1 Friday, 27 September 2002
2 [Defence Opening Statement]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yesterday, we left off when we were
8 talking about the nonsensical position of the alleged criminal enterprise
9 to throw out the Croats from one-third of the area, whereas we see that it
10 was quite the contrary in that third, or what you call a third of the
11 area; it was the Serbs that were forced to leave with the greatest ethnic
12 cleansing that was ever recorded in that entire war against Yugoslavia.
13 And now look at these two positions: In the additional facts, number 94
14 and 95, points 94 and 95. You say that in April and May 1990, elections
15 were held, the Croatian Democratic Community had the majority, won the
16 majority vote, and then you go on to say, "Before the elections in Knin, a
17 nationalistic Serbian Democratic Party was formed, the SDS, which
18 advocated autonomy and later on secession." And that, as you have
19 compiled it, should be and should go to show that it was under the
20 influence of Belgrade, that a movement of some kind of the Serbs for
21 criminal enterprise was set up, et cetera, et cetera. Whereas had you
22 just from the first citizen in the street that you came across, you tried
23 to collect and gather up information and facts, you would have seen that
24 the Serbs in Croatia in 1990, when that party was set up and which went to
25 the elections, the Serbs in Croatia en masse, over 90 per cent of them,
1 voted for the League of Communists of Croatia, in fact, and not for that
2 particular party. The League of Communists of Croatia, whose president at
3 the time was the present Prime Minister of Croatia, Ivica Racan.
4 And as you know, in the League of Communists in Croatia, there was
5 an enormous number of Croats, too, many more Croats, in fact, than there
6 were Serbs. And of course, members and other sympathisers and so on,
7 party supporters. And that that is true is borne out by the fact that in
8 an area where the Serbs in the majority, Banija, Kordun, Western Slavonia,
9 Sremska the Srem Baranja region, it was the League of Communists of
10 Croatia which won the elections and not what you're saying at all, that
11 there was some kind of movement and especially that it was initiated, to
12 boot, in Belgrade.
13 Twenty-one members in the Croatian Sabor parliament were elected
14 from the list of the League of Communists of Croatia. And it was only the
15 Serbian Democratic Party of Knin that won in Knin, Benkovac, and Obrovac,
16 those two small municipalities, and one more in Donji Lapac.
17 Therefore, it is quite -- if you have the material facts before
18 you and if you look at those facts, then there's no need for me to go into
19 any explanation and to explain that what you're in fact saying here is not
20 at all true, let alone later on or even before that and in the course of
21 that process the Serbs were let go en masse from the state administration,
22 from the police, from other services, there was a mass pogrom, there was
23 the killing of Serbs, the burning of their houses, and so on and so forth.
24 And when Croatia was proclaimed in mid-July and when the League of
25 Communists of Croatia left the political scene to all intents and
1 purposes, then it was spontaneously in that process that they joined the
2 Serbian Democratic Party because they had nowhere else to go. They were
3 not able to find any support or fulcrum anywhere else for their political
4 life and that's what happened. That was quite logical at that time.
5 The truth, then, is quite opposite to what you are claiming and
6 putting forward here. It was the Serbs who were persecuted, in danger,
7 under threat, and killed, and quite literally they had no chance
8 whatsoever since that Ustasha-type regime came to the fore with Stipe
9 Mesic and Tudjman as its leaders.
10 Now, I'm going to use some of your sources, Western sources, not
11 Milosevic's and Serb sources. Look at what Susan Woodward, for example,
12 writes. She's a well-known US scientist, the Brooklyn Institution, and it
13 is on page 107, published in 1995, 'The Balkan Tragedy' is the name of her
14 book, in which she says the following: "The Croatian government [in
15 English] [previous translation continues]... to protect their citizens
16 from a vicious outburst of anti-Serb terrorism saw mixed communities of
17 Dalmatia in interior during the summer months 1989 - 1989 - when cross
18 zealots smashed storefronts, fire-bombed homes, and harassed and arrested
19 potential Serb leaders. In many parts of Croatia, Serbs were expelled
20 from jobs because of their nationality. Discrimination was not limited to
21 this early flare-up but increased over the following years."
22 [Interpretation] So that was the atmosphere. And the famous
23 Croatian painter, or world renowned - he is a Croatian painter but he is
24 of world renown, his name is Edo Murtic - in the paper Rijecki Novi List,
25 in the year 2000 states the following: "I remember that several months
1 before the elections in 1990 someone came very enthusiastically to me -"
2 that was Tudjman, and he speaks about that meeting - "because he thought
3 he would make an Augustincic of me for himself, and Augustincic was the
4 sculptor and artist who portrayed Tito. And he started to convince me
5 that we would do what the Ustashas and Pavelic were not able to do in 1941
6 for 250.000 Serbs. He said he'd pack them up, pack their coffers up and
7 send them away. And the next 250.000 would either remain, or disappear."
8 That is what is the truth.
9 Now, take a look at the atmosphere that prevailed. Please look
10 at. The Croatian Sabor Assembly on the 14th of May in 1887, passed a law
11 on the use of the Cyrillic alphabet. On the 14th of May 1887, if you
12 please. After the Second World War, all the constitutions of Croatia
13 contained a constitutional position on the position of Serbs in Croatia as
14 a constituent league entity in Croatia, both the 1947 constitution which
15 speaks, in Article 11, that Serbs in Croatia are equal with the Croats,
16 and in the 1943 -- 1963 constitution where it says that the Croatian
17 people engaged in brotherhood and unity with the Serb people, and in the
18 1984 constitution which states that in the Socialist Republic of Croatia,
19 the language of the Croats and Serbs are used, which is called either
20 Croatian or Serbian, depending on the area it is spoken.
21 So of -- since 1887 when the Croatian Sabor Assembly passed the
22 law on the use of the Cyrillic alphabet right down the line, it was only
23 with the advent of this pro-Nazi pound [as interpreted] authority that the
24 new coat of arms, the chequerboard, et cetera, emblems of the puppet
25 regime and independent autonomous State of Croatia was enforced and that
1 the Latin script was enforced as the sole script and the Cyrillic script
2 is done away with and abolished. After 103 years of it being in use,
3 roughly. So we can see that it was in use for over a hundred years.
4 And at a meeting of the Croatian Assembly, Sime Djodan, a member
5 of parliament, said that all the citizens in Croatia were Croatians, were
6 Croats. And in the constitution, except in the preamble, in the normative
7 part, no mention is made of the Serbs in any context whatsoever. Article
8 2, paragraph 4 of the constitution says that the Croatian Assembly and
9 people, independent and in conformity with the constitution, shall take
10 decisions, et cetera, et cetera. So it is the Croatian Sabor Assembly and
11 the Croatian people which are mentioned, which means that they are -- have
12 -- they were entering a nationalistic hysteria. That was the atmosphere
13 that prevailed.
14 Look at the holidays that were proclaimed. The Croats had the
15 right to celebrate their birthday for two of their -- Christmas for two
16 days and the Serbs only one day. The same was true for Easter, and the
17 same applied to the Jews; Jews that did not form part of that community
18 had no right to celebrate their holidays.
19 Look at the other laws, the addendum to the law on the government
20 of Croatia. This is the sole law in Europe which enables executive organs
21 to disband legally-elected representatives of the government and power and
22 authority because the government of Croatia was authorised to undertake
23 measures towards municipalities that did not toe the line, and they meant
24 the Serbs there.
25 Then we have the law on the Academy of Sciences, Article 1, the
1 Croatian Academy of Science and Culture - and I'm skipping over some
2 passages - is the legal follower of the Croatian Academy from 1941 to
3 1945. It inherited it and that was the legal follower from the times of
4 Naziism. There is nothing on the law of the press, nothing about the
5 Cyrillic script, and the Italians, Czechoslovaks, Ukrainians, et cetera,
6 are mentioned but there is no mention made of the Serbs at all because
7 they have been wiped out from the constitution. Look at the 4th of October
8 Sabor meeting in 1990.
9 So before any kind of conflicts broke out whatsoever, just a few
10 quotations. At that particular meeting - and these are quotations from
11 Damir Mejovsek, an MP: "I don't believe Serbs even when they bear gifts."
12 Stjepan Sulimanac: "The people that have come to live after 1918 in
13 Croatia and have gained some property there, a law should be passed to
14 protect ourselves from people of that kind." Ivan Milas, another case in
15 point: "With your -- we shall answer and respond to your rights with a
16 brandished sabre." And this all went on in parliament.
17 Andjelko Pavlovic: "All Serbs should be isolated," he said, "just
18 like Iraq isolated the Kurds and set up a blockade. He is calling for a
19 ghetto for the Serbs in 1990. And the Ustasha Ambassador Omrcanin, in
20 Berlin, during Hitler's time, in Slobodni Tjednik, a Croatian paper, says
21 in March: "No pogrom of the Serb people by the Croats existed, especially
22 not in Jasenovac because this was all something that the Jews fabricated."
23 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please be asked to slow down.
24 JUDGE MAY: You're being asked by the interpreters to slow down.
25 THE ACCUSED: Okay. [Interpretation] After 73 years, after the
1 Serbian occupation of Croatia, there was freedom. So Josip Broz Tito, who
2 was a Croat, Krajacic, Kardelj, and so on and so forth, they called this
3 "the Serb occupation." And one of the leaders of the HDZ party, Praljak,
4 right at the outset, on the 28th of April, 1990, writes the following --
5 and the elections had not been held yet. The HDZ was not in power yet.
6 And he says: "People are already singing outside that we'll do away with
7 the Serbs." And so on and so forth.
8 I have to keep track of the time, but I have lots more orders and
9 decisions that were passed from 1945 onwards for war crimes, people who
10 were found guilty, and their set pensions, double the time they spent in
12 So when you take a look at this general atmosphere that prevailed,
13 all I'm going to ask you: Is it the Serbs that incited and encouraged the
14 Serbs? Who can say that? Is it -- was it Belgrade? Can you really say
16 Bosiljko Misetic, the Minister of Justice in the second Croatian
17 government in the paper Slobodna Dalmacija, on the 16th of September,
18 1992, and again in the Vjesnik paper, says: "A child, before it learns to
19 read and write, ought to be taught who its enemies are, and its enemies in
20 these areas are the Serbs," and so on and so forth.
21 Take a look now at what their Dalmatian newspaper writes. It is
22 an opposition paper. I think it was actually, it might still be. And
23 this was on the 24th of April, 2001. It writes the following: "It was
24 late autumn of 1991, and in Croatia, there was a free hunting season for
25 the Serbs. Mercep and the others produced mass corpses in the manufacture
1 of death in Pakracka Poljana where they were on a rampage, taking people
2 out of their homes, out of their houses, and passing the death sentence on
3 them by shooting them in the head on Mount Sljeme, which is a hill near
4 Zagreb. Norac, Oreskovic, and their followers at that same time employed
5 similar methods with the Serbs in Gospic. In Zadar, spectacular Crystal
6 Nights, as they were called, were organised during which tens of thousands
7 of houses were burnt and the owners had the wrong chromosomes and blood
8 sets; they were not Croats.
