1 Wednesday, 7 November 2007
2 [Prosecution Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 [The accused entered court]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Registrar, can you kindly call
7 the case, please.
8 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, and good morning, Your Honours. This
9 is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus Vojislav Seselj.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, registrar. Today we
11 are Wednesday, the 7th of November, 2007. I would like to greet the
12 representative of the Prosecution, Mrs. Dahl, Mr. Seselj, as well as all
13 the people assisting us in the courtroom, the registrar, the usher, the
14 Legal Officer, as well as the interpreters, and the security guards. As
15 you know, today this hearing will be dedicated to the opening statement of
16 the Prosecution, but prior to that the Trial Chamber will hand down an
17 oral decision on the issue of witness lists. I shall read this out
19 Oral decision on the application filed -- on the application for
20 reconsideration filed by the Prosecution of the decision relating to the
21 adoption of protection measures on the 30th of October, 2007. Given the
22 oral application filed by the Prosecution during the Pre-Trial Conference
23 yesterday, with a view to asking for the reconsideration of the decision
24 on the reconsideration by the Prosecution of the decision relating to the
25 adoption of protective measures on the 30th of August, 2007, which had
1 been handed down by the Pre-Trial Judge on the 16th of October, 2007, on a
2 confidential basis. Given that the Prosecution yesterday asked for the
3 late disclosure of 30 days before the beginning of trial be calculated on
4 the basis of 30 days that should run after the testimony of the first
5 witness following the winter recess at the end of the year and not 30 days
6 before the testimony of the first witness which had been decided on the
7 16th of October, 2007. Considering the oral motion filed yesterday by the
8 accused during the Pre-Trial Conference and with a -- with a view to
9 asking that this be disclosed before the opening statement of the
10 Prosecution the identity of all the witnesses which the Prosecution
11 intends to call to testify, including those witnesses which have been
12 granted late disclosure 30 days before their testimony considering the
13 motion filed by the Prosecution, the Trial Chamber feels that there have
14 been no change in circumstances or clear mistake which would justify the
15 Trial Chamber changing or reconsidering its view.
16 Considering this, the Trial Chamber would like to state once again
17 that late disclosure of identity of witnesses was only granted in seven
18 cases, and once the Pre-Trial Chamber reckoned it was absolutely necessary
19 to protect the security of the witnesses in question whilst respecting the
20 rights of the Defence.
21 Considering that the Trial Chamber states that Rule 69(C) of the
22 Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides for nondisclosure of identity but
23 that the latter should nonetheless be disclosed before the commencement of
24 trial and in a deadline which entitles the Defence to prepare itself. But
25 the case-law of this Tribunal has interpreted Rule 69(C) of the Rules as
1 follows: This would entitle late disclosure of the identity to the
2 accused only after the commencement of trial, insofar as these time limit
3 entitles the Defence to prepare itself adequately.
4 Let me repeat this. So long as the Defence is able to prepare
5 itself properly.
6 Considering that the accused has not demonstrate any change of
7 circumstance or obvious error which would justify the Trial Chamber
8 changing its view on those decisions taken on the 30th of August and 16th
9 of October, therefore pursuant to Rule 69 of the Rules of Procedure and
10 Evidence, orders that the October decision -- following the October
11 decision and which granted late disclosure to seven witnesses, the
12 Prosecution will communicate or disclose the identity of those witnesses
13 at least 30 days before the 11th of December, 2007, this is when the
14 Prosecution will call its first witness. Refer to the Scheduling Order of
15 the 6th of 11.
16 Considering that those decisions of the 16th of October and 12th
17 of October have granted late disclosure of identity of witnesses 30 days
18 before the testimony of certain witnesses, the Trial Chamber wishes this
19 to be maintained.
20 So much for the decision we have taken which I'll sum up.
21 Therefore, the Trial Chamber maintains all its previous decision, which
22 means the Prosecution will disclose the identity, not the list of
23 witnesses that Mr. Seselj has already been provided with 30 days before
24 the 11th of December, 2007, i.e., in a few days' time. On the 11th of
25 December, 2007, the list of witnesses of protected witnesses, with the
1 exception of those seven witnesses which have been granted protective
2 measures, and stating that the disclosure of their identity will only be
3 provided 30 days before they come to testify in this courtroom.
4 That said, I shall now give the floor to Mrs. Dahl so that she
5 can - just a minute, Mr. Seselj. I shall give you the floor in a few
6 minutes - so that she can make her opening statement.
7 Mr. Seselj.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Microphone not activated]
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Since you have delivered the oral
11 decision of the Trial Chamber on a very important question, I request
12 orally to be allowed to appeal that decision because it considerably
13 restricts my procedural rights guaranteed by the Rules of Procedure and
14 Evidence, and this impedes the regularity of these proceedings.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So we reckon that
16 you have filed an oral motion with a view to certifying on appeal the
17 decision that has just been handed down by this Trial Chamber. This Trial
18 Chamber will rule on this.
19 Now, Mrs. Dahl, you have four hours. If you will -- can finish at
20 1.30, all the better.
21 MS. DAHL: May it please the Court.
22 By 1993 thousands of civilians in the Balkans had been killed,
23 thousands more were detained, beaten, and ultimately expelled, their homes
24 and cultures destroyed.
25 One witness who will come to tell the world what happened to her
1 exemplifies the suffering of those inflicted by those bent on creating a
2 larger state dominated by Serbs. This woman will testify that she lived
3 in a town in Bosnia with her husband, two young children. She had very
4 little political awareness. She was happy taking care of her children,
5 she was nursing an infant, and she began to hear rumours of war. She
6 lived in a mixed ethnic city. There were Serbs, Croats, and Muslims who
7 lived peacefully together. She did not identify herself with her
8 religious group nor did she choose her friends based on their ethnicity.
9 She lived in a middle-class neighbourhood. There were rich people, poor
10 people, like any normal city.
11 During the elections, chaos began. Television and media were
12 pulling the ethnic groups in all nationalist directions. People were
13 calling out to stick together with their own ethnic groups. Serbs voted
14 for one party, Muslims another, Croats for their own. When the elections
15 were over, she noticed that her Serb neighbours started to move away. At
16 first they told her they were just moving -- going away for a few days,
17 but it became obvious that they were leaving permanently. She said the
18 intellectuals were the first to flee, and they convinced the general Serb
19 population to leave too. The Croats in her neighbourhood were quiet,
20 people retreated to their own homes, people began sticking to themselves
21 and avoiding the political mess. Older people, those who had survived the
22 prior wars that had wracked the Balkans began to prepare for war. When
23 the conflict in Croatia started, people in her neighbourhood still seemed
24 to be getting along. Serb military reserves began to arrive in her city
25 in late 1991 and early 1992. They wore military uniforms and drove around
1 intimidating people. It was well-known that conflicts were breaking out.
2 By April 1992, the Serbs had fled from her city and there were no
3 more Croats or Muslims in the military barracks in her town; they had been
4 replaced by Serbs. People were afraid in her city. People were hiding in
5 their houses, they didn't dare come out. There were isolated killings.
6 She heard of people being taken away from their houses. There were
7 violent rumours everywhere. People kept their children home from school.
8 She talked about what to do with her husband. They decided that maybe
9 they would move to a relative's house in a nearby village. This relative
10 had told her that things were still calm there. She moved her two
11 children and her husband there. They stayed for several weeks. The house
12 was overcrowded, they ran out of food. They tried to figure out what to
14 Concerned for the safety of her two babies, they talked about
15 going to Croatia. They arranged this plan, but this woman was afraid to
16 leave her husband behind. She was afraid she would never see him again.
17 They decided to stay together as a family and go to another nearby village
18 where her mother-in-law said the Serbs were still treating the Muslims in
19 a kind way. Her mother-in-law thought that they would be safe. She says
20 now that going to this village was the worst decision she ever made in her
21 life. Only she survived.
22 In April 4, 1992, major military attacks began on her town. She
23 and her two small children and other relatives who could fit into their
24 car fled. They travelled in a mountainous region and then hid, trying to
25 get to her mother-in-law's village. She's nursing an infant and has
1 another child that needs to be carried. They got through a check-point
2 manned by Serb police. They were polite, gave proper directions on how to
3 get to her mother-in-law's village. This experience reassured her that
4 everything was okay, that they would be safe. Unfortunately, this village
5 was completely Muslim, and I say "unfortunately" because that made them a
6 target for ethnic cleansing.
7 The situation deteriorated in June 1992. They began to hear
8 horrifying rumours of death and destruction. They were in a small village
9 and they began to panic. She realised that it was perhaps too late to
10 flee any further. They stayed in shelters, tried to dig trenches to give
11 themselves a place to hide, nearby villages were shelled with artillery.
12 They decided to go into the mountains, and in a group of about 200 people
13 began to walk on foot. They saw that the village they left, which they
14 had returned to at night, had been destroyed, leveled, burned. They tried
15 to gather what clothes they could find and supplies. As they walked
16 through the mountains looking for some safety, they left behind the
17 belongings, realising that they were slowing them down.
18 It became a problem that they were travelling with a large group
19 of elderly people. The old people said, Leave us behind, save yourselves.
20 Parents were aware of the danger, they were trying to shield their
21 children. The grandparents said, Save our grandchildren.
22 They left behind 16 elderly people. This woman found out that
23 these 16 elderly people were killed, the bodies left out to rot. When
24 they moved deeper into the mountains, they were completely lost. They had
25 no food or water; because they were so high in the mountains, they found
1 snow to melt and drink. They grew more and more exhausted. Shells fell,
2 exploding, creating panic and confusion. This caused the group to panic,
3 it divided into two.
4 One-half of that group survived the war, they made it to safety.
5 The group where our witness remained with her children and her husband and
6 other family members went back toward their town, that by then had been
7 captured by Serb Chetniks. Seven well-armed Serbs asked them to
8 surrender. This small group of terrified and exhausted civilians thought
9 that if they surrendered without any resistance, they would not be harmed.
10 Some of the men had pistols, which they threw to the ground, but they were
11 arrested and taken to another small village nearby. And as this witness
12 will tell you, that's when the horror started.
13 When I first read this witness's statement, I couldn't imagine
14 anything worse, but indeed it got worse. That was the moment that they
15 separated the men from the women and children. In their group, there were
16 29 men and 20 children. Most of the children were preschool age. There
17 was even a seven-day-old baby.
18 They were taken to a school. The women and children were placed
19 on one side of the road and the men on another. Her husband was taken
20 away by a man in a Serb uniform. Other members of the Serb military
21 started to insult them, threaten them with rape, tell them how they would
22 slaughter them and their children. They were herded like cattle. There
23 was so much fear and hatred in their eyes, she was afraid that if the
24 military came close they would have skinned them alive. At one point she
25 asked a Serb soldier, "What have we done?" He replied, "Shut up. Your
1 sin is that you are Muslim."
2 Several hours later she saw her husband, he shook his head,
3 signalling to her that it was not good. She overheard the soldiers
4 asking, "What are we supposed to do with these men?" One told the other
5 that they would wait for their commander to arrive and decide what would
6 become of them. She heard later that the commander was of the
7 5th Battalion in the JNA.
8 The soldiers dealt with the men by driving them away in green
9 military vehicles. She never saw them again. The rest of the group was
10 forced to stand out by the school on the road all day until nightfall. A
11 bus arrived and they were then taken to the basement of a heating factory.
12 There they had to sleep on concrete floors in the dark. There were bars
13 on the windows. There were no toilets. They had to defecate on the
14 floor. They stayed there for four days and four nights without food or
15 water. The smallest children suffered the most. She convinced her son to
16 urinate in a container, and because her breasts had dried up she fed her
17 infant urine to prevent dehydration. She said a small Serb boy came to
18 the window. She begged him to bring water for the children. She said he
19 came back with a bottle of the water and poured it on the ground in front
20 of them. In the middle of the night they heard heavy banging on the door
21 like someone was trying to break it in. The women started screaming.
