1 Wednesday, 26 February 2003
2 [Initial Appearance]
3 [Open Session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 1.20 p.m.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Good afternoon. Please be seated. May I ask
7 Madam Registrar to call the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honour. This is IT-03-67-I,
9 the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And the appearances, please.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good afternoon, Your Honour. For the
12 Prosecution, trial attorney Daniel Saxon, case manager Kimberly Fleming,
13 and my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. On the side of the Defence I can see
15 no Defence counsel.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have decided to defend myself.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I give you the floor immediately. I just was
18 announcing that, only a few minutes ago, I received your letter translated
19 into English, informing us that you decided to defend yourself in the
20 proceedings which, as you state, we are preparing for you. You continue,
21 stating: "I insist that you submit all court documents and Prosecution
22 material to me personally at exclusively in the Serbian language." We
23 have received this. We have to come back to the question of Defence
24 counsel later.
25 You, Dr. Seselj, have decided yourself to come voluntarily to The
1 Hague from Belgrade in order to rebut the allegations raised against you.
2 These allegations are contained in the indictment dated the 15th day of
3 January, 2003, reviewed and confirmed by another Judge of this Tribunal
4 the 14th of February, 2003.
5 Dr. Seselj, the basis for the fact that after your arrival in The
6 Hague you were arrested at the same time, the same day, that was Monday
7 the 24th of February, 2003, you were brought to the United Nations
8 Detention Unit. The underlying reason for this and the legal basis for
9 this is an arrest warrant dated the 14th of February, 2003, issued by a
10 permanent Judge of this Tribunal.
11 The President of this Tribunal has assigned only yesterday this
12 case to Trial Chamber II. I am presiding over. In this capacity,
13 Dr. Seselj, I would like to ask you several questions. The first
14 questions are only for the purposes of the identification, having nothing
15 to do with the case as such, especially not with the charges.
16 Would you please be so kind and state your full name, including
17 all first names and last names, for the record.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Vojislav Seselj.
19 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And your father's and mother's name,
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Nikola and Danica.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What is the date and place of your birth?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The 11th of October, 1954, in
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: What was your profession or occupation before
1 you came to the Netherlands?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am a doctor of law. I am a full
3 Professor at the Faculty of Law, and I was a member of the Republican
4 Parliament and the Federal Parliament as well.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And your last place of residence,
6 including the exact address.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Belgrade, Batajnica, Posavskog
8 Odreda number 36.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And finally, are you married and do you have
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I am married, and I have four
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, Dr. Seselj.
14 The proceedings today are your initial appearance before this
15 Tribunal under Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence. It seems
16 to be a formality only, but you, as a lawyer, know that it's very
17 important -- a very important point in time, setting, to a certain extent,
18 the course for the entire procedure. The underlying reasons for this
19 procedure is the following: The Prosecution has asked a Judge of this
20 Tribunal to confirm an indictment against you on a prima facie basis in
21 your absence. At the same time, there was a request for an arrest warrant
22 forming the basis for your deprivation of liberty. Normally, the other
23 party - in this case you, Dr. Seselj - would have a right to be informed
24 and heard before a decision is taken. However, it is for the nature of an
25 arrest warrant that it is not possible to hear a wanted person beforehand.
1 Today you will have the possibility to contest, thus, the indictment and
2 the deprivation of liberty.
3 For a better understanding of what's going on, let me give you the
4 following informations before reading the indictment.
5 Dr. Seselj, it's your right to remain silent, as it is enshrined
6 in Article 14 para 3(G) of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and
7 Political Rights. No inference to your disadvantage can be drawn if you
8 remain totally silent. The only inference can be drawn -- can be found in
9 Rule 62(iv) of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence where you can read that
10 if the accused fails to enter a plea in the initial or any further
11 appearance, the Judge shall enter a plea of not guilty on the accused's
13 But I have to warn you at the same time, everything you may say in
14 courtroom may be used even against you in evidence.
15 It is only fair to inform you about the other side of the same
16 coin. It is a general rule in all courtrooms of this world that any kind
17 of substantial cooperation would be for your advantage. In case it will
18 not come to a sentencing stage, your cooperation will be in your own
19 interests to speed up proceedings. In case - and I have to emphasise only
20 in case - it would come to a sentencing stage, such kind of substantial
21 cooperation will always be held in your favour.
22 Dr. Seselj, did you understand this first part of the admonition?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understood it.
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. Let's now come to the second part.
25 Rule 45 of our Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides in paragraph (A)
1 and (G) the following: (A) Whenever the interests of justice so demand,
2 counsel shall be assigned to the suspect or accused who lacks the means to
3 remunerate such counsel.
4 And in (G) you can read: A suspect or accused electing to conduct
5 his or her own defence shall so notify the Registrar in writing at the
6 first opportunity.
7 Apparently you have chosen the latter option. I have,
8 nevertheless, to emphasise, in conclusion, that you are always entitled to
9 such counsel assigned to you, because no doubt it will facilitate your
10 defence, especially related to the extremely difficult legal questions,
11 even though you are acquainted with the law, you know the law, but as you
12 may know, we have to obey the rules of a hybrid set of rules for procedure
13 and evidence, predominantly coming from the common law system, and we
14 coming from a civil law system sometimes have to face additional problems
15 with these legal questions.
16 No doubt when it comes to the facts it's for you, and I have not
17 the slightest doubt that you are eloquent enough and have the rhetorical
18 capacities to express what you want related to the facts. But related to
19 the law, it could be to your advantage, in fact, to have a Defence
21 May I ask you whether there is any intention maybe to reverse your
22 decision or do you want additional time for your final decision whether or
23 not you want to have the assistance - I emphasise the assistance, it's not
24 an either/or - the assistance of Defence counsel?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My decision to defend myself is a
1 definite one. It is possible that I will engage an assistant and a legal
2 advisor who will never appear on my behalf in this courtroom. They will
3 never appear in this courtroom. I retain this exclusivity of appearing in
4 the courtroom on the side of the accused. However, there is no need for
5 me to engage a legal advisor or a legal assistant at any early date. Now
6 it is up to the Prosecution to act, and in the meantime, I will have
7 sufficient time to see whether I do need assistance.
8 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. As to the fact that in the moment
9 apparently in the absence of a Defence counsel it might be difficult for
10 you to act at all. Are you in possession of the Rules of Procedure and
11 Evidence dated the 12th of December, 2002?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. I received that. I received
13 all the relevant legal documents except for the text of Resolution 827
14 dated the 25th of May, 1993, and the text of Resolution 995, dated the 8th
15 of November, 1994. That is to say the Security Council Resolutions. And
16 I request that this be handed over to me as well so that my documentation
17 would be complete.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No doubt you will receive these requested
19 documents as soon as possible. Unfortunately, opposed to the Rules of
20 Procedure and Evidence, I would have before me also in B/C/S - it's only
21 in English - but you have the right to have these requested documents in a
22 language you understand.
23 Let us now hear the charges of the indictment of January 15
24 without the attachment. May I ask Madam Registrar please --
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I insist, I insist that the
1 indictment be read in its entirety, in accordance with Rule 62.
2 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: No doubt you are entitled to do so. We then
3 will read the indictment in full, with all the annexes.
4 Any observations by the Prosecution?
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour.
6 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let us please start with the -- the first part
7 and Annex I. And before we starting with Annex II, I want to ask the
8 Prosecution whether there is any problem when we read out the names of the
9 alleged victims in this case, but we'll come to the answer later.
10 May I ask Madam Registrar to start reading out slowly, please.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecutor of the
12 International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, pursuant to her
13 authority under Article 18 of the Statute of the International Criminal
14 Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, charges Vojislav Seselj with crimes
15 against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war as set forth
17 The accused Vojislav Seselj, son of Nikola Seselj, was born on 11
18 October, 1954 in Sarajevo, Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a
19 graduate of the Faculty of Law of Sarajevo University. He holds a
20 Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree, and a Doctorate, obtained in 1976,
21 1978, and 1979 respectively. From 1981 to 1984, he worked as an assistant
22 professor, lecturing on political science at Sarajevo University.
