1 Thursday, 9 October 2008
2 [Open session]
3 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
4 [The accused entered court]
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Registrar, could you please
6 call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you and good morning, Your Honours much.
8 This is case number IT-03-67-T, the Prosecutor versus
9 Vojislav Seselj.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Registrar.
11 I welcome everyone in the courtroom, Mr. Ferrara, Mr. Mundis and
12 their case manager, their assistants as well, Mr. Seselj, and everyone
13 helping us, notably our Registrar.
14 We will now continue with the cross-examination of the witness.
15 Let me ask our usher to please escort the witness into the courtroom.
16 And could the Registrar please tell me every 30 minutes how far
17 we've been so that I can keep track of time.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] How much time do I have left, then?
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what I wanted to
20 ask our Registrar. I believe that you have an hour and 55 minutes left.
21 Is that --
22 THE REGISTRAR: That's correct, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I hope there will
24 be no objections or procedural incidents so that we can finish on time.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 WITNESS: ALEKSA EJIC [Resumed]
2 [The witness answered through interpreter]
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I hope you had a good night's
6 rest. You may sit down, and I will give the floor to Mr. Seselj.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before the
8 cross-examination starts, I would have a request, if possible.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] [No interpretation].
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask Your Honours
11 that in the future, this session be closed for the public, for three
12 reasons. One reason is that my family is afraid. The second reason is I
13 wouldn't like to allow the accused to promote his political party in this
14 way. And, thirdly, due to reasons concerning my privacy.
15 Yesterday, when you asked me whether I trusted this Court, I
16 said, "Yes." Unfortunately, yesterday I felt unprotected on the basis of
17 certain questions that have nothing to do whatsoever with these
18 proceedings and that have to do with my very own privacy. That is one of
19 the reasons why, if I'm not protected from such questions today, I will
20 have to resort to my own mode of protection.
21 Thank you.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You're telling me that your
23 family is afraid, but what is your family afraid of? You called them
24 yesterday on the phone?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't speak to them over the
1 telephone, Your Honour. We exchanged text messages.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What did they say?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I got a message from my daughter,
4 saying that she is afraid. She watched the public broadcast. Everything
5 was out there in the public. And as I departed on this journey, my
6 family had been informed that I would be a protected witness rather than
7 a witness testifying in public, and that's why they're afraid.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Sir, when you came here, you
9 did not tell Mr. Ferrara that you wanted to be granted protective
10 measures. You testified openly and freely. You didn't ask for anything.
11 Now, what we can do, and Mr. Seselj was never opposed to this up
12 until now, anyway, is the following: If he's asking questions on your
13 family or on very specific problems, then we can move into private
14 session. His cross-examination focuses on two essential points, and
15 maybe that's what you can't really understand. First, it's your
16 credibility, to make sure that you're a credible witness, so he is
17 allowed and entitled to ask questions to you to check your credibility.
18 That's the procedure in this Tribunal. It's different in your country,
19 it's different in my country also, but this is the way the procedure has
20 been organised here. The Defence is entitled to test your credibility,
21 and in order to do this, it may delve into your past.
22 And, secondly, the witness is supposed to answer all questions
23 put by the Defence regarding the facts that are in the indictment and
24 regarding the events that occurred in your own village, which is why he
25 has to deal with all these issues.
1 Then, thirdly, it turns out that you are a member of a political
2 party and he's the leader of another political party, and obviously both
3 your parties don't see eye to eye, so that's a problem. So you may say
4 that he's promoting his party. I don't think he needs this. And what
5 you are saying may backfire on you, because you could also try and
6 promote your own party.
7 The Trial Chamber is going to keep a close eye on this. If we
8 think this is turning into a political platform, we'll do something, move
9 into private session or something. But if Mr. Seselj is really delving
10 into very private matters at one point in time or intimate matters, we
11 will move into private session.
12 Does this reassure you?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What suits me is closed session.
14 However, if this is your ruling, then I have to reconcile myself to that.
15 Allow me to make yet another observation with regard to these
17 Yesterday, he asked me whether I had ever been in any kind of
18 conflict with a Croat. I said, no, that I did not remember. Then he
19 said that that was not true, that I had beat up a Croat. This is the
20 first time I ever found out that that man was an ethnic Croat, which is
21 to say that this kind of question was planted on me from my past, over 20
22 years ago.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You are right, but when the
24 Defence found out that you were a Prosecution witness, but you could have
25 been a Defence witness, but when they found out you were a Prosecution
1 did witness, they scrutinised your entire past. They checked whether you
2 had ever been convicted. They noted that there was a judgement rendered
3 against you. They checked what it was, and then they saw that there was
4 some kind of fight that you'd forgotten about. And of course the Defence
5 is highlighting all this in order to indicate that this actually
6 happened, that at one point in time you were in conflict with a Croat.
7 But in the end, it's up to the Bench to decide what importance it will
8 give to this matter. That's the way it is now.
9 Maybe in your own country, you know, the judge that would have
10 been asking questions would not have delved into this, but this is
11 different here. The Defence is entitled to control its
12 cross-examination. We're just here to check that you're not being
13 harassed or threatened. Now, we can't go much further than that.
14 If there was a judgement because you -- and you were convicted
15 because of assault, I mean, what can we do?
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] My fellow Judge would like to
18 ask you an additional question. You said that you obtained SMSs, text
19 messages, but did they tell you that you had been threatened since then?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My daughter sent me an SMS, a text
21 message, saying that she was surprised and very much afraid, that someone
22 had also phoned my wife. She did not write to me in great detail about
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] And she called your wife what
25 for? What did she say? You don't know?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm absolutely opposed to moving
4 into closed session, because the entire examination-in-chief was in open
5 session, and I have already completed one-third of my cross-examination
6 in open session.
7 Yesterday, I didn't try and I don't have any intention of
8 mentioning the witness's family. I'm full of respect for his wife, his
9 daughter. I think he has a son as well. I absolutely have no reason to
10 mention their names here. They are not any prominent political figures,
11 so it wouldn't be important to mention their names.
12 I did not ask anything yesterday that infringes upon the
13 witness's privacy. Everything I asked him is a public matter and speaks
14 about his public activity. Sometimes he was held accountable by the law
15 because of his public activity, and sometimes he tried to conceal certain
16 things, as you saw yesterday. However, nothing can be hidden from me.
17 Anyway, there is no reason whatsoever to move into closed
18 session, and there is no threat for his family. I'm sure of that.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me consult with my
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 The Trial Chamber has noted your request and has heard
24 Mr. Seselj. We have decided to continue in open session. However, if
25 the Trial Chamber notes that private matters are being discussed at one
1 point in time, we will ask for a private session. We're following this
2 extremely carefully to make sure that we don't run into any problems. We
3 do note that the accused said that he would not address any issues having
4 to do with your family.
5 Furthermore, Mr. Seselj, if at one point in time you need to look
6 into family matters, please ask us, with advanced notice, to move into
7 private session.
8 This being said, Mr. Seselj, you have the floor. Please
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I guarantee to you that I will not
11 go into the domain of the witness's privacy at all. There is no reason
12 for that. I just want to discuss what pertains to his testimony, and
13 that only, his statements made to The Hague investigators and what he
14 said during the examination-in-chief.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Seselj: [Continued]
16 Q. Mr. Ejic, could you agree with me that refugees from the Croatian
17 federal unit arrived in about three waves in Serbia; the first one was
18 immediately after Tudjman came to power, that is to say, in the second
19 half of 1990 and 1991; the second wave came after the fall of a large
20 part of Western Slavonia in December 1991, when Western Slavonia
21 practically became reduced to the area of Pakrac or, rather, Okucani and
22 this belt area leading to Pakrac, up into the outskirts of Pakrac. And
23 the third wave was in 1995, after Operations Flash and Storm.
24 Do you agree with that?
25 A. Yes, I agree that there were several influxes of refugees.
1 Q. These first arrivals in the first stage were individual or in
2 smaller groups, for the most part; isn't that right? When Tudjman came
3 to power, then the first incidents in Croatia, and then up until the end
4 of 1991?
5 A. Yes, I agree with that.
6 Q. The second wave was already a massive one in December 1992,
7 because there was a massive exodus of the Serb people from Western
8 Slavonia; right?
9 A. That's the way it was, yes.
10 Q. And the third even more massive exodus was after Operations Flash
11 and Storm in 1995, when all the western parts of the Serb Krajina were
12 occupied and when the population was expelled; am I not right?
13 A. As far as my village is concerned, I don't know whether that was
14 the wave, but that there were waves after these operations, that is true.
15 Q. Perhaps I'm putting questions that are a bit leading, but I'd
16 like to get answers as fast as possible.
17 Do you believe me that that's the only reason? I have no other
18 trap questions for you.
19 A. I don't have much trust in you.
20 Q. I know that you have no trust in me, but I have no trust in you,
22 A. Well, when you falsely accuse me in your books, then of course I
23 don't trust you.
24 Q. All right. You can respond by writing your own book. You're a
25 literate man, after all, so you can respond in that way if you found
1 anything there that doesn't correspond to the truth.
2 I had the impression, from your answers provided during the
3 examination-in-chief and also some answers provided during my
4 cross-examination, that you represented Hrtkovci as some kind of a
5 central location relating to the influx of Serb refugees from the area of
6 Croatia and the Serb Krajina. Is that actually what you wanted to say,
7 that Hrtkovci was chosen as some kind of centre where these refugees
8 would come in?
9 A. No. I came here to tell the truth, what it was that happened in
10 Hrtkovci. As for the area beyond that, I don't have complete
11 information. My information is incomplete, so I don't wish to speak
12 about that. I don't want to talk about things I don't know exactly.
13 What I know about is Hrtkovci, and that's why I came, so that the public
14 would find out the entire truth.
15 Q. All right. To your estimate, what is the total number of Serb
16 refugees that arrived in Hrtkovci to this day; what would be the
17 approximate number?
18 A. Well, over 1.500, I would say.
19 Q. Did they all remain to live in Hrtkovci?
20 A. No.
21 Q. How many stayed on?
22 A. Well, the number that entered into an exchange and two
23 settlements that were built as refugee places, and I worked for one of
24 them, so in my estimation, about 1.000 inhabitants.
25 Q. The 500, they came, tried to exchange their property, didn't
1 succeed, and went somewhere else to try and do it somewhere else; is that
3 A. Mostly they went to towns. Now, whether they managed to buy any
4 property or exchange any property or were given accommodation in some
5 refugee centres, I don't know.
6 Q. Do you know that in Serbia, a lot of refugees still live in
7 collective accommodation?
8 A. Yes, I do know that from television and what the public -- what
9 the media says.
10 Q. So these are people who still haven't got a roof over their heads
11 and haven't been supplied that by the government, and haven't got their
12 own property in order to buy something themselves, and do you know that
13 among those people there are many who, in Croatia, destroyed their
14 properties, placed mines there, devastated the apartments?
15 A. I've heard of stories like that, but I don't know of any cases
16 myself. I can only rely on what I heard and the stories I heard.
17 Q. Now, if at the beginning of 1992, according to official data,
18 there were about 200.000 refugees from different areas of Croatia in
19 Serbia, then is that figure of 1.000 refugees in Hrtkovci just half
20 a per cent out of the total number of refugees in Serbia? That would be
21 the case, wouldn't it, 1.000 compared to 200.000? 0.5 per cent would be
22 the figure.
23 A. That's what math says.
24 Q. That means in Hrtkovci, a negligible number of refugees turned up
25 in relation to the large number of people who came to Serbia, this wave
1 of refugees in Serbia?
2 A. Well, not at the beginning, but later on it would appear that it
3 is as you have just put it.
4 Q. Well, I know that your suffering in Hrtkovci was the greatest
5 because you had a lot of problems. A vast number of people arrived.
6 They had to be put up. You didn't have anywhere to put them up. You had
7 to feed them, no food, so that was an objective problem; right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. But these refugees were frustrated when they came in, frustrated
10 by what they had experienced in life?
11 A. Absolutely correct, and I feel deeply for those people.
12 Q. They lost everything they had, they lost their property, they
13 came in angry, frustrated, having suffered a great deal; am I right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Many of those refugees, especially after the fall of Western
16 Slavonia in December 1991, came on, didn't they?
17 A. Mostly all of them.
18 Q. Well, those who came in from Croatian towns previously didn't
19 have weapons; do you agree with that, that first lot that came in 1990
20 and the first half of 1991?
21 A. I don't know.
22 Q. Well, did you notice anybody bearing weapons? No, okay, I'll
23 leave that.
24 Now, do you know of cases whereby the police found whole arsenals
25 of weapons stashed with individuals of refugees; for example, half a
1 tractor-trailer full of weapons? Were there cases like that?
2 A. I don't remember that, but the -- there was information about
3 that in the public.
4 Q. Well, I have police data in the book that you didn't like, but
5 never mind. We're not going to deal with that now. There is information
6 whereby the police seized large quantities of weapons at the homes of
7 some individuals, which were probably intended for the black market in
8 Serbia. You say you heard something about that, but know nothing
10 A. No, I don't know about that.
11 Q. Whenever you say you don't know, I'll move on, I won't dwell on
13 Now, the next question: Do you know that the whole of Yugoslavia
14 in 1991, 1992, under conditions of a civil war, was faced with a legal
15 system or had a legal system where there were no serious regulations for
16 criminal proceedings against people who had weapons? Do you remember a
17 situation like that?
18 A. I'm not versed in that area.
19 Q. Well, do you know that if somebody illegally was in possession of
20 a pistol and the police uncovers that pistol, all that could be done was
21 he could be had up for a misdemeanor, or would have to pay a fine, or two
22 months in prison, and the greatest sentence would be to have his pistol
23 confiscated? Do you remember that?
24 A. I don't remember that law, but if you didn't have a permit to
25 carry your weapons, the weapons were confiscated and then legal
1 proceedings were taken against that person.