22 Four or five men she identified as Chetniks entered the room with
23 stockings over their heads and painted faces. "They were yelling,
24 swearing, threatening to slaughter us and our children, calling us
1 The room was dark. They tried to pick one woman, the one with the
2 newborn. One of the Serbs said to leave her because she's no good to us,
3 she just had a baby. They took other young women and her. She was
4 interrogated. They asked her questions about what she knew. She said
5 where she was from. She begged to be brought back to her children. Her
6 interrogator said that information would come to her during the
7 questioning. She knew nothing.
8 Unspeakable acts followed. She was questioned about her marriage,
9 her religion, whether she had any money, things that should not happen to
10 women ever were inflicted on her. They put her back in the room with the
11 other prisoners. She couldn't stop crying. The next day one of the men
12 came and took her out again. She was afraid she was going to be executed.
13 She asked to go back to her children. She never saw them again. Her
14 ordeal continued; we will hear more about it during the trial. Eventually
15 she was released and has spent the last 15 years searching for the bodies
16 of her children, searching for the bodies of her husband. The destruction
17 of her community, her life, her family exemplifies the product of the
18 belligerent and bellicose nationalism propagated by the accused.
19 The evidence will show that Mr. Seselj committed crimes during the
20 Balkan wars. With the leading power structures in Serbia, he actively
21 pursued the creation of an entity that he called Greater Serbia.
22 Slobodan Milosevic shared this goal, but while Milosevic wouldn't dare
23 call aloud for the liberation of Serb territory, Seselj would and did, and
24 he repeatedly called for the "liberation" of what he said were Serb lands.
25 Unfortunately, other people already lived there, people Seselj had no use
2 The evidence will show that Milosevic first tried to keep
3 Yugoslavia together. He tried to hold on to Croatia as Slovenia broke
4 away, and when that failed he turned to separating the Krajina out of
5 Croatia and then dividing up Bosnia and Herzegovina between Croatia and
7 Seselj joined him in this cause for Greater Serbia even though by
8 definition it would require the taking by force of a large part of Bosnia
9 and Herzegovina, a large part of Croatia, and permanently expelling the
10 non-Serb inhabitants.
11 To achieve this goal, Milosevic and others sidelined moderate
12 politicians and started wars throughout the Balkans. These wars destroyed
13 cities, left hundreds of thousands displaced or dead, and attempted to
14 wipe out entire groups based on their ethnicity, based on their religion,
15 based on a perceived threat and hatred incited by the war propaganda of
16 Mr. Seselj.
17 The result of Seselj's pursuit of a Greater Serbia was the
18 wholesale destruction of communities, the economic devastation and
19 demoralization of the diverse peoples who made up the former Yugoslavia.
20 The crimes were not simply against the communities within the former
21 Yugoslavia, they were on a scale that concerns the international
23 I pray the day of bellicose nationalism is over. In the end,
24 Mr. Seselj did not achieve a Greater Serbia; he managed to achieve only a
25 lesser Serbia and gave the world the phrase: Ethnic cleansing.
1 How did this happen? We will follow the evidence to find the
3 Mr. Seselj is a master politician. The evidence will show that he
4 is a shrewd and calculating man, a self-described scandal-monger. He
5 calls himself the greatest living Serb nationalist, but he is wrong.
6 National pride does not require fear and hatred and the destruction of
7 cultures and religious that are different from one's own. The evidence
8 will show, however, that this is the brand of nationalism that Mr. Seselj
9 advocated during the period covered in the indictment between 1991 and
10 1993. He is not apologetic even today. His brand of nationalism is
11 chauvinistic, belligerent, and poisonous to everyone. The evidence will
12 show that Mr. Seselj, in a time of rapid change during the devolution of
13 Yugoslavia, advocated violence against non-Serbs, and that during the
14 conflict he adopted the role of a paramilitary commander and raised his
15 own army of volunteers. The evidence will show that he indoctrinated them
16 with his poisonous ideas and sent them to the front lines and to Muslim
17 and Croat villages, where they and others committed unspeakable crimes.
18 Some people say that there are so many wars in the Balkans that
19 that's the nature of those people. It couldn't have been prevented, it's
20 in their blood, it's in their genes; that is wrong. The Prosecution will
21 present evidence that shows examples where countries in times of political
22 change have chosen civic nationalism over ethnic nationalism, and that
23 responsible political leadership promotes peace, reconciliation and the
24 politics of inclusion. This did not have to happen, it was not
1 Mr. Seselj, however, presented himself during the conflict in this
2 fashion, as a war-maker, armed with a rifle, and dressed in a traditional
3 Serbian hat with a kokarda. His main tool for trying to achieve his goal
4 of a Greater Serbia was his political party, the Serbian Radical Party.
5 Through the political party, Mr. Seselj promoted a larger state for Serbs.
6 He proclaimed the western borders should be along the line:
7 Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica. Here you can see that the western
8 borders go past even Bosnia and Herzegovina, through into Croatia, and
9 that the Greater Serbia, and that the Greater Serbia pursued by Seselj
10 included taking over the lands in other republics.
11 Mr. Seselj organized the Radical Party and the Serbian Chetnik
12 Movement within that through committees and a vast structure that included
13 membership in many municipalities in other countries around the world as
14 well, but he ruled it with an iron hand. He insisted to be kept informed
15 of the most minute details and made all of the decisions. By nature the
16 evidence will show that Mr. Seselj is an autocrat. Witnesses will tell
17 you that when talking with his associates, whether from the Radical Party
18 or the Chetnik Movement, Mr. Seselj would always do so in a raised voice,
19 making it clear that he was in charge and that what he proposed had to be
21 The Serbian Chetnik Movement was a part the Radical Party, a
22 movement that according to the statute of the Radical Party would be the
23 military wing during conflict. He organized the volunteers into a command
24 structure and the volunteers considered them to be his leader [sic]. He
25 describes himself as the only Serbian Chetnik Vojvoda, or duke, directly
1 engaged in the ongoing liberation movement of the Serbian people,
2 following in the tradition of Serbian Chetniks.
3 The Prosecution will prove that together with others, Seselj
4 implemented the common objective of permanently expelling non-Serbs from
5 territories that Seselj claimed to belong to Serbs. He promoted the
6 expulsion of non-Serbs from specific targeted territory. He incited his
7 audience to expel Serbs [sic], and he recruited and indoctrinated
8 volunteers to serve in the war effort, to serve in the military and pursue
9 this goal with brutal force.
10 His fanatical and extreme rhetoric attracted many young men who
11 volunteered to serve in his cause. They became part of the thousands of
12 volunteers who fought on the front lines in Croatia and Bosnia and
13 Herzegovina. The evidence will show that the professional army considered
14 them thugs. They quickly earned a reputation for being undisciplined and
15 violent and criminal; however, they served a purpose. Seselj's volunteers
16 did what no one would say out loud was necessary.
17 Seselj's extreme rhetoric not only attracted men and women who
18 volunteered for the war, but it also influenced other soldiers and
19 volunteers and militias who fought in both the army and Territorial
20 Defences and instilled in these Serbs fear and hatred of Croats and
21 Muslims and the desire to create a homeland for Serbs, a Greater Serbia.
22 We will also hear how Seselj's extreme rhetoric had a strong and
23 immediate effect on Croats and Muslims. Just hearing Seselj's fiery
24 speeches and his terrifying threats was enough to make people flee for
25 their lives. They left their homes and tried to get to safety.
1 Mr. Seselj has claimed in these proceedings that he has been
2 charged with a new crime, an invented crime. Unfortunately, war
3 propaganda and hate speech is not new at all. The evidence will show that
4 Seselj used tried-and-true propaganda techniques to poison the minds of
5 his listeners in order to further his criminal goals.
6 Before the 1990s, ethnic relations between neighbours were stable.
7 The past was the past. The mindset of ordinary civilians was one of
8 normal life. Yugoslavia is a mosaic of diverse peoples with
9 neighbourhoods mixed. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a proud tradition of
10 intermarriage and peaceful living. Seselj called upon the wounds of the
11 past to incite a crisis mentality. As the bonds holding the republic
12 began to dissolve and as communism loosened its grip on the former
13 Yugoslavia, people like Milosevic and the Croatian President
14 Franjo Tudjman and Mr. Seselj knew that extreme nationalism could become a
15 political force that would keep them or bring them to power.
16 This war was fought first with words. I want to show you a video
17 from April 1991 with Mr. Seselj in an atmosphere that describes very
18 closely the amount of public support and energy that he created when he
19 advocated for a Serbian homeland.
20 [Videotape played]
21 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "In such an atmosphere Vojvoda
22 Seselj, announced already at the beginning of the meeting, started his
24 "Voja! Voja! Serbia! Serbia! Serbia! Serbia! Serbia!
1 "This is where Serbian people live, this is Serbian land and it
2 will remain Serbian forever.
3 "Audience: That's right.
4 "Journalist: Instead of calming them down, special sent a message
5 to the people at the end:
6 "Brothers and sisters, we are sending a message to the new Ustasha
7 regime. It is the most difficult for you. He promised them that they
8 would not remain on their own and that all Serbs had just one party and
9 that is the Serb Radical Party. You have the hero Milan Babic at your
10 helm. He called those who separate the Serbian people traitors.
11 Ante Markovic and other foreign services consider today that there are
12 more important problems than your defence and your protection. They are
13 offering you to Tudjman. They want to hand you over. You will not be
14 handed over.
15 "Instead of calming them down, Seselj sent a message to the
16 gathered people at the end:
17 "We are sending a message to the new Ustasha head of state and
18 Ustasha regime in Croatia: Serbian heads have rolled, struck down by the
19 Ustasha hand in Serbian Krajina. A Serbian head has rolled in Serbian
20 Western Srem and Slavonia as well. We will avenge Serbian blood.
21 "Audience: We will.
22 "When it seemed after Seselj's speech that there would be no
23 response to his call to attack Plitvice, there was a blockade. In spite
24 of what the JNA officer said ..."
25 MS. DAHL: Mr. Seselj's prophecy of heads to roll would prove
1 true. His brand of bellicose nationalism and persistent threat of public
2 advocation of threats and violence primed people to accept what was
3 necessary to achieve his goals. Without Seselj's ability and
4 determination to instill his vision of reality into the minds of fellow
5 Serbs, there would have been few tools, no armed men to carry out the
6 violent goals of the Serb political and military leadership to create a
7 Greater Serbia.
8 [Videotape played]
9 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "As far as we are concerned, the
10 Croats can leave Yugoslavia any time they want, but we are letting them
11 know openly that they will not take a single inch of Serbian territory,
12 not a piece of land on which there are Serb villages, demolished churches,
13 pits in which Serbs were butchered, Serbian camps, Serbian killing fields,
14 such as a Jasenovac. Should we permit that, we would be unworthy of our
15 glorious ancestors and shamed before our descendants. The Croats may
16 create their new state but only to the west of the
17 Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica line. Everything to the east of that
18 line is Serbian. We shall not allow the Croats to manipulate the Bunjevci
19 Serbs and the Sokci Serbs. They are Catholic Serbs who, we hope, will
20 soon realise what kind of role the Vatican and the Ustasha leadership has
21 in store for them against the Serbian people."
22 MS. DAHL: In this one speech we can take note of several
23 propaganda techniques, expert testimony will help to frame Mr. Seselj's
24 political discourse. He sent out threat messages, that people were
25 threatened. He traded on wounds of the past. He glorified his own group,
1 and he denigrated those outside his group. Seselj's alliance and working
2 in concert with Mr. Milosevic gave him the ability to broadcast his
3 propaganda in the public media and to exert his influence in the arenas of
4 both politics and military power at the same time. He was able to recruit
5 and indoctrinate people willing to wage war to establish his
6 Greater Serbia. He was prolific in his speeches.
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica
9 has to be our goal, and that is the border where the army has to withdraw
10 all its troops. If the army is unable to move its troops from Zagreb to
11 this line without a fight, then they should do this with force and with
12 the bombing of Zagreb. The army still has capacities which it has not yet
13 used. If its troops are endangered, it has the right to use napalm bombs
14 and anything else they have available in their warehouses. We cannot play
15 games here. It is more important to save one army unit than to worry if
16 there will be some accidental victims. Who's to blame here? They wanted
17 war, now they have it."