9 And the Novi List paper on the 22nd of January 2002, also a
10 Croatian source - so I'm just quoting your own sources and Croatian
11 sources - states the following. It says that the leadership of Croatia
12 knew about the liquidation of the Serbs in 1991 because in a report that
13 was sent in to Tudjman and Mesic, they all knew that. Josip
14 Manolic, Boljkovac, et cetera. Unequivocally, it's stated: "There is
15 certain evidence and facts on the unlawful arrests of peaceful citizens of
16 the Serb ethnic group which are taken away and nobody knows whether they
17 are alive or dead."
18 So, gentlemen, those, then, are your sources. And I think that it
19 is quite clear to everybody just how erroneous the qualifications that
20 have been made are. And the picture that is trying to be painted here,
21 that with democratic conditions prevailing in Croatia, there were these
22 nationalistic Serbs. And The New York Times, in April 1997, wrote that
23 Croatian fascism came back from its eternal hunting ground, and called
24 upon the Western powers - USA, France, Germany, et cetera - to implement
25 urgent measures to stop the revamping of fascism in Croatia.
1 And then they conclude -- I have to skip a part. "Did the West
2 perhaps become sufficiently ill in order to allow Croatian fascism to live
3 a life after death?"
4 On the 8th of December, 1993, The New York Times says: [in
5 English] "The government of Croatia has forced thousands of its enemies
6 from their homes and from the country, according to the new Zagreb office
7 of human rights organisation. The actions have been directed mostly
8 against Serbs who once constituted a sizeable minority in Croatia, but also
9 against Croats opposed to the rule of President Tudjman. Since 1999 --
10 1991, the Croatian authorities have blown up or razed ten thousand houses,
11 mostly of Serbs, but also houses of Croats. In some cases, they dynamited
12 homes with the families inside; whole families were killed.
13 "Minister Mate Granic, Foreign Minister, in May, had acknowledged
14 the destruction of 7.000 houses. So far, the justice authorities have
15 investigated about 100. One hundred cases of dynamiting. But there have
16 been no prosecution. Altogether, about 280.000 Croatian Serbs have fled
17 the country."
18 [Interpretation] Then The New York Times asks itself in this
19 article: [In English] "[Previous translation continues]... that the
20 Serbs, the indigenous people and majority people, so one-third of
21 communist Tito-created Croatia had to accept."
22 [Interpretation] That's what I'm asking you. You should answer
23 that question. And then blame the Serbs for not having agreed to be
24 slaughtered as they were in 1941. And all this started in 1989 as the
25 Brooklyn Institution wrote, namely Susan Woodward. It started in 1989,
1 1990, 1991, et cetera. And the conclusion is: [in English] "By expelling
2 280.000 Serbs, the Nazi Croat practically expelled all Serbs that they had
3 under their control as early as 1993."
4 [Interpretation] Which is correct, because the other half was in
5 Krajina and Croatia, did not have that under their control, and they threw
6 them out during the ethnic cleansing operation in which they were assisted
7 by the Americans.
8 Look at this. The American Jewish Committee: [In English]
9 [Previous translation continues]... "memory, prosperity, property,
10 restitution, and related issues confronting the Jewish communities of
11 Central and Eastern Europe; Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia."
12 September 7 [Interpretation] this year.
13 Ivo Goldstein, representative of Croatia, University of Zagreb,
14 says: [In English] "There is the influence of extremist Croatian
15 political émigrés who never broke off from the Ustasha movement. It was,
16 therefore, necessary to dissociate the Ustasha movement from the odious
17 image of faithful Nazi fascist ally and perpetrator of the worst kind of
18 genocide and crimes against the civilian population during the Second
19 World War. Instead, the intent was to provide the Ustasha with at least
20 some kind of legitimate basis for participating in Croatia's civic
21 development in the predominantly democratic European political
22 environment. This was -- this was shown to be impossible without
23 radically revising history and denying or falsify facts."
24 [Interpretation] That is precisely what that side across the well
25 is trying to do, to deny and falsify the facts and history. All of these
1 things that they would have to know, they know full well.
2 I don't have time now, but I'm asking you to look at the
3 Encyclopedia Britannica sections that refer to that. I'm asking you to
4 look at references in the Encyclopedia of Nations, and so on and so forth,
5 all the sections pertaining to that. And there are different explanations
6 provided there.
7 In all fairness, this was published before this new Orwellian
8 "Ministry of the Truth" gave orders to satanise the Serbs. After this
9 order came, of course other explanations came as well.
10 I don't have time to go into all of that. You mentioned Vukovar
11 yesterday. In February 1991, at a meeting of the HDZ for Trpinjska Cesta
12 [phoen] in Bordna Nasadic [phoen], Vekic, Glavas were there, and Mercep
13 was the man in charge, the murder that you saw in that film. Cleansing
14 Croatia from the Serbs. Cleansing. I spoke in London and at various
15 international conferences and at various meetings that are all on film
16 that ethnic cleansing is the greatest crime of all regardless of who
17 commits it. Cleansing all of Croatia. Cleansing Vukovar. And then in
18 the following order, replacing ethnic Serbs from all posts in the
19 municipality, intimidating the Serbs until they leave the territory of the
20 municipality, and the last state, the physical liquidation of those
21 against which the previous measures did not succeed.
22 And here it just says the Serbs, the Serbs, the Serbs, Milosevic
23 are guilty. Milosevic made a speech in Kosovo on the 600th anniversary of
24 the battle of Kosovo. And I read it here. And you see that it's quite
25 contrary to what had been claimed. But nobody's really interested in the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 facts, not to mention the fact that the government not only did not act in
2 accordance with the Vance-Owen plan, that is to say, an agreement with the
3 UN, but on several occasions they tried to abuse the plan, and primarily
4 the fact that the JNA withdrew from the territory of the Republic of
5 Srpska Krajina, according to that plan. And the government of the
6 Republic of Srpska Krajina carried out a demilitarisation. And then there
7 are attacks at the Miljevac Plateau, the Maslenica Bridge, the Medak
8 Pocket, Divoselo, and later, massacres of citizens and the well-known
9 Flash and Storm operations.
10 But let's just take a brief look at Bosnia as well. This most
11 prominent form of that campaign of theirs, in addition to what we saw
12 those Mujahedin doing there, I'm going to show something else to you now.
13 During the war, it had assumed the largest proportions, that is to say,
14 shooting their own people and then planting their own crime to the other
15 side. In order to extort a decision by the Security Council to impose
16 sanctions, they had needed to find a pretext. And before TV cameras, they
17 organised a massacre of civilians in the bread line in the Vase Miskina
18 Street in Sarajevo. This was immediately ascribed to the Serbs, and it
19 was immediately established that this was done by the Muslims. And
20 everything that has been written since speaks that this was done by the
22 The Independent newspaper already wrote in that year that the most
23 horrible crimes, including the death of 16 civilians in the bread line,
24 were committed by the Muslims themselves in order to obtain public
25 support. CNN also, Corriere Della Sera and La Repubblica, dated the 23rd
1 of August, 1992, they refer to "the abominable double game of the Muslims
2 that makes the war in Bosnia even more cruel," pointing out that the bread
3 line massacre was committed by the Muslims. Corriere Della Sera says
4 that: "Everything indicates that the defenders of Sarajevo, the Croats
5 and the Muslims, organised several attacks against their own citizens in
6 the hope that in this way that they are going to deepen the drama of
7 Sarajevo and the blame will only be cast on the Serbs."
8 THE INTERPRETER: Could the accused please be asked to slow down.
9 JUDGE MAY: Slow down. Slow down.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] When we were on good terms,
11 Holbrooke said to me that Izetbegovic managed to play the role of a victim
12 and that he, Holbrooke, called that - I remember his words - "ruthless
13 ingeniosity." However, this not ingenious at all. This is just
14 heartless; sacrificing thousands of his own citizens in order to be able
15 to accuse the Serbs.
16 I have to rush on. I have a map here. I'll give it to you.
17 Camps for Serbs from 1991 to 1996. They existed at different points in
18 time. Some went on for a longer period of time, some shorter. There were
19 778 of them altogether; 536 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 221 in Croatia. And
20 here is a list of every one of these camps. It includes many pages.
21 There are many crimes that were committed. I won't have time. I
22 won't have time to show this. Many crimes were committed in Croatia
23 before the independence of Croatia was proclaimed, before it was
24 recognised. There is a great number of crimes committed in Bosnia before
25 the proclamation of independence, before recognition. Please, could you
1 just place these two images on the overhead projector -- or three,
2 perhaps. These two, rather.
3 Take a look at this. Please put these two on the overhead
4 projector. I'm not going to put any other pictures on the overhead
5 projector. These are crimes from the 26th of March, 1992, in Sijekovac.
6 The units crossed the Sava River and slaughtered the Serbs. Please put
7 the big picture on the overhead projector.
8 That's it. That's what they did. That's what the Mujahedin did,
9 the ones we saw yesterday. And we saw Izetbegovic reviewing them
11 What's the matter? Is it not on the screens?
12 JUDGE MAY: It's on the screen. Do you want the next photograph
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] But I haven't seen it on the screen.
15 I only see you on the screen.
16 JUDGE MAY: It's on our screen. Make sure you've got the right
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. All right. You don't
19 want to show this. You don't want to show this to the public.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, it is on our screen.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's not on the screens that the
22 public sees. Right. I see it on this screen now. But this internal
23 screen only. So he is holding a head, the head of a Serb that he cut off.
24 So those are the 20.000 Mujahedin that were brought to the European
25 theatre of war through Clinton's policy, and most of them remained there
1 and some went to America and to other countries, and they went all around
2 Europe. And then when they start beheading your own people in wars to
3 come, then you will know what this is all about.
4 There are many photographs of major crimes.
5 JUDGE MAY: The usher is by the overhead projector. Do you want
6 some other photographs shown to us?
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't have time, Mr. May. I have
8 12 minutes left --
9 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- according to your shortened
11 procedure. But I want to say one thing to you. For example --
12 JUDGE MAY: Let the usher -- there's no need for the usher to
13 remain there. Give the photographs back, if you would, to Mr. Milosevic.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Put the other picture on the ELMO,
15 please, the one with the three heads. Take a look at this, these three
16 heads of Serbs in an ammunition case. They cut off heads. These are the
17 madmen that are doing things like that. And that is what Clinton's policy
18 in Bosnia did. They were assembled in Bosnia.
19 Look at Algeria, which is a Muslim country. How many Muslims,
20 Algerians, did they kill so far? This has nothing do with Muslims. These
21 are Islamic fundamentalists who are the enemies of the entire world. Not
22 only of Christians or some others but of Muslims as well.
23 You have --
24 JUDGE MAY: Now, do you want any other pictures shown?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't have time, unfortunately,
1 for any other pictures, but I do want to say one thing to you, that --
2 JUDGE MAY: Very well, let the usher take the pictures.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] -- as far as Bosnia is concerned,
4 you can see this. This has to do with the Serb victims of Bosanska Dubica
5 and Bosanska Gradiska, those two municipalities. For all the
6 municipalities, there was a book that was published by the Centre for
7 Investigating Crimes of the Association of Serbs from Bosnia and
8 Herzegovina, and for each and every municipality significant events,
9 victims, inevitable fate, and the perpetrators of the crimes. For each
10 and every municipality, you have at least 100 perpetrators of these
12 I wish to avail myself of the remaining time to say a few words
13 about Srebrenica that was mentioned here. I have already said that I
14 first heard about this -- I said this six months ago, when I first spoke
15 here, that I first heard about this from Carl Bildt and that Radovan
16 Karadzic swore to me that he didn't know a thing about this. All
17 subsequent information corroborated that, including the subsequently
18 published main report of the Dutch government published in April 2001.