23 Although he was originally a communist, Vojislav Seselj eventually
24 became critical of the communist regime in the former Yugoslavia and in
25 the early 1980s he developed close relations with a group of Serbian
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 nationalists. In 1984 he was convicted of counter-revolutionary
2 activities and sentenced to eight years of imprisonment. Upon the
3 commutation of the sentence by the Supreme Court of the Socialist Federal
4 Republic of Yugoslavia ("SFRY"), he was released in 1986.
5 After his release, Vojislav Seselj settled down in Belgrade and
6 continued to engage in nationalistic politics. In 1989 he travelled to
7 the USA and met the chairman of the movement of Chetniks in the free
8 world, Momcilo Djujic, who on the day of the 600th anniversary of the
9 battle of Kosovo, 28th June 1989, appointed him a Chetnik "Vojvoda",
10 meaning a "Duke" or leader. Following this appointment, Vojislav Seselj
11 travelled to the USA, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe, collecting
12 funds to support his nationalistic activities. On 23 January, 1990,
13 Vojislav Seselj became the leader of the Serbian Freedom Movement and on
14 14 March 1990, formed an alliance with Vuk Draskovic, another Serbian
15 nationalist, and started the Serbian Renewal Movement ("SPO").
16 In June 1990, Vojislav Seselj founded the Serbian National Renewal
17 Party, subsequently renamed the Serbian Chetnik Movement. In the
18 elections of December 1990, his party received almost 100.000 votes.
19 Shortly thereafter, the authorities of the SFRY banned the Serbian Chetnik
20 Movement. On 23 February, 1991, Vojislav Seselj was appointed president
21 of the newly founded Serbian Radical Party ("SRS"). In June 1991, he was
22 elected a member of the Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. In almost
23 daily rallies and election campaigns, he called for Serb unity and war
24 against Serbia's historic enemies, namely the ethnic Croat Muslim and
25 Albanian populations within the territories of the former Yugoslavia.
1 Additional relevant historical and political facts are set out in Annex I
2 to this indictment.
3 Individual Criminal Responsibility
4 Article 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal
5 Vojislav Seselj is individually criminally responsible for the
6 crimes referred to in Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal and
7 described in this indictment, which he planned, ordered, instigated,
8 committed, or in whose planning, preparation, or execution he otherwise
9 aided and abetted. By using the word "committed" in this indictment, the
10 Prosecutor does not intend to suggest that the accused physically
11 committed all of the crimes charged personally. "Committed" as used in
12 this indictment includes the participation of Vojislav Seselj in a joint
13 criminal enterprise. By using the word "instigated", the Prosecution
14 charges that the accused Vojislav Seselj's speeches, communications, acts,
15 and/or omissions contributed to the perpetrators' decision to commit the
16 crimes alleged.
17 Vojislav Seselj participated in a joint criminal enterprise. The
18 purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the permanent forcible
19 removal, through the commission of crimes in violation of Articles 3 and 5
20 of the Statute of the Tribunal, of a majority of the Croat, Muslim, and
21 other non-Serb populations from approximately one-third of the territory
22 of the Republic of Croatia, and large parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and
23 from parts of Vojvodina, in the Republic of Serbia, in order to make these
24 areas part of a new Serb-dominated state. With respect to Croatia, the
25 area included those regions that were referred to by Serb authorities as
1 the "SAO Krajina" (i.e. the Serb Autonomous Region of Krajina), the SAO
2 Western Slavonia, the SAO Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, after 10
3 December 1991, the SAO Krajina became known as the "RSK" (Republic of
4 Serbian Krajina); on 26 February 1992, the SAO Western Slavonia and SAO
5 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem joined the RSK as well as the
6 Dubrovnik Republic. With respect to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the areas
7 included Bosanski Samac and Zvornik.
8 The crimes enumerated in this indictment were within the object of
9 the joint criminal enterprise and Vojislav Seselj had the knowledge and
10 intention necessary for the commission of each of the crimes.
11 Alternatively, the crimes enumerated in counts 1 to 9 and 12 to 15 of the
12 indictment were the natural and foreseeable consequences of the execution
13 of the object of the joint criminal enterprise and Vojislav Seselj was
14 aware that such crimes were the possible outcome of the execution of the
15 joint criminal enterprise.
16 The aforesaid joint criminal enterprise came into existence before
17 1 August 1991 and continued until at least December 1995. Vojislav Seselj
18 participated in the joint criminal enterprise until September 1993 when he
19 had a conflict with Slobodan Milosevic. Vojislav Seselj worked in concert
20 with several individuals in the joint criminal enterprise to succeed in
21 its objective. Each participant or co-perpetrator within the joint
22 criminal enterprise played his or her role or roles that significantly
23 contributed to the objective of the enterprise. Other individuals
24 participating in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan
25 Milosevic, General Veljko Kadijevic, General Blagoje Adzic, Colonel Ratko
1 Mladic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic also known as Frenki, Radovan
2 Stojicic also known as Badza, Milan Martic, Goran Hadzic, Radovan
3 Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Biljana Plavsic, Zeljko Raznjatovic also
4 known as Arkan, and other members of the Yugoslav People's Army ("JNA"),
5 later the Yugoslav army ("VJ"), the newly formed Serb Territorial Defence
6 ("TO") of Croatia and of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army of Republika Srpska
7 Krajina ("SVK"), and the army of Republika Srpska and the TOs of Serbia
8 and of Montenegro, local Serb, Republic of Serbia, and Republika Srpska
9 police forces ("MUP forces"), including the state security, the DB branch
10 of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia and Serb special
11 police forces of the SAO Krajina and the RSK commonly referred to as
12 Martic's Police, "Marticevci", the SAO Krajina Police, and members of the
13 Serbian, Montenegrin, Bosnian and Croatian Serb paramilitary forces and
14 volunteer units including "Chetniks" or "Seseljevci" (translated into
15 English as "Seselj's men") (collectively, "Serb forces") and other
16 political figures from the SFRY, the Republic of Serbia, the Republic of
17 Montenegro and the Bosnian and Croatian Serb leadership.
18 Vojislav Seselj, as president of the SRS, was a prominent
19 political figure in the SFRY, the FRY, in the time period relevant to this
20 indictment. He propagated a policy of uniting all Serbian lands in a
21 homogenous Serbian state. He defined the so-called
22 Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica line as the western border of this new
23 Serbian state (which he called "Greater Serbia") which included Serbia,
24 Montenegro, Macedonia, and considerable parts of Croatia and Bosnia and
1 Vojislav Seselj, acting alone and in concert with other members of
2 the joint criminal enterprise participated in the joint criminal
3 enterprise in the following ways:
4 A. He participated in the recruitment, formation, financing,
5 supply, support, and direction of Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS,
6 commonly known as "Chetniks" or "Seseljevci." These volunteer units were
7 created and supported to assist in the execution of the joint criminal
8 enterprise through the commission of crimes in violation of Articles 3 and
9 5 of the Statute of the Tribunal.
10 B. He made inflammatory speeches in the media, during public
11 events and during visits to the volunteer units and other Serb forces in
12 Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, instigating those forces to commit
13 crimes in violation of the Articles 3 and 5 of the Statute of the
15 C. He espoused and encouraged the creation of a homogenous
16 Greater Serbia encompassing the territories specified in this indictment
17 by violence and thereby participated in war propaganda and incitement of
18 hatred towards non-Serb people.
19 D. In public speeches he called for the expulsion of Croat
20 civilians from parts of Vojvodina region in Serbia and thus instigated his
21 followers and the local authorities to engage in a persecution campaign
22 against the local Croat population.
23 E. He participated in the planning and preparation of the
24 takeover of villages in the two SAOs in Croatia and in the municipalities
25 of Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the subsequent
1 forcible removal of the majority of the non-Serb population from these
3 F. He participated in the provision of financial, material,
4 logistical, and political support necessary for such takeovers. He
5 obtained this support, with the help of Slobodan Milosevic, from the
6 Serbian authorities, and from Serbs living abroad where he collected funds
7 to support the aim of the joint criminal enterprise.
8 G. He recruited Serbian volunteers connected to the SRS and
9 indoctrinated them with his extreme ethnic rhetoric so they engaged in the
10 forcible removal of the non-Serb population in the targeted territories
11 through the commission of crimes as specified in this indictment with
12 particular violence and brutality.
