Milan Babić

The regret that I feel is the pain that I have to live for the rest of my life. These crimes and my participation therein can never be justified. I'm speechless when I have to express the depth of my remorse for what I have done and for the effect that my sins have had on the others. I can only hope that by expressing the truth, by admitting to my guilt, and expressing the remorse can serve as an example to those who still mistakenly believe that such inhumane acts can ever be justified.

Milan Babić, was former Prime Minister/President of the government of the self-declared Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, Croatia, later the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina in 1991-1992. Babić participated in a campaign of persecutions against non-Serbs. He was aware that crimes such as mistreatment in prisons, deportations, forcible transfer and the destruction of property were being committed, and he knew that civilians were being killed in the course of the forcible removal. He participated and supported the military take over of territories, encouraging and assisting in the acquisition of arms. He made ethnically inflammatory speeches at public events and in the media and such propaganda helped the unleashing of violence against the Croat population and other non-Serbs. Before he was indicted, he testified for the Prosecution in the Milošević case. Babić was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.
 

Read Guilty Plea Statement

27 January 2004, extract from transcript of hearing:

[Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.

I come before this Tribunal with a deep sense of shame and remorse. I have allowed myself to take part in the worst kind of persecution of people simply because they were Croats and not Serbs. Innocent people were persecuted; innocent people were evicted forcibly from their houses; and innocent people were killed. Even I learned what had happened, I kept silent. Even worse, I continued in my office, and I became personally responsible for the inhumane treatment of innocent people.

The regret that I feel is the pain that I have to live for the rest of my life. These crimes and my participation therein can never be justified. I'm speechless when I have to express the depth of my remorse for what I have done and for the effect that my sins have had on the others. I can only hope that by expressing the truth, by admitting to my guilt, and expressing the remorse can serve as an example to those who still mistakenly believe that such inhumane acts can ever be justified. Only truth can give the opportunity for the Serbian people to relieve itself of its collective burden of guilt. Only an admission of guilt on my part makes it possible for me to take responsibility for all the wrongs that I have done.

I hope that the remorse that I expressed will make it easier for the others to bear their pain and suffering. I have come to understand that enmity and division can never make it easier for us to live. I have come to understand that our -- the fact that we all belong to the same human race is more important than any differences, and I have come to understand that only through friendship and confidence we can live together in peace and friendship, and thus make it possible for our children to live in a better world.

I have asked help from God to make it easier for me to repent, and I am thankful to God for making it possible for me to express my repentance. I ask from my brothers, Croats, to forgive us, their brother Serbs, and I pray for the Serb people to turn to the future and to achieve the kind of compassion that will make it possible to forgive the crimes. And lastly, I place myself at the full disposal of this Tribunal and international justice.


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