1 Wednesday, 25 January 2006
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you may continue.
7 WITNESS: MILAN KOTUR [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
10 Re-examined by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
11 Q. [Interpretation] So, Colonel, you have before you this report of
12 the sector for operations and staff affairs that we've been looking at,
13 and it says members of the MUP conducted an operation against Siptar
14 terrorists. Can we see from the report who conducted the operation? Is
15 there any question here?
16 A. There is no question here. It is evident that this action of the
17 MUP --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: We went through that yesterday. Don't go over
19 matters that you have already dealt with.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will not continue with this.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Colonel, I was unable to find this in the meantime, but a page was
23 also shown here from the daily report of the commander of this combat
24 group 243/1 that was in Dulje and in Stimlje, and in this daily report,
25 regular daily report, it was written: "No changes in the deployment of
1 the unit for that day," the 15th. Does it mean that it was engaged or not
3 A. It was not engaged. That's what no changes means. No losses, no
4 movement; status unchanged.
5 Q. Thank you. In relation to the question regarding Walker, please
6 tell us precisely, what was it that Walker told Loncar at this first
7 meeting when they met? That was their first meeting. Where did it take
9 MR. NICE: [Previous translation continues] ... precisely what it
10 was that Walker said to Loncar. He wasn't there. We've gone through that
11 exercise already. We've looked at -- we can look at what Loncar says in
12 his statement, and is the matter relevant in any event?
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Were you at that meeting, Colonel?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving interpretation. I
15 just didn't hear any interpretation. I can't hear anything from the
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well -- are you now hearing?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I can now hear.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the witness was not at that
20 meeting. How will he be in a position to say what Loncar said?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't ask what Loncar said. I
22 asked what Walker said.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: What Walker said. I mean, how will he be in a
24 position to answer that?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understood, Mr. Robinson -- of
1 course he cannot answer if he did not attend the meeting, but I understood
2 that he did attend the meeting.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Colonel, did you attend that first meeting of Loncar and Walker?
5 A. Yesterday or the day before yesterday, I said that there was
6 General Loncar, Mr. Walker, Colonel Mijatovic from the MUP of Kosovo and
7 Metohija, and a lady interpreter named Gordana from the outpost of the
8 Foreign Ministry in Pristina, and myself.
9 Q. So you were at the meeting.
10 A. Yes, and it's in the report.
11 Q. Was it the --
12 MR. NICE: That meeting he's talking about, as opposed to that
13 meeting between Loncar and the accused, I don't think I asked him any
14 questions about that meeting, and this really is about as tangential an
15 issue as you can have.
16 JUDGE KWON: You asked the questions about the meeting.
17 MR. NICE: I don't think about that meeting. I asked about the
18 meeting with Milosevic, the accused. Because what was being suggested was
19 how -- I'm reluctant to take time. It's being suggested that Walker asked
20 to have Loncar there as opposed to Loncar being volunteered by the
21 accused, something like that.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I'm going to allow the question on the
23 basis that it can be said that it arises if only tangentially.
24 So let us move on, Mr. Milosevic. Did you get an answer to the
25 question that you asked?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I only wanted to hear what Walker
2 had said.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Was that the first meeting between Walker and Loncar?
5 A. I believe that Loncar -- in fact, Walker also met the chief of our
6 outpost, Slana, on the -- at the official meeting for the first time 15th
7 or 16th November, although he may have met with him unofficially earlier.
8 Q. What did Walker say on that occasion?
9 A. Walker said to Loncar that he apologised to him for taking him
10 away from the carefree leisure he had in his retirement, the walks with
11 his grandson, et cetera. Because he had previously talked to you in
12 Belgrade, he asked Dr. Loncar because they had had good cooperation in
13 Slavonia and he remembered him.
14 Q. Thank you. We are not going to dwell on that any longer. As for
15 Walker's objectivity, could you please put on the ELMO just the first page
16 and the last of page this Alliance for New Kosovo website paper. It
17 says: "Kosovo should be an independent state in the full sense of the
18 word." So that is this alliance. Let us see the page.
19 MR. NICE: I'm not sure what this is said to relate to. I see how
20 it's been introduced. Walker's objectivity. I didn't ask any questions
21 about that. So I'd like to know where we're going.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the thrust of my questioning
23 will become quite clear. I can't see it on the ELMO, though. Right.
24 That's it. Could you please show the upper part so we can see the
25 heading. Yes. Right. Okay.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: No, don't ask the question yet.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see the last page now? Could
3 you please show the last page now. It says: "Ambassador William Walker,
4 former Special Representative of the UN in Eastern Slavonia ... and leader
5 of the Kosovo Verification Mission." And then it goes on to enumerate
6 members of this board of directors of that association. This relates to
7 the questions that you answered concerning the objectivity and honesty of
8 William Walker. Is he --
9 MR. NICE: I can't remember asking any such questions. If I did,
10 I did but I can't remember asking them. In any event, how does this
11 arise? This is simply an effort to get in something that the accused
12 believes may be unfavourable to Walker or may present Ambassador Walker in
13 an unfavourable light to the audience he's playing to, and it's wasting
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: How does it arise, Mr. Milosevic?
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All this time Mr. Nice is trying to
17 prove that the Verification Mission acted without bias and objectively,
18 which is completely untrue. This is one of the proofs what that mission
19 was like, and he has his hands in blood up to -- his arms in blood up to
20 his shoulders, all the way back from Salvador.
21 [Trial Chamber confers]
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: The Chamber will not allow the question,
23 Mr. Milosevic. Ask another question.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honours, would Your Honours look at the last
25 sentence, and I invite the Chamber to discipline this accused. This is
1 not a place for this accused to vent that type of observation from
2 whatever emotions drive him against somebody who isn't here to answer
3 them. It is quite improper. And frankly, if he can't behave properly, he
4 should not be allowed to conduct his defence. I'm not here to defend
5 witnesses, but it is absolutely outrageous that this court can be used for
6 that sort of observation about a person who has been here as a witness and
7 who is a man of international reputation. I say nothing more about it
8 than that. Absolutely outrageous, and it should be stopped.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: What statement are you referring to? I'm trying
10 to see the statement to which you're referring.
11 MR. NICE: I'm not going to repeat it. It begins, "This is one of
12 the proofs ..." What is said about this man is quite unacceptable and
13 shouldn't be allowed in any court.
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you must be careful in the
16 comments that you make, the way you put questions concerning the character
17 of witnesses, unless you have evidence to support what it is that you are
19 Do you have any other questions for this re-examination, bearing
20 in mind the scope, the limits, and the purpose of re-examination?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Certainly. I always bear it in
22 mind. My re-examination is extremely short, Mr. Robinson. Just a few
23 more questions, please.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Colonel, you received here a statement of one soldier who was not
1 named, and I am not going to name him myself, nor am I going to quote the
2 statement. But Mr. Nice questioned you about some sort of activity that
3 was aimed at directing Albanian civilians towards Korenica where allegedly
4 men from the MUP were waiting for them with lists of terrorists, and then
5 that area was cleansed, as was said here, from Albanians. And you, in
6 your answer, said that it was not at all the objective of that operation.
7 Do you remember?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What was the objective of that operation?
10 A. The objective of that operation was for the area of Reka which,
11 according to our estimates, had --
12 Q. It's not Reka. It's an area facing Korenica.
13 A. That entire area from Junik to Djakovica is called Reka. The
14 objective was only to crush the terrorist forces in that area. We
15 assessed that there was a brigade in that area about a hundred men strong.
16 Q. In one item in paragraph 42 in his statement - let me see - he
17 said, as it says, "After civilians left, we set the houses on fire [In
18 English] as this was the order."
19 [Interpretation] Now, please, was there any order at any level
20 issued on the part of the offices of the army of Yugoslavia, that is to
21 say from the platoon commander, the lowest-level unit, not to go through
22 all the units up to the top of the chain, to set any house intentionally
23 on fire, and I stress intentionally.
24 A. Mr. Milosevic, we in the army had and have very capable officers,
25 less capable officers, and incapable officers, but we didn't have any who
1 were mentally deranged, and an order like that could have been issued only
2 by someone who was mentally deranged, and I have no knowledge of anybody
3 being like that in the army of Yugoslavia, any deranged officers.
4 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, in paragraph 44 he goes on to say that a
5 soldier from our battalion, he says, was killed. Was it possible that
6 civilians killed this soldier from his battalion in his battalion?
7 A. No. I know that the unit did suffer one casualty. There was one
8 death. I knew that Vukovic -- with Vukovic there were several wounded
9 persons and one killed person. So they did suffer casualties during the
11 Q. All right. Now, in paragraph 45, and I don't want to mention
12 names, to name names, I don't wish to say that I have identified witnesses
13 in this way, but anyway, he was a captain, ordered the four Albanian
14 hostages "to carry [In English] the body of our killed soldier,"
15 [Interpretation] and so on and so forth.
16 Now, I'm interested in this word "hostages." Did the unit of the
17 Yugoslav army take hostages at all at any time during any kind of action
18 or operation against the KLA?
19 A. This is the first time that I hear of anything like that, that
20 somebody took hostages when it comes to the Yugoslav army.
21 Q. All right, fine. Thank you, Colonel. And just a few more
22 questions for you now. At the beginning, Mr. Nice -- that is to say at
23 the beginning of the cross-examination, Mr. Nice asked you what you were
24 doing at that time, during the material time. Now, throughout the time
25 you performed your work as head of the team of the Pristina Corps for
1 liaising with the Verification Mission. Throughout that time did you
2 retain your post and position as chief of the service of the artillery in
3 the corps?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Infantry -- sorry, infantry; interpreter's
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. And did you have your liaising job to do with the team?
10 A. Yes. All the officers in the battalions conducted their regular
11 affairs and also their job as liaison officer. At the time, I had three
12 functions to perform. I was the head of the team for liaising with the
13 Verification Mission on behalf of the Pristina Corps. I was Mr. Loncar's
14 assistant in the federal commission for relations with the Verification
15 Mission, and I was chief of the artillery service in the infantry service
16 until the 10th of March. Until the 10th of March, I was just a member of
17 the team for the Verification Mission. After that, I continued to be
18 chief of infantry, and I was no longer Loncar's assistant because General
19 Brankovic arrived.
20 Q. All right. Now, Mr. Nice said you were replaced from your duty,
21 which is something that Ciaglinski claimed in his statement. You said
22 that it wasn't that you were replaced but that there was a reshuffling.
23 Were you in fact replaced?
24 A. No, I was not.
25 Q. Yesterday you mentioned a diagram or schematic of the organisation
1 that we saw at the beginning of the General Staff, then the team of the
2 General Staff, the team of the 3rd Army, the team of the Pristina Corps.
3 We saw all that.
4 A. There were no longer the Pristina Corps team. There was just one
5 unified team of the army and the Pristina Corps. They provided one team,
6 one single team.
7 Q. All right. Now, tell me, up to the 10th of March, what did
8 General Brankovic do? What was his function?
9 A. Brankovic came from Belgrade on the 10th with a team of the 26
10 verifiers, the new ones who came with a knowledge of the English language
11 to replace the liaison officers in all the garrisons and in all the border
12 battalions, and people from the army of Yugoslavia came who knew English,
13 who could speak English. And Brankovic was among them. He came with
15 Q. Now, with that reshuffling and reorganisation, was the army team
16 joined up with the corps team so that instead of having two teams you had
17 one team?
18 A. Yes, I said that. Two merged to create one. From the army and
19 Pristina Corps one team was set up. Until the reorganisation was put in
20 place, led -- at the head of the army team, we had General Mladenovic, and
21 his deputy was Selovic [phoen]. And you can see that from all the
22 signatures up until the 10th. From the 10th onwards you only see the
23 signature of Colonel Petrovic who was at the head of that joint team. And
24 you can see that by the signatures. It was no longer the old army
25 Pristina team. It was reorganised to form a single team with the changes
1 that were put in place.
2 Q. After about a week after the reorganisation, the mission
3 precipitously withdrew from Kosovo and Metohija.
4 A. On the 20th in the early morning hours it set off.
5 Q. These 26 officers who knew English and the general reshuffling and
6 enlargement of the team and making the organisation simpler by abolishing
7 the different levels in the team, would anybody have done that for just a
8 space of some seven days or was that in fact done under the assumption
9 that the cooperation would be long-lasting, or longer lasting?
10 A. Well, nobody would conduct a reorganisation of that kind, bring in
11 so many officers, train them in their job if they thought it was going to
12 last so long. At a lecture given by General DZ which was held with the
13 goal of cooperation, what he expected, the problems he encountered and so
14 on, so he held a lecture to those officers in the army club of the 15th
15 Brigade where that course was taking place.
16 Q. So Ciaglinski, in the statement shown to you by Mr. Nice, says
17 that the team came to upset relations with the mission. Can you comment
18 on that?
19 A. That is very silly. I told him that a team would come in to
20 improve the work of the team, because they knew the language, and that was
21 their sole undertaking and job, because the officers had other business to
22 attend to. And I think in my notebook it says that on two occasions we
23 discussed this matter and they said that there were problems with liaison
24 officers in more subordinate units, and there's a document by the corps
25 commander. So this was a necessity and was taken up in several of the
1 reports where it says that one united team should be created from the army
2 team and Pristina team and that other officers should be brought in, and
3 that was indeed done. In the space of one month the officers were trained
4 and so on and so forth.
5 Q. Now, in any way whatsoever could we explain matters as Ciaglinski
6 explained it, because he says that you were replaced to have better
7 relations with the mission.
8 A. No. That's a complete lie, completely incorrect, and he said many
9 other things like that too, along those lines. I don't want to comment on
10 them now.
11 Q. Now, with respect to the questions that had to do with how you
12 were able to establish that he testified, was it in public session that
13 everything was stated except the name when Ciaglinski testified?
14 A. Yes. A high-ranking officer from the command said and drew on the
15 map. I personally followed that part of the proceedings, and everybody
16 could deduce who it was because you knew who he -- we knew who he
17 contacted, who he was in contact with. He was in daily contact with me.
18 Q. All right. That's all I wanted to clarify. Now, Mr. Nice also
19 asked you what you were doing. You said a moment ago that you were a
20 chief of the infantry service in the corps, and by virtue of that
21 function, you were a member of the corps, were you not, by the same token?
22 A. Yes, I was.
23 Q. So is that unusual? Because in your career you were a brigade
24 commander --
25 A. Yes, for six years I was a brigade commander.
1 Q. So after the brigade commander, you went to the staff corps and
2 were head of the infantry service which made up 80 per cent of the corps.
3 A. No, 60 per cent of the corps.
4 Q. Right, 60 per cent of the corps. Now, is it usual that a corps
5 commander sends one of his assistants, a member of the staff, out into the
6 terrain on the ground to somebody in the corps to check out and verify the
7 situation, to carry out an inspection, to establish the difficulties they
8 were encountering, and to report back? Was that customary or not?
9 A. No. That is the chief of a service, that he should do this, and
10 that was a motorised company, and I was head of the 125th Brigade at
11 Kosare at one time. And after the breakthrough at Kosare, I was sent
12 there urgently to assess the situation and help the brigade command in
13 solving its problems, and that's what we did throughout that time; that
14 was our basic task.
15 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly be asked to slow down
16 for the benefit of the interpreters and the Court. Thank you.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic and the witness, the interpreter is
18 asking you to slow down.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Commenting on questions related to Racak, Mr. Nice said that the
21 action was launched against the village. Now, I'm asking you as a
22 professional soldier, as a professional man, if the police enters a
23 village in search of terrorists, is the action being waged against the
24 village? Can that be qualified in that way?
25 A. Well, no, you can't use an expression like that. It's completely
1 distorted. Just like it's not a whole nation that is to blame for
2 something, so also you don't carry out an action against a whole village.