18 MS. DAHL: By mid-1991 Mr. Seselj had refined his rhetorical
19 skills and had convinced others that members of other ethnic groups,
20 particularly Croats, posed a grave danger to the survival of the Serbs as
21 a group. He called Croats Ustashas, linking them to the fascist regime
22 that collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II. He constantly
23 reminded Serb populations that they were victims of the past and of
24 present crimes committed by Croats and others. He skilfully used that
25 sense of victimhood as justification for acts of collective violence and
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "The new Ustasha chief and Josip Broz
4 General Franjo Tudjman and the new Ustasha government in Croatia have
5 again put the criminal Kama under the throat of the Serbian people.
6 Should they attempt a new genocide against the Serbian people, we will not
7 allow them to happen again. We say to them we shall take revenge for each
8 Serbian life and we shall also ask to pay up for past crimes. Also for
9 crimes in recent history. Nothing will remain unpunished and we will not
10 allow the consequences of the occupation of the Serb lands and the Serb
12 MS. DAHL: Seselj's speeches demonized and dehumanized Croats,
13 Muslims, and other groups by portraying them using negative stereotypes,
14 in addition to linking all Croats to the fascist Ustasha regime, he
15 labelled Bosniaks as supporters of a pan-Islamic movement that allegedly
16 intended to take control of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
17 He publishes his speeches and his interviews and in an interview
18 that he has reprinted in a book called: "Politics as a conscientious
19 challenge," under the title: "Chetnik revenge will be blind," we see an
20 example of this stereotyping from May 1991. "How is one supposed to
21 negotiate with the Ustashas? Do you see today that the Croatian people
22 with entirely Ustasha? There are very few exceptions."
23 By using these dehumanizing stereotypes, Seselj removed the need
24 to question the morality or legality of crimes committed against Croats
25 and Muslims, at the same time his speeches glorified the Serb people and
1 their behaviour in wartime, which further encouraged aggression and
2 violence against other groups.
3 As an example of Serb glorification, I began turn to another book
4 published by Mr. Seselj entitled: "Serbian Chetnik Movement." From there
5 we see a newspaper reprint where he is greeting the heroic leader of
6 Milan Babic, "who is in the front lines of the defence of Serb-dom, whose
7 intelligence and courage placed him among the greatest sons of Serbian
8 people, and we would tell him that thousands of Chetniks will jump to his
9 aid every time he seeks help. We also greet the SDS of Bosnia-Herzegovina
10 and its clever leader Dr. Karadzic, who stood in the front lines in the
11 defence of national interests through the will of the Serbian people. We
12 would tell them all that they -- we will tell them all that they will not
13 stand alone as long as Serbian Chetniks are ready to follow the glorious
14 examples of their forebears."
15 Mr. Seselj gave countless speeches, continuing the process of
16 continuing large segments of the Serb population that they were
17 endangered, that Croats and Muslims were to be feared and hated, and that
18 action, including extreme and violent action, had to be taken quickly to
19 protect against the grave threat facing Serbs. The language that Seselj
20 used made his speech criminal. In the context of a volatile war and
21 political turmoil where people already susceptible to messages of fear and
22 hate, Seselj was also fully aware of his own political power and his
23 extraordinary ability to influence people by his words. He was
24 interviewed for a documentary which is now well-known and he made
25 statements during his testimony in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic. These
1 illustrate the power of his rhetoric.
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Milan Babic came with me and the
4 people sort of booed him, but then I gave a fiery speech and then people
5 started applauding Babic. Milan Babic wanted to reconcile with Raskovic,
6 but Raskovic refused on the spot and that's why he failed."
7 [Videotape played]
8 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I first went there on the 9th of
9 March when Vuk Draskovic was tearing Belgrade down. I went to Slavonia to
10 start an uprising of the Serbian people. I am proud of the role I played
11 in 1991. The Serbs there asked for me, they called me. First of all,
12 they did not trust Milosevic much. He gave them some promises, but he did
13 not always keep them. They felt threatened, and because we at the Serbian
14 Chetnik Movement gathered a large number of decisive, capable, and
15 courageous people, they asked for our help."
16 MS. DAHL: During Mr. Milosevic's appearance at the Milosevic
17 trial Judge Bonomy asked him: "How many volunteers were there from the
18 Radical Party?"
19 Mr. Seselj answered saying: "Well, sort of for propaganda reasons
20 we said that there were about 30.000 of them, but the real figure would
21 have been about 10.000."
22 That was enough. The Prosecution's evidence will prove that when
23 Mr. Seselj used political speech to generate fear and hatred, his actions
24 were calculated and deliberate. His hate speech harmed the human dignity
25 of communities that he targeted. And the Prosecution will lead evidence
1 that will support a finding that he persecuted people with his speech.
2 Concerning the charges in the indictment, we'll show you evidence
3 that Mr. Seselj's speeches directly instigated and incited Serb men and
4 women to commit acts of violence against Muslims and Croats in Vukovar in
5 1991, in Zvornik in the spring of 1992, and Hrtkovci in the spring and
6 summer of 1992. Seselj's speeches also made a significant contribution to
7 the work of high-level political and military leaders engaged in the
8 criminal enterprise to forcibly remove large numbers of non-Serbs from
9 their homes.
10 We will also present evidence that his speeches caused people to
11 flee, satisfying the elements of the crimes against humanity of
12 deportation and forcible transfer. Seselj's criminal forms of public
13 expression were highly effective in the province of Vojvodina, Serbia,
14 which was home to more than 72.000 ethnic Croats before the war started.
15 Vojvodina is the province of Serbia which borders Croatia, namely
16 Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem. Many volunteers for the
17 Radical Party and the Chetnik Movement were recruited from Vojvodina, and
18 Seselj visited different locations in Vojvodina on numerous occasions.
19 You will hear from the Prosecution's expert demographer Ewa Tabeau, that
20 during 1991 and 1992 close to 250.000 ethnic Serb refugees came to Serbia
21 from Croatia and parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. More than 95.000 of
22 these ethnic refugees arrived in Vojvodina, some of them on buses arranged
23 by the Radical Party. To make room for these refugees and to further his
24 own political agenda, Seselj spoke at rallies, at private meetings, and in
25 the Serbian parliament, calling for the expulsion of Croats from
1 Vojvodina. He declared Croats in Serbia to be disloyal citizens who had
2 to be expelled.
3 Next I will show you a speech from parliament.
4 [Videotape played]
5 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Believing that the argument was not
6 moving in the right direction, Seselj asked to speak again. The briefest
7 gist of his discussion this time could be described as a suggestion that
8 if the Croats were expelling the Serbs from Zagreb, what were the Croats
9 waiting for in Belgrade? Mahmud Mehic and Ahmet Skenderovic responded to
10 this saying ..."
11 MS. DAHL: Seselj reprinted his speech before the Assembly in
12 Serbia in April 1992. He said:
13 "Another issue: If the Croats are chasing the Serbs away from
14 their homes like this on a large scale, what are the Croats here in
15 Belgrade waiting for, what are the Croats all over Serbia waiting for? An
16 exchange of population: We chase away as many Croats from Belgrade as
17 there are Serbs whom Tudjman has chased away from Zagreb. When a Serbian
18 family arrives from Zagreb, well, they should simply go to the address of
19 a Croat in Belgrade and give them their keys, go away to Zagreb, an
20 exchange ... The Croats in Slankamen and Zemun and in other locations
21 will not sleep in peace until they move out ... We will not kill you,
22 that goes without saying, but what we will do is simply pack you up in
23 trucks and trains and you just go off and get along in Zagreb."
24 In fact, they did kill the Croats, and they were packed up and
25 sent away. Ethnic Croats living in the farming village of Hrtkovci, about
1 an hour's drive north-west of Belgrade, were some of the victims of
2 Mr. Seselj's campaign to drive Croats out of Serbia. Tensions began to
3 rise in Hrtkovci during the second half of 1991 with the arrival of
4 refugees. On the 6th of May -- I'm sorry.
5 Serbs from outside Hrtkovci, as well as Serb residents of the
6 village associated with the SRS harassed and threatened prominent Croat
7 residents and told them to leave the village. Seselj appeared at a public
8 rally in Hrtkovci on 6 May 1992 that had been organized by the SRS.
9 Prosecution witnesses will describe how Seselj called for the expulsion of
10 the Croats from that community.
11 Mr. Seselj is proud of his speech and has reprinted it in yet
12 another book. His speech is entitled: "The vital importance of May
13 elections - Promotion Rally of the Serbian Radical Party, Hrtkovci." He's
14 published it in a book called: "The Devil's Apprentice - Criminal Roman
15 Pope John Paul II."
16 Here's what he told the people:
17 "In this village, too, in Hrtkovci, in this place in Serbian Srem,
18 there is no room for Croats. Who are those Croats for whom there is room
19 among us? Only those Croats and their families who have shed blood
20 together with us on the front lines. They were called Croats in name
21 only, anyway. Some of them served with our volunteers. They have already
22 awakened to the fact that they are, in fact, Catholic Serbs. They will
23 stay here with us while all the rest must clear out of Serbia, including
24 those from here, from Hrtkovci, who locked up their houses and left,
25 reckoning, I suppose, that they would come back one day, but our message
1 to them is: No, you have nowhere to return to. Serbian refugees will
2 move into their houses.
3 "Serbian brothers and sisters, now that Tudjman has expelled more
4 than 200.000 Serbs, a part of them will return to the area of Serbian
5 Krajina, but another part cannot find a place for them here. We have to
6 give those Serbs a roof over their heads and feed the hungry mouths. We
7 have no money to build new housing. We do not have the capacity to create
8 new jobs for them. Very well then, if we cannot do that, then we should
9 give every Serbian family of refugees the address of one Croatian family.
10 The police will give it to them, the police will do as the government
11 decides, and we will be the government soon. Fine, then. Every Serbian
12 family of refugees will knock on one Croatian door and give whatever
13 Croats they find their address in Zagreb or another Croatian place. Oh,
14 they will, they will. There will be enough buses. We will drive them to
15 the border of Serbian territory and they can walk on from there, if they
16 do not leave before of their own accord."
17 I'll skip down.
18 "I firmly believe that you, Serbs from Hrtkovci and other villages
19 around here will know how to preserve your harmony and unify and that you
20 will promptly get rid of the remaining Croats in our village and in the
21 surrounding villages ..."
22 Prosecution witnesses will describe the fear, the terror caused by
23 Seselj's appearance and speech in their community, and they will explain
24 why they decided to abandon their homes as a result. Their fears were
25 justified. Witnesses will describe the vicious campaign that Seselj's
1 speech unleashed to expel the ethnic Croat residents of Hrtkovci. The
2 expulsion campaign mirrored the instructions in Seselj's speech: Croat
3 residents were harassed and intimidated. They received telephone threats,
4 they were beaten, hand-grenades thrown on to their property, they were
5 coerced to exchange their houses, and their houses were outright
7 Seselj later talked about the events in Hrtkovci and in Vojvodina
8 overall. The words he chose provide examples of another common tool of
9 propaganda: They use lies when it suits them. We will present evidence
10 that after the expulsion of Croats from Hrtkovci and Vojvodina, Seselj
11 described this as a voluntary exchange of properties between Croats and
12 Serbs. He sanitized the violence and lied by calling it voluntary. The
13 Prosecution will present evidence that in response to questions and
14 criticism about the expulsions of non-Serbs from Hrtkovci and other
15 communities in Vojvodina, Seselj had this to say for himself, again this
16 is drawn from another one of his books. In a radio programme in December
17 1993, Mr. Seselj said:
18 "We stood for a civilised exchange of population with Croatia. If
19 you remember, we insisted on that two years ago. Those were our efforts,
20 mostly our efforts that enabled this exchange to take place. The clotures
21 from Hrtkovci moved to Croatia, and the Serbs that Tudjman previously
22 expelled from Croatia came to Hrtkovci. This happened in Kukujevci,
23 Petrovaradin, Slankamen, Beska and partially in many other places. You
24 know, we are the opposition party and it seems to me that we accomplished
25 the maximum in this field. In this exchange of properties, the Croats
1 were given a lot more in Croatia than the Serbs received here from what
2 the Croats left for them in exchange."