13 Vojislav Seselj knowingly and wilfully participated in the joint
14 criminal enterprise sharing the intent of other participants of the joint
15 criminal enterprise or being aware of the foreseeable consequences of
16 their actions. On this basis, he bears individual criminal responsibility
17 for the crimes under Article 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal, in
18 addition to his responsibility under the same Article for having planned,
19 ordered, instigated, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the
20 planning, preparation, and execution of those crimes.
21 General Legal Allegations
22 At all times relevant to this indictment, a state of armed
23 conflict existed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. A nexus existed
24 between the state of armed conflict and the alleged crimes in Croatia,
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and parts of Vojvodina, Serbia.
1 At all times relevant to this indictment, Vojislav Seselj was
2 required to abide by the laws and customs governing the conduct of armed
4 Conduct charged as crimes against humanity was part of a
5 widespread or systematic attack directed against the Croat, Muslim, and
6 other non-Serb civilian populations within large areas of Croatia, Bosnia
7 and Herzegovina and Vojvodina, Serbia.
8 The Charges
9 Count 1
11 From on or about the 1st of August, 1991 until at least September
12 1993, Vojislav Seselj, acting individually or in concert with known and
13 unknown members of the joint criminal enterprise, planned, ordered,
14 instigated, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning,
15 preparation, or execution of persecutions of Croat, Muslim and other
16 non-Serb civilian populations in the territories of the SAO Western
17 Slavonia and the SAO SBWS (Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem), and in
18 the municipalities of Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina
19 and parts of Vojvodina in Serbia.
20 Throughout this period, Serb forces, comprising JNA (and
21 subsequently the VJ) units, local Serb TO units (which were subsequently
22 transformed in the army of the RSK ("SVK"), and the army of Republika
23 Srpska ("VRS"), and TO units from Serbia and Montenegro, local Serb and
24 Republic of Serbia MUP police units and volunteer and paramilitary units,
25 including volunteers recruited and/or instigated by Vojislav Seselj,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 attacked and took control of towns and villages in these territories.
2 After the takeover, these Serb forces, in cooperation with the local Serb
3 authorities, established a regime of persecutions designed to drive the
4 non-Serb civilian population from these territories.
5 These persecutions were committed on political, racial, and
6 religious grounds and included:
7 A. The extermination or murder of many Croat, Muslim, and other
8 non-Serb civilians, including women and elderly persons in the
9 municipality of Vukovar and the villages of Vocin, Hum, Bokane, and
10 Kraskovic in Croatia, in the municipalities of Bosanski Samac and Zvornik
11 in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
12 B. The prolonged and routine imprisonment and confinement of
13 Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilians in the detention facilities
14 within Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, including prison camps in
15 Vukovar in and near Vocin and in Bosanski Samac and Zvornik.
16 C. The establishment and perpetuation of inhumane living
17 conditions for Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilian detainees within
18 the detention facilities referred to.
19 D. The repeated torture, beatings and killings of Croat, Muslim,
20 and other non-Serb civilian detainees in the said detection facilities.
21 E. The prolonged and frequent forced labour of Croat, Muslim, and
22 other non-Serb civilians detained in the said detection facilities or
23 under house arrest in their respective homes in Vukovar, Vocin, Bosanski
24 Samac, and Zvornik. The forced labour included digging of graves, loading
25 of ammunition for the Serb forces, digging of trenches, and other forms of
1 manual labour at the frontlines.
2 F. The sexual assaults of Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb
3 civilians by Serb soldiers during capture and in the detention facilities.
4 G. The imposing of restrictive and discriminatory measures
5 against the Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilian populations,
6 including persons in Vocin in Croatia and Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in parts of Vojvodina, Serbia, such as
8 restriction of movement; removal from positions of authority in local
9 government institutions and the police; dismissal from jobs; denial of
10 medical care, and arbitrary searches of homes.
11 H. The torture, beating and robbing of Croat, Muslim and other
12 non-Serb civilians.
13 I. The deportation or forcible transfer of tens of thousands of
14 Croat, Muslim and other non-Serb civilians from the territories as
15 specified above, and from parts of Vojvodina, Serbia.
16 J. The deliberate destruction of homes, other public and private
17 property, cultural institutions, historic monuments and sacred sites of
18 the Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilian populations in the
19 municipality of Vukovar and Vocin in Croatia and in the municipalities of
20 Bosanski Samac and Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
21 By his participation in these acts, Vojislav Seselj committed:
22 Count 1: Persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, a crime
23 against humanity, punishable under Articles 5(h) and 7(1) of the Statute
24 of the Tribunal.
25 Counts 2 to 4
1 (Extermination and Murder)
2 From on or about 1 August 1991 until June 1992 in the territory of
3 the SAO SBWS in Vukovar and the SAO Western Slavonia in Vocin, from on or
4 about the 1 of March 1992 until at least September 1993 in the
5 municipality of Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from on or about 1
6 April 1992 until at least September 1993 in the municipality of Bosanski
7 Samac in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vojislav Seselj, acting individually or
8 in concert with other known and unknown members of a joint criminal
9 enterprise, planned, ordered, instigated, committed or otherwise aided and
10 abetted in the planning, preparation, or execution of the extermination
11 and murder of Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilians.
13 SAO Western Slavonia
14 Beginning in August 1991, Serb forces, including the volunteer
15 units known as Seselj's men were in control of Vocin. In November 1991,
16 Vojislav Seselj visited Vocin and addressed the volunteers. Incited by
17 Vojislav Seselj's speeches, the volunteer units, in particular "Seselj's
18 men," started burning houses of Croat citizens and killing Croat civilians
19 in the villages of Vocin, Hum, Bokane, and Kraskovic until their
20 withdrawal from the region on 13 December 1991. They went from house to
21 house and killed whomever they found. In total, 43 civilians. Some of
22 those who hid survived.
23 SAO SBWS - Vukovar
24 In November 1991 while Serb forces fought to take over Vukovar,
25 Vojislav Seselj visited the town and publicly pronounced, "Not one Ustasha
1 must leave Vukovar alive," thus instigating the killing of Croats. On or
2 about 20 November 1991, as part of the overall persecution campaign, Serb
3 military forces, including members of the JNA and TO and volunteer and
4 paramilitary forces under the command, control or influence of the JNA,
5 the TO SBWS and other participants of the joint criminal enterprise,
6 including volunteers recruited and/or incited by Vojislav Seselj, removed
7 approximately 400 Croats and other non-Serbs from Vukovar Hospital in the
8 aftermath of the Serb takeover of the city. Approximately 300 of these
9 non-Serbs were transported to the JNA barracks and then to the Ovcara farm
10 located about 5 kilometres south of Vukovar. There, members of the Serb
11 forces beat and tortured the victims for hours. During the evening of 20
12 November 1991, the soldiers transported the victims in groups of 10-20 to
13 a remote execution site between the Ovcara farm and Grabovo, where they
14 shot and killed approximately 255 non-Serbs from Vukovar Hospital. Their
15 bodies were buried in a mass grave.
16 After Serb forces took control of Vukovar on 18 November 1991 over
17 1.000 civilians gathered at Velepromet facility. Some were compelled to
18 go there by Serb forces and others went voluntarily, seeking protection.
19 By 19 November 1991, approximately 2.000 people were gathered inside
20 Velepromet facility. The JNA considered about 800 of these persons to be
21 prisoners of war. By the evening of 19 November 1991, shortly after the
22 JNA began to transfer the alleged prisoners of war to their Sremska
23 Mitrovica detection facility in Serbia, Serb forces, including volunteers
24 recruited and/or incited by Vojislav Seselj, separates a number of
25 individuals from the alleged group of prisoners of war. They took these
1 selected individuals out of the Velepromet facility and killed them. The
2 bodies of some of those killed were transported to the Ovcara farm and
3 buried there in the mass grave while the bodies of six other victims were
4 left lying on the ground behind the Velepromet facility.