3 Q. You dwelt during the cross-examination on tab 14 for some time,
4 and Mr. Nice also showed you something from some sort of blue book, a
5 report on events which were described in a document of yours found in tab
6 14. Now, could you explain just briefly, please, Colonel, in that tab,
7 tab 14, as far as I was able to follow, it was the -- the minutes of a
8 meeting and said that Drewienkiewicz personally checked out the
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. He established that they were not correct, and as far as I
12 remember having heard, but you can read it out here, he said that was
13 normal, legitimate activity. That's how he qualified it, and that's what
14 was recorded in those minutes.
15 A. Yes, that's right. Let me just take a moment to find it. This is
16 what he said. I'll read it out to you slowly. I heard last time or,
17 rather, I was told that I was speaking too fast last time. Ciaglinski
18 said that General DZ was in Kacanik and Ivaja, and that he established
19 that there had been conflicts, that there was firing, that certain houses
20 were damaged but that there was no plundering. Instead, certain houses
21 from which members of the KLA had fired were searched, which they
22 considered to be a normal procedure. Therefore, the situation is not even
23 remotely such as described by some media and the KLA, with the latter
24 claiming that villages had been destroyed, burnt, et cetera. He added
25 that we had a witness on the ground who would refute the KLA allegations
1 in his report.
2 Q. Explain to us now, please, how come he informed you of this and of
3 these minutes of that date, that he would deny the allegations, refute
4 them, and then in the blue book which was shown to you by Mr. Nice it says
5 what Drewienkiewicz in fact established was not true and correct.
6 A. I'd just like to say that these minutes were kept by Mr. Soskic
7 from the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, their sector, and you had
8 all the people there who were in embassies. He was a very reliable man.
9 He knew English well. Slana, as the head of that sector, signed the
10 document of that field office, and there was no reason why our document
11 from our conversation should be falsified or something else written other
12 than had actually taken place at the meeting.
13 Now, when the blue book is mentioned here, I'd just like to say
14 what I already said once before, that I doubted the sincerity of the
15 reporting and the veracity of the reporting. When you asked me whether it
16 was proper reporting or not I said that I doubted that it was. With
17 respect to what Mr. Nice showed me in the blue book and what happened here
18 tells us in fact that things were written up differently. I know that
19 they had one team who did not allow the verifiers to check out matters on
20 the ground. And there were even cases where some people didn't wish to
21 sign a record that was compiled and that was placed as an exhibit here.
22 There are documents about the explosion of a mine near Morina. They came
23 to conduct an on-site investigation. They said that it was a serious
24 border incident. But when it came to signing the minutes and record, they
25 didn't want to say that we're going to send it to Pristina, you'll be
2 Now, in Pristina, within the frameworks of the Verification
3 Mission, they had the body where they collected all the information, and
4 then they would grade the information that came in and decide what was
5 what, what was more important and what was less important. But as I say,
6 they didn't trust all the verifiers because they didn't have enough
7 experience to be able to verify the situation on the ground. So if DZ, if
8 General DZ was not able to verify something on the spot as a general, then
9 I don't know how the team could have done that either, and who was best
10 placed to determine what was what, whereas these minutes cannot be taken
11 as having been written like that, as Mr. Nice suggested, just for
12 ourselves. We inform our -- this is to inform our own organs. So we
13 can't disinform them. That wasn't our goal.
14 Q. Thank you, Colonel. I have something in relation to what Mr. Nice
15 asked you which had to do with the statement made by Ciaglinski, who said
16 the following -- we're not going to go into matters we've already cleared
17 up but he said you gave him or you provided him with maps of the positions
18 which NATO used later on.
19 A. That's a complete lie. Mr. Ciaglinski asked, and I think he was
20 there with an Irish brigadier general at the time when he came to see me,
21 if I remember correctly. I'm not quite sure but he did come several times
22 with a brigadier general from Ireland to attend the meeting with
23 Ciaglinski and myself, and I think that I might have given him those maps
24 in his presence. They asked for the maps to have different sources of
25 information. They had certain maps, we had certain maps, so there was
1 some discrepancy between those maps, and the scale was 1:100.000, as I've
2 said, without the deployment of units, and I think that Ciaglinski showed
3 the map. If the map is in existence, I would like to see it.
4 Q. All right. Now, if I understood you correctly, you provided them
5 with these maps to avoid any misunderstanding because of the discrepancy
6 in the maps, the different maps that the Verification Mission had and the
7 maps that we had.
8 A. Yes, that was the basic reason.
9 Q. So that's what you did, with the knowledge of your superior
10 officers, without any - how shall I put this? - without any other
11 complications that this would involve.
12 A. No, no complications or impediments at all. I was a member of the
13 staff team in the corps, and I informed them of all the events, and they
14 would receive written reports every day. So everybody knew about that.
15 It wasn't anything underhand. I had to receive the maps first, and once I
16 had received the maps myself, then I handed them on. And we have to be
17 issued maps, and when we're issued maps, we have to say why we need them;
18 whether for training, for a war plan, or whatever. You can't just take
19 maps without giving a reason for why you need them.
20 Q. Yes. That's quite understandable, of course. So thank you,
21 Colonel. I have no further questions for you.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] And that concludes my
23 re-examination, as you see, Mr. Robinson, in the briefest possible time.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Colonel Kotur, that concludes your testimony.
25 Thank you for coming to give it.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you too.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: You may leave.
3 MR. NICE: Can I explain my position -- I beg Your Honour's
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: The notebook may be returned to the witness. It
6 has been copied.
7 MR. NICE: Yes. When the witness has withdrawn I will make one
8 observation about that and one observation, with your leave, in private
10 [The witness withdrew]
11 MR. NICE: Your Honours, overnight we've looked again at the text
12 of that book, and this morning another look at the book itself. I
13 certainly don't seek it to become an exhibit. Something deeply
14 unsatisfactory about this sort of material which was rather trailed for us
15 to ask to see by an observation of the accused. I accept nothing about
16 that document. I don't accept that it's genuine or contemporaneous, and
17 it -- the whole circumstances of its production make it increasingly
18 important that we should have access to, wherever possible with these
19 witnesses, contemporaneous documents provided pursuant to our RFAs in
21 There would have been questions to ask about -- some questions to
22 ask about the content of the book, but it would have taken far too long,
23 and it didn't seem to us therefore worth seeking to have it made an
25 May I invite the Chamber to give me one minute in private session
1 for a reason that I think will be justified.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
3 JUDGE KWON: Just before that, could you tell us the reason why
4 you believe that notebook is not a contemporaneous one?
5 MR. NICE: There are several reasons why I'm not prepared to
6 accept that it's contemporaneous. Just looking at the notebook itself,
7 the way it's been written, its pristine condition, the inks, the selected
8 dates. All sorts of reasons that simply cast serious doubt in the mind of
9 an inquiring --
10 JUDGE KWON: So that does not necessarily mean that the witness
11 made up the notebook.
12 MR. NICE: I can't say. His answers about the notebook were also
13 extraordinary, in my -- in our submission, saying he didn't make
14 notebooks, he did make notebooks, somehow he had this one which was an
15 official notebook but it hadn't been registered to him and that's the
16 reason he kept it.
17 But if you look at the notebook itself -- I mean, he's still here,
18 you can have a look at it, but I'm not inviting you to do so -- there is
19 not continuity of dates, the writing appears all to have been done at a
20 piece, but that's not a matter for me really to say. There are all sorts
21 of reasons why this is not a document one would let in without careful
22 examination if it was central to the case.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, it is regrettable that you are making
24 these comments about the witness and the notebook when you did not seek to
25 put those questions to the witness.
1 MR. NICE: There was no time. This document was produced at the
2 last minute. And this is exactly the problem that the accused is creating
3 for us. If he wishes to rely on contemporaneous documents -- and you see,
4 he trailed the problem for us by saying -- I have it here. There's --
5 it's in your materials. You have a document.
6 We reached exactly this sort of problem. Now, here's a man who --
7 forget this man. All these witnesses that we've been hearing from are
8 witnesses who made contemporaneous documents that should have been
9 provided either under RFAs or in advance of their giving evidence, and it
10 is the Court that is being inconvenienced in the extreme by having to deal
11 with these issues at the last minute or, alternatively, simply not dealing
12 with them because I decline to do so because I can't do so in the time
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Nice, I doubt if you would have tolerated these
15 remarks from the accused, because what you've done is say, well, we'll not
16 exhibit this - so that means it's not before the Trial Chamber - but
17 nevertheless here is why, and by implication, inviting us to reflect these
18 submissions in our assessment of the witness. And I want to make it clear
19 here and now that these comments will not, as presently advised because
20 they have no status, form any part of my assessment of this witness. The
21 situation may, of course, change between now and that stage, but I think
22 it right to make that clear at this point.
23 MR. NICE: I'm quite happy with that. I explained my position and
24 I don't wish it to form any part of the evidence or consideration one way
25 or another. But the general point remains that this type of document,
1 when it's produced to us in the way it is being produced, creates this
2 generic type of problem, and the Court knows that it is being toyed with
3 by the authorities - forget this witness - in non-production of
4 documents --
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: I don't know that, Mr. Nice, and that is another
6 regrettable comment. You are a senior Prosecutor and a professional, and
7 you have to be as careful with the comments that you make as the accused
8 has to be too. That's irresponsible. The Court does not know that it is
9 being toyed with by the authorities. That is not the position of this
11 JUDGE BONOMY: And may I say two things. I recognise the general
12 point - I think it's the one valid point you're making - that there does
13 appear to be difficulty in getting hands-on contemporaneous material.
14 That's a perfectly valid comment. But the second point is this: You know
15 now that there is to be a hearing in relation to attempts to recover
16 certain material. You know, therefore, that there is to be a forum very
17 shortly for you to make appropriate comments along the lines that you've
18 now embarked upon when it will be appropriate for all parties who need to
19 to make comments. So this is not the time, I would suggest, for that sort
20 of assertion to be made.
21 MR. NICE: As Your Honours please. And I will indeed make good my
22 observations at that hearing. I know there is a hearing. I don't yet
23 know the detail of its purpose. I know about it in only the most general
24 terms. And I'll end this, if I may, with a repetition and emphasis of the
25 fact that the accused must know that this Chamber will be assisted by
1 advance production of contemporaneous documents to which witnesses can
2 speak and that this Court is inconvenienced in the extreme by not having
3 that material to hand.
4 Your Honours, may we go into private session for the other matter,
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
7 [Private session]
11 Page 47599 redacted. Private session.
11 Page 47600 redacted. Private session.
1 [Open session]
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Are we in public session now?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In relation to the objections raised
5 by Mr. Nice concerning the notebook of Colonel Kotur, I assume that you
6 are aware of the fact, like I am, that he expressed some rather grave
7 doubts, inter alia that all of it was written at the same time, that it's
8 not authentic, and so on, not genuine. And he also said that it was in
9 pristine condition. I have had books for decades that are in pristine
10 condition. This can only testify to the fact that Colonel Kotur is a tidy
11 person. But please, experts can have a look at this. He mentioned ink
12 and whatever. They can say, the experts, whether this is contemporaneous
13 or not. That's quite easy.
14 Another thing I wanted to say. I also did not know that he had
15 this notebook. I wish to remind you of the fact that in response to some
16 question he quite simply said that he remembered that because he had it
17 written down in his notebook, and that's how it happened in the first
18 place that this notebook was brought up. There was no intention of using
19 that notebook for the simple reason that I had not know about it. Had he
20 told me during the proofing, "I have a notebook," I would have read it, or
21 Professor Rakic would have read it, or one of my associates would have
22 read it. So it cropped up spontaneously. Colonel Kotur had it on him and
23 in your own presence you saw how this notebook appeared.
24 I would not accept that, voicing suspicions of this kind vis-a-vis
25 a high-ranking officer of the Yugoslav army concerning a notebook that he
1 mentioned with good intentions and even proffered here when asked for it.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Mr. Milosevic. The Chamber commented
3 on the remarks by the Prosecutor. In fact, reprimanded him for those
4 remarks. They're not part of the evidence. And I take note of your
5 observation that some people are better custodians of their books than
7 Your next witness.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I just raise an administrative
9 matter before the next witness? It's not going to take up more than a few
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, yes.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, could you please make
13 a decision regarding my medical treatment at the institute in Moscow? I
14 would like to note that since August I have had difficulties, and that was
15 established at the Leiden University as well by Dr. Dalal, and this
16 bothers me a great deal. Experts at the Moscow institute think that they
17 have -- that these problems are of a vascular origin, and they think they
18 can help. I believe that this kind of medical treatment is indispensable
19 for me, so could you kindly rule on it.
20 That's all I had to say, nothing else.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. The Chamber recently received the last
22 piece of information necessary for it to give full consideration to this
23 matter, and we'll be giving a decision shortly.
24 Your next witness.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The next witness is Professor
1 Dr. Branko Kostic.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let the witness make the declaration.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: You may sit.
7 And you may begin, Mr. Milosevic.
8 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Examined by Mr. Milosevic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Professor Kostic.
12 A. Good morning, Mr. Milosevic.
13 Q. Could you please state the briefest possible information about
14 yourself. Where were you born? Where did you live? Where do you live
16 A. I was born on the 28th of August, 1939 in Rvasi, near Rijeka
17 Crnojevica, municipality of Cetinje in Montenegro. I completed elementary
18 school in Rvasi, my native village, and I continued schooling while
19 staying in boarding schools or orphanages, because my father was executed
20 by Italian fascists in 1942. So I spent my childhood years in orphanages.
21 Zagreb, Herceg-Novi and Kotor are the towns where I went to school, and I
22 completed my secondary education in Titograd, now Podgorica. I graduated
23 from the University of Belgrade school of economics, and that's the same
24 university where I got my master's degree and ultimately my Ph.D.
25 Practically, after I finished university and after finishing my military
1 service, which I did at the school of reserve officers in Zadar at the
2 artillery school, and after doing my internship in Niksic, after that I
3 started living in Podgorica, Montenegro, and that's where I live to the
4 present day. I'm married. My wife is also a Ph.D. -- also has a Ph.D. in
5 economics, and she is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts too of
6 Montenegro. We have two daughters. The older daughter has doctorate in
7 electrotechnical studies and she works as an electrical engineering
8 researcher, and my younger daughter has a doctorate in law, international
9 private law, and she works as a senior lecturer at the University of
10 Montenegro in Podgorica.
11 Q. Thank you. Can you tell us briefly what your career was, what
12 positions you held, and briefly about your political career as well.
13 A. My first professional position was a political position at the
14 same time, and that was the organisation secretary of the University
15 Committee of the League of Communists of the University of Belgrade. I
16 spent a year and a half in that position as a university student. It was
17 a professional job, though, so practically, once I graduated, I came back
18 to Podgorica, to Titograd, with a year and a half of service. After that
19 for five years I worked as a professional president of the youth
20 organisation of Montenegro, and then at my own request, because I did not
21 want to get too far away from my professional line of work, I started
22 working at the aluminum combine which was being founded at that time, and
23 I was commercial manager and general manager there for ten years.
24 After that, I started working at the University of Montenegro, the
25 technical faculties there, and for eight years I worked at the Institute
1 for Technical Research there, and at the same time I taught the students
2 of all technical faculties. I actually lectured them on political
3 economy. That is part of the general curriculum at technical faculties.
4 And practically until my retirement last year or, rather, the year before
5 last I was retired as a full professor. And in the meantime, I had a few
6 political positions as well.
7 From 1986 until 1989, I was vice-president of the Executive
8 Council of Montenegro in the government of Mr. Vuk Vukadinovic. After
9 that, I was president of the Presidency of Montenegro for two years.
10 After being relieved of that duty, I was for a few months president of the
11 delegation of Montenegro in the Chamber of Republics and Provinces of the
12 Federal Assembly of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. And
13 after that, I was elected to the Presidency of the SFRY, and a month and a
14 half later I became vice-president of the Presidency of the SFRY.
15 After having held that office, around the 15th of June, 1992, I
16 withdrew from political life. I returned to the University of Montenegro,
17 and that's where I ended my career.