3 Dr. Seselj said: "It was supposed to be conducted in a more
4 civilised way than it was actually carried out, but in any case we are
5 satisfied with the results. Thousands of Serbian families were
6 accommodated in some extent, they were given houses and apartments in
7 Hrtkovci ... And the Croats were not damaged at all, they were given even
8 more. They went to their country and they received better houses than the
9 ones they left."
10 This became known as ethnic cleansing in other parts of the former
11 Yugoslavia. Mr. Seselj's discourse transforms it into a civilised
12 exchange of population. The Prosecution evidence will show that these
13 lies served an important purpose, they allowed people to avoid the
14 inconvenient and moral and legal questions about their behaviour toward
15 others. These distortions of history provided Serbs with a simpler moral
16 framework that permitted them to accept and commit acts of violence
17 against their neighbours. Seselj performed a crucial act in furtherance
18 of the pursuit of Greater Serbia, his use of hate speech primed people to
19 condone the collective violence.
20 At this point I would like to ask whether it would be appropriate
21 to have a short break to allow the interpreters and the court reporters.
22 We've been going for over an hour and I want to ensure accuracy in the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] If you are asking for a break,
25 that's not a problem. We will have a 20-minute break and resume in 20
1 minutes' time.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.17 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.39 a.m.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have resumed our hearing.
5 Mrs. Dahl, you have the floor.
6 MS. DAHL: Thank you, Your Honour. I'll return briefly to
7 Mr. Seselj's speeches and use of the media and then turn to what happened
8 on the ground. Mr. Seselj, as our evidence will show, used all available
9 media resources to send his message. He appeared on television, he
10 appeared on radio, daily newspapers, including two newspapers published by
11 his own political party, one printed in Belgrade and the other in Banja
12 Luka, disseminated his ideology. Weekly periodicals carried his message
13 and he made an enormous number of personal appearances to disseminate his
14 hate speech.
15 In July 1993 the issue of Western Serbia, one of the Radical
16 Party's newspapers, carried this offensive cartoon. The cartoon depicts a
17 large Serbian Orthodox church and a man with a broom sweeping away small
18 pieces of a mosque from the area around the church. The article -- the
19 cartoon appeared with an article entitled: "There is no co-existence with
21 By the time this article appeared with this cartoon, the message
22 it promoted had been largely fulfilled. Serbs had destroyed Muslim
23 cultural property as a means of destroying the Muslim identity and
24 presence in communities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
25 Seselj republished his speeches and interviews and articles in
1 scores of books, which continue to be published, advertised, sold, read,
2 and reviewed in the Balkans. We will bring to you excerpts and analysis
3 of 66 volumes of Mr. Seselj's published works.
4 This case calls upon us to ask how can this happen? How does
5 collective violence appear? How do neighbour turn against neighbour? It
6 is in the basics of human nature that we find the answer. We will present
7 evidence that explains how every person is susceptible to the conditioning
8 of fear-based rhetoric and how in crisis conditions, as developed in the
9 former Yugoslavia, bring people one short step from an ordinary living in
10 community to the fearful and violent destruction of a community. History
11 teaches us over and over again the banality of evil and how ordinary
12 people, in circumstances we hope never to imagine, can commit the most
13 terrible acts, from Nazi Germany to Cambodia to the former Yugoslavia to
14 Rwanda, these terrible acts are not the misguided deeds of a few
15 psychopaths, but rather they result from political and military leadership
16 instead of teaching peace and civic nationalism, teaching instead a brutal
17 and bellicose ideology, providing the public with a steady stream of
18 propaganda that promotes and justifies that ideology, and organizes the
19 population at large to accept a smaller group of violent perpetrators
20 engaging in violent acts to exterminate their neighbours.
21 The news coverage in the region captured volunteers, explaining
22 why they were going to war.
23 [Prosecution counsel confer]
24 [Videotape played]
25 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "Will be Serbian, ours. It won't
1 belong to the Ustashas anymore. There will be no more fascism. It's
2 enough. We have suffered it for 50 years. We were waiting. They hate
3 us. It's enough. It's the end now.
4 "We have to fight with them.
6 "Because: [In English] The head of the kid is on the pig and the
7 head of the pig is on the kid's body. Do you know what that means? Do
8 you see that? Them people discuss, never, only fight to the end, the
9 last, the last boot, the last Ustasha.
10 "Hey, letís go to the company."
11 MS. DAHL: That clip was from militias in Vukovar.
12 Beyond mere words, Mr. Seselj also contributed his actions. He
13 and his associates helped finance, supply, and direct the actions of the
14 volunteers who joined up with other Serb forces to "liberate" Serb
15 territories and expel their populations. We will present evidence showing
16 that even though these volunteers were subordinated to military commanders
17 in the field, they often stayed together in units and detachments who were
18 commanded by squad leaders from the SRS. We will bring you evidence that
19 these leaders reported back to both the front line commanders and to
20 Seselj and his associates in the party offices back in Belgrade.
21 Seselj and his associates didn't just stay in Belgrade, however.
22 They helped to plan and prepare take-overs in strategic locations in
23 Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now I will talk in some more detail
24 about the military structure of the armed forces involved in the war.
25 Yugoslavia's founder, Tito, established a two-tier military
1 structure. This included both the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA, and a
2 sustainable all people's army, called the Territorial Defence. The
3 Territorial Defence was designed to protect against standing military
4 being crushed by the numerically superior Soviet forces.
5 We will present evidence that the Yugoslav People's Army, the JNA,
6 constituted the national armed force; it was an active-duty, conventional
7 military under centralised control from Belgrade. It possessed all the
8 armour, mechanised fighting vehicles, and heavy artillery. Its mission
9 was to challenge any invasion and delay the enemy long enough for the
10 Territorial Defence to mobilise.
11 Conversely, the Territorial Defence had a decentralised command
12 structure that could not be wiped out in a single blow. It was
13 essentially under the command of each republic's political authorities,
14 and the Territorial Defence system relied upon country-wide military
15 training for the entire male population and massive stockpiles of small
16 arms, caches of light weapons such as mortars and vast quantities of
17 ammunition. The military mission of the Territorial Defence was to mount
18 a protracted partisan-type war against any invasion force, even if much of
19 the country was occupied. The real object was to deter invasion in the
20 first place by making it potentially so costly that an enemy would not
21 pursue it.
22 The Territorial Defences developed into semi-autonomous military
23 forces answering to the republics. By the end of the 1980s, they could be
24 perceived as threats to the Yugoslav Army and its centralised command
25 coming out of Belgrade.
1 To understand the conflict, we must look at the transformation of
2 the army as the political bonds holding the former Yugoslavia dissolved.
3 The socialist Presidency was the most senior command and control of the
4 socialist armed forces. If there were declared a state of emergency or a
5 state of war or an imminent threat of war, the socialist Presidency would
6 become the Supreme Command, assisted by a command staff.
7 The indictment names as members of the joint criminal enterprise
8 General Veljko Kadijevic, who served as Minister of Defence and general of
9 the army between 1988 and 1992, and Colonel-General Blagoje Adzic. He
10 succeeded General Kadijevic in 1992 and served as Federal Secretary of the
11 People's Defence.
12 Before the conflict, the law in Yugoslavia allowed for people who
13 were not already conscripts to join up or volunteer for military service
14 with either the JNA or the Territorial Defence. The law did not, however,
15 authorise the formation of volunteer units by nationalist political
16 parties or other groups outside the framework of the Yugoslavian armed
17 forces, either in the JNA or in the Territorial Defences. Apart from the
18 state, no one else was authorised by law to organize, reinforce, arm,
19 equip, or train armed forces.
20 Nevertheless, the JNA knew that Seselj's volunteers were operating
21 in Croatia. During the conflict in Croatia, nationalist political parties
22 in Serbia, like Seselj's Radical Party, organized the recruitment,
23 training, and dispatching of volunteers to conflict zones; they even set
24 up their own volunteer or paramilitary formations. The evidence will show
25 that this was with the tacit authorisation of the Government of the
1 Republic of Serbia. The volunteers affiliated with Seselj's Radical Party
2 or the Chetnik Movement used the name of Chetnik or Seselj's Men to
3 describe themselves.
4 At the same time, there were also other groups such as Arkan's
5 Tigers, commanded by Zeljko Raznatovic, who went by his nickname Arkan,
6 and volunteers operating under the command of Dragan Vasiljkovic, also
7 known as Captain Dragan, which according to the evidence we will bring
8 you, intelligence reports prepared by the JNA security organs, security
9 administration, these groups maintained close ties with the Ministry of
10 the Interior and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia.
11 The indictment identifies as members of the joint criminal
12 enterprise the leaders of these state organs: The head of the state
13 security in Serbia, Jovica Stanisic; and the head of the Serbian secret
14 police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Franko Simatovic; under them was
15 Radovan Stojcic, also known as Badza, an official of Serbian Ministry of
16 the Interior, in charge of operations in Eastern Slavonia.
17 The Supreme Command of the JNA and Serbian authorities were aware
18 that volunteers were participating in the conflict in Croatia and they
19 were aware of and encouraged the role of national political parties in the
20 recruitment of these volunteers. After Slovenia and Croatia declared
21 independence, the mission of the Yugoslav armed forces began to change.
22 The JNA began to suffer desertion, its soldiers were unwilling to fight in
23 a civil war. As the JNA withdrew from Slovenia, it slowly transformed
24 away from being a Yugoslav Army into being a Serb army. We will present
25 evidence showing that its mission changed from safe-guarding territorial
1 integrity into consolidating Serb control of targeted areas in order to
2 protect the Serb population.
3 Seselj explicitly approved the shift of the role of the JNA in
4 Croatia, and he underlined the complementarity of the JNA and the Seselj
5 volunteers in implementing what he perceived as common goals. We will
6 present evidence that during the spring of 1991 Seselj made several calls
7 for the unification of all lands he considered Serb along the
8 Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica line. Later on in the conflict when
9 he realised that Serb forces had not achieved that line, that they had not
10 claimed the western border of Serb lands, he blamed the federal secretary
11 for the people's defence, army General Kadijevic for this failure.
12 The Radical Party's founding statute or its party statute
13 identifies its goal as the struggle for the unification of all Serbian
14 lands into one state and the protection of Serbs in territories belonging
15 to other states. Even though in his numerous public appearances, Seselj
16 emphasised that his role and the role of the party in relation to
17 volunteers was limited to the gathering and dispatching of these
18 volunteers, documents produced by the Radical Party itself, including
19 articles that were published in Seselj's party magazine "Velika Srbija,"
20 demonstrate that Seselj's role and the role of his volunteers in the war
21 was much wider.
22 We will present evidence showing that the Radical Party's war
23 staff maintained close relations with the Radical Party volunteers, even
24 after they were sent to be commanded by either the JNA or the local
25 Territorial Defence units. The close relations maintained by the Radical
1 Party war staff included issuing orders, giving instructions, exchanging
2 operational information, keeping records of deployed volunteers and their
3 performance, and the performance of fact-finding missions by senior
4 members of the Radical Party war staff. Seselj's public statements
5 indicate that he knew what his volunteers were doing when they were
6 engaged in combat activities.
7 We can see from Mr. Seselj's later promotion of his volunteer
8 leaders that he approved of what they did. We will bring you evidence
9 that shows in 1993 and 1994 he promoted men who, according to him, had
10 distinguished themselves in the armed conflict in Croatia and Bosnia and
11 Herzegovina. He promoted them and gave them the title of Vojvoda. A
12 Chetnik Vojvoda, according to the Radical Party documentation, attaches to
13 the most senior commanding officers within their military volunteer
15 Seselj's volunteers drew first blood in Croatia. We will present
16 evidence that on May 2nd, 1991, a group of Seselj's volunteers ambushed
17 policemen, Croatian policemen, in Borovo Selo in their first armed action.
