would agree with me that those people should have been brought to
15 justice at the time, not just here at The Hague but they should have
16 been -- if people commit the crimes in 1990, 1991 and up to 1995, they
17 should have been brought to justice, shouldn't they?
18 A. For criminal offences of that type, it is never too late but they
19 can be brought to justice only when the conditions for that exist. I
20 believe that many people of those who did -- who committed such crimes
21 have already been sanctioned but of course we should never let the matter
22 rest until all have been brought to justice irrespective of what side is
23 concerned, whether it is the Serb or the Muslim or the Croatian side.
24 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I believe it's time for the break.
25 JUDGE MOLOTO: Yes, indeed. We will take a short break and come
1 back at quarter to 6.00.
2 Court adjourned.
3 --- Recess taken at 5.17 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 5.46 p.m.
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Mr. Black?
6 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Sir, the last couple of questions I asked you started with a
8 question and I don't think you answered it so I just want to go back to
9 it, and the question was essentially this: Whatever you say that the HDZ
10 did or said, that does not -- would not justify crimes by Serb police or
11 Serb armed forces, is that -- is that right?
12 A. You see, in my assessment, this is partly true. The HDZ created
13 such an at sphere whereby it caused a civil war, because I am deeply
14 convinced that the war in Croatia was a civil one. I believe that the HDZ
15 pursued such policies as committed a crime against peace.
16 Q. And you're saying that these policies that you say constituted a
17 crime against peace, that that justified crimes, war crimes or crimes
18 against humanity by Serb police or Serb armed forces? Is that what you're
20 A. No. I said that I condemn any crime regardless of who perpetrated
21 it and I still assert that. A crime is a crime regardless of who it is
22 committed by.
23 Q. I think I understood that. You said you condemned all crimes. I
24 just want it to be clear for my own understanding whatever you said that
25 the SDZ -- HDZ did it would not justify those crimes, right?
1 A. Yes. I agree that nothing can justify crimes, murder, regardless
2 of who it is perpetrated by, if someone's life is taken.
3 Q. Okay. And even crimes less -- you know, where someone's life is
4 not taken but other crimes, you would agree that those aren't justified
5 under those circumstances, right?
6 A. Yes. I fully agree with that.
7 Q. Thank you. Just before we, I think, leave this topic of the HDZ
8 and you talked about the -- what you called the extreme elements and you
9 recognise there were some more moderate elements but it's true, isn't it,
10 that the HDZ was mainly focused on independence for Croatia? That was
11 their primary goal; is that right?
12 A. Yes. That was their primary goal and I would add, through illegal
13 or unlawful means or extreme means. This was no democracy. This was a
14 rule of force and violence. [Realtime transcript continued with answer in
16 Q. Well, you're aware that in the public documents, and public
17 statements of the HDZ, they consistently included protection for the
18 rights of all citizens, right? Regardless of ethnicity? You're aware of
20 A. This was fictional. This was a lie that was presented in the
21 public whereas the situation in the field was quite the opposite. If you
22 have the HDZ creating armed detachments, if over ten years in my police
23 station we had issued ten licences for weapons and if with the rise of the
24 HDZ we were issuing as many as 20 weapon permits a day, exclusively to the
25 members of the HDZ --
1 Q. And am I to understand that in your view, if there is arming of
2 the population and things like that, then whatever the political party
3 says on its face you need to look at what was really happening to judge
4 the party or its motives? Is that what you're saying?
5 A. The conduct exhibited by the leaders of this party characterised
6 by an anti-Serb view, and the arming of extremists, which was adding fuel
7 to fire, then you can make only one inference from that, which is that the
8 Serbs had to be exterminated in Croatia, just as in 1941.
9 Q. And if you just changed one word there, and you said that there
10 were leaders of a party characterised by anti-Croat view instead of
11 anti-Serb view, there was arming extremists and adding fuel to the fire,
12 then there would be only one inference that, right? That that party had
13 nationalistic goals as well? And the party, as you can guess I'm
14 referring to, is the SDS.
15 A. You see, I can't equate the HDZ with DSS. That would not be
16 logical. The DSS was being created in the conditions of necessity.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: The SDS.
18 MR. BLACK:
19 Q. You're aware also - one last question about the HDZ - that the
20 HDZ, one of their positions is that they were seeking international
21 recognition for Croatia, for an independent Croatia, right? They were
22 sort of courting the international community for recognition?