19 In item 10, it says quite literally: "There are no indications
20 that the action was taken out in collaboration with Belgrade, neither in
21 terms of political or military coordination. In this way, gentlemen, as
22 far as I'm concerned, an end could be brought to this, but I don't want to
23 place a full stop there. I want the truth to be revealed with regard to
24 this insane crime, in the interest of justice. It has to be explained
25 before the world public. The information that I have compiled so far, and
1 there will be more to come, speaks of how Izetbegovic used Srebrenica for
2 all kinds of manipulations and held it in -- in his own reserve for
3 various political bargains. And you saw from the statement made by a
4 member of his delegation in the report that was accepted by the UN with
5 regard to the takeover of Srebrenica, the handover of Srebrenica. You saw
6 all of this.
7 Time will show that on the 1st of July, 1995, in the house of a
8 Muslim, the former president of the municipality in Zvornik, where two
9 members of the Muslim government from Sarajevo were present, the
10 representatives of a mercenary military formation within the army of
11 Republika Srpska but not under the command of the army of Republika Srpska
12 but within the French intelligence service, they agreed to have this crime
13 committed, that is to say, to abandon Srebrenica and to carry out this
15 All information shows that General Mladic knew nothing about this,
16 nor General Krstic, who was sentenced here. I am personally convinced
17 that the military honour of Mladic or Krstic would not allow them to
18 execute civilians, let alone Mladic, Krstic, generals who throughout the
19 war made a maximum effort to protect prisoners of war and civilians at all
21 This mercenary unit was commanded by the same people who sent
22 those same persons only one year later to Zaire so that they would protect
23 Mobutu and crush a rebellion. This same organisation organised the
24 purchase of arms a year later. And since I asked you to adopt a writ
25 of disclosure, please do that. Those people who have a salary for that
1 and have hundreds of associates, make them as Jacques Chirac and the
2 French intelligence service and the American intelligence service and all
3 other intelligence services, let them disclose all the facts they have on
4 Srebrenica. The information I have available shows that the point of the
5 agreement reached was the following: The underlying French idea was that
6 the war in Bosnia should be ended through effective actions taken by NATO
7 and through military engagement. As a pretext for military engagement,
8 genocide that will be carried out by the Serbs will be made up, and the
9 Serb negotiating side will have to deal with that. The presence of Ratko
10 Mladic in Srebrenica will be used as a confirmation of the responsibility
11 of the military leadership and of Mladic himself for having an indictment
12 issued against him in The Hague by making it appear that a genocide was
13 carried out and anathema will be placed on the leadership of the Bosnian
14 Serbs and then the international community will take measures. The
15 protagonists will not be prosecuted.
16 One insignificant one, a member of the Croat detachments of death
17 who happened to be there was accused, and then for the crimes in
18 Srebrenica, Ratko Mladic should be accused and also the leadership of
19 Republika Srpska headed by Radovan Karadzic. And this agreement was
20 attended by two representatives of the Muslim government, that out of the
21 French, General Janvier was there for sure, and this other person was said
22 to be Morillon but this was not confirmed. There is no reliable
23 information saying that it was Morillon.
24 The agreement was that Srebrenica should be surrendered to the
25 Serbs practically without any fighting, as forthwith withdraw and in that
1 way make it possible for them to purportedly take over Srebrenica. Naser
2 Oric is going to withdraw and award for the action will be 2 million
4 Mladic was not at that meeting. He was having lunch with those
5 generals later on at the Likovac locality, but according to intelligence
6 data, he did not know what the subject agreed upon was, and he didn't know
7 that he was commanding all the units that took part in that, especially
8 the one that was sent to Zaire later on by the same people that ordered
9 the job to be done. Oric lives in Lukavac near Tuzla today. He has a
10 restaurant on the lake and he destroyed more than 70 villages around
11 Srebrenica and that he is one of the greatest criminals in the war.
12 So let me conclude now. This is how things stand: I have just
13 touched upon some of them, and I should like to emphasise that five peace
14 plans were accepted by us: The Cutilheiro plan, the Vance-Owen Plan, the
15 Vance-Stoltenberg, and the plan of the European Union and the Contact
16 Group plan. All five plans were accepted by us. So as far as Serbia and
17 I personally am concerned, everybody owes us -- everybody owes us
18 recognition for the consistent struggle to attain peace instead of the
19 accusations for war.
20 We have received much recognition, and I personally have too, but
21 I'm only going to quote two individuals who for a long time were -- who
22 spent a long time in Yugoslavia, so they weren't ordinary visitors.
23 Yasushi Akashi, one, the Assistant to the Secretary-General and his
24 special envoy to Yugoslavia, and upon his departure, at a press conference
25 which I did not attend - so he didn't have to address me, I was not there
1 - he gave recognition for the role that I had played personally
2 throughout the entire peace process during his entire mandate. And I'm
3 going to ask Mr. Akashi to come forth here and testify. I hope he will
4 accept my invitation.
5 And Thorwald Stoltenberg, who also worked as the presiding person
6 of the conference and worked in Yugoslavia for a long time. What Yusushi
7 Akashi said at the press conference before his departure -- this was all
8 before Dayton and I am the person most responsible for the agreement
9 reached at Dayton and nobody can bring that into question. Thorwald
10 Stoltenberg, on the 12th of December 1995, and I quote, said the following
11 in Oslo. He said that: "President Slobodan Milosevic had played a key
12 role in the peace process in the then Yugoslavia."
13 Therefore, gentlemen, it is with the highest degree of
14 responsibility and with all the facts at my disposal I claim before the
15 international community that the policy of Serbia when it comes to the war
16 in Bosnia-Herzegovina was directed towards peace and all its efforts were
17 geared towards peace. The policy of Serbia was also to support Serbs in
18 Bosnia in their hardships there because they found themselves faced with
19 these hardships thanks to others. But it was the policy of Serbia that
20 was geared first and foremost towards stopping the bloodshed and
21 establishing peace, and arguments that the Serbs should live with others
22 -- those were the arguments. The people that they had lived next to
23 throughout that time.
24 That is the truth. And the people from the international
25 community are -- know that truth full well, even if they are calling for
1 my own responsibilities and accountability for the crimes that they have
2 perpetrated. They are asking that I be held responsible.
3 So the tasks, gentlemen, you have before you are impossible unless
4 you make an intervention in history. And if you -- unless you look at the
5 facts. I have only touched upon these facts because of my limited time,
6 but you must declare them null and void if you wish to falsify history
7 completely. But in addition to the quite obvious intention to falsify
8 history here, the indictment has fallen through. It is aborted. Because
9 truth is stronger. And you, contrary to the intentions of the creators of
10 this unlawful Tribunal, have enabled the world to get a glimpse of the
11 truth and to start to understand the truth as it stands. And in the
12 proceedings to come, this will be made even more evident and the truth
13 will be victorious.
14 Thank you. And I have not overstepped the time limits you set.
15 Of course, that was to the detriment of a series of facts which I wished
16 to put before you.
17 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Are the Prosecution ready to call their
18 first witness?
19 MR. NICE: Certainly. The first witness will be called by
20 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff. He has some protections, as the Court knows, and so
21 the blinds will have to be brought down while he's brought in.
22 While that's being done, may I mention one administrative matter?
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes. See if we can move the blinds while we're
24 dealing with this.
25 MR. NICE: The administrative matter relates to President Mesic,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 who is coming next week. The timetable is that he is due to arrive on
2 Monday, available to give evidence on Tuesday, Wednesday, possibly into
3 Thursday. Therefore, this first witness, if incomplete, is one who we
4 would ask may be, in the terminology that we've been using, wrapped around
5 the evidence of Mr. Mesic. For obvious reasons; his time is very limited.
6 Second point --
7 JUDGE MAY: Just before you go on to that, how long is it
8 anticipated the first witness will be, in chief?
9 MR. NICE: In chief? Up to two days.
10 JUDGE MAY: Two days.
11 MR. NICE: Yes.
12 JUDGE MAY: Well, of course we will look at that. If possible --
13 I know this is the beginning and therefore witnesses are inclined to take
14 longer; it would be helpful if we could deal with him in rather less time
15 than that. I've read the summary. I see there are substantial documents,
16 but let us try and deal with him as rapidly as we can.
17 MR. NICE: The second point concerning Mr. Mesic's evidence
18 relates to exhibits. All the exhibits have been provided in advance on
19 the accused, but what I intend to do is to have lists served today to help
20 him and to help the amici and, indeed, the Chamber, identifying exhibits
21 in three categories: Exhibits that we expect to use in the course of his
22 evidence, and I'll have those separately prepared in bundles for the
23 Chamber and the other parties; exhibits that although we may not ask him
24 to deal with in detail are exhibits that he'll nevertheless produce, he
25 being the person able formally to produce them; and a third list of
1 documents being documents that he is in a position to produce but that we
2 don't forecast at this time necessarily needing to produce and we
3 therefore don't want to burden the Court with but that are documents on
4 which he would be able to give answers if, for example, the accused
5 decided he wanted to ask him about them. In this way, we hope we will
6 make life that much easier for the accused who is representing himself,
7 but it is not a policy I will be in a position to comply with with any
8 other future witness but this is obviously a major and important witness
9 for the accused. So I will have those lists available by the end of the
10 morning and I'll distribute them to the accused and to others.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have several questions, but I
13 won't take up more than one minute of your time.
14 I saw that Mr. Wladimiroff wrote a letter of some kind to justify
15 the -- himself with regard to the interview. According to what I have
16 received, it seems that he will have to write another letter, because, for
17 instance, he gave an interview to the Bulgarian papers, named Kultura, in
18 which he explains, in response to a question, "Is there any possibility
19 for Milosevic to be acquitted?" Mr. Wladimiroff said literally the
20 following: [In English] "Yes. Practically no. If you have gone hunting
21 and are in the pursuit of game with an automatic rifle, the chances of
22 making a hit are greater. Milosevic has been indicted for what happened
23 in a number of places in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia. Even if he is
24 acquitted on half of the counts, he will be convicted on the other
25 counts." [Interpretation] And so on and so forth.
1 He wrote you a letter, Mr. May, one of the most prominent
2 intellectuals of Eastern Europe, academician Professor Dr. Velko Vlkanov,
3 and he says: "In any case, it is horrifying that one of the amici curiae
4 considered it possible to regard its proceedings as 'game hunting.'"
5 And secondly, in the letter, he also says that it's not important
6 whether a legal man comments but if he is a friend of the Court, then it
7 is understood that he expresses what is contained in the heads of that
8 Court and Tribunal and, therefore, that what is being talked about is a
9 judgement brought in advance.