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina
7 In March 1992, Vojislav Seselj gave a speech at a rally in Mali
8 Zvornik, located across the Drina River from Zvornik. Vojislav Seselj
9 said: "Dear Chetnik brothers, especially you across the Drina River, you
10 are the bravest ones. We are going to clean Bosnia of pagans and show
11 them a road which will take them to the east, where they belong," thus
12 instigating the persecution of non-Serbs in Zvornik. In April 1992, Serb
13 forces, including volunteers known as "Seselj's men" and "Arkan's Tigers"
14 attacked and took control of the town of Zvornik and surrounding villages.
15 During the attack, Serb forces killed many non-Serb civilians. On or
16 about 9 April 1992, members of Arkan's unit executed 20 Bosnian Muslim and
17 Croat men and boys in Zvornik town. Following the takeover, non-Serbs
18 were routinely detained, beaten, tortured and killed. Hundreds of
19 non-Serb civilians were detained in or near Zvornik from April to July
20 1992 in the Standard shoe factory, the Ciglana factory, the Ekonomija
21 farm, the Novi Izvor building, and the Celopek Dom Kulture. On or about
22 12 May 1992 at the Ekonomija farm, Serb forces, including the leader of a
23 group of Seselj's men beat to death a detainee named Nesib Dautovic. In
24 May 1992 Serb forces killed two non-Serb male detainees at the Novi Izvor
25 building. Between 1 and 5 June 1992, Serb forces killed more than 150
1 Bosnian Muslim males at Karakaj Technical School. Between 7 and 9 June
2 1992, Serb forces killed more than 150 detainees at Gero's slaughterhouse.
3 Serb forces killed more than 40 non-Serb male detainees between the 1st
4 and 26th June 1992 at Celopek Dom Kulture.
5 Bosanski Samac
6 In April 1992, Serb forces, including volunteers known as Seselj's
7 men attacked and took control of the town of Bosanski Samac and
8 surrounding villages. Following the takeover, hundreds of non-Serbs were
9 routinely detained, beaten and tortured in the police headquarters
10 building ("SUP"), the Territorial Defence building ("TO"), the primary and
11 secondary schools, as well as the warehouse of the agriculture cooperative
12 located in Crkvina to the south-west of the town of Bosanski Samac and
13 dozens were killed. On or about 7 May 1992, two leaders of a unit of
14 "Seselj's men" shot and killed 18 men and boys in the warehouse of the
15 agricultural cooperative in Crkvina.
16 By his participation in these acts, Vojislav Seselj committed:
17 Count 2: Extermination, a crime against humanity, punishable
18 under Articles 5(b) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
19 Count 3: Murder, a crime against humanity, punishable under
20 Articles 5(a) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
21 Count 4: Murder, a violation of the laws or customs of war, as
22 recognised by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949,
23 punishable under Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
24 Counts 5 to 9
25 (Imprisonment, torture, other inhumane acts and cruel treatment)
1 From August 1991 until September 1992, Vojislav Seselj, acting
2 individually or in concert with other known and unknown members of a joint
3 criminal enterprise planned, ordered, instigated, committed or otherwise
4 aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of the
5 imprisonment under inhumane conditions of Muslim, Croat and other non-Serb
6 civilians in the territories listed above.
7 Serb military forces comprising JNA (and subsequently the VJ),
8 Croatian and Bosnian Serb TO units which were subsequently transformed
9 into the army of the RSK ("SVK"), and the army of the Republika Srpska,
10 ("VRS"), volunteer and paramilitary units, including those volunteer units
11 recruited and/or incited by Vojislav Seselj, acting in cooperation with
12 local police staff and local Serb authorities, captured and detained
13 hundreds of Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilians. They were
14 detained in the following short and long-term detention facilities:
15 A) the Velepromet warehouse, Vukovar, SAO SBWS, November 1991, run
16 by JNA, approximately 1.200 detainees.
17 B) the Ovcara farm, near Vukovar, SAO SBWS, November 1991, run by
18 JNA, approximately 300 detainees.
19 C) the basement of the bank building in Vocin in October 1991,
20 several detainees.
21 D) the Lager Sekulinci near Vocin in August 1991, three detainees.
22 E) the Standard shoe factory, the Ciglana factory, the Ekonomija
23 farm, the Novi Izvor building and the Celopek Dom Kulture in Zvornik,
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina between April and July 1992, hundreds of detainees.
25 F) the police headquarters building ("SUP"), the Territorial
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Defence building ("TO"), the primary and secondary schools in Bosanski
2 Samac, and the warehouse in the agricultural cooperative in Crkvina near,
3 Bosanski Samac, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, between April and September
4 1992, hundreds of detainees.
5 The living conditions in these detection facilities were brutal
6 and characterised by inhumane treatment, overcrowding, starvation, forced
7 labour, inadequate medical care, and systematic physical and psychological
8 assault, including torture, beatings, and sexual assault.
9 By his participation in these acts, Vojislav Seselj committed:
10 Count 5: Imprisonment, a crime against humanity, punishable under
11 Articles 5(e) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
12 Count 6: Torture, a crime against humanity, punishable under
13 Articles 5(f) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
14 Count 7: Inhumane acts, a crime against humanity, punishable
15 under Articles 5(i) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
16 Count 8: Torture, a violation of the laws or customs of war as
17 recognised by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Conventions of 1949
18 punishable under Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
19 Count 9: Cruel treatment, a violation of the laws or customs of
20 war as recognised by Common Article 3(1)(a) of the Geneva Conventions of
21 1949, punishable under Articles 3 and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
22 Counts 10 to 11
23 (Deportation, Forcible Transfer)
24 From on or about 1 August 1991 until May 1992 in the SAOs in
25 Croatia and the RSK, from on or about 1 March 1992 until at least
1 September 1993 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in May 1992 in parts of
2 Vojvodina, Serbia, Vojislav Seselj, acting individually or in concert with
3 other known and unknown members of the joint criminal enterprise, planned,
4 instigated, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning,
5 preparation, or execution of the deportation or forcible transfer of the
6 Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb civilian populations from their legal
7 domiciles, in Vukovar in November 1991 and in Vocin in November and
8 December 1991, in the municipality of Zvornik in Bosnia and Herzegovina
9 between March 1992 and September 1993, in the municipality of Bosanski
10 Samac in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and September 1993, and
11 in parts of Vojvodina, Serbia, including the village of Hrtkovci in May
13 In order to achieve this objective, Serb forces comprising JNA
14 (and subsequently the VJ), local Croatian and Bosnian Serb TO units which
15 were subsequently transformed into the army of RSK ("SVK"), and the army
16 of Republika Srpska, and those from the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro,
17 and volunteers and paramilitaries, including the White Eagles, and Dusan
18 Silni as well as volunteers recruited and/or incited by Vojislav Seselj in
19 cooperation with local and Serbian police units, surrounded Croatian and
20 Bosnian towns and villages and demanded that the inhabitants surrender
21 their weapons, including legally owned hunting rifles. Then, the towns
22 and villages were attacked or otherwise taken over, even those where the
23 inhabitants had complied with the demands. These attacks were intended to
24 compel the population to flee. After taking control of the towns and
25 villages, the Serb forces sometimes rounded up the remaining Croat,
1 Muslim, and other non-Serb civilian populations and forcibly transported
2 them to locations within Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina not controlled
3 by Serbs, or deported them to locations outside Croatia or Bosnia and
4 Herzegovina, in particular Serbia and Montenegro. On other occasions,
5 Serb forces, in cooperation with the local Serb authorities, imposed
6 restrictive and discriminatory measures on the non-Serb population and
7 engaged in a campaign of terror designed to drive them out of the
8 territory. The majority of the non-Serbs that remained were deported or
9 forcibly transferred from their homes on a later date.
10 In May 1992, Vojislav Seselj came to Vojvodina and met with his
11 associates in the SRS. Vojislav Seselj instructed his associates to
12 contact non-Serbs and threaten them with death if they did not leave the
13 area. On 6 May 1992, Vojislav Seselj gave an inflammatory speech in the
14 village of Hrtkovci, Vojvodina, calling for the expulsion of Croats from
15 the area and reading a list of individual Croat residents who should leave
16 for Croatia. After this speech, a campaign of ethnic cleansing directed
17 at non-Serbs, particularly Croats, began in Hrtkovci. During the next
18 three months, many non-Serbs were harassed, threatened with death and
19 intimidated, forcing them to leave the area. Homes of Croats were looted
20 and occupied by Serbs. Serb families who had been displaced from other
21 parts of the former Yugoslavia often occupied the homes of those non-Serbs
22 who were compelled to leave.