23 A. Yes, I'm aware of that.
24 Q. Let me turn your attention now to --
25 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: Before you go on to another area, Mr. Black,
1 just intervene to make a correction. At page 61, line 7 to 10, a question
2 posed by you was subsumed as part of the answer to the witness's previous
3 question -- to your previous question, the witness's answer to your
4 previous question. So that should be corrected at page 61, line 7 to 10.
5 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. It's in line 7 where I say --
6 it was actually me that says, Well, you're aware that and then it
8 JUDGE NOSWORTHY: [Microphone not activated]
9 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour. I hope that's clear for the
10 record now, and I believe it can be corrected in the review of the
12 Q. Sir, let me turn your attention to August of 1990. You --
13 actually could we go into private session just for briefly, Your Honour?
14 JUDGE MOLOTO: May the Chamber please move into private session?
15 [Private session]
11 Page 7278-7282 redacted. Private session.
5 [Open session]
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In our language, you would use a
7 different term than the one I used for my wife's brother.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
9 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you so much. Yes, Mr. Black?
10 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, just a quick reminder. We've been in private session so
12 we were very free to talk about, you know, your relatives and things
13 like that. Now we're back in open session so just be aware of that,
15 You testified that there were barricades erected in Drnis or
16 around Drnis on the 17th of August 1990. Did you personally participate
17 in manning those barricades or in organising those barricades?
18 A. I wasn't among the organisers of the barricades. However, in view
19 of the fact that these were people who were my neighbours, I went past
20 these barricades several times and everyone could have. It was -- the
21 purpose of these barricades was simply not to -- to prevent a possible
22 attack from the Croatian police, whereas commercial traffic, any other
23 traffic, was able to pass there. I heard stories about it although I had
24 nothing to do with the barricades, I didn't participate in the manning of
25 the barricades or in organising them.
1 Q. Did you ever try to pass by a barricade with a Croat in your car?
2 A. Mr. Prosecutor, believe me when I say that I do not remember but
3 it is quite possible that I did because Croats went there and Muslims,
4 everyone. As far as I recall, the control at the barricades was directed
5 solely at the Croatian police.
6 Q. So you never heard anything about Croat civilians having
7 difficulties at the barricades, being harassed, having their cars
8 searched, or anything like that?
9 A. I heard stories that some Croat civilians had problems that they
10 experienced by some individuals manning the barricades.
11 Q. What kind of problems did they have, if you remember?
12 A. I think that they amounted to the searches conducted in -- of the
13 vehicles but I did not hear of any brutal conduct.
14 Q. Other than the barricades near Drnis, did you -- I guess you
15 didn't ever see any other barricades in other parts of the Krajina, is
16 that right? Is that a fair statement?
17 A. At that time, I did not move about much. The barricades were not
18 erected only at this one spot I was referring to. There were barricades
19 along the boundaries of practically all the municipalities. You could
20 even go as far as to give this overstatement that even children were
21 erecting barricades. This is of course on the part of the Serbs but later
22 on the Croat side started erecting barricades just as the Serb side did in
23 some villages.
24 Q. Let me focus just on the Serb barricades and really I'm focused on
25 August and September, maybe up even to December of 1990. Police also
1 participated in manning these barricades, isn't that right?
2 A. Police patrols, as far as I remember and recall, were not supposed
3 to be at the barricades all the time but to encourage the persons manning
4 the barricades to behave in a civil way because every day there was the
5 increased threat of Croats attempting to take control of these
6 municipalities, and the idea was that this should not be allowed.
7 Q. And when you say that police patrols were not supposed to be at
8 the barricades all the time, am I right to understand you that police were
9 at the barricades some of the time, uniformed police?
10 A. I really can't give you a precise answer. I believe the situation
11 was just as I described it now but I couldn't -- I can't remember that at
12 this time.
13 Q. Did you ever hear that Milan Martic had assumed command of the
14 barricades on or after the 17th of August 1990?
15 A. In my assessment and to my knowledge, I never heard that Martic
16 had assumed control there because the barricades were not Martic's or
17 anyone else's for that matter. The barricades were organised by the
18 people. These were the villages along these particular roads, but I had
19 never heard of Martic having assumed control there.
20 Q. Did you ever hear about a defence -- or a staff for the defence of
21 Knin which was later renamed the Council for National Resistance?
22 A. I can't tell you what the name of the staff was but I did hear
23 that there existed a body which, I don't know, took care that the Croatian
24 forces should not break through and get into the area but I don't know
25 what it was called really.
1 Q. Was Milan Martic the leader of this staff that you've -- that you
2 kind of recall?