10 You received the letter. I don't know whether you looked into it
11 with your colleagues, but on the basis of what --
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we will return to this matter when the
13 blinds are up and when we have started the witness, and we will hear from
14 Mr. Wladimiroff --
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have something else.
16 JUDGE MAY: We will deal with all this when we've heard the
17 witness, the blinds are up and the public can see. Now, let's have the
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have another question with respect
20 to the appearance of the witness. I think that it is untenable practice
21 to start the examination of a witness and then interrupt it because the
22 other side is not able to organise itself. And this isn't the first time.
23 So why don't they move up the next witness or not start this witness if
24 they're waiting for the next one.
25 JUDGE MAY: Let us not waste any more time. We'll see how this
1 witness goes. It is, on the whole, better, of course, to finish the
2 witness if we can, but there may be circumstances, particularly with
3 witnesses from abroad, which prevent that happening. But we'll start this
4 witness and we'll try and finish him before the next one starts.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
7 WITNESS: WITNESS C-037
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
10 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
11 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. If you'd like to take a seat.
12 Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, during the first, let's say, 20
14 minutes, the personal background and the political development of this
15 witness will be discussed, and I would request to go into private session,
16 because if we do that in the open, his identity would be revealed.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 [Private session]
12 Pages 10320-10333 – redacted – private session
12 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
13 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
14 [Open session]
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, the matter which you raised before the
16 witness started giving evidence and the complaint about Mr. Wladimiroff,
17 we are awaiting the translation of the Bulgarian article. It should be
18 with us on Monday, and we will hear you then on that.
19 And Mr. Wladimiroff, you too should obviously have a copy of the
20 article, the translation, and when you have, we will hear you in response
21 to what Mr. Milosevic says.
22 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Of course, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE MAY: I hope we can deal with that on Monday.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
1 Q. Witness, we are now in open session, and I would like you -- want
2 to remind you not to use your name now and not to speak about your
3 positions that you had during the events.
4 And just for the public record, the number has the number C-037.
5 When was the SDS, the Serbian Democratic Party, founded in
7 A. It was founded sometime around the beginning of 1990.
8 Q. Did it take part in the multi-party elections in Croatia?
9 A. Yes. Yes, it did take part. And it had a few MPs.
10 Q. So it didn't score well.
11 A. No.
12 Q. Was a branch founded in Western Slavonia or Slavonia at some point
13 in time?
14 A. Yes. The SDS was founded in Slavonia, all of Slavonia.
15 Q. Which territories in Croatia did it cover?
16 A. It covered the area of Dalmatia, Lika, Baranja, Kordun, Slavonia,
17 and in part it was present in Zagreb as well.
18 Q. I think you misunderstood my question. I was asking for the SDS
20 A. The SDS Slavonia operated from Kutina to Vukovar.
21 Q. And that is Eastern Slavonia and Western Slavonia, Baranja and
22 Western Srem?
23 A. Yes, all of it together.
24 Q. You said that the SDS didn't gain many mandates in the Croatian
25 parliament. The Serbs in Croatia, whom did they vote for?
1 A. At that time, most of the Serbs voted for the League of Communists
2 of Croatia, the Social Democratic Party of Croatia. It was then headed by
3 Ivica Racan.
4 Q. You told us that you joined the SDS party. Why did you do that?
5 A. Because the League of Communists of Croatia, the Social Democratic
6 Party of Croatia did not understand the problems of the Serbs in Croatia,
7 those that appeared after the first elections that were won by the HDZ,
8 and they no longer represented the interests of the Serbs. Then there was
9 a need to have the Serbs form a party that would articulate their needs
10 and wishes.
11 Q. What were the Serbian issues in Croatia at that time? What were
12 the needs?
13 A. Well, it was the position of the Serbs that was concerned, because
14 the party that won the elections spoke about the status of Serbs, about
15 their privileges, about their high positions. The Serbs wanted to say
16 that they want to retain the status they had, that is to say the rights
17 that they had already enjoyed, and no party was prepared to discuss that
18 at that time.
19 Q. Were the Serbs at that time in Croatia over-represented in the
20 police and in the military?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did the Serbs in Slavonia have close links with the SDS leaders in
24 A. They did with Jovan Raskovic, but not with Milan Babic and his
25 wing of the SDS.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Why not?
2 A. Well, Jovan Raskovic had a democratic option, an option named
3 dialogue and negotiations. Milan Babic had become rather intolerant,
4 narrow-minded, and he was not in favour of negotiations.
5 Q. What was he in favour of? What were his suggestions for the
6 solutions for the Serbs?
7 A. Well, he believed there should be an autonomy, territorial
8 autonomy, and later he showed the wish not to be in Croatia, to break off
9 all contacts with the Croatian government, not to have any talks with
11 Q. These different goals, when did they become apparent; in which
13 A. Well, sometime round the beginning of 1991, I should say, when the
14 referendum was carried out in Croatia for secession. Mr. Babic wanted to
15 have a referendum for annexation to Serbia, whereas the others wanted it
16 to be a referendum for remaining in Yugoslavia. There was a drastic
17 difference that was manifested then as far as Babic was concerned.
18 Q. We come to the referendum a little bit later.
19 The SDS in Slavonia, did they see their future within the Croatian
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. And did such a position of co-existence, did it have a chance
23 exactly? Are there examples that it worked?
24 A. Yes, it did have a chance, and I think that it could have been
25 carried through.
1 Q. Do you know an entity or an enclave called Gorski Kotar?
2 A. Yes, I know that area also. The Serbs comprised a majority there,
3 and it also advocated staying within Croatia. They did indeed stay within
4 Croatia and preserved lives as well as their homes.
5 Q. This Gorski Kotar, is it part of the Krajina, the Knin region, or
6 close to it?
7 A. It is right by Krajina, right next to it.
8 Q. Was there any war in this region?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Were there any SDS politicians active in this enclave?
11 A. Yes, there were.
12 Q. What political stance did they take; the radical one of Mr. Babic
13 or more the Slavonian approach?
14 A. They were more in favour of the approach that we espoused. They
15 went to Zagreb, and they reached agreements.
16 Q. And they were not harmed?
17 A. No.
18 Q. Speaking of the Serbian leaders in Knin, you mentioned Mr. Babic,
19 but was he the only one with a radical cause?
20 A. No. There was also David Rastovic, Bosko Bozanic, Djoko Vjestica
21 from Gradacac, and some others; Martic.
22 Q. Did they hold rallies in Knin?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. How -- when did this happen?
25 A. This happened once a month, once in two months, depending on the
1 needs they considered to be important.
2 Q. Which year? We're talking about which time frame?
3 A. We are still talking about the end of 1990, the beginning of 1991,
4 put it that way.
5 Q. At such rallies, how were the Croatian government and the Croatian
6 population portrayed?
7 A. Well, they talked about Ustashas, the Independent State of
8 Croatia, the events of the Second World War. That is how this was
10 Q. What did these leaders in Knin say about the situation of the
11 Serbian people in Croatia?
12 A. Well, they said that they were imperiled, that they had a very
13 hard life, that they were in danger, that they should have a state in
14 which they should be safer, that there can be no talks or negotiations
15 with the Croatian government, that they are extremists, that they are
17 Q. And were the Serbs in danger in -- at that time in Croatia?
18 A. No. At that time, no.
19 Q. We come to the details a little bit later.
20 What was said about the Serbian state? You just mentioned the
21 Serbs to be safe in a Serbian state. What would be the borders of that
23 A. Well, as far as the people of Knin were concerned, they were
24 satisfied if it were to be Krajina together with the Serbs from Bosnia and
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to discuss a map
2 with the witness, and it's Exhibit 340, and it's tab 3 in the binder you
4 Q. Witness, this is a map of Yugoslavia, and on this map there is a
5 line indicated. Will you please -- can you please have a look at this
6 line and indicate it also with your pointer.
7 A. [Indicates]
8 Q. Is this line -- does this line say something to you? What kind of
9 a line is it? What does it connect?
10 A. It connects the idea that Vojislav Seselj spoke about, that Serb
11 boundaries are Karlobag, Karlovac, Virovitica.
12 Q. This line, was that -- in the view of Seselj, was that the new
13 border of the Serbian state?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is that the state that sometimes is referred to as Greater Serbia?
16 JUDGE MAY: I think the witness should answer the questions rather
17 than have them put to him.
18 How was that state referred to?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Union of Serb States, or Greater
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
22 Q. Did you ever hear Mr. Seselj mention that?
23 A. Yes, often.
24 Q. In which time period did you hear him say that?
25 A. He said that in 1990, 1991, all the way up to the present day.
1 Q. How -- how did you get knowledge of his references? You said
2 already you heard him. Personally? Does that mean you heard him
4 A. Through the media, in his speeches. I don't remember having heard
5 him personally.
6 Q. The idea of the Serbs being safe in their own state, did you ever
7 hear anything from Mr. Milosevic in this regard?
8 A. I think that this sentence was uttered a long time ago, that the
9 Serbs should live in one state.
10 Q. Who -- who uttered this sentence?
11 A. Mr. Milosevic.
12 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Usher, you can put that --
13 JUDGE MAY: You've finished with that map. We should give this
14 binder with the maps in it an exhibit number.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 326.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Can I continue, Your Honour?
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. You said you heard it a long time ago. When did you hear
20 Mr. Milosevic say such a remark, "All Serbs in one state"?
21 A. Well, I think it was sometime around 1989.
22 Q. On which occasion?
23 A. I think it was in Kosovo.
24 Q. Is that the only time that you heard him say that?
25 A. Perhaps one more time, later.
1 Q. When?
2 A. 1990.
3 Q. When did you -- on what -- what kind of an occasion was that?
4 A. I can't remember now.
5 Q. Referring again to Mr. Seselj, what kind of a state did he have in
6 mind as -- in relation to the ethnic composition of such a state?
7 A. He meant a state that would include the Serbs, and as far as the
8 Croats were concerned, it would be best for them to go to Croatia. That
9 is to say that it would be a state of Serbs only.
10 Q. Did he also make references -- you said he made reference to the
11 Croats. Did he make references to other non-Serbs?
12 A. He talked about the Muslims, Albanians.
13 Q. What did he say about them?
14 A. Well, he said that Albanians should live in Albania. I can't
15 remember what he said about Bosniaks.
16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
17 speak up or come closer to microphone, please.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
19 Q. Sir, you have to come closer to the microphone or speak a little
20 bit louder.
21 What was the media coverage that Mr. Seselj got during the time
23 A. Well, he was extensively covered in the press and radio,
24 television. All the speeches he made were covered. Journalists followed
25 him everywhere.
1 Q. Does that also include state-owned media?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And about which years? During which years did that happen that he
4 was followed and broadcast a lot?
5 A. In 1991 most of all. 1992, 1993, and onwards as well.
6 Q. When his comments appeared in the media, were such quotes
7 commented upon and criticised by the media?
8 A. There was no criticism. There weren't any special comments. He
9 was given full freedom to speak. The only ones who criticised him were
10 the independent media.
11 Q. We are -- were you now talking about the media as such or does
12 that refer to the media in Belgrade and Serbia?
