1 Monday, 6 February 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, please start.
7 WITNESS: BRANKO KOSTIC [Resumed]
8 [Witness answered through interpreter]
9 Examination by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. [Interpretation] Before we continue with the questions, I'd like
13 to provide a document which Professor Rakic in the meantime managed to
14 come by from Belgrade. It is the Official Gazette of the SFRY, and I'd
15 like to ask the usher to place it on the overhead projector because it's
16 one copy and that will enable the witness to read it, and I'll be able to
18 Mr. Bonomy was interested in whether a document existed with
19 respect to the establishment of the imminent threat of war in the SFRY,
20 and it related to the session of the 1st of October.
21 I hope you have it on the overhead projector now.
22 A. I don't have it.
23 Q. May we see it on the overhead projector?
24 A. We've got it there now, but it's rather illegible.
25 Q. But you can read it from the actual document, from the paper, not
1 on the screen. It's very short. I can read it on my copy. Can you read
3 A. Yes, I can.
4 Q. What does it say?
5 A. "On the basis of Article 316, paragraph 1 of the constitution of
6 the SFRY and Article 6 of the law on total national defence, the Official
7 Gazette of the SFRY, number 21/82 and 35/91, the Presidency of the
8 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, at its session held on the 1st
9 of October, 1991, in assessing the current political and security
10 situation in the country, determined --"
11 Q. And what does it say then?
12 A. "... determined the existence of an imminent threat of war in the
13 SFRY. This Act will be published in the Official Gazette of the SFRY,
14 which is the Official Gazette.
15 Q. Read out the decision to the end. What does it say? What's the
17 A. "190, 1st of October, 1991, Belgrade, the Vice-president Dr.
18 Branko Kostic in his own hand."
19 Q. So we're dealing there with the 1st of October, and that's what
20 you were testifying about, and this document was published at the time in
21 the Official Gazette, establishing that the Presidency had found that
22 there was the imminent threat of war in the country. That's the document.
23 A. Yes. That is it. But I forgot that it was published in the
24 Official Gazette. But we were discussing whether it was a decision proper
25 or whether it was some sort of assessment or appraisal. I said that there
1 need not have been a decision but that that was the general evaluation.
2 Q. Yes. Well, we clarified that now on the basis of the document.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Now, Mr. Robinson, the document is a
4 short one. It's not translated, but the witness has just read it out and
5 it's been translated, so I'd like to tender it into evidence, please.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: The Prosecution has also looked for this
9 document, and actually it's already an exhibit. It's Exhibit 526, tab 28.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: That's the same document.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Very well, Mr. Milosevic. There's no need to ...
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I will have to verify and see if
14 this is the same document. I don't remember it ever having been tendered
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Professor Kostic --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: It came -- came into evidence through Professor
19 Ivan Kristan. That information is from Judge Kwon.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Last time you left off explaining what kind of resistance there
22 was with respect to the adoption of the Vance Plan. Did you personally
23 take part in trying to convince the leadership in Krajina to accept the
25 A. Yes, I did. I did take part, and very intensively. Not only I
1 myself but the overall Presidency of the SFRY, all the members who
2 advocated the Yugoslav federalist option. And at the beginning, we had
3 two very long meetings - they lasted for six hours - with the whole
4 leadership of the Republic of Srpska Krajina. And when we considered that
5 we had gained their acquiescence, their agreement, it turned out that
6 despite Mr. Milan Babic's promises that he would accept the Vance Plan,
7 despite all of the reservations he had, he did promise that he would make
8 a public statement to the information media to that effect, that remained
9 at the level of promises. Mr. Babic never did that. And at the
10 Convention on Yugoslavia held on the 3rd of January, 1992, the president
11 of the Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Krajina fiercely attacked the
12 Yugoslav state Presidency because of the Vance Plan, accusing us of
13 betraying the interests of the Serbs in Krajina. And after that, we had a
14 marathon meeting which went on for 40 hours, with interruptions, and I
15 said that at that meeting, in addition to the members of the Yugoslav
16 state Presidency, we had the participation of the most responsible
17 representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, federal institutions, and the
18 Supreme Command Staff as well, as well as the federal Assembly,
19 representatives of the leadership of the Serb people in
20 Bosnia-Herzegovina, and not only the government of the Republic of Srpska
21 Krajina and the president of the Republika Srpska Krajina Milan Babic, but
22 also all the presidents of the municipalities --
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Professor, please remember, short answers, and
24 just an answer that is sufficient. There is no need for that level of
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. So briefly, there was the leadership of Krajina there and the
3 leadership of Yugoslavia; is that right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Attending that meeting.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And that's the meeting that went on for 40 hours?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. And what was the purpose of that meeting?
10 A. The purpose of that meeting was, to all intents and purposes, to
11 reach an agreement, because we had agreed with everybody else that
12 Mr. Milan Babic had been -- should be persuaded to accept the plan,
13 because we as the Yugoslav state Presidency weren't able to inform either
14 Mr. Cyrus Vance or the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
15 Mr. Boutros-Ghali about the acceptance of the Vance Plan until we had
16 reached agreement with the leadership of the Serb people in Krajina. And
17 since we didn't have that agreement and couldn't get it at that meeting
18 with Mr. Babic, we decided to organise an Assembly session of the Republic
19 of Srpska Krajina in Glina.
20 Q. And was that session organised?
21 A. Yes, it was.
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: The question was simply what was the purpose of
23 that meeting. Just answer the question. You've already answered it.
24 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. So you didn't manage to convince Babic at that meeting, and you
2 convened an Assembly meeting in Glina; right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You went to Glina to attend the Assembly meeting, did you? Yes or
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. At whose request did you go to Glina?
8 A. At your own personal request, and that was the only time you
9 addressed us directly during that period of time, the year that I spent in
10 Belgrade. You rang me up on the phone and asked me --
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. You've answered the question. Let's
12 move on.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Just tell us the result of that Assembly session which you
16 A. The Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Krajina finally confirmed
17 the signature of Milan Paspalj in Belgrade who, as president of the
18 Assembly in the absence of the president of the republic, placed his
19 signature on the Vance Plan, and it was only after that that we were in a
20 situation as the Yugoslav state Presidency to inform the UN
21 Secretary-General that Vance's plan had been adopted.
22 Q. Thank you. And what about the authorities in Croatia? How did
23 they view the Vance Plan?
24 A. The authorities in Croatia had a very negative view of the Vance
25 Plan and they put up great resistance because the Vance Plan guaranteed,
1 finally, the establishment of a truce, which didn't suit the Croatian
3 Q. In tab 64, we have the Vance-Owen Plan. Could you find it,
4 please. Have you found it?
5 A. Yes, I have.
6 Q. What does point 1 of the Vance-Owen Plan provide for with respect
7 to the overall object of the UN mission and its duration? Read it out.
8 A. Point 1 says: "A UN peace-keeping operation in Yugoslavia is
9 envisaged as an interim arrangement to create the conditions for peace and
10 security required for the negotiation of an overall settlement of the
11 Yugoslav crisis. This operation should not prejudice the outcome of
12 negotiations to this end."
13 Q. Tell us, please, what attitude of this aim of the mission to
14 create conditions for peace and security required for the negotiation of
15 an overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis? So what was the -- what was
16 that aim and goal on the part of the mission and the SFRY's aim?
17 A. They coincided completely, because we couldn't stop the fighting,
18 the paramilitaries against the JNA especially in the Republic of Serb
19 Krajina. We weren't able to achieve a truce.
20 Q. And what was the relationship between that goal, that end, and the
21 steps taken by the leadership of Serbia and myself?
22 A. Well, our attempts were the same.
23 Q. What was the relationship of the secessionist republic's
24 leadership with respect to an overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis,
25 which is mentioned there? What was their attitude towards that?
1 A. Well, the leadership, especially in Slovenia and Croatia, didn't
2 find that this concept suited their aims, nor did they wish to find an
3 overall settlement to the Yugoslav crisis, especially not the leadership
4 in Croatia, because the leadership in Croatia, there were -- was
5 encouraged, especially by Germany and some other European countries, with
6 respect to the threats they were hurling at us, and they kept saying that
7 if the war conflicts did not cease, they would recognise Croatia's
9 We concluded so many truces and cease-fires, and they were all
10 violated by Croatian paramilitaries, that there was nothing we could do at
11 that point.
12 Q. Tell us just briefly, please, what, to quote this area, what does
13 it mean by the protected UN areas? What territory do those areas
15 A. UNPAs meant areas with Serb majority population on the territory
16 of Croatia, or alternatively, a large number of minority Serbs in places
17 where, due to inter-ethnic conflict, the areas had turned into a crisis
19 Q. Now, tell us, what does this plan say? Which areas should become
20 UNPAs? Point A.
21 A. Point A, it says these would be areas where, in the opinion of the
22 Secretary-General, special interim arrangements would be necessary to
23 ensure that lasting cease-fire is maintained. These would be areas in
24 which Serbs constitute the majority or a substantial minority of the
25 population and where inter-ethnic tensions have led to armed conflict in
1 the recent past. As pointed out before, special arrangements in these
2 areas would be temporary and would not prejudice the outcome of political
3 negotiations towards an overall settlement of the Yugoslav crisis.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could we see with the AV booth what
5 is going on, because there is interference in the headphones, like a
6 soundtrack or something.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: The matter raised by Mr. Milosevic, I'd like to
8 have that checked out by the technical people.
9 It's being checked, Mr. Milosevic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Now, could you please read item 7 of the Vance Plan.
13 A. Item 7: "The armed forces of the United Nations and police
14 monitors would be deployed in various areas of Croatia, which would be
15 called the United Nations Protected Areas (UNPA). These areas would be
16 demilitarised. All the armed forces in these areas would have to either
17 withdraw or be disbanded. The mandate of the United Nations troops would
18 be to ensure that these areas remain demilitarised and that all the
19 persons residing in these areas are protected from fear of armed attack.
20 The role of the United Nations police monitors would be to ensure that the
21 local police forces carry out their duties without discriminating between
22 different ethnic groups and without violating anybody's human rights. To
23 the extent that the United Nations forces take over their responsibilities
24 in UNPAs, all JNA forces will be deployed in other populated areas in
25 Croatia or outside that republic."
1 Q. That's enough. You don't have to read about humanitarian
3 So, Professor Kostic, if UNPAs, according to item 8, were in fact
4 areas populated by Serbs, how are we to understand the sentence from item
5 7 that you've just read, which reads: "The role of the United Nations
6 police monitors --" or, rather: "UNPAs should remain demilitarised so
7 that all persons residing in these areas are protected from fear of armed
9 A. They were crisis hotspots, these areas, and when we wrote to the
10 United Nations Secretary-General and the Security Council, we advised them
11 that our main wish is to deploy the troops in certain areas to protect the
12 Serbian population that would enable us to withdraw the JNA from these
13 areas. In other words, that UN troops should take over the role that the
14 JNA had been performing that far.
15 Q. What "fear of armed attack" is meant here?
16 A. Well, it's fear from armed attack by Croatian paramilitary units.
17 We've discussed it already.
18 Q. Before the UN peacekeepers arrived, were there such attacks?
19 A. There were many such attacks by Croat paramilitary units, special
20 police units, and so on and so forth. They were being sent to those areas
21 where police stations already existed, but the problem for them was that
22 those police stations were manned by the local people, a lot of them
23 Serbs. And they wanted to disarm those local police forces that consisted
24 of the local people, Serbs, and that combined with the fear of the Serbs,
25 of seeing a repetition of World War II, led to conflicts. Roads were cut
1 off, logs were placed across roads to prevent passage. That's why it was
2 called the log revolution.
3 Q. It's -- after the UN peacekeepers arrived, were there violations
4 of the Vance Plan?
5 A. Yes, a number. There were armed attacks and raids. Moreover, in
6 certain areas Croatian armed forces penetrated the UNPAs, although the
7 Vance Plan envisaged not only UNPAs but also yellow areas that should also
8 have been demilitarised, with Croat forces withdrawn and pulled back.
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Sorry, let me see if I understand this. You say
10 that the -- the UN police monitors wanted to disarm the local police
11 forces that consisted of local people, Serbs, and that led to conflicts.
12 Is it your understanding of the Vance-Owen Plan that that was part of
13 their role?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, there must be a
15 misunderstanding due to misinterpretation. I didn't talk about police
16 monitors of the UN. I said that there were attacks by Croatian
17 paramilitaries, Croatian special police forces, and armed forces on the
18 local population when, according to orders from their leadership, they
19 tried to penetrate these areas populated by the majority Serb populace.
20 Those areas also had police stations, like every other area in Croatia,
21 with the difference that these police stations were manned and led by
22 representatives of the Serb population. And the Croat authorities sent
23 their armed forces to disarmed these --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Thank you. The impression was given
25 that -- to me, at any rate, that it was the UN police monitors, but you
1 have now explained it, yes.
2 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, maybe confusion
4 occurred because when we quoted item 7, there is indeed reference to UN
5 police monitors. There is a sentence that says: "The role of the United
6 Nations police monitors would be to ensure that the local police forces
7 carry out their duties without discriminating between different ethnic
8 groups and without violating anybody's human rights." So UN police
9 monitors were to ensure regular work by the police, not disarming or
10 anything else. They were only to supervise how the police operate. That
11 was in item 7, and maybe that was confused with a later explanation by
12 Mr. Kostic as to how Croat armed forces tried to penetrate and to disarm
13 the police in those areas.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: That has been clarified. It was the way it came
15 across in translation.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: I take it that "local police forces," the phrase
17 used in Article 7, would be difficult to define. There appear to have
18 been official and unofficial police forces. So was there uncertainty
19 about what "local police force" meant?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I may explain. The Vance Plan
21 envisaged only a truce and the engagement of peacekeepers to protect the
22 Serb population in these areas. However, it did not prejudice or favour
23 any political solution and did not favour any existing political situation
24 in these territories. In other words, for the Serb people in Krajina,
25 continued to have what they had before the peacekeepers came: Their
1 police stations, their police force, their system of education, their
2 Cyrillic alphabet, their judiciary; all the functions that they ran in the
3 Krajinas, they kept after the peacekeepers came.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, in an area where the Serb population
5 was a substantial minority, would there be a Serb police station and a
6 Croatian police station, therefore two local police forces, or would there
7 only be a Croatian police force?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There would have been no Serb or
9 Croat police forces. The police forces that existed there at the moment
10 peacekeepers came continued to be there, continued to exist. In areas
11 where Serbs were a substantial minority and the police station was ran by
12 Croats, nothing in that police station would have changed. But that was
13 precisely the role of the monitors, police monitors mentioned in item 7 of
14 the Vance Plan. They were to see to it that, regardless of whether the
15 Serbs are a majority or minority in a certain area, the police forces in a
16 particular station should treat all ethnicities equally and treat everyone
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. To save time, could you just read the last sentence in item 11,
21 which begins: "Should there be serious tensions ..."
22 A. "Should there be serious tensions between ethnic groups within --
23 within -- between ethnic groups within a UNPA, the United Nations forces
24 would place themselves between the two sides in order to prevent
1 Q. Now, would you please compare these tasks of the peacekeepers with
2 the role of the JNA in the next paragraphs.
3 A. They were completely the same. That's why we were pleased with
4 the Vance Plan and the whole approach of Mr. Cyrus Vance and his
5 associates relating to the drafting of this plan. The JNA had the task to
6 stand between the conflicting parties in case a conflict arises and to
7 prevent these tensions from turning into war.