18 Q. Could you tell me briefly what the position of the Presidency of
19 Montenegro was when you were in that position.
20 A. The president -- I was president of the Presidency of Montenegro
21 in the period from 1989 until 1990. According to the constitution of
22 Montenegro, this was a collective organ in the republic. In addition to
23 myself, there were four other members of the Presidency, and it can be
24 said that, according to the constitution, this was largely a ceremonial
25 post because it was the government that actually was in charge of
1 conducting domestic and foreign policies. But it was a highly
2 representative function. In the hierarchy, it was the top position, the
3 top office in the Republic of Montenegro, and we received regular
4 information, not only about what was going on in Montenegro but what was
5 going on in the SFRY.
6 Q. All right. 1989 and 1990; right? So you received regular
7 information about what went on in Yugoslavia, throughout Yugoslavia.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Is that how I can understand what you've just said now?
10 A. Yes, that's right.
11 Q. After that, after 1990, you were president of the delegation of
12 Montenegro in the Chamber of Republics and Provinces in the Federal
14 A. Well, as for that office, like in any country, it is the
15 parliament and the legislation, therefore, of the country. But as
16 president of the delegation of Montenegro in that Assembly, of course we
17 followed all developments which already then became rather dramatic. And
18 we received information, perhaps not in such great detail like when I was
19 president of the Presidency. There were some bulletins that were issued
20 by the Secretariat of the Interior of the republic, but also the federal
21 secretariat, of the interior, that is. So these were the bulletins
23 We also had bulletins containing information from our foreign
24 service, the diplomatic service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
25 Q. You're talking about confidential information here.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And also everyday life. While you were president of the
3 Presidency of Montenegro, as for this confidential information coming from
4 the foreign service and coming from the interior, did you have knowledge
5 about everything that happened in Yugoslavia?
6 A. Well, yes, because as that kind of officeholder, I had
7 consultations, meetings, talks, in addition to the regular type of
8 information that any citizen receives from the media. We followed the
9 work of the government, of the republic, and of the federal government
10 too, so we were kept abreast of developments.
11 Q. As for Montenegro, what was your position and what were your
13 A. When the change of government took place, when all of this
14 happened, and often they were referred to in our part of the world as the
15 happening of the people. I was Prime Minister at the time, so with all
16 this turbulence and these mass rallies, no one asked the government of
17 Montenegro to resign, but nevertheless we as the government were the first
18 to resign. Not because somebody had asked us to do that but because we
19 thought that since resignations were sought at these mass rallies from the
20 holders of top political positions in the federation of Yugoslavia, we
21 thought that we as the government should submit our resignation straight
22 away and in this way we could lead to an alleviation of the situation, to
23 the cooling of passions, because not everybody was asked to resign.
24 However, we thought that in this way it would be easier for the others to
25 resign, too, whose resignations were really being asked for. It was a
1 rather dramatic time in Titograd.
2 Q. What were the reasons of this mass dissatisfaction of the citizens
3 as far as the policy of the up-to-then-leadership of Montenegro was
5 A. An explanation of this would probably require a lengthy answer,
6 but I'll try to be brief.
7 Q. As brief as possible.
8 A. As brief as possible. There were several reasons. In my
9 assessment, and perhaps that is due to the fact that, well, I'm a
10 professional economist, I'm convinced that one of the main reasons for the
11 fact that it happened precisely at that time is of an economic nature.
12 I'm talking about now I experienced this in Montenegro.
13 The entire economy of Montenegro was in a high state of crisis at
14 that time. It was about to collapse. And not only the Presidency of
15 Montenegro that I was elected to later but also the previous Presidency of
16 Montenegro, which was chaired by academician Dr. Bozin Ivanovic [phoen] at
17 the time, and also the government of Montenegro, the previous one and the
18 new one, kept going back to this very bad economic situation in
19 Montenegro. And how should I put this? We were always really furious
20 with the federal government and Mr. Ante Markovic as we were sure that he
21 started dealing with political matters more and the establishment of his
22 own political party rather than as federal Prime Minister, deal with
23 economic matters and make it possible to have a better economic situation
24 in Montenegro.
25 Let me just give an example of what was going on in the economic
1 field. Montenegro was an underdeveloped area, and as some other
2 underdeveloped areas in Montenegro, from the fund for the accelerated
3 development of the underdeveloped areas of Yugoslavia, it received aid.
4 This was the time of one-party system, so the Presidency and the Central
5 Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia and the Presidency of
6 Yugoslavia as a state organ and as the government believed that
7 Montenegro, in spite of that aid, was lacking behind in its development
8 and it required additional resources.
9 Therefore, in the desire to speed up the development of
10 Montenegro, it was made possible for Montenegro to borrow abroad, and
11 Montenegro did get additional borrowing from abroad. At that time our
12 currency was not convertible, as it is today. We had dinars, Yugoslav
13 dinars, and these foreign currency loans were obtained by Montenegro not
14 in foreign currency but in dinars from the national bank of Yugoslavia.
15 However, the foreign currency that was in the national bank was available
16 to much better developed economies in Croatia and Slovenia, and they used
17 them to develop their economic capacities. But when time came to pay
18 back, Montenegro had to pay back in foreign currency.
19 Due to the general economic situation, enterprises in Montenegro
20 had to use all their resources to do that, because they had to use the
21 dinars to buy the foreign currency from the national bank to pay back the
22 loans. And a solution was found in the federal government to help
23 Montenegro deal with foreign currency discrepancies, changes in foreign
24 exchange rates.
25 What happened, the federal government and Prime Minister Ante
1 Markovic were almost a year late in paying to Montenegro these exchange
2 rate differences and Montenegro had no choice but to take short-term loans
3 on the market.
4 Q. To cut a long story short, the behaviour of the federal government
5 put Montenegro in a very unenviable position economically.
6 A. I was coming to that. Only for interest rates on the loans that
7 Montenegro had to take due to this lateness of aid from the federal
8 government, Montenegro had to take 300 billion dinars.
9 In addition to these economic difficulties, we had other
10 difficulties, but we -- when we put it all together, our people say that
11 we were too greedy maybe. We wanted cake rather than bread. And this all
12 resulted in these mass demonstrations, rallies. But not only that. There
13 began certain displays of nationalism. And that dated back to a long time
14 ago. We all know about the Croatian spring of 1971. And because of their
15 participation in that nationalist movement, some people, including some
16 who later became important officials, including Stipe Mesic, went to
17 prison. In 1981 there were mass demonstrations of extremists and
18 separatists in Kosovo. Later, especially after Tito's death in 1980, the
19 situation in Kosovo deteriorated and the secessionist forces gained
21 Republics, and especially leaderships in Slovenia and Croatia,
22 even back then evidently supported the separatist leadership in Kosovo,
23 reckoning that if the situation gets tough over there, if there is an
24 insurgency, that would make it easier for them to secede and become
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I appreciate the need for this
2 kind of information, but it's more helpful to proceed by way of question
3 and answer rather than a long narrative.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Professor Kostic, you've just explained for the most part the
6 reasons for popular discontent. They were mainly economic, but also
7 political to some extent. Could we summarise it that way?
8 A. Precisely.
9 Q. What were the demands, popular demands at that time?
10 A. Well, you see, in Montenegro there were a lot of our people,
11 citizens of Montenegro, who both after the First and the Second World War
12 populated one part of Kosovo and Metohija called Metohija. There were a
13 lot of Montenegrin migrants in that area. And you have to know that
14 Montenegro is very small and we all know each other. Those migrants in
15 Kosovo left behind their families, extended families, relatives. And
16 there was this decade-long pressure.
17 Q. Pressure on whom?
18 A. On Montenegrins in Kosovo who had to go back to Montenegro, and
19 that created discontent among our people, because Montenegro viewed
20 federal authorities as not active enough. And you have to know that after
21 the First World War, Pec had the largest number of Montenegrins relative
22 to the overall population.
23 Q. What happened later?
24 A. Well, the Serbian leadership managed to obtain the agreement of
25 the federal party leadership, the Central Committee, and so on, to adopt
1 constitutional amendments, because until that time, Serbia was in an
2 unequal position compared to others. It had two autonomous provinces, and
3 the Assemblies of these provinces were able to adopt legislation without
4 the approval of Serbia, whereas Serbia was unable to adopt any legislation
5 without the approval of both provinces. And I think that a tug-of-war at
6 the federal level lasted for two or three years, and finally Serbia
7 managed to amend its constitution. And it's completely untrue to say that
8 Serbia put an end to the autonomy of the provinces in that way.
9 The leaderships in Kosovo and Metohija on one hand, and in
10 Vojvodina on the other hand, had secessionist -- or, rather, autonomist
11 leanings and only a popular movement could contribute to bringing about a
12 change in these leaderships as well.
13 What I was saying about the situation in Montenegro a moment ago
14 means that it affected us as well. Our Montenegrin leadership was rather
15 indifferent, or seemed rather indifferent to the fate of Montenegrins in
16 Kosovo who had to leave, and their conduct caused a revolt.
17 In August 1988 [Realtime transcript read in error "1998"] - and
18 you have to know that the month of August is an extremely hot month in
19 Montenegro, with temperatures going up to 40 or even 45 degrees Centigrade
20 - there was a rally that was supposed to be organised in the afternoon
21 when the heat is not so bad. It was scheduled for 4.00 p.m. The minister
22 of the interior allowed that rally to happen but only at noon and the
23 masses, the people understood this as a provocation, and that also caused
24 more discontent.
25 Q. How did these protest rallies end?
1 A. Well, the longer they lasted, the more people rallied, and the
2 leadership, the party leadership included, were asked to resign. So the
3 state leadership of Montenegro did submit their irrevocable resignations
4 on the 10th of January, I believe.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, you referred to a rally in the month of
6 August in, according to the transcript, 1998. Did you actually say 1998?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said 1998, but I corrected myself
8 immediately and said 1988.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. One other matter. You're talking about
10 the resignation of the party leadership, and earlier when you were
11 discussing that, you said at that time you were Prime Minister, but in the
12 earlier summary you gave of your curriculum vitae, you made no reference
13 to being Prime Minister. Is that another interpretation error or was
14 there a point at which you were in fact Prime Minister?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] President of the Executive Council.
16 It must be an interpretation error, because I didn't state at any point
17 this morning that I was Prime Minister. I said I was Deputy Prime
18 Minister in the government of Prime Minister Vuk Vukadinovic. That's what
19 I said verbatim.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: And is it right that you described that position as
21 vice-president of the Executive Council?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. I will quote to you now from the 78th paragraph of the Kosovo
1 indictment against me. "Starting with July 1988 until March 1989, a
2 series of demonstrations and rallies supportive of Slobodan Milosevic's
3 policies, the so-called anti-bureaucratic revolution, took place in
4 Vojvodina and Montenegro. This protest led to the ouster of the
5 respective provincial and republican governments. The new governments
6 were then supportive of and indebted to Slobodan Milosevic."
7 End of quote. Now, please, were the rallies of demonstrations and
8 -- in Vojvodina and Montenegro supportive of Slobodan Milosevic, or did
9 they have other objectives? Don't repeat what you've already said, just
10 answer my question.
11 A. Well, I could not testify so reliably to the situation in
12 Vojvodina, but I have said already that even the leadership in Vojvodina,
13 despite the constitutional changes to the constitution of Serbia, had
14 separatist leanings and there was pressure on them to resign and to be
16 Q. It is quite all right if you reply only to questions regarding
17 Montenegro. I quoted a paragraph of the indictment, but if something does
18 not apply to Montenegro, just skip it.
19 A. In relation to Montenegro, I could say the following: I would be
20 less than honest if while describing that situation and those developments
21 I failed to mention that your name at that time shone brightly on the
22 political arena of the entire federal Yugoslavia. And in that atmosphere
23 of indifference to many problems, you appeared as a relatively young
24 person, a person whom I remembered from my party work. In my second year
25 at the university, you were the party secretary at the university, but
1 after that I lost sight of you. But seemingly overnight you appeared on
2 the political arena of Serbia and Yugoslavia, and many people saw you as a
3 person who would be finally able to make things move, to get things going.
4 That was my impression.
5 And in my first interview when I was elected president of the
6 Presidency, the interview that I gave to a party newspaper called Borba, I
7 said that a huge mass of people of various political beliefs rallied
8 around these convictions and around that movement, probably with different
10 Q. We don't have to go so far abroad, but I quoted to you one
11 particular passage. These new governments were then supportive of and
12 indebted to Slobodan Milosevic. So I'm asking you as a direct participant
13 in those events, is your knowledge consistent with the claim that somebody
14 supported me or organised rallies of support to me and then became
15 indebted to me over that support and, as my debtor, continued to support
16 me? Is that consistent with what you know?
17 A. Well, it sounds like nonsense to me. If a government or a
18 leadership were supportive of you, then it would be normal for you to feel
19 indebted to them, not the other way around.
20 Q. Thank you. I just read it as an example of the kind of thing that
21 you can find in this indictment.
22 When did you become president of the Presidency of the SFRY?
23 A. The Assembly of Montenegro elected me in April of 1991, and the
24 rotation in the Presidency happened regularly every 15th of May. However,
25 my election, according to the constitution, had to be confirmed by both
1 chambers of the Federal Assembly. They had not done so by the 15th of
2 May. They did so on the 16th, so it is practically on the 16th of May I
3 became president [as interpreted] of the Presidency of the SFRY, and on
4 the 30th of June or the 1st of July, I became vice-president of the
6 Q. So you were elected in May?
7 A. April, by the Assembly of Montenegro.
8 Q. It was their duty to nominate a member of the Presidency for
10 A. And the Presidency had to confirm it.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you go on, it may be another transcript
12 difficulty. The suggestion is that you became president of the Presidency
13 on the 16th of May. I suspect you simply became a member of the
14 Presidency on the 16th of May. Can you clarify that?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's an error.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It must be an interpretation error.
18 I did not say that a moment ago. What I said was that the Federal
19 Assembly of the SFRY confirmed my election by the Assembly of Montenegro
20 on the 16th of May. It confirmed my election as member of the Presidency
21 of the SFRY, and from that time on I was a member of the Presidency of the
22 SFRY. However, since --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues] ... thank you.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Only one word is wrong here in the transcript. When it says
1 "member." Actually, it should read "member," and it reads "president,"
2 and that's the only thing.
3 Can you answer this question: Why did there occur a crisis in the
4 Presidency of the SFRY in mid-March 1991?
5 A. I know that, because by that time I already handed over my duties
6 of president [as interpreted] of Presidency of Montenegro to Momir
7 Bulatovic, who was newly elected, but I was heading the delegation of
8 Montenegro in the Federal Assembly, and our Yugoslav public opinion as
9 well as the international public opinion were familiar with the problems
10 and the famous or notorious session of the Presidency of the SFRY in March
11 that lasted so long.
12 The basic problem that occurred with that session when the work of
13 the Presidency was paralysed was reflected in the fact that the top
14 echelons of the Yugoslav People's Army, quite correctly, I believe, and
15 quite appropriately, analysed the developments and assessed the oncoming
16 events, and the military leadership then suggested to the Presidency of
17 the SFRY, which was the Supreme Commander of armed forces, to introduce a
18 state of emergency. And that's what paralysed the work of the Presidency,
19 because four members were against imposing a state of emergency whereas
20 the other four members were in favour, in favour of allowing the military
21 leadership to forestall the events.
22 Q. And what should have been the contents and goal of the measures
23 proposed, to prevent international armed conflict?
24 A. Well, in addition to the highly -- high degree of tension in
25 Kosovo, and I have to say the very open support and biased support of the
1 leading politicians from Slovenia and Croatia and their support to the
2 separatists in Kosovo, the situation became increasingly tense, both on
3 the territory of Slovenia and on the territory of Croatia itself. And at
4 that time, there was a clandestine import of weapons going on which was
5 used to arm the paramilitary formations. The weapons were being
6 distributed even to civilians according to their party affiliations, and I
7 said at the time that that was the first time after World War II that
8 something like that was going on, that civilians were being issued weapons
9 based on their party affiliation, and that was the characteristic of the
10 Croatian democratic community, the HDZ, on the territory of Croatia. But
11 once things had escaped control, there was more and more arming of
12 civilians, not only in Croatia and by the HDZ but also in other parts of
13 the country as well.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, it's time for the break. We will
15 adjourn for 20 minutes.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.57 a.m.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. We left off discussing the crisis in the Presidency and the
21 proposals by the staff of the Supreme Command. You explained that to us.