13 A. The media in Belgrade and Serbia. That's what we are referring
15 Q. Which, if you compare the state-owned media and the independent
16 media, how much -- how much publicity did the independent media have as
17 compared to the state-owned media?
18 A. Very limited, the independent media, especially TV. It was
19 confined only to a part of Belgrade, perhaps. As for the newspapers,
20 again they did not have sufficient funds, so that was very limited. As
21 far as I know, this was just a small number of publications.
22 Q. Did Mr. Milosevic criticise Seselj for his radical speeches? Did
23 you hear that?
24 A. I never heard that. I heard about something later, but this was
25 in 1996, 1997 when there was something.
1 Q. When did you hear in 1996, 1997?
2 A. Well, that's when elections were held in Yugoslavia. Seselj
3 accused Milosevic for the fall of Krajina. And then Milosevic accused
4 Seselj because of his extremist ideas.
5 Q. What about the other officials in Belgrade; high-ranking,
6 presidents and members or other Serb officials? Did they criticise or
7 reject Seselj's ideas?
8 A. I never heard any such thing.
9 Q. When the situation got heated, did the Belgrade media try to calm
10 down the situation in Croatia?
11 JUDGE MAY: I think we have the point. Which paragraph in the
12 summary are you dealing, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, please? I can tell you that
13 I'm not able to find it. It may be helpful if we could just get back to
15 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's -- actually, we are now on paragraph 19,
16 with the Belgrade media.
17 JUDGE MAY: We need to move along. Can we move along a bit more.
18 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, you always complain about
20 having time wasted. This is indeed wasting of time. How can this witness
21 be competent? How can he assess from his neck in the woods what the media
22 situation is in Belgrade?
23 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter. He can say what he heard himself.
24 But we'll move on from this. It is of limited assistance to us at the
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
2 Q. Did the authorities in Serbia support the politicians in Knin, the
3 SDS politicians in Knin?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. In which way?
6 A. Well, the possibility was given to them to be heard through the
7 media very often, and they were heard most of the time. I'm referring to
8 Babic and his team.
9 Q. You have mentioned the idea of a Serbian -- of a state where the
10 Serbs could be safe. What was to happen to the Serbs who lived in regions
11 outside of these state borders that you had pointed out?
12 A. Well, in the opinion of these persons, they should have come to
13 live with the Serbs in Krajina and those Serb states, or if they were to
14 stay back, then they would live in Croatia.
15 Q. What was to happen to the non-Serbs who lived in this Serbian
16 territory such as Krajina?
17 A. Well, they weren't exactly desirable in the territory of the
19 Q. How do you know that? Who said that?
20 A. Well, that's what Seselj said, most of all.
21 Q. What did the leaders in Knin say, such as you mentioned them?
22 A. Well, they said that the Croats who supported Franjo Tudjman
23 supported an Ustasha state and were an extended arm of that, and in this
24 way they wanted to intimidate them and that it would be best for them to
25 live in their Croatian state.
1 Q. Did the SDS Western Slavonia at some point split from the SDS
2 Eastern Slavonia?
3 A. Yes, it did split from it in 1991.
4 Q. Why?
5 A. Because in Eastern Slavonia, there was increasing radicalisation
6 headed by Goran Hadzic.
7 Q. In which way did they get more radical?
8 A. They established a National Council of Slavonia, Baranja, and
9 Western Srem which later grew into the SAO of Slavonia, Baranja, and
10 Western Srem. Without any contacts with us, without reaching any kind of
11 agreement with us, that is to say they wanted to act independently of us,
12 and as a matter of fact, we could not really get along with them any more
14 Q. The Serbs in Western Slavonia, did they all have this political
15 view that the situation had to be solved with negotiations or were there
16 other people there too?
17 A. There were radical people who did not accept a policy of
18 negotiations and dialogue, who believed that this question should be
19 resolved radically.
20 Q. How did the -- how did they act towards the negotiation faction,
21 as we can call it?
22 A. They called us the negotiators, traitors, Tudjman's men, that we
23 were in favour of Croatia, not in favour of Serbia, that it would be best
24 for us to leave. They threatened us. They made threats against our
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Do you know the major -- the mayor of Vrgin Most, and can you tell
2 us what happened to him?
3 A. I knew him. He was killed in 1992 in the area of the municipality
4 of Vrgin Most. Rumour had it that he was killed by the police because he
5 was in favour of separation from the policies of Knin, which was a very
6 narrow-minded one.
7 Q. You mentioned Jovan Raskovic, that -- from Knin. What -- how did
8 his political career develop?
9 A. Well, he was on the rise. He was widely accepted among the
10 populace. He knew how to speak to their hearts. He knew what they wanted
11 and wished for. He had contacts with Babic and his people in Knin. He
12 was in favour, though, of negotiations with Croatia. He went to see
13 Tudjman and his associates. He was ridiculed by them. They taped
14 conversations with him, and they took advantage of that situation. The
15 extremists of Knin took advantage of this, too, and they turned their
16 backs to him. So Babic established the SDS of Krajina so that he would
17 secede from Raskovic, who was part of the original SDS, in favour of
18 negotiations. So he created his parallel SDS which he wanted to include
19 all of Croatia.
20 Then after awhile, Raskovic went to Belgrade. He could not take
21 the pressure any longer, the pressure exerted against him in Knin.
22 Q. Was he supported by Belgrade? And by Mr. Milosevic?
23 A. No he wasn't. He didn't have any support, at least as far as I
24 was able to gather from him.
25 Q. When Yugoslavia started to disintegrate, what was the atmosphere
1 within the Serbian population in Croatia? Were they afraid?
2 A. The Serbs were very much afraid, the Serbs in Croatia, because it
3 was a country in which they lived well and now they were having a Croatian
4 state in which extremism was burgeoning and where people did not speak
5 well of the Serbs or about their future at all.
6 Q. Were -- before the outbreak of the war, was there a mass layoff of
7 Serbs from their positions, from their jobs?
8 A. Yes. That was in Zagreb, Bjelovar, and places like that, Split
9 and other places, that is to say, the large towns mostly, whereas where
10 the Serbs had a majority population in Knin and Banja, they were not laid
11 off in those regions.
12 Q. Were the Serbs -- why were the Serbs put off -- laid off from
13 their positions?
14 A. First of all, they were laid off from the police force because the
15 leadership wanted to reduce the number of Serb policemen and recruit their
16 own police officers and people from their own party, and that instilled
17 fear in the Serbs. So it started with the police force and then went on
18 in the judiciary and the health service and in the other state organs
19 where the Serbs had been employed up until then.
20 Q. Were the Serbs -- before the outbreak of the war, were the Serbs
21 expelled from Vukovar or Osijek? I'm speaking before the war.
22 A. I know that there were certain incidents that took place in
23 Vukovar, for example, and on a smaller scale in Osijek, but that was only
24 in 1991. But I don't know about any more massive occurrences.
25 Q. Were Serbs, before the outbreak of the war in August 1991, were
1 they murdered?
2 A. I heard that there were cases of that kind in Vukovar, but I heard
3 that later on, not prior to the war itself.
4 Q. Do you know a person Tomislav Mercep?
5 A. Mercep. Yes, I do.
6 Q. Did he -- what do you know about him? What did he do?
7 A. What I heard was that he was in the Secretariat for National
8 Defence of the Vukovar municipality and that with his group of like-minded
9 men who were all extremists, that he persecuted the Serbs and that he
10 killed them in the war, and it is to him that was ascribed the killings of
11 Serbs in Vukovar and that he killed them in the Pakracka Poljana area,
12 that is a region of Pakrac, in Karlovac as well, and in other parts of
14 Q. That was during the war?
15 A. That was during the war, yes. And it is also believed that before
16 the war, he engaged in frightening the Serbs in Vukovar.
17 Q. Was he or his --
18 JUDGE MAY: I think we're going too far. The witness is giving no
19 basis for his knowledge of these matters. It sounds like hearsay at some
20 remove, and I don't think it really assists the Trial Chamber. Can we
21 deal with the matters about which he has direct evidence, such as the
22 matters in his own municipality? It may help if we came to the log
23 revolution and began the chronology of events there.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, this witness was in a position
25 that he knew things, and we are talking actually about something that the
1 accused said in his opening about this person, Tomislav Mercep, and this
2 is actually Slavonia involved here. But --
3 JUDGE MAY: What did you hear Mr. Mercep say? Did you hear him
4 say anything which is relevant to this or did you see him do anything?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see him do anything, no,
6 but he did threaten the Serbs.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
8 Q. Was he later -- was he investigated --
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, do you allow this last question
10 on this issue?
11 Q. Was he or his men later investigated and convicted for war crimes
12 against Serbs?
13 A. There was an investigation, but -- and trials are under way in
14 Croatia at the moment against his men, but there was an indictment raised
15 against the Pakracka Poljana Serb issue there.
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, before I move to the log
17 revolution, I would like to ask this witness about a tape that he saw
18 referring to General Spegelj, and I would kindly request to be allowed to
19 do that because it refers to creating an atmosphere among the Serb people
20 when all these things could happen.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
23 Q. Do you recall ever having seen a tape of the Croatian General
25 A. Yes, I did see the tape. It was televised.
1 Q. What did you -- what was said on the tape? What did Spegelj say
2 on the tape and who made this tape?
3 A. The tape was made by the army, the JNA, and Spegelj was talking
4 about the fact that officers should be killed, that barracks should be
5 attacked, and that general destabilisation should be caused. That's what
6 he was talking about.
7 Q. And how do you know that it was produced by the JNA?
8 A. Well, that's what it said on television.
9 Q. This tape, did it have an effect on you?
10 A. It did, all of us, because suddenly there was talk of weapons, of
11 arming men, of killing officers, of attacking barracks. So it was very
12 disquieting. And from that time on, the Serbs looked for weapons as a
13 form of self-defence because they were uncertain of being safe any more.
14 Q. How was your access to Serbian media before the war and throughout
15 the war?
16 A. Before the war, we were all able to watch Yugoslav television,
17 Serbian television from Belgrade, and Croatian and Bosnian television
18 stations as well, and in the course of the war it was via Banja Luka that
19 we were able to watch Serbian television stations.
20 Q. Did you have access to Croatian media before and during the war?
21 A. Yes, we did, but it was rather difficult in Western Slavonia
22 because there was no electricity. So it was only people who had their own
23 generators, which were rare, that were able to follow the programmes, or
24 transistor radios.
25 Q. You said that the Serbs looked for weapons and for self-defence
1 after the Spegelj tape. Did clashes break out?
2 A. Well, there was an incident that took place in Pakrac on the 2nd
3 of March, 1991. That was the first incident, actually. And it was a
4 clash between the Croatian police or, rather, the ministry of the Croatian
5 police and the police stations in Pakrac proper.
6 Q. Before we go to the Pakrac events, did you ever hear the term "log
7 revolution" related to Knin?
8 A. Yes, I did.
9 Q. What happened in Knin? What was called the "log revolution"?
10 A. Well, the name was given at a point when at the access roads to
11 Knin coming in from Dalmatia, logs were placed across the road to prevent
12 passage, or large rocks were placed on the roads to prevent access to
13 those roads. And this began when Martic gave up the Croatian police force
14 and any competencies and authority he had over it. And that took place on
15 the 17th of August, 1990, when he renounced this.