8 Q. Now, tell me about the mandate of the UNPROFOR. You said that the
9 main role in bringing them was played by politicians from Montenegro and
10 Serbia. How does the mandate of the UNPROFOR fit within the theory of
11 territorial aspirations of Serbia against other countries?
12 A. It makes absolutely no sense, because this mandate of the UNPROFOR
13 refutes the theory that there were any territorial ambitions of Serbia or
14 anybody else against others.
15 Q. Would it be fair to say that I wanted to keep these territories
16 under my control and therefore I asked the UN peacekeepers to come?
17 A. I cannot explain such a theory at all. It makes no sense. We
18 were pulling out the JNA and bringing the blue helmets.
19 Q. Look at paragraph 109 of the Croatian indictment. I won't be
20 reading it whole, just the part that relates to the Vance Plan. It says:
21 "Under the Vance Plan, four United Nations Protected Areas, UNPAs, were
22 established in the areas occupied -" occupied mind you - "by Serb force
23 forces. The Vance Plan called for the withdrawal of the JNA from Croatia
24 and the return of displaced persons to their homes in the UNPAs. Although
25 the JNA officially withdrew from Croatia in May 1992, large portions of
1 its weaponry and personnel remained in the Serb-held areas and were turned
2 over to the police of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, RSK. Displaced
3 persons were not allowed to return to their homes and those few Croats and
4 other non-Serbs who had remained in the Serb occupied areas were expelled
5 in the following months. The territory of the RSK remained under Serb
6 occupation until large portions of it were retaken by Croatian forces in
7 two operations in 1995."
8 What is written in this paragraph, does it correspond to what you
9 know about it?
10 A. Practically nothing of what you read corresponds with what I know.
11 Mr. Cyrus Vance and his team who defined the so-called Vance Plan, and
12 Mr. Vance personally, he was an earnest, serious statement, a highly
13 qualified diplomat, and he was characterised by great objectivity in
14 analysing and resolving the problems that arose in these areas.
15 We just explained the purpose of the Vance Plan. What is written
16 in the indictment I can only interpret as an ill-intentioned phrase of the
17 -- or a version of the OTP, because the JNA completely withdrew from
18 those areas, and those areas were put under the control of the United
19 Nations. So this language must be ill-intentioned on the part of the
21 If the OTP had the least desire to objectively portray the
22 situation, they would have at least looked at the language of the Vance
24 Q. Well, compare these two sentences. In the indictment, it says:
25 "Under the Vance Plan, four UNPAs were established in the areas occupied
1 by Serb forces," whereas the Vance Plan says these would be "areas where
2 Serbs constitute a majority or a substantial minority and where recent
3 inter-ethnic tensions have turned into a crisis."
4 How would you comment on this comparison?
5 A. This is an obvious clash between the two versions, and I can only
6 treat it as ill-intentioned.
7 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, objection against this line of
8 questioning. It's up to the Judges to actually decide what was -- what
9 conclusion needs to be drawn from the fact -- from the facts. It's not
10 for the witness to comment constantly on ill-intentions of the Prosecution
11 and the like. I reject that.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff. Perhaps you're a little
13 bit too sensitive, though. I don't know whether it's -- it's not a
14 comment that the witness can make.
15 May I make this comment, however: Mr. Milosevic, you're putting
16 to the witness that paragraph 109 does not coincide with the Vance Plan.
17 The Vance Plan, I think, referred to areas under Serb occupation or where
18 the Serbs were in a substantial minority.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] No, Mr. Robinson.
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: "... where the Serbs constituted a majority or a
21 substantial minority ..." Why would you say that this is inconsistent as
22 a summary of the phrase?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You can compare this for yourself.
24 In the paragraph I quoted, it says that according to that plan, four zones
25 or areas were established in the areas occupied by Serb forces. Mention
1 is made of occupied areas, whereas the Vance Plan mentions areas in which
2 the Serbs constitute a majority or a numerous minority and where there are
3 tensions following from recent conflicts. There is a difference here, and
4 I want to establish it with this witness, who was a direct participant in
5 the drawing up and implementation of this plan.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. But I think Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff is correct,
7 that the conclusions to be drawn as to the differences are matters that
8 are best left for the Trial Chamber.
9 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. Robinson.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. When did the JNA withdraw from the UN protected areas?
13 A. I think that the exact date is impossible to establish, because we
14 had an enormous problem. The Croatian paramilitary formations and the
15 Croatian leadership could not be brought to stop violating the cease-fire.
16 We invested a lot of effort in contacts with Mr. Marrack Goulding and
17 Mr. Cyrus Vance in order to start implementing the peace plan gradually
18 and start bringing in the peacekeeping forces in those areas where peace
19 had already been established, leaving for later those areas where the
20 cease-fire was still being violated.
21 On the 2nd of January, 1992, Mr. Cyrus Vance stated that the plan
22 had been drawn up, and I know for sure that on the 9th of March in the
23 Federation Palace in Belgrade, I received a numerous delegation, headed by
24 the Indian general, Satish Nambiar, who was the first commander of the UN
25 peacekeeping forces in the area of the Republic of Serbian Krajina.
1 The units of the JNA finally and definitely withdrew from the
2 whole territory in May 1992.
3 Q. And where were weapons kept in the Krajina, how were they guarded,
4 and were they taken from the depots; and if so, when?
5 A. The demilitarisation of the area and the withdrawal of the JNA was
6 the burning issue that the local population could not accept because they
7 were afraid that the international forces would not be able to fulfil
8 their role of protecting them, and in the end this proved to be so; they
9 really weren't.
10 The Vance Plan envisaged that members of the Territorial Defence
11 originating from the territory of Serbian Krajina and the long barrels of
12 the police forces, as well as all heavy weapons, should be kept in depots
13 on the territory of the Republic of Serbian Krajina. They were to be kept
14 under two keys. One would be held by representatives of the UN and the
15 other by representatives of the Serb population of the area. If there was
16 a physical threat to the Serb people in the areas protected by the UN, and
17 only in such cases, could the weapons be taken from the depots. In one
18 case this actually happened.
19 Q. After the UN forces arrived in these protected areas, who,
20 according to your knowledge, violated the cease-fire and the UN Security
21 Council Resolution?
22 A. As far as I know, although I can talk only about the period until
23 mid-June 1992, it was exclusively the paramilitary formations of Croatia
24 that violated the cease-fires in the UN protected areas.
25 Q. Lord Owen, in his book "Balkan Odyssey," which has been tendered
1 into evidence here, on page 97 wrote the following: "In late 1992, the
2 arms embargo hardly touched Croatia. Although the SRJ sent to the
3 Security Council details on arms shipments, nothing was done to prevent
4 them. Very soon the Croatian army armed itself with planes, heavy
5 artillery, and other weapons, and most of these were bought in East
6 Germany. This was happening before the eyes of the Serbs and, therefore,
7 it was easy to understand why they resisted demilitarisation. The
8 Croatian Serbs were a consolidating factor while the Croatian government
9 was a destabilising factor."
10 This is a quotation from Lord Owen's book. What do you know about
11 this and was Lord Owen right?
12 A. My knowledge is identical to what has been stated by Lord Owen.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: You must ask the witness a more specific
14 question. That is an invitation for the professor to speak for five or
15 ten minutes.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The response took five seconds,
17 Mr. Robinson.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Has he answered? Okay.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. And does the following statement in the indictment correspond to
21 what you know?
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: What statement are you referring to? What is
23 "the following statement" to which you are referring?
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not looking at the transcript,
25 so I don't know what has been interpreted to you. I said, "Does the
1 statement from the indictment correspond to what you know?"
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: What paragraph, then? What paragraph in the
3 indictment are you referring to?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The one I've already quoted. "The
5 territory of the RSK remained under Serb occupation until 1995, when the
6 Croatian forces --"
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's paragraph 109, the penultimate sentence in
8 paragraph 109.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. "... when the Croatian forces in two operations retook large
11 portions of that territory."
12 My question is: Does this statement correspond to what you know?
13 And before you answer, I will only read out to you a part of a testimony
14 on page 28521 by Lord Owen here, who says -- that's 28521: "[In English]
15 ... it does need to be remembered that one of the biggest ethnic
16 cleansings in the whole of the Balkans during this period was that
17 involving Serbs who had to flee Krajina in the early summer of 1995 and
18 that, when we talk about this whole complex of problems, we have to
19 recognise that one of the biggest failures was the failure to ensure that
20 the ordinary citizens in Croatia who were Serbs were entitled -- were able
21 to continue to live there."
22 [Interpretation] How does this fit in, to the best of your
23 knowledge and in view of what Lord Owen said, that the territory remained
24 under Serb occupation until 1995, until large portions of it were retaken
25 by Croatian forces in two operations in 1995?
1 A. I said just a moment ago that the UN peacekeeping forces and the
2 peacekeeping operation unfortunately failed to fulfil their purpose, which
3 was to protect the Serb population until a political solution was found
4 for the status of that population on those territories. Evidently there
5 is a discrepancy between what is stated in this paragraph of the
6 indictment and the observations and statements made by Lord Owen.
7 From what the indictment says, one might simply conclude that the
8 authors of the indictment were praising and rewarding those who
9 perpetrated the crime and those who perpetrated the largest genocide after
10 World War II until today by driving out vast numbers of Serb people from
11 the territory of Croatia. In other words, they were attempting to reward
12 the criminal and to transform the victim into a criminal.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: Impermissible comment. Impermissible comment
14 that last one, Professor. Just answer the question and we'll get on much
15 better. And you must refrain from comments like that. Confine yourself
16 to the questions that are asked. You're not helping the cause of
17 Mr. Milosevic in any way by these gratuitous comments.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But I'm not here to help
19 Mr. Milosevic but to help you, to tell you the truth as a direct
20 participant in these events, Mr. Robinson.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: You're not helping me. You're not helping the
22 Chamber by those gratuitous comments.
23 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. In his book, Lord Owen on page 61, in the first paragraph, he
1 says: "They likewise resisted the Croatian state in other areas of
2 Croatia, such as Slavonia, Baranja, and so on, which formed the military
3 border of the Krajina under the Austrian-Habsburg rule. And this was felt
4 especially strongly after 1945 where, after World War II, the inhabitants
5 were exposed to genocide by the Croatian Ustasha. Very few commentators
6 understood in 1995 that the Croatian government, by attacking the Krajina,
7 was not liberating or retaking this territory as the Serbs had inhabited
8 it for over three centuries."
9 My question to you is: From your own standpoint and according to
10 what Lord Owen states here, in this paragraph of the indictment I have
11 quoted to you, could it be said that the territory of the RSK remained
12 under Serb occupation until 1995?
13 A. By no means. This territory could not have been occupied by a
14 population that had resided there for several hundred years. The units of
15 the JNA, even if the Prosecution were to call them Serb units, had
16 withdrawn completely from those territories. The territories were
17 demilitarised. It was the Serb population that had resided there for
18 hundreds of years that remained, as well as the blue helmets of the UN,
19 battalions from many countries. So one really cannot speak of Serb
20 occupation of those territories. However, I will refrain from commenting
21 or drawing any conclusions after Mr. Robinson's warning.
22 Q. What Lord Owen calls one of the largest ethnic cleansing
23 operations is viewed as an occupation to liberate or retake occupied
24 territory in the indictment, and what Lord Owen says was the ethnic
25 cleansing of the territory, these people are called occupiers in the
1 indictment. Which of these is true?
2 A. I've already answered that question.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, he has already answered that.
4 Let's move on to another question.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Professor Kostic, do you know the efforts made by part of the
8 leadership of Krajina, led by Milan Babic, to proclaim Krajina as being
9 joined to Serbia?
10 A. Yes. Mr. Babic not only attempted to impose on the Serb
11 leadership a decision to conjoin the Republic of Serbian Krajina to
12 Serbia, but Mr. Babic also tried to impose this on the Presidency of the
13 SFRY, that is to say that their Presidencies -- their members should
14 become members of the SFRY, which we refused to do. And after that, we
15 were proclaimed traitors, the traitors of the interests of the Serbian
16 people. I mean -- when I say "us," I mean us, members of the Presidency.
17 Q. What about the authorities in Serbia? What was their reaction to
19 A. Well, I know that the Assembly of Serbia, in that regard, adopted
20 -- I think it was a declaration. I'm not quite sure, but I think it was
21 a declaration where the Assembly of Serbia put up reservations towards
22 this demand made by the leadership of Serb Krajina and Mr. Babic. They
23 refused to accept it and just strove to find a peaceful settlement for the
24 status of the nation in Croatia. And I can say that with regard to the
25 formation of the Republic of Serb Krajina, as vice-president of the
1 Yugoslav state Presidency, I read about that in the papers. That's how I
2 came to learn of it.
3 Q. When you read that news, were you able to assess and do you know
4 what the immediate reason was or pretext was for the formation of the
5 Republic of Serbian Krajina?
6 A. The immediate reason to bring in a decision to form Serbian
7 Krajina on the 19th of December, 1991, was something that took place two
8 days earlier, that is to say a resolution or declaration made by the
9 European Community, that is to say on the 17th of December, 1991. There
10 were, I think, two declarations; one relating to the criteria for
11 recognition of countries and states as independent states, and the second
12 resolution was the resolution on Yugoslavia by which the Yugoslav federal
13 republics were called upon by the 23rd of December, 1991, to table a
14 request for recognising their independence. And that resolution on the
15 part of the European Community was the -- was final and definitive, and it
16 meant leaving behind the concept that the Yugoslav -- that the European
17 Community had advocated thus far. That concept was left behind overnight
18 when it wanted to find a political solution to the Yugoslav crisis.
19 Q. Now, in that regard, the reactions to this in Serbia and the
20 reactions of its parliament, was there anything there that could have the
21 sound of territorial pretensions or that could resemble any territorial
22 pretensions on the part of Serbia covering territories outside its
24 A. No, certainly not.
25 Q. We have here in tab 71 the declaration of the Assembly of Serbia,
1 in which it says under III: "That is why the Republic of Serbia will
2 strive for peace and a political settlement to the crisis in Yugoslavia
3 which should enable the affirmation of democratic methods for overcoming
4 the crisis and equal respect of the legitimate interests of all the
5 Yugoslav peoples and republics.
6 "In that sense, the Republic of Serbia firmly supports the efforts
7 of the United Nations towards an urgent cessation of the military
8 conflicts, the establishment of a stable peace, and the creation of the
9 conditions necessary for continuation of the political negotiation process
10 under the competence and authority of the world organisation,
11 all-encompassing solution to the Yugoslav state crisis in a just and
12 lasting manner."
13 So that's what it says there. These positions, do they coincide
14 and are they the same as the assumptions that actually Serbia was
15 endeavouring to strengthen its power and authority over that part of the
16 country at all and realise any of its territorial pretensions?
17 A. I think that statements of that kind are completely fabricated,
18 and I confirmed a moment ago what you read out in point III of the
19 declaration of the Serb Assembly.
20 Q. Now, just a couple of questions related to the fact that in this
21 indictment mention is made of Dubrovnik. What do you know about the
22 events in and around Dubrovnik? What can you tell us?