22 Now, who were the groups that were illegally armed that the
23 Supreme Command staff referred to at the time and who needed to be
25 A. Well, they were paramilitary formations in Croatia, paramilitary
1 formations in Slovenia. That is to say the Slovenian leadership justified
2 themselves by saying it wasn't a paramilitary unit, that they were there
3 for the Territorial Defence, and it was the Territorial Defence that had
4 been turned into their army, but they omitted from view of the fact that
5 Territorial Defence, pursuant to the constitution of Yugoslavia, was a
6 part and parcel of the armed forces of Yugoslavia, and by the same taken,
7 everything we're discussing now took place in the first half of 1991
8 whereas in the indictment it states that Yugoslavia, the SFRY, existed
9 until April 1992.
10 Therefore, it was paramilitary formations that were armed, it was
11 citizens who were armed, and quite simply they needed to be disarmed.
12 Let me just tell you of a fact that was bandied about fairly often
13 while I was in the SFRY Presidency to the effect that the Croatian police
14 forces in just two months had grown from 17.000 policemen that they had in
15 peacetime to over 90.000 in the space of just two months.
16 Q. And how long did this illegal arming go on for of these irregular
17 forces in Croatia?
18 A. Well, I can't give you an exact answer or say a period of time,
19 but quite obviously it couldn't have been imported clandestinely all at
20 once. I know the channels came in from Hungary.
21 Q. Thank you. I'm just going to ask you a few questions now to which
22 I consider you could give just yes or no answers, perhaps, but of course
23 you're the best judge of that and can give broader answers if necessary,
24 but only if necessary, please.
25 The authorities of Croatia, the authorities in Croatia, did they
1 recognise the fact that there was illegal arming going on?
2 A. No.
3 Q. And what evidence and proof existed that such weapons were coming
5 A. Well, first of all there were reports, intelligence reports from
6 the intelligence services, both military and civilian of Yugoslavia, but
7 the Croatian authorities would refute this time and again. However, the
8 intelligence services, the KOS, the army intelligence service taped a
9 secret film.
10 Q. We'll come to that. So you're saying that evidence and proof did
11 exist. That will suffice for the moment.
12 Now, did the Croatian authorities accept undertaking the
13 disarmament of these irregular formations?
14 A. The Croatian authorities accepted that these formations should be
15 disarmed, if my information is correct, but I think that they agreed only
16 once the film went public and was shown in public.
17 Q. All right. Now, was this promise taken on as an obligation by the
18 Croatian government? Was it fulfilled?
19 A. No. The Presidency -- well, I wasn't in the Presidency myself at
20 the time, but I did follow events. I think on the 9th of January, the
21 SFRY Presidency took a decision to have all paramilitary formations
22 disarmed on the territory of the whole country, and then this was
23 followed --
24 Q. When did you say this Presidency decision came?
25 A. On the 9th of January. Then on the 24th or 5th of January - I
1 don't remember exactly - the military organs and military court in Zagreb
2 and the judiciary there took into custody a certain number of participants
3 in this clandestine importing of weapons, and also there was an arrest
4 warrant put out for the arrest of General Spegelj. However, I seem to
5 remember that the Croatian Defence Council rejected that accusation
6 according to which he was thought to be the direct organiser of this
7 clandestine import of weapons, so he was not arrested, he wasn't taken
8 into custody.
9 Q. You mentioned a moment ago a film that was taped, that was filmed
10 by the Military Intelligence Service. Do you know anything about why the
11 film showing Croatian clandestine arming was filmed in the first place and
12 why it was shown?
13 A. To be quite honest, I often asked myself that question, even when
14 I took my place in the Presidency. To me, it would appear more normal had
15 the services taken in the perpetrators, the actors in the film, and then
16 having the film shown on television rather than the other way round,
17 showing the film first and then trying to bring the perpetrators to
18 justice. Because that film was so shocking, had a shocking effect on the
19 Yugoslav public, and you can imagine how much fear it instilled in the
20 population and how shocking it was to the Serb population living in
22 Q. And who gave permission for the film to be aired?
23 A. I don't know. I think it was the top echelons in the military but
24 I'm not quite sure.
25 Q. All right. Now, can we take a look at a brief excerpt, a brief
1 clip from that footage? Professor Rakic was kind enough to assist the
2 booths, the technical booths for showing these films -- this footage.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The arming of the illegal HDZ army
5 is going at full speed which is an indicator that a Croatian terrorist
6 armada is being formed. Although the formal request for the arming of the
7 HDZ army are being made at the competent institutions in the country, the
8 Croatian leadership is setting into motion mechanisms for mass arming from
9 foreign military warehouses. The president of the republic, Tudjman, and
10 Minister Boljkovac had a number of contacts with arms producers in the
11 world. Most understanding was shown by the Hungarians who opened their
12 military warehouses wide. On the 11th of October already in 1990, the
13 first shipment of arms arrived by Cazmatrans from Bjelovar. It crossed
14 the Hungarian-Yugoslav border. From two storehouses of weapons in the
15 vicinity of Budapest package was sent from an organisation Astra [phoen]
16 from Zagreb, and it contained 450 packages containing 4.500 automatic
17 rifles of the Kalashnikov type and the necessary quantity of ammunition.
18 The Federal Secretariat for National Defence on two accounts energetically
19 issued warnings to the Hungarian military authorities, reminding them of
20 the consequences of such conduct, which was contrary to all international
21 conventions and covenants.
22 "From Hungary the answer was that it was a normal business
23 transaction with which the Defence Ministry of our neighbouring country
24 had nothing to do.
25 "There are -- there is a total of 5.000 military officials in the
1 5th Army and musicians or whatever you, 9.000 and 18.000 soldiers
2 throughout the territory of the 5th area of Slovenia, the whole of
3 Croatia, part of Bosnia. We now have 80.000 armed with Kalashnikovs. And
4 even if there were just 10.000 of them --
5 "Why did you go to Hungary, for heaven's sake? Didn't you have
6 it at home?
7 "Minister Spegelj considers that he knows the 5th military
8 district very well. His shameful role of breaking up the units he was in
9 command of until recently is contained in the statement 'We are at war
10 with the army.' That was the statement made by the commander of the newly
11 established chauvinistic detachments."
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. In the transcript, probably because of the speed at which the tape
14 was being shown, a portion has been omitted. Spegelj said, and I think
15 you could have heard this, when he says "We are at war," and he says "With
16 whom?" and Spegelj answers "With the army, at war with the army." Did you
17 hear that?
18 A. Yes, I did.
19 Q. So at that time, they considered that they were at war with the
21 A. At war with the Yugoslav People's Army, yes.
22 Q. Now, tell us, please, the showing of this footage, did it have an
23 effect on the Croatian authorities admitting that they were in fact arming
25 A. Yes. There was even a deadline set by which the disarming should
1 take place. So the Croatian authorities - I don't know exactly now, I
2 didn't remember exactly - but the Croatian authorities asked that the
3 deadline be extended by 20 days, the deadline previously established, but
4 disarmament never took place. It was never carried out.
5 Q. Now, could you take a look at tab 73, now, please, and you will
6 find a portion there -- yes, tab 73. It is part of Mesic's book, page 222
7 of the book. Do you have that portion, that excerpt?
8 A. I do have it in the tab, and I also have it in my notebook, which
9 helped me with the quotations and the page numbers.
10 Q. All right. Fine. Well, you can read it out, then. And it is
11 page 222 from Mesic's book.
12 A. Before I go ahead with that, I'd just like to mention that
13 Mr. Mesic wrote the book in 1994, that is to say, two years after these
14 events had taken place, or three years later. And he first of all titled
15 the book "How I Overthrew Yugoslavia." And then later on, he said that in
16 talking with Mr. Hans Dietrich Genscher, having consulted him about the
17 title of the book, Mr. Genscher, the then foreign minister of Germany,
18 told him that a title like that would not be well-received in Europe. And
19 then the working title of "How I Overthrew Yugoslavia" was changed by
20 Mr. Mesic to read "How We Broke Up Yugoslavia," and that's what the first
21 edition came out as, the heading. And then the title and heading was
22 changed again and the book I'm quoting from is "How Yugoslavia Was Broken
24 Otherwise, you can see on page 222 of that book Mesic quite
25 literally says the following: "That people, who were partially armed and
1 partially armed youth were within the National Guards Corps and gradually
2 organised into a modernly equipped Croatian army, they blocked the
3 barracks --" Our word for that is kasavni [phoen] -- "and wherever
4 possible they stopped movement of army troops." And there he means the
5 units of the Yugoslav People's Army.
6 And a little further on in the book, on page 276, for example,
7 where he writes about the introduction of an embargo, an international
8 embargo on weapons, imports to Yugoslavia, Mr. Mesic says the following:
9 "We will now seize the weapons from Kadijevic's [inaudible]." That is on
10 page 276. I must say that this seems almost impossible, that the
11 president of the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of
12 Yugoslavia, who has the post of the armed command, publicly states that
13 Croatia's paramilitary forces would seize weapons from the Yugoslav
14 People's Army for which he was its Supreme Commander.
15 Q. So we see that both Mesic and Spegelj are saying that they are in
16 fact at war with the JNA. They didn't say at the time that they were at
17 war with Serbia, did they?
18 A. No, no, not at the time, not yet.
19 Q. Now was Serbia ever at war with them or was it them who were at
20 war with Serbia?
21 A. Well, we have quite an obvious phenomenon of an armed uprising, an
22 armed secession on the part of two federal units from the Socialist
23 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and waging war against the JNA, the
24 Yugoslav People's Army, which pursuant to the constitution at that time
25 until the 27th of April, 1992, was the sole legal, legitimate armed force
1 in the country in Yugoslavia as an internationally recognised state and
2 United Nations member.
3 Q. All right, thank you. Now, let's take a look at two more short
5 A. May I be allowed to add the following, Mr. Milosevic: At the
6 time, no mention is still made and it never entered anybody's minds to
7 mention a war between Serbia and Croatia, and I myself as a member of the
8 Presidency already and as vice-president of the Presidency toured the
9 refugees in Borovo Selo, for example. I visited Bac Vajska. We had 8.000
10 refugees, mostly women and children, from Borovo Selo and the surrounding
11 parts. And footage was made of that. I'm not sure we're going to have
12 time to see that footage, but during my visit there I said -- and I was
13 there not as a member of some sort of Serbian Bloc, Mr. Mesic and the
14 authors of this indictment can -- constantly refer to the Serb bloc, which
15 has no foundations in practice. If they wanted to call us anything, then
16 they could have called us the protagonists of the federal option for the
17 preservation of Yugoslavia, not as members of a Serb bloc.
18 But anyway, during that visit of mine, for the media both domestic
19 and foreign, I criticised the government of Ante Markovic and said they
20 must deal with these refugees, see to them, see that they are cared for.
21 This could not be left to Serbia alone to deal with, it must be brought to
22 the care and attention of the entire federal government.
23 Q. All right. We have two more short sections, short excerpts and
25 [Videotape played]
1 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] If necessary, at a decisive moment,
2 organise two or three men for the liquidation of the most dangerous ones.
3 All right. Physical liquidation. You come to somebody's apartment, a
4 messenger -- All right, I know. Appears at the door, dum, dum, dum, he
5 goes downstairs. After that, let them look for the police and try to
6 establish -- go downstairs, go to another one and yet another one or,
7 rather at the same time. Those who are the most dangerous ones can be
8 killed on their doorstep. It's not a question of women, children.
9 Nothing, nothing, no questions asked. We are repeating the words of
10 Spegelj and Boljkovac. If necessary, at a decisive moment, organise two
11 or three men for the liquidation of the most dangerous ones. All right.
12 Physical liquidation. You come to somebody's apartment, a messenger --
13 all right, I know. You appear at the door, dum, dum, dum, go downstairs.
14 Afterwards, let them look for the police and let them establish. You walk
15 downstairs, you go to another one and yet another one, or rather at the
16 same time. Those who are the most dangerous ones can be killed on their
17 doorstep. It doesn't matter. Women, children, nothing. Doesn't matter,
18 no questions asked."
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What does this footage show?
20 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] The army has nothing to seek there.
21 It will be cut down. It is now a problem to protect you, the two of you,
22 not from the army but from others. Oh, Fuck. Every officer is covered
23 with five men. They will be cut down. I have to say that quickly now,
24 who to separate, no doubt about that. No one should reach the barracks
25 alive, no one. On the street, a soldier, anyone, a messenger. I don't
1 know, when a signal is given, all of that should go down, no questions
3 "The minister of defence of Croatia believes that his system of
4 organised killing of officers was fully elaborated. He orders the killing
5 of soldiers and every member of the JNA in the street so that if an alert
6 is sounded no one would reach barracks alive.
7 "As for border posts, if there is disarming of border posts, all
8 of them will be disarmed, as many as there are, but leaving Albanians five
9 bullets each in their automatic rifles. As for the other ones, they
10 should be locked up in basements and given food and water if this goes on
11 for a few days. And as for this, if something happens, then just give
12 instructions to all of your people who you know. Kill the extremists. On
13 the spot, in the street, within the compounds of the barracks, anywhere
14 else. Just a pistol and into the stomach. That will not be a war. It
15 will be a civil war where there will be no mercy towards anyone, women,
16 children. Into apartments. Quite simply, grenades thrown into family
18 "Repetition of what Martin Spegelj said. As for border posts,
19 when border posts are disarmed, then they will be disarmed, all of them,
20 as many as there are, but leave Albanians five bullets in their automatic
21 rifles, and the rest locked up in cellars and given food and water if this
22 goes on for a few days. As for this, if something happens, then just give
23 instructions to all your people who you know. Kill extremists on the
24 spot, in the street, in the compound, in barracks, anywhere. Just pistol
25 and into the stomach. That will not be a war, it will be a civil war in
1 which there is no mercy towards anyone, women or children. Into homes,
2 family homes, quite simply grenades."
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not hear the question.
4 The pace was very fast.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This refreshed my memory of those
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, what's the question?
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. My question was: What does this footage show, and the witness is
10 obviously very upset, because he said that this jogged his memory,
11 refreshed his memory.
12 A. This looks so monstrous that when I watched this 14 years ago,
13 Mr. Milosevic, quite simply I could not believe it. Really. At first I
14 thought that this was editing, a montage, as intelligence services --
15 different intelligence services usually do, and I thought that was the
16 case. However, later on this turned out not only to be original footage
17 taken by the 12th department of the KOS, but everything that happened
18 afterwards showed that this was original footage.
19 Q. What do you mean "everything that happened afterwards"? Later on,
20 did everything that Spegelj said here come true?
21 A. Well, perhaps because there were these events and they happened
22 quite some time ago, and for the Trial Chamber - and that is why we're
23 here today - not much of this should really be enumerated. Everybody
24 knows about the footage that went the world round when that member of the
25 Yugoslav People's Army on an armoured vehicle in Split was almost
1 strangled and a few soldiers killed in Trogir and Zadar, and Mr. Tudjman's
2 call in Trogir and Zadar for the Croat industry to be reoriented to the
3 manufacture of combat equipment and ammunition. A lot of that, really.
4 Not to mention what happened later on when there were open attacks against
5 the Yugoslav People's Army, and also fierce fighting with the units of the
6 Yugoslav People's Army.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could another portion of the film be
9 shown, please.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Is there a technical problem? We're not seeing
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There shouldn't be a technical
14 [Videotape played]
15 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] We are going to resolve Knin in
16 that way, slaughter. We have international recognition for that, and then
17 we slaughter them, especially now that this whore won in Serbia.