2 Q. I say that there were no criminal proceedings, just -- it was
3 just considered a misdemeanor.
4 A. I don't know about that.
5 Q. Do you know that I was a national deputy in 1991 and 1992?
6 A. Yes, I do.
7 Q. Do you know that I was the only deputy of the Serbian Radical
8 Party in the National Assembly?
9 A. I don't know that you were the only one.
10 Q. Well, can you name someone else from the Serbian Radical Party
12 A. No.
13 Q. Do you know that the Serbian Radical Party was established much
14 later than all the other serious political parties in Serbia, only in
15 February, at late as February 1991, in actual fact, with the unification
16 of the Serbian Chetnik Movement and the popular Radical Party?
17 A. Well, I know that was the period when the party was established.
18 Q. We didn't have an opportunity to go to the December elections in
19 1990; isn't that right?
20 A. I don't remember.
21 Q. It was only after subsequent elections that I won in Rakovica and
22 became a deputy for my party; you don't remember that?
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly be asked to slow
24 down. Thank you.
25 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj and Mr. Witness, I'm sorry to
1 interrupt you, but again the interpreters are asking you to slow down
2 because they have a hard time catching what you are saying when you
3 overlap. So please respect a short pause between question and answers.
4 Thank you.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I will. Thank you,
6 Your Honour.
7 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
8 Q. As a deputy, I remember that it was only in the second half of
9 1992 that a law was passed about weapons and ammunition, which provided
10 for criminal sanctions for illegal possession of weapons. Do you believe
11 me when I say that?
12 A. Quite possible, yes.
13 Q. Now, the war circumstances and the arrival of a large number of
14 refugees from the occupied Krajina territories brought in a large number
15 of weapons into Serbia; is that correct?
16 A. That is correct.
17 Q. And people brandished weapons quite frequently in public places?
18 A. Probably.
19 Q. Before, we had settlings of account between criminals, usually
20 brawls in cafes and drinking places. Suddenly we have conflicts between
21 hundreds of people, and many people were killed with these strong
22 musclemen, as they were called in the media, and groups like that of
23 criminals and so on?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Then there was increased use of weapons because people would just
1 shoot up in the air, throw hand grenades in meadows during some
2 celebrations or sometimes for no reason at all; isn't that right?
3 A. There were a lot of examples like that, and they were shown on
4 television, when birthdays were being celebrated, for example, that
5 people who had weapons with them would use them to shoot, and people were
7 Q. Do you remember a fatal case when a stray bullet hit, I think, a
8 young girl? I can't remember quite, but I think that was the case.
9 A. Yes, I do remember something about that.
10 Q. All right. So in that atmosphere, an atmosphere in which people
11 brandished weapons very easily, without any reason, nobody took it up
12 with anybody? Shooting all over the place, half an hour --
13 A. About 30 kilometres.
14 Q. Well, when I'm driving, I don't need more than half an hour;
15 isn't that right?
16 A. Well, I don't have such a good car, so I need more time.
17 Q. Well, I hope you'll be able to buy a better car and then you can
18 drive faster. But don't drive too fast. Be careful about that.
19 Anyway, under conditions like that, there was uncertainty among
20 the population, regardless of nationality; isn't that right?
21 A. Well, that was one of the reasons, too.
22 Q. People felt far less safe than in the pre-war conditions, when
23 there were rare cases of people being illegally in possession of weapons;
24 isn't that right?
25 A. Well, people felt far less safe because of the events that were
1 happening in the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, not because
2 they were in possession of private sidearms.
3 Q. You mean the disintegration that was caused by the war?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A follow-up question, if I may.
5 Through these questions, we understand that among those refugees,
6 some had weapons, which didn't come out very clearly up until now. Now
7 we know, we're sure about that.
8 When these refugees came, after they were expelled from Croatia,
9 I guess they were angry, because I guess they were not happy to have been
10 expelled from their homes. You met these people, so what was your
11 impression? Were they angry against Tudjman, who was forcing them to go,
12 and/or were they angry against Slobodan Milosevic, who hadn't taken the
13 necessary measures to protect them in Croatia so that they didn't have to
14 leave? You were saying they had weapons. Of course, this state of mind
15 could have led them to carry out certain types of activities.
16 So who were they angry against? Were they angry against Tudjman,
17 against Slobodan Milosevic, against the International Community which was
18 not doing anything? Who were they angry against?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, in my opinion by the
20 talks I had with the refugees, they were angry with the Croatian
21 government or, rather, Tudjman and Milosevic, or, rather, the Serb
22 authorities who did not protect them sufficiently and for not having
23 provided the circumstances for them to be able to stay in their
24 households and their own thresholds. Now, as for the International
25 Community, I don't know.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you. Your
2 answer is very clear.
3 Mr. Seselj.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
6 Q. Is it true and correct that the Serb refugees were not satisfied
7 with the conditions in which they were accommodated in Serbia and how the
8 powers that be in Serbia took them in, received them?
9 A. That's true too.
10 Q. Is it your feeling that the authorities in Serbia didn't do
11 everything they could to take into the refugees properly?
12 A. Yes, that's my feeling too.
13 Q. Is it your feeling that spontaneity was the main characteristic
14 of the way in which the refugees were taken in? When I say
15 "spontaneous," the local community did something, somebody did something
16 over there, but there wasn't any systematic form of organisation to
17 provide accommodation and welcome the refugees?
18 A. I don't think so.
19 Q. Well, what do you think, then?
20 A. Well, I think there was spontaneous individual efforts, and in
21 my -- the place I lived in, people took in refugees, but there were
22 organised forms as well by the authorities to send refugees to certain
23 areas where the inhabitants were Croats.
24 Q. Where do you get that information from?
25 A. Well, that's my conviction.
1 Q. So you're speaking on the basis of your own conviction and not
2 facts which could bear that out?
3 A. Well, facts -- well, if facts are not sent -- if refugees are not
4 sent to areas in Serbia, but to Vojvodina, then this is a strong fact for
5 me to base my opinion on.
6 Q. Do you know that the refugees really did go all over Serbia and
7 that there were reception centres in the south, in Vranje, Leskovac,
8 Krusevac and so on?
9 A. Yes, I did know that.
10 Q. Now, wouldn't it be normal for the refugees to try to find their
11 own way, and the most logical solution, find a Croatian family with which
12 to exchange their property? Would that be logical?
13 A. Yes, that would be normal and logical for the refugees to try and
14 do something about their situation themselves, and there were many
15 examples of that in Hrtkovci, to the best of my knowledge.
16 Q. Do you agree that in Hrtkovci, a lot of property had already been
17 exchanged in 1991, when the situation was calmer?
18 A. Yes, a few.
19 Q. Well, how many?
20 A. Well, in comparison to the overall exchanges, perhaps 5 to
21 10 per cent.
22 Q. Already in 1991, you say. All right, fine. Now, in 1992, you
23 say that Ostoja Sibincic was a member of the Serbian Renewal Movement;
25 A. Yes, for a brief period of time.
1 Q. To begin with, he was president of the local board?
2 A. But for a very short time.
3 Q. So you and Ostoja Sibincic were the main founders of the Serbian
4 Renewal Movement in Hrtkovci; is that right?
5 A. Well, it's not right that we were the main founders.
6 Q. Well, not only you; there were others too?
7 I've been asked to slow down again. We've been asked to slow
8 down again. All right.
9 Now, when the local board was formed, Ostoja Sibincic was elected
10 president and you were elected secretary, so logically that would mean
11 that the two of you were the main people in all that. There were other
12 important people, but the two of you were the most important; isn't that
14 A. All right, if you say so, then yes.
15 Q. That means that you and Ostoja Sibincic were on very good terms.
16 As far as I know, you were close friends at that time too.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. All right. Now, when you disbanded in 1992 the local board in
19 Hrtkovci, you didn't inform the public about that at all, did you?
20 A. No, you're not right. I did inform the public. I made a
21 proclamation and sent out a letter to the Municipal Board in Ruma.
22 Q. Was that in the media at all?
23 A. Now, whether somebody published that in the media, I don't know,
24 but I did put it up on the board as a proclamation and information.
25 Q. My associates looked through all the daily papers from 1992, and
1 they didn't find that piece of information, so the media ignored it, if
2 you really did proclaim it yourself? Do you know that I made that
3 proclamation, I provided that proclamation?
4 A. No, I haven't found any information on that.
5 Q. Well, do you believe me when I say that I did that?
6 A. Well, let me say that I do believe you.
7 Q. All right, thank you.
8 Now, in 1992, the extraordinary elections were held, the federal,
9 provincial, local and so on, in Serbia?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. That was in December?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. In December, your party went to the elections, did it not?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And you were a candidate for a municipal assemblyman on behalf of
16 the SPO; is that right?
17 A. Yes, that's right.
18 Q. If the local committee of the SPO is disbanded, how can you stand
19 as a candidate and run in the election? I don't understand that. Well,
20 it's not impossible, but could you explain how come that happened?
21 A. Well, I could have been a candidate in Ruma or anywhere else on
22 behalf of my party. So according to our statute, it doesn't really
23 matter whether there is a local committee, whether it had been disbanded
24 or not.
25 Q. Please, let us be specific on this. The local elections were
1 majority elections, meaning that the municipality of Ruma was divided
2 into several election units. Hrtkovci was divided into two; is that
4 A. Yes, that's right.
5 Q. In one of these two units, you were the candidate of the SPO, the
6 Serbian Renewal Movement; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's right.
8 Q. And your party was still strong enough for you to get into the
9 second round; right?
10 A. That's right.
11 Q. The candidate running against you was a candidate of the Serbian
12 Socialist Party, which was the ruling party at the time?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And he won over you only in the second round; right?
15 A. Yes, with a majority of only a few votes.
16 Q. And the candidate of the Serbian Radical Party won very few votes
17 in the first round and did not get into the second round?
18 A. He didn't get into the second round because refugees didn't have
19 the right to vote. So it's only logical.
20 Q. So it's logical. You find it logical that that didn't happen,
21 and that means also that the Serbian Radical Party wasn't all that
22 popular in Hrtkovci yet; right?
23 A. As far as the local population was concerned, it wasn't popular
24 at all.
25 Q. How did one acquire the right to vote in local elections? What
1 was required? Just to reside there; right?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Nothing else is needed. You don't need any certificate of
4 citizenship or anything of the kind?
5 A. I'm talking about the right to vote.
6 Q. Well, there is a passive and an active right to vote; right?
7 Passive is that someone can elect you, and active is that you can vote.
8 For both active and passive voting rights, the same conditions were in
10 A. If you're not on the list of voters, you could not vote, and at
11 that time the refugees came in and those who had exchanged houses didn't
12 have the right to vote, and they were not registered in the voting lists.
13 They could vote only in the next elections.
14 Q. How come, as soon as they applied for residence in Ruma or,
15 rather, in Hrtkovci, they have to be registered in the municipality and
16 their right to vote, right, so somebody omitted to do that?
17 A. Well, perhaps there were omissions.
18 Q. These omissions were, after all, of an individual nature, not
19 en masse; right?
20 A. Sorry. I don't know the answer to your question.
21 Q. All right. But no certificate of citizenship was required at
22 that time to participate in the elections, either to apply one's active
23 or passive voting right; right?
24 A. In the first elections, I think that's the way it was. Already
25 at the second elections, I had to have a certificate of citizenship.
1 Q. That was later. I'm talking about 1992.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Do you know that later on many prominent opposition leaders first
4 had to register in the book of citizens of Serbia and then only to
5 exercise their voting rights? For example, Zoran Djindjic was born in
6 Samac, Kostunica in Tuzla, Vuk Draskovic had his citizenship based in
7 Gacko, where his father was born and where he grew up. They had to get
8 citizenship of Serbia only at a subsequent date. Did you hear about
10 A. I heard about that.
11 Q. Did you know that Milan Panic did not have citizenship of Serbia,
12 so it was only at a later stage that he had to register in the book of
14 A. I know about that as well.
15 Q. So your party, at these elections in 1992, was still so strong in
16 Hrtkovci that you got into the second round, and it was with great
17 difficulty that the candidate of the Socialist Party won over you?
18 A. My party did not have such large numbers, but it was big in --
19 Q. Popularity?
20 A. And other things.
21 Q. You had a great deal of merit in the eyes of the voters; isn't
22 that right?
23 A. At that time, we were popular.
24 Q. I know you were popular. That's what I'm talking about.
25 All right. Ostoja Sibincic, when this local committee of the SPO
1 was allegedly disbanded, up until 2000, did not join any other party;
3 A. I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. He was arrested twice --
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] A follow-up question. I
6 thought Mr. Seselj was going to ask it, but he didn't.
7 This second round of election, there was only the Socialist Party
8 and your party remaining. The candidate for the Serbian Radical Party
9 didn't reach the second round. In your memory, the Serbian Radical Party
10 got what kind of percentage of the votes during the election? Do you
11 remember? If you know, of course. If not, then just let us know.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't exactly, in percentage
13 terms, but perhaps 50 or 60 votes. That's what the Serb Radical Party
14 candidate won.
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation]
16 Q. How many votes did you win in the first round?
17 A. I don't remember exactly. Over a hundred.
18 Q. So more than twice as much as the candidate of the Radicals;
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation] May I proceed?
22 Q. Now you say that you do not remember. However, when you were
23 making your statement to The Hague investigators in 2004 and 2006 --
24 twice; right?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In paragraph 10, you said, allegedly -- perhaps this is not
2 correct, what they're stating there. I provide for that reservation,
3 because I believe you more than I believe the investigators from
4 The Hague. Do you believe me when I say that?
5 A. Well, I can.
6 Q. It says here:
7 "After the Hrtkovci SPO local board was dismantled,
8 Ostoja Sibincic did not formally join any party until 1999-2000, when he
9 became an SPS member in Ruma."