23 A. Well, on one of the previous days I already said that neither
24 Dubrovnik nor Vukovar happened just by chance, that Tudjman had attempted
25 in every way possible to have the flames of war burn in other parts of the
1 country; and Dubrovnik is bordering on Montenegro, Vukovar borders on
2 Serbia. And many people asked me in the bygone period who took the
3 decision and how this came about, how the Dubrovnik operation came about
4 in the first place. And on every occasion I had just one answer to give
5 to that question: There was no decision by the Yugoslav state Presidency
6 in that sense, nor would the Presidency ever be in a position to take a
7 decision of that kind. The deployment of the units of the Yugoslav
8 People's Army over a territory which was defined by the constitution as
9 part of Yugoslavia, and the deployment of those units which, pursuant to
10 the Yugoslav constitution, were duty-bound to preserve the territorial
11 integrity and system of the country, the only person in authority to
12 deploy these units was the General Staff or, rather, in a situation where
13 there was an imminent threat of war, it was the staff of the Supreme
14 Command, regardless of the fact that Dubrovnik was very much abused by the
15 media when an attack on the Yugoslav army took place.
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm going to stop you and ask Mr. Milosevic to
17 put a specific question.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. What was the reason for a conflict to break out there, around
20 Dubrovnik, those surroundings?
21 A. Well, we on the territory of Dubrovnik had not had a single armed
22 soldier for 20 years, a single armed JNA soldier. Only on the Prevlaka
23 peninsula, which is the border, the very border with Montenegro - it is a
24 sharp peninsula at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor, which is where there
25 was a barracks or, rather, a military training centre for marksmanship.
1 And despite the fact that for a full 20 years we had not a single JNA
2 soldier, armed soldier on the territory of Dubrovnik, in that period
3 suddenly the number of armed police units on the Croatian side increased a
4 great deal, and it was these training grounds and the barracks there at
5 Prevlaka, at the Prevlaka peninsula, that the armed provocations and
6 attacks started. And that, in fact, was the basic reason for which the
7 staff of the Supreme Command, to the best of my knowledge and information,
8 sent units of the Yugoslav People's Army to the territory. And I
9 personally think that the Supreme Command Staff acted correctly in doing
10 so and that it was thanks to their intervention that the war was stopped
11 from spreading from Croatia to the territory of the other republics.
12 Q. Now, ask me -- please tell me, did Serbia have anything to do with
13 the events in the Dubrovnik region, any of them, any of the ones mentioned
15 A. Well, nothing whatsoever to do with that. I explained the
16 deployment of the units and that it was the Supreme Command Staff who were
17 in charge of deploying them. And as far as I know, the leadership of
18 Serbia had no competence or influence for a similar operation that took
19 place in Vukovar, although it is at the borders of Serbia, between Croatia
20 and Serbia, Vukovar.
21 Q. Professor Kostic, do you know that in this alleged Croatian
22 indictment and Bosnian indictment are named, together with me and other
23 individuals, as a participant of this alleged joint criminal enterprise?
24 A. Yes, I do.
25 Q. I'm going to ask you some questions now first relating to the
1 Croatian part of the indictment. In paragraph 7, for instance, of the
2 Croatian indictment, at the time when this joint criminal enterprise came
3 into existence and continued, it says the following: "This joint criminal
4 enterprise came into existence before the 1st of August, 1991, and
5 continued until at least June 1992."
6 Where were you and what were you doing during that period of
7 time? That is before the 1st of August, 1991, until at least June 1992.
8 A. Throughout that time, I was vice-president of the Yugoslav state
10 Q. And what was your function as vice-president of the Yugoslav state
11 Presidency, and what was its relationship or what did it have to do with
12 the events and conduct of the Yugoslav People's Army at that time?
13 A. The operative leadership of the Yugoslav People's Army was
14 performed by the professional organ, that is to stay the staff of the
15 Supreme Command. They were in charge of that. The SFRY Presidency as the
16 Supreme Command, as a body and the highest civilian control of the
17 Yugoslav People's Army, had, pursuant to the constitution, its functions
18 and role, and that was that through its decisions it should create
19 conditions for the JNA for it to be able to perform its role to protect
20 the constitutional order and territorial integrity of the country. And in
21 that sense, the SFRY Presidency did have under its competence and
22 authority to make decisions, for example, about raising combat readiness
23 in cases when the JNA barracks, for example, which were under siege, which
24 were blocked and directly attacked, you didn't need a separate decision
25 there because the army had to act in self-defence when it was under a
1 blockade. But we could raise combat readiness for the army and bring in
2 reinforcements, proclaim mobilisation, which was very topical at that
3 time, because both the Slovenes and the Croats and also the Albanians and
4 later on the Muslims in Bosnia ceased to send in their recruits to the
5 Yugoslav People's Army. And then additional mobilisation had to be
6 resorted to to bring the army up to full strength, to ensure that it was
7 capable of protecting the part of the population that expressed the desire
8 to continue living together in the state which was Yugoslavia.
9 And if we were to quote the most important decisions taken by the
10 Presidency itself, for example --
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, next question.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Now, Professor Kostic, you described your authorisations and
15 competencies, as well as that of the Presidency, as the Supreme Commander
16 of the JNA. Would you please now answer this question: Did I -- and here
17 we have this date the 1st of August and I asked you what you did until
18 June 1992. Now, what about me? Did I have any competence and authority
19 at that time over the JNA?
20 A. At that time, you were the President of Serbia, throughout that
21 period of time, and as such you had no competence and authority over the
22 Yugoslav People's Army. That is quite certain. And in the indictment, in
23 several portions of the indictment, it mentions that you established
24 complete control over the Presidency as the Supreme Command, which is also
25 incorrect. And if I want to tell the truth to the very end, to tell the
1 whole truth, I cannot say or claim how much or to what extent Mr. Jovic,
2 for example, who was a member of the Presidency himself, from Serbia -
3 yes, from Serbia - to what extent he communicated with you. But I can say
4 for certain that you didn't have any control over me. There are many
5 elements on which I can say that and evidence which bears that out, bears
6 that conclusion of mine out, and ultimately Mr. Jovic and I did not agree
7 on many issues. But where we did agree, Mr. Jovic and you and I myself
8 and the other members of the Presidency, was the basic idea that we had
9 advocated from the very beginning; that was to preserve our communality,
10 to preserve Yugoslavia as far as we were able, and to protect the
11 interests of --
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Professor, when you say that as the President of
13 Serbia Mr. Milosevic had no competence nor authority over the Yugoslav
14 People's Army, do you have in mind legal constitutional authority as
15 distinct from de facto authority?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Legally de facto he had no
17 authority, could not have had any authority. That is incontestable.
18 Except from the 27th of April, 1992, when the Federal Republic of
19 Yugoslavia was constituted. At that time the Presidency, until the first
20 president, Mr. Cosic, was elected, it performed the function of president
21 of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mr. Milosevic, from the 27th of
22 April, 1992, and Mr. Bulatovic, as president of Montenegro, represented
23 the Supreme Defence Council pursuant to the new constitution of the
24 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. But up until then, in formal terms and in
25 legal terms, Mr. Milosevic had no authority or competence.
1 Whether de facto he did have any, in practice, that is, I can say
2 he did in practice as much as he had political authority, and he had quite
3 a lot of political authority, political standing. And as you were able to
4 notice, not only did he have political authority and the force of that
5 political authority in Yugoslavia and in Serbia and in Montenegro and in
6 many areas, but he enjoyed that political authority also vis-a-vis many
7 international factors, factors of the -- in the international community,
8 which, when they concluded agreements with the SFRY Presidency or, rather,
9 with Mr. Kadijevic and with Mr. Tudjman as with two parties, two sides who
10 were in conflict, they insisted that Mr. Milosevic appear on the scene,
11 although there were no legal -- there was no legal authorisation. But
12 thanks to his political authority and political influence, they thought he
13 could contribute to quelling the situation.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. In view of the fact that you were the head of the Presidency,
17 which was the Supreme Command as a body, do you know of any single
18 intervention on my part where I de facto would have exerted any influence
19 towards the JNA?
20 A. Only one detail, which I noted in my book which is to be found in
21 tab 73. When it came to the Yugoslav People's Army, when you directly
22 contacted me, there's just one detail there, and that was in the afternoon
23 when you rang me up on the phone one day and expressed your
24 dissatisfaction because General Marko Negovanovic had been retired who at
25 that point in time was pensioned. The minister -- he was the minister of
1 defence of Serbia, but he wasn't pensioned as a minister of defence of
2 Serbia but as a general, who during the time of the Slovenian operation,
3 was at the head of the 12th KOS administration, and his deputy was
4 Aleksandar Vasiljevic. So that operation we assessed as being very wrong,
5 that operation in Slovenia. And I personally considered that if
6 Mr. Veljko Kadijevic or General Adzic could have made a mistake in their
7 assessments to the effect that the Territorial Defence of Slovenia would
8 turn their weapons against the JNA, I considered that that could not have
9 happened to Mr. Marko Negovanovic and Mr. Aco Vasiljevic. Now, your
10 intervention followed and came about because that person was retired, was
11 pensioned off without my having informed you, and it was my duty to inform
12 you because you were the president of Serbia and he was the minister of
13 defence of Serbia, that is to say in your own republic. I tried to inform
14 you before you actually rang me up. I left a message with your chef de
15 cabinet, which I don't suppose reached you, and that was the only
16 intervention on your part that I had from you for one year. Of course, I
17 explained to you on that occasion that we hadn't pensioned off
18 Mr. Negovanovic as defence minister but as the previous head of the 12th
19 administration, KOS administration.
20 Q. All right. Now, my protest, was it the -- was I protesting
21 because I said that was what should have been done, that you should have
22 informed me if you pensioned off somebody, or because of the reasons for
23 that being done?
24 A. Well, I said that I understood your reaction, and I expected a
25 reaction from you, in fact, and that is why I wanted to inform you of it
1 before you read about it in the newspapers, precisely because we were
2 dealing with the minister of Serbia.
3 Q. Did my reaction have anything to do with your decision to pension
4 him off?
5 A. No. I will just remind everybody, if the Trial Chamber allows
6 me: Concerning the Slovenia operation, Mr. Veljko Kadijevic made a press
7 release, a communique where he admitted publicly that the General Staff
8 had made an error of judgement, and he publicly confessed to it. And in
9 the Assembly of Montenegro that elected me while this Slovene crisis was
10 still going on and the MPs had raised the question of responsibility for
11 this Slovenia adventure, as they called it, I said that the priority was
12 to establish a truce on the Slovene border.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... question. I
14 think we have dealt with this single aberration sufficiently.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Please, Professor Kostic, tell us very briefly, what was your
17 relationship with others mentioned in paragraph 7 as participants in the
18 joint criminal enterprise: Milosevic, Jovic, Branko Kostic - that's you -
19 Kadijevic, Adzic, Babic, Martic, Hadzic, Stanisic, Simatovic, Simovic,
20 Seselj, Bulatovic, Vasiljevic, Stojicic, Raznjatovic? What kind of
21 relationship did you have with these people? Was there a common
22 denominator among those listed in paragraph 7?
23 A. Among all those names you mentioned, it is very difficult to find
24 even one common denominator that could have linked us all. Some of those
25 people I have never met or known. Another number I split up with very
1 soon, either because they were pensioned off or their term of service
2 expired, such as Mr. Kadijevic, who already on the 8th of January --
3 Q. You don't have to go into specifics. That will take up a lot of
5 A. But I never met, for instance, Mr. Zeljko Raznjatovic. Mr. Seselj
6 I met only once, when I was addressing a gathering of Serb refugees from
7 Western Slavonia, and another time before the election of the first
8 president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; never again. I've never
9 met Mr. Frenki Simatovic. Who else is mentioned? Badza, I've never met
10 him either.
11 As for you, Mr. Milosevic, I met you for the first time when I
12 took the office of president of Presidency of Montenegro. Mr. Bulatovic I
13 had not known from before until in 1989 we found ourselves in the
14 Montenegrin leadership together. Mr. Jovic I remembered from working in
15 the industry. He was later a minister, a cabinet minister, and later
16 ambassador to Rome. The other two members of the Presidency I had not met
17 before either. And as for General Kadijevic, General Adzic, and Stane
18 Brovet, I met them for the first time when I became vice-president of the
19 SFRY Presidency. There was a very brief time, and before that I didn't
20 really know them.
21 And the same goes for many other military leaders. For instance,
22 General Simovic and Mr. Kovsek, who was one of corps commanders, I met in
23 Podgorica while they were there.
24 But as for the other elements - political, ideological and every
25 other - this is a very varied crowd, so to speak, and they don't have
1 anything in common.
2 Q. You said several times about something that linked together those
3 members of the Presidency who remained in their office in the Presidency.
4 It was their commitment to preserving Yugoslavia.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Was that commitment the obligation for both me, Kostic,
7 Bajramovic, and all the others who stayed on the Presidency?
8 A. It resulted from our personal conviction, I would say, but it was
9 also our constitutional obligation indubitably, whereas the others
10 violated their obligation and committed an act of treason.
11 Q. How do you explain this now? We had the constitutional obligation
12 to do everything in our power to preserve Yugoslavia, which was the only
13 internationally recognised legitimate entity. This commitment of ours to
14 preserve Yugoslavia, which is defined here as a joint criminal enterprise,
15 is opposed to violent and unilateral secession that was even overturned by
16 the Constitutional Court, is qualified as a democratic act. How can you
17 explain that? What possible reasoning could be behind it?
18 A. I really have no explanation for this. I tried, while I read the
19 indictment, where my name is mentioned in several places, I really tried
20 hard to find some sort of connection, some way in which this conclusion
21 would be possible, but I did not succeed. And throughout the indictment
22 it is alleged that you had control over that Presidency, especially over
23 Jovic and me, and there are constant references to the joint criminal
24 enterprise, and I kept expecting to find somewhere in that indictment
25 those criminal decisions taken by that Presidency, either under your
1 control or outside of it, but regrettably, I didn't find any such thing.
2 "Regrettably" is perhaps not the best term. I didn't find, even in the
3 indictment, any criminal decisions taken by the Presidency. I am glad,
4 and I'm proud of it.
5 Q. Did the Presidency take a single decision to inflame the
6 conflicts, to commit any aggressive act or violate anybody's right?
7 A. No such decision was taken, either by the complete or by the
8 reduced Presidency, to use the term used by Mr. Robinson, which is
9 completely adequate; "reduced" rather than "Rump" Presidency. And our
10 greatest commitment concerning the JNA were the 14 cease-fires that
11 Mr. Kadijevic constantly kept concluding on our behalf, with our approval,
12 on our instructions. And if there were certain misunderstandings in the
13 course of those negotiations, Mr. Kadijevic always expressed his
14 reservation and said that he had to consult the Presidency of the SFRY.
15 Let me remind you, one of those negotiations --
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: You were asked whether the Presidency took any
17 decision to inflame the conflict or to commit any aggressive act or
18 violate anybody's right. I'd like to reformulate it and ask you whether
19 the Presidency took any decision that had the effect, that could be said
20 to have had the effect of inflaming the conflict. You see the difference?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I'm trying. I'm trying to
22 understand the distinction, but even when you reformulate the question
23 like that, I cannot see a single decision taken by the Presidency that
24 could have inflamed the conflict.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Thank you. It's time to adjourn. We
1 will take the break for 20 minutes.
2 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
3 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic, please continue.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Professor Kostic, I'll read to you a bit of the transcript from
7 the questioning of witness -- Prosecution witness General Vasiljevic that
8 relates to the issue of his influence on army leadership.