3 A. I wouldn't be able to tell you that either because I don't know
4 the title of the staff, its members, or its whereabouts. That's why I
5 can't tell you whether Martic was a member of the staff or what he did for
6 that matter, because I simply don't know.
7 Q. Let me give you just a couple more details to see if it jogs your
8 memory. If it doesn't, please just say so. The staff for the defence of
9 Knin which was later called the Council of National Resistance was set up
10 on the 17th of August 1990 and its tasks included sort of coordinating the
11 barricades, they operated from Golubic and some other places, and it was
12 headed by Milan Martic. Does that ring a well? Do you remember hearing
13 about that?
14 A. Really, I might have heard about it but so much time has passed I
15 do not remember these details because after all I spent most of 1990 being
16 medically treated. In fact, that treatment continued into 1991 and I had
17 my own problems.
18 Q. I think I understand. Is it fair to say, then, that there could
19 have been things happening in Knin and in the Krajina at that time of
20 which you're simply not aware, you just don't know about them?
21 A. That is quite correct.
22 Q. One specific thing: Were you aware that on the 17th of August
23 1990, Milan Martic and others handed out weapons at Golubic? Did you ever
24 hear about that?
25 A. As far as weapons and Knin are concerned, the only thing I heard
1 was that the Knin SUP did not surrender the arms to the members of the
2 army of the Republic of Croatia but that they took it themselves. But
3 what happened with it afterwards, to whom they gave it, I really don't
4 know. But I did hear that the police or the citizens took the arms, took
5 the weapons, from the police station. I really don't remember exactly.
6 Q. Do you remember it was the police, right, it was the Knin police,
7 that had taken those weapons, is that -- is that what you remember?
8 A. I cannot recall. I wasn't there. I really don't know. I know
9 that the weapons were taken out of the station. It was no longer there.
10 When I returned to the station, and re-assumed my duties. But I cannot
11 say whether it was the police or the people. I think it was the people,
12 that the people barged into the police station one evening and seized the
13 arms. The police would not open fire at the people. The people went
14 into the station, seized the arms in fear of a possible attack, and I
15 believe that is the way it was.
16 Q. Because the way you originally stated it was the only thing I
17 heard was that the Knin SUP did not surrender the arms to the members of
18 the army of the Republic of Croatia but that they took it themselves. Is
19 that what you remember? Or are you now saying you remember it
20 differently? Or you don't remember at all?
21 A. Mr. Prosecutor, the army of the Republic of Croatia did not exist
22 at that time at all. In 1990 there was no such army at all. You are
23 asking me to remember. I heard but I did not see for myself any of those
24 things because I had only learned by hearing of that, that the people had
25 gone into the station and seized the arms. I didn't see that for myself
1 with my own eyes.
2 Q. You're quite right about the army of the Republic of Croatia. I
3 was reading from the transcript so I just note that perhaps at transcript
4 72, line 17, there may be a mistake but we can look at that. I think it's
5 clear now from what you've stated. You heard, in fact, didn't you, that
6 it was the police that had organised the seizing of the weapons from the
7 Knin public security station; is that right? That you actually heard that
8 it was the police that did that and made it look like the citizens had
9 broke in? Does that sound right?
10 A. No. That doesn't sound right. That is not what I said. I said
11 that I wasn't aware, that I didn't know whether it had been the police,
12 but what I had heard, what I had heard subsequently, is that the people
13 had gone into the police station and seized the arms.
14 Q. You say you weren't aware and you didn't know whether it had been
15 the police. Why, then -- what made you think that it could have been the
17 A. Well, certainly, there were some policemen there at the time, at
18 least the people -- the policemen who were on duty that night. Of course,
19 they could not oppose these people, put up a resistance to these people,
20 because I heard that that night there were thousands of people who had
21 gone into different police stations throughout Croatia with the same
22 purpose in mind, to seize the arms from those -- those police stations.
23 Q. Well, let's just focus on Knin. I think when you talk about
24 thousands of people in different police stations, unless you have
25 something specific in mind, please don't speculate. Don't exaggerate.
1 Just talk about what you know and let's focus on Knin. Do you understand
3 A. I do understand you but you are asking me questions about a period
4 or rather about events that I myself did not attend. So everything that
5 I'm telling you is from stories that I heard, and there were all kinds of
6 stories being bandied about so I have no material proof to corroborate
7 anything that I'm saying because as I said I didn't see any of those
8 things with my own eyes. On the 17th of August I was still in Drnis at my
9 workplace and also on the 18th and on the 19th and 20th of August as well.