10 They say that that's what you said. Is that true?
11 A. Now you've refreshed my memory. I remember this one meeting of
12 the SPS that I attended and where Sibincic's membership card was showed,
13 because he joined in Ruma and according to the statute he was supposed to
14 join the basic cell in his place of residence. They were opposed, so he
15 was not accepted. That is the information that I received then, that he
16 had joined the SPS.
17 Q. Was that in 1992 or 2000? So eight years after what had happened
18 in Hrtkovci; right?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. There are some speculations that after the SPS, he joined yet
21 another party after 2000. Did you hear anything of that nature?
22 A. Well, what I know is that he is now in the Serb Radical Party.
23 Q. But you said very nicely that it was only this year that he
24 joined the Serb Radical Party or late in last year?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. So you were precise on that?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. In this seven-year intermezzo, was he a member anywhere else?
4 A. I did hear something, but I don't have any complete knowledge.
5 Q. So what is it that you heard, because I heard that he made a new
6 statement to my associates, but I haven't got it yet because they've
7 imposed restrictions on me here.
8 A. I can't remember now.
9 Q. All right. It doesn't really matter, then.
10 Tell me, do you know how come Ostoja Sibincic became a member of
11 the Serb Radical Party late last year?
12 A. Well, I don't know exactly.
13 Q. Well, my investigators, Nemanja Sarovic and Elena Bozic-Talijan,
14 have combed through Vojvodina, especially the municipality of Ruma,
15 especially Hrtkovci, gathering information that is needed for my Defence,
16 and the result of their work is this book of 1.200 densely-printed pages.
17 That's the first time that they talked to Ostoja Sibincic, and that's
18 when he made his first statement to them.
19 A few days ago, he gave another statement to them, and it is
20 after he talked to them that he decided to join the Serb Radical Party.
21 Do you believe me when I say that?
22 A. What I heard in relation to Sibincic's membership was that he had
23 blackmailed the municipal authorities to give them -- give him a job so
24 that he'd make a statement pertaining to you.
25 Q. How could he blackmail them when he worked for the municipality?
1 A. As far as I know, he was an employee at the Revenues Department
2 and then he was laid off as a redundant person, and later on he got a job
3 as a clerk in the municipality, and it was the Serb Radical Party that
4 was in power there then.
5 Q. So then he blackmailed someone?
6 A. That's what I heard.
7 Q. Why would we allow anyone to blackmail us when people throughout
8 Ruma and in Hrtkovci were actually rushing to my investigators and they
9 could barely wait to talk to my investigators? Even you agreed to talk
10 to Nemanja Sarovic, who did not know at all that you were an OTP witness;
11 isn't that right?
12 A. That's not right.
13 Q. All right, if it's not right. When you talked about these
14 arrests of Ostoja Sibincic, you said at one moment when he got out of
15 jail, he went on working at the Ruma municipality as if nothing had
16 happened. You said something along those lines; right?
17 A. Yes, I remember.
18 Q. Could anyone actually dismiss him after the arrest and after the
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I'd like to go back to
21 Sarovic. I'd like to refer you to line 4 of page 27.
22 According to what Mr. Seselj says, his investigators did their
23 work, and then Sarovic got in touch with you and at the time he didn't
24 know you were an OTP witness. You're saying it's not true. This is on
25 line 9, page 27 of the transcript.
1 When Mr. Sarovic called you on the phone and when he met you,
2 what did he tell you? Do you remember, specifically, what he said?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In my first contacts with
4 Mr. Sarovic, he said to me that he wanted to talk to me in relation to my
5 testimony against Seselj.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That's what he said, "I want to
7 talk to you in relation to your testimony against Mr. Seselj"; is that
8 what he told you, word for word?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I cannot remember exactly now
10 because I do not remember, I mean, every little word exactly. Well,
11 that's what he wanted to talk about, because he had had information that
12 I was a Defence witness -- sorry, Prosecution witness.
13 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Mr. Seselj, please continue.
15 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
16 Q. All right. Since you've remembered all of this belatedly, tell
17 me now, why did you state that Blagoje Dudic spoke at the rally of the
18 Serb Radical Party in Hrtkovci?
19 A. I did not state that Blagoje Dudic spoke. As chairman, he's the
20 one who announced who would be the speakers. He didn't speak, himself.
21 Q. He didn't speak at all; right?
22 A. I don't remember that he said anything, or if he did speak, I
23 didn't really pay attention.
24 Q. You said here that he did speak, that he made a few introductory
25 remarks. That's what you say in paragraph 41?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you stand by that or do you not remember? Perhaps you've
3 forgotten. Things like that can be forgotten.
4 A. Well, it's been a long time, and as far as I can remember, that's
5 the way it was, roughly.
6 Q. All right. You spoke about this rally of citizens at the
7 cultural centre in 1992, when the leadership of the local commune had
8 been replaced or, rather, when they resigned and when a new leadership
9 was elected, headed by Ostoja Sibincic; right?
10 A. I spoke about that, yes.
11 Q. You said that Ostoja Sibincic was then illegally elected
12 representative of the commune. Why?
13 A. Because I think that's the way it was.
14 Q. Well, wait a minute. According to the laws in force then, were
15 elections in local communes held at rallies of citizens?
16 A. According to the law then, it was by public vote, acclamation, or
17 in writing at citizens' rallies. However, that was not a rally of the
18 citizens of Hrtkovci only. It was a rally of citizens who came from
19 elsewhere too. That is why I claim that it was illegal.
20 Q. Who was it that established that there were citizens from
21 elsewhere in attendance there?
22 A. The hall of the cultural centre takes a maximum of 250 people,
23 and it was full of people standing in the aisles and in front and all
25 Q. Is that your only argument when you say that there were quite a
1 few citizens from elsewhere there as well?
2 A. Well, at that time it wasn't customary for more than 50 or
3 60 per cent of the local population to respond to invitations to attend
4 rallies and to have the local commune council elected in that way.
5 Q. When there is a rally, there's no need for a quorum; right? The
6 number of citizens who show up actually make the decision; right?
7 A. Half an hour has to go by until there's a quorum.
8 Q. A quorum was not indispensable. One waits for half an hour from
9 the scheduled time, and then work starts?
10 A. Then work goes on.
11 Q. As if there were a quorum?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Was the new leadership of the local commune elected unanimously?
14 A. I don't know.
15 Q. Do you know anyone who was there and who voted against the
16 election of Ostoja Sibincic?
17 A. I'd like to say something else in relation to that.
18 Q. You tell me what it is that I am asking you about. It's
19 different when the Prosecutor is asking you.
20 A. Well, I know, myself.
21 Q. Were you at that rally?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. Did you vote against?
24 A. I didn't vote in favour, so that means that I'm against.
25 Q. That is not true. I am asking you whether you raised your hand
1 to vote against him. You didn't; right?
2 A. There was no point in me raising my hand when the situation was
3 as it was.
4 Q. When everybody was in favour of Ostoja Sibincic as president
5 unanimously; right?
6 A. That's not right.
7 Q. Did you speak at that rally of citizens?
8 A. I spoke in front of the cultural centre at the rally of citizens
9 that was held by the other inhabitants of Hrtkovci.
10 Q. Who are these other inhabitants, other citizens?
11 A. Well, at that time the citizens of Hrtkovci.
12 Q. Not with a single word did you oppose the election of
13 Ostoja Sibincic as president of the local commune, although you were
14 present at that rally of citizens, right, not a single word?
15 A. If that kind of atmosphere was created of a verbal clash, with a
16 possibility of it growing into a physical conflict, when I went out and
17 when I asked the local inhabitants to walk out so that there wouldn't be
18 a conflict, I think that that is a telling fact in its own right.
19 Q. No one remembers that you said a word, including asking anyone to
20 leave. No one in Hrtkovci remembers that.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, if I understood well,
22 this election had been rigged. Listening to you, it seems that there
23 were people who were there, but they didn't have a right of vote. This
24 is what you just told us; right?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's what I wanted to say.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, the witness wasn't
2 in a position to identify a single man who was not from Hrtkovci. His
3 conclusion is on the basis of the large number, 200 and something-odd
4 people who came to the meeting, that there must have been others on the
5 side, because before 50 or 60 people would come to the rallies, citizens
6 rallies. That's what he said.
7 Q. Anyway, do you know about a single incident which happened in
8 Hrtkovci between the refugees and the local population, any serious
9 incident, where the police did not intervene when called? Can you tell
10 me anything like that?
11 A. Well, I can't remember.
12 Q. You can't remember because there were no such incidents. And do
13 you know that in Ruma, the police of Serbia set up a separate
14 headquarters, as it did in all other large places in Vojvodina, which was
15 in charge of preventing incidents from breaking out in that generally
16 heated atmosphere?
17 A. Yes, I do know about that.
18 Q. All right. Now, do you know, for example, that when the refugees
19 entered houses that had been left void, empty houses, that the police
20 always intervened whenever they were called and threw the refugees out of
21 other people's houses?
22 A. Yes, I do know about that.
23 Q. Do you know that a certain Milivoj Vukelja, who tried to set up
24 life in somebody else's house, was expelled to Republika Srpska; they
25 went that far to expel him?
1 A. I know that Vukelja lived in that house for a few months, so it
2 wasn't that he just tried to enter. He forcibly entered the house and
3 lived there for a few months, and it was only after a court judgement
4 that he was deported to Bosnia.
5 Q. With his family?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Why was he deported to Bosnia?
8 A. I don't know.
9 Q. Well, I assume because it was considered that he wasn't from the
10 areas from which the refugees had been expelled, but that he had come in
11 from Bosnia and was therefore returned and deported back to Bosnia.
12 Isn't that right?
13 A. Well, I don't know.
14 Q. But you do know about the general situation; right.
15 Now, why did you say that Slobodan Milosevic, with Tudjman, had
16 reached an agreement on a population exchange? Where do you get that
17 information from?
18 A. I said that that was my conviction, and I'm still convinced that
19 that is the case.
20 Q. Well, if you're convinced of something, you must base that
21 conviction on some facts. For example, I never saw anywhere in the
22 press, or in the electronic media, or political rallies, that somebody
23 accused Slobodan Milosevic of having agreed on a population exchange with
24 Tudjman by way of expelling people.
25 A. It is my conclusion, and I base it on the events that took place
1 and partially on information that was put out. You know that there was a
2 secret meeting between Tudjman and Milosevic. You know that yourself.
3 Q. Well, we could have read a lot about that secret meeting in the
4 media and some transcripts, too, but the media speculated that Tudjman
5 and Milosevic had reached an agreement about carving up Bosnia. But
6 nowhere did I read that they agreed about the exchange of the population
7 between Croatia and Serbia. That was not in the media. So don't put
8 this question on its head. If Tudjman -- if Tudjman and Milosevic
9 discussed one question and reached an agreement about one question, you
10 needn't draw the conclusion that they must have reached an agreement on a
11 completely different issue because that's your opinion, that's your
13 A. I said that's my opinion, and I based it on the events that
14 happened and the facts.
15 Q. All right. Well, the Prosecution then has brought you in here to
16 testify on the basis of your convictions. Well, that's possible, too.
17 In The Hague Tribunal, things like that can happen too.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] When you said this yesterday,
19 sir, I was quite interested by this.
20 Let's assume that what you said is right and that there is an
21 agreement between Tudjman and Milosevic which will provide for the Serbs
22 of Croatia to go to Serbia, and the other way around for the others. So
23 the Croats who were in your own village, somebody has to tell them that
24 they have to leave, in the framework of this agreement. So to your
25 knowledge, the Croats who left, and I'm not talking about those who
1 joined the Croatian National Guard but the others, were you convinced
2 that some of those Croats left because someone had pushed them to leave,
3 someone who was not a Serb, maybe he was a Croat, and who was exerting
4 pressure in order to get them to leave so that the agreement would
5 actually come to fruition?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, my assumption is based
7 on the fact that there was information that I received from refugees who
8 had exchanged their houses, and also on the basis of the events that took
9 place in the place I lived in. And it is a fact that in Croatia, there
10 was a civil war that happened, so there was an armed conflict at the very
11 beginning between the authorities and the citizens. And in our state,
12 that did not happen, and it is my opinion and my conviction that this is
13 something that was coveted where we were, too. So the motive to send
14 refugees to predominantly Croatian areas was that, too. On the basis of
15 that, I base my opinions that there was an agreement to that effect, in
16 actual fact, because in situations where there was force and violence,
17 and when the population almost doubled, there was as many refugees as
18 inhabitants in the area where I lived in, that interventions came too
19 slow, and even where there was intervention, the perpetrator still stayed
20 on in the town or village. So that led me to make that conclusion and
21 form that opinion. Then and now, I understood the situation that these
22 refugees were in. They were frustrated. Their properties had been
23 destroyed. They'd been expelled. Family members had been killed. So I
24 understand them, I understand their reactions.
25 However, at the public rallies and when I spoke publicly, I
1 always said that it wasn't the inhabitants of Hrtkovci who were to blame
2 for what had happened "to you refugees, so don't blame them for your
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, I assume you know
5 Croats who left, and maybe you talked to them because you had a good
6 relationship with them as neighbours. I assume you did and you talked to
7 them. So before they left, what did they tell you, if they told you
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, many people told me that when
10 they had reported things to the police or went to the police or their
11 friends' lawyers who had worked at the police force at one point or state
12 institutions, that they were told that they couldn't protect them and
13 that the best thing for them would be, for their own safety, to exchange
14 their property. I also talked to many refugees, who told me why they
15 were angry with me and those people that were protecting their
16 neighbours. Well, the neighbours did not protect us there as you were
17 neighbours protecting your neighbours here." That's what they said, so
18 they expected me, as a member of the same ethnicity, should take them in,
19 to forget my neighbours, the neighbours I lived next to and had lived for
20 many years, just because the person was of Croatian or Hungarian
21 ethnicity. They wanted me to go against my neighbours. So that's what I
22 know about the situation, what they went through, how they came to leave
23 and so on.