9 "Question: Since we have established that I could not have
10 influence over the military leadership like General Kadijevic, [In
11 English] for instance.
12 "Answer: I don't think you could have.
13 "And General Kadijevic was in his position until January 1992?
14 "Yes. Until the 8th of January, 1992.
15 "So was there any possibility for anyone from Serbia and I
16 personally to influence the changes that had taken place up until then?
17 Any kind of personnel changes in the army.
18 "Until the end of 1991, there was no possibility."
19 [Interpretation] I'll skip over a bit.
20 "[In English] And when Kadijevic explained that he was getting on
21 and that his health was not at its best, do you remember the explanation
22 that he gave for leaving the position of Federal Secretary and that he was
23 succeeded by Blagoje Adzic?
25 "Blagoje Adzic, had he been in any way the number two man in the
1 military leadership?
3 "Did anyone influence the appointment of Adzic?
4 "There was some influence over him when he retired.
5 "And when did Adzic retire?
6 "After the 8th of May, 1992."
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Time for a question now, Mr. Milosevic.
8 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, can we please have the
9 reference number from the transcript, because Mr. Milosevic didn't give
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Please give the transcript
13 JUDGE KWON: Electronic page is 16227.
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: You have been assisted by Judge Kwon. He says
15 it's 16227.
16 JUDGE KWON: 17th of February.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Please ask a question now, Mr. Milosevic.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. So, this was the testimony of General Vasiljevic relating to my
20 possible influence over the military leadership up to May 1992. What do
21 you know about that? Does that coincide with what you know or not? Did I
22 have any influence over the military leadership, at least until that
23 particular date?
24 A. In view of the shortness of the period I was on the Presidency of
25 the SFRY, I personally think that General Vasiljevic was in a much better
1 position to make that estimate, but what he said does coincide with what I
3 Q. I will now ask you about the pensioning off that occurred while
4 you were vice-president of the Presidency. The transcript goes on to say:
5 "[In English] Can we then state that on the basis of what you are
6 testifying about, until the 8th of May when Blagoje Adzic retired, there
7 was no theoretical possibility for someone from Serbia, and I personally
8 -- personally to influence the army, the JNA? Is that right or not?
9 "That is not right. I've already said, I don't know whether it
10 was in private session or public session, but never mind, I can say this
11 in public session as well, I mentioned the example of the retirement of 33
12 generals in February 1992 when General Blagoje Adzic addressed you in
13 connection with the reasons for the retirement of my deputy. So he didn't
14 address himself to Branko Kostic who signed the decrees but he addressed
16 [Interpretation] Now, would you please explain, Professor Kostic,
17 how did it happen that 33 generals were pensioned off, and did I have any
18 involvement in it?
19 A. Let me say first that when we made the decision to pension off 33
20 generals, I as vice-president of the Presidency asked Mr. Adzic to bring
21 me the next day the appropriate decrees to sign. However, Mr. Adzic
22 replied that he needed five days to do that, and I accepted his answer.
23 Over those five days, there were many interventions by Mr. Jovic
24 concerning a few of the generals, and the number was reduced from 33 to
25 28. And then in that first round, 28 generals were pensioned off.
1 Q. Just a moment. You said Mr. Jovic intervened, not I. Is that
2 what you said?
3 A. Yes.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, that's missing from the
5 transcript, Mr. Robinson: Not I.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, we take note of that, Mr. Milosevic.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue? The greatest number
8 of those generals who were pensioned off, and all of them were honourable,
9 honest people who had on one or another ground envisaged by the law been
10 entitled to retirement. By that time the army had only half its
11 personnel, and the Territorial Defence too. So the pensioning off of this
12 first group was not an unusual move on the part of the Presidency or me or
13 anybody. We were reducing the number of generals through the system of
14 retirement, because even if Yugoslavia had remained in its previous size,
15 we did have a surplus, an exaggerated number of generals in the Yugoslav
16 People's Army.
17 Why did Mr. Jovic exert that pressure? I really never discussed
18 it with him, but I thought, and I still think, that he had been in
19 Belgrade in prominent positions for a long time. He had been on the
20 Presidency for two or three years, either as a member or vice-president or
21 even president. He knew all those people among the generals much better,
22 and it is not impossible that he was intervening as a friend, as a human
23 being, because he had been asked by some of those generals to not pension
24 them off. So we reduced this number from 33 to 28.
25 And concerning one of the generals, who was the deputy and the one
1 mentioned by Aleksandar Vasiljevic, that's Mr. Tumanov, he was Aleksandar
2 Vasiljevic's deputy in the 12th administration of the counter-intelligence
3 service, KOS. I insisted, and the Presidency accepted, not to pension off
4 Mr. Tumanov but to move him from the position of deputy head of the 12th
5 administration of KOS because we had certain information that, as an
6 ethnic Macedonian, he had displayed an interest in Macedonian senior
7 officers. In fact, he inquired with them whether they would be willing to
8 move to Macedonian units.
9 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
10 Q. Professor Kostic, you did not answer the second part of my
11 question: Did I have anything at all to do with the pensioning off of
12 those generals? Did I influence their pensioning off at all, or did I
13 intervene not to pension someone off?
14 A. Never on any occasion, including this one, did you call me or
15 exert any influence at all. I cannot say whether or not you communicated
16 with Jovic about this. I can neither confirm or deny that, but I'm sure
17 that you had no influence. And the best evidence for that, to show that
18 you had no influence at all about this, is the example of the pensioning
19 off of the second group of generals, which took place in May. You
20 practically didn't even know that your minister of defence, General
21 Negovanovic, was on this list of generals to be pensioned off.
22 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 6 of the Croatia indictment, it says:
23 "The purpose of this joint criminal enterprise was the forcible removal of
24 the majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from the
25 approximately one-third of the territory of the Republic of Croatia that
1 he -" and this refers to me - "planned to become part of a new
2 Serb-dominated state through the commission of crimes in violation of
3 articles ..." and it doesn't matter which ones. "These areas included
4 those regions that were referred to by Serb authorities and are
5 hereinafter referred to as the 'Serbian Autonomous District Krajina,'
6 'Western Slavonia,' and 'Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem,' and the
7 'Dubrovnik Republic.'"
8 As your name is mentioned in connection with this enterprise, tell
9 me quite specifically: Did a joint criminal enterprise exist? In
10 particular, there was any plan or goal of forcibly removing the Croatian
11 or other non-Serb population from one-third of the territory of the
12 Republic of Croatia which I allegedly planned to become a Serb-dominated
13 area through the commission of crimes?
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: Professor, concentrate on the issue of fact, not
15 the question of law as to the existence of a joint criminal enterprise.
16 Yes, please answer.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I can only speak about the facts,
18 then I can only say that this is a purely fabricated claim in the
19 indictment, and the Prosecution would have to explain to you as the Trial
20 Chamber how such nonsense can be alleged, because it is well known --
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Professor, you were specifically asked questions
22 that relate to the fact. Was there any plan or goal of forcibly removing
23 the Croatian or other non-Serb population from one-third of the territory
24 of the Republic of Croatia? What's your answer to that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Such a plan did not exist. Can I
1 add a sentence, please, Mr. Robinson?
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Official information, which can be
4 found on the internet, indicates that the ethnic make-up of the population
5 of Croatia from 1991 to 2001, in view of the participation of Croats in
6 the overall breakdown has been increased from 79. These are specific
7 facts. Croatia. From 77.9 per cent, the ethnic Croatian population in
8 the overall population of Croatia in 2001 amounted to 89.63 per cent. In
9 other words, the part of Croats has been increased by over 11 per cent in
10 the intervening years. In the same period of time, the overall population
11 of Croatia, in 2001, had 12.2 per cent of Serbs, in the overall Croatian
12 population. This was in 1991. And in 2001 - and this is official
13 information that can be found on the internet concerning the census in
14 Croatia - ten years later the Serbs in Croatia were reduced to 4.5 per
16 I think these are specific facts --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- which no Prosecutor can deny.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Mr. Paragraph 26 of the Croatia indictment, the methods by which
21 this alleged joint criminal enterprise were implemented are listed. It
22 says: "Slobodan Milosevic, acting alone and in concert with other members
23 of the joint criminal enterprise -" that's you and others - "participated
24 in the joint criminal enterprise in the following ways:
25 "(a) provided direction and assistance to the political
1 leadership of the SAO SBWS, the SAO Western Slavonia, the SAO Krajina and
2 RSK on the takeover of these areas and the subsequent forcible removal of
3 the Croat and other non-Serb population."
4 My question to you is the following: The takeover of these areas,
5 who was in power in those areas?
6 A. The representatives of the Serbian people, such as Babic, Martic,
7 Dokmanovic, Veselinovic, and so on. So this allegation is incorrect.
8 There was no takeover of power because it was the representatives of the
9 Serbian people who had had power before.
10 Q. Did I or you or others in Belgrade ever see or meet these people
11 before they became people holding power in those areas?
12 A. For myself, I can assert that I never saw those people before that
13 and that I only met them for the first time as a member of the state
14 commission to which I was appointed as chairman to go to Knin.
15 Tupurkovski and Bogicevic went to see Tudjman in Zagreb. This was done
16 with a view to securing respect for the cease-fire. I cannot say whether
17 you had met them previously or not, but I can say that communication with
18 those people began when those people had already established their organs
19 of government on those territories of Croatia.
20 Q. Could anyone have taken over power when they were already in
22 A. I've already answered that question: They were already in power,
23 so they didn't have to take it over.
24 Q. When the HDZ came into power in Croatia, did they forcibly try to
25 take power from those Serbs in areas where Serbs were in the majority?
1 A. I've answered that. They sent special units, police units to take
2 over police stations in those Serb territories, to disarm those policemen
3 who were representatives of the local Serb population, and that's what led
4 to the conflicts.
5 Q. Did the constitutions of the SFRY and the republics of the SFRY
6 permit associations of municipalities?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Could they do this on their own initiative or did they need
9 approval for that?
10 A. It could be done on the initiative of the municipalities
12 Q. And those entities mentioned under 26(a): The SAO, SBWS, the SAO
13 Western Slavonia, the SAO Krajina and so on, how were these formed?
14 A. I will tell you another undisputable fact which could be of
15 interest to the Trial Chamber and which will challenge everything that is
16 said in this indictment about an alleged plan for a joint criminal
17 enterprise, and this information is as follows: A community of
18 municipalities, or an association of municipalities, in areas where there
19 was a majority Serb population in Croatia occurred after the adoption of
20 the constitution in which the Serb people were thrown out as a constituent
21 people and reduced to the status of an ethnic minority. This was a
22 response of the Serbian population to the adoption of such a new
23 constitution in Croatia. That's one element which cannot be disputed.
24 Another one is the following: The formation of Serb autonomous
25 provinces on Croatian territory occurred, if I'm correct, on the 28th of
1 February, 1991. On the 18th or 22nd of February - I'm not sure exactly,
2 but eight days before that - the Croatian government, already constituted
3 by the HDZ after the elections, proposed to the Croatian parliament a
4 constitutional law by which the Croatian parliament would declare that it
5 would no longer respect the constitution of Yugoslavia or Yugoslav federal
6 laws. So it was the actions of the Croatian government and parliament
7 that occurred first. The formation of the Serb autonomous provinces was
8 done in such a way that they had not yet seceded from Croatia. However,
9 they stated that they would respect the constitution and laws of
11 And thirdly, and very importantly, the Serbian Krajina was formed
12 again as a response to moves by the Croatian government and the European
13 Community. The Republic of Serbian Krajina was formed on the 19th of
14 December, 1991, and two days previously the European Community had called
15 on all Yugoslav republics to submit their applications for the recognition
16 of independence.
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's a sufficient answer. Next question,
18 Mr. Milosevic.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Did the leaderships mentioned in the paragraph I have quoted from
21 the indictment forcibly remove the Croat and other non-Serb population,
22 and did they do this in connection with Serbia and with me?
23 A. First of all, there was no previously planned forcible removal of
24 the Croat and other non-Serb population. Everybody knows what happened.
25 Q. Just a moment. I can hear you from a distance, but channel 6 is
1 -- suddenly it's been cut off. There's no voice, no sound.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: May I ask the technical staff to look into that.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes. Now suddenly it's back,
4 although there's screeching. Got it now.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Let's proceed.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. I asked you whether the leaderships mentioned here forcibly
9 removed the Croat and other non-Serb population.
10 A. I couldn't assert with certainty that there were no individual
11 incidents and that there was no such behaviour by individuals in those
12 leaderships. What I can assert is that there was no premeditated plan
13 about the forcible removal of the Croat and other non-Serb population from
14 that area. I can also assert with confidence that the JNA never resorted
15 to such a measure, and I can reiterate what is common knowledge: On those
16 territories where there were armed clashes due to the mounting
17 inter-ethnic tensions, both the Serb and the Croat population from those
18 areas attempted to flee and take refuge in areas where they would feel
19 physically safer.
20 Q. In the Presidency of the SFRY, did you offer any assistance to the
21 Krajina Serbs and their political leadership?
22 A. We as the Presidency did not have any special economic power. We
23 felt the best assistance we could give them was by remaining consistent in
24 our standpoint as the Supreme Command, to keep the JNA in those areas to
25 provide physical protection to the population until a political solution
1 of their status was found.
2 I personally received two delegations from the leadership of the
3 Serbian region of Western Slavonia, and there are minutes of this meeting.
4 The Prosecution must have them, because it's been much easier for them
5 than it has been for me to get hold of these minutes and other documents
6 and all those records.
7 In my two meetings with them, they expressed their great fear of
8 what was to happen to them and asked us to deploy units of the JNA there.
9 I told them that we were physically unable to do this because we did not
10 have sufficient manpower. I therefore advised them not to raise tensions
11 in those areas and that that would be their best protection.
12 Unfortunately, the population of Western Slavonia experienced a
13 large-scale exodus purely because we were unable to protect them with
14 units of the JNA.
15 Q. And how did Serbia assist the Krajina Serbs?
16 A. In view of the fact there was discontinuity in communication, the
17 Croats separated, the Croatian leadership separated from the Yugoslav
18 constitutional laws, set themselves apart. And the Serb leadership on
19 territories in Croatia no longer abided by Croatian laws and stated that
20 they were going to respect the federal laws and federal constitution, and
21 this gave rise to quite considerable problems in many areas; in food,
22 supplies, and so on and so forth. So basic assistance to that population
23 over there on the basis of their requests by their legitimate
24 representatives had the character of humanitarian aid.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Do you have a date for when that happened,
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] What are you referring to? A date
3 for what?
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: "The Serb leadership on territories in Croatia no
5 longer abided by Croatian laws and stated that they were going to respect
6 the federal laws and federal constitution, and that gave rise to
7 considerable problems ..."
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, I've already said that the
9 Croatian parliament enacted a constitution and its laws on the 20th of
10 February, I think, give or take a day, 1991. And on the 28th of February,
11 1991, the leadership of the Serbian Autonomous Region passed a resolution
12 stating that it would not be abiding by those Croatian laws but would be
13 abiding by the Yugoslav constitution and federal laws. So it was from the
14 end of February, roughly speaking, 1991 that the difficulties began
15 arising in supplies coming in to the population, interruptions in
16 communication and roads. Sometimes this was caused by the Serbian
17 population themselves who wished to prevent the penetration of Croatian
18 police to the areas to disarm police stations on their territory, but
19 there's no specific date. You can't pinpoint it and say this started on
20 such-and-such a date. But in many of the Serbian Krajinas the -- this
21 period was different. But the communication lines and so on, they were
22 most prominent in Western Slavonia, for example. But before these
23 obstructions took place was in the Knin-Krajina area.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. In that same paragraph, 26(b), it says: "provided financial,
2 material and logistical support for the regular and irregular military
3 forces necessary for the takeover of these areas and the subsequent
4 forcible removal of the Croat and other non-Serb population."