10 Q. Okay. I understand your response. Let me ask you about some
11 things that happened after the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th of August. Did
12 you ever become aware that the Knin police station knew that Serbs were
13 illegally arming themselves but they weren't willing to take any steps to
14 stop that illegal arming? Did you ever hear about that?
15 A. Mr. Prosecutor, during that time, during the four days that you
16 refer to, I was, to put it that way, virtually a prisoner.
17 Q. Let me interrupt you actually because I -- I just interrupt you
18 because I think there was a misunderstanding. I was actually asking you
19 about after that time, so after the 20th of August, after that middle part
20 of August, did you hear about this afterwards, between -- let's say up
21 until December of 1990, that the police station actually became aware of
22 Serbs illegally arming themselves but they weren't willing to take any
23 steps to stop that? Did you hear about that?
24 A. I could see some civilians wearing arms, automatic rifles and
25 semi-automatic rifles, I could see such civilians around. Whether this
1 was the result of police action, I don't know. I'm quite sure that it
2 wasn't because there were about 50 policemen in the Knin police station,
3 and as for people who were fearing a possible Croatian aggression or a
4 Croatian crime were about 30 to 50.000. So that that kind of a police
5 force with those numbers couldn't certainly have opposed that many people
6 because what happened in Knin was the people happened.
7 Q. Just one question for clarification. You said you saw -- you
8 could see civilians wearing arms. You're referring to Serb civilians,
10 A. Yes. I was referring to Serb civilians who were manning the
11 barricades, as I mentioned I passed by the barricades twice or perhaps it
12 was more than that. I cannot remember. But -- and they were bearing
13 arms. Now, whether those were weapons from the station or not, I cannot
14 say that. But they were bearing automatic rifles and of course no
15 ordinary civilian in the former Yugoslavia had such manner of weapon at
17 JUDGE MOLOTO: Can I just get clarity?
18 MR. BLACK: Please, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE MOLOTO: You said earlier you saw civilians wearing arms,
20 automatic rifles, and semi-automatic rifles. Did you see civilians at
21 these barricades with that kind of weaponry? I know you've said you've
22 seen them at the barricades with automatic rifles but did you also see
23 them with semi-automatic rifles and wearing arms, whatever wearing arms
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the barricades, at first, they
1 just had hunting rifles and later they had automatic rifles and
2 semi-automatic rifles which the men manning the barricades wore, and
3 I'm -- I believe that those were seized from the police station. It is
5 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you. Yes, Mr. Black?
6 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Sir, sticking with this issue of arms, did you ever hear the
8 figures that 1300 guns and 400 pistols had been infiltrated into Knin and
9 Obrovac municipalities after -- sometime after mid-August 1990? Just did
10 you ever hear about that?
11 A. Actually I can tell you a name in that connection. I have heard.
12 I heard about it. Is this a closed session? Can I mention some names and
13 is it -- can I at all ask for us to move into closed session,
14 Your Honours?
15 JUDGE MOLOTO: At the witness's request, may the Chamber please
16 move into private session.
17 [Private session]
11 Pages 7292-7299 redacted. Private session.
6 [Open session]
7 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we are back in open session.
8 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much. Yes, Mr. Black?
9 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. You testified about how you actually went to the media and
11 publicised what had happened in the Drnis police station, right? You
12 talked about that?
13 A. That's correct. It was a press conference where I made a public
14 statement for the duration of 45 minutes.
15 Q. And that was -- that was actually against police regulations,
16 wasn't it, to make an unauthorised public statement like that?
17 A. Under ordinary circumstances, this would have been unlawful. I
18 would have been reprimanded or punished in a way, but these were not
19 normal times. This was quite something different. The attempt was to
20 prevent people from getting killed. This was an attempt at averting a
21 conflict and a war, and this was the most -- the grandest such attempt
22 because it was carried out by Serbs, Croats and Muslims alike.
23 Q. And in fact, as you say, you weren't reprimanded, you were
24 actually -- you requested to be transferred to Knin and that request was
25 granted. That's what happened afterwards, right?
1 A. Mr. Prosecutor, after that, I was suspended which means I was not
2 reassigned to Knin; however, several days later, probably after some
3 political factors had a second thought about it, they reassigned me to a
4 post in Knin which was by two or three notches lower to the one I had
5 before and they said that this was done at my request and I assure you
6 that no man who is in his right mind wishes to run away from his home
7 because after death, this is the worst fate that can befall you, to be
8 expelled from one's home.