24 What I want to say is this: I do have information that I
25 received from the previous residents and inhabitants, that that was the
1 case, that was how it was, and that the Serbs were not welcome there,
2 returnees or any others, and they're not welcome to this day.
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Mr. Seselj.
4 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
5 Q. Mr. Ejic, why, in your testimony, on many occasions do you
6 mention the Hungarians? Have you ever heard of me or any other
7 functionary of the Serbian Radical Party ever said an ugly word with
8 respect to the Hungarians?
9 A. No, I never heard that.
10 Q. Well, that's why I'm surprised that you're mentioning Hungarians
11 at all in this context, in the context of you accusing me that I stoked
12 the fire of the atmosphere to expel Croats. So there's no reason to
13 mention Hungarians here, is there?
14 A. Well, the fact is it happened, so then there is grounds for
15 mentioning Hungarians.
16 Q. Well, there were Hungarians in some places, too, but can that be
17 linked to the policies waged by the Serbian Radical Party in any way?
18 A. Well, there were fewer exchanges with Hungarians in comparison to
19 the Croatians.
20 Q. All right. I didn't understand that answer of yours, but never
21 mind. You said that unconsciously I was a tool in the hands of
22 Milosevic, which he used to promote his ends. Is that your conviction
23 again or do you have facts to bear that out, to support that?
24 A. That is my conviction on the basis of your behaviour and -- your
25 behaviour in the press and in public. If you strive for the principle of
1 reciprocity, then I cannot accept you as a humane person, because evil
2 must not be met with evil.
3 Q. So if I'm not a humane person, then according to you, I must be
4 Milosevic's tool, because anybody who is inhumane is Milosevic's tool.
5 Let aside the fact that you consider me to be inhumane, even if I were,
6 if you consider me to be that, why would I have to be a tool in
7 Milosevic's hands? Do you have any other reason for saying that?
8 A. Because you advocated the question of refugees most.
9 Q. Well, yes, I did do my best for refugees, and the Serbian Radical
10 Party did strive for the principle of retorsion publicly, but we attacked
11 Milosevic for not accepting that principle. Is that the truth of it?
12 A. Yes, it is.
13 Q. And we promised that when we came into power, we would apply that
14 principle; is that true too?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And is everything we said in the pre-election campaign true, that
17 we promised that when we came into power, we promised what we would do
18 once we seized power; right?
19 A. Yes, there was that too, there was that promise too.
20 Q. And did you ever happen to hear me utter or anybody else utter
21 from the Serbian Radical Party, high officials, that we advocated
22 situations where incidents broke out, that the Croatian population should
23 be abused and mistreated, that they should be beaten, that hand grenades
24 should be thrown on their property and anything like that? Did you ever
25 hear me utter things like that, or anybody from the party?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Did you hear of us giving out instructions of that kind
3 clandestinely, secretly?
4 A. That is just my assumption.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I see. Your assumption; right.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, Mr. Seselj has put
7 some questions to you on the retaliation principle, and I'm trying to
8 shed some light on this.
9 At the time, from what I understood out of what Mr. Seselj was
10 saying, when he was talking about "retaliation or retorsion," what did
11 that mean, as far as you were concerned? How far did it go?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My understanding of the word is
13 that it is a response to the conduct and behaviour of a state, the
14 authorities, towards a section of the population, and that the same
15 conduct should be applied in the other state.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Does this mean that this led to
17 the following situation, and I'll illustrate this with an example: A
18 Serb is expelled by a Croat. Does this automatically lead to the fact
19 that a Croat will be expelled by a Serb?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, that's how I understand it.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This is how you understand it.
22 Thank you.
23 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
24 Q. Well, since you understood it that way on the basis of the
25 leading question put to you by the Presiding Judge, were you conscious at
1 the relevant time --
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, you're not allowed
3 to say this, it's a leading question. I put a question to the witness,
4 and I'm entitled to ask any question I wish.
5 Secondly, I wanted to know from the witness what he met by
6 retribution, the principle of retribution. I shall give an example,
7 practical case, and he gave us an answer. So let's not make anything out
8 of this question.
9 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
10 Q. At the relevant time, did I speak about the state policy and not
11 what one individual did was something that another individual did? I was
12 talking about state policy, "When we come into power, we will provide you
13 with the addresses, and then you will exchange your property with them."
14 Did I say that?
15 A. Yes, you did say that, but the inhabitants didn't understand that
16 that was something that would be applied before you came into power.
17 Q. But that was the policy of the Serbian Renewal Movement, led by
18 you and Ostoja Sibincic, and not the Serbian Radical Party?
19 A. That's not true.
20 Q. Do you know of a single case whereby the members of the Serbian
21 Radical Party from Hrtkovci exerted pressure on the local Croats to move
22 out, a single case? Give me the name and surname of somebody who was a
23 member of the Serbian Radical Party who did things like that.
24 A. I don't know whether he was an official member at the time, but,
25 for example, what happened to my cousin -- to my brother-in-law by Cakmak
1 and his son and somebody else tells me that that was the case.
2 Q. But Rade Cakmak was never a member of the Serbian Radical Party.
3 Ostoja Sibincic became a member at the end of last year, but Rade Cakmak
4 never was.
5 A. Well, that was the prevailing opinion, that they were members of
6 the Serbian Radical Party.
7 Q. I see. So whenever a Serb does something bad, you are convinced
8 straight away that that person must be a member of the Serbian Radical
9 Party; is that the logic?
10 A. Well, that's the logic, but if the Serbian Radical Party did
11 nothing in the local area and let incidents like that go by, then that's
12 the opinion I draw.
13 Q. The Hague Tribunal has several speeches of mine in which I speak
14 out against incidents like that, and they must have put out a
15 proclamation on -- up on the board; right? So what newspaper would be
16 interested about what a local board does in Hrtkovci?
17 A. The public board for announcements in Hrtkovci is not a yard
19 Q. All right. You said that Ostoja Sibincic, in 1992, was arrested
20 pursuant to instructions from the federal Prime Minister Milan Panic;
22 A. That's what I heard. That's what the press wrote about.
23 Q. On what grounds? On what grounds was the prime minister able to
24 give instructions for anybody's arrest? Where is that to be found in the
1 A. I don't know.
2 Q. You don't understand the law, but you say he issued instructions
3 to that effect?
4 A. That's what I heard.
5 Q. I know that there was a lot of problems in Serbia with the
6 functioning of the legal system, but that a prime minister can order
7 somebody's arrest in Serbia, that was absolutely impossible, right,
8 especially as that federal prime minister was in a conflict with the
9 president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic; right?
10 A. The arrest did happen now.
11 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, yesterday when you
12 said this, I was quite surprised. I wondered how a federal
13 prime minister could take care of what was happening to John Doe at some
14 kind of village. I was quite surprised. And you say, "I heard," but
15 through hearsay or what, because you had no specific elements that could
16 lead you to think that Milan Panic had arrested Ostoja Sibincic?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think, Your Honour, that this is
18 what was written in some newspapers, and Mr. Panic himself spoke on
19 television to the effect -- well, I can't remember his exact words. Now,
20 did he suggest or order the arrest?
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. But if Panic talked
22 about it over the television, why was Sibincic arrested? What was the
23 motivation behind arresting this person? He was against law and order,
24 he was an agitator; why did he want him arrested?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, because Mr. Panic
1 himself had received information and complaints from the citizens of
2 Hrtkovci that Ostoja Sibincic, together with a group of refugees, was the
3 organiser and protagonist of all of these things that were happening in
4 Hrtkovci; violence, threats, evictions of people from houses, forcible
5 moving in and so on.
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I understand better
8 MR. SESELJ: [Interpretation].
9 Q. When talking to The Hague investigators, you stated that at one
10 moment a group of people from elsewhere showed up, who exerted pressure,
11 and you said that they were either Arkan's men or White Eagles. Do you
12 remember that?
13 A. I remember.
14 Q. When was this? Just the year, just the year. The date doesn't
16 A. Well, that year, 1992. I don't know the date.
17 Q. And on the basis of what did you conclude that they were Arkan's
18 men or White Eagles? Did they have some insignia?
19 A. No. I said that I heard that.
20 Q. You didn't even see them?
21 A. I didn't.
22 Q. Somebody told you that?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know who it was?
25 A. I can't remember.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. Do we have enough time
2 until the break? I want to put one more question. I hope there's enough
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Ten minutes before the break.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Perhaps we can extend the time for
6 four or five minutes, if so required by this question, perhaps. Do you
7 allow me to do that? Okay.
8 Q. Now, towards the end of your statement to The Hague
9 investigators, you said or you mentioned that I also had a gathering
10 within the local elections campaign in Ruma and in Indija, that I
11 criticised Slobodan Milosevic and the Socialist Party there, as well as
12 Vuk Draskovic and the Serbian Renewal Movement, and that at these two
13 gatherings I said that all of those who were not local Serbs should
14 leave, and you ascribed other things to me as well. Do you remember
15 having said that to The Hague investigators?
16 A. Your Honour, correction in relation to that. I do remember, but
17 I attended two gatherings, one in Ruma and another one in Indija. I
18 don't remember what the date was. I know that the one in Indija was held
19 on a Sunday, because I played chess at the club there. I stand corrected
20 in relation to whether you took part in these two gatherings or was it
21 only your party and its representatives. Perhaps I confused this with
22 your speeches on television, so then I linked it up to these two cases
23 when I was actually present.
24 Q. A few days ago, on the 5th of October, you talked again to the
25 Prosecutor, to the investigators from The Hague, and as far as they've
1 informed me, you stated that you were not sure whether Seselj took part
2 at the gatherings in Ruma and Indija or whether it was on television that
3 he had seen Seselj:
4 "He had seen a large number of meetings on television, so perhaps
5 he was confused. Nikolic, the former deputy, spoke. He remembers that
6 that person spoke in Ruma and Indija. The witness attended these two
7 meetings. The meeting in Indija was on a Sunday at 1.00 or 2.00 in the
8 afternoon. The one at Ruma was held later at 6.00. He wasn't sure
9 whether Seselj was present or not. The meeting was organised by the SRS,
10 but he's not sure whether Seselj was present."
11 What was it that happened on the 5th of October that you
12 mentioned that Tomislav Nikolic spoke at these two gatherings?
13 A. Well, there are a lot of things that I saw on TV, so I confuse
14 things in terms of my memory. Since I do not remember faces and people
15 that much, I remember the essence of what happened and what was spoken in
16 general terms, so that's why I said that, that I'm not sure whether you
17 were there or not, whether I confused you with being there or being on
18 television, and then I linked those two up or, rather, these two
19 gatherings that I personally attended.
20 Q. But you do not know that at that time, Tomislav Nikolic lived in
21 Kragujevac, and that he only attended big rallies of the Serb Radical
22 Party in Sumadija, Pomoravlje, and he attended smaller ones, that was his
23 area and and elsewhere in Serbia, he attended only big rallies? What I'm
24 saying to you is it is impossible that Tomislav Nikolic spoke in Ruma and
25 Indija, because these are, after all, small towns and he wouldn't come
1 all the way from Kraljevac to be there. Do you believe me when Ii say
3 A. Well, I can believe you, and it's possible that I got mixed up in
4 terms of faces.
5 Q. The fact that Tomislav Nikolic was thrown out of the Serb
6 Radical Party, is that what perhaps made you say to The Hague
7 investigators, "Ah, he spoke at these rallies"?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Was the association maybe that now Tomislav Nikolic is moving in
10 the steps of Vuk Draskovic, your former president, and that you inferred
11 it on the basis of that? I'm really surprised why you mentioned his name
13 A. Well, I mentioned his name as a prominent official of --
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But that's a bit irresponsible.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, the Trial Chamber
16 has asked you not to address Mr. Nikolic's situation in relation to your
17 own party. Everyone is well aware of this. We don't need to rehash the
18 subject over and over again. The only important question was to find out
19 whether Mr. Nikolic had actually made this speech. It seems that the
20 witness is no longer sure about this, so please move on.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, on the 5th of
22 October, the witness was sure, when he spoke to the investigators from
23 The Hague, or the Prosecutor, or whoever it was that talked to him. He
24 is sure here Nikolic, the former deputy, spoke. That is what is written
25 here on page 3 of this document that I received from the OTP: "Present
1 were the following persons:"
2 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] But what is important is what
3 the witness is saying today in this courtroom before the Bench.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, Ms. Lattanzi, it is important
5 when I see that there is a collision between his two statements, what he
6 says today and what he says four days ago. What's the day today, the
8 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Yes, but he admitted, he said
9 that he might have been confused. He gave us an explanation, and that is
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] However, on the basis of similar
12 confused witnesses yesterday, Milan Martic, the president of the Republic
13 of the Serb Krajina had his sentence of 35 years confirmed. A witness
14 gets confused, and terrible things happen.
15 I have the right to defend myself in this way, and it only suits
16 me when witnesses get confused, so I try to use it to a maximum.
17 As far as I'm concerned, you can take the break now, if that's
18 what you wanted. Just tell me how much more time I have left. I have
19 two or three questions left.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You must have -- well, we'll
21 take a break, of course, but you will have one hour left after the break,
22 one hour.
23 We'll take the break now.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We're back in
3 Mr. Seselj, you have the floor. I told you you had one hour
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Perhaps I'll finish even a bit
6 earlier. Some important questions will remain unanswered, because I have
7 to remind you yet again that I have not been allowed contact with my
8 associates. So as for cross-examination --
9 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, I think we have been through this
10 before, and you are incorrect in saying that you have been denied access.