5 Tell us, please, what were the regular or armed forces generally
6 in that area, for example?
7 A. At that time in those areas, the only regular constitutionally
8 founded and federal law founded existing armed forces were the forces of
9 the Yugoslav People's Army, who were located there in peacetime as well,
10 and the forces of the Territorial Defence, because in a situation with an
11 imminent threat of war, all the armed formations, including the police and
12 the police units and the volunteer units and the regular units of the JNA,
13 all of them represented a united armed force under a united command, the
14 command of the Supreme Command, the staff of the Supreme Command of the
15 army of Yugoslavia and the General Staff.
16 Q. And who were the irregular forces then?
17 A. The irregular forces were all those forces which the Croatian
18 leadership had established in the meantime, had armed in the meantime with
19 weapons secretly coming into the country. I considered at the time - and
20 still consider - that the irregular forces were the police forces that had
21 multiplied in numbers, and I've already mentioned that, that in the space
22 of two months alone the police forces burgeoned from 17.000 in peacetime
23 in Croatia to 90.000 strong. And then there was the Croatian National
24 Guards Corps, the armed citizens, depending on their political affiliation
25 to the HDZ, and so on and so forth.
1 Q. What about the Krajina Serbs? Were they the ones who were
2 attacked or were they the ones who attacked?
3 A. Well, from what I've just said and from what I've been saying up
4 to now, it is very clear that the Krajina Serbs didn't go and attack
5 anybody anywhere. They were attacked and they were continuously attacked
6 and everything they did they did to defend themselves and protect
8 Q. A moment ago you explained the Croatian parliament bringing in a
9 decision not recognising the Yugoslav constitution. Several days later
10 they decided to adhere and abide by the Yugoslav constitution. Now their
11 efforts along those lines, were they justified? Were they legal and
12 lawful and considered as such, or not?
13 A. Well, bearing in mind the fact that Yugoslavia existed as the sole
14 internationally recognised state and United Nations member until the 27th
15 of April, 1992, and that all this was happening in 1991 and the bulk of it
16 in the first half of 1991, it is quite clear that the strivings of the
17 Krajina Serbs and the leadership of the Krajina Serbs was legitimate,
18 legal, and based on the Yugoslav constitution.
19 Q. In subparagraph (c) of paragraph 26, it says: "directed organs of
20 the government of the Republic of Serbia to create armed forces separate
21 from the federal armed forces to engage in combat activities outside the
22 Republic of Serbia, particularly in the said areas in Croatia and the
23 subsequent forcible removal of the Croat and other non-Serb population."
24 Tell us now, please, did the Republic of Serbia ever form armed
25 forces that were separate from the federal armed forces?
1 A. No, never.
2 Q. Under conditions in which the Yugoslav state existed, was there
3 ever a plan to form any armed forces that would be separate from the
4 federal armed forces?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Are you familiar with Article 132 of the constitution of Serbia,
7 because it was -- this was the subject of many interpretations, erroneous
8 ones and otherwise. What can you tell us about that article?
9 A. I know that article very well. I'm very familiar with it because
10 it was indeed very often criticised and challenged and attacked by the
11 secessionist republics. That particular article of the constitution of
12 Serbia provided for the possibility that should it happen that the
13 secessionist republics, bypassing the will and agreement of Serbia and
14 other federal units which wished to remain together in a joint community
15 within the state, so if those republics were to take secessionist steps,
16 the constitution of Serbia provided through that article the fact that in
17 cases of that kind the constitutional possibility is left open for Serbia
18 to regulate questions which had hitherto come under the competence of the
19 constitution of the SFRY.
20 Q. But while the SFRY was in existence, did it precisely define that
21 all questions coming under the competencies of the SFRY stay in those
23 A. Yes. While the SFRY existed and the constitution of the SFRY
24 existed and we expressed a maximum support and adherence to that
25 constitution until it was revoked in 1992, the provisions of the federal
1 constitution and federal laws governing that subject matter must be
2 applied in the territory of Serbia as well.
3 Q. In subparagraph (d), it says: "participated in the formation,
4 financing, supply, support --" and so on and so forth -- "and direction of
5 special forces of the Republic of Serbia Ministry of Internal Affairs.
6 These special forces were created and supported to assist in the execution
7 of the purpose of the joint criminal enterprise ..."
8 Now, tell me, please, do you know whether the special forces of
9 the MUP of Serbia or any other forces of the MUP of Serbia took part in
10 anything that could be considered the execution on commission of some
11 joint criminal enterprise or any crime whatsoever?
12 A. No. I really don't know anything that would indicate that.
13 Q. All right. Now, had something like that existed, would you had
14 have to have known about it, you and the other members of the SFRY
16 A. Well, it would have been quite natural that we were informed about
17 things like that had they existed.
18 Q. In subparagraph (e) of paragraph 26, it says: "participated in
19 providing financial, logistical and political support and direction to
20 Serbian irregular forces and paramilitaries. Such support was given in
21 furtherance of the joint criminal enterprise through ..." et cetera, et
23 Now, please, do you know what the relationship between what -- the
24 relationship between the leadership of Serbia, my own relationship to
25 paramilitaries and your relationship and in the Presidency to
2 A. Yes, I know about that very well. I know what your attitude to
3 them was like and I know what the attitude of the entire Serbian
4 leadership in power in Serbia at the time was like as well as the
5 Presidency, its attitude too towards these paramilitaries, paramilitary
6 units that were established by different political parties: It was
7 extremely negative.
8 After working under conditions of an imminent threat of war, the
9 law provided for the participation of volunteers, and that was regulated
10 on the basis of the law. And as the Presidency and as the General Staff
11 or the Supreme Command may -- issued specific orders, instructions, and
12 guidelines, and so on. But when it came to paramilitaries, our -- our
13 attitude was negative, and those paramilitaries at the time were
14 established, as far as I know, by Vuk Draskovic, for instance, or his
15 Serbian Revival Movement, which was an opposition party. Then there was
16 Mirko Jovic, another case in point. Once again, a political party, an
17 opposition political party at the time.
18 So as far as I know, it was only Mr. Seselj and his radicals who
19 organised volunteers from the ranks of his own party and his sympathisers.
20 But as far as I know, there was not a single unit which acted as a unit of
21 the radicals or as Seselj's unit. Those volunteers were sent to the
22 competent commands of the Yugoslav People's Army or Territorial Defence,
23 and they would then incorporate them and deploy them as the need arose
24 into smaller units. And as far as I know, there was never any large unit
25 or significant unit made up of, say, Seselj's volunteers.
1 Q. What was the JNA's attitude toward the paramilitaries?
2 A. The same as the Presidency of the SFRY and as was your attitude
3 and the attitude in general of the Serbian authorities.
4 Q. You've already told us who formed paramilitaries in Serbia. Did
5 the powers that be have anything to do with the formation of those
7 A. No. And I even think, if I might be allowed to express this view,
8 that many opposition parties at that time, when the political fate and
9 destiny both of the state and the people was decided, in those very
10 dramatic and most dramatic times, a large number of opposition parties in
11 Serbia found it more important to get rid of you, get you off the power
12 structure and to set up their own power structures. So they thought that
13 perhaps these paramilitaries coming back from the front could perhaps at
14 one point in time be involved in that project that I mentioned a moment
15 ago. And of course many times, through -- speaking at public meetings, I
16 would issue warnings about the disagreement that existed among the Serb
17 people and that they paid for dearly in this latest war.
18 Q. Professor Kostic, we've seen that the local authorities, which
19 later became the Serb autonomous regions, had even beforehand been in the
20 hands of the representatives of the peoples that was the majority people
21 in that area, which was the Serbs, and the Croatian authorities tried to
22 disenfranchise them and disarm them. You've explained that to us.
23 Now, tell us this, please: Do you happen to know that anybody had
24 proclaimed or established some sort of Dubrovnik Republic or wanted to
25 cleanse it of any Serb -- of the Serb population?
1 THE INTERPRETER: Non-Serb, non-Serb population, interpreter's
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. What do you know about the Dubrovnik Republic?
5 A. First of all, for the benefit of the Trial Chamber - perhaps they
6 don't know about this - but the Dubrovnik Republic was something that
7 existed over the centuries on the territory of the town of Dubrovnik and
8 its immediate environment as a trading town and a trading republic which
9 managed to keep its independence of the Turkish Ottoman Empire that had
10 ruled in the Balkans for 500 years and to be independent of Venice as
11 well, the Venetian Republic, which was across the water, across the
12 Adriatic, and a superpower at the time. Now the idea of the existence of
13 a Dubrovnik Republic I know about only on the basis of what I was able to
14 read in the newspapers, and I learnt a lot more about it when I withdrew
15 from political life from a documentary, in fact, that was filmed by the
16 Belgrade company Akitel [phoen], and it showed a meeting of citizens, an
17 Assembly of citizens from the Cavtat and Dubrovnik area and it was held in
18 the Croatia Hotel in Cavtat, and the author of that idea, who expounded
19 the concept at that meeting, was an eminent citizen of Dubrovnik. I don't
20 know what he was ethnically speaking, was he a Croat or an Italian, but
21 his name was Aleksandar Apolonio, and for a long period of time he was --
22 he occupied prominent functions in the court system and the prosecutor's
23 office for Dubrovnik.
24 Q. Did any Serb factor have a part to play in any -- in this story
25 about some kind of Dubrovnik Republic? And more specifically in that
1 general story about the Dubrovnik Republic, was the idea tenable to do
2 away with non-Serb -- the non-Serb population from the Dubrovnik area?
3 Would that have been feasible?
4 A. Nobody, as far as I know, none of the Serbs had any influence on
5 this, wielded any influence or was included in that process at all, and I
6 think the idea that the aim was to do away with the Croatian and non-Serb
7 population in the area was quite nonsensical, absurd.
8 Q. Could -- could we say that the JNA in any way, directly or
9 indirectly, participated in the planning, designing, or executing this
10 removal of non-Serb population from the Dubrovnik Republic, SAO Krajina,
11 SAO Western Slavonia, and so on and so forth?
12 A. I can say with full responsibility that the JNA never played any
13 such role, particularly about Dubrovnik. That's where it's most evident.
14 No matter how much torchings there were in those areas where the JNA
15 passed through and where it was attacked, you have the town of Cavtat.
16 The entire Cavtat remained completely intact, with not a single bullet
17 fired. The only thing damaged was Croatia Hotel, which was the seat, the
18 base of Croat paramilitary units. Otherwise, the town was defended
19 without a single round fired. That means that if in those places where
20 there had been no paramilitary units and where no resistance had been
21 offered to the Yugoslav People's Army as the only legitimate armed force,
22 there was no torching and no damage.
23 Q. What was the relationship between the JNA and the Territorial
25 A. I've already said that in the circumstances of the immediate
1 threat of war, Territorial Defence directly subordinates to JNA units
2 because they join the JNA and fall under their command and control.
3 Q. All right. You mentioned one order by the Presidency. That means
4 that the Territorial Defence was part of the defence, both in peace and in
5 war, but you have one order of the Presidency from December 1991 that
6 refers to volunteers. Tab 50. What was the purpose of issuing this
7 order? It says "Vice-president Branko Kostic."
8 A. This is an order issued by the SFRY Presidency on the 20th of
9 December, 1991. This order was designed to reconfirm once again something
10 that had already been settled in various pieces of legislation, including
11 the law on national defence. It says that: "Pursuant to the provisions
12 of Article 119 of the Law on All People's Defence, in circumstances of
13 immediate threat of war, the Territorial Defence and the Yugoslav People's
14 Army shall be reinforced also with volunteers ..."
15 Q. You don't need to dwell on this, but at the very outset you said
16 that this is an order to engage volunteers in the armed forces of the SFRY
17 during an imminent threat of war.
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. In item 5, it says: "A volunteer who joins a unit or institution
20 of the armed forces of the SFRY ... becomes a military man, wears the
21 uniform and the standard insignia of the members of the armed forces of
22 the SFRY and shall have all the other rights and duties pertaining to
23 persons serving in the armed forces of the SFRY."
24 Can this in any way be qualified as an irregularity, as forming
25 paramilitary units that the Presidency would have been doing by issuing
1 this order?
2 A. No. All this was very clearly regulated by the law on national
3 defence. This order recalls once again and obligates military commands to
4 honour those provisions.
5 Q. Look at 26(e) on the Croatian indictment. It says -- sorry,
6 26(g): "exerted effective control or substantial influence over the JNA
7 ..." et cetera, et cetera.
8 Is there anything that I did, anything in the legislation apart
9 from this order regulating the joining up of the volunteers?
10 A. I don't know of the existence of any such thing, but if I may say
11 so, adopting legislation was not even in your purview. Not only your
12 purview, it was not even in the purview of the SFRY Presidency.
13 Legislation was normally adopted by the federal parliament as proposed by
14 the federal government.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I just note that paragraph (g)
16 speaks of exerting effective control. This speaks to de facto control,
17 not necessarily de jure control. So speaking of legislation, or confining
18 the answer to legislation will not necessarily deal with the allegation
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Mr. Robinson, but in 26(i), if
21 it says: "effectively ordered the passage of laws ..." then those laws
22 should exist. It means that I illegally ordered the adoption of some laws
23 which were then supposedly adopted, but such laws does not --
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ...
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] (I). I am talking about paragraph
1 (i), which says: "effectively ordered the passage of laws and
2 regulations ..."
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: I thought you were referring to paragraph (g). I
4 think that's what was said.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. We can take (g):
6 "exerted effective control or substantial influence over the JNA which
7 participated in the planning, preparation and execution of the forcible
8 removal of the Croat and other non-Serb population from the SAO ..." and
9 so on and so forth.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Please, Professor Kostic, what kind of effective control did I
12 have over the JNA? It's true that we have already gone through the
13 testimony of General Vasiljevic, but let us go back to this: What kind of
14 effective control did I exert on the JNA?
15 A. I really know nothing about that. I said a moment ago if General
16 Vasiljevic as Prosecution witness produced allegations of that kind, and
17 in view of the nature of his job, he was in a much better position to know
18 about such things than I was, I can only say that I completely agree with
19 what Mr. Vasiljevic said, and I really think -- think that you had no
20 control over the JNA.
21 Q. Okay. Let us look at things from another angle. The Presidency
22 of the SFRY and you as the president --
23 A. Vice-president.
24 Q. All right, vice-president, but also the chairman in one period.
25 Throughout this period that is relevant, from before the 1st of August
1 until June 1992, did you have information about engagements of the JNA?
2 Did you receive briefings from the Supreme Command Staff, the General
3 Staff, et cetera? At least regarding major engagements of the JNA.
4 A. Yes, we did receive such information. We as members of the
5 Presidency frequently -- frequently toured the war zones where we received
6 briefings about the situation, but I must say you didn't attend any such
8 Q. All right. I didn't attend. But did any of these activities of
9 the JNA directly or indirectly have anything to do with my influence? You
10 knew about all those activities, so you must have been aware, I suppose,
11 if those activities were linked to me in any way.