23 By his participation in these acts, Vojislav Seselj committed:
24 Count 10: Deportation, a crime against humanity, punishable under
25 Articles 5(d) and 7(1) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
1 Count 11: Inhumane acts (Forcible Transfers), a crime against
2 humanity, punishable under Articles 5(i) and 7(1) of the Statute of the
4 Counts 12 to 15
5 (Wanton Destruction, Plunder of Public or Private Property and
6 Unlawful Attacks on Civilian Objects)
7 From on or about 1 August 1991 until May 1992 in the territories
8 of the SAOs in Croatia and the RSK, from on or about 1 March 1992 until at
9 least September 1993 in the municipality of Zvornik in Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina, and from on or about 1 April 1992 until at least September
11 1993 in the municipality of Bosanski Samac in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
12 Vojislav Seselj, acting individually or in concert with other known and
13 unknown members of the joint criminal enterprise, planned, ordered,
14 instigated, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning,
15 preparation or execution of the wanton destruction and plunder of public
16 and private property of the Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb populations,
17 acts which were not justified by military necessity. This intentional and
18 wanton destruction and plunder included the plunder and destruction of
19 homes and religious and cultural buildings and took place in the following
20 towns and villages:
21 SAO SBWS: Vukovar; (hundreds of homes destroyed)
22 SAO Western Slavonia: Vocin and Hum; (dozens of homes and a
23 Catholic church destroyed) and
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosanski Samac (hundreds and homes and a
25 mosque destroyed) and Zvornik (hundreds of homes and dozens of mosques
2 By his participation in these acts, Vojislav Seselj committed:
3 Count 12: Wanton destruction of villages, or devastation not
4 justified by military necessity, a violation of the laws or customs of
5 war, punishable under Articles 3(b) and 7(1) of the Statute of the
7 Count 13: Destruction or wilful damage done to institutions
8 dedicated to religion or education, a violation of the laws or customs of
9 war, punishable under Articles 3(d) and 7(1) of the Statute of the
11 Count 14: Plunder of public or private property, a violation of
12 the laws or customs of war, punishable under Articles 3(e) and 7(1) of the
13 Statute of the Tribunal.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. May I ask you to stop for a moment.
15 We have to respect the rights of those assisting the Chamber, especially
16 the interpreters, and for this reason we cannot proceed longer than 90
17 minutes in a portion. It's already now foreseeable that we can't conclude
18 the reading out of this entire indictment within these 90 minutes.
19 Therefore, it is necessary to have break now, and afterwards we will --
20 it's a break of 30 minutes. We will continue with the reading out of the
21 entire indictment, as requested by you, Dr. Seselj.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. But I have several objections
23 regarding the interpretation, so I would ask you to eliminate those errors
24 during the break, because I don't understand some words. I don't know
25 what the word "opci" means, "poprilicno", then "tocka," a word I heard
1 several times. I don't know what "zapadni srijem" means. I assume it's a
2 geographic term, but I don't know in which country in the world it is
3 situated. I don't know what "obrana" means or "obrane." I don't know
4 what --
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: May I interrupt you, Dr. Seselj? I can
6 understand we have often problems with concrete translation of certain
7 terms. This is nothing special. We have to come back to this later,
8 after the break. We -- and when we have read out, as requested by you,
9 the entire indictment, we can come back to these questions. The trial
10 stays adjourned until ten minutes to three.
11 --- Recess taken at 2.19 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 2.50 p.m.
13 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Please be seated. And may I ask Madam Registrar
14 to continue reading out the indictment. Now Annex I, Additional
15 Historical and Political Facts.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
18 In advance of the 1990 elections, the nationalistic Serbian
19 Democratic Party, the SDS, which advocated the autonomy and
20 later secession of predominantly Serb areas from Croatia, was founded in
21 Knin. Vojislav Seselj maintained contact with the leaders of the SDS. He
22 attended meetings of the SDS and took part in the SDS political events.
23 On 25 July 1990, a group of SDS leaders established the Serbian
24 National Council, SNC, adopting a declaration on autonomy and the position
25 of Serbs in Croatia, and on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serbian
2 On 30 July 1990, during the SNC's first constituent session, a
3 referendum, which would confirm the autonomy and sovereignty of the Serb
4 nation in Croatia, was scheduled.
5 On 17 August 1990, Serbs in Knin put up barricades after the
6 Croatian government declared the referendum illegal.
7 Between 19 August and 2 September 1990, Croatian Serbs held a
8 referendum on the issue of Serb sovereignty and autonomy in Croatia. The
9 vote took place in the predominantly Serb areas of Croatia and was limited
10 to Serb voters. Croats who lived in the affected region were barred from
11 participating in the referendum. The result of the vote was
12 overwhelmingly in support of Serb autonomy. On 30 September 1990, the SNC
13 declared the autonomy of the Serbian people on ethnic and historic
14 territories on which it lives and which are within the current boundaries
15 of the Republic of Croatia as a federal unit of the Socialist Federal
16 Republic of Yugoslavia.
17 On 21 December 1990, Croatian Serbs in Knin announced the creation
18 of a Serbian Autonomous District, the SAO of Krajina, and subsequently
19 declared their independence from Croatia.
20 On 7 January 1991, the Serbian National Council, the SNC, for
21 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, the SBWS, was formed in Sidski
23 Conflicts between armed Serbs and Croatian police forces erupted
24 throughout the spring of 1991.
25 In March 1991, the conflict intensified with clashes in Pakrac and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Plitvice. At Plitvice on 31 March 1991, Serbs attacked a bus carrying
2 Croatian policemen and another battle erupted. The JNA deployed troops in
3 the area and issued an ultimatum to the Croatian police to withdraw from
4 Plitvice. Vojislav Seselj and some of his volunteers took part in the
5 events in Plitvice, the SAO Krajina. In discussions with the JNA
6 officers, he introduced himself as "Vojvoda". He made extreme
7 nationalistic speeches inciting the local population to engage in violence
8 against the Croatian police.
9 On 1 April 1991, the executive council of the SAO Krajina adopted
10 the resolution to incorporate the SAO Krajina into the Republic of Serbia.
11 At the same time, the SAO Krajina recognised the constitution and laws of
12 Serbia as well as the SFRY constitutional-legal system and decided that
13 the laws and regulations of Serbia applied throughout the territory.
14 In the end of April 1991, armed local Serbs assisted by Seselj's
15 men and other Serbian volunteers erected barricades in the village of
16 Borovo Selo near Vukovar. On 1 May 1991, these armed Serbs took hostage a
17 number of Croatian policemen who were sent to restore law and order in
18 Borovo Selo. On 2 May, the Croatian police authorities in Osijek sent a
19 larger group of heavily armed policemen to Borovo Selo to free the
20 hostages. Local armed Serbs assisted by Seselj's men and other Serbian
21 volunteers ambushed this group of policemen. Twelve Croatian policemen
22 were killed and 20 injured in the fighting.
23 On 12 May 1991, a referendum was held in the SAO Krajina,
24 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem concerning the annexation of these
25 regions to Serbia and the consolidation of these regions in Yugoslavia
1 with Serbia, Montenegro, and others that wished to preserve Yugoslavia.
2 The annexation was supported by 99.8 per cent of those who voted.
3 On 19 May 1991, Croatia held a referendum in which the electorate
4 voted overwhelmingly for independence from the SFRY. On 25 June 1991,
5 Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia declared their independence from the
6 SFRY. On 25 June 1991, the JNA moved to suppress Slovenia's secession.
7 On 25 June 1991, the Great National Assembly of SBWS was formed in
8 Backa Planaka, Serbia, at a meeting attended by representatives of all the
9 Serb villages in the SBWS. The Great National Assembly decided that the
10 region of the SBWS was to be constituted as SAO SBWS and was to secede
11 from Croatia. Goran Hadzic, until then president of the SNC, was elected
12 Prime Minister Designate.
13 The European Community sought to mediate in the conflict. On 8
14 July 1991, an agreement was reached that Croatia and Slovenia would
15 suspend implementation of their independence until 8 October 1991. The
16 European Community ultimately recognised Croatia as an independent state
17 on 15 January 1992.