11 The only thing is that you have still the possibility of contacting your
12 Defence associates in Belgrade, but not under the privileged terms,
13 because the issue of a possible violation is still pending.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, if I don't have a privileged
15 relationship, then it's as if I had no relationship whatsoever, and
16 indeed I do not have any relationship. So I have to remind you, each and
17 every time I cross-examine, that that is the case. Well, you can forbid
18 that as well, because that is a problem for me for as long as witnesses
19 are here, and I do have the right to complain for being denied the
20 possibility of putting more important questions.
21 Q. All right. Mr. Ejic, sometime in mid-1992, you got in touch with
22 Nenad Canak, president of the Legal of Social Democrats in Vojvodina;
23 right? When did that take place?
24 A. Could I please ask you not to speak so loud, because I really
25 cannot handle it even through headphones.
1 Q. Well, move them away. What can I do about it?
2 A. All right. It is correct that I had contacts with Nenad Canak.
3 This was after the killing of Mijat Stefanac.
4 Q. Mijat Stefanac was killed during the night between the 28th and
5 29th of June, 1992; right?
6 A. I don't remember exactly what the date was. Approximately that.
7 Q. Do you know that the murderers were killed immediately on that
8 day, that they were taken to court and convicted?
9 A. I do know about that.
10 Q. What was the reason for you to go to see Nenad Canak; the fact
11 that Stefanac was killed?
12 A. Precisely.
13 Q. So what did you say to Canak then?
14 A. I visited him at his apartment. I informed him about the
15 situation in Hrtkovci, and I mentioned that I was very frightened that
16 the first murder had happened. The motive was not known, but the fact
17 remains that this did happen, and that I was afraid that similar
18 situations could spread.
19 Q. Who got you in touch with Nenad Canak?
20 A. I can't remember, but somehow I managed to get his telephone
22 Q. Did you call him up then and say, "This is who I am, my name is"
23 so-and-so, "I wish to talk to you"? What did you say?
24 A. Well, I that think we've known each other from earlier on, from
25 the public domain. He knew my name and I knew his name.
1 Q. How is it you met?
2 A. I don't remember exactly.
3 Q. Well, that is a very prominent figure in Serbian political life.
4 I, for instance, remember when I first met him, although as a politician
5 he's not all that important, but then I remember and you don't remember.
6 I find that a bit strange. Right?
7 A. I don't find it strange. Sometimes I forget my very own
8 neighbour's real name and then I remember it afterwards, and especially
9 now, after all this time, I cannot remember all these details that are
10 not really important in my life.
11 Q. Well, wasn't it more natural for you to call the president of
12 your own party at the time, Vuk Draskovic, and to discuss what had
13 happened with him?
14 A. Well, it would have been more natural. However, when I disbanded
15 the local board, I, in fact, ceased being a member and I was no longer
16 active in the SPO.
17 Q. But this is the month of June. In June, you hadn't disbanded the
18 board yet. It was in the second half of the year that you did that;
19 right? That's what you said. You went to see Nenad Canak at the time
20 when you were still president of the local board of the Serb Renewal
21 Movement; right?
22 A. I don't recall that that's exactly the way it was.
23 Q. When did you disband the local board of the SPO?
24 A. Well, you see, I don't even remember that date. If you remind me
25 with a document, then I can confirm, yes, that's when it happened.
1 Q. You said the end of 1992. I would like to remind you of what
2 you, yourself, said. What do I need documents for? What you pasted on
3 that bulletin board of yours there is something that I've never seen, and
4 no one remembers that. You said yourself that at the end of 1992, you
5 disbanded the local board of the SPO and that you had the consent of the
6 Municipal Board to do that, and that is something that remains carved in
7 one's memory forever. That party of yours disappeared in Hrtkovci then
8 and it was never renewed, although as a candidate of that party in
9 December 1992, you ran in the election, and after that you were even a
10 candidate in the provincial elections; right?
11 A. I remembered that what remains carved in my memory are events and
12 facts, not dates and names.
13 Q. All right. What was it that Nenad Canak said to you then, when
14 you explained the situation in Hrtkovci to him?
15 A. As far as I can remember, he said that he could not help me very
16 much because pressure is being brought to bear against him, too, by the
17 authorities. He just made it possible for me to have contacts with the
18 press. I think it was Mazar Sol [phoen] and some other media. I can't
19 remember exactly now. I went there and I made a statement.
20 Q. Mr. Ejic, Nenad Canak at the time was the president of a marginal
21 political party which was not represented at all either in the Federal
22 Parliament or the Republican Parliament, and at no local level of
23 government either; right? They had no municipal assemblymen, no MPs, no
24 one. You went to see this very marginal politician to seek his
25 intervention and assistance, and the president of your party, in
1 Belgrade -- Belgrade is closer to you than Novi Sad. The president of
2 your party is there, and your party at that time was a major opposition
3 party; right? In the Parliament of Serbia, your party had the largest
4 number of MPs, compared to other opposition parties; right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Isn't that a bit strange?
7 A. Well, perhaps to you, but not to me, because I went to see a man
8 who's from Vojvodina and who was opposed to what was happening in
9 Vojvodina, so I don't find that strange.
10 Q. Mr. Ejic, you were afraid of the policy you had been pursuing
11 until then because a man had lost his life. You were not aware of the
12 circumstances of his death, and you were seeking ways and means to get
13 yourself out of that situation, and that is why you did not turn to the
14 organs of your party that stood behind what had happened in Hrtkovci.
15 Rather, you sought Nenad Canak, knowing, although his party was way too
16 small, that he had lots of contacts with the media, especially foreign
17 journalists, that he also had diplomatic contacts and so on and so forth,
18 not to go into any depth; right? You wanted in a way to switch sides on
20 MR. FERRARA: Your Honours, I don't see any question in this long
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, this is the first
23 objection raised today, and I hope it will be the last. Please try to
24 turn what you've just said into a question.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I think the question was a
1 very clear one and a precise one, and I'm not going to repeat it. I'm
2 going to move on to my other question, and it is this --
3 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, don't feel
4 offended. You have the screen in front of you. Look at line 1, page 52.
5 You can see that it's more a statement than a question. If you don't
6 want to ask that question, fine, but this is the reason why Mr. Ferrara
7 raised his objection, and I think he was right.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, if he was right.
9 Q. Mr. Ejic, what else did Nenad Canak do with respect to your
11 A. In addition to enabling me to have access to the media and make a
12 statement, he did his best to inform the public and the party.
13 Q. And then you made an agreement with Nenad Canak that all the
14 blame should be placed on the Serbian Radical Party, shifted to them,
15 because the killing of Mijat Stefanac you were sure would have serious
16 consequences; right?
17 A. I didn't reach any agreement with anybody linked to you.
18 Q. Not me, personally, but the Serbian Radical Party. Anyway,
19 Nenad Canak, did he send out a large number of journalists, both foreign
20 and domestic, to Hrtkovci?
21 A. The fact is that after that event, a large number of domestic and
22 foreign journalists did appear in our town.
23 Q. And a campaign against the Serbian Radical Party was unleashed;
25 A. I didn't understand it that way, as a campaign against your party
1 at the time, but as informing the broader public about what was happening
2 in Hrtkovci.
3 Q. And it was orchestrated, synchronised, all the problems in
4 Hrtkovci were made to appear as being the consequence of my 6th of May
5 speech at a Serbian Radical Party meeting; right?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did any other famous people come to Hrtkovci during that time?
8 A. Could you refresh my memory and give me a name, perhaps?
9 Q. Yes, I can. Did Natasa Kandic, for instance, come to Hrtkovci
10 immediately after that?
11 A. I know she was there, but I don't know whether she came
12 immediately afterwards, and I fairly frequently had contacts with her,
13 too, with respect to the situation in Hrtkovci.
14 Q. How many times did you have -- were you in contact with her?
15 A. Quite a number of times. I can't remember how many.
16 Q. When was the last time?
17 A. Perhaps a few years ago.
18 Q. Did you talk to Natasa Kandic about your testimony in the trial
19 against me?
20 A. No.
21 Q. You didn't; right. Now, what about Vesna Pesic, the president of
22 the Citizens Alliance or the Reformist Party; did she come to Hrtkovci?
23 A. At a citizens' rally, there were a number of representatives, I
24 remember on one occasion, and I remember the Seselj Democratic League,
25 the party of Vojvodina Croats, and Hungarians, the Citizens Alliance and
1 so on. Now, whether Vesna Pesic was there, I can't remember.
2 Q. Well, do you know that Vesna Pesic convinced
3 Dr. Branimir Vuksanovic that his name should be found on a secret list
4 for persecution and that he should leave Hrtkovci as soon as possible?
5 A. No, I don't know about that.
6 Q. But you claimed here that Mr. Zilic, among other things, at a
7 rally mentioned the name of Branimir Vuksanic; right?
8 A. Yes, I remember of that.
9 Q. And nobody heard that except for you, nobody remembers that, no
10 the policemen who were present, and yesterday I quoted a passage of the
11 Security Service detail that was there. Nobody mentions that the name of
12 Branimir Vuksanic was mentioned at all. What do you say to that?
13 Branimir Vuksanic is one of the most prominent and respected citizens of
14 Hrtkovci; right?
15 A. As a doctor, yes, indeed.
16 Q. He was a very well-loved doctor. He was recognised as a good
17 diagnostician, his wife was a Serb, and he was on good terms with
18 everyone. He was never involved in any incidents.
19 A. Well, I think his wife is still a Serb and what you say is
21 Q. And this group chose him to provide him with false information
22 and to encourage him to leave Hrtkovci and to exchange his property for a
23 suburb of Zagreb or somewhere around Zagreb, and to influence other
24 Croats to do the same through his example, to exchange their own
1 A. I don't know about that.
2 Q. Do you know of a single incident linked to the name of Branimir
4 A. What I heard from him personally was that at his workplace, he
5 had an unpleasant time when he heard comments made by others to the
6 effect, "I don't want to be treated by an Ustasha doctor," and things
7 like that, and that he was threatened through the mail.
8 Q. Well, how come he doesn't remember that, that people said they
9 didn't want to be treated by an Ustasha doctor? Nobody ever referred to
10 him as a Ustasha in Hrtkovci.
11 A. Well, I don't remember [as interpreted] how he doesn't remember,
12 because that's how the story went, how I heard it.
13 Q. Very well. You looked through this list provided to you by the
14 OTP, isn't that right, and on the list we have 728 names of Croats from
15 Hrtkovci; right?
16 A. That's right, and the names I added.
17 Q. 722, and you added 6 names to the list; right?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. You established, first of all, that all the people on the list
20 had not actually moved out of Hrtkovci and that some live there today
22 A. Yes, that's right.
23 Q. And then you marked a total of eight people who you thought had
24 left under pressure; right?
25 A. I think that I, yes, made a note of eight, singled out eight.
1 Q. The first name is Branko, Branimir Vuksanic, I don't know what
2 his real name was, and Nikola Vuksanic; right?
3 A. Yes, that's right.
4 Q. And as to pressure exerted against them, you give the example of
5 the fact that somebody had said to him at work that he didn't want to be
6 treated by an Ustasha doctor; right?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And the threat, the pamphlet put through his letter box?
9 A. Right, pamphlet through the letter box.
10 Q. Pakic, Rozalija and Vlado, what about them? That was a married
11 couple from Skolska [phoen] Street who were forcibly evicted by the
12 refugees, but were returned to their homes with the help of the police;
14 A. Right.
15 Q. Are they still living in Hrtkovci?
16 A. Yes, they're still living in Hrtkovci today.
17 Q. So they had a problem. The police resolved that problem, and
18 they've stayed on living there. Were all the rest able to stay on? If
19 they had some unpleasantness, they got through it; they would contact the
20 authorities and be given protection. Was that the normal way of doing
21 things, going about things?
22 A. That's how it should have been, but it wasn't like that in
24 Q. Then we have the couple Jelica and Franjo Tkalac; right? You
25 said that a hand grenade was thrown next to their house?
1 A. I say that now, too, and that's what I wrote on the list.
2 Q. All right. It probably was a hand grenade. I heard that there
3 were three or four hand grenades or, rather, explosions in Hrtkovci. To
4 my knowledge, four, in fact, and you mentioned three explosions. That's
5 no secret. Now, tell me what happened to that couple?
6 A. They live in Croatia today and exchanged their property.
7 Q. Who did they exchange their house with?
8 A. With refugees from Croatia.
9 Q. Did they receive property which was worth more or less, in
10 relation to the value of the property they owned?
11 A. Well, they didn't complain to me that they had been short-changed
12 at all.
13 Q. According to my information, they received property of far
14 greater value than their original property in Hrtkovci. Right?
15 A. In some cases, what you say was correct.
16 Q. The seventh example of pressure that you mention is Josip Bagi?
17 A. Yes, Josip Bagi. He is my brother-in-law.
18 Q. And you spoke of the incident that took place?
19 A. Yes, I did mention that.
20 Q. Anyway, did Josip Bagi continue to live in Hrtkovci?
21 A. Yes, he still lives in Hrtkovci.
22 Q. And the eighth name that pressure was exerted upon was you,
23 Aleksa Ejic; right?
24 A. Yes, right.
25 Q. So to the best of your knowledge, those were all the people from
1 Hrtkovci upon whom pressure was brought to bear; right?
2 A. Well, not quite right. They were people that I know about.
3 Q. Yes, that you know about. Well, had you known of other cases,
4 I'm sure you would have marked their names on this list. You wouldn't
5 have kept quiet about them.
6 A. Well, what you hear from others, you can't actually claim to be
7 100 per cent true, so that is why I didn't pinpoint any other names,
8 except for the fact that I added that the other names, the names of other
9 people, due to psychological pressure, entered the exchange process.
10 Q. But this psychological pressure was created by the general mood
11 in the society?
12 A. I agree.
13 Q. There weren't specific instances of pressure or coercion, people
14 saying, "You have to leave and move out or we'll kill you;" do you agree
15 with what I'm saying?