12 A. I really don't know.
13 Q. But you knew about all the activities of the JNA?
14 A. All of them.
15 Q. And you cannot link any one of them to me?
16 A. No.
17 Q. Now, let us go back to subparagraph (i): "effectively ordered the
18 passage of laws and regulations ..." Were any laws and regulations
20 A. Not at that time.
21 Q. Regarding Dubrovnik and the engagement of JNA?
22 A. No. In that period, no. We had the existing constitution from
23 before, the law on the national defence, and there was this order that was
24 issued by the Presidency in its role of Supreme Command. But there was no
25 new legislation in that period.
1 Q. Now, tell me, under the constitution and all the other
2 legislation, as well as de facto in practice, how did the Assembly and the
3 federal government operate at that time? Who did these bodies consist of?
4 How did they operate? Who led them?
5 A. At the time, the federal parliament had two Chambers; the Chamber
6 of Republics and the Chamber of Representatives. The Chamber of Republics
7 consisted of representatives of all republics and autonomous provinces,
8 and the Federal Chamber was made up according to a different principle.
9 The principle "one citizen, one vote" was adjusted, and every republic had
10 a limited number of representatives. There could be a limited number of
11 representatives coming from one and the same republic.
12 The federal government was led by Prime Minister Ante Markovic
13 from Croatia. It consisted of men from -- people from all republics, but
14 I must say that already at this period the regularity of work in the
15 parliament and in the government were deeply upset, because various
16 republics started withdrawing their representatives, both from the
17 parliament and the government.
18 Q. Stop there. The federal parliament was particularly paralysed
19 already in December 1991.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Ante Markovic resigned from his job because he didn't agree with
22 the proposed budget in December 1991. Under those circumstances, the
23 Presidency would have been entitled to issue decisions with the force of
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Did you adopt any decision with the force of law, and did you
2 exercise this right to perform a partly governmental function?
3 A. I've already said that the Presidency of the SFRY, beginning with
4 the 3rd October, 1991, when it began operating under circumstances of
5 immediate threat of war in a reduced composition, had a constitutional
6 right to adopt decrees with the force of law. However, throughout its
7 existence, it never issued any such decree, either in terms of passing
8 legislation or in terms of limiting the existing amount of political
9 freedoms, the operation of political parties, the operation of political
10 and party leaderships elected at multi-party, free elections.
11 Q. How about assistance and support to the JNA within its
12 constitutional powers? Is that some sort of illegal activity?
13 A. It's a completely legal activity based on laws and the
14 constitution of the SFRY.
15 Q. Subparagraph (j) says: "directed, commanded, controlled, or
16 otherwise provided substantial assistance or support to the JNA, the
17 Serb-run TO staff, and volunteer forces deployed in the --" and then it
18 goes on to enumerate all these districts, ending with the Dubrovnik
19 Republic - "in the execution of the purpose of the joint criminal
20 enterprise ..."
21 Can you say, did I really direct and command and control all these
22 JNA forces, the Territorial Defence, and volunteer units?
23 A. I believe that allegation is untrue, just as the allegation that
24 the JNA was Serb run. Even in 1992, both in the general staff, that is
25 the Supreme Command Staff, and in many units of the Yugoslav People's Army
1 from the highest to the lowest level, we had members of other Yugoslav
2 ethnicities who remained serving on the command and in the units of the
3 JNA. The only difference was that the inflow of new recruits, new
4 conscripts, was considerably reduced, and this indictment practically
5 accuses both you and us in the Presidency of Serbicising the army.
6 The reality is that this was a result of the secessionist
7 behaviour of certain republics, which violated their constitutional
8 obligation to send their conscripts to the army.
9 Q. You put it very mildly. Let us look now at a video, because this
10 story about the Dubrovnik Republic -- I won't finish this sentence. Let
11 us see this video. It's ready.
12 [Videotape played]
13 THE INTERPRETER: "[Voiceover] And presented the idea about the
14 establishment of the Dubrovnik Republic. It is a small party movement
15 which wishes to rally all the citizens of Dubrovnik and those who are
16 dispersed all over the world in a common aspiration to create a
17 demilitarised autonomous unit. In other words, the Republic of
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. This is something different now. Is this the person which -- who
21 you said you didn't know whether he was a Croat or an Italian, Apolonio?
22 A. Yes, it's Aleksandar Apolonio.
23 Q. Thank you, Professor Kostic.
24 In the same paragraph, subparagraph (k), it says: "directed,
25 commanded, controlled or otherwise provided substantial assistance or
1 support to the police forces within the MUP of the Republic of Serbia,
2 including the DB, whose members assisted in the execution of the purpose
3 of the joint criminal enterprise ..." and then goes on, the enumeration of
4 all these districts, ending with the Dubrovnik Republic.
5 For as long as you were a member of the Presidency, did the MUP
6 pursue the aim of some joint criminal enterprise anywhere?
7 A. I'm not aware of that, and I know for a fact that the MUP of
8 Serbia had absolutely no involvement or influence in the Dubrovnik
10 Q. What do you know about this: Did the army or the police in
11 Krajina perpetrate any crimes? When I say "police," I mean the police
12 force of Krajina. And when I say "the army," I mean the JNA and the
13 Territorial Defence of Krajina. Are you aware that the army and the
14 police committed any crimes there?
15 A. I would be telling less than the complete truth if I answered no.
16 I'm not aware that they committed crimes, but I don't rule out the
17 possibility. It was a civil war, and I don't rule out the possibility
18 that on all sides in that civil war there were individuals who perpetrated
19 crimes. And throughout my testimony, even though I refuted many
20 allegations in the indictment, I don't want to be understood as supporting
21 any crime. I am indeed in favour of punishing all serious crimes in the
22 harshest way, but I don't want individuals or groups accused lightly or
23 accusing one side only. But there is a certainty that crimes were
24 committed on all sides.
25 Q. Do you know who committed crimes on the Serb side?
1 A. Well, I can't tell you precisely at this moment because I didn't
2 have data about those individual crimes that were happening at the time.
3 I can only say that later, when I retired from political life in mid-1992
4 and while following the work of this Tribunal, which I did very carefully,
5 as often as I could, I found out that in most cases it was paramilitary
7 Q. Very well. And what was the attitude of the authorities in Serbia
8 and Yugoslavia and also in the Krajinas toward the crimes perpetrated by
9 paramilitary groups or paramilitary formations or whatever you want to
10 call them?
11 A. I can only say that we in the Presidency of the SFRY had occasion
12 more than once to issue warnings and to draw attention to this. We were
13 informed by the competent authorities in the staff of the Supreme Command
14 that all these individual crimes were being dealt with, that the
15 perpetrators were being tried and severely punished, but I cannot give you
16 any specific examples. I know, for example, when I was in Knin as
17 president of the state commission, on the same day when Bogicevic and
18 Tupurkovski went to see Tudjman in Zagreb based on our joint agreement in
19 the commission, I was told that there were indeed Serbs in Knin who had
20 violated the law and who were in detention there.
21 Q. It was then that you were informed that individual Serbs had been
22 arrested for perpetrating crimes, when you were there?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 JUDGE KWON: Professor, earlier you said that you found out that
25 in most cases where these crimes had been committed on the Serb side, you
1 said it was mostly paramilitary units. Can I ask what you meant by
2 "paramilitary units" on the Serb side. Could you clarify.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To be quite precise and clear, I
4 said that while I was performing the duty of deputy president, I did not
5 have much information about the individual crimes that had been
6 perpetrated - I've already said this - but that after I retired from
7 political life, after June 1992, I had occasion to hear through the media,
8 and especially following the trials before this Tribunal, that
9 paramilitary formations had committed crimes. So I can only tell you what
10 you have already heard here. There was mention of the White Eagles, Dusan
11 Silni, and so on and so forth. These were paramilitaries units which were
12 not part of the JNA and the Territorial Defence and the volunteers who
13 joined the JNA.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. In paragraph 29 of the Croatia indictment, it says: "Slobodan
17 Milosevic, while holding positions of superior authority, is also
18 individually criminally responsible for the acts or omissions of his
19 subordinates ..." and so on and so forth. It goes on to say that: "A
20 superior is responsible for the criminal acts of his subordinates if he
21 knew or had reason to know that the subordinates were about to commit such
22 acts or had done so ..." What post was I holding at the relevant time?
23 This alleged joint criminal enterprise is said to have started before the
24 1st of August until the end of June 1992.
25 A. At that time, you were the President of Serbia.
1 Q. And who were my subordinates at that time?
2 A. It would be very difficult for me to name them right now in view
3 of the fact that both in Serbia and in all the other Yugoslav republics
4 power was divided into the three branches of government; the executive,
5 the judiciary, and the legislative branch. No one can deny that as
6 president of Serbia, you had undoubtedly the greatest political authority
7 and influence.
8 Since you're asking me about it, I would expect Mr. Nice to issue
9 an indictment tomorrow against Mr. Blair, for example, for all the murders
10 and the rapes and the robberies that had occurred in London the previous
11 night, for example.
12 Q. At that time, you were in Belgrade very often. Among the persons
13 who were my subordinates, can any of them be said to have participated in
14 crimes in Bosnia or Croatia?
15 A. I'm not aware of that.
16 Q. Now I have to go on to paragraph 30 concerning you and others,
17 which reads as follows: "From at least March 1991 until the 15th of June,
18 1992, Slobodan Milosevic exercised control over the four members of the
19 'Serbian Bloc' within the Presidency of the SFRY. These four individuals
20 are Borisav Jovic, the representative of the Republic of Serbia; Branko
21 Kostic, the representative of the Republic of Montenegro; Jugoslav Kostic,
22 the representative of the autonomous province of Vojvodina; Sejdo
23 Bajramovic, the representative of the autonomous province of Kosovo and
24 Metohija. Slobodan Milosevic used Borisav Jovic and Branko Kostic as his
25 primary agents in the Presidency, and through them, he directed the
1 actions of the 'Serbian Bloc.' From the 1st of October 1991, in the
2 absence of the representatives of the Presidency from Croatia, Slovenia,
3 Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the four members of the 'Serbian Bloc'
4 exercised the powers of the Presidency, including that of collective
5 'Commander-in-Chief' of the JNA. This 'Rump Presidency' acted without
6 dissension to execute Slobodan Milosevic's policies. The Federal
7 Presidency had effective control over the JNA as its 'Commander-in-Chief'
8 and the TO units and the volunteer units acting in coordination and under
9 supervision of the JNA. Generals Veljko Kadijevic and Blagoje Adzic, who
10 directed and supervised the JNA forces in Croatia, were in constant
11 communication and consultation with the accused."
12 Can these four enumerated members of the Presidency be called the
13 Serbian Bloc?
14 A. No. I've already answered that. First of all, I come from
15 Montenegro, and I always declare myself as a Montenegrin. Although
16 Montenegro is a small country, the Prosecution, to be precise, should have
17 said the Serbian and Montenegrin Bloc. Secondly, throughout the
18 indictment the Prosecution uses the term "the Serbian Bloc" in a
19 pejorative way. Had it wanted to be consistently objective, it should
20 have spoken of the advocates of secession from and the break-up of
21 Yugoslavia and those who advocated the preservation of Yugoslavia.
22 Instead, they used the term "the Serbian Bloc." That's why I say that
23 they are practically plagiarising Mr. Mesic's book. But Mr. Mesic calls
24 us "the gang of four."
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, these comments of the witness
1 are absolutely inappropriate here. He's commenting constantly that we are
2 actually more or less writing from Mr. Mesic's book. I mean, that's
3 absolutely inappropriate.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm not sure that I agree. To say that you are
5 plagiarising a book, that's not offensive. It's either that it is or it
7 But rather than concentrating, Mr. Milosevic, on the nomenclature
8 "Serbian Bloc," which is just a name, why don't you focus the witness's
9 attention on what it is alleged that these four people did? That seems to
10 me to be the important allegation, not the name.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] We won't go into the name.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. What crime did you, as the Serbian Bloc or as the Presidency,
14 commit? What decision did you issue, even with the best of intentions,
15 which had tragic consequences or led to loss of human life, material
16 damage and such like?
17 A. In my testimony so far, I said that the Presidency of the SFRY,
18 either in its full or reduced composition, issued no decision that might
19 be described as a joint criminal enterprise. When asked by Mr. Robinson,
20 I also said that I don't even know a single decision that might have
21 inflamed the conflict and influenced developments in such a way as to lead
22 to escalation of war and inter-ethnic conflict.
23 Unless I am interrupted by the Prosecution, I expect Mr. Nice and
24 his associates to present some such criminal decision as none of these are
25 mentioned in the indictment.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, it's time for the break. We will
2 adjourn for 20 minutes.
3 --- Recess taken at 12.18 p.m.
4 --- On resuming at 12.43 p.m.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Professor Kostic, did I use Borisav Jovic and you as my main
8 agents in the Presidency of the SFRY and direct the actions of the Serb
9 Bloc through you, as stated in the paragraph that I quoted to you?
10 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, for the witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can assert that you did not use me
12 for those purposes. I can only assume that you had more frequent
13 communications with Mr. Jovic than you had with me because he was
14 representing Serbia in the Presidency. But even had you had such absolute
15 control over us, I've just stated that there is not a single decision
16 issued by that Presidency which might represent a criminal enterprise or
17 instigate someone else to commit a crime.
18 Q. To whom were you yourself responsible?
19 A. I was responsible to the Assembly of Montenegro, although the
20 mandate of members of the Presidency was not of such a nature as to
21 represent an imperative. In other words, it was not the duty of members
22 of the Presidency to necessarily comply with the decisions of their own
23 republican Assemblies. However, we did consult on all important issues.
24 I consulted my republican Assembly on every important issue, and
25 they could have replaced me at any moment had they assessed my work as not
1 adhering to what the Assembly felt should be done.
2 Q. Could you comment on the part of the rather long quotation which I
3 read out to you that the Federal Presidency had effective control over the
4 JNA, over the TO and volunteer units which were acting in a coordinated
5 manner under the supervision of the JNA?
6 A. All I can say is that this is one of the few correct statements in
7 this indictment. It's true that the Presidency was the civilian Supreme
8 Command of the armed forces. Apart from the JNA, those armed forces
9 comprised the police force, the Territorial Defence and volunteers.
10 Therefore, the Presidency did control the JNA, although the immediate
11 operative command and control was within the purview of the General Staff
12 as a professional organ.
13 In this period in particular, while we were operating as a reduced
14 Presidency, most of our decisions had to do with cease-fire agreements,
15 authorising Mr. Veljko Kadijevic as responsible for these matters as he
16 was the minister of defence and was the superior of the General Staff and
17 the Supreme Staff -- Command to negotiate these cease-fires, and we could
18 verify whether he had acted in compliance with our instructions.
19 Q. And what did you establish in your working relations with the
20 General Staff? Did Kadijevic indeed comply with your instructions?
21 A. Only in one case was there a disagreement. At one of these peace
22 negotiations, and I think it was on the 10th of October in The Hague, if
23 I'm correct, the Croatian mass media, and I think Mr. Hans Van den Broek,
24 stated that Veljko Kadijevic had agreed for the whole JNA to pull out of
25 Croatia. Of course he had not agreed to that, and he said that he was not
1 competent to do that.