18 These volunteers who, according to Seselj "proved competent during the
19 defence of Borovo Selo" were promoted to the title of Vojvoda on 12 May of
21 The coordination by the relevant military and political structures
22 is demonstrated by the Radical Party's establishment of first a Crisis
23 Staff in April 1991 and then it transformation on 1 October 1991 into a
24 War Staff. We will demonstrate that the War Staff played a key role in
25 the recruitment and dispatching of volunteers. In order to achieve this
1 task, the War Staff cooperated with the Ministry of the Interior, the
2 Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia, and with the JNA. We will
3 present evidence that volunteers recruited by Seselj or Seselj's party
4 were trained and equipped, including the provision of weapons and
5 ammunitions at the JNA or the Ministry of the Interior facilities or with
6 other assistance of the existing military structures. The Radical Party
7 War Staff also organized the payment of volunteers or their relatives in
8 coordination with other government arms, such as the Serbian Ministry for
9 Relations with Serbs outside Serbia.
10 I want to turn now to Croatia and the battle for Vukovar. The
11 Prosecution will present evidence that before the outbreak of the conflict
12 in Croatia, the police and the Territorial Defence of the Republic of
13 Croatia gradually split into Croatian and local Serb structures. In areas
14 where Serbs had a majority or a significant minority, they took over the
15 existing structures, as the non-Serbs had left or were encouraged to
16 leave, or did not recognise the Socialist Federal Republic anymore and
17 ceased their cooperation with the JNA, or local Serbs set up their own
18 police and Territorial Defence units and staffed these units with people
19 who did not answer to the republican authorities in Croatia, but stayed
20 loyal to what remained of the Socialist Federal Republic, and Serbia.
21 During combat operations in Croatia, the JNA established
22 operational and tactical groups to restore and maintain unified and single
23 command and control between the JNA, local Serb Territorial Defence, local
24 Serb police, and the Territorial Defence of the Republic of Serbia as well
25 as the units and detachments of volunteers.
1 In September 1991, the JNA endeavoured to keep Vukovar part of the
2 Federation instead of allowing Croatia to secede. The operational groups
3 that covered Vukovar consisted of JNA units, local Territorial Defence,
4 and Serbian volunteers, including those affiliated with or sent by the
5 Radical Party and Arkan's Tigers. Arkan's Tigers mainly participated in
6 the operational areas of the north, Seselj's volunteers were predominantly
7 active in two detachments in Vukovar known as Petrova Gora and
8 Leva Supoderica.
9 The Radical Party War Staff maintained close relationships with
10 the local Vukovar territorial command. It was led by a man named Kameni,
11 and he was considered a Chetnik detachment commander. We will hear
12 evidence that on 9th November of 1991, the chief of the SRS War Staff
13 instructed the commander of that detachment to appoint subordinate
14 commanders and to put all volunteers under their command. Seselj visited
15 his volunteers in Vukovar.
16 Strict orders from the JNA attempted to maintain control over the
17 volunteers. The Chetnik commander of Vukovar on December 9, 1991,
18 requested promotions for his warriors. He asked the chief of the War
19 Staff, and he mentioned the commanders in Vukovar. By then the massacres
20 at Ovcara and Velepromet had happened. Seselj promoted Kameni and others
21 in 1993 and 1994 for their service at Vukovar.
22 The human rights abuses taking place in Vukovar were well-known
23 worldwide. For example, on January 21, 1992, Helsinki Watch sent a letter
24 alerting Slobodan Milosevic to human rights abuses. The report attached
25 to the letter explicitly mentioned the summary execution of people
1 evacuated from the hospital at Vukovar at Ovcara on the evening of 20/21
2 November 1991.
3 We will present evidence that on 18 November 1991 when Vukovar
4 fell to the Serb forces, an elderly man and his wife, fearing the worst,
5 went to the hospital to find protection. The following day Serb forces
6 took away non-Serbs. They threatened them and cursed them and eventually
7 they arrived at Ovcara farm. There they were beaten by soldiers and
8 subjected to all manner of cruelty. Some were killed right there and then
9 in the hangar or in front of the hangar. The elderly man who will testify
10 here survived because he knew one of the soldiers. That soldier saved his
11 life. The other men and a few women who were massacred were buried in a
12 mass grave.
13 The Prosecution will show that Seselj decided that the Radical
14 Party should send as many as his volunteers as possible to Vukovar. We
15 will bring you documentation, as described, that shows the chain of
16 command, the delivery of volunteers, the presence of their detachment, and
17 the role that they play. We will provide testimony of soldiers regarding
18 the coordination of Kameni with the commanders of the Territorial Defence
19 and the Yugoslav Army brigades in Vukovar. Seselj himself said on TV on
20 the 23rd of November, 1991, that "Kameni, our main commander in Vukovar
21 plans his action with the army major in the evening and executes it the
22 next day. The army did not have enough manpower to go around capturing
23 each house because of desertion. That is what our men did."
24 A few days before the massacre at Ovcara Seselj went to Vukovar to
25 visit his volunteers and boost their morale. The Prosecution will present
1 evidence that he participated in a meeting with the commanders of the
2 Territorial Defence and the JNA and Seselj said: "We are all one army.
3 This war is a great test for Serbs. Those who pass the test will become
4 winners. Deserters cannot go unpunished. Not a single Ustasha must leave
5 Vukovar alive."
6 The soldiers did what Seselj requested them to do. When Serb
7 forces occupied the city, hundreds of Croats were killed by Serbs. Among
8 those committing the murders at Ovcara and elsewhere in Vukovar were the
9 Seselj volunteers, commanded by Kameni. This photo is of Mr. Seselj in
10 the ruins of Vukovar, to his left is Kameni. We will hear from witnesses
11 present at the Vukovar Hospital, at the Vukovar barracks, and Ovcara that
12 the Seselj volunteers led by Kameni wanted revenge on those who had been
13 taken from the Vukovar Hospital. The evidence will show that many Seselj
14 volunteers participated in the mass murders at Ovcara. We will hear from
15 witnesses that the man Kameni was -- that Kameni was close to Seselj. He
16 had direct access to him and reported to him personally. Recently, Kameni
17 was convicted and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment in Belgrade for his
18 participation in the atrocities committed at Ovcara.
19 This photograph shows Kameni with several other Vojvodas in 1993.
20 Seselj promoted Kameni to the rank of Vojvoda in 1993 for their
21 achievements during the Vukovar campaign and elsewhere. He promoted a man
22 named Vakic who participated in the ambush on the policemen at
23 Borovo Selo. He also recognised his other participation in Chetnik units
24 he described as operating in Serbian Herzegovina in May and June of 1992.
25 In this same promotion order Seselj recognises Milan Lancuzanin as
1 the best of the best and as an excellent commander of the Leva Supoderica
2 volunteer unit of the Radical Party at Vukovar. What the order promoting
3 these men fails to mention but what the evidence will show is that
4 wherever these two men were active, non-Serbs were murdered.
5 These two were not the only perpetrators of crimes against
6 humanity who were promoted by Seselj. Topola, another Chetnik volunteer
7 who was present at Ovcara, killed Croats elsewhere in Vukovar, including
8 at the Velepromet facility close to the JNA barracks used by the Serb
9 forces as a detention facility for Croats and others. After the fall of
10 Vukovar, Topola and some other volunteers removed detainees from the room
11 and killed them.
12 The evidence will show that when Seselj was informed about the
13 crimes Topola committed, he simply said: "What can I do now? Disarm the
14 man and send him home, he's tired."
15 Seselj and his associates did not report these crimes to Serbian
16 authorities; instead, they deployed him as a volunteer to Bosnia and
17 Herzegovina, where he repeated his prior acts and committed more serious
18 crimes against the non-Serb population.
19 After Vukovar came Vocin. December 1991, you can see looking at
20 the western-most line of cities that if Seselj wanted to create a
21 homogenous Greater Serbia they would need to take Vocin. That was a town
22 that had a Croatian population of approximately 1500 people. When Serb
23 forces were in control of Vocin, they massacred the population; upon their
24 withdrawal, people went into Vocin and found civilians who had been
25 murdered by a blow of an axe to their face, by gun-shot wounds into their
1 eyes, by bullets to the back. We will provide evidence to show that this
2 campaign, this devastation of Vocin, the destruction of the Catholic
3 church there was designed to terrorise and cause, and in fact caused, the
4 flight of the civilian populations.
5 Seselj transferred his volunteers to Vocin where they terrorised
6 the non-Serb population and persecuted them based on their ethnicity. We
7 will provide evidence on the extensive cooperation between the Territorial
8 Defence in Western Slavonia and the SRS headquarters in Belgrade. This
9 includes requests for volunteers originating from the region and the
10 approval and dispatch of those volunteers by the Radical Party.
11 SRS headquarters, the evidence will show, worked hand and glove
12 with both the JNA and local authorities throughout the conflict in Croatia
13 and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Let me refer again to the basic military
14 organization that Seselj maintained for the Radical Party volunteers. His
15 volunteers had specific commanders from the party ranks. Rule 7 from the
16 basic military organization says that:
17 "The volunteer units of the Serbian Radical Party are engaged in
18 combat or other combat-related activities independently or as part of the
19 appropriate unit of the Yugoslav Army, the Army of Republika Srpska, or
20 Army of Serbian Krajina, according to the plans made by the commands of
21 the aforementioned armies.
22 "Volunteer units are engaged in these armies only in their
23 entirety and under the command of the volunteer commanders, exceptions
24 possible if arranged."
25 In this connection, a volunteer commander in full authority and
1 responsibility, is delegated to the specific command to coordinate
2 possibilities, requests, requirements, utilisation, and security of the
3 volunteer units.
4 The rules of the Radical Party also made reference to the
5 hierarchical command structure. It says: "The commands of the Serbian
6 Radical Party volunteers are organized as commanding organs for all
7 volunteer forces, their units, and their combat activities. They are
8 formed analogously to the commanding structure of the party organs."
9 Witnesses will tell us that at times the Radical Party transferred
10 volunteers of its party and other volunteers from elsewhere to the front
11 lines together. For the local population, the volunteers were just the
12 same. Their presence created a climate of fear. They looted, they
13 threatened, they abused, and they killed. What is important is that the
14 evidence will show that these volunteers considered themselves Chetniks
15 and approved of, followed, pursued, executed Seselj's goal of creating a
16 Greater Serbia.
17 Let me read to you what one of the volunteers said when referring
18 to a gathering of the Serbian Chetnik Movement in Ravna Gora in May 1990.
19 I quote: "All the parties were present more or less the same.
20 Vojislav Seselj, Mirko Jovic, and Vuk Draskovic held speeches during the
21 rally. The things that were said during the speeches were almost all the
22 same ..."
23 This witness sometime later joined the SRS because he thought:
24 "Draskovic," and I'm devoting his words, "was too moderate, and Seselj
25 with his more radical stance impressed me more."
1 In November 1991, Seselj visited Vocin and met his volunteers. We
2 will hear from local witnesses that after the volunteers had a meeting
3 with Seselj, they became more aggressive and there was a sharp increase in
4 crimes against Croat civilians.
5 The criminal conduct of the volunteers was known to human rights
6 observers as well as the armies that took control later in Bosnia. For
7 example, in a report prepared in July of 1992 entitled: "Report on
8 paramilitary formations in the territory of the Serbian Republic of
9 Bosnia-Herzegovina" by the Main Staff of the VRS, they say this of the
11 "They are mainly composed of individuals of low moral quality, and
12 in many cases of persons previously prosecuted for crimes and offences and
13 even convicted of murder, robbery, and larceny and the light. Very often,
14 such units have in their ranks pathological criminals whom the conditions
15 of war and general lawlessness have brought to the fore ..."
16 I continue their report: "Many formations of this type display
17 hatred of non-Serbian peoples and one can conclude without reservations
18 that they are the genocidal elements among the Serbian people ... War
19 profiteering and looting are the motive for the great majority of
20 paramilitaries ... One common feature to all paramilitary formations is
21 that they do not take part in direct fighting with the enemy. Instead,
22 they are operating behind the lines of the regular Serbian Republic Bosnia
23 and Herzegovina army units, and looting and burning property and killing
24 the innocent population."
25 This report identifies by name many of the units they're
1 describing. They mention Seselj's men, Seseljevci, a term used by the
2 volunteers. The Prosecution will provide evidence that he was fully
3 apprised of the types of people who had joined the ranks of the Radical
4 Party volunteers and the other volunteers he assisted in transferring to
5 the regions in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both Radical Party
6 members and local officials told Seselj and his associates in the SRS
7 office in Belgrade about the unruly and cruel behaviour of the volunteers
8 on the ground. That information was met with indifference and hostility.