16 Q. You said that this began when Martic gave up the Croatian police
17 force. What does that mean?
18 A. Well, he no longer accepted being under the control of the police
19 force or, rather, the ministry from Zagreb. He just worked for the
20 Krajina police from that time on and recognised it.
21 Q. And this access to the roads, was it re-established later on, and
22 if so, how?
23 A. The roads were not opened until 1995.
24 Q. Did the Croatian police try to get to Knin?
25 A. Well, they did try but it was just not possible.
1 Q. Why was it not possible?
2 A. There would have been sharp clashes, like the ones at Lake
3 Plitvice when the police wanted to place the Plitvice area under the
4 control of the Croatian authorities.
5 Q. Did the Croatian police ever attempt to take over or to get into
7 A. I think that they did start out towards the area but that they
8 went back.
9 Q. You have already mentioned the Pakrac events. When did the Pakrac
10 event that you referred to take place?
11 A. On the 2nd of March, 1991. That's when it happened.
12 Q. And what -- what did happen?
13 A. There was a clash between the local police and the special forces
14 from Zagreb, and this followed on after the disbanding of the police force
15 which the ministry had sent to Pakrac as reinforcements. And they tried
16 to balance out the ethnic composition, and that was the reason for which
17 the ministry had allegedly sent a number of new policemen. So that in
18 Pakrac, part of the police force had the old insignia, that is to say the
19 five-pointed star, on their hats, and the new recruitments had the
20 chequerboard insignia on their uniforms. And they said that the new
21 policemen had taken weapons from the police station back to their homes,
22 and the police chief asked the mayor of the town and representative of the
23 Pakrac municipality to disband this police force so that he could call in
24 his reserve police force which was then composed of the Serbs.
25 And this was actually done. It was done on the 1st of March. And
1 on the 2nd of March in the morning, the Croatian police arrived in Pakrac
2 to assume control there and disarm that reserve police formation and to
3 set up the police force according to and in line with the new laws and
5 Q. Was anyone killed during this incident?
6 A. Nobody was killed during that particular incident.
7 Q. What was reported in the media?
8 A. Well, it was reported in different ways. The Serb media depicted
9 it as if many Serbs had been killed; some Orthodox priests were
10 mentioned. Whereas the Croatian media talked about a Serb or, rather,
11 Chetnik rebellion, whereas, luckily, nobody had in fact been killed on
12 that occasion.
13 Q. How was this situation in Pakrac resolved? Was there fighting or
14 was it resolved through negotiations?
15 A. The situation was resolved through negotiation. Once the police
16 had taken control, this new police force in Pakrac, the representatives of
17 the Yugoslav army arrived in Pakrac and the Federal Ministry, and they
18 negotiated with the representatives of the Croatian authorities from
19 Zagreb. And there was a disarming of the reserve police force, and the
20 weapons were turned over to the Croatian MUP.
21 Q. Let's now move to the Plitvice events. What happened in Plitvice?
22 A. What happened at Plitvice was that there was a clash between the
23 Croatian police force, because it was an area which was held by the Serb
24 police force up until then, so the Croatians took it over, and there was a
25 clash between the Croatian police and the Serb police, and there were a
1 number of dead. And Goran Hadzic and Boro Savic were arrested there.
2 They were going from Obrovac the previous day, on their way to Vukovar.
3 Q. When did this event in Plitvice take place?
4 A. On the 1st of April, 1991.
5 Q. Were you yourself present?
6 A. I was passing through. I had passed through several hours
7 previously because we had the meeting in Obrovac where the large portion
8 of the SDS had had a meeting. We discussed this for a long time, and we
9 accepted negotiations with the Croatian authorities, and we thought that
10 everything should be solved by peaceful means, political means. So our
11 houses were quite nearby, so we went home, but others, like Goran Hadzic,
12 went to spend the night in the hotel. Others were arrested, some of them
13 were beaten up, and so on.
14 Q. Witness, you need not go into so many details on this.
15 Was Seselj involved in the Plitvice event?
16 A. I don't remember that.
17 Q. Did the JNA intervene in Plitvice?
18 A. Yes, they did. The JNA did intervene and prevented the clash from
19 escalating by separating the two opposing sides.
20 Q. Did the Serbs stay in control in Plitvice after that?
21 A. Yes, they did.
22 Q. And you mentioned that actually on that day you had prepared for
23 negotiations with the Croatian government. Did that take place, the
25 A. Negotiations did take place one day before that. When we went to
1 the talks, we said that we would decide upon the negotiations, and then
2 there was a repeated round of negotiations with the Croatian government to
3 quieten down the situation, the whole situation around Borovo Selo.
4 Q. What happened in Borovo Selo?
5 A. What happened in Borovo Selo was that the Croatians started
6 provocations, and then the Serbs shut off all the access roads to Borovo
7 Selo. And when this happened Goran Hadzic was arrested and he was someone
8 of great authority, who enjoyed great authority there. He was beaten up
9 and we helped them to be freed and returned to Borovo Selo. We did this
10 together with the Croatian authorities. And we asked that the roads,
11 access roads to Borovo Selo be reopened, and the Serbs did do so.
12 Several days later, the MUP of Croatia stormed the village and
13 started shooting in the village, and there was major clash between the
14 Serbs there and the Croatian police force and some Croatian policemen were
16 Q. Did the JNA intervene?
17 A. Yes, it did intervene.
18 Q. Did the Serbian people stay in control in Borovo Selo?
19 A. Yes, they did.
20 Q. What happened in July 1990 in Srb?
21 A. There was a large meeting of Serbs, and the Serb National Council
22 was set up on the occasion. A large number of Serbs from Croatia had
23 arrived but so had a large number of Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina as
25 Q. Were they invited there or how -- you -- first of all, were you
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 present during this meeting in Srb?
2 A. Yes, I was. I was present there too.
3 Q. And why were the Bosnian Serbs there?
4 A. Well, they wanted to show that they couldn't be separated from the
5 Serbs in Croatia and that they wanted it to remain one state and to lend
6 their support to the Serbs in Croatia.
7 Q. Were politicians from Belgrade present?
8 A. There was Vojislav Seselj, but he was just passing by at the
9 time. He didn't even deliver a speech of any kind. I didn't notice
10 anybody else.
11 Q. Why was this Serb National Council founded, and what did it
13 A. I can't say exactly what the goal was, but I think it was
14 something that Milan Babic forced. He wanted to make himself more
15 important, and also to have the Serbs articulate themselves and say that
16 they were together, that they wanted the Serb question to be solved within
17 the composition of one state and that Croatia must become more reasonable
18 and understand the Serb question and to have a show of force as to unity
19 and number.
20 Q. When -- was there -- when was the Association of Municipalities of
21 Northern Dalmatia and Lika founded? Do you know that?
22 A. I think sometime very soon after these events, which is to say
23 sometime at the end of 1990.
24 Q. And what was the reason for founding this organisation?
25 A. One of the reasons was that they no longer agreed with the SDS
1 views in Croatia and they wanted to wage an autonomous policy and in those
2 municipalities there were like-minded people and they didn't want to have
3 any more contacts with Croatia and created their own autonomous region
4 with their own autonomous policies.
5 Q. The Serb National Council that was founded in Srb, was it meant to
6 cover all the Serbian territories in Croatia?
7 A. No. No, it wasn't, because definition wasn't given to the areas
8 and borders yet that that should cover.
9 Q. Did the Serb National Council get support from Belgrade? Do you
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. Was a similar institution founded for Slavonia, Baranja, and
13 Western Srem?
14 A. Yes. The Serb National Council of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western
15 Srem was formed later on.
16 Q. When?
17 A. It was formed at the beginning or, rather, the end of 1990 and at
18 the beginning of 1991 at the latest. I'm not sure of the exact date.
19 Q. Was Western Slavonia part of it?
20 A. No, it was not part of it.
21 Q. Why not?
22 A. We didn't have our representatives there. Nobody discussed it
23 with us. We didn't take part in it and, therefore, we considered that we
24 were not a part of that. Perhaps they assumed that we ought to be, but
25 they didn't actually discuss the matter ever with us.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to put an exhibit
2 to the witness, and it's actually Exhibit C124, and which -- is it a tab?
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We need to get these exhibits into order. We've
4 got here what is described as an exhibit bundle for Witness 037. Now, is
5 it going to be convenient if we treat that in the way we've treated the
6 exhibits put through witnesses, a large number, that is, before? Namely,
7 to gave the entire bundle a witness -- an exhibit number and then refer to
8 tabs thereafter?
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour. It's actually prepared
10 this way. But I wouldn't know which tab this is now.
11 JUDGE MAY: No. Yes. Well, we'll give the bundle, first of all,
12 an exhibit number.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 327.
14 JUDGE MAY: For the moment, we'll have to refer to it as tab 124,
15 I think, or --
16 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, I think it's tab 2.
17 JUDGE MAY: Tab 2. Very well.
18 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I think in the binder the
19 exhibits are listed according to how I use them. So --
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: -- you can follow this way.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I can follow but it's a matter of how it goes in
23 the record which is important so that we can refer to it hereafter.
24 Very well. When we get to these exhibits, perhaps the registrar
25 will tell us the tab numbers so we have a formal record of it. This one
1 is tab 2.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
4 Q. Witness, this is a letter of the Serbian National Council of
5 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, dated the 28th of May, 1991, to the
6 Federal Presidency in Belgrade. It is signed by a person, Ilija Petrovic.
7 Do you know this person?
8 A. Yes, I do know the person.
9 Q. Who was he? What was his position?
10 A. Well, at the time, he was in that National Council of Slavonia,
11 Baranja, and Western Srem. I don't know what post he held exactly.
12 Q. Were you aware that such a letter went to the Presidency?
13 A. No.
14 Q. Looking at the middle paragraph in this letter, where it says
15 that, "Serbs are left defenceless to Croatian state terror." Do you have
16 this line?
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's in the translation in the
18 second paragraph in the first third.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I see that, yes.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
21 Q. Were the citizens in Western Slavonia subjected to state terror?
22 A. At that time, no.
23 Q. And a little bit further in the same paragraph, it says that:
24 "All the police stations in Croatia dispose or work with classified lists
25 of Serbs who allegedly participated in armed mutiny and should be arrested
1 or killed." Is that true? Was that so in Western Slavonia?
2 A. I don't think so, because nobody was arrested then nor were they
4 Q. And in the last paragraph, it refers to the threat to the survival
5 of the Serb nation. Was the Serb nation under threat of survival in
6 Western Slavonia?
7 A. No.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This witness, Croatia 37, is being
11 asked to comment on a letter by the Serb National Council of Eastern
12 Slavonia where he himself spoke of the violence and killings in Borovo
13 Selo and so on and so forth, and yet he's being asked whether anything
14 like that happened in Western Slavonia in order to deny what is said about
15 Eastern Slavonia. I think this is highly improper and that it is your
16 duty to warn counsel about this improper examination.
17 JUDGE MAY: The witness can answer questions about matters which
18 he knows. If he doesn't know the answer, he can give it.