2 We discussed this at the Presidency, and the Presidency adopted a
3 categorical standpoint which was identical to that of Mr. Kadijevic, to
4 the effect that the JNA could not withdraw from the flashpoints in Croatia
5 until another solution was found to provide physical security for the Serb
6 population on the territories of Croatia.
7 Q. I will not continue to quote from this because we've already dealt
8 with my alleged influence on Kadijevic and others, and Vasiljevic
9 testified about this here.
10 So please look at paragraph 31 of the Croatia indictment, which
11 reads: "Slobodan Milosevic exercised effective control over KOS, the
12 counter-intelligence component of the JNA. His control over the leaders
13 of KOS, particularly over General Aleksandar Vasiljevic, enabled the
14 engagement of KOS agents in Croatia. Agents of the KOS carried out the
15 policies of Slobodan Milosevic in Croatia by directing the actions of
16 local Croatian Serb political leaders, directing and supporting the local
17 Serb police and security forces, and introducing Serb volunteer groups
18 into Croatia and supporting their activities."
19 Now, please tell me whether I had any de facto control over
20 Vasiljevic or KOS.
21 A. I don't know that you had any control over Vasiljevic, and I can
22 say that I as the vice-president of the Yugoslav state Presidency and
23 member of that Supreme Command, I did not have direct control over
24 Vasiljevic either. According to the rules of service and the way in which
25 communication was regulated, the head of the 12th KOS administration was
1 directly responsible to the Federal Secretary for National Defence, that
2 is to say Mr. Veljko Kadijevic. So that what I can say is that with the
3 exception of the several meetings that I had with Mr. Aleksandar
4 Vasiljevic in the war office of the staff of the Supreme Command, where as
5 the Supreme Command we were present there, the most responsible people of
6 the Supreme Command were there and to tell them of the situation. So
7 apart from those meetings, I can say that not even I had a single meeting
8 with Mr. Vasiljevic as a tete-a-tete meeting, alone with him one-on-one.
9 And I don't know that you ever did.
10 Q. Of course I didn't. And that's -- and not even Vasiljevic himself
11 as a Prosecution witness said that here. But tell me, since when did the
12 KOS -- was the KOS operational on the territory of Croatia?
13 A. Well, I can't really give you an exact date. I think that KOS as
14 a service, intelligence service in the Yugoslav People's Army -- I don't
15 know if it changed names, but KOS was active on the territory of Croatia,
16 as it was indeed on all other parts of Yugoslav territory within a united
17 SFRY as part and parcel of the corresponding service of the JNA since 1945
18 onwards, until the 27th of April.
19 Q. Was it active on the territory of Serbia and Montenegro and in
20 fact throughout the territory of Yugoslavia?
21 A. Yes. Well, I've just said so. It was active in all the republics
22 all over the territory of Yugoslavia; on the territory of Croatia as well.
23 Q. And do you know anything about the allegation made here that KOS
24 -- agents of the KOS carried out the policies in Croatia by directing the
25 actions of local Croatian Serb political leaders, directing and supporting
1 the local Serb police and security forces and so on?
2 A. No, I really don't know.
3 Q. And did KOS agents bring in -- introduce Serb volunteer groups in
4 Croatia and support their activities?
5 A. I never heard about anything like that.
6 Q. Paragraphs 34 and 35 run as follows: "From on or about the 1st of
7 August, 1991 until June 1992 ..." Is that the time that you were
8 vice-president of the Presidency?
9 A. Yes, it is.
10 Q. Well, it says here "... Slobodan Milosevic, acting alone or in
11 concert with other known and unknown members --" et cetera, et cetera --
12 "of the joint criminal enterprise planned, instigated, ordered, committed
13 or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of
14 the persecution of the Croat and other non-Serb civilian population" from
15 all these territories.
16 And then paragraph 35 says: "Throughout this period, Serb forces,
17 comprised of JNA units, local TO units, and TO units from Serbia and
18 Montenegro, local and Serbian MUP police forces -- police units and
19 paramilitary units, attacked and took control of towns, villages and
20 settlements in these territories listed above. After the takeover, the
21 Serb forces, in cooperation with the local Serb authorities, established a
22 regime of persecutions designed to drive the Croat and other non-Serb
23 civilian population from these territories."
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, in relation to paragraph 34, don't
25 ask the witness whether you, acting alone or in concert with other members
1 of a joint criminal enterprise, committed the crimes set out. That's --
2 that's the kind of general question to which the kind of answer that this
3 witness gives and has given in the past will not be helpful.
4 In relation to paragraph 35, you can ask him about the issues of
5 fact that are raised therein.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I will follow what you
7 said, but don't forget that the witness was quoted as one of those who
8 allegedly, together with me, committed what it says in paragraph 34. And
9 if that were true, he would have to know about something like that.
10 And in paragraph 35, it says "Serb forces comprised of JNA units."
11 Now, were the JNA units Serb forces?
12 A. No. They were Yugoslav forces, Yugoslav armed forces of the SFRY.
13 Q. Were all the other units subordinate to the JNA units, the TO and
14 all the others listed here?
15 A. The Territorial Defence and the volunteers were subordinated to
16 the JNA units, and the police forces as well.
17 Q. Was the JNA at the head of those units or, rather, did it ever
18 attack or take control -- attack and take control of towns, villages, and
19 settlements, and after that did it drive the Croat and other non-Serb
20 civilian population from these territories?
21 A. Those are unsubstantiated facts. The fact is that the JNA army,
22 Yugoslav People's Army, in many towns and barracks in Croatia at that
23 point in time was under siege all the time. It was blocked all the time.
24 So it was not able even to move around anywhere, even when they had to
25 pull out those units from the barracks in other parts of Yugoslavia.
1 And secondly, it's a great untruth, a major untruth to claim that
2 the Yugoslav People's Army in any case or event whatsoever organised or
3 attempted to effect the forcible transportation of civilians from any
4 parts. The JNA was neutral at all times, until the point in time when the
5 Croatian paramilitary formations had become so strong that they began to
6 launch direct attacks against the JNA itself.
7 Q. These persecutions, according to paragraph 36, comprised of the
8 killing or displacement of several thousands of civilians and the
9 incarceration of civilians, thousands, and the establishment and
10 perpetuation of inhumane living conditions for Croat and other non-Serb
11 civilian detainees within the mentioned detention facilities.
12 And then it goes on to talk about the unlawful attacks on
13 Dubrovnik and undefended Croat villages, the beating and robbing of Croat
14 and other non-Serb civilians, and so on and so forth.
15 Now, do you have any knowledge about any of these activities
16 alleged in the indictment? Is there anything there that you can say is
17 correct from all the elements that I have read out?
18 A. I have no knowledge about any of that, and the idea that is -- is
19 a thread through the whole indictment, I can say that it is completely
20 unfounded to claim that the Yugoslav People's Army expelled or displaced
21 en masse or even killed and incarcerated people.
22 What I know for sure, for certain, is that the Yugoslav People's
23 Army, in a situation where it had been attacked itself and was placed in a
24 position to have to defend itself, that's what happened. It was an
25 inter-ethnic conflict, a civil war throughout the territory of Croatia at
1 the time, and it is quite certain and common knowledge that there were
2 armed civilians over there as well, that is to say armed citizens, and
3 that in those clashes and conflicts there were people who had been taken
4 prisoner, and those people had to be put up somewhere, accommodated
5 somewhere, gathered together somewhere until their fate had been decided.
6 And for the benefit of the Trial Chamber, I can say that Vukovar,
7 for example, which is mentioned most frequently -- may I be allowed to
8 finish my line of thought, Your Honour?
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Ms. Vesna Bosanac, I think she was
11 the director, for example, of the Vukovar Hospital. She was one of the
12 persons who were detained in Vukovar, for example, by the Yugoslav
13 People's Army, held in custody. And on the basis of a full court
14 decision, on the basis of an investigation, Ms. Vesna Bosanac was
15 proclaimed a war criminal. Later on, she was exchanged on the principle
16 of one for all, all for one, all for all on the basis --
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- basis of an agreement. May I be
19 allowed to finish what I was saying?
20 JUDGE ROBINSON: No. I'm not being helped by the answer, and I'm
21 going say what I said before, Mr. Milosevic: This line of questioning is
22 not helpful. If you look at 36(a), it sets out the grounds for the
23 allegation of persecutions, and then it finishes by saying: "... as
24 described in detail in paragraphs 38 to 59 and 73 to 75," and the
25 allegation in (b) is also "... as described in detail in paragraph 64."
1 So referring the witness to these general allegations and having him say
2 no is not helpful to the Court. You would be much better advised to deal
3 with the specific allegations of crimes that are set out in the indictment
4 if the witness has evidence to give in relation to them.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well. Very specifically now --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let me make it clear. I'm not inviting you --
7 I'm not inviting you to go through the indictment paragraph by paragraph.
8 I'm merely indicating that the line of questioning that you're pursuing is
9 not helpful to you or to the Court. And this witness has been here for
10 several days now, and you must be concluding shortly, Mr. Milosevic.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I'm doing my best to conclude
12 as shortly as possible, get through the questions as quickly as possible,
13 but there are a lot of them, and this person was president of the Yugoslav
14 state Presidency, which was the supreme command of the JNA at that
15 material time, and it is claimed here that they were all subordinate to
16 the JNA, and he as the president of that body had to be better informed
17 than me about what was going on. And if he doesn't know something, how am
18 I supposed to know it? Because the Presidency of the SFRY was in charge
19 and in control throughout the territory of Yugoslavia. My competence and
20 authority stretched to the territory of Serbia alone.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let us proceed and bring this witness's
22 examination-in-chief to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Professor Kostic, let's take paragraph 64 and 65 of the Croatia
25 indictment, for example, which speak about incarceration contrary to the
1 law, and so on and so forth. So let's see what it says here.
2 Mr. Robinson has told us to be concrete, specific.
3 This is what it says: "Serb military forces, comprised of JNA, TO
4 and volunteer units, acting in cooperation with local and Serbian police
5 staff and local Serb authorities, arrested and detained thousands of Croat
6 and other non-Serb civilians from the territories specified in the
7 following short- and long-term detention facilities."
8 So let's take a look at those detention facilities and see what
9 they are. First of all, it says "Serb military forces comprised of the
10 JNA." Can they be referred to as Serb military forces in that 1991 and
12 A. No. It was the Yugoslav People's Army. They were the armed
13 forces of the SFRY.
14 Q. Right. Now, take a look at the following: You have specifically
15 listed here from (a) to (q): "Military warehouse in Morinje in
16 Montenegro, run by the JNA, approximately 320 detainees."
17 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, establish first the foundation for
18 the answer that the witness will give. How would he have been in a
19 position to know about these detention facilities and whether the
20 activities alleged actually took place. Elicit from him evidence as to
21 those matters first.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Professor Kostic, you said a moment ago that your confident --
25 competence was the effective control of the JNA; is that right?
1 A. Yes, it is.
2 Q. Now, in this paragraph 64, we have a list of exclusively JNA
3 facilities. There are no other facilities apart from the JNA facilities
4 listed. Now, on the basis of that, am I to conclude that if somebody knew
5 about that at the top political echelons and it had to do with the JNA, it
6 would have had to have been you.
7 A. That would have been normal, yes.
8 Q. Now, tell us, please, what you know about the fact that in
9 Montenegro, your very own republic, in the military barracks -- or
10 warehouse, rather, of the JNA, there were 320 detainees. What do you know
11 about that?
12 A. Well, my answer to that question will be the same answer to all
13 the other facilities mentioned. And I have to tell you that I am really
14 not in a position to know about it. I didn't know about it then; I didn't
15 -- don't know about it now, which facilities they were, how many
16 detainees there were in them, and so on. But as to what is alleged and
17 listed in the indictment, you could only draw one conclusion, and that is
18 that everything stated in the indictment leads to the conclusion that
19 we're dealing with military facilities, that is to say facilities of the
20 Yugoslav People's Army, belonging to them. So those facilities of the
21 Yugoslav People's Army were used by the Yugoslav People's Army and the
22 armed forces of the SFRY in order to gather together and accommodate the
23 prisoners of war or detainees or whatever you like to call them, after
24 which those detainees were treated according to the Geneva Conventions, as
25 far as I know.
1 And a moment ago when I mentioned Mrs. Vesna Bosanac, although she
2 was convicted as a war criminal, she was still alive, she was exchanged.
3 In other words, the Yugoslav People's Army and its command, the command of
4 the armed forces, did not commit any crimes towards those detainees.
5 Now, how many of them there were and where the facilities were, I
6 really can't say. I don't know. It wasn't my duty to know either. And
7 that is why at one point I said that Mr. Nice could probably indict
8 Mr. Blair, for example, for many crimes that happened last night in
9 London, for example.
10 Q. All right. Here in several places -- well, I'm going to skip over
11 some of the specific concrete locations that are not in Serbia, but under
12 (d), it says the agriculture farm of the JNA in Stajicevo, Serbia, then
13 the military barracks in Zrenjanin in Serbia, then the military barracks
14 in Begejci in Serbia, then the military barracks in Zrenjanin in Serbia,
15 then the military prison in Sremska Mitrovica, which is Serbia again, and
16 then the military prison in Sid in Serbia, and I think I have mentioned
17 all the facilities in Serbia. They were all military facilities or,
18 rather, JNA facilities, ranging from barracks to military prisons.
19 Now, tell me, please, as the vice-president of the Yugoslav state
20 Presidency and a Yugoslav politician who was well acquainted with the
21 situation at the time and the provisions that prevailed at the time, did
22 the Republic of Serbia have any competence and authority over the JNA
23 facilities on its territory?
24 A. No. No. Neither the Republic of Serbia or any other republic had
25 any powers over military installations on their respective territories.
1 For instance, there was a military hotel in Kupari, and it was not
2 the Croatian authorities that had control over it but the JNA. The
3 regulations were such --
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: You have answered the question.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. All right. You said a moment ago that you neither knew nor you
7 were able to know in which locations the JNA held prisoners taken captive
8 during these conflicts. So if neither you nor the JNA were in a position
9 to know that, how could I have known, as President of Serbia?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Don't answer that. Don't answer that.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. It is alleged here that in these prisons mentioned in paragraph
13 65, the living conditions in the detention facilities were brutal and
14 characterised by inhumane treatment, overcrowding, starvation, and
15 constant physical and psychological assault, including mock executions,
16 torture, beatings, and sexual assault.
17 Do you know anything about this? The reference is to JNA
18 facilities --
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues] ... does know
20 anything, and if he does know anything, Mr. Milosevic, what is the source?
21 What is the basis for this knowledge? That's the only way we'll be able
22 to assess the weight to be attached to his evidence.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Did you ever have, directly or indirectly, officially or
25 unofficially, any information about sexual assaults, torture in those
1 places of detention where prisoners taken by the JNA were held?
2 A. No, never. But I cannot rule out the possibilities that
3 individuals behaved inhumanely, although I personally never had such
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, how many of these installations did you
6 actually visit?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] None. I never visited any such
8 facility. In that period, I made two tours, once to Bacin Bajinska
9 [phoen] --
10 JUDGE BONOMY: You've answered my question. In light of that, it
11 seems to me this current line of inquiry is pointless.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. All right. Professor Kostic, you say you never visited any of
15 these JNA facilities. Would I have been expected, as President of Serbia,
16 to go around visiting JNA facilities?
17 A. No. There were absolutely no grounds for that.
18 Q. Paragraph 67 of the Croatia indictment refers to forcible transfer
19 of Croats and other non-Serb civilian population in the territories of all
20 the various SAOs and the Dubrovnik Republic. Is that correct?