9 Seselj's associates kept him informed, and he also made very many
10 visits to the front lines. With his own eyes he saw the destruction being
11 wrought by the Serb forces on Muslim and Croat villages and communities.
12 As a leading politician and a member of the Serbian parliament,
13 Seselj of course had many ways to receive information. A large amount of
14 information was available in the public domain as well. Surely he will
15 not claim ignorance. We will prove that he knew what was happening and he
16 persisted in his aims, knowing the crimes of mass scales were being
18 I want to turn now to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19 The Serbs pursued war aims in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.
20 They wanted to create a territorially contiguous Bosnian Serb state. They
21 made extensive pre-war preparations for the secession from Bosnia. As
22 Croatia and Slovenia were trying to secede from the republic, so too was
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina. But within that, the Bosnian Serbs were trying to
24 secede themselves and remain attached to the Serbian majority populations
25 in the neighbouring republics. We will present evidence that the JNA
1 backed the Serbs in early 1992 and transformed JNA units into a Bosnian
2 Serb army, that was an incredibly important factor in their ability to
3 fight and gain territorial control.
4 During the winter of 1991, what remained of the political
5 leadership of Yugoslavia discussed the future of the army in Bosnia and
6 Herzegovina in light of the recognition of Slovenia and Croatia.
7 High-level political and military leaders, we will present evidence to
8 demonstrate that they discussed a revised role for the JNA in Bosnia and
9 Herzegovina and they decided that military conscripts born in Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina who were serving in JNA units in Serbia, Montenegro, and
11 Macedonia would be redeployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
12 We will present evidence that from January 1992 onwards, there was
13 a convergence and a collaboration between command units and the main
14 Bosnian Serb political party, the Serbian Democratic Party in
15 strategically located Serb-dominated parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
16 In the early parts of 1992, we will present evidence showing the
17 increasing control exercised by Serbs over the Territorial Defences in
18 areas characterized by a significant Serb population with the assistance
19 of JNA and forces controlled or linked by -- linked to the Ministry of the
20 Interior from Serbia.
21 By now the Bosnian Serb strategic goals announced officially at
22 the 16th Session of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Assembly
23 on 12 May 1992 are infamous. They clearly set out six goals essential to
24 creating ultimately the goal of Greater Serbia. First: Separate the
25 Serbian people from the two other national communities; second, establish
1 a corridor between Semberija and Krajina; three, establish a corridor in
2 the Drina Valley, thus eliminating the Drina as a border separating
3 Serbian states; four, establish a border on the Una and Neretva rivers;
4 five, divide the city of Sarajevo; and six, establish access to the sea.
5 Radovan Karadzic led the Bosnian Serb leadership to form their own
6 entity and go to war. His six principles would, if achieved, create an
7 independent republic that could eventually rejoin the rump Yugoslav
8 state. Unstated but essential to the achievement of his geopolitical
9 goals was the acquiescence of Muslim and Croat leadership in Bosnia and
10 Herzegovina. A further unstated aim implicit in these goals was that the
11 new state must be almost purely Serbs. This can only be their objective
12 when you consider what the evidence will show that in a systematic way the
13 Bosnian Serbs carried out ethnic cleansing.
14 When Seselj talked about pursuing a Greater Serbia, other members
15 of Bosnian and Serb leadership who agreed with that goal did not use the
16 same language. Slobodan Milosevic insisted that Serbs remain in one
17 state, and he said that the divisions of Yugoslavia into several states
18 which would separate Serbian people and force them to live in separate
19 sovereign states would be out of the question. Officially, Milosevic
20 seemed to have been in favour of the old Yugoslavia during parts of 1991.
21 For Seselj this federal state was only an interim solution in his struggle
22 for a Greater Serbia. We will bring evidence such as this panel
23 discussion with Tanjug's guests, where he's being interviewed and
24 discussing his concept of Greater Serbia and how to achieve that by
25 bringing together populations of Serbs separated by political borders.
1 However, by 1991 Milosevic and the Serbian and Montenegrin members of the
2 socialist Presidency were pursuing the creation of a new Serb state more
3 in line with what Seselj had in mind. Borisav Jovic wrote, and we will
4 present his book on the last days of the SFRY, he said that: "By working
5 to destroy and break up Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia themselves are
6 working to create a Greater Serbia."
7 You can see from the map that Slobodan Milosevic's party targeted,
8 that they were pursuing the same territory. Here in this map you can see
9 the autonomous region of the Krajina on number 1; Western Slavonia marked
10 as number 2, the self-declared Autonomous Region of Western Slavonia,
11 Baranja, and Western Srem; number 4, the Posavina corridor. The curved
12 line farther to the west is indicated in the text as the optimal western
13 borders of the Serbian counties there, of course the line that Seselj
14 preached Karlobag, Karlovac and Virovitica.
15 As can be seen from the maps used by Milosevic's party his goals
16 in relation to a new Serbian state and Seselj's Greater Serbia cover
17 basically the same territory. The evidence will show that the political
18 and military leadership in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were fully
19 in line with Milosevic as well as Seselj's notion of creating a Serb state
20 dominated by Serbs out of territory held by Croatia and Bosnia and
22 As we've discussed already, the evidence will show that Serb
23 leaders in the self-declared regions of Croatia in collaboration with
24 people in Belgrade and Bosnia and Herzegovina set up the necessary
25 political, police, and military structures that later engaged in a war for
1 territory to create the western borders of the new state. Seselj was
2 personally present in those territories from beginning to end. He was
3 present when on July 25, 1990, in Knin -- near Knin, I'm sorry, Milan
4 Babic and other Krajina leaders established a Serb Assembly and the
5 Serbian National Council and passed a declaration on the sovereign and
6 autonomous -- on the sovereignty and autonomy of the Serb nation in
7 Croatia. Seselj was present in the first clashes of violence in the
8 self-declared Autonomous Region in Krajina in March 1991. Seselj's men
9 were involved in the violence in Borovo Selo, in Eastern Slavonia, Seselj
10 was present at Vukovar before it fell to the Serb forces, and also in
12 The evidence will show that he was in constant contact with the
13 Croatian Serb leaderships in all of the self-declared autonomous regions,
14 he even supported Milan Babic by the end of 1991 in his opposition to the
15 Vance Plan which proposed peace for the Croatian territories that had been
16 agreed upon by Slobodan Milosevic, Tudjman, and General Kadijevic to allow
17 international forces to come in.
18 The documentary evidence that we will present will demonstrate the
19 high degree of coordination throughout that region that can only mean that
20 the political and military leaders were working together in concert to
21 pursue their common goal. Originally or initially the military leadership
22 was opposed to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the evidence shows
23 that they were not in favour of a new Serbian state, but rather pursued
24 the continuation of the old Yugoslavia. However, in July 1991 the
25 evidence will show that the generals, pressured by Milosevic and other
1 leaders of the Presidency, gave up the idea of a unitary Yugoslavia and
2 moved their forces to the future borders of a new Serb state along the
3 lines of the western border I have shown you.
4 When the Serbian and Montenegrin leadership took over the
5 Presidency and thus the Supreme Command of the JNA on the 1st of October,
6 1991, the evidence will show that the JNA sided with the Serb leadership
7 and warned the Croatian government and other organs that they would
8 retaliate for any military action.
9 The date of 1st October is significant because of so many steps
10 taken throughout the region. The Montenegrin leadership acted in
11 coordination and mobilised their special police unit for the attack on
12 Dubrovnik which started the following day, and the SRS acted on orders of
13 Seselj as well.
14 They established a War Staff on October 1st, changed the name of
15 their Crisis Staff, and Seselj with his associates were already fully
16 cooperating with the JNA and continued to transfer their volunteers into
18 The goal of creating a Greater Serbia was not achieved, but they
19 did achieve ethnic cleansing. We will hear from demographic experts about
20 the changes in Croatia that left the claimed areas basically free of
21 non-Serbs and, in particular, Croats.
22 Seselj himself said on 6 March 1992 in a television interview in
23 Belgrade that he was of the opinion that: "We did not manage to achieve
24 that ideal western border of ours: Karlobag-Ogulin-Karlovac-Virovitica.
25 We did not succeed with Karlobag but we are somewhere in the vicinity of
1 the former Maslenicki bridge and that is several kilometres away from
2 Karlobag. We did not succeed with Ogulin, however we are close to Ogulin.
3 We did not succeed with Karlovac, however we are holding the suburbs of
4 Karlovac. We did not succeed with Virovitica, but we are holding the
5 suburbs of Pakrac, one part of Pakrac and parts of Western Slavonia."
6 By the end of 1991, the Republika Srpska -- I'm sorry. The -- by
7 the end of 1991, the military and political situation on the ground caused
8 the focus of the JCE to shift to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a conference
9 organized by the Rump Presidency in Belgrade on 3 January 1992 with
10 representatives of the leadership of the self-declared autonomous regions
11 in Croatia, the Bosnian Serbs and the members of the SRS as well as other
12 parties revised the map of targeted areas.
13 In 1992 we have the Epoha map. In January 9 1992 the Bosnian Serb
14 Assembly proclaimed the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In
15 relation to its territories, it stated that it included "areas where the
16 Serbian people are a minority because of the genocide conducted against it
17 in the Second World War."
18 This terminology is very similar to that used by Seselj when he
19 refers to Serbian graves marking the borders of Greater Serbia. The
20 evidence will show that throughout the indictment period, Seselj and the
21 Bosnian Serb leadership pursued basically the same goals in relation to
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seselj continued to have contact with Bosnian
23 Serb leaders throughout the indictment period and even supported them in
24 1993 in their opposition to Slobodan Milosevic regarding the Vance-Owen
25 Plan, which was a peace proposal for Bosnia and Herzegovina that would
1 have divided the country into ten different ethnic zones.
2 For example, in a speech he gave on March 11, 1993, Seselj said:
3 "We believe that no one has the right to accept the Vance-Owen ultimatum
4 in the name of the Serbian people concerning the internal borders in the
5 territory of the former Bosnia and Herzegovina. Particularly, we believe
6 that one has the right to give the corridor between the Bosnian Krajina
7 and Semberija to the Croats, Muslims, or UNPROFOR in the name of the
8 Serbian people. The Serbian Radical Party maintains its position that the
9 only just and firm boundary determination in the territory of the former
10 Bosnia and Herzegovina can be at the front lines reached."
11 Over this issue Seselj finally split with Slobodan Milosevic, at
12 least temporarily. It is at that point that the indictment period here
14 It was clear from the utterances of the Bosnian Serb leadership
15 that if the Muslims persisted in their attempt to have a state, a unified
16 state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that they faced extinction.
17 [Prosecution counsel confer]
18 MS. DAHL: Let me take a moment to get his words. I had planned
19 to show you a tape, but it's escaping me.
20 "This is the road that you want Bosnia and Herzegovina to take,
21 the same highway of hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia went
22 through. Don't you think you won't take Bosnia and Herzegovina to hell
23 and Muslim people to possible extinction."
24 Seselj's view regarding the ethnic diversity of his Greater Serbia
25 was the same. He advocated that ethnic minorities should not exceed more
1 than 8 per cent of the total population. In chapter 10 of his book on the
2 Philippics of Chetnik's Vojvoda, under the headline: "At treatment of
3 non-Serbs in the process of unification is a particular issue ..." Seselj
4 described what he thought should be the role or the place of non-Serb
5 populations in his new Serb state.
6 THE INTERPRETER: Thank you reading slowly. Thank you.
7 MS. DAHL: He said: "That is inevitable formation of a civilian
8 state, the state of the Serbs equal (loyalty is implicit) citizens,
9 members of other nations, ethnic minorities, and groups. If such state is
10 formed, other nations, ethnic minorities, and groups should not exceed
11 more than 8 per cent of total population; they should not exceed the said
12 percentage in any larger settlement, region, or administrative unit, and
13 there should be no possibility to change their percentage through birth
15 This compelled the resettlement of huge numbers of non-Serbs. The
16 ethnic division on the ground that Karadzic and Seselj requested
17 necessarily meant expulsion of non-Serbs from the claimed territories.