18 On 18 July 1991, the Federal Presidency with the support of the
19 Serbian and Montenegrin governments and General Kadijevic, voted to
20 withdraw the JNA from Slovenia, thereby acceding to its secession and the
21 dissolution of the SFRY.
22 The Serbs in the Krajina region, in Eastern Slavonia and Western
23 Slavonia, began receiving increasing support from the government of Serbia
24 and the JNA. By August 1991, local Serb Territorial Defence, volunteer
25 police forces in these regions were being supplied, trained, and partly
1 led by the JNA and officials of the Serbian MUP. Throughout August and
2 September 1991, large areas in Croatia came under Serb control as a result
3 of actions by Serb military forces, including Seselj's men, the White
4 Eagles, and police forces.
5 During this period, Vojislav Seselj constantly appealed to the
6 public to join the war effort. He visited the frontlines on numerous
7 occasions and held meetings with the local Serb leaders.
8 In the Serb occupied regions in Krajina, Slavonia, Baranja and
9 Western Srem, the Croatian and other non-Serb populations were
10 systematically driven out and the areas were incorporated into the various
11 Serbian autonomous districts as specified above. The JNA remained
12 deployed in the areas where the Serb insurgents had taken control, thereby
13 securing their gains.
14 On 13 August 1991, the Western Slavonia members of the Presidency
15 of the SDS of Slavonia held a session in Pakrac at which it was decided to
16 declare the establishment of the Serbian Autonomous District Western
17 Slavonia. The ethnic distribution of the population was used as the
18 criteria for defining the territory of SAO Western Slavonia. The
19 municipalities included in the SAO Western Slavonia were those whose
20 representatives were present at the above session of the SDS Regional
21 Board: Pakrac, Daruvar, Grubisno Polje, Podravska Slatina, Okucani, and
22 parts of the Slavonska Pozega and Orahovica municipalities. In these
23 areas, Serbs represented 50 per cent more of the total population.
24 In August 1991, Serb forces, led by the JNA, undertook operations
25 against towns in Eastern Slavonia, resulting in their occupation. The
1 Croat and other non-Serb populations of these areas were forcibly
2 expelled. In late August, Serb forces laid siege to the city of Vukovar.
3 By mid-October 1991, all other predominantly Croat towns in Eastern
4 Slavonia had been taken over by Serb forces except Vukovar. Non-Serbs
5 were subjected to a brutal occupation regime consisting of persecution,
6 murder, torture, and other acts of violence. A large portion of the
7 non-Serb population was eventually killed or forced from the occupied
9 The siege of Vukovar continued until 18 November 1991 when the
10 city fell to the Serb forces. During the course of the three-month siege,
11 the city was largely destroyed by JNA shelling and hundreds of persons
12 were killed. When the Serb forces occupied the city, hundreds of Croats
13 were killed by Serb forces. Most of the non-Serb population of the city
14 was expelled within days of its fall under Serb control.
15 In Geneva on 23 November 1991, Slobodan Milosevic, Federal
16 Secretary of People's Defence Veljko Kadijevic, and Franjo Tudjman entered
17 into an agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations Special
18 Envoy Cyrus Vance. This agreement called for the lifting of blockades by
19 Croatian forces on the JNA barracks and for the withdrawal of JNA forces
20 from Croatia. Both sides committed themselves to an immediate cease-fire
21 throughout Croatia by units under their command, control, or political
22 influence and further bound themselves to ensure that any paramilitary or
23 irregular units associated with their forces would also observe the
25 On 19 December 1991, the SAO Krajina proclaimed itself the
1 Republic of Serbian Krajina ("RSK"), with Milan Babic as its first
2 president. On 26 February 1992, the SAO Western Slavonia and SAO SBWS
3 joined it in unilateral declarations by these entities.
4 Under the Vance Plan, three United Nations Protected Areas
5 ("UNPAs") were created (Krajina, Western Slavonia, SBWS), corresponding
6 with four sectors, south, north, west, and east in the areas occupied by
7 Serb forces. The Vance Plan called for the withdrawal of the JNA from
8 Croatia, the return of displaced persons to their homes in the UNPAs, and
9 the demilitarisation of these UNPAs. Although the JNA officially withdrew
10 from Croatia in May 1992, large portions of its weaponry and personnel
11 remained in the Serb-held areas and were turned over to the police of the
12 RSK. Displaced persons were not allowed to return to their homes and
13 those few Croats and other non-Serbs who had remained in the Serb occupied
14 areas were expelled in the following months and years.
15 The Serb-held territories in the RSK remained under Serb control
16 until early May and early August 1995, respectively. In early May 1995,
17 during Operation Flash, the Croatian authorities re-established control
18 over Western Slavonia. In early August 1995, the Serb political and
19 military leadership left most of Croatian territory during a massive
20 Croatian operation. This operation, commonly referred to as Operation
21 Storm, restored Croatian control over most of the RSK territory. The
22 remaining areas of Serb control in the Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and
23 Western Srem were peacefully reintegrated into Croatia in 1998.
24 Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 In November 1990, multi-party elections were held in Bosnia and
1 Herzegovina. At the republic level, the SDA, the party of the Bosnian
2 Muslims, won 86 seats; the SDS, the party of the Bosnian Serbs, won 72
3 seats; and the HDZ won 44 seats in the Assembly.
4 The central idea within the SDS political platform, as articulated
5 by its leaders, including Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, and Biljana
6 Plavsic, was the unification of all Serbs within one state. The SDS
7 regarded the separation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the SFRY as a
8 threat to the interests of the Serbs.
9 The results of the November 1990 elections meant that, as time
10 went on, the SDS would be unable through peaceful means to keep Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina in what was becoming a Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. As a
12 result, Serb people within certain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina with
13 Serb majorities began to organise themselves into formal regional
14 structures that they referred to as Associations of Municipalities. In
15 April 1991, the Association of Municipalities of Bosnian Krajina, centred
16 in Banja Luka, was formed.
17 From autumn 1991, the JNA began to withdraw its forces out of
18 Croatia. Forces under the control of the JNA began to redeploy in Bosnia
19 and Herzegovina. Many of these troops were deployed to areas in which
20 there was no garrison or other JNA facility.
21 As the war continued in Croatia, it appeared increasingly likely
22 that Bosnia and Herzegovina would also declare its independence from the
23 SFRY. The SDS, realising it could not prevent the secession of Bosnia and
24 Herzegovina from the SFRY began the creation of a separate Serbian entity
25 within Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the period from September to
1 November 1991, several Serbian Autonomous Regions were formed, some of
2 them on the basis of the Associations of Municipalities referred to above.
3 On 12 September 1991, the Serbian Autonomous Region of Herzegovina
4 was proclaimed. On 16 September 1991, the Assembly of the Association of
5 Municipalities of Bosnian Krajina proclaimed the Autonomous Region of
6 Krajina. By the 21st of November, 1991, the Serbian Autonomous Regions
7 and Autonomous Regions consisted of the Autonomous Region of Krajina, the
8 SAO Herzegovina, the SAO Romanija-Birac, the SAO Semberija, and the SAO
9 Northern Bosnia.
10 On 15 October 1991, at the meeting of the SDS party council, a
11 decision was made to form a separate Assembly entitled the Assembly of
12 Serbian People of Bosnia and Herzegovina to secure Serb interests.
13 On 24 October 1991, the Assembly of Serbian people in Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina, dominated by the SDS, decided to conduct a plebiscite of the
15 Serbian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to decide whether to
16 stay in the common state of Yugoslavia with Serbia, Montenegro, the
17 Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, the SAO Western Slavonia and SAO
18 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem.
19 On 9 and 10 November 1991, the Bosnian Serbs held the plebiscite.
20 The results overwhelmingly showed that the Bosnian Serbs wanted to stay in
22 On 11 December 1991, the Assembly of the Serbian people made a
23 request to the JNA to protect with all available means as integral parts
24 of the state of Yugoslavia the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina in
25 which the plebiscite of the Serbian people and other citizens on remaining
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in a joint Yugoslav state had been conducted.