19 "Yes. Now, the Americans, the second day after he won, offered
20 us all possible assistance on the very next day, and until then all were
21 speculating they would or they wouldn't, now it's going to be this way,
22 now it's going to be that way. Thousands of combat vehicles, this kind
23 and that kind of cars, what do I know, for 100.000 soldiers complete
24 arming free of charge. Repetition of what was said by Martin Spegelj.
25 "We are going to resort to all resources. We're even going to use
1 weapons. Knin we're going to resolve in the same way. We are going to
2 slaughter everyone. We have international recognition for that that we're
3 going to slaughter them now that this whore won in Serbia.
5 "Yes. Now the Americans, on the second day when he won, offered
6 us all assistance, and until then everyone was speculating, they would,
7 they wouldn't, this way, that way, 1.000 combat vehicles."
8 THE INTERPRETER: Note for Mr. Milosevic: The interpretation has
9 not ended. We did not get transcripts that were translated.
10 "[Voiceover] We are going to use all resources. We're going to
11 weapons as well. Serbs in Croatia will never be there again for as long
12 as we are there and we hope until now too their supremacy is a thing of
13 the past. Their Knin will never be Knin again. We are going to enter
14 Knin too. Knin has to disappear as Knin. All Croats should bear this in
15 mind and we are going to create a state created at all costs, if
16 necessary, at the cost of shedding blood. Repetition of the words of
17 Josip Boljkovac."
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Milosevic, in this extract we've just watched,
19 do we actually hear the voice of either of the ministers of the government
20 of Croatia, or do we simply hear --
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. You can hear the voice of one
22 of the ministers and then the same is repeated by a presenter with better
23 enunciation, because the voice is a bit -- well, distorted.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Did that apply in the case of both ministers,
25 Spegelj first and then Boljkovac?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Every time, it would be repeated.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. So Knin, slaughter, expel. Was this an isolated position, a
6 position held by Spegelj only? Boljkovac at the time was minister of the
7 interior; is that right?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. So was this an individual position taken by Spegelj or was this a
10 widespread position?
11 A. No, this was a very widespread view, taken not only in the top
12 echelons of Croatian government but also beyond that, among the Croatian
13 people. Because one must not lose sight of the fact that the political
14 situation in Croatia today is quite different, in a favourable sense,
15 compared to the time 14 or 15 years ago. And I have to say that the
16 Croatian Democratic Union today, I really have to say that, is not the
17 Croatian Democratic Union it was when it came to power during the first
18 multi-party elections. At that time -- at that time, although hardly
19 anybody believed us then, we kept warning that the Croatian Democratic
20 Union has a Nazi, fascist, and chauvinist programme on the basis of how
21 they treat the Serbs, their very own citizens on the territory where they
22 live, where they had been living for several hundred years.
23 Q. You mean in the territory of Croatia?
24 A. Yes, yes, the territory of Croatia. May I just say one more
25 thing? This statement about the behaviour of the Americans also sounds
1 convincing, because at least in my opinion, my opinion is today, as it was
2 then, that although some authors dispute this, that the USA had a priority
3 interest in preserving Yugoslavia and its territorial integrity as a whole
4 but they wanted the political system changed throughout the territory and
5 they wanted to keep their domination over that kind of entity. However,
6 the interest of Germany was significantly different. Germany's primary
7 interest was the secession of Croatia and Slovenia, and that proved to be
8 correct later, and the United States of America could not do a thing about
9 that. However, the United States, after that, showed their teeth in the
10 case of Kosovo and they stationed their own troops there. In my
11 assessment, in a way they were trying to separate Europe, and Germany in
12 particular, from the near east and the Middle East, which is a region
13 where America has special interests.
14 Q. Tell me, what about the Serbs from Krajina? How did they feel
15 about the expression of such views?
16 A. I was in a position to read quite a bit about this. I was born in
17 1939, so I don't have personal memories of these terrible things that
18 happened during the Second World War. It -- Montenegro was under Italian
19 occupation but I read a great deal and in many contacts I was able to
20 learn a great many things.
21 When Mr. Hans Van den Broek first came to talk to me as
22 vice-president of the Presidency, I tried to show to Mr. Hans Van den
23 Broek a very small example of why the Serbs organised themselves and
24 started an uprising in the Serb Krajinas in Croatia. This was a special
25 issue of the Borba daily. Borba was a party newspaper of the League of
1 Communists of Yugoslavia and that was published ten years before all of
2 this that happened. This special issue of Borba showed the complete list
3 of 12.000 young boys and girls aged 6 to 12 only in the area of
4 Podkozarje. If I'm not mistaken, that is close to the border of Croatia
5 and Bosnia.
6 Q. That's correct.
7 A. Well, in that entire list of 12.000 young boys and girls aged 6 to
8 12, during Pavlovic's Independent State of Croatia, all of them were
9 liquidated, killed. It was not a list that was made just like that. It
10 contained the names and surnames of all the children, the villages that
11 they were from, and the names of both parents. When I showed Mr. Hans Van
12 den Broek that list when we first met, he jumped from his chair and he
13 said to me, "Well, Mr. Kostic, how long are you going to go on and on with
14 this history of yours?" But believe me, 45 years is too short a period to
15 forget such terrible crimes. Even in this election campaign in Croatia
16 when Mr. Tudjman, as head of the HDZ, ran and won a landslide victory in
17 these first elections, he stated that it is a historical lie and
18 falsification that 700.000 Serbs, Gypsies, and Jews were killed in the
19 Jasenovac camp. That was the largest concentration camp in the Second
20 World War. Not only in the Balkans at that.
21 Tudjman, as a general and as an historian, tried to reduce that
22 number to a couple of tens of thousands. Then during the election
23 campaign of his - and this was covered by the media - Tudjman visited his
24 diaspora. It is a well-known fact that many Croatian emigres, after the
25 Second World War, fled to the countries of the West, especially the USA,
1 Canada, and South America. These people were war criminals, but they were
2 forgiven. They remained unpunished because Croatia, after the Second
3 World War, became part of the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia and
4 practically it found itself on the side of the victorious allies. So it
5 is a well-known fact that the Croatian authorities at that time opened the
6 door wide for the return of all these Croatian emigres in the territory of
7 Croatia. And even Mr. Martin Spegelj himself was -- well, how should I
8 put this? -- in direct communication with these emigres.
9 Now, look at this: When in many villages and towns of the Serb
10 Krajina these Croatian policemen dressed in black uniforms with their
11 symbols - and that is the chequerboard emblem which was also the symbol of
12 -- the independent state of Croatia, Pavelic's state during the Second
13 World War - when they appeared in those areas, of course they instilled
14 fear. Fear was instilled as far back as the Second World War and there
15 was a reawakening of that fear then, and then the people said en masse we
16 are not going to allow a mass slaughter again like a herd of sheep, like
17 what they did with us from 1941 to 1945. These people organised
18 themselves, and this was truly self-organisation on the part of those
19 people because the Croatian propaganda tried persistently to portray this
20 as the result of infiltrated specialists, members of the Ministry of the
21 Interior of Serbia, and so on and so forth. And I have to say,
22 regrettably, that the authors of this indictment are either displaying a
23 complete lack of understanding of all those events and deep
24 misunderstandings of the -- deep misunderstanding of the roots and causes
25 of that war in Croatia or --
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic -- Witness, please stop.
2 Mr. Milosevic, the witness speaks, as one would expect, very clearly, but
3 the procedure here is questions and short answers.
4 Professor, short answers, not a long narrative.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is difficult to explain this
6 briefly, Mr. Robinson.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: You have to discipline yourself, Professor.
8 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. In paragraph 26 of the Croatian indictment, it says: "Slobodan
11 Milosevic, acting alone or in concert with other members of the joint
12 criminal enterprise, participates in the joint criminal enterprise in the
13 following way --" and then I will ask you only about subparagraph (m).
14 "Controlled contributed to or otherwise utilised Serbian state-run media
15 outlets to manipulate Serbian public opinion by spreading exaggerated and
16 false messages of ethnically based attacks by Croats against Serb people
17 in order to create an atmosphere of fear and hatred among Serbs living in
18 Serbia and Croatia. The propaganda generated by the Serbian media was an
19 important tool in contributing to the perpetration of crimes in Croatia."
20 Now, please tell me, is it the case that the media spread
21 exaggerated and false messages of ethnically based attacks against Serbs,
22 and did I organise the media to spread such messages; and what do you know
23 about it?
24 A. I have to say that this atmosphere that prevailed in those days
25 was very fevered. Ethnic and religious tensions had aggravated in the
1 entire territory of Yugoslavia. I really cannot say whether you
2 influenced the policies of those media and to what extent, but based on
3 the conduct of some of the media in Montenegro that I know of, I can draw
4 my own conclusions.
5 For instance, when, after a session of the SFRY Presidency which
6 elected Stjepan Mesic president of the Presidency of the SFRY, the Tanjug
7 news agency gave a wrong news release to the effect that I voted for him
8 as well. And one of the newspapers in Montenegro put me on a pillar of
9 shame on its cover page, quoting that news, saying that I voted for a man
10 who proclaimed already that he would be the last president of that state.
11 I cannot say that anybody from the leadership of Montenegro
12 commissioned that cover page. Maybe it was just the decision of the
13 editorial board of that newspaper, but I can say two things: The conduct
14 of the media in Serbia varied across the board. There was some media who
15 preserved a moderate tone, trying not to aggravate tensions, but there
16 were other media who deliberately planted misinformation.
17 Q. And what they call state-run media outlets, were they moderate or
19 A. I was coming to that. The state-run media in Serbia were more
20 moderate than the rest, and what I was going to say when you interrupted
21 me is this: It seems to me that at no other time, as far as I remember
22 the history of politics in Yugoslavia, there had never been such a great
23 number of electronic and other media available as in that time when these
24 attacks happened. Even when we take into account the current time.
25 Q. I quoted to you from subparagraph (m), and it says: "False
1 messages of ethnically based attacks against Serb people."
2 Were there any ethnically based, ethnically motivated attacks
3 against Serb people?
4 A. Of course. Well, most of the attacks in that territory were
5 ethnically based, because, you see --
6 Q. Thank you. You've answered my question. Is it the case that the
7 Serbs, especially those living in Croatia, were subject to that atmosphere
8 of fear?
9 A. Of course. That is indisputable. I wouldn't say really that it
10 was an atmosphere of hatred from what I know from my contacts with them.
11 It was an atmosphere of fear.
12 Q. And who created it and how?
13 A. The atmosphere of fear was created through all the developments
14 that we've just discussed; through the media, through official appearances
15 in electoral campaigns, at parliamentary elections. And if you add to
16 that the practice that prevailed, you will understand. Throughout the
17 post-war history, the Serbs in Croatia were a constituent people along
18 with Croats. When the HDZ, headed by Tudjman, won power at multi-party
19 elections, they simply threw them out of the constitution and the Serbs
20 were reduced to the state of a minority, to the status of minority. And I
21 had occasion to read many times writings about -- articles about the right
22 to one's own language, et cetera. Serbs are not even mentioned there.
23 They're treated as a minority.
24 Q. You talked about that post-war period. The point was that they
25 should forget about it all and then it all came back before their eyes.
1 Let us see another piece of that -- another clip to hear what
2 Simon Weisenthal said.
3 [Videotape played]
4 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] I know, I know. You see, there is
5 a book called "Mission, East-West," written by Herman Neuebacher, who was
6 sent by Hitler to Croatia. After the war he was condemned in Yugoslavia
7 to 20 years' imprisonment, and then he came back. He wrote a book about
8 his interviews with Artukovic and others. They had told him, We have one
9 problem with the Serbs: One-third of them must die, one-third must be
10 converted to Catholicism, and one-third, may stay alive. That was their
12 "Such an irredenta on the part of all Ustashas and what remained
13 of them. I used to see them everywhere; in Munich, in Paris. In their
14 eyes, the war wasn't over. They did not feel defeated."
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. What Weisenthal was saying, was that the same thing could be
17 observed in practice on the political arena in Croatia in 1990 and 1991?
18 A. The very same thing. There's no need to stress that
19 Mr. Weisenthal knew more about that than many others.
20 Q. Lord Owen's book "The Balkan Odyssey" that is an exhibit here
21 begins with the words, "Nothing is simple in the Balkans. Everything is
22 permeated by history." So nothing is simple in the Balkans. Everything
23 is permeated by history, and complexities introduce confusion into even
24 the most careful study. Do you agree with this?
25 A. Completely.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can we see another brief clip,
2 depicting Lord Carrington.
3 [Videotape played]
4 "... war saw it differently.
5 "The Serbs in Croatia and indeed outside Croatia. I have a very
6 vivid memory of what happened in 1941, 1942, when Hitler declared Croatia
7 as an independent puppet state, if you like, and the horrors that went on
8 there and the murders of the Serbs are still very -- I mean, a very large
9 number of Serbs were murdered at that time. I mean, hundreds of
10 thousands. And I think it was very understandable that when Croatia
11 declared its independence and promulgated a new constitution without any
12 safeguard for the 600.000 Serbs who still lived in Croatia, that the Serbs
13 were very perturbed about this."
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Do you agree with this appraisal of Lord Carrington's?
16 A. I think it is clear from what I have said so far during this
17 examination; it confirms what Mr. Carrington stated.
18 Q. And what about the new Croatian authorities' approach to the past,
19 especially the Independent State of Croatia and Ustasha crimes in World
20 War II?
21 A. It is my impression that it would be extremely wrong and
22 detrimental to treat the whole Croatian people as --
23 Q. I did not mention the Croatian people. I talked about Croatian
25 A. I did not pick up the wording of your question when I said this,
1 but since I had to live with those problems, I know there were
2 exaggerations in those days regarding those problems, and even aspirations
3 to blame the whole Croatian people for the Ustasha movement. But as for
4 Croatian authorities, I believe that to the very end they not only
5 reasserted the Ustasha ideology from the Independent State of Croatia,
6 which was a puppet state during World War II, they were proud of it and
7 boasted of it. And all those who thought differently were suppressed.
8 Their voice could not be heard.
9 And all that was going on reminded me personally of something that
10 I had occasion to hear in various films about the way Hitler acted towards
11 Jews after the Nazis came to power in Germany, because in Croatia there
12 were dismissals of Serbs, expulsions, destruction of their property. Let
13 me just remind you of the events in Trogir town when Croatian citizens
14 demonstrated against Serbs, which meant not only a physical danger to them
15 but also destruction of their property.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let us see another video clip that
17 could be commented upon in view of your explanation. It is a brief
18 footage of the Lisinski hall at one of Tudjman's speeches.
19 [Videotape played]
20 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] They see in the programmed
21 objectives of the HDZ only demands to restore the Ustasha Independent
22 State of Croatia. In doing so, they seem to forget that the Independent
23 State of Croatia was not only a pure quisling creature and a fascist crime
24 but it was also an expression of historic aspirations of the Croatian
25 nation to have their independent state, and it is also a realisation of
1 international factors, in the case of the government of Hitler's Germany,
2 that on the ruins of the Versailles agreement tailored a new European
3 order, those aspirations of Croatia and its geographic borders.
4 "Unlike more discreet members of the ruling HDZ party, Glavas made
5 no secret of his identification with the World War II Croatian Ustasha as
6 he welcomed returning Croatian prisoners of war.
7 "While some French ..."
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. A moment ago you said an atmosphere of fear was created based not
10 only on memories but also based on the facts of life at the time. You
11 didn't, however, feel that there was an atmosphere of hatred on the part
12 of Serbs against Croats. On what do you base that opinion?
13 A. In the course of that year that I spent on the Presidency of the
14 SFRY, I had occasion to receive several delegations of Serbs from those
15 Croat territories. At their request, I believe that I received two such
16 delegations, and I think both of them were from Western Slavonia.
17 I have to say that at that time, we did not have the capacity to
18 create a buffer zone using units of the Yugoslav People's Army in Western
19 Slavonia as we had done in Knin-Krajina, because in Knin-Krajina we had a
20 very strong Knin Corps.