18 Even in territories dominated by the Serbs, Muslims, and Croat settlements
19 had to be uprooted and the non-Serbs driven out in order to ensure a
20 homogenous territory.
21 I think we've been at it another hour, and if it suits the Bench,
22 I think it's appropriate to take a break for the sake of the interpreters.
23 I have an overview of the crime bases and a demonstration of the ethnic
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] It's up to you to decide. We
1 can have a break now or at 20 past 12.00, as you please.
2 MS. DAHL: Well, I think we should after an hour take a break
3 then, now.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Let's have a
5 20-minute break.
6 --- Recess taken at 11.52 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.13 p.m.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] We have resumed our hearing.
9 Mrs. Dahl, you have the floor.
10 MS. DAHL: Thank you, Your Honour. First I want to correct a
11 mistake that I made in displaying a photograph, an earlier picture
12 depicting the wrong individual. I want to now display the correct
13 photograph of Milan Lancuzanin, known as Kameni. Now I will return to the
14 objectives of achieving a Greater Serbia.
15 We will present evidence that in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the
16 war there was a mosaic of ethnically diverse communities. I'm sorry, I'm
17 waiting for the computer system to catch up with me. As you can see by
18 this map, it's very colourful. It shows Croats, Muslims, and Serbs almost
19 in a patchwork quilt sharing communities and living together. The next
20 demographic information that the Office of the Prosecution has comes from
21 after the war when things began to be normalised, and you can see by
22 comparison in 1997 our expert demographer will show you that -- that the
23 patchwork is gone, and again waiting for the computer to display the
24 picture. Ethnic cleansing achieved a wholesale reorganization, putting
25 populations into homogeneous areas, and when we looked at this map and
1 built the legend, we didn't even need as many colours or categories. The
2 mixed communities, the beautiful diversity, the inclusiveness of the
3 cultures had been destroyed.
4 I've already mentioned the speech of Radovan Karadzic on 12 May
5 1992, stressing the crucial importance of taking control of strategic
6 territories. The crime scenes included in this case illustrate the
7 pursuit of those strategic locations. Planning at high-level institutions
8 of the -- at the highest level of military and political leadership can
9 only be the reason that the Bosnian Serbs were able to strategically and
10 methodically select targets to execute their military operations. Here
11 you can see Bosanski Samac, Brcko, and Bijeljina. We will lead limited
12 evidence on this to show the pattern of the attacks and the execution of
13 the overall criminal enterprise. These three municipalities are situated
14 on the Posavina corridor. Before the war, the majority population in
15 Bosanski Samac was of Croatian ethnicity, Brcko had a Muslim majority, and
16 in Bijeljina the majority was Serb. From 1992 onwards, non-Serbs were
17 expelled from these municipalities by force. The evidence we lead will
18 show that the attacks on the non-Serb populations in Bosnia and
19 Herzegovina, starting in Bijeljina, reveal a pattern of crimes that
20 unfortunately, and to the world's horror, was replicated throughout Bosnia
21 and Herzegovina.
22 In these three municipalities, the local authorities as well as
23 the Bosnian Serb leadership asked the SRS to send volunteers to these
24 municipalities. For example, Biljana Plavsic, for instance, wrote letters
25 to Seselj, to Arkan, and to another fellow Mirko Jovic asking for help.
1 Seselj responded. His volunteers arrived and participated in the initial
2 attack on these locations and the crimes that followed. The SRS War Staff
3 sent volunteers led by a fellow named Debeli to Bosanski Samac. In Brcko
4 and Bijeljina, Mirko Blagojevic was in charge of the Radical Party
6 The Radical Party volunteers fought alongside the JNA units, the
7 Bosnian Serb Territorial Defence, members of the Serbian MUP, and Arkan's
8 Tigers. The Prosecution will supply evidence that Seselj was informed of
9 these violent attacks and violent events, and in the face of that he
10 promoted the Radical Party commanders involved.
11 For example, under item 15 in the promotion order,
12 Srecko Radovanovic is mentioned as a Chetnik colonel who organized and
13 trained Chetnik units. He is recognised for having been involved in
14 various areas in Croatia and in April 1992 he was constantly in the field
15 of, among other places, Samac and Brcko.
16 Similarly, about Mirko Blagojevic, the remarks include that he
17 spreads the Serbian Chetnik Movement throughout Semberija and commanded
18 Chetnik units in, among other locations, Bijeljina, Zvornik, and Brcko.
19 The catalysts that brought war to Slovenia and Croatia, the
20 paranoia, ethnic referendums, covert arming, the formations of
21 paramilitaries, and ethnic cleansing, came home to Bosnia in the first
22 week of April. Bijeljina was an ethnically divided town of about 36.000
23 people. It sat or sits 15 kilometres from the Serbian border at the
24 junction of two important roads. The town was the key to the
25 Serb-proclaimed Semberija and Majevica Autonomous Region, and there had
1 been substantial efforts by the SDS to make its police force Serb.
2 Seselj's men were there and participated in the take-over of Bijeljina,
3 which served strategic goals numbers 1, 2, and 3.
4 Reports by the Bosnian Serb police indicate clearly that Seselj's
5 volunteers were involved in crimes before, during, and after the take-over
6 of Bijeljina. In 1993, Seselj promoted Blagojevic to the rank of Vojvoda
7 because of his participation in Bijeljina.
8 The pattern played out again in Zvornik. In April 1992 Zvornik
9 was a town of about 15.000 people, 60 per cent of whom were Muslims. It's
10 nestled on the west bank of the Drina River. A two-lane bridge connected
11 it with the even smaller town of Mali Zvornik on the opposite bank of the
12 river in Serbia.
13 After the referendum for independence, inter-ethnic violence came
14 to Zvornik. On 16 March Zvornik's Serbs proclaimed their own independent
15 Serbian municipality of Zvornik. By the end of March, the police force
16 had split into two rival bands, and by the republic's declaration of
17 independence on 6 April, emotions had reached a fevered pitch.
18 The Serb forces that rose to attack Zvornik were a hodgepodge of
19 professional and ultranationalist troops, including elements of the
20 Zvornik Territorial Defence, Arkan's unit, Seselj's men, and the special
21 operations unit from the Serbian state security. Included were also JNA
22 regular troops, all supported by JNA artillery fire.
23 The first fighting broke out in and around Zvornik in April 8, and
24 the JNA artillery blatantly began shelling Zvornik from inside Serbia on
25 the far side of the river. Arkan arrived that evening and delivered an
1 ultimatum, ordering the Muslims of Zvornik municipality to hand over their
2 arms by the following morning or experience the fate of Bijeljina. Serb
3 forces surrounded the town, and minutes after the ultimatum expired, they
4 attacked. Within hours they had occupied the town. Muslim resistance
5 ceased by nightfall.
6 Seselj himself later bragged about the effectiveness of the elite
7 units. What happened next can only be described as horrifying.
8 Frankly, my concern is in this trial that the more we see of the
9 violence, massacres, deportations, refugee lines, the more we see of the
10 destruction of mosques and churches, the less we see of it, that we will
11 be numbed to these horrors. And as we present this evidence I hope that
12 it remains fresh and compelling and that it is able to continue, as it
13 should, shock humanity.
14 After the Serb forces established control in Zvornik, the non-Serb
15 population, mostly men, were arrested. They were taken to detention
16 facilities. Now, calling them detention facilities makes them seem like
17 maybe they were actually prisons, but they were converted civilian
18 buildings, technical school, the Drinjaca Dom Kulture, a slaughter-house.
19 People detained in these detention facilities were subjected to unsanitary
20 and cruel conditions. They were not provided with adequate food, their
21 detention was arbitrary, it was not in connection with any criminal
22 proceedings, they were forced to work. Thousands of people, mostly
23 Muslims, were expelled from the municipality. We will present evidence
24 that their homes were looted and destroyed, and that Serb forces destroyed
25 religious and cultural monuments.
1 With respect to the crimes that took place in Zvornik, the
2 Prosecution will bring you evidence of the massacre of Muslim men at the
3 Drinjaca Dom Kulture between 30 and 31 May 1992. The murder of 150 men at
4 the Karakaj technical school in the first week of June, the massacre of
5 150 Muslim men at Gero's slaughter-house in the same week, and the murder
6 of an additional 40 non-Serb detainees during the month of June at the
7 Celopek Dom Kulture.
8 These figures defy imagination. They reflect the extraordinary
9 brutally inflicted on populations in the municipality of Zvornik because
10 they were not Serb.
11 The road leads to Seselj. We will present evidence that in March
12 1992, while Bosnian Serbs were preparing the attack, Seselj gave a speech
13 in Mali Zvornik, across the river. He declared: "Dear Chetnik brothers,
14 especially you across the Drina River, you are the bravest ones. We are
15 going to clean Bosnia of pagans and show them a road which will take them
16 to the east, where they belong."
17 Zvornik president of the Crisis Staff, Branko Grujic, in April
18 1992, asked the SRS in Belgrade to send volunteers. Seselj personally
19 approved this request. We will hear evidence that the Radical Party
20 leaders brought volunteers from Loznica commanded by Dragan - I'm just
21 stumbling sometimes with the spellings, I'm sorry - Cvetinovic to Zvornik.
22 When the war broke out, local Serbs joined the volunteers in Zvornik.
23 They fought together, and afterwards Seselj promoted them.
24 The Prosecution will show evidence that the Seselj volunteers took
25 part in the mass killings, in brutalizing the detainees in the various
1 detention facilities, and also forced people to help them loot. Many
2 witnesses will also refer to crimes committed by the Yellow Wasps. The
3 Prosecution will bring evidence that the so-called Yellow Wasps, led by
4 Repic and Zuco Vuckovic were Seselj's volunteers. They had joined the SRS
5 in 1991 and were indoctrinated by Seselj's hate propaganda. They had
6 fought already in Croatia, and SRS headquarters in Belgrade sent them to
7 Zvornik. Throughout the fighting and persecution campaign in Zvornik,
8 Seselj was regularly provided with information by his associates, and we
9 will demonstrate that some of the proceeds from the looting went to fund
10 the Radical Party.
11 The pattern repeated in Bosanski Samac, in Brcko, following the
12 pursuit of the strategic goals of the Bosnian Serbs, and I want to turn to
13 Mostar and Nevesinje. They are located in southern Bosnia and
14 Herzegovina. Those municipalities were relevant to several of the
15 strategic goals of the Bosnian Serbs, namely, the Drina corridor, the
16 border on the rivers Una and Neretva, and access to the sea. In addition,
17 Mostar was of importance because it had two large military barracks, an
18 airport and other military facilities.
19 There was a boy living in a small village in the Nevesinje
20 municipality, whose world collapsed in June 1992. His family was not
21 involved in politics, they felt safe there. Nevesinje was a municipality
22 with a majority Serb control, was already firmly under the control of Serb
23 forces. They felt safe, even when other people started hiding in the
24 woods and fleeing. This boy's family was among the last to leave in June
25 1992, when they realised that Muslims were not safe in Nevesinje, that
1 innocent civilians were being killed, houses destroyed, villages levelled.
2 This boy fled with his parents, grandparents, siblings, and his extended
3 family. They tried to flee to Mostar, but they were captured by Serb
4 soldiers who took them to what qualified as a detention facility in a
5 village of Zijemlje.
6 There the terrified children saw their relatives being beaten and
7 tortured. These children were separated from their parents and
8 grandparents and they never saw them again. Their bodies were found in a
9 pit. They moved from one detention location to another. After about two
10 weeks, this small group of terrified children and two old women were taken
11 off -- taken in the direction of Stolac and dropped off by Serb soldiers
12 in the middle of nowhere. Croat soldiers rescued them. This boy lost his
13 parents and grandparents and grew up in a children's home. His experience
14 brings home the human suffering in Nevesinje and Mostar.