19 As for the weight of the evidence, that's something you can
20 cross-examine about and we'll have to determine at the end. But at the
21 moment if there are matters within his knowledge, such as events in
22 Slavonia at the time, he can give them.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The letter refers to Eastern, not to
24 Western Slavonia.
25 JUDGE MAY: We hear the point you make.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The Prosecution would like to enter this into
3 evidence as well.
4 JUDGE MAY: You can take it that unless there's objection raised,
5 that the entire bundle is admitted.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Okay. Thank you, Your Honour. I would like
7 -- this is dealt with now. I would like to put another letter from that
8 same body to the witness, and it is Exhibit C182, and it should be at tab
10 Q. Witness, you see that it is a -- another letter of that same Ilija
11 Petrovic to, the Federal Presidency from the 4th of August, 1991, and
12 there is the first sentence in there, where it says: "The council does
13 not accept any and nobody's offer for the creation of political and
14 cultural autonomy of Serbian people in Croatia." And my question is: Was
15 such an offer made at that time, before the outbreak of the war?
16 A. There were proposals on the Croatian side that the question of the
17 autonomy of Serbs in Croatia should be resolved.
18 Q. And was it -- was it agreed upon by people or rejected?
19 A. This offer was rejected. There were no talks with Knin or Eastern
20 Slavonia. Nobody discussed it.
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that's the question to this
23 Q. Sir, you mentioned Goran Hadzic. Where did he live at that time
24 and what was his position?
25 A. He lived in Vukovar. He was the vice-president and deputy
1 president of the Regional Board of the SDS, and later on he was a member
2 of the Serb National Council for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Srem, but
3 I don't know what his function there was.
4 Q. Later on, what further functions, if any, did he have in the later
5 years? Can you tell us which position he had?
6 A. First of all, he was the president of the SAO of Eastern Slavonia
7 or, rather, Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem; and later on, he was the
8 president of the republic, RSK.
9 Q. Did you meet him personally?
10 A. Yes, I did.
11 Q. Can you describe his personality?
12 A. Well, he was not a serious person. He liked to live a comfortable
13 life. He was not an extremist to begin with. After his arrest in
14 Plitvice, he became more and more extreme, but he was always mostly
15 concerned with himself and his own way of life.
16 Q. What do you mean when you say he was not a serious person?
17 A. He was never prepared to take things seriously. He behaved in a
18 superficial manner; carelessly, irresponsibly.
19 Q. Did he -- you mentioned his position that he had. Did he have
20 leadership skills?
21 A. No. No, he didn't.
22 Q. Given his positions, how, then, could he perform them? How could
23 he be the president of the RSK or the president of the SAO?
24 A. He became the president of the RSK as a substitute for Babic, and
25 attempts were made or, rather, he was put in place of Babic because of the
1 Vance-Owen Plan. There was nobody else who had more political authority
2 than he did because he was always being pushed forward into the limelight.
3 But I think that he was not up to the job, that he was not really up to
4 what was required of him at that moment.
5 Q. You said he was pushed into the limelight. By whom?
6 A. First of all, by the people at the local level; and later on, he
7 had support in Belgrade.
8 Q. When you say "later on," what time period are you referring to?
9 A. I'm referring to the period when the RSK was being set up and when
10 he was appointed president of the republic.
11 Q. Who supported him from Belgrade?
12 A. I can say that Budimir Kosutic did. He helped with the staffing.
13 I don't know who he contacted about this.
14 Q. And Budimir Kosutic, which position did he have?
15 A. He was then I think the vice-president or Deputy Prime Minister of
17 Q. You described Mr. Hadzic as a person who did not take things
18 serious. Was he the decision-maker in the SAO Slavonia and later in the
20 A. He was the one who put forward the decisions in public. But when
21 they were made, I don't know who he consulted.
22 Q. While there was this Serb National Council in the Krajina and the
23 Serb National Council for Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, which
24 approach did Western Slavonia take in 1991 -- in 1999 [sic] and 1991? Did
25 you also form a sort of forum or a sort of council?
1 A. No. Later on, we established the SAO of Western Slavonia in 1991.
2 Q. Did you continue, in 1991, to negotiate with the Croats?
3 A. Yes. I had contacts throughout 1991, up until the outbreak of the
5 Q. Did the SDS in Western Slavonia arm the local Serbs and the Serb
6 -- and did they establish Serb TO forces?
7 A. The SDS did not provide weapons, but some people who perhaps were
8 in the SDS perhaps did that, the party itself didn't do it. But later on,
9 the Serbs set up Territorial Defence defence units in the municipalities
10 in Western Slavonia.
11 Q. When did they do it and when did you notice that?
12 A. I noticed that after the 19th of August, but it started probably
13 from the beginning of August.
14 Q. And how do you know that?
15 A. When the war broke out, I saw the Territorial Defence staffs had
16 been set up, that people had weapons, that there were commands. And I
17 know that this cannot be organised in one day or half a day.
18 Q. You mentioned already earlier that there was a referendum, and I
19 would like to talk to you -- with you about this.
20 The first referendum of the Serb people, when did it take place?
21 A. The first was in 1990 and was in favour of the cultural autonomy
22 of the Serbs in Croatia.
23 Q. And who initiated this?
24 A. The SDS of Croatia did.
25 Q. What were the results of this referendum?
1 A. Most of the Serbs voted in favour of cultural autonomy in Croatia.
2 This was a desire to draw attention to the position of the Serbs and to
3 have it discussed.
4 Q. This second referendum -- sorry. Was there a second referendum?
5 A. Yes. A second referendum was held on the 12th of May, 1991.
6 Q. What was it about?
7 A. This referendum was the Serbs saying whether they wanted to remain
8 in Yugoslavia, because on the 19th of May, Croatia said it wanted to
9 secede from Yugoslavia. The Serbs wanted to express their desire to
10 remain within Yugoslavia. However, Babic also had the idea that
11 annexation to Serbia should be added to the referendum. Most Serbs and
12 most people in the SDS were not in favour of this wording, so the wording
13 was actually that the Serbs wanted to remain within Yugoslavia.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, with the help of the usher, I
15 would like to put the Exhibit 2278 to the witness.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be tab 7.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
18 Q. Witness, this is a report on a meeting of the Regional SDS Board
19 held on 8th May, 1991. Did the Regional SDS Board meet on that day?
20 A. Yes, it did.
21 Q. Did it meet in the village Smrtici?
22 A. Yes, it did.
23 Q. On this document, there is an agenda for this meeting. Do you
24 recall this agenda and these items on the agenda?
25 A. No, I don't. There was a referendum but not as an item on the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 agenda. I don't remember that.
2 Q. This document, have you -- are these the minutes of the meeting?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you usually take minutes, and if so, how?
5 A. Minutes were taken by the secretary of the Regional Board, and
6 then he would put it in the archives.
7 Q. On -- in the last line before the completion hour, there is a
8 person mentioned with the name Zeljko Mandic. Do you know this person?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. Who is he?
11 A. He was a journalist.
12 Q. Did he sometimes attend meetings of the SDS board?
13 A. I don't remember that. I didn't notice him there.
14 Q. Were the meetings of the board, were they sometimes or always
16 A. Yes, they were.
17 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to go now into
18 private session again because this exhibit needs to be discussed in more
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 [Private session]
12 Page 10372 – redacted – private session
12 Page 10373 – redacted – private session
1 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.40 p.m.
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
5 MR. NICE: Your Honour, there is a matter that has arisen that
6 leads me to ask for a couple of minutes in closed session, if Your Honours
7 would be good enough. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't urgent.
8 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Very well. Closed session for two
10 [Private session]
16 [Open session]
17 JUDGE MAY: We're now in open session. Yes, Mr. Nice.
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, it's come to our attention that there may
19 be efforts to identify and to publish identification of this witness not
20 by direct means but by some other slightly more subtle means. Any means
21 of identifying protected witnesses, in our submission, would be a serious
22 contempt of this Tribunal and would lead to the appropriate sanctions
23 being taken or imposed on editors who take such a course of action, and we
24 would invite the Chamber to remind editors of their duties.
25 JUDGE MAY: We make it plain that any form of identification of a
1 witness by a newspaper, or indeed any other broadcast or other outlet, is
2 a contempt of this Tribunal. The purpose of these protective measures is
3 to protect the witnesses, and for good reason. They're not made lightly.
4 Therefore, any attempt by whatever means to identify a witness does amount
5 to a contempt and will be the subject of sanctions.
6 Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Thank you, Your Honour.
8 Q. Did the SDS leadership in Croatia have contacts with the SPS in
10 A. I do not know about any contacts that a leader like Jovan Raskovic
11 had. As for Milan Babic and the others, I cannot say with certainty that
12 they had any contacts, but they said that they had contacts.
13 Q. They said that themselves?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. When did they say that? Did they say that publicly or when did
16 you hear that?
17 A. They said that at meetings of the main board in Knin during 1990,
19 Q. Did they say or indicate with whom they had these contacts?
20 A. No.
21 Q. You have already mentioned that on this meeting in Srb, there were
22 Serbs from Bosnia. Did you know whether the SDS leadership in Croatia had
23 contacts with the SDS leadership in Bosnia?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Who had contacts with whom, and how do you know?
1 A. At first these were contacts between Karadzic and Raskovic, and
2 later these were contacts between Babic and Karadzic. They themselves
3 said that they were going to these meetings. So Raskovic spoke about this
4 and Milan Babic spoke about this.
5 Q. Can you put it into a time frame? When did they have contacts?
6 Can you say which years?
7 A. Well, it was in 1990 and in 1991. That is to say already in 1990,
8 towards the end of 1990, and the beginning of 1991.
9 Q. And in relation to the contacts with SPS Serbia, when would such
10 contacts take place? When did you hear of it?
11 A. There were contacts at the end of 1990 when a delegation
12 representing the Serbs in Croatia went to call on President Jovic and Mr.
14 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like to go into private
15 session now because we come to meetings which are very particular and very
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 [Private session]
12 Pages 10378-10383 – redacted – private session
20 [Open session]
21 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Are we in -- yes, open.
22 Q. You mentioned an association of Serbs in Croatia. What kind of
23 association was this and who were the members?
24 A. The association consisted of Serbs who were originally from
25 Croatia and they were living and working in Serbia. Some of them were
1 elderly people. Some were retirees. Some were army officers. Their
2 positions were pretty hard-line.
3 I know that after the session with Mr. Milosevic, they attacked
4 me, that the Serb Sparta should not be attacked. Knin was the Serb Sparta
5 for them and they did not have any understanding for everything that was
6 going on later in Western Slavonia. They gave more support to Milan
7 Babic. They did not give support to Jovan Raskovic. Some of them actually
8 wanted Jovan Raskovic to be replaced so that only Milan Babic would be the
9 leader of the Serb Democratic Party.
10 Q. This association, did it have contacts with the official Belgrade,
11 in particular, Mr. Milosevic? Do you know that?
12 A. They said that they had contacts, but I never saw that. I did not
13 have any clearer knowledge with regard to that.
14 Q. Were statements and declarations of this organisation published in
15 the Belgrade media or were they rather unknown?
16 A. Yes. Yes, they were. They were published. Not that often, but
17 they were.