21 In the Western Slavonia we were not able to do it for the simple
22 reason that the troops of the Yugoslav People's Army were significantly
23 reduced at the time because Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Kosovo
24 Albanians, and others stopped sending soldiers to the army, and we had a
25 big problem. And the troops that could have been used to protect those
1 people in danger, Serbs in Croatia, were not available. So they came to
2 see me, asking me to help somehow.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Remember the procedure we are following.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Thank you, Professor Kostic.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Milosevic, the tape is running, and it would be
8 better if it stopped.
9 Secondly, there were two events depicted --
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I did not ask for the tape to run.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: No, but you have to control it. There are two
12 events depicted in the last clip that we saw. One was a speech, and the
13 other was said to be returning prisoners of war. What were the dates of
14 these events?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think the dates are indicated on
16 the tape itself. This speech of Tudjman in the Lisinski hall happened in
17 the very beginning, when he said this Independent State of Croatia was not
18 a pure quisling creature but a result of historic aspirations. He was
19 practically justifying what Weisenthal clearly qualified.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't need to know more explanation, just the
21 date --
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will check it out and tell you. I
23 think the dates were written up on the footage itself.
24 JUDGE KWON: Yes. I noted on the video it was written as 9th of
25 September, 1990.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: And then the date of the returning prisoners?
2 JUDGE KWON: I'm not sure. So that can be checked and be informed
3 to us later on.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Next question.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Professor Kostic, in tab 1 you have the stenographic notes of a
7 meeting you had with - how shall I put this? - a completely unbiased
8 foreign politician. Now, I should like, from those notes, to quote some
9 of your -- some of your positions, or maybe I'll ask you to do so, and
10 then compare what you said at the time with what you think now to see
11 whether it coincides and whether that was how it was.
12 Now, to make things clearer for all the people attending these
13 proceedings, what I have is this: Lisinski, the speech in the Lisinski
14 hall on the 27th and 28th of February, and Glavas. That is the autumn of
15 1991, the autumn of 1991.
16 When we reviewed these stenographic notes, you said that you had
17 made a selection because we were dealing with a country which was very far
18 away and completely uninvolved in the whole issue. It was a country in
19 quite a different continent, in fact. And it was a friendly country at
20 the same time, and you said everything you thought of at the time. You
21 gave them your thoughts, and it was a conversation you in fact had with
22 the foreign minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe in 1992.
23 Take a look at page 2, please. What did you explain to the
24 minister there? And I'm referring to paragraphs 2, 3 and 4.
25 A. Well, this is the -- these are the original stenographic notes of
1 that conversation.
2 Q. Well, I understand it that it was the unauthorised version, the
3 transcript of it.
4 A. Yes, that's right. It was what I said orally. I didn't have a
5 written expose.
6 Q. Read it out, please.
7 A. It says: "Croatian propaganda very successfully imposed upon the
8 international public opinion that it -- that a small country, Croatia, was
9 now allegedly being threatened by a large Serbia. And in that propaganda,
10 they used all the elements which were acceptable to the ears of the
11 international community. They tried to represent to the international
12 community that that Yugoslav People's Army -" and in quotations - "'as a
13 second force of the Soviet Union' in that part of Europe, was conducting
14 aggression against 'that small country of Croatia.' They endeavoured to
15 represent this as being a conflict between two ideologies, as if the
16 alleged remnants of Bolshevism in Serbia and Montenegro were seeking,
17 through the army, to settle accounts with the young regime in Croatia and
18 Slovenia. A lot of effort was needed in the international community and
19 with the international public to have the truth come out in public. I'm
20 sure you know that Mr. Baker, only after several days, finally made a
21 public statement and said --"
22 Q. Just a moment, please, Professor. I can see that on the screen we
23 don't have the proper portion of the transcript, and it doesn't reflect
24 what you're saying now, what Professor Kostic is talking about. The
25 quotation he started with is the last paragraph in the English
1 translation, which starts with "Croatian propaganda has been very
2 successful ... [In English] ... international public opinion," et cetera.
3 [Interpretation] Would you continue, please.
4 A. "You are well aware of the fact that Mr. Baker finally stated in
5 public that the cause of the crisis in Yugoslavia was unilateral secession
6 by Slovenia and Croatia and their use of force."
7 Q. And tell us now, Professor Kostic, in connection with the
8 explanation you have given us or, rather, the explanation you gave to
9 friendly politician from a very far off country, from another continent
10 altogether, whether, viewed from today's perspectives, that was indeed
11 what happened.
12 A. Well, it is common knowledge that with Zimbabwe and a large number
13 of other countries from Africa and Asia we were together with them in the
14 non-aligned movement and had very close, friendly ties with those
15 countries. Now, this meeting with the foreign minister of Zimbabwe was
16 truly a meeting of friends, and we had very frank discussions, sincere
17 discussions, and it was as if I had taken the solemn declaration then as I
18 did here today in front of this Court, so I have nothing to add to the
19 assessment and appraisal that I made there when I never knew that anything
20 like that could happen or that this could be the subject discussed at an
21 international tribunal.
22 Q. Let me ask you this: You explained what happened because Baker
23 did indeed say in public -- he said what the crisis was, and that was the
24 unilateral secession of Slovenia and Croatia, and we have that on various
25 tapes, we will be able to see that for ourselves, but tell me now, that
1 conviction of yours that finally the truth came out, that it was a lengthy
3 A. No. It lasted a very short period of time because the United
4 States of America were taken up with other problems, more major problems
5 on a world level. So the problems of the Balkans were left to Europe to
6 deal with. And Germany, in a very short space of time as a leading
7 country in the European Community, managed very successfully to impose its
8 own positions and views on all the other countries within the European
9 Community. And in my own book, which is titled "1991, Let It Not Be
10 Forgotten," which is also part of these tabs and binders, said that Europe
11 during those days was not the Europe of DeGaulle or Churchill but that it
12 was the Europe of Chamberlain and Paterna in those days.
13 Q. On page 3 you go on to say, in paragraph 2, the last three lines,
14 you say: "In a Croatia that totalitarian communist regime was replaced by
15 another totalitarian regime founded upon pure national chauvinism."
16 That's what you say.
17 A. And that's what I think today, too, for those times, although I've
18 already said that the present situation in the Croatian democratic
19 community on the political arena is far more positive compared to those
21 Q. And then on page 4 you inform your collocutor with Yugoslavia
22 stands and positions. That is paragraph 2 or, rather, in the last
23 paragraph, because it's a short page. What does it say?
24 A. "At no point in time did we challenge the right of Slovenia and
25 Croatia or any of the other republics to be able to secede from
1 Yugoslavia, but we considered that that secession and stepping out from
2 Yugoslavia should be done in conformity with the constitution and
3 democratic procedure"? which they have not respected, which of course --
4 "Slovenia and Croatia as parts of Yugoslavia formed their own
5 paramilitary formations in contravention of the constitution. At the very
6 start, with its paramilitary formations, Slovenia seized control of the
7 border crossings and all functions at the Yugoslav border in the area of
8 Slovenia. That is to say the customs, the Ministry of the Interior, and
9 so on. The Croatian authorities took power with a national chauvinistic
10 programme on the idea of forming an independent Croatian state. In the
11 previous constitution of the Republic of Croatia, Croatia consisted of two
12 constituent peoples, the Serbs and the Croats. The Croatian authorities
13 erased the Serbian people from the new constitution and decided to form a
14 national State of Croatia.
15 Q. And then he goes on to ask you, "Did Serbs have constitutional
16 rights in that previous constitution?" And what was your answer to that?
17 A. Yes, they had absolutely the same rights as the Croats. Croatia
18 was constituted as a republic of the Croatian and Serbian people because
19 the Serbian people had been living in those parts --
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, the document is before us, and we
21 can read it. It doesn't seem to me that any useful purpose is served by
22 taking the witness through it. I think you have sufficiently highlighted
23 the important points.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. With your permission,
25 one more thing, please.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I commented on this with the
3 witness, because at the time, he gave assessments and appraisals which he
4 holds true today. He considers them to be valid today because they are
5 truthful ones. That is the simple truth of it. And they cannot be
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Now, we're not going to deal with Tudjman, but on page 9 there is
9 a very small paragraph, section. It is the second paragraph, in fact.
10 And you say the Serbian people -- let me just find it for you.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, give us the beginning of the sentence.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me just see. It's a just a very
13 short sentence. "The Serbian people in the area were frightened that they
14 could suffer the same fate as they did in 1941." That's page 5, paragraph
15 4. The Serbian people in that area were afraid that they would suffer the
16 same fate, et cetera.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. And that's what you explained to us a moment ago.
19 A. Yes, it is.
20 Q. Then you go on to explain on the following page, when it comes to
21 the initiative and the Security Council, "When we sent an initiative to
22 the Security Council," what does it say, for sending peace forces. That's
23 on page 10, last paragraph.
24 A. Did you say page 10?
25 Q. Yes, I did.
1 A. "When we sent an initiative to the Security Council to send peace
2 forces, by that engagement on the part of peace forces, we expressed the
3 readiness to withdraw the army from that area but the United Nations
4 forces should protect the Serbian population because we reckoned that this
5 would bring an end to a military conflicts and then we would seek a
6 political solution to the status of that people."
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. We won't dwell on that any longer, although this is a very - how
11 shall I put this? - exact explanation, although a lengthy one, of the
12 events that took place, and contemporaneous ones. But as most of it has
13 been translated, we'll leave that for now so that everybody can read it
14 for themselves if they're interested.
15 But just to conclude. Apart from your assessments to the effect
16 that the truth finally came out when Baker published what he published,
17 everything else that it says here is in its entirety what you believe and
18 think today, is that it?
19 A. Precisely.
20 Q. Tell us, please, how did the SFRY Presidency react to all these
21 events and especially the import of weapons, the fact that people were
22 being supplied with weapons and so on?
23 A. Well, the Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of
24 Yugoslavia before I came to join the Presidency held several meetings at
25 which it sized up the situation and said that it was highly serious. It
1 made rulings about the disarmament of paramilitaries which were not
2 implemented, and when the situation came to a head and became even more
3 tense, that's when we had the famous March session on the 12th or 13th or
4 14th and 15th of March.
5 Q. Let's leave March for the moment and let's have a look at tab 6
6 first, and we have there an order of the 9th of January, by the Presidency
7 of the SFRY, which you mentioned. Let's me find it. It is the first
8 document in the second binder.
9 Have you had a chance of looking at that document before coming in
10 to testify, looking at the order, or do you remember it?
11 A. Well, I don't remember this particular order from the time it was
12 given, but I have had an opportunity of looking through it in the tabs and
13 binders which contain practically all the decisions made by the SFRY
14 Presidency in 1991.
15 Q. Mention is made here of secret import of weapons from neighbouring
16 and other countries, for example, that they are being distributed to
17 citizens according to their ethnic affiliation and political affiliation
18 and orientation.
19 A. That's right.
20 Q. And then it says, "Within the frameworks of political parties,
21 illegal armed paramilitary units are being created. Through their
22 existence and planned terrorist activities these pose a direct danger for
23 the outbreak of armed insurrection and inter-ethnic conflicts on a very
24 large scale with unforeseeable consequences." And then the Presidency
25 issues its order. What is the essence and substance of the order?
1 A. In addition to what I said previously, it's important to note here
2 that this is a united stand taken by the SFRY Presidency, and the
3 president was Dr. Borislav Jovic and vice-president was Dr. Stipe Mesic.
4 In the Presidency we also had Mr. Drnovsek -- yes, Mr. Drnovsek and also
5 Mr. Tupurkovski. So it was the united assessment of the Presidency.
6 There was Mr. Nenad Bucin as well, representing Montenegro in the
7 Presidency, and as you can see in all the points, the individual points,
8 from the first point dealing with disarmament then secondly paramilitary
9 formations and then weapons and --
10 Q. Let's just clarify one point before we go into this. The order
11 being issued is that on the territory of Yugoslavia all the armed
12 compositions not within the frameworks of the SFRY should be disarmed, or
13 organs of the interior whose organisation has not been established in
14 keeping with federal regulations must be disbanded. That's what it says.
15 A. Yes. The second point deals with equipment and weapons of the
16 armed units. Described under item 1 herein must be surrendered
17 immediately to the nearest units of the JNA or institutions of the JNA,
18 regardless of whether they have been collected by individual organs in the
19 republics or are in the possession of various groups and individuals.
20 Q. Now, do you have anything to say about why this order issued by
21 the Presidency - and you did mention all the members of the Presidency who
22 took part in compiling and issuing the decision, from all the republics,
23 might I add, that was an order that the Presidency adopted without any
24 opposition or any dissenting views among its members - why then it was not
25 put into practice?
1 A. Well, the answer is simple: Quite obviously, the members of the
2 Presidency of the SFRY, who represented at that time Slovenia and Croatia
3 as well, were close associates of the republican leaderships who had
4 already opted for the war option. And Mr. Mesic throughout the time was
5 the prime associate of President Tudjman and Mr. Drnovsek the first
6 associate of Mr. Kucan who was president of Slovenia. And from many
7 statements that they made and that you could hear bandied about and their
8 public appearances as well -- Mr. Tudjman, for example, stated in public
9 and this was later on taken up by Mr. Mesic -- much later confirmed by
10 Mr. Mesic, in fact, that Croatia was only conscious of the fact that by
11 going to war could it gain its independence. Mr. Tudjman said that
13 Q. Why do you think that? Do you think that position of his was
14 right in view of what you said and what you quoted from the stenographic
15 notes? And this was the well-known stance of the Yugoslav leadership of
16 Serbia, Montenegro, and so on; namely, that no one was opposed to any kind
17 of secession through a democratic, lawful, legitimate procedure.
18 A. Well, it was clear to them in Croatia that they could not free
19 themselves of the Serb people on the territory of the Republic of Croatia
20 without a war.
21 Q. So they didn't want a legal procedure because that way they'd have
22 Serbs left in Croatia?
23 A. Yes, they'd have Serbs left in Croatia.
24 Q. Do you believe that that is the reason for that?
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, I think -- I think it's going
1 much too far. I'm very reluctant to interrupt and I didn't do it at many
2 times before now, but that's really going too far. It's so leading. It's
3 just actually putting words in the mouth of the witness.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Quite so, Mr. Milosevic. The questions are very,
5 very leading.
6 We are going to adjourn now --
7 MR. NICE: Would the Court allow me just a couple of minutes, in
8 the absence of this witness and nothing to do with his evidence, to deal
9 with a couple of very short administrative matters? I shan't be here at
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Okay. Very well.
12 You may leave now, Professor.
13 [The witness stands down]
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] In relation to this comment made by
15 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, who says that I am putting words into the witness's
16 mouth, I assume that she will not protest if she hears that from the mouth
17 of the president of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, and that she is not going to
18 say that I put those same words into Tudjman's mouth.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, that's not the point. You're not
20 to ask leading questions. You're not to give the evidence.
21 Mr. Nice.
22 MR. NICE: Three very short things. First, I was very concerned
23 about the way things developed with the witness's notebook this morning.
24 I've reviewed the history and the transcript. I regret very much the way
25 things developed, and of course accept responsibility for them.
1 Although the history of the production and the lack of time
2 yesterday, inability or whatever to ask questions about the notebook
3 yesterday and the fact that it was handed back to him as he was walking
4 out this morning all played their part, I can see that in my first
5 observations this morning, where I was intending to express neutrality
6 about the document and to say that by not cross-examining on it we were
7 making no concessions, I went further or certainly could have been
8 inferred or understood as going further than I should have done. That led
9 to questions and again, although I attempted to preserve the neutrality
10 position, it could be interpreted in another way, and I'm very sorry that
11 that happened.
12 My position remains the position that I acknowledged to His Honour
13 Judge Bonomy.
14 Second short point, very --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm very grateful for that clarification, Mr. Nice,
16 thank you.
17 MR. NICE: I thank Your Honour.
18 Second, the Court asked me yesterday about the grading of blue
19 book assessments. I gather it's simply a standard NATO grading. It runs
20 from A to F and 1 to 5. I don't think there's material available to us,
21 and probably the Chamber wouldn't want it, as to how it is they -- they
22 calculate within that grade. If you want it, we can find it, but it's A
23 to F and 1 to 5, and it's a standard NATO grading.