9 Q. So what it says in the document that we looked at earlier about
10 you requesting to be transferred to Knin, that's false, is that what
11 you're saying?
12 A. This was true, because I was cornered, because I had no other
13 option but to ask to be reassigned from Drnis. But I wasn't the only one
14 who was reassigned. All the other police officers who took part in this
15 so-called mutiny, both Croat and Serb police officers, were reassigned to
16 Zagreb or Slavonski Brod or other places some 15 days later. But they no
17 longer worked at the Drnis police station. There remained only others who
18 were of some other ilk.
19 Q. Did that seem somehow unfair to you that you would be -- you would
20 suffer some consequence of what you just called a mutiny? You weren't
21 dismissed from your work, you were simply transferred somewhere else,
23 A. That's correct. I was transferred to the Knin SUP, but my actions
24 of the time are the object of my pride even today. On the 4th of January
25 1991, together with all my colleagues, I don't know how many of us there
1 were, all of us were dismissed. So all of us who were transferred to Knin
2 were dismissed on the 4th of January 1991. I lost my job then and I had
3 already lost my home, my house, without ever having committed a crime.
4 Q. Well, on that same day, the Knin SUP was created separate from the
5 Croatian Ministry of Interior, right? And Milan Martic was appointed the
6 secretary for the Interior of the SAO Krajina. That's why the policemen
7 in Knin were, as you say, dismissed, because they had established their
8 own rebel police station, right?
9 A. You see, this is your opinion. My opinion is that this was no
10 rebel station. We didn't call ourselves police, policija, we called
11 ourselves, militia, milicija, which means in Latin "armed people" or
12 "people's army." And we wanted to be the people's army because up until
13 then, we were municipal police. We served the citizens of our
15 Q. But you didn't expect to remain in the Croatian MUP when the SAO
16 Krajina had declared that the Croatian Ministry of the Interior would have
17 to -- no longer have jurisdiction on the territory of the SAO Krajina
18 after the 5th of January, did you?
19 A. Well, this is a matter of the point of view. This was something
20 that should not have happened, because this could have worked still, but
21 the Croatian MUP got rid of the Serb personnel because the police officers
22 from Dubrovnik were not in Knin, the police who worked in Zagreb were not
23 in Knin but nevertheless they were dismissed. People aged 36, all of them
24 were retired and they were retired simply because they were unsuitable for
25 the Croatian police and they were not standing accused or they were not
1 guilty of any barricades or anything of that sort.
2 Q. Well, isn't it the case that by August of 1990, Serb police in the
3 Krajina, in Drnis and in other parts, were openly defying the orders of
4 the Croatian MUP? They were basically deciding which orders they felt
5 like implementing and which they did not? Isn't that right?
6 A. I think that perhaps you might have been wrong in the year there.
7 I think you said 1990. Could you please repeat the question?
8 Q. Yes. That's what I meant, that by August of 1990, based on what
9 we've talked about, on the 20th of August 1990, as well as what happened
10 in Knin and in other places, Serb policemen in the Krajina were openly --
11 openly disobeying orders from the Croatian MUP and deciding for themselves
12 which orders they wanted to implement and which orders they didn't, right?
13 A. Mr. Prosecutor, no. I told you that in my police station, there
14 were Serbs, Croats and Muslims. Therefore, it wasn't just Serbs who
15 refused to carry out orders that were not consistent with moral values
16 because orders to kill people are not moral. Had the Croatian MUP been
17 entitled to issue such orders then I would draw a parallel with the German
18 regime and its policy to kill Jews. Just as they were not entitled to
19 kill Jews, so Croats were not entitled to kill Serbs.
20 MR. BLACK: Your Honours, no further questions.
21 JUDGE MOLOTO: Thank you very much, Mr. Black.
22 Mr. Milovancevic, you've got two minutes to 7.00. I don't know if
23 you want to begin with your re-examination or whether you want to skip it
24 over to tomorrow.
25 MR. MILOVANCEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, we are at the very
1 end and if I would have questions, then they would only be several. I
2 don't know if the Trial Chamber would have questions for the witness. I
3 suggest that we resume tomorrow.
4 JUDGE MOLOTO: Very well, then. Then we'll resume tomorrow. The
5 Court will be adjourned and we will reconvene tomorrow at 9.00 in this
7 Am I right? Yes.
8 It had been indicated earlier that we will start at 10.00. We
9 will start at 9.00 tomorrow. Thank you very much.
10 Court adjourned.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.00 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 29th day of August,
13 2006, at 9.00 a.m.