16 A. Yes, partially.
17 Q. Can we then say that the Croatian population in Hrtkovci, some
18 organised force launched an attack, and that it was as a result of an
19 attack that they left their houses and flats and fled?
20 A. Well, if by "organised force" you consider a group of five or six
21 citizens, then that would be the case.
22 Q. Do you consider that in Hrtkovci, a crime against humanity was
23 committed against the Croats of Hrtkovci? Do you know what a crime
24 against humanity means, that term, do you know what it means?
25 A. As I understand it, "crime against humanity" means inhumane
1 treatment, violence, physical and psychological pressure.
2 Q. But the consequences must be terrible for it to be a crime
3 against humanity; right? Anyway, that's an expert question. Let's leave
4 that for the moment.
5 Do you consider that in any one case, that members of the
6 Croatian National Minority [as interpreted] in Hrtkovci or any other
7 place in Vojvodina, that deportation was carried out? Do you know what
8 "deportation" means, when you capture somebody, take them into custody,
9 and then deport that person somewhere, just like when they arrest the
10 Romany ethnicity in Germany and deport them to Serbia? That's an example
11 of deportation. Were there any instances of a single Croat being
12 deported from Serbia to Croatia?
13 A. I have no knowledge about that.
14 Q. And can you mention a single case of forcible eviction -- or let
15 me explain the difference between deportation and forcible expulsion.
16 Deportation is between states, and forcible expulsion or eviction is
17 within one state. Have you got any examples of somebody coming and
18 telling someone, "You now have to move to some other place in Belgrade,"
19 Novi Sad or wherever, and forcibly force that person to pick up all his
20 chattels and move out; any examples?
21 A. The example of Milivoj Vukelja is a case in point, and when there
22 was a Serb decision to move him out.
23 Q. But they were Serb refugees. Just a moment, I'm talking about
24 Croats now. Do you have a single case of a Croat that was forcibly
25 expelled and forced to move and settle somewhere else?
1 A. No, not for deportation.
2 Q. But you've understood the difference between deportation and
3 forcible expulsion. It's only of a formal nature?
4 A. Yes, I do understand that.
5 Q. Now, many Croats were motivated -- now, I'm going to put this to
6 you, and then you can say whether you agree with me or not. Many Croats
7 were motivated to exchange their properties. One of the reasons were
8 that they would be exchanging their own property for property of greater
9 value. The second reason was that they considered that their life would
10 be better in Croatia than it would be in Serbia. The third reason was
11 that they were afraid of social disruptions in Serbia because a vast -- a
12 large wave of refugees had already arrived in Serbia, so their future was
13 not certain. The fourth reason was that perhaps they had experienced
14 some incident -- an incident, whether serious or less serious. The
15 police intervened in all these incidents, but people perhaps thought it
16 would be better to exchange their properties than run any risks.
17 So now have I quoted the four main reasons for people engaging in
18 an exchange of property?
19 A. You have, you have set out the main reasons.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, fine.
21 Then that concludes the cross-examination, and, Mr. Ejic, I have
22 no reason to be dissatisfied with your testimony at all, and I wish to
23 state that publicly, and any negative reaction in your environment
24 towards you would be ill-intentioned, and if it were to occur, I would
25 condemn it. So there's no reason for that at all, sir, and I don't think
1 you have any reason to fear anything. That is my personal view.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you for being -- if you're
3 frank and sincere.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, you doubted my frankness and
5 sincerity, I doubted yours. But we're on opposite sides, you're a
6 Prosecution witness, I'm the accused, so that's something that's quite
7 normal. But I really think that there's no reason for you to fear
8 because you've helped me a great deal in presenting some of the
9 information and details you've gave here, especially with helping me to
10 identify the people for whom you establish that pressure was exerted upon
11 them, including the Serbs.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I came here to tell the truth and
13 the whole truth of what happened, and that is my motive for coming here;
14 nothing else. And of course we differ politically, we have different
15 opinions and views as to how the situation should have been dealt with
16 and how the situation should be dealt with today, indeed, and that's the
17 basic difference between you and me.
18 Questioned by the Court:
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, a few follow-up
20 questions. I take the opportunity of you being here to try and better
21 understand a few aspects of the indictment and the pre-trial brief.
22 The Prosecutor and Mr. Seselj brought out this speech made on the
23 6th of May, 1992, by Mr. Seselj, but I'm looking at the indictment and
24 the pre-trial brief, and I notice that we needed to go back even further
25 in time.
1 According to what the Prosecutor claims, and of course the
2 Prosecutor's claims will be put under scrutiny when the Judges
3 deliberate, but what the Prosecutor says is that during the fall of 1991,
4 before May 1992, in other words, another speech was delivered by
5 Mr. Seselj in Subotica, in Vojvodina. Had you heard about that speech?
6 Did you hear that it had been delivered?
7 A. Your Honour, unfortunately I cannot recall anything in relation
8 to that speech.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. This is the
10 starting point for the Prosecutor. This is in paragraph 126 of the
11 Prosecutor's brief. You don't have it, but trust me, I'm quoting from
12 that document. With the influx of Serb refugees, there was also a
13 campaign of intimidation of non-Serbs in several municipalities of
14 Vojvodina, and in particular in your own area.
15 Now, as far as you know, did other people, maybe other members of
16 your own party, tell you that this was the same situation everywhere,
17 that there were several campaigns of intimidation, or didn't you know
18 anything about it?
19 A. It's not that I didn't know anything about it. I knew that there
20 were stories of that nature and that there was that kind of campaign
21 going on too, but I don't have any personal knowledge. It wasn't that I
22 was present or something like that.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You'd heard several things, but
24 you didn't have personal knowledge. Fine.
25 Still, according to the Prosecutor, members of the Serbian
1 Radical Party from the municipality of Sid, the stronghold of the party,
2 according to you, were all the members of the party concentrated in Sid,
3 at least most of them?
4 A. What I know is that we in Sid also had a strong organisation, and
5 once I even attended a meeting there, which is to say that the SPO had
6 quite a presence in Sid.
7 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] SPO was very present in Sid.
8 Now, to your knowledge, did Mr. Seselj's supporters or those who were in
9 his movement, were they also -- was there a strong presence of these
10 people in Sid.
11 A. I do not know of that.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You don't know. Because
13 paragraph 126 of the Prosecution's brief, the Prosecutor says that
14 members of the Serbian Radical Party of Sid used to roam around in cities
15 and villages, it does seem that there are a lot of people who are roaming
16 around in cities and the villages to harass the Croats. So if this is
17 true, if what is alleged here is true, you know, we will be asking all
18 these questions to other witnesses, not just you, but we have a person
19 here in the courtroom who has good information on this, so let's take
20 advantage of this. So could you tell us whether at the time you knew
21 that there were these harassment and intimidation campaigns going on in
22 cities and villages in the area?
23 A. As far as I can remember, I heard that something like that had
24 been written in the press; namely, that certain groups were doing things
25 like that.
1 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In the press. Very well, in
2 the press, only in the press. How far is Sid from Hrtkovci.
3 A. Around 40 kilometres.
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] About 40 kilometres. Very
5 well. There was mention of the Hungarians who lived in your village.
6 How far is the Hungarian border from Hrtkovci?
7 A. Well, Novi Sad is 60 kilometres away, and then Subotica, say,
8 about 100 kilometres.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The Croats who'd
10 left for Croatia and who came back later on, because we know that when
11 things cooled down, some Croats came back, and you actually told us that
12 some Croats had come about, now, did you discuss with those who returned,
13 did you discuss these events with them?
14 A. I don't quite understand the question. You mean --
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me be very specific. There
16 were Croats who used to live in your village, and in 1992 they left that
17 town to go to Croatia, maybe Zagreb or elsewhere. They went to Croatia.
18 So either that was in the framework of a voluntary flat exchange or
19 because of exchanges that had been initiated by someone. So all these
20 people left for Croatia, and then a few years later, when things cooled
21 down, these people came back, and I thought, if I'm not mistaken, that
22 you did say that some came back. Now, did you discuss it with those who
23 actually came back?
24 A. Ilic, Justina, is a person who is deceased. She left. She
25 carried out an exchange of her house. She left with her husband, and her
1 daughter stayed on in Platicevo, and then she returned and lived with her
2 daughter. I know of that case. What I mentioned was that some people
3 had left and then returned. I meant they went somewhere abroad, sought
4 shelter somewhere, and then returned afterwards.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What I'm interested in is those
6 Croats who went to Croatia, not those who went abroad. Those who went to
7 Croatia and came back, were there any of them?
8 A. I understand the question, and I mentioned this one case that I'm
9 aware of of this elderly person.
10 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Did you discuss with this
11 elderly lady, did you discuss the events with her.
12 A. Well, sometimes we did talk, and she expressed her
13 dissatisfaction and her regret over the fact that she had left in the
14 first place and carried out the exchange. Specifically, she had carried
15 out an exchange for a home at a smaller place. I think it's Kula. In
16 relation to Hrtkovci, it's not as nice.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] This exchange of houses, which
18 we've already discussed with other witnesses, it's not extremely clear in
19 my mind, and maybe also in the mind of my fellow Judges. So you exchange
20 houses. Does this mean that you exchange them over a period of time or
21 that you actually own the house? Because if you become owner of the
22 house, there needs to be some kind of deed. So how did it happen? I
23 mean, you were a local official. You were well informed on many things,
24 and you proved this amply to us. So when there is a house exchange, what
25 happens regarding the deeds?
1 A. Well, exchange procedures evolved as follows: Refugees, well,
2 many of them used the telephone to agree on exchanges. However, there
3 were examples of the residents of Hrtkovci going out there to check
4 things out and carry out exchanges only then. There were many agreements
5 of that kind. They would make an agreement over the telephone, they
6 would take each other's word, and that's what they'd do. And then this
7 would be made official at the court in the municipality of Ruma, this
8 official document on the exchange of the house.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] So you go to the municipality
10 or to court. I believe I've heard that. And that's when the official
11 document on the exchange of the house is actually drafted; is that what
12 you mean?
13 A. Yes, Your Honour, you are right.
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. I assume that the
15 Croats going to Zagreb also need to draft an official deed in order to
16 exchange the vacant Serb house, so are there two official deeds that are
17 done simultaneously or is there only one deed.
18 A. At first, I think that this was not possible for many people
19 because of the war operations in Croatia, to do that. It was only done
20 through -- in Serbia, but then perhaps the document would be dealt with
21 through a lawyer in Croatia as well, and it would be verified in that
22 way. I know many people did not go there because of their personal
23 safety concerns.
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] In passing again, a very
25 interesting detail. You said that people were calling on the phone. So
1 they call on the phone, they make an agreement over the phone, and
2 sometimes they even go on site to check the house. Very well.
3 Let's imagine that we have Mr. X living in Zagreb. He's a Serb,
4 and he will call Mr. Y, who is a Croat living in Hrtkovci. And over the
5 phone, they say, "Can we exchange houses?" So everything happens over
6 the phone, if I understood you well.
7 A. Yes. I know the case of Milan Fumic, that he spoke on the
8 telephone with the current owner, Zunic, who was staying with some
9 relatives or friends of his in Vojvodina at the time. I heard that from
10 Zunic as well, that it was over the telephone that they carried out the
11 exchange or, rather, agreed on it. Milan Fumic went to the actual spot,
12 saw the property involved, and then he returned and wrote up a deed in
14 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. And when those who
15 arrived found out that they had a nice house earlier and that they were
16 stuck now with a smaller house that was not so nice, what happened ?
17 A. Many people didn't have a choice. Then they accepted what was
18 offered to them at that point in time, although they were not satisfied
19 with that.
20 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] What of today?
21 A. There were cases the other way around, too, from the other side.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I had a question for you, but I
23 saw Mr. Seselj raising his hand.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm trying to contribute to
25 this very good examination of yours. I think it would be a good thing to
1 see exactly who the people who did not have a choice were. Was it the
2 Croats from Serbia who were exchanging property with the expelled Serbs,
3 or the Serbs who were expelled from Croatia?
4 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] You did say that earlier. It
5 didn't escape me. It looked like at first some did this on a voluntary
6 basis, very freely, but then some really didn't have much of a choice.
7 So the Serbs who lived in Croatia -- you know, our problem is
8 that in the evidence that we were provided with, we don't really know
9 what the situation in Croatia was. We have a few elements in this
10 respect, but not much. We don't really know what happened over there.
11 So the Serbs in Croatia who would -- so this Mr. X in Croatia,
12 who is calling Mr. Y in Hrtkovci, Mr. X is a Serb living in Croatia and
13 he's calling, does he calling because he's forced by the Croats to do
14 this? This is important.
15 A. Yes, Your Honour, precisely on account of that, that he was
16 forced to do something like that, and that was the situation of the
17 locals of Hrtkovci. When they were carrying out an exchange, it wasn't
18 that they were forced to do that by the person with whom they were
19 carrying out the exchange, but they had clashed with somebody else.
20 There were examples on both sides. There were more examples from the
21 Croat side --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter cannot hear the rest of the
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Let me return to your
25 assumption, the fact that there would have been an agreement between
1 Tudjman and Milosevic, because that might explain some things if it's
2 true. So far, we have no elements, but just like Diogenes, I'm trying
3 to -- with my lantern, I'm trying to find explanations.
4 So those Serbs are calling over the phone. I would like to know
5 whether they called the Croats in Hrtkovci first or whether it was the
6 other way around, whether it's the Croats in Hrtkovci that called the
7 Serbs. Who called first, according to you?
8 A. In my view, the first exchanges took place, well, not when the
9 refugees arrived en masse, but when the refugees arrived from the areas
10 where there were no war operations in Croatia, that is to say, when they
11 arrived from Zagreb and the other towns. I think that I have mentioned
12 two examples already of the Jogar family with Ulemek and the Udenko
13 [phoen] family with Sulan. They were among the first to carry out this
14 exchange, so it was the other way around. In Croatia, they had been
15 contacted by some persons or they received threats to the effect that
16 they should carry out an exchange with such-and-such a person.