2 On 9 January 1992, the Assembly of the Serbian People of Bosnia
3 and Herzegovina adopted a declaration on the proclamation of the Serbian
4 Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The territory of that republic was
5 declared to include the territories of the Serbian Autonomous Regions and
6 districts and of other Serbian ethnic entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
7 including the regions in which the Serbian people remained in the minority
8 due to the genocide conducted against it in World War II, and it was
9 declared to be part of the federal Yugoslav state. On 12 August 1992, the
10 name of the Bosnian Serb Republic was changed to Republika Srpska.
11 From 29 February to 2 March 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina held a
12 referendum on independence. At the urging of the SDS, the majority of
13 Bosnian Serbs boycotted the vote. The referendum resulted in a
14 pro-independence majority.
15 On 27 March 1992, the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
16 was formally proclaimed in Pale.
17 From March 1992 onwards, Serb regular and irregular forces seized
18 control of the territories within Bosnia and Herzegovina, including those
19 specified in this indictment.
20 On 6 April 1992, the United States and the European Community
21 formally recognised the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
22 On 27 April 1992, Serbia and Montenegro proclaimed a new Federal
23 Republic of Yugoslavia and declared it the successor state of the
24 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
25 On 15 May 1992, the United Nations Security Council, in its
1 Resolution number 752, demanded that all interference from outside Bosnia
2 and Herzegovina by units of the JNA as well as elements of the Croatian
3 army, the HV, cease immediately and that these units either be withdrawn,
4 be subjected to the authority of the government of the republic, or be
5 disbanded and disarmed.
6 Vojislav Seselj visited Bosnia and Herzegovina before and during
7 the period of the armed conflict to boost the morale of the participants.
8 In October 1991, he visited Serb soldiers in Trebinje gathered in
9 preparation for the attack on Dubrovnik. In May and August 1992, he
10 visited Gacko and Zvornik respectively. In May 1993, he gave a speech in
11 Banja Luka.
12 In September 1993, Vojislav Seselj had a conflict with Slobodan
13 Milosevic during which he challenged Milosevic's leadership and called for
14 a vote of no confidence in the government of Serbia. Between October and
15 November 1993, dozens of Vojislav Seselj's Chetnik volunteers were
16 arrested in Serbia and charged with war crimes and other offences.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you very much. I can see no objections
18 from the side of the Prosecution to continue with Annex II.
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour.
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Then I may ask you to read slowly Annex II, the
21 annex for victims from Vocin, Hum, Bokane, and Kraskovic, related to
22 paragraph 19 of the indictment we have before us.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Yes, Your Honour.
24 [Please refer to Annex II of the indictment]
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. It will then follow Annex III, the
1 victims from the Vukovar Hospital, related to paragraph 20 of the
3 [Please refer to Annex III of the indictment]
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Madam Registrar, thank you very much for reading
5 out these 255 names. Just for a better understanding, the list of these
6 victims has to be read in connection with paragraph 20 of the indictment,
7 where we can read: "During the evening of 20 November 1991, the soldiers
8 transported the victims in groups of 10 to 20 to a remote execution site
9 between the Ovcara farm and Grabovo where they shot and killed
10 approximately 255 non-Serbs from Vukovar Hospital." It is the case of the
11 Prosecution that Dr. Seselj is individually criminally responsible for
12 these acts.
13 Let us now please proceed with Annex IV, victims from Velepromet
14 facility, Vukovar.
15 [Please refer to Annex IV of the indictment]
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. It follows Annex V, victims from
17 Celopek Dom Kulture, Zvornik, in relation to paragraph 22 of the
19 [Please refer to Annex V of the indictment]
20 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: And then please, finally, only the names of the
21 victims Annex VI.
22 [Please refer to Annex VI of the indictment]
23 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you, Madam Registrar, for the reading out
24 of this entire indictment with all its annexes.
25 Dr. Seselj, may I ask you, did you receive this indictment in a
1 hard copy in a language you can understand?
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I received this indictment.
3 However, we will have to resolve these terminological problems. I listed
4 a moment ago a number of words whose meaning I do not understand. Now
5 there are some new ones. First instance, "spol." I assume that means
6 "sex," judging by the English translation. But this must be stated to me
7 in a language I understand. I only understand the Serbian language. Let
8 me indicate an example to show the problems that arise.
9 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Let me interrupt you, because you can't know
10 that we have sometimes the problem of interpretation. Sometimes it
11 emanates from the mere fact that there are several meanings of one and the
12 same word. Sometimes we have the problem that in the Croatian language a
13 word has a different meaning than in the Serbian language, and we are
14 following the procedure that in case you have a problem with the
15 translation, you may contact OLAD, that is the responsible unit, but with
16 the assistance of our Translation Unit, these words can be cross-checked,
17 and it can be found out what is in your opinion the exact meaning, and it
18 is for you then to address the Court in writing with these problems
19 emanating from the interpretation and translation.
20 We are aware that even though no doubt those translation and
21 interpretation unit try very hard to do their very best, it's nearly
22 impossible that we all are in agreement what is the exact meaning of the
23 one or other word. I think you will understand this problem. Therefore,
24 please contact OLAD and address the Court in writing with the problems you
25 have with the interpretation.
1 But I take it that, in principle, you understood this indictment;
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Allow me to give you a flagrant
4 example. In the indictment, there is the word that I express myself
5 negatively regarding pagans. Pagans are people who believe in many gods.
6 I used the word "pogani," which has a completely different meaning.
7 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I had already explained to you that this is not
8 the place to discuss these details. No doubt far more important for you
9 is to discuss the content of the entire indictment. At this point in
10 time, the question only is whether you understood the general meaning, the
11 general content of this indictment. Yes or no.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As far as I was able to understand,
13 I understand that you would like to convict me, but the content of the
14 indictment is not clear to me. I have to defend myself from this
15 indictment, and you must put it in order. It is not up to me to make a
16 written submission. That is not my duty. It is up to the Prosecution.
17 If you have problems with interpreters, that is not my problem.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think we will resolve the problem, but no
19 doubt I have to reject this insinuation that it is for this Trial Chamber
20 to convict you. It's for this Trial Chamber to come as close as possible
21 to the truth. We all know there is no truth in the world, but we have to
22 hear both sides and then finally to decide what is that, based on the
23 facts, we can call that what would be closest to the truth, and our intent
24 is to come closest to justice. It is for you, in general, in the near
25 future, to rebut, if you so want, the allegations contained in this
2 I have to inform you that under Rule 62 of our Rules of Procedure
3 and Evidence, within 30 days of this initial appearance you will be called
4 upon to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty on each count.
5 Why these 30 days? Because under Rule 66, it reads: "Subject to
6 the provisions of Rule 53 and 69, the Prosecutor shall make available to
7 the Defence in a language which the accused understands within 30 days,"
8 these same 30 days, "of the initial appearance of the accused copies of
9 the supporting material which accompanied the indictment when confirmation
10 was sought as well as all prior statements obtained by the Prosecutor from
11 the accused."
12 But should you so request, under Rule 62, paragraph (iii) provides
13 that you: "may immediately enter a plea of guilty or not guilty or one or
14 more counts."
15 May I ask you, are you ready and willing to enter a plea to the
16 charges today, or in the alternative, do you prefer to do so within 30
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will enter a plea within 30 days
19 if, in the meantime, the Prosecution explains to me the meaning of these
20 terms that I am not familiar with. Unless the Prosecution does that, I
21 cannot do it. I give the Prosecution a time period of 30 days to explain
22 these things to me. As soon as everything is clear to me, I will enter a
24 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: To be quite clear about this, in this courtroom,
25 time limits are given by the Trial Chamber and not by one of the parties.
1 If you have any problems, it is for you to indicate the problems related
2 to the translation. You have to do so in writing, as foreseen in the
3 Rules. If you wouldn't do so, we would be in the same situation today
4 within 30 days, and then, I mentioned this before, it's for you to decide
5 whether to enter a plea or not. In case you do not enter such a plea, it
6 would be for the Judge to enter a plea of not guilty to all the counts.