24 The last of the three matters, please, is something that we
25 touched on earlier in private session. Although I'm basically going to
1 adopt the position that was proposed in the private session, probably,
2 with your leave, we should just touch on that in private session again,
3 with your leave.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. Private session.
5 [Private session]
3 [Open session]
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, before I continue, I
6 would like to ask you in respect of the stenographic notes contained in
7 tab 1 that you said you had in translation, could you please admit it into
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we'll admit them.
10 [Trial Chamber confers]
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, there are parts of that -- of
12 those notes which relate to Bosnia. Did you intend to lead any evidence
13 relating to Bosnia?
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, this witness certainly has
15 knowledge, and he took part in some political events that have to do with
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina too. He headed the state Presidency until
17 mid-1992, practically until the end of all the Croatian conflicts. So the
18 highest relevance is for Croatia, but partly there is relevance as far as
19 Bosnia is concerned as well.
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: And you're going to lead evidence through this
22 witness from these notes? I just wanted to make sure that you haven't
23 overlooked it. It's a matter for you how you manage your case.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will single out a few things in
25 relation to this exhibit that have to do with Bosnia, but I will do that
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: We will admit it. Give a number to the binder.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the binder will be Exhibit D333.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, through the liaison
5 officer I have just received some information that has to do with the
6 evidence of a particular witness, but in view of the nature of its
7 content, as you will see, I'm just going to ask for a private session for
8 half a minute, because it has to do with the private affairs of that
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
11 [Private session]
11 Page 47659 redacted. Private session.
22 [Open session]
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Professor Kostic, we are not going to go back to the order of the
25 Presidency dated the 9th of January. My next question has to do with the
1 following: This illegally armed -- this illegal weapons that were
2 imported, were they used eventually in the inter-ethnic conflict before
3 the session of the Presidency on the 15th of May -- of March, referred to
4 in paragraph 99 of the Croatian indictment and also in the Bosnian
5 indictment, which is identical?
6 I have to read this out to you. "In March 1991, the work of the
7 collective Federal Presidency had been blocked due to a few questions
8 among which was the issue of instituting a state of emergency in
9 Yugoslavia." I'm not going to quote it further because it is not relevant
10 for this question but it is relevant, and how, in terms of other
11 questions, so I will restrict myself to this.
12 So were these weapons used in the armed conflicts before the
13 session in question?
14 A. It was being used, especially in the territories inhabited by a
15 majority Serb population in Croatia. We have just seen some footage, and
16 that was a well-known fact in the public then. There were many incidents
17 at that time in those areas, allegedly --
18 Q. Can you mention any of these incidents?
19 A. There were several, but I think that most often Pakrac was
20 referred to in terms of these incidents. Also at Lake Plitvice. I read
21 the indictment carefully and the paragraph that has to do with that, and I
22 think that it erroneously interprets everything that happened there. In
23 that paragraph of the indictment, it says that there were conflicts there
24 when the Croatian authorities tried to resume control over the area, which
25 is a misrepresentation of the situation, because in all of these areas
1 where there was a majority Serb population, there were police stations,
2 and of course it is quite certain that these police stations were manned
3 by persons from that territory, and they were Serbs, but they were part of
4 the Croatian authorities in that way. However, this has to do with
5 something completely different.
6 Q. So what is your answer to the question whether before that session
7 of the Presidency --
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. -- there were incidents?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. So what was the position of the state and military leadership
12 vis-a-vis these incidents? Can this be seen, for example? We have here
13 in tab 57 what Admiral Brovet said on the 5th of March. Can you look that
14 up, please, in your papers.
15 A. I've found it.
16 Q. So the 5th of March, 1991. That is ten days prior to this session
17 of the Presidency. First of all, do you recall who Admiral Stane Brovet
18 was and what he was at the time?
19 A. Admiral Stane Brovet was a highly respected officer of the
20 Yugoslav People's Army. He was an ethnic Slovene, and at that time he
21 held the office of deputy federal secretary for national defence. The
22 secretary was Veljko Kadijevic. And at the time he made a statement which
23 pertains precisely to that. That's in tab 57.
24 Q. Well, that's the one that I asked you to look up, to open.
25 A. Yes. This is where he speaks about that.
1 Q. At the very beginning, he says that on the 2nd of March -- or,
2 rather, he is speaking at a session of the National Defence Committee of
3 the National Assembly of Yugoslavia.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. As deputy minister of defence.
6 A. Yes, because the minister was absent. He says that: "At 600
7 hours on the 2nd of March, about 200 members of the Croatian MUP
8 surrounded and stormed the Municipal Assembly and police station in
9 Pakrac. Immediately prior to this, some of the active-duty and reserve
10 forces from the police station left Pakrac with their weapons while
11 between 15 and 20 reserve duty members, who remained in the station, were
12 disarmed and detained by the forces that stormed Pakrac. As events
13 unfolded, these forces increased without letup."
14 Q. Then he explains that citizens gathered there.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And then they would disperse by force.
17 A. Yes, and that's when the Yugoslav People's Army was engaged.
18 Q. He also said here that during the previously mentioned events,
19 fire was opened, that --
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. -- there was shooting?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. As soon as the Ministry of Defence was informed, they suggested to
24 the Presidency that there be movement of appropriate units of the JNA,
25 which the Presidency accepted, so they were engaged in Pakrac. And he
1 says that this proceeds from the constitutional role of the JNA to, inter
2 alia, prevent the outbreak of armed conflict, in particular inter-ethnic
3 armed conflict, wherever such conflict is underway or about to break out.
4 He also stresses that the Ministry of Defence has not entered into the
5 causes and other circumstances that led to the conflict, particularly not
6 into reasons of a political nature, because they believe the political
7 problems should be resolved by political means and not by force.
8 A. He says that people are fearful, that they feel this uncertainty,
9 and they want this state of anarchy and lawlessness to be brought to an
10 end to make it possible for the rule of law to prevail and to prevent
11 civil war.
12 Q. He also says that during the engagement of JNA forces in Pakrac
13 the MUP of Croatia opened fire from an armoured vehicle at members of the
14 JNA. He says that it's the fault of the MUP members for opening fire and
15 that he asks for them to be held accountable.
16 A. Finally, when he made this report in the Federal Assembly, he said
17 that the JNA has to fulfil its role in that situation, and that role is to
18 ensure the safety of all citizens of Yugoslavia. And the JNA will stay in
19 Pakrac until the situation normalises pursuant a decision of the SFRY
20 Presidency from its session of the 2nd and 3rd March and until the
21 situation is restored to what it was before the incidents.
22 Q. And then the session takes place and so on. Now, could you please
23 comment on this quotation in paragraph 98 concerning these incidents.
24 These events are described in their way: "In March 1991, the conflict
25 intensified when Serb police forces attempted to consolidate power over
1 areas with significant Serb populations. The Serb police, headed by Milan
2 Martic, took control of a police station in Pakrac and battles erupted
3 when the Croatian government attempted to re-establish its authority in
4 the area."
5 That is the same event.
6 "At Plitvice, a bus carrying Croatian policemen was attacked by
7 Serbs and another battle erupted. The JNA deployed troops in the area and
8 issued an ultimatum for the Croatian police to withdraw from Plitvice."
9 Are these allegations in paragraph 98 correct?
10 A. I think it is a wrong interpretation, a matter of wrong
11 interpretation in both paragraphs you quoted. The causes of both
12 incidents lay in the attempt of the Croatian authorities to deal with the
13 police that existed in those police stations, and who were Serbs, by
14 replacing them with Croats. And as we said before, not only the existing
15 police force in that area but also in the areas with majority Serb
16 population, people did not allow those new units of Croatian policemen to
17 take over those police stations for the simple reason that they were
18 wearing those uniforms and the emblems that reminded those people of the
19 atrocious genocide of World War II.
20 Q. Let us disregard for the moment what they reminded them of. Let
21 us just recall what Admiral Brovet, deputy minister of defence, an ethnic
22 Slovene, who definitely cannot be a Serb nationalist, said that --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Can we have a reference, please?
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, where are you reading from?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am reading from paragraph 57,
1 which is the report of Admiral Brovet of the 5th of March, that is, three
2 days later. He made a report to the appropriate committee of the federal
3 parliament in charge of national defence of the event.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's 57A.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. No, it's the English translation that's 57A. 57 is the Serbian
7 version. The letter A always denotes the English version.
8 So in this 98 paragraph --
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Tab 57A, for you.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: 57A.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have it in front of me.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: But that's just one page -- two pages.
14 THE ACCUSED: 5th of March, 1991, at 0600 from 2nd of March, about
15 200 members of the --" MUP -- it begins with these words -- have you found
16 it now?
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: No.
18 JUDGE KWON: Where in that document?
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's in the document.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: First paragraph, yes.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's also on the ELMO in the English
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. So it says here Brovet reporting to the competent committee of the
25 federal parliament. He says that: "200 members of the Croatian MUP
1 surrounded and stormed the Municipal Assembly and the police station," and
2 stormed them. Then he describes the reaction of the citizenry and what
3 happened next.
4 And then in paragraph 98, it says "The conflict intensified when
5 Serb police forces attempted consolidate power."
6 A. This claim is absolutely nonsensical. Everywhere incidents
7 occurred when Croatian authorities tried to commit some sort of questioned
9 Q. Yes, violence. So what is your answer? Are these allegations in
10 the indictment that I quoted correct?
11 A. No, they are not.
12 Q. Now, let us see a brief video clip from that session of the
13 Presidency of the 15th of March. We've seen some of it before prematurely
14 on the screens. I hope it can be played again.
15 [Videotape played]
16 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] And do you think you have the right
17 to import arms illegally, contrary to the constitution and the legislation
18 of Yugoslavia and to keep doing that and going on with the civil war? And
19 don't you lecture me about God knows what. These are the answers to the
20 questions, because those are the facts that you published. You decided to
21 suspend federal laws on your territory.
22 "Mesic: Serbia is more --
23 "Jovic: Please. All -- everything -- the same thing applies to
24 everyone. Why don't you say a word about how you are breaking up the
25 country. You are usurping other people's rights. That will not fly.
1 "Mesic: Everybody is doing that.
2 "Jovic: No use saying that. All those theories are not worth a
3 dime. We are talking about very specific things, about people usurping
4 other people's rights, and that will not be allowed.
5 "Mesic: Boro, I just have one --
6 "Jovic: Please, there is not one thing that you can tell me. You
7 are going into civil war with people who live in your territory and you
8 are thereby causing a civil war in Yugoslavia. Those are facts that
9 nobody can refute."
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Very well. It was even partially interpreted, and you were able
12 to hear it in Serbian. Who are those two men that we can hear?
13 A. The one who spoke was Dr. Borisav Jovic.
14 Q. There were two of them.
15 A. If we look at the screen, he is on the right. He was president of
16 the Presidency of the SFRY at the time. And the man next to him is
17 Mr. Stjepan Mesic. He was vice-president of the SFRY Presidency.
18 Q. Regarding this event, I have already quoted to you from paragraph
19 99. Do you think it's necessary for you to give further explanation about
20 the disagreement between those who supported the initiative of the General
21 Staff and those who opposed it?
22 A. I don't know whether I need to stress it any further. The fact is
23 that those who advocated the acceptance of that proposal by the General
24 Staff thought that imposing a state of emergency and taking those measures
25 could forestall further spreading of inter-ethnic conflicts and the
1 accelerated movement towards civil war. Those who opposed it, who were
2 representatives of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, believed that
3 imposing a state of emergency and giving more power to the military could
4 cause a civil war in the country. At least, that is how they explained
5 their refusal of the state of emergency.
6 Q. Let us look for a moment at something that could be very graphic,
7 and that is a proposal that was to be accepted and published by the
8 Presidency. Look at tab 58.
9 A. I've found it.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, it's just one page.
11 You have it in English.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Is this a draft release proposed by the General Staff of the
14 Supreme Command to the Presidency that could not be accepted because four
15 members of the Presidency resisted it; representatives of Slovenia,
16 Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia?
17 A. Yes. That is it. It's similar to the proposal of measures made
18 on the 9th of January that were suggested to the Presidency.
19 Q. But they were never implemented?
20 A. They were never implemented.
21 Q. And now the Presidency is again trying to adopt the following.
22 What is written here? The Presidency was supposed to adopt it, and it
23 would have adopted it had there at least one more representative in
25 A. "First, take measures to put the armed forces of the SFRY on the
1 alert at a level which would, according to the assessment of the Supreme
2 Command Staff, guarantee the prevention of inter-ethnic armed conflict and
3 civil war and ensure the conditions for a peaceful and democratic
4 denouement of the Yugoslav crisis, based on the constitution and laws.
5 "Second, take urgent and decisive measures with a view to bringing
6 the country's disrupted defence system into the framework established by
7 the SFRY constitution. For this purpose, the Order of the SFRY Presidency
8 of the 9th of January, 1991, to disarm and disband illegal armed units,
9 and the positions and decisions of the Presidency on control of the
10 Territorial Defence and performance of conscription duties will be
11 consistently implemented."
12 Q. And then it goes on to say --
13 A. "In adopting this decision, the SFRY Presidency indicated the need
14 to intensify constructive and democratic dialogue on overcoming the
15 economic, political and constitutional crisis and on the future
16 organisation of Yugoslavia.
17 "The SFRY Presidency once more --"
18 Q. Emphasises, and so on. And it says "shall use the means
19 prescribed by the --" et cetera. It will say -- "It will oppose the
20 legally prescribed measures to all forms of anarchy, lawlessness, the
21 adoption of unilateral decisions, and the policy of fait accompli."
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So that did not go through at that session of the Presidency.
24 They were unable to adopt it.
25 Let me now go back to the paragraph 56 that was quoted. I already
1 quoted the first three lines, but I have to do so again. "The work of the
2 Presidency reached a deadlock on several issues, including the imposition
3 of the state of emergency."
4 We have just seen what was proposed. And then it goes on to say:
5 "Members of the Presidency from Serbia, Montenegro, province of Vojvodina
6 and province of Kosovo resigned from their positions. In his speech of
7 the 16th of March, 1991, broadcast by the television, Slobodan Milosevic,
8 as president of the Republic of Serbia, stated that Yugoslavia is finished
9 and that Serbia is no longer bound by the decisions of the Federal
11 Now, let us see if this is true and accurate.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, that was paragraph 99 of the
13 Croatian indictment, not --
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] 99 of the Croatian indictment, but
15 it is identical to paragraph 56 of the Kosovo indictment -- or, rather,
16 the Bosnian indictment. It refers to my speech. I'm sorry, because I
17 have that speech as published in Politika newspaper of the 17th of March,
18 but unfortunately I didn't note it down correctly. It's tab, I believe,
19 51. Let me look for a moment.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is 51.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, it's 51. I hope it's
22 translated, although I haven't read the translation. Just a minute. I
23 did not check the English translation, but let us stop for a moment here.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. This is the Politika newspaper, the front page, and here in
1 paragraphs 99 and 56 that are identical, it says: "In his speech, on --
2 in his speech in March, Slobodan Milosevic stated that Yugoslavia is
4 Now, please look -- please read, in fact, from the beginning of my
5 speech, because a claim is made that I stated in that speech that
6 Yugoslavia is finished. What did I actually say?
7 A. "Last night, Yugoslavia entered the final phase of its agony. The
8 Presidency of the SFRY has not been functioning for a long time now, and
9 any illusions about its efforts and endeavours which are in fact
10 non-existent are now definitely dead."
11 Q. So what is dead, Yugoslavia or what?
12 A. The illusions that the Presidency is functioning are dead, and the
13 allegations in the indictment are completely wrongly interpreting this
15 Q. Since it says, nevertheless, that I stated that Yugoslavia is
16 dead, would you read on.