17 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] That was before the tension.
18 It was peaceful, and that's when there was these early exchanges?
19 A. Yes. It first started from the Croatian side. Serbs were
20 seeking to carry out exchanges with Croats in Hrtkovci and in other
21 places, that is to say, once they had already arrived. It's not that
22 they had contacted the Croats in Hrtkovci from Croatia, and it's not that
23 exchange offers were made then. They were already in Serbia, in
24 different places, Hrtkovci included.
25 Your Honour, one more thing in relation to this thesis. One of
1 the arguments in relation to this plan would be the following:
2 At a meeting, at a conference, a press conference, when the
3 Minister of Human Rights, Ms. Margit Savovic was there, I wanted to
4 attend. However, the organiser, President Sibincic at the time, demanded
5 that I leave. He was probably afraid that I would tell the truth as to
6 what was going on in Hrtkovci. So, in fact, as Minister of Human Rights,
7 she was supposed to meet with the persons who were imperiled, not by
8 those who were imperilling them. At the exit, she asked me, "Mr. Ejic,
9 what is it you have against the refugees?" I gave her a brief answer,
10 "Madam, I have nothing against refugees, nor did I ever have anything
11 against them. I am only opposed to what they are doing, that is to say,
12 instigating violence, carrying out violence, threats, things like that."
13 That's the only thing I said. I did not get an answer to this comment of
14 mine. I expected her to contact me after the meeting or, rather, to --
15 that she would ask to talk to us who had made statements to the press.
16 That never happened. That supports my thesis that there had been an
17 agreement with the authorities to act that way.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One last question. The
19 situation today in your village, is everyone good friends with
20 Mr. Sibincic, are things -- is the relationship correct? Now that things
21 have cooled down, is everybody, you know, friendly or is there still some
22 problems that haven't been solved, like people who left and exchanges
23 that haven't finished? What is your assessment of the situation as it is
24 now in your village?
25 A. The situation in the village now can be termed as normal. Time
1 has passed, and many people who were frustrated at the time and who did
2 not think kindly of the Croats and the Hungarians have changed their
3 minds in the meantime. Now they are friends with many of them. I'm also
4 on good terms with the majority, as opposed to some people, individuals,
5 who were extremists. That can be found at any time, but they are
6 exceptions to the rule. I even won over their confidence, so for a while
7 I was even president of the Council of the Local Commune for over four
8 years, so that was one and a half terms of office. I did many things
9 during that period of time. I made it possible to build a refugee
10 settlement, too.
11 The current situation can be described as normal, in the briefest
12 possible terms.
13 You mentioned Ostoja Sibincic. I am sorry that he's very ill.
14 Now he is being avoided by refugees and locals because of the activities
15 that he had engaged in.
16 Generally speaking, the situation is normal. Right now, there
17 are local elections for the municipality, and previously there had been
18 elections for the local commune. It is a fact that there is just one
19 representative of the Radical Party in local government. All the rest
20 belong to local parties. That shows that the situation is normal.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] One final question. It's a bit
22 sensitive, but I need to ask it, because you are an official, you were
23 elected. You know what happened.
24 According to you, what does a resident of your village feel, as
25 far as this Tribunal is concerned? Are they defiant, do they trust the
1 Tribunal? What is the feeling of the residents of your town regarding
2 this institution?
3 A. Your Honour, my knowledge and my opinion is that opinions are
4 divided on the basis of the fact that some of the accused have been
5 acquitted, although they committed crimes against the Serb population.
6 So that's why opinions are divided. However, I personally trust this
7 Tribunal. That is why I came to testify.
8 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. Thank you for your
10 I believe my fellow Judges also have questions.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you.
12 Mr. Ejic, the only question I had for you is if you know whether
13 the exchange of property between refugees from Croatia and refugees from
14 Hrtkovci, whether these exchanges were organised by any institution, or
15 did they occur spontaneously by rumour or by information that was just
16 spread around among the people that, you know, they could just try and
17 call some contacts in the other end of their journey and see if they
18 could get into contact with somebody who was leaving there? That would
19 be one way. The other way would be if there was an organisation somehow
20 that was in charge of the process of putting people together for them to
21 arrange for an exchange of property.
22 Do you understand my question?
23 A. I understand your question, Your Honour.
24 My view of that matter is that most of these cases were
25 spontaneous. There is quite a bit of knowledge on both sides, to the
1 effect that certain groups that were self-organised gathered information
2 about addresses and forwarded that to refugees. So in this way, they led
3 them to the possibility of exchanges. I mentioned who was doing that in
4 our village. I don't know about Croatia, but I did know that that kind
5 of thing did exist; namely, that they provided addresses there of the
6 Serbs with whom exchanges could be carried out. They gave them to Croats
7 in Vojvodina.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: And these self-organised groups, were they
9 affiliated to any organisation or movements?
10 A. I don't know about that.
11 JUDGE HARHOFF: Thank you, sir.
12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Witness, two days ago you --
13 when we were talking about these exchanges, you mentioned fake contracts
14 that had been drafted. Could you give us some details on this, be more
15 specific on this? I did not really understand what you meant at the time
16 with these fake contracts, and I would like to know where the pressure to
17 draft these fake contracts actually came from.
18 A. To the best of my knowledge, I think that it is Rade Cakmak.
19 Now, who gave him this idea, to the best of my knowledge, it was
20 Ostoja Sibincic, who prompted others to act in the same way as well. It
21 was only when the real owner appeared and started proceedings before a
22 court of law people found out that they had shown to the police this kind
23 of fake contracts, because the police would not intervene until the real
24 owner complained to a court of law. That is what I know.
25 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] I haven't really understood yet.
1 There were contracts which mentioned owners who were not the real owners
2 who actually took over the house; is that it? I really haven't
3 understood what you meant. What was written in that contract or deed?
4 A. I didn't see any of the contracts. It's only what I heard. I
5 heard when Sibincic said what he said, what they were supposed to do, at
6 a citizens' rally to a little group of refugees. He told them, "Do such
7 and such. Make up a false contract. When the police comes, they won't
8 do anything to you. You're legally here." But I didn't actually see a
9 contract myself. It's only something I heard about. And how the police
10 acted, that the police acted only when the real owner came in from abroad
11 and put into motion legal proceedings.
12 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] If I understood --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation continues]...
14 understand me.
15 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] If I understood well, they were
16 Serbs coming from Croatia who would receive or would be given houses.
17 However, the Croat owners of those houses did not consent freely to this
18 takeover of their houses. Is it what happened?
19 A. No, it wasn't the property, it was a contract saying that they
20 agreed with the owner that he was giving his property over for temporary
21 use by these other people.
22 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I have some knowledge in this
23 area, due to my former occupation or former job. I think the situation
24 you're describing is very simple.
25 Mr. Sibincic told the refugees that they should draw fake
1 contracts so that they have a deed that would entitle them to occupy
2 houses, and that's what the refugees did. Somebody gave them fake
3 contracts with fake signatures. They signed, and that was it. But the
4 real owners are not aware of what's going on, because they're probably
5 abroad. They may be working in Germany, in Milan, elsewhere. And when
6 they come back, they find out that their houses are being occupied by
7 Serbs. At that stage, they go immediately to the police station to say,
8 "Look, what's going on? Somebody is in our house." Then the police
9 come, and then the whole situation is discovered.
10 Is it what happened?
11 A. Yes, that's it, precisely.
12 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. So this is a good
13 summary of what was happening at the time; right?
14 A. Yes, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Okay. So I think it's clear
16 for everybody now.
17 Mr. Ferrara, would you like time to redirect?
18 MR. FERRARA: No, Your Honour, I don't have any redirect.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Witness, on behalf of the
20 Judges of this Chamber, I would like to thank you for coming to The Hague
21 at the request of the Prosecution, to give a statement on the events
22 which took place in your village. Thank you for coming. Thank you for
23 testifying, and I wish you well and I wish you a safe trip back to your
25 I would like Madam Usher to escort you out of the courtroom.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour, and with
2 your permission I have unloaded a great burden -- lifted a great burden
3 off my shoulders during my stay here.
5 [The witness withdrew]
6 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Mundis or Mr. Ferrara, as
7 far as next week is concerned -- yes, yes, I was about to forget. The
8 number, yes. We've discussed the issue, and we'll have a final exhibit
9 number. Thank you for reminding us.
10 Mr. Registrar, you remember that an exhibit was an MFI number,
11 this article from the Chicago newspaper needs a final number, so what is
12 it going to be?
13 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be -- the MFI number
14 initially was P559. It will now be Exhibit P559.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, thank you.
16 Now, as regards next week, I'm not going to give any name - you
17 never know - but we have VS-1133 scheduled for next week. According to
18 the table provided by the Prosecution, we'll need three days for that
19 witness. There's also a VS-1134, another witness. It will be a 92 ter
20 witness. Am I right, Mr. Mundis?
21 MR. MUNDIS: That's correct, Mr. President. There are no other
22 changes or additional information concerning next week.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] As regards 1133, how much time
25 will you need? Experience has shown that two hours or three hours means
1 almost three days, so how much do you need for 1133? I'm talking about
2 the examination-in-chief. Unfortunately, I don't have the document
3 before me, so maybe you don't have it either.
4 MR. MUNDIS: Mr. President, I believe the witness was listed down
5 as 2.5 hours or -- 2 or 2.5 hours. My colleague, who will be leading him
6 in court, will not be finishing the proofing until Monday, so it's a bit
7 premature to give a more revised estimate. But we have him down, 1133,
8 down for Tuesday, Wednesday, and continuing into Thursday if need be.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well, and then we'll hear
10 1134, a 92 ter witness. If Mr. Seselj doesn't wish to cross-examine him,
11 he won't. This is his absolute right, of course, and there won't be any
12 problem. We know what is the position of the parties on this.
13 Thank you. Very well.
14 Mr. Seselj, an administrative matter you wish to raise with the
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, just with respect to the next
17 witness or, rather, the next two witnesses.
18 I read both statements which The Hague Prosecutors had these
19 witnesses give, and I'm convinced that no examination-in-chief will last
20 longer than one to one and a half hours, because there's nothing much, in
21 my opinion, that they can ask. So both of them can be heard viva voce,
22 and an hour and a half be accorded to each of them, if there is the
23 goodwill for that. If there's something else, well, then ...
24 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. We've noted what
25 you've just said.
1 Mr. Seselj, you mentioned it several times, and Judge Harhoff, my
2 colleague, also reminded you of this, and there should be no
3 misunderstanding among the public about the measures that are being
4 applied to you. The Registrar has decided to wire-tap your
5 conversations. It is true. It has been done according to the Rules. I
6 told you what my opinion about this was, but that's the way it is. Your
7 phone is tapped. It means that you can use your phone, you can use your
8 phone and call your associates. There is no question about it. Of
9 course you can call them. If you don't want to, of course, that's up to
10 you to decide.
11 I think my colleague would like to say something else.
12 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. President.
13 You see, Mr. Seselj, we have discussed this at several reprisals,
14 and the issue, as far as I have understood it, is that as long as your
15 collaborators in Belgrade are unwilling to provide the information to the
16 Registrar that the Registrar has asked, as long will your communication
17 with your group in Belgrade remain supervised. Now, if you are in
18 control of your associates in Belgrade, all it takes is for you to
19 instruct them to provide to the Registrar the information that the
20 Registrar has asked for, and the matter will be solved. So as long as
21 you do nothing, this situation will remain, and therefore I have a
22 difficulty in accepting that you are suffering prejudice, because you,
23 yourself, are in control of these matters.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judges, my legal advisers have
25 answered all the questions put by the Registrar. The fact that the
1 Registrar is not satisfied with their answers is the Registrar's problem,
2 and they're not going to respond any more.
3 Secondly, I have to have sensitive conversations and discussions
4 with my associates, not to be tapped in to, because we have to assess
5 whether we're going to deal with a fact during a cross-examination or
6 not. And then the material that I receive from them by fax, I have to
7 see whether some of it is useful and what is and what isn't, to make a
8 selection, and not have the Registrar select my material and to inform
9 the Prosecutor what it was that I discussed and which papers I received.
10 So because of that, I don't want to discuss the trial with them at all,
11 and when I talk to them, I ask them what the public thinks, having looked
12 at the television footage and what the media says. So I'm the one that
13 is in control of my Defence case and that is my right, so I will not
14 allow anybody to tap into my telephone conversations with my legal
15 advisers. If somebody does that, then I'm not going to have those
16 conversations. And once again, in that way, in that fashion, stop them
17 from tapping in to my conversations. That's the only thing I can do, to
18 stop having conversations, and then they have nothing to tap into.
19 JUDGE LATTANZI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I accept the fact
20 that you need to prepare your Defence case in a privileged environment.
21 However, I cannot accept for you to say that the Registrar will give the
22 documents you might receive to the Prosecutor.
23 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Yes, I heard you say that too.
24 You think that when a document is received by the Registrar, and the
25 Registrar goes straight to the Prosecutor to give him a copy of that
1 document? I find it hard to believe, because if it was the case, it
2 would be very serious and he could end up in jail. So I find it hard to
3 believe. That's what you think, that's what you think, but I find it
4 hard to believe. If you have evidence of this, then show it to us. But
5 somebody sends you a document, the registrar -- not the Court Registrar
6 but somebody else from within the Registry will go to the Prosecutor and
7 say, "Look, Mr. Seselj has received this document, please take a look,"
8 when the Judges don't even know about this? I find it really hard to
9 believe. It would be a major surprise for me.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. President, a few days ago I
11 provided you with some important and valuable information. The former
12 deputy of -- Deputy Secretary David Tolbert two or three years ago became
13 the Deputy of the Prosecutor-in-Chief, Carla Del Ponte. Now I have the
14 latest, freshest information. I learned from a reliable source, and you
15 can check this out with David Tolbert, that about two years ago
16 David Tolbert had meetings with Tomislav Nikolic to discuss me and my
17 trial. So check that out, please, Mr. President. Ask David Tolbert to
18 tell you whether he indeed did have meetings with Tomislav Nikolic or not
19 and what the reasons for those meetings were.