15 We will present evidence from victims, soldiers, and experts about
16 the mass murders committed in this vicinity in June 1992. 88 Muslim
17 civilians were murdered at the Ubarak city dump in Mostar on June 13th; 18
18 non-Serb civilians were murdered at the city mortuary in Sutina in Mostar;
19 more than 70 Muslim civilians that were captured when they were fleeing
20 from Nevesinje on June 22 were murdered, among them many women, children,
21 and elderly. Two women detained and assaulted at Boracko Jezero were also
23 Finally, the Prosecution will also provide other evidence of the
24 Serb forces, including sexual assault.
25 Seselj is responsible for these crimes. According to the evidence
1 the Prosecution will lead, before the war, neither the Radical Party nor
2 the Chetnik movement had a noticeable presence in Mostar. In neighbouring
3 Nevesinje, Arsen Grahovac promoted the Serbian Chetnik ideology. His pub
4 became a gathering point for the movement, Radical Party members and
5 sympathizers. Grahovac established a unit called Karadjordje which set up
6 roadblocks, harassed the local non-Serb population, and set off explosives
7 in several Muslim-owned properties in Nevesinje as early as 1991. This
8 unit was comprised of between 80 and 100 members and sympathizers of the
9 Serbian Chetnik Movement and the Serbian Radical Party and they operated
10 both in Mostar and Nevesinje.
11 The group commanded by Grahovac was not the only group of
12 volunteers associated with Seselj. From autumn 1991 and particularly 1992
13 Seselj's volunteers from Serbia and Montenegro and from the battle-fields
14 in Croatia arrived. The Radical Party and Chetnik volunteers were
15 commanded by Branislav Vakic and Radovan Radovic. In May 1992 Mostar was
16 taken over by Serb forces comprised of the JNA, the Serbian Territorial
17 Defence, Serbian Radical Party volunteers, and Red Berets from the Serbian
18 DB in an offensive commanded by General Perisic.
19 We will hear from participants in the attack that Oliver Baret,
20 one of the leading Radical Party commanders with close connections to the
21 Radical Party leadership, arrived from Belgrade and was present in the
22 military headquarters of the JNA in Mostar. While there, he kept in
23 communication with the Radical Party volunteers who participated in the
25 In every murder and abuse I have mentioned in both Mostar and in
1 Nevesinje, Radical Party and Chetnik volunteers were involved, again
2 following the pattern: Seselj visited the conflict area, and again,
3 promoted those commanders involved in the crimes.
4 Vakic received a promotion in connection with Vukovar as well.
5 Radovic and Oliver Baret were promoted to Vojvoda in 1994.
6 I want to turn to Sarajevo now. Sarajevo is the fifth strategic
7 goal of the Bosnian Serbs, that is the division of the city. In April and
8 May of 1992, Serb forces including Radical Party volunteers attacked and
9 took control of municipalities or parts of the municipalities in the area
10 that comprised Greater Sarajevo. We will hear from witnesses that
11 following the take-over there Serb forces conducted a persecution campaign
12 against the non-Serbs, here mostly Muslims.
13 The crimes included in this indictment include the Ilijas
14 municipality and the Vogosca municipality. In late 1991 and early 1992,
15 Serbs in the Greater Sarajevo area took steps to establish control over
16 several of these areas. Ratko Adzic, who was president of the SDS party,
17 became the head of the Serb Crisis Staff and Territorial Defence in
19 At the end of April 1992, Serbs from Ilijas took over the police
20 station and fired all the Muslim and Croat policemen. Muslims and Croats
21 tried unsuccessfully to set up their own police station nearby, but the
22 Serb police seized all the ammunition and left them defenseless.
23 Vasilje Vidovic was one of Seselj's volunteers who came from
24 Ilijas. He had been with the SRS in Knin and now returned with about 20
25 men to Ilijas. He was a member of Ratko Adzic's staff and he was known
1 for his brutality. He drew -- he drove a car with a human skull fixed on
2 the front of it. Outside the house where he lived were displayed two
3 human heads on poles. Serb forces attacked on the night between 4th and
4 5th of June, 1992, and the evidence will show that Vidovic's men, local
5 policemen, and other armed men belonging to the Territorial Defence
6 entered the town and committed crimes.
7 People were detained following the pattern that we've heard in all
8 of the crimes discussed so far, and the evidence will show that Seselj's
9 men detained people, beat them, kicked them, put them on a bus, and
10 detained them in a warehouse for several months before moving them around.
11 We will present detailed evidence that these people were tortured, raped,
12 killed, that prisoners were used from the detention facilities to carry
13 out forced labour, including digging trenches and doing work at the front
14 line. The commander's men, Vasilje Vidovic, murdered 27 detainees in the
15 summer of 1993 as revenge for Serb losses.
16 The pattern was repeated in other neighbourhoods around Sarajevo.
17 Let us turn to Slavko Aleksic. He and his Radical Party volunteers
18 controlled the area of the Jewish cemetery in Grbavica. His unit was
19 called Ravna Gora Chetnik detachment. In 1993 Seselj promoted him to the
20 rank of Vojvoda. The promotion order recognises his active promotion of
21 the ideas of the party and the movement in Sarajevo and identifies him as
22 the commander of the Novo Sarajevo Chetnik detachment.
23 After the war, Seselj publicly praised Aleksic and the SRS
24 volunteers in Grbavica saying that they had performed a great service to
25 the Radical Party and to the cause of Serb nationalism. What did Aleksic
1 do for the Serb cause? He and his men persecuted the non-Serbs in
2 Grbavica, they conducted arbitrary searches of their homes, they looted,
3 they raped, they beat, and they killed. They forced men and women to work
4 under dangerous conditions. More than 80 civilians were killed while
5 performing forced labour. The pattern repeats itself in Ilidza
7 Branislav Gavrilovic also known as Brne was an active in the
8 Greater Sarajevo area. He became the leader of the Serbian Youth Movement
9 for Bosnia and Herzegovina. An organisation that joined Seselj's Chetnik
10 movement after he met Seselj in Bijeljina in 1991. Seselj later appointed
11 Gavrilovic a volunteer commander in Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem.
12 On the screen is the certification by Seselj of his command.
13 Gavrilovic was one of the leaders of the SRS party in Ilidza.
14 During the war he was in charge of a large unit of Chetnik volunteers.
15 The Prosecution will provide evidence that Gavrilovic, while in Croatia
16 and later in Bosnia and Herzegovina, would receive orders from the SRS
17 office in Belgrade and would meet with Seselj, both in Belgrade and in
19 Seselj appointed Gavrilovic a Vojvoda in May 1993. His
20 distinguished service was in Croatia and Sarajevo.
21 What did he do in Sarajevo? We will bring you evidence that on 17
22 July 1993, Branislav Gavrilovic and his Chetnik volunteers captured four
23 members of the Sarajevo Territorial Defence in their positions on Mount
24 Igman facing Ilidza. They shot one of them, a 17-year-old boy, on the
25 spot. They took the other prisoners downhill to a field where
1 Branislav Gavrilovic and more of his men were waiting. Gavrilovic and one
2 of his subordinates interrogated the prisoners, hit them, beat them, and
3 kicked them. Two of the prisoners were murdered after the interrogation.
4 The crimes I just described were committed by Seselj and other
5 members of the joint criminal enterprise because they pursued the common
6 goal of achieving Serb domination in targeted territories in Croatia and
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seselj and his associates wanted to expel the
8 Croats and the Muslims. To achieve this, they conducted a persecution
9 campaign for which untold numbers of innocent people of all ages paid a
10 heavy price.
11 This brings me to the close of my presentation this morning. At
12 the close of the case you will judge the evidence that the Prosecution has
13 brought and what defence Mr. Seselj may present and determine whether we
14 have proved to your satisfaction the following charges. There are three
15 counts of crimes against humanity, persecution, deportation and inhumane
16 acts in the form of forcible transfer, and three counts of violations of
17 the laws and customs of war against people, those are murder, torture, and
18 cruel treatment, and three counts of the violation of the laws and customs
19 of war against property, that is, the wanton destruction of villages not
20 justified by military necessity, wilful damage done to institutions
21 dedicated to religion, and plunder.
22 The Prosecution submits that the evidence will show at the end of
23 the case that Mr. Seselj is criminally responsible for these crimes
24 because of what he did. We allege that he planned, instigated, ordered,
25 committed, or otherwise aided and abetted these crimes. The Prosecution
1 submits that Seselj himself committed the crime of persecution by his
2 direct and public denigration in speeches made in Vukovar, Mali Zvornik,
3 and Hrtkovci. And in the counts of deportation and forcible transfer that
4 occurred in connection with his speech in Hrtkovci.
5 Finally, we submit that the law allows Seselj to be held
6 criminally responsible for these crimes because he acted in concert in a
7 joint criminal enterprise, the object of which was the permanent forcible
8 removal of Croat, Muslim, and other non-Serb inhabitants from large areas
9 of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed as Serb territory and that
10 realising this objective necessarily required the commission of crimes.
11 We will present evidence that shows the specific crimes identified
12 in the indictment that were within the objective of the joint criminal
13 enterprise. The indictment alleges that the crimes of deportation and
14 forcible transfer constituted the common objective of the joint criminal
15 enterprise from the outset. The other crimes such as murder, detention,
16 torture, beatings, sexual assaults, and the destruction of property were,
17 at a minimum, foreseeable, if not part of the objective from the outset.
18 The Prosecution will prove that these crimes were adopted by the
19 members of the JCE during the events and incorporated into their criminal
20 plan. The evidence will show that the objective of the joint criminal
21 enterprise never changed, but the methods of the implementation of this
22 common objective evolved and the crimes charged in the indictment became
23 part of the criminal means by which the common goal was pursued between
24 1991 and 1993.
25 There can be no doubt that these crimes were foreseeable. In
1 Seselj's own words in an interview he gave on 24 May in 1991 after he met
2 with Radovan Karadzic in Bosnia and Herzegovina he said:
3 "We have already deployed several Chetnik groups in Zagreb and
4 other towns across Croatia which are trained in sabotage and terrorist
5 activities. If Serbian civilians start to be massacred, the Chetniks will
6 strike at Zagreb and other concentrations of Croats using their full
7 strength. You know, when one retaliates, revenge is blind. There would
8 be innocent victims but what can you do? Let the Croats think about that
9 first. We shall not strike first, but if they should strike we're not
10 even going to bother where our blows land. Also, unless the army disarms
11 the Ustashas immediately, there will be a lot of blood."
12 In September 1993 Seselj was interviewed again, this time on a
13 radio programme. One of the listeners asked Seselj whether he ever
14 worried about people other than Serbs, noting that an innocent population
15 was suffering due to his views. He answers: "Why would I have a guilty
16 consciousness? So many innocent Serbs suffered in this war and I need to
17 worry about those who belong to another enemy people, if possibly there
18 was an innocent one among them that suffered. You know, in war one
19 experiences great turmoil, great troubles, and I in war above all worry
20 about those who belong to my own people."
21 In closing, I think the root of this evil is a lack of empathy.
22 The evidence will sustain the charges I pray, and that when you judge the
23 Prosecution's case you will find it sound and complete.
24 Thank you.
25 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Ms. Dahl.
1 Tomorrow, Mr. Seselj, you will be given the floor for your own
2 statement. I make sure that there is absolute equality of arms. Are you
3 going to need this rostrum or the lectern? I was wondering whether you
4 had some water as well. I can't see that. I can't see whether you have
5 any water. So the only technical matter is whether you are going to be on
6 your feet when you make your statement or whether you are going to be
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Judge, there are three things
9 that I wish to say to you. First of all, I have the right, and that is
10 the practice in this Tribunal, to address the Court as I sit.
11 Judge Richard May explicitly confirmed that somewhere around the beginning
12 of the Slobodan Milosevic trial, and I find that easier.
13 Secondly, I have got water but not in a glass. I guess that
14 somebody here is afraid that I should not have a glass glass, so I'm the
15 only one who does not have a glass glass, so I guess you feel safer if I
16 don't have any glass in my hands either.
17 Thirdly, since the Prosecutor cut her opening statement short, I
18 hope that you will not cut my time short tomorrow, my statement of the
19 accused. I prepared to speak for four hours and I would like to speak
20 four hours. Thank you.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You can remain seated, since
22 this is your wish, and needless to say you'll have four hours.
23 The hearing is adjourned. We shall convene at 9.00. Thank you.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.58 p.m.,
25 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 8th day of
1 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.