18 Q. Do you know a person with the name Boro Rasua?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Who was he and what position did he have?
21 A. Well, it was my understanding that he originally came from Knin,
22 and he was one of the advisors to Milan Babic.
23 Q. Do you know a person Brana Cuncevic or Cumetic?
24 A. Crncevic. I know him. He was a writer. He probably still is
1 Q. Did he support the more radical Serbs in Croatia?
2 A. Yes. He supported the more radical stream in Croatia.
3 Q. Did they have -- did both, I mean Barane or Boro Rasua, did they
4 have contacts with Mr. Milosevic or officials, higher officials --
5 JUDGE MAY: Now, we really are getting some way from what the
6 witness can say, I suspect. If you want to establish this evidence - and
7 at the moment I'm not sure of the relevance of it - we must establish on
8 what basis the witness knows what he's going to talk about.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes. I'm going to ask him that, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, do that first of all.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
12 Q. Do you know whether these people had contacts with Milosevic or
13 the Belgrade authorities?
14 A. As for Boro Rasua, I don't know for sure. Perhaps he did, I don't
15 know. As for Brana Crncevic, I haven't got any indicators showing that he
16 would have been with Mr. Milosevic. I heard that he was close to him, but
17 that's just something I heard. I couldn't say for sure.
18 Q. Okay. Thank you. You have already mentioned Mr. Kosutic being
19 involved in Eastern Slavonia. Did he also have discussions with the Serbs
20 in Western Slavonia?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Objection, Mr. May. The witness did
22 not say Budimir Kosutic -- he is a professor at Belgrade University, by
23 the way -- he did not say he was involved in the events in Slavonia. The
24 witness spoke about contacts of persons because he also originally came
25 from those areas. He talked about contacts. He did not talk about
1 involvement. So the question cannot phrased that way, speaking of
2 involvement, because he had not said that Kosutic had been involved.
3 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I will rephrase it.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes, I think you should rephrase it, and also we need
5 to know what the relevance of all this is.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, Mr. Kosutic was the vice
7 minister of Serbia and I think when he has contacts with the Serbs in
8 Croatia, it is of relevance.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well. But let's ask the witness rather
10 than discussing it generally.
11 Can you assist us, Witness 037, as to this, whether there were
12 contacts? Do you know of it of your own knowledge or, again, is it
13 something which you heard?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Kosutic came to Western Slavonia
15 at the invitation of our colleagues who had been his students. He came to
16 help us in formulating our amendments to the proposed constitution of the
17 Republic of Croatia according to which the Serbs were supposed to be a
18 minority. We as a political party wanted then to make an amendment
19 professionally, in an expert manner. At that time, Mr. Kosutic was only a
20 university professor. Later on, I think it was the end of 1991, the
21 second half of 1991 - I don't know exactly - he became Deputy Prime
22 Minister, but it is afterwards that he became Deputy Prime Minister. And
23 we did have contacts with him.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
25 Q. Did he approve of your course of negotiations with the Croats?
1 A. He did not. Later, notably everything that was going on in
2 Western Slavonia, he thought that we were not taking the right course. He
3 personally objected that we talk to Franjo Tudjman and that we maintain
4 contacts with that government. He thought that that was a non-democratic
5 government and that one should not negotiate with it.
6 Q. You have already mentioned that some of the Serbs -- Serb leaders
7 in the Krajina had contacts with the Bosnian Serbs. Did Milan Martic
8 actually fight, assist them?
9 A. Milan Martic took part in penetrating the -- with the corridor in
10 Bosanska Posavina. He enjoyed quite a reputation there because of these
11 military successes, and he became famous and indeed got authority among
12 the Bosnian Serbs. He helped them acquire this corridor, and this was a
13 lifesaver because there weren't enough medicines at that time. And also
14 the region of Banja Luka and, therefore, Krajina, could not meet many of
15 their medical needs.
16 Q. Do you happen to know where he fought in the Posavina Corridor?
17 A. Well, he was somewhere in the area of Doboj. I think towards
18 Orasje, as far as I heard from people who were with him. They said that
19 they were in that area.
20 Q. And at what time?
21 A. I think this was the end of May, beginning of June 1992. That's
22 my assessment. I can't really say the exact date.
23 Q. Was he promoted for taking part in this fighting?
24 A. He got the rank of general from the president of the republic,
25 Goran Hadzic, as recognition.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like now to address an
2 intercepted conversation, and for this purpose we would need to go into
3 private session.
4 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
5 [Private session]
24 [Open session]
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
1 Q. Sir, when did the -- when was the SAO Krajina founded?
2 A. It was founded at the end of 1990.
3 Q. And who was the president?
4 A. The president was Milan Babic.
5 Q. Was he in control of the police?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did the SAO Krajina have a government?
8 A. Well, he promoted that, that they had a government, but I wasn't
9 able to see their ministries at all to see how they were functioning. All
10 I heard was that it was a government of sorts.
11 Q. Do you know who was the -- was there a JNA present in Knin, in the
12 region of this SAO?
13 A. Yes, there was a barracks in Knin, I believe.
14 Q. Do you know who was the commander in this region?
15 A. I don't know. I don't remember.
16 Q. When was the SAO Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem established?
17 A. It was founded at the beginning of 1991.
18 Q. And who was the president?
19 A. Goran Hadzic.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: With the help of the usher, I would like to
21 show the witness the Exhibit C647.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 7 -- excuse me; tab 6.
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
24 Q. Witness, it is -- item 647 is a decision of the appointment of the
25 SAO government of the 25th of September, 1991. When you look at paragraph
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 III here, is that the government of the SAO Slavonia, Baranja, and Western
3 A. Yes, that's what it says, that that was that particular government
4 meeting of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem.
5 Q. But do you have -- looking at the persons listed in paragraph III,
6 do you know that they had these positions?
7 A. Yes. I know about Goran Hadzic, and I know about Vojin Susa. I
8 know about Slavko Dokmanovic, Ilija Petrovic, Milan Knezevic.
9 Q. We do not need to go through all these people.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that is the only question I
11 have. I would also like to have the witness look at the Exhibit 558.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 3 -- excuse me; tab 4.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
14 Q. And I would like you to look at the stamp of this decision on the
15 dismissal of the secretary of the Vukovar Secretariat of Interior on the
16 stamp and on the signature.
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Are they genuine?
19 A. That's what it looked like. The stamps and the signature looked
20 that way.
21 Q. Do you happen to know what was the background, why the chief of
22 police of Vukovar was dismissed? Do you happen to know that?
23 A. I don't know that, no.
24 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would like now the witness to
25 have a look at the Exhibit C2322.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Tab 8.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
3 Q. It is the decision on the election of the carriers of the legal
4 functions from the 9th of October, 1991, and when you look at this
5 decision, there is mentioning of the District Court of Vukovar with
6 temporary offices in Dalj, at various sections of this decision.
7 A. I see that, yes.
8 Q. And do you know whether these -- whether there was this special --
9 this -- not special, temporary office of the District Court or higher
10 courts in Dalj?
11 A. I don't know that.
12 Q. When you look at the persons elected in various positions here,
13 either at the courts or at the prosecutor's office, are some of them
14 familiar to you? Could you verify that this is a genuine document?
15 A. I know some of the names. I recognise some of them, and they
16 really were judges. And at least judging by the ones I know, I know that
17 they were judges. I recognise some of the names. I know them.
18 Q. And do you know whether the -- Ilija Koncarevic who was mentioned
19 here as the president, was he the president of the Great National Assembly
20 of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem?
21 A. Yes.
22 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: This is enough with the document. Thank you.
23 Q. Speaking of Mr. Hadzic, was he in control of the police of
24 Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem, the SAO?
25 A. Well, I think he was. I haven't got any arguments to bear that
1 out, but I am able to conclude this because they were all like-minded
2 persons, people that thought the same way.
3 Q. Do you know who was in control of the TO in the region of SAO
4 Western Slavonia -- of Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem?
5 A. No. I can't know that because I wasn't there.
6 Q. Do you know a person Radovan Stojicic, nicknamed Badza?
7 A. No. I just heard about him from the media.
8 Q. Was Arkan present in the --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Sorry.
11 Q. Was Arkan present in the SAO Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem?
12 A. Yes, he was present. I saw him in the course of 1992.
13 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I think we need to go into
14 private session, because I would have to ask the witness about his
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
17 [Private session]
12 Page 10396 – redacted – private session
12 Page 10397 – redacted – private session
12 Page 10398 – redacted – private session
24 [Open session]
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I was saying, the war was getting
2 closer to Western Slavonia. It was in full throes. And it was our wish
3 that it should not envelope Western Slavonia and would be considered as an
4 area under Krajina and Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem. So the SAO of
5 Western Slavonia was formed so as to endeavour to make contacts with
6 Zagreb and the authorities in Croatia to seek a peaceful solution and
7 avoid a clash and conflict at all cost.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF:
9 Q. Until August 1991, did you still have a mixed police force in
10 Western Slavonia?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Was it financed by the Ministry of Interior of Croatia?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What about the police in Pakrac? Did that also apply to them?
15 A. It applied to them too, yes.
16 Q. In relation to the local government employees in Western Slavonia,
17 were they also financed by the Croatian authorities?
18 A. Yes, they were.
19 Q. What about the staff in the Secretariat for National Defence in
20 Western Slavonia? Were they paid by the Croatian government?
21 A. Yes, they were.
22 Q. When the SAO Western Slavonia was declared, did you at the same
23 time also establish the government and government institutions?
24 A. There was no government or any institutions or any separate
25 offices or anything like that. It was just something that they were
1 working towards.
2 Q. Were such institutions ever established?
3 A. No.
4 Q. Why not?
5 A. Well, actually it wasn't a goal of any kind to set up government
6 or institutions, just a political body for negotiations to try and avoid a
7 war and to distance ourselves from what was happening in Western Slavonia
8 and so that nothing should be placed in the context of the war events.
9 Q. What about Jovo Vezmar? We have already mentioned him now. Did
10 he agree to this or did he do otherwise?
11 A. No, he didn't agree with that. He formed the TO in Pakrac and
12 waged war.
13 Q. In the time period from August 1991 until February 1992 when the
14 RSK was founded, who paid, who financed the TO?
15 A. Well, up until the end of October, I don't think anybody did. At
16 least, not to my knowledge. Later on, I heard from people who were within
17 the TO that they did receive salaries through the JNA.
18 Q. And what about the police? Who financed the police from August of
19 -- from the outbreak of the war, from August 1991 to February 1992?
20 A. I think that that was the police -- that the police received
21 salaries that way later on, from October onwards, because it came under
22 the organisation of the TO as well.
23 Q. When you say it was financed this way, you mean through the JNA?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. From which organ or which institution of the JNA?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. I don't know that.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I would move now to the section
3 territories and crimes that happened on these territories, but I see it's
4 a quarter to two.
5 JUDGE MAY: Which paragraph is that, please?
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It is paragraph 62 onwards.
7 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. We will resume there, then, on Monday.
8 Witness C-037, could you be back, please, on Monday morning at
9 9.00, when we will resume your evidence.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Thank you.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Monday, the 30th day of
13 September, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.