7 So once again the question: Do you want to plea today or within
8 30 days?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have already said within 30 days.
10 So you can't enter anything today except this fact of 30 days. I will
11 enter a plea within 30 days. I am not a hurry at all in these
12 proceedings. I don't understand your haste. You seem to reproach me for
13 insisting that the entire indictment be read. I have plenty of time. It
14 could be read all night.
15 If I may, I have a number of procedural objections.
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: At the moment we have to proceed under Rule 62
17 in the order foreseen in our Rules, and following your request, and I
18 appreciate that you want to enter an informed plea based on the supporting
19 material, so therefore, a hearing will be scheduled within the next 30
21 In addition, there are some mandatory Rules you may know under
22 public international law we have to follow, and we have to turn now to the
23 question of your deprivation of liberty, Dr. Seselj.
24 Today I have to decide whether or not there will be ongoing
25 deprivation of your liberty. Of course, it's your right to contest the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 legality of your arrest.
2 Do you want to raise any objections today or, as it is custom in
3 this Tribunal, reserve the right to file an informed motion for
4 provisional release at a later date?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have several objections to make
6 today. Regarding provisional release, I was not arrested. I came of my
7 own free will.
8 Secondly, there is no government that could provide guarantees for
9 me, so I'm not making a submission for provisional release as it is not
10 possible to find a government that would provide guarantees for me if I
11 were to be provisionally released. So that question is not of any
13 I hope you will allow me to make two other minor objections.
14 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We have to continue, and I will not forget your,
15 as you call it, minor objections.
16 I have to ask you, is it necessary that anybody is informed on
17 your deprivation of liberty? For example, spouse, relative, especially to
18 inform where and how you can be contacted in the United Nations Detention
19 Unit in Scheveningen?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Everyone has been informed that I am
21 in prison. Therefore, there's no need to contact anyone.
22 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This contact, the second question
23 is: Do you want the Tribunal to inform your consulate or embassy about
24 your deprivation of liberty, according to Article 36 of the Vienna
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No. I do not wish to have any
2 contact with the consulate of the so-called Serbia and Montenegro. It is
3 my conviction that in Serbia and Montenegro, Mafioso and criminals are in
4 power and I do not wish any guarantees or any contact with them.
5 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: This is your right, and I thank you for this
6 clarification. So it's a mutual matter, and this allows the Registry of
7 this Tribunal to take the necessary steps that also from the side of the
8 government of Serbia and Montenegro there will be no attempt to contact
9 you. Do you agree with this?
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
11 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. This concludes the normal part of
12 Rule 62, but before I give you the floor once again, may I ask the
13 Prosecution, any observations, especially to the procedure of disclosure?
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, we will disclose the materials
15 as required in Rule 66 to 66(A).
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. And no doubt there was no request
17 necessary in a language you understand.
18 You wanted to make some short additional remarks. Please.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. I have been exposed to
20 physical torture and mistreatment today because, upon leaving the prison,
21 20 kilogrammes heavy flak jacket was put on me, and I consider this to be
22 torture prohibited by international law. I do not need any flak jacket.
23 I am not endangered by anyone. And I had to enter the vehicle on all
24 fours because of this jacket. In a civilised world, if there is any
25 danger, an armoured vehicle is provided. I have not come here to carry
1 flak jackets around. I have come here to be tried by you, and I really
2 consider this to be intolerable, and I request that this measure be
3 rescinded. No one is threatening me. I am in no danger.
4 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: Thank you. The Trial Chamber will decide on
5 this issue.
6 And the second point you wanted to raise today?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have four points, actually. This
8 was the first.
9 Secondly, I protest because through the media, through some TV
10 stations, I was informed about today's hearing. It was only at 11.00
11 today that I was formally informed. All the TV stations broadcast this
12 yesterday. So surely I should have been the first to be informed, at
13 least one day in advance to be able to prepare, rather than the media
14 learning about it before me.
15 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: If this would be the case, no doubt it would be
16 a mistake, but based on the documents I have before me, you should have
17 been informed already yesterday. That is in due time. And you have to
18 understand, being a lawyer yourself, that it's mandatory under human
19 rights to be brought promptly before a competent Judge, and this
20 "promptly" means both under the jurisprudence of Strasbourg Court and the
21 Committee on Human Rights, dealing with Article 9, paragraph 3 of the
22 covenant that it has to be done in three times and therefore it was
23 necessary to hear you today and to give you a chance to raise objections.
24 This is the reason.
25 If it's true that you were only informed, we will go into some
1 investigation on this. It would not be correct, in fact.
2 Please, your next point would be?
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There's a problem with visas. I
4 would like to be visited by members of my family, my close friends, and
5 possibly legal advisors. However, there's a problem, because the Dutch
6 government approves visas, and formally the Dutch government may decide
7 who may or may not visit me. So I insist that the United Nations should
8 issue visas in this case and that as to who will visit me or not should
9 depend on the Court rather than on the Dutch government.
10 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: We are in full agreement, and until now, there
11 has been no problem at all, and whenever there should be a problem, please
12 advise immediately the Court and we will resolve this matter, because
13 under the host country agreement, it is no doubt your right to receive
14 those persons you want as visitors.
15 This should not be any problem at all.
16 And your final question, please.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have to add something to what I
18 just said. It is intolerable for me for the Dutch government to grant
19 approval. This Tribunal is exterritorial. The Detention Centre is
20 exterritorial. I cannot understand that any request should be made to the
21 Dutch government for visas at all, because in that case I will renounce
22 visits by friends and family. I will not allow the Dutch government to
23 have the decision-making powers in that regard.
24 So I am raising this as a legal issue.
25 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: You have to follow the rules of international
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 law. There is a host country agreement with the Netherlands, and the
2 United Nations support all the efforts necessary to grant a fair and at
3 the same time expeditious trial, and part of this is that you have the
4 right to have visitors, but as to the fact that this Tribunal resides in
5 the Netherlands, it's for the Netherlands to issue these visas in the
6 future. Please obey these rules, and then you will achieve that what you
7 want, the visitors of your own choosing.
8 So let's come to your final point, please.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In my country, it is customary for
10 the Judges, the Prosecutors, and Tribunal employees to wear normal,
11 decent, civil clothing. I am frustrated when I see the Judges wearing
12 strange clothing in black, red, and the Prosecutor's in black and white.
13 This associates me with the inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church, and
14 psychologically I find this unacceptable, and I insist that everyone
15 should wear normal civilian clothing, especially as I haven't seen any
16 rule which prescribes clothing of this kind.
17 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: There are such rules, and we will provide you
18 these rules. You have to accept that this is an International Tribunal
19 established by the Security Council for the purpose of bringing and
20 maintaining peace in the former Yugoslavia, and it's the right of each
21 Tribunal and each Court, wherever in the world, to decide about the robes
22 to wear and the clothing of the personnel in this Tribunal. And the
23 plenary of this Tribunal has decided, being mandated to do so, to wear the
24 robes as we have, and the same is true for the representatives of the
25 Prosecution and the legal officers in this room, and the same would be
1 true for your Defence counsel.
2 This brings me to the final point of today's hearing. You know
3 about the meaning of the right to be heard. It might be that this Trial
4 Chamber ex officio will raise the question whether or not it is in the
5 interests of justice to assign a Defence counsel to you.
6 Do you want to comment on this question already now or later?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Under no circumstances will I accept
8 the assignment of Defence counsel by you. I would consider this a
9 limitation of my civil rights and prevention of my defence. In this
10 courtroom, no one but me may speak on my behalf or defend me from the
11 contents of this indictment. This then would be a put-up trial, and my
12 presence here would be tantamount to nonsense. If I so decide, I will
13 have my own legal counsel and legal assistants, but it is only I myself
14 who will act in my defence, and I am entitled to that. It is Article 21
15 that provides for this. No?
16 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I think you are --
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think so, yes.
18 JUDGE SCHOMBURG: I thank you very much for this clear statement.
19 The Trial Chamber will deliberate on this issue.
20 This concludes today's hearing.
21 --- Whereupon the Initial Appearance adjourned
22 at 4.17 p.m.