20 There's a plot against me here. The Registrar has been dealing
21 me a bad deal for all these years, much more than the Prosecutor. They
22 have prohibited me from having telephone conversations with even my
23 closest family and visits from my closest family, and the reason they
24 said was that my party had received a large number of votes at the last
25 elections and to prevent me from taking part in forming the next Serbian
1 government. That was the official reason provided on the letterhead of
2 the Registry, so I have no reason to try and convince you of this, that
3 the secretariat is in cohorts and plotting with goodness knows who else
4 against me, but please check that fact out, whether David Tolbert did
5 have a meeting about two years ago with Tomislav Nikolic in order to
6 discuss the trial against me. If you check that out, everything will
7 become clear to you.
8 JUDGE HARHOFF: Mr. Seselj, this is a tangent. The issue was
9 whether you could resolve yourself the problem of supervision of your
10 communication with your Defence.
11 Team in Belgrade. The Registrar has asked a question to them,
12 and they have not given a satisfactory answer. The question, if you want
13 to know, that was put to your collaborators in Belgrade was whether any
14 of them had or had not participated in conference calls between you and
15 other persons who were not privileged by way of the privileged telephone
16 line between the 4th of January, 2007, and the 10th of September, 2008.
17 That's a simple question, and this has not been answered by your
18 collaborators. And if you instruct them to provide the simple answer,
19 "yes" or "no," then the situation is resolved. That's all it takes.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Judge Harhoff, I answered that
21 question. I gave the Registry the answer in a handwritten submission,
22 and I said that my telephone conversations, privileged telephone
23 conversations with legal advisers, were attended by members of my Defence
24 team. My Defence team consists of a team of legal advisers. In addition
25 to the three registered, I have several other lawyers working on my case
1 and a team of investigators too. Depending on what was on the agenda
2 here in court, certain investigators attended the conversation. And I
3 confirm that in addition to the legal advisers, there was some other
4 people who joined in the consultations, but I insist upon the fact that
5 it was only members of the team for my Defence who took part, and the
6 composition of that team is something that I let the Registry know in
7 advance on time. So how can I defend myself without contacting my
8 investigators? How could I have instructed the investigators to compile
9 (redacted) was uncovered
10 and unveiled? That is the fruit of their labour, pursuant to my
11 instructions. They are my extended arm in all this.
12 So you can assess the success of my cross-examination and the
13 valuable work of my advisers, not only my legal advisers but my
14 investigators as well, because you can see that there is no secret for
15 us, no problem that cannot be resolved.
16 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, in order to be
17 clear, the problem flows from two different things, and I'm going to
18 explain what they are, and I'll go slowly so that everybody can
19 understand, because it's a very complicated issue for people who did not
20 follow the whole process.
21 You were granted the right to self-defense. It means that you
22 must have the necessary means to investigate, because of course the
23 Defence has to carry out its own investigation to prepare for
24 cross-examination and to prepare its own case. In my mind, since I
25 issued a decision on the necessary financial means to support your
1 Defence case, in my mind you had the right to have contacts with the
2 person assisting you in your case. That was the legal position.
3 On top of this, another element came into play, and these are,
4 namely, the inherent powers of the Registrar. Since your associates had
5 to have access to the Detention Centre and may have received some kind of
6 remuneration, the Registrar, on its own initiative, without consulting
7 with the Pre-Trial Judge, i.e., me at the time, the Registrar decided
8 that there would be a privilege agreement within the Registrar system.
9 The situation is now as follows: There is some kind of a clash
10 between the administrative system, the Registrar administrative system,
11 and the rights of Defence, and this is an important issue. There are
12 various possibilities to solve the problems.
13 The first one is you could have challenged the decision by
14 referring it to the President, according with the rules of detention,
15 which gives you that right. You could have filed a motion, referred to
16 the Chamber. We could have issued a decision on this motion. Then you
17 could have appealed the decision. This is an example of a solution that
18 could have been found, and that's where we stand at the moment.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me remind you that the
20 President of this Tribunal acts in two capacities; as a legal person and
21 the President of the Court, presiding over the Appeals Chamber, so as the
22 judiciary, and in the administrative sense, in this case as the
23 second-instance organ in relation to the Registry. I categorically state
24 that no administrative organ has the right to clip the right to my
25 Defence, neither the Registry nor the President of the Tribunal. And
1 with respect to my elementary right to a defence, I don't want to discuss
2 that with them.
3 I appealed to the President of the Tribunal because they seized
4 250 Euros and two diskettes that the Prosecution had provided me with, so
5 I did complain because of that. That was an administrative issue. The
6 right to my Defence cannot be an administrative issue, and so I address
7 you orally as the Trial Chamber.
8 In my legal system, the legal system of Serbia, orally addressing
9 the Court has the same weight as a written submission, and I suppose that
10 that is the same in the civilised world. What I say in court and is
11 recorded and becomes a record of the proceedings is the same as a written
12 submission; perhaps less detailed, but nonetheless carrying the same
13 weight. So I have addressed you on that issue.
14 Now, if you have the right to resolve the problem in exercising
15 your duties, then I expect you to do so. If you have not been given that
16 possibility and can't resolve the problem, then the problem remains
17 unsolved until the end, and I continue to defend myself alone. I am
18 alone in the universe, in the cosmos.
19 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Right, okay, I think the whole
20 issue has been clarified. I understand now you're referring this matter
21 to the Chamber, orally. Since it is quite a complex issue, maybe you
22 should submit written submissions. But, of course, it is your right to
23 make an oral submission. I won't challenge the logic here, but of course
24 the Prosecution, who is also interested in this matter, can also submit
25 oral submissions or written submissions on this simple question, can the
1 Registrar obstruct the rights of Defence by tapping telephone
2 conversations and by receiving documents that are received by an accused
3 from his team, and the other way around?" I think it's a simple matter,
4 a simple question. Maybe the answer will be much more complicated.
5 Mr. Mundis, what's your intention? Would you like to submit
6 written submissions or maybe to provide an oral answer?
7 MR. MUNDIS: Well, Mr. President, I'm very quickly looking at the
8 rules of detention, and it's, I believe, relatively clear that the appeal
9 of this decision has to go to the President of the Tribunal. And so our
10 position would be that the only thing that the Trial Chamber could do
11 would be to refer any submissions by the accused directly to the
12 President for his decision and determination. Until such a point in time
13 as that happens, it's premature to be putting any position onto the
14 record. Of course, I would imagine in those circumstances the Registrar
15 very well may be desirous of being heard on the point, since it was his
16 decision under the various regulations that apply. So at this point in
17 time, our view would be that the rules of detention are very clear. It's
18 a matter for the President to decide, and that the Trial Chamber has no
19 authority to act on this matter, other than, of course, to refer the
20 appeal by the accused to the President for his determination.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Should the Trial Chamber feel
22 that it has competence, what would be the position of the Prosecutor?
23 Would you make written submissions or oral submissions?
24 MR. MUNDIS: Well, Mr. President, I mean, I think our position
25 with respect to the conduct of the accused and his associates has been
1 made very clear. In the event that the accused makes further written
2 submissions, we will certainly address the issue to the Trial Chamber, or
3 perhaps if the Chamber does, in fact, refer it to the President, we very
4 well may seek to provide some written submissions on that point directly
5 to the President.
6 I don't really have anything else to add on this point at this
7 time. Again, we've, in a number of different filings and orally, have
8 made our position quite clear. Of course, our view is that this entire
9 situation has arisen as a direct result of the misconduct of the accused
10 and his associates, and that's clearly our position, and he has no, as we
11 would say, no clean hands to complain about the Registrar's decision,
12 since it was based upon factual findings concerning the misconduct of the
13 accused and his associates.
14 I don't know if that's the end of that discussion, Mr. President.
15 I do have a couple of other issues that need to be raised before we
16 adjourn, and I am also looking at the clock. Perhaps we might need to
17 take a break and then resume.
18 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Maybe we have enough time.
19 Mr. Seselj has been heard. You can raise your two issues, and
20 then we can suspend.
21 Mr. Seselj.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I had one thing to say first, and
23 now I have two things.
24 With respect to the clean hands/dirty hands, I think that the
25 dirtiest hands are those which are in the indictment and inscribed there,
1 saying that at the rally in Hrtkovci, I strove for children of mixed
2 marriages to be killed, so so much about clean hands and dirty hands.
3 Now I have to object to what the Prosecution says, that it's not
4 up to the Trial Chamber to resolve this problem. I think that it is only
5 the Trial Chamber that is in a position to resolve this problem, because
6 they are the only guarantor of the justness and fairness of the
7 proceedings and the only guarantor of the right to present my Defence and
8 ensure a fair trial. The Trial Chamber is the one who is there to
9 protect my rights from anybody jeopardising them. They can be
10 jeopardised by the Registrar, by the President of the Tribunal, by the
11 prison guards, by anybody, and it is up to the Trial Chamber to protect
12 my rights to a proper Defence. And that Defence and my rights cannot be
13 jeopardised in any way, because if they are, there can be no fair and
14 just trial.
15 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Very well. The two other
16 topics, very quickly, please.
17 MR. MUNDIS: Thank you, Mr. President.
18 On the 23rd of September, my colleague Ms. Dahl indicated to the
19 Trial Chamber that we would be filing a Rule 77 application with respect
20 to the publication of the (redacted) Earlier, just a few
21 moments ago, as reflected on page 82 and into page 83, Dr. Seselj made
22 some statements which, in light of our stated intention to file that
23 application, very well might be considered to be incriminatory, and we
24 would ask that the Trial Chamber at this point perhaps caution Mr. Seselj
25 with respect to statements that he might make concerning that book, and
1 how that book was produced, and who produced that book under his
2 direction, because to be as transparent as possible, the statements that
3 he has made concerning this book very well might be considered
4 incriminatory in the context of a Rule 77 application, which should be
5 filed later today but which we've orally indicated from the 23rd of
6 September would be forthcoming. And so we believe that he should be
7 cautioned that anything that he states on the record concerning that book
8 very well might form the basis of further action in that respect.
9 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] I don't know this book. I
10 don't know what's in the book. We're totally in the dark right now.
11 Let's wait and -- wait for your submissions.
12 Second point?
13 MR. MUNDIS: Well, again, just for the record, it's our view that
14 the accused should be cautioned concerning statements that he might make
15 concerning this book, and the authorship of it, and who was working on it
16 and under whose supervision.
17 The final point for today, Mr. President, concerns the expert
18 Ms. Ewa Tabeau, and my colleague, Ms. Biersay, would like to briefly
19 address Your Honours on that expert witness.
20 MS. BIERSAY: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
21 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Mr. Seselj, I don't know this
22 book, I don't know what's in the book. Mr. Mundis said very important
23 things. You've heard him well. We're not going to start debating this,
24 because the Judges can't really debate -- start debating on something
25 that they have no knowledge of. Mr. Mundis said what he had to say.
1 It's on the transcript. You know exactly what he meant.
2 Mrs. Biersay, we haven't seen you for a long time. I'm very glad
3 to see you.
4 MS. BIERSAY: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Good afternoon, Your Honours. I am here to quickly give you a
6 status report with respect to Madam Tabeau.
7 Today, we'll be giving a letter to the accused, to whom we have
8 already disclosed her testimony from seven trials, and we have two
9 remaining trials to transcribe, and we're hoping to have those completed
10 by Tuesday. So I wanted to make the Court aware of that.
11 And a second issue is: We have also previously provided to
12 Mr. Seselj approximately nine reports, previous reports of Madam Tabeau,
13 and we are going to give him a list of some others so that he can choose
14 which ones, if any, he would like to have. We were concerned about
15 giving him all these reports that may not, in his eyes, be relevant, so
16 we are submitting this letter to him so that he can tell us whether he
17 wants all of them, or none of them, or some of them.
18 So I just wanted to give the Court that report.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I demand that all the reports be
20 submitted to me, and I'm counting on the kindness of the OTP that now
21 they are going to send, once again, what it was that they sent me earlier
22 on so, so that I don't go through the trouble of going through all the
23 documents that got all messed up by the prison guards during this summer.
24 Why am I asking for this? Because I'm going to challenge the
25 credibility of Ewa Tabeau, and especially in respect of the report on
1 Srebrenica, with the thesis that she is taking part in the falsification
2 of the actual event that took place there, and I'm telling you that
3 openly. That's why I need all of this, and I'm totally going to
4 challenge her credibility and her expert knowledge.
5 JUDGE ANTONETTI: [Interpretation] Challenge, but challenge
6 quickly, please. Ms. Tabeau is scheduled for two weeks from now,
7 I think, in a fortnight. The Trial Chamber will first make a decision to
8 see whether this will be a viva voce testimony or whether it will be a
9 cross-examination by Defence with no in-chief and with only the reports
10 being tendered. But we need to know exactly what you intend to do
11 quickly, Mr. Seselj. We need to know what you're challenging, which
12 points you're challenging.
13 You stated mentioning Srebrenica. I mean, we have not been
14 seized of Srebrenica, and this Trial Chamber is not involved in this
15 matter. So we are waiting for your submissions, your written
17 I believe it's time to adjourn. We're running out of tape. We
18 will resume next week, in the afternoon. So we will meet again on
19 Tuesday at 2.15.
20 Thank you.
21 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.36 p.m.,
22 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 14th day of
23 October, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.