17 A. "This is --"
18 THE INTERPRETER: We do not have the exact reference where it is
19 exactly in the speech.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So from this entire passage in the
21 indictment, what is only partially true is the part at the end from which
22 we can see that in that speech, far from claiming that Yugoslavia is dead,
23 you remained dedicated to the idea of Yugoslavia.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. All right. But tell me, is there any truth in this allegation?
1 Let us look at paragraphs 99 and 56. Are they correct?
2 A. Only a small bit.
3 Q. No, I mean the bit where it says that I said Yugoslavia was dead?
4 A. No. You said in your speech that it is an illusion that the
5 Presidency is trying to resolve it. That illusion was dead.
6 Q. Yes. It was an illusion that they were doing something when they
7 were doing nothing. Now, there is another allegation. It says that
8 members of the Presidency of Serbia, Montenegro, and the province of
9 Kosovo and the province of Vojvodina all resigned from their posts. Is
10 that true?
11 A. I cannot say with certainty about all of them, but I know for a
12 fact that Borisav Jovic resigned as president of the Presidency of the
13 SFRY, and the member for Montenegro, Nenad Bucin. In the release of
14 Tanjug news agency, they wrote that Jugoslav Kostic also announced his
16 Q. What about Riza Sapundzija ?
17 A. I think he was actually replaced at that time.
18 Q. Very well. In your opinion, since you explained why those who
19 resigned did so -- did you explain?
20 A. I really had no opportunity to talk to any one of them about that,
21 but what they stated publicly was that they did not wish to participate in
22 the breaking up of Yugoslavia or to bear responsibility for that because
23 they thought that such decisions of the staff of the Supreme Command were
24 leading Yugoslavia straight into civil war.
25 Q. But in your opinion, in your assessment, because after that you
1 went on to be vice-president of the Presidency, did this failure of the
2 Presidency to adopt this proposal of the staff of the Supreme Command mean
3 a failure of the Presidency to fulfil its role and obligations?
4 A. Yes. I think this was a failure of the Presidency to fulfil its
5 constitutional obligation, because that obligation was to preserve peace
6 and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. And I think this was a grave
7 violation of that obligation.
8 Several times I said publicly, and I wrote in my book, that in my
9 assessment the adoption of that proposal of the staff of the Supreme
10 Command at the session of the 12th, 13th, and 14th of March was perhaps
11 the last chance to prevent a broad civil war, wide-scale civil war in
13 Q. In tab 58, it says: "Take measures to raise the alertness and
14 readiness of the armed forces with a view to preventing civil war and
15 inter-ethnic armed conflict." That was not accepted.
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. And how did the staff of the Supreme Command react --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you proceed any further, so that I
19 understand the way in which this worked. This was a Supreme Command of
20 eight representatives which operated according to simple majority voting;
21 is that correct?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, can you tell me how -- in a democratic set-up
24 like that, can you tell me how it helps to try to advance the debate to
25 walk out just because your particular proposal does not get a majority?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that there are a number of
2 questions within the overall question that you put to me. First of all,
3 the Presidency numbered eight members, and for any decision to go through,
4 they needed at least five Presidency members to vote in favour of it for
5 any decision to be taken.
6 Now, as to the more important questions, the rules of procedure
7 governing the work of the Presidency, a two-third majority was required,
8 which means six members of the Presidency to vote in favour. And to all
9 intents and purposes here, at this first session we were faced with a
10 situation where four Presidency members voted in favour and four voted
11 against. And then that meeting was interrupted, if I remember correctly,
12 and on the following day, or two days later, it was continued.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Are you not able to answer -- are you not able to
14 answer the question I asked you? I'd rather you did that than give me
15 another reiteration of what I already know.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I do apologise, Mr. Bonomy,
17 but then it would seem that I didn't understand your question. Would you
18 repeat it, please.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: My question was in a system like this which
20 operates democratically according to the votes of the individual parties
21 who come together to meet and form the Supreme Command, how does it help
22 to advance the debate about the future of Yugoslavia just to walk away, to
23 resign when you don't get your own way because your particular proposal is
24 not accepted by a majority?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think that you understood the
1 situation wrongly. Nobody walked away. All members of the Presidency
2 stayed on throughout the duration of the meeting, and the meeting went on
3 for three days.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: You've just told us that, as far as you can
5 recollect, at least two members resigned thereafter, and Mr. Milosevic has
6 put it to you that actually four resigned. So either way, people who were
7 unhappy with the decision said, "I'm taking my football, I'm not playing
8 any more, I'm walking away."
9 Now, how does that advance sensible political debate?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, if you're asking me what I
11 personally think about those resignations which were tendered by them at
12 the time, then I have to say this: In a situation of that kind, if we
13 assess the situation in the country as being extremely critical, that
14 without taking these measures this would lead directly to a civil war,
15 then I think that had I been in their stead, in their place, for the same
16 reasons and motives as put forward by them, that is to say that they no
17 longer took -- wanted to take part in the country's disintegration, then I
18 would have acted in the same way, the difference being that Dr. Jovic,
19 several days later, pursuant to instructions from the Assembly of Serbia,
20 went back to the work in the Presidency whereas Nenad Bucin remained by
21 his decision to resign and didn't go back. So I'm differentiating between
22 that. I don't know if that answers your question. I differentiate
23 between voting at the session itself and the inability to make a decision
24 from an act to resign from a body after the completion of a meeting and
25 then that no steps were taken, because the resignations followed after the
1 meeting had been completed on the third day.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: You see, if you abandon the democratic process, you
3 must -- for a very strong reason, because you think that the decision made
4 is fundamentally wrong, it's going to lead to the break-up of the state,
5 if you abandon the democratic process in that situation and resign, you
6 must have an alternative in mind, surely, to advance the interests of the
7 state, and I'm trying to identify what it was thought by those resigning
8 they could achieve by doing so.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do apologise, but I can't answer
10 that question of yours. I don't know what they thought. All I was saying
11 -- and I didn't have a chance to contact them, but I was only saying that
12 if it was a very difficult situation that faced the country which was
13 leading directly to a civil war, and the meeting lasted for three days,
14 then you had eight members of the Presidency -- that's why I brought that
15 up. Had there been at least nine of them, then you could have had a
16 majority, and I would have respected the will of the majority. But there
17 was a checkmate position, a stalemate, in actual fact, and had I been in
18 the position of those people faced with such a grave responsibility as a
19 member of the Presidency and Supreme Command, I might have reacted in the
20 same way and tendered my resignation in the desire to make us more serious
21 and reasonable in our actions.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, I don't want to prolong this unnecessarily,
23 but I wonder if it's correct to describe it as checkmate, because what you
24 need is a positive vote to change things. And if you have an equality of
25 voting, then you have the status quo. That wins the day. And one would
1 expect in a democratic set-up that that would be recognised in spite of
2 the strong views of everyone, whereas to walk away leaves a vacuum and
3 indeed might well have precipitated the break-up of -- of the state.
4 However, Mr. Milosevic will no doubt take up his own line of examination
5 from there.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, might I be allowed to
7 say this: I just have a fourth category, but I don't think that the mate
8 and checkmate position are the same positions in chess, when either side,
9 based on their views, have the chance to fight. And pursuant to
10 constitutional solutions and decisions, it doesn't mean leaving a vacuum
11 mind, not only that.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Let's just clarify the area broached by Mr. Bonomy. I think that
14 he broached it very correctly. That's my personal opinion. But let's
15 clarify matters at this point.
16 Is it the most important constitutional obligation of Presidency
17 members to prevent a war?
18 A. Yes. Pursuant to the constitution. An agreement was signed to
19 that effect in the Federal Assembly.
20 Q. Let's leave that aside for the time being. I think we'll arrive
21 at an understanding and explanation if we differentiate between the
22 personal and institutional character and factor. So in the personal
23 sense, Borisav Jovic is a person, and Nenad Bucin, to take just those from
24 Serbia and Montenegro, tendered their resignations.
25 Now, let's differentiate between the personal and institutional
1 factor by way of your example, that is to say the example of Montenegro.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Was there any vacuum that set in? You explained that they had
4 tendered their resignations after the meeting. So they didn't leave
5 before the meeting was over, but they personally considered it to be a
6 personal act of responsibility on their part. Now, what happened? Bucin
7 resigned and left it there. What happened afterwards? Montenegro reacted
8 straight away and elected you; is that right?
9 A. No.
10 Q. When were you appointed or elected?
11 A. Montenegro didn't elect me straight away, but pursuant to the
12 constitution, it is regulated that in the case of, for example, Montenegro
13 not having a representative in the SFRY Presidency, which happened when
14 Mr. Nenad Bucin resigned, then according to the constitution, it was
15 provided for that the president of the Presidency of the republic perform
16 the function of the Presidency member, and that function was taken over
17 until I was elected and chosen and confirmed in the Assembly by Mr. Momir
18 Bulatovic, who at the time was the president of the Presidency of
19 Montenegro, and that was the constitutional solution.
20 Q. Right. So there was no vacuum?
21 A. That's right. That's why I said there was no vacuum.
22 Q. Bucin resigned, Montenegro chose you. While you were -- actually
23 took up your job, the president performed the function pursuant to the
24 constitutional stipulations. Is that the substance of the matter?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And Jovic, at the request of the Assembly, withdrew his
2 resignation and continued working in the Presidency?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Thank you. Then we can move on. I'm sorry, but I have to take a
5 moment to find something that I don't seem to be finding now.
6 Let's look at the reactions of the staff of the Supreme Command to
7 the non-adoption of its proposal, and you'll find that in tab 59 where we
8 have an official statement by the Supreme Command staff of the armed
9 forces of the SFRY, and it is dated the 19th of March, 1991. And that is
10 tab 59.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think you have it, Mr. Robinson,
12 in English?
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, we do.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. And this is what it talks about. It says that: "At its sessions
16 held on the 12th, 14th, and 15th, the Presidency did not accept the
17 proposal of the Supreme Command Staff to take appropriate measures
18 guaranteeing the prevention of inter-ethnic armed conflict and civil war
19 and ensure conditions for a peaceful and democratic resolution of the
20 Yugoslav crisis based on the SFRY constitution and laws."
21 And then it goes on to say: "The Supreme Command Staff, as the
22 highest of expert professional body in command and control of the armed
23 forces, made a comprehensive evaluation of the newly arisen situation and
24 its possible consequences and states as follows.
25 "That the JNA will steadfastly guard the SFRY borders, that it
1 will not allow them -- that it will not allow international conflict --
2 inter-ethnic armed conflict and the use of force."
3 A. Or violent demonstrations, from whatever side, aimed at toppling
4 the regime.
5 Q. Then it goes on to say that: "In view of the fact that the
6 circumstances were not ripe for the 9th of January decision to go ahead,
7 the Yugoslav People's Army cannot bear any responsibility for the possible
8 continuation of illegal arming of citizens or their organising in military
9 fashion anywhere on Yugoslav territory."
10 And it reiterates that: "The conditions and measures are the key
11 prerequisites for a peaceful and democratic solution of the Yugoslav
12 crisis ..."
13 So what do we have here? Who is it who is against the measures
14 designed to prevent armed conflict on an ethnic basis?
15 A. I think the greatest resistance was offered by representatives of
16 the secessionist republics who later on broke away violently, seceded
17 violently from Yugoslavia, as we saw later on. And I think that it is on
18 -- on the basis of the information I had at the time and that went public
19 at the time, it seems to me that the representatives in the Presidency of
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina and the representatives of Macedonia as well joined in,
21 joined them out of fear that something was not ascribed to them, that
22 Slovenia and Croatia were not ascribing bias to them on their part, but
23 they voted against the proposal by the staff of the Supreme Command as
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Do you think -- do you think it's appropriate for
1 an army to issue this sort of statement expressing dissatisfaction with a
2 decision made by the government?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Bonomy, all I can tell you is
4 this: I can just tell you what I would have done in that same situation,
5 but that doesn't mean that that was a good thing or that that would have
6 been a good step, the right step.
7 In my public statements and later on as the vice-president of the
8 SFRY Presidency and a member of the Presidency, of course, on many
9 occasions repeated what I said, that is to say that I consider and still
10 consider today that it was the 11th hour for something to be done, to
11 prevent the chaos of a civil war from breaking out on the territory. Had
12 I been in that situation, I would have taken steps and introduced a state
13 of emergency, but perhaps that might have been the wrong decision. It's
14 difficult for me to say.
15 And as far as Mr. Kadijevic is concerned, I said about him
16 personally, when there were many criticisms made of him and many
17 complaints about Mr. Kadijevic as the federal minister, at the time I
18 myself said that in my opinion Mr. Kadijevic was more a politician than he
19 was a soldier. And at no point did I allow in any sense any doubt to be
20 thrown on and suspicions on Mr. Kadijevic, because in my opinion he always
21 was and remains a Yugoslav according to his orientations and options.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: What you seem to be saying is that this is
23 acceptable, for an army to make a statement like this which expresses
24 dissatisfaction with a decision of its own Supreme Command. Now, if you
25 had been one of those who was against a state of emergency, would you not
1 have regarded such a statement as an act of disloyalty?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No. This kind of statement
3 precisely speaks of loyalty of the army and the Supreme Command staff to
4 the Supreme Command, the civilian leadership of the army. But that's why
5 I said that perhaps had I been in the place of General Kadijevic, instead
6 of this statement I might have taken steps, but I don't know whether it
7 would have been the right steps to take.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: So you think the fifth paragraph, abandoning
9 responsibility, is an acceptable way of stating the position.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Mr. Kostic, read out paragraph 5 before you answer and see what
12 it's about.
13 A. "Since the necessary conditions have not been met and prerequisites
14 for the complete implementation of the order of the SFRY of the 9th of
15 January, 1991, the Yugoslav People's Army cannot bear any responsibility
16 for the possible continuation of illegal arming of citizens or their
17 organising in military fashion anywhere on Yugoslav territory."
18 Therefore, with this kind of statement, as I read it and
19 understand it, the Supreme Command staff, respecting fully the check
20 position or impasse that the Presidency faced with four votes for and four
21 votes against, the Yugoslav People's Army, or the Supreme Command staff is
22 stating that that situation which is already difficult and will continue
23 to deteriorate in future. And that is why I'm not saying what my conduct
24 would be had I been one of those eight members of the Presidency. What I
25 tried to do was to explain, although that could be dangerous for me. Had
1 I been in the place of the Defence Minister faced with an impasse of that
2 kind and fully conscious of the difficulty of the situation, I might have
3 taken steps on that day, bearing in mind that in a country of democracy,
4 such as Greece, for example, the army did take steps in critical moments,
5 and for practically seven years the country was governed by a military
6 junta. But there was no civil war in Greece and democracy returned to
7 Greece in a peaceful way later on. So I don't know whether this solution
8 on my part would have been a good one, but that is what I would have done
9 myself most probably.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, we'll break for -- for today.
11 There is another trial here at 2.15. So we will have to break now.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I understand that, but might I just
14 be allowed to ask one more question to clarify what Mr. Bonomy just
15 raised. Might I be allowed to do that, Mr. Robinson?
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Paragraph 5 says: "Since the SFRY Presidency adopts and accepts
19 the proposed essential measures for the full implementation of its own
20 order of the 9th of January 1991 --" It might be a good idea to read out
21 the order prior to that. It is the Presidency's order to disarm and
22 disband illegal armed units. So as this decision was not accepted, they
23 go on to say that they won't be able to bear any responsibility for the
24 situation. Had they done so by passing the order, they would have been
25 acting unlawfully, and that's why they say whether -- now, whether that is
1 correct or not, that is what they say, because the order was rejected.
2 Was that a fact?
3 A. Yes. That was the fact precisely, and that's why I said that
4 faced with a situation of that kind, and if I were in the minister's
5 shoes, I might have acted differently even if it might have appeared to be
6 illegal and unlawful, but faced with such grave decisions and the threat
7 of a civil war, facing an impasse when civil authorities cannot take the
8 right solution, I might have taken different steps.
9 Q. All right. Thank you.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I understand, Mr. Robinson that
11 we have to adjourn now.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. We will adjourn and resume on
13 Wednesday, 1st February, at 9.00 a.m.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 1st day
16 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.