21 A. I can say with full responsibility that it is completely
23 Q. Concerning the method of these deportations, we can read about
24 that in paragraph 68 and 69. It says this was done to -- it was done by
25 "... 'White Eagles,' 'Seselj's men,'... 'Arkan's Tigers,' in cooperation
1 with police units, including 'Martic's Police,' SNB -" I don't know what
2 SNB is supposed to mean - "and the Serbian MUP, and others under the
3 effective control of Slobodan Milosevic or other participants in the joint
4 criminal enterprise. They surrounded Croat towns and villages and
5 demanded the inhabitants to surrender their weapons, including legally
6 owned hunting rifles. Then, the towns and villages were attacked, even
7 when those inhabitants had complied with the demands. These attacks were
8 intended to compel the population to flee. After taking control of the
9 towns and villages, the Serb forces sometimes rounded up the remaining
10 Croat and other non-Serb civilian population and forcibly transported them
11 to locations in Croatia controlled by the Croatian government or deported
12 them to locations outside Croatia, in particular Serbia and Montenegro.
13 On other occasions, the Serb forces in cooperation with the local Serb
14 authorities imposed restrictive and discriminatory measures on the
15 non-Serb population and engaged in a campaign of terror designed to drive
16 them out of the territory." The majority of them was forcibly
17 transferred --
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, in the Prosecution case did
19 you lead evidence identifying the towns and villages --
20 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, Your Honour, we did. We actually did.
21 We had in particular here Colonel Grujic who gave all the details on which
22 -- in which villages population was moved out. It was in particular he
23 who gave all the numbers, the figures on which people were taken out
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Can you just give me the names of one or two of
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Villages?
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Because that is what Mr. Milosevic should be
4 concentrating on.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: It's actually --
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Not the general question to which he'll get a
7 general answer. He should be asking the witness about the particular
8 towns or villages that were mentioned in the Prosecution case.
9 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, it's the same villages that are
10 actually mentioned in paragraph 36(a). When you look at the locations,
11 these are actually also the locations where the people were expelled.
12 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
13 It seems to me that's what you should be directing the witness's
14 attention to, if he has evidence about these several villages. He may not
15 have any evidence about it.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Please, Professor Kostic, there are references to Dalj, Erdut,
18 Klisa, Lovas, Vukovar, Vocin, Bacin, Saborsko, and the surrounding
19 villages: Skabrnja, Nadin, Bruska, Dubrovnik, and environs.
20 At the critical time, the period in the indictment from August
21 1991 to June 1992, did you have any knowledge about these misdeeds
22 allegedly committed by JNA and local forces?
23 A. In the majority of the places -- or, rather, about the majority of
24 the places mentioned, I have absolutely no knowledge. I didn't have any
25 then and I don't know anything about them now. All these places are
1 familiar from that period as crisis areas in the territory of Croatia.
2 The only thing I know is about Dubrovnik and the surrounding area. That's
3 the only thing I know well, because during the Dubrovnik operation, I
4 personally toured the units of the JNA in that territory, and I can say
5 with a great degree of certainty that any allegation about deliberate and
6 conscious removal of Croat or non-Serb population from that area is
7 incorrect. I can say for a fact that not only at the time when I visited,
8 but many years later, because most of the JNA members concerned were from
9 Montenegro, I never heard of a single war crime committed during that
10 Dubrovnik operation such as the killing of an old man, a woman, or a
11 child. There was a conflict there between Croatian paramilitary units and
12 the JNA, and there were casualties on both sides. There were people taken
13 prisoner. You mentioned one of the buildings in Boka Kotorska where they
14 were based. I did not visit that place, but I know for a fact that the
15 Yugoslav People's Army, in this difficult and dramatic time, acquitted
16 itself in a humane way with utmost patience that would do honour to every
18 Q. You mentioned a number of those places.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Was there JNA presence in any of them?
21 A. Well, those were the places where there had been inter-ethnic
22 conflicts; Erdut, Dalj, and such. In those inter-ethnic conflicts, the
23 army was engaged in order to put a stop to them, to stop them from
25 Q. Did you receive any information about crimes committed in any of
1 these places?
2 A. No.
3 Q. In paragraph 69, we read: "According to the 1991 census, the
4 Croat and other non-Serb population of these areas was approximately as
5 follows: SAO Krajina: 28 per cent Croats; SAO Western Slavonia 29 per
6 cent Croats; and SAO Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Srem 47 per cent
7 Croats." And then it goes on to say that the entire Croat population was
8 forcibly removed except for from Dubrovnik Republic as part of the joint
9 criminal enterprise.
10 Do you have any knowledge about these allegations? In your book,
11 on pages 376 to 381, you referred to it. It's tab 72. Your book, I mean.
12 A. I have already mentioned the most important figures from the 1991
13 census and 2001 census that indicate how much the share of Croats has
14 grown over the past ten years -- over those ten years in the total
15 population of Croatia and to what extent the number or the share of Serbs
16 is reduced again in the total population. However, it will not hurt if I
17 say that in 1991 in Croatia, the Croat population accounted for 77.9 per
18 cent, whereas in 2001, it accounted for 89.63 per cent.
19 In the same period in Croatia, Serbs accounted for 12.2 per cent
20 in 1991, and in 2001 they accounted for 4.5 per cent.
21 On one of the previous days, I believe it was Judge Bonomy who
22 wanted to know about the ethnic composition of the crisis areas where
23 there was a majority Serb population or where Serbs were a substantial
24 minority. I don't have that data area by area, but if you take as correct
25 the figures from the indictment, and I don't see any reason to doubt that
1 they are correct, then we could conclude that on the territories indicated
2 in the indictment, Croats totaled about 220.000, and there were about
3 250.000 Serbs. In all of those areas taken together, that is Serb
4 majority areas and Serbs as substantial minority areas.
5 Now, in Serbia, for the same period -- I have figures for 1991.
6 From those figures, we that approximately one-third of the population of
7 Serbia was non-Serb. In other words, out of a total of almost 10 million,
8 which, more precisely, 9.8 million, almost 3.5 million were non-Serbs.
9 I don't have comparable figures, because I don't have separate
10 figures for Kosovo, but what we know is that over the -- those ten years
11 Serbia, together with maybe Montenegro, was the only republic where the
12 number of non-Serbs remained unchanged.
13 Q. What does that tell us?
14 A. Well, it tells us very eloquently that it is nonsensical to claim
15 that anybody - the JNA or the Presidency or the leadership - organised
16 some sort of plan for ethnic cleansing in those areas while at the same
17 time keeping intact the ethnic composition in Serbia itself with such a
18 large number of non-Serb population which was due, among other things, to
19 the large inflow of refugees from Kosovo, Croatia, et cetera.
20 Q. In the light of these figures, it seems that when there are large
21 numbers of non-Serbs, nobody touches them, and in those areas where there
22 are few of them, there is a plan to cleanse them.
23 A. I have no explanation for that. It makes no sense.
24 Q. Can you explain this from paragraph 68: It says that the JNA, TO,
25 and other units surrounded Croat towns and villages, attacked and took
1 over in some areas.
2 And then again in paragraph 108, it says on the 23rd of November,
3 an agreement was concluded by Tudjman, Kadijevic, myself, et cetera, under
4 the aegis of Cyrus Vance. According to that agreement, Croatian
5 authorities were to lift the siege of JNA barracks, and the JNA was to
6 withdraw from Croatia.
7 Now, tell me, if the JNA had -- was it the case that the JNA had
8 surrounded Croatian towns and villages, or was it the case that the JNA
9 itself was under siege in its barracks on the territory of Croatia?
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's a leading question. And we're not getting
11 anywhere with these general questions and general answers, and it's
12 bordering on the abusive, being abusive, Mr. Milosevic, and I'll be paying
13 particular attention to that.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, I quoted in order to
15 avoid putting a leading question. I quoted paragraph 108, where it
16 says: "... entered into an agreement under the auspices of ... Cyrus
17 Vance. This agreement called for the lifting of blockades by Croatian
18 forces on JNA barracks and for the withdrawal of JNA forces from Croatia."
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: What I characterised as a leading question was
20 "Was it the case that the JNA surrounded Croatian towns?" or "It was the
21 case ..." Not only was it, but it was the case that the JNA itself was
22 under siege in its barracks on the territory of Croatia, clearly inviting
23 the latter as the answer. That's leading.
24 We're not getting anywhere with these general questions and
25 general answers.
1 It's half past one, and you must bring your examination-in-chief
2 to a conclusion. We are going stop at twenty minutes to two. I expect
3 you to have concluded by that time.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I cannot finish my
5 examination-in-chief today, Mr. Robinson. I still have quite a few
6 questions for Mr. Kostic.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'll have to consult the Chamber as to whether
8 you'll be allowed to continue, because you have been with this witness now
9 for about four days. Continue.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honours, if the Chamber does decide to allow him
11 to go over into tomorrow, there is about three minutes of administrative
12 matters I'd like an opportunity to deal with at the end of the morning.
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's why I said 1.40, so we'd stop at 1.43.
14 Swiss precision.
15 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. I'm asking you about paragraph 108, which says that Croatian
18 forces should lift blockades and that JNA forces should withdraw. What
19 I'm asking you is whether it's possible for those who participated and
20 negotiated this agreement, including Tudjman, were so ill-informed that
21 they would write that the JNA should have the siege lifted, whereas in
22 fact it was the JNA that was encircling others, or was the JNA encircled
23 in its barracks and thus encircling others?
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: That's not a proper question and you're doing the
25 same thing; leading. "Or was the JNA encircling its barracks and was
1 encircling others?" And I've told you time and again that merely putting
2 an alternative question to a witness does not take away from its leading
4 JUDGE BONOMY: And quite apart from that, this witness has dealt
5 with this matter several times already in his evidence. This is entirely
6 repetitive material.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: You must conclude by 20 minutes to.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Professor Kostic, was the JNA surrounded in the Croatian towns in
10 which there were barracks?
11 A. The JNA was surrounded in all the barracks on the territory of
12 Croatia which had existed there for many years in peacetime. One of our
13 major concerns as the Presidency of the SFRY and the civilian Supreme
14 Command was anxiety for those soldiers.
15 JUDGE ROBINSON: Let's move to the next question.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just wanted to remind
17 Mr. Robinson, I think it's very important.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: No.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. I'll skip over what you consider to be too general.
21 Professor Kostic, in paragraph 103 of the so-called Croatia
22 indictment, it says as follows: "Slobodan Milosevic's calls for the union
23 of all Serbs in one state coincided with those agitating for the creation
24 of a 'Greater Serbia.'" I won't quote any further.
25 Did I anywhere call for the creation of a Greater Serbia or for
1 the union of all Serbs in one state?
2 A. Never did I hear you issue any such call. I only heard you
3 advocating the preservation of Yugoslavia as a common state in which not
4 only Serbs but also Muslims, Croats, and others could live together.
5 Q. Please look at tab 51, where something we have already partly
6 quoted is contained. And it also contains my statement of the 16th of
7 March in the Politika of the 17th of March where, among other things, it
8 mentions living in one state, and the year is 1991. Look at the middle of
9 the second paragraph after the first subtitle and see what I say here. I
10 will read it to you, and you can follow, and it can also be placed on the
12 "Instead of a democratic federation which should make it possible
13 for the Serbian people together with other Yugoslav people to live in
14 peace in a single state, the anti-Serb coalition is attempting to bring
15 about the dissolution of Yugoslavia ..."
16 What is the state where I say that Serbs live together with other
17 nations in a state?
18 A. That's the SFRY.
19 Q. And my advocating the survival of the SFRY, which as I say here
20 should make it possible for the Serb people to live together with other
21 peoples in a joint state on an equal footing and in peace, does this have
22 anything to do with advocating a Greater Serbia, and is it actually a call
23 for Serbs to live in one state?
24 A. It has nothing to do with this.
25 Q. Was there already a state in which they were all living together,
1 Muslims, Croats --
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: You've asked that several times, Mr. Milosevic,
3 and you have the answer you desire.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Advocating the preservation of Yugoslavia, could it have been part
6 of a conspiracy or a joint criminal enterprise?
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, you're abusing the process of the
8 Chamber, and I am going to take the exceptional step of terminating the
10 We'll hear from Mr. Nice.
11 May I just ask before: Mr. Milosevic, there are some tabs,
12 whether you wish to have the following tendered into evidence: Tabs 77,
13 64, 71, and 50, and pages 376 to 81 of tab 72. Do you wish to have those
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do, Mr. Robinson, but I have
16 to draw your attention to the fact that I have not asked the witness
17 anything about Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he was in his position until
18 June 1992 as deputy president of the Presidency, until several months
19 after the outbreak of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
20 Secondly, in this function, he attended a meeting with Alija
21 Izetbegovic in Skopje where matters were discussed pertaining to the
22 status of the JNA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is also of exceptional
23 importance. He was at the top position in Yugoslavia at the time, and
24 Yugoslavia was going through a crisis.
25 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, I took the exceptional step of
1 terminating the examination-in-chief because I'd formed the impression
2 that you're deliberately abusing the process of the Chamber.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I'm not doing that deliberately,
4 Mr. Robinson. If you terminate the examination-in-chief with regard to
5 Croatia, it will no great loss. However, I do have to put some questions
6 with regard to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
7 [Trial Chamber confers]
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: All right. Mr. Milosevic --
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Just a moment.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, listen to me. How long will you
11 be in relation to the questions on Bosnia that you have not touched upon,
12 entirely through your own mismanagement of the examination-in-chief?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. Robinson, before I reply to your
14 question, you have received the witness schedule. I have it here before
15 me in English. Viva voce Branko Kostic, it says 16 hours. That's the
16 envisaged time, and we have used only 12 hours so far according to the
17 records I have just received.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: But you have not used it properly. You haven't
19 used the time properly. How much time will you spend in relation to
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think I can finish in two
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: Well, try for one.
24 Mr. Nice, let me hear from you.
25 MR. NICE: The only matters that I want to raise do not relate to
1 this witness. One will be in private session, if I have time. May he
2 withdraw and I'll only be a couple of minutes.
3 JUDGE ROBINSON: Professor, you may leave.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 MR. NICE: While he's withdrawing and we're still in public
6 session, I regret that I shan't be here tomorrow and hope it won't be
7 counted as a discourtesy, and I'm particularly sorry as my learned friend
8 is starting her cross-examination, which I would preferred to hear, of
10 Still in public session before we go into private session, while
11 the witness is withdrawing, and noting the rapid conclusion or the
12 advancing conclusion of the accused's allowable time, can I simply
13 respectfully remind the Court that we have yet to deal with timetabling
14 Kristan Bildt [phoen]. Can I remind the accused through the Court that
15 the invitation to him to deal, by agreement, with the issue of the names
16 of the Racak victims is outstanding and hasn't been dealt with, and if it
17 isn't dealt with, is something that we will have to attempt to deal with
18 at the expense of time by rebuttal evidence.
19 So those are the few short matters in public session. With your
20 leave, one minute in private session.
21 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes, private session.
22 [Private session]
11 Page 48090 redacted. Private session.
21 [Open session]
22 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ROBINSON: The tabs that I mentioned will be admitted. We
24 are adjourned until tomorrow, 9.00 a.m.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
1 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 7th day
2 of February, 2006, at 9.00 a.m.