1 Thursday, 1 April 2004
2 [Sentencing Hearing]
3 [Open session]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
8 IT-03-72-S, the Prosecutor versus Milan Babic.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
10 Good morning to everyone in this courtroom. Before I ask the
11 parties for the appearances, I would first like to see whether you can
12 hear me in a language you understand, Mr. Babic.
13 I didn't hear any translation, although I take it that perhaps I'm
14 on the wrong channel.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Now I do understand. The microphone was
17 switched off. Thank you, Mr. Babic.
18 May I have the appearances for the Prosecution first.
19 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Good morning, Your Honours we have the trial
20 attorneys Ms. Sabine Bauer and Mr. Whiting who will make the opening
21 remarks for the Prosecution, and we have the case manager Ruth Karper and
22 my name is Hildegard Uertz-Retzlaff.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Than you, Mrs. Uertz-Retzlaff. And for the Defence.
24 MR. MUELLER: Good morning, Mr. President; good morning,
25 Your Honours. For the Defence, my colleague Mr. Robert Fogelnest,
1 Mr. Danilo Cirkovic the case manager, and myself Peter Michael Mueller.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Mueller.
3 MR. MUELLER: If you allow me to make a short remark I would like
4 to announce something which has to be done, as I think, in closed session,
5 if you would allow.
6 JUDGE ORIE: If there is anything to be discussed in closed
7 session -- would private session do?
8 MR. MUELLER: Yes, yes, yes.
9 JUDGE ORIE: We'll then turn into private session, which means
10 that we can still be seen but not be heard any more.
11 [Private session]
6 [Open session]
7 JUDGE ORIE: What I'd like to do is just briefly discuss with the
8 parties the order of this proceedings. The Chamber would very much like
9 both parties to briefly make some opening remarks. We would then hear
10 witnesses. If Mr. -- we'll hear the testimony witnesses. If Mr. Babic
11 would like to make a statement, and perhaps, Mr. Mueller, you could tell
12 us whether he intends to do so, we could do that after we heard the
13 testimony of the witnesses, and then I'd like to give an opportunity to
14 the parties to make some final observations and remarks.
15 Could the parties agree on this?
16 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, that's fine.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MR. MUELLER: We very well agree to this, and making reference to
19 your request, Mr. President, whether Mr. Babic is going to make a short
20 address to the Court, I should say that he will but very briefly.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 MR. FOGELNEST: May I add something, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Fogelnest.
24 MR. FOGELNEST: If the Trial Chamber wishes us to make an opening
25 remark, we will. However, if it's convenient for the Court, it was our
1 intention to waive that opportunity in the hope that we need not
2 necessarily consume the time of the Trial Chamber. However, if would you
3 like to hear from us, I will be glad to do that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Well, first of all, of course, it's entirely up
5 to you to waive something, and if you say we can say whatever we have to
6 say at the end hearing testimony of witnesses and after we have heard the
7 brief statement of Mr. Babic, the Chamber does not oppose. Of course, it
8 depends a bit. If the Prosecution makes an opening statement, perhaps
9 it's good to perhaps in a few lines to set out not only for the Chamber
10 because we've already read your sentencing briefs, but it is a public
11 hearing, and therefore perhaps it would be good, it's just a suggestion,
12 to spend a few lines on it.
13 MR. FOGELNEST: Certainly, Your Honour. If I may, Your Honour,
14 also --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MR. FOGELNEST: -- when it comes time to make our are final
17 statements with the permission of the Trial Chamber, Mr. Mueller and I
18 would like to share whatever time is allocated to the Defence.
19 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. If you don't start fighting over the time,
20 Mr. Fogelnest --
21 MR. FOGELNEST: We get along remarkably well, Your Honour.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
23 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you.
24 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, you indicated that it would be your colleague
25 Mr. --
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Mr. Whiting.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Whiting who is going to make the opening remarks.
3 Since we have now agreed on the order, Mr. Whiting, please proceed.
4 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Could you indicate approximately how much time you
7 MR. WHITING: It'll be approximately 20 minutes; 15, 20 minutes.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
9 MR. WHITING: I will make the brief opening remarks. At the end I
10 will tender into evidence a number exhibits on behalf of the Prosecution
11 and after that Ms. Sabine Bauer will take our first witness,
12 Dr. Mladic Loncar.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, you say your first witness. Does this mean you
14 have more witnesses?
15 MR. WHITING: I'm sorry our first and only witness.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That's clear to me. I take it that the
17 exhibits you're going to tender that the Defence is aware of it. May I
18 also ask whether there's already an agreement on the admission into
19 evidence or --
20 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honours. All the exhibits that the
21 Prosecution will tender into evidence have been provided to the Court and
22 to the -- and to the Defence, and there is agreement on --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Agreement.
24 MR. WHITING: Yes.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Then please proceed.
1 MR. WHITING: Your Honours, the purpose of the hearing today and
2 tomorrow is to determine the appropriate sentence for the accused,
3 Mr. Milan Babic. On the 27th of January, 2004, the accused pled guilty to
4 the crime of persecutions, a crime against humanity, for his role in
5 crimes committed against Croats and other non-Serbs by Serb forces in
6 Croatia during 1991. Specifically, the accused admitted that he was a
7 co-perpetrator in a joint criminal enterprise whose goal was the forceful
8 removal of the non-Serb population from the territory of the so-called
9 Serbian Autonomous Region of Krajina, otherwise known as the SAO Krajina.
10 Other participants in this joint criminal enterprise included Slobodan
11 Milosevic, Milan Martic, Goran Hadzic, Jovica Stanisic, Franko Simatovic,
12 Vojislav Seselj, and Generals Blagoje Adzic and Ratko Mladic, nearly all
13 of whom have either been charged by this Tribunal or are currently
14 detained at this Tribunal or are in trial.
15 The purpose of the joint criminal enterprise was accomplished in
16 part through the crime of persecutions to which this accused has pled
17 guilty. It is important to note that the -- encompassed within this
18 single crime of persecutions are the crimes of extermination and murder,
19 detentions and inhumane treatment, deportation, and the destruction of
20 private, cultural, and religious property. Accordingly, the charge of
21 persecutions attempts in a single umbrella charge to capture the full
22 range and severity of the crimes committed by the members of the joint
23 criminal enterprise, including this accused, against Croat and other
24 non-Serb civilians.
25 The law of the Tribunal sets forth four factors that the Trial
1 Chamber must consider in sentencing. One, the gravity of the offence;
2 two, the individual circumstances of the convicted person; three, any
3 mitigating or aggravating circumstances; and four, the sentencing
4 practices of the former Yugoslavia. In this case, however, I think it's
5 helpful to think of two competing factors that the Trial Chamber will have
6 to consider in reaching a sentence for this accused. On the one hand, the
7 Trial Chamber will have to consider the gravity of the offence and this
8 accused's role in that offence. On the other hand, the Court will have to
9 consider and weigh the accused's plea of guilty, his acceptance of
10 responsibility, and his cooperation with this Tribunal and the
12 With respect to the first part of the equation, the Prosecution
13 submits that it is the law of the Tribunal that the gravity of the offence
14 must weigh very, very heavily. In fact, the Prosecution submits that it
15 is the single most important factor that must be considered by the Court
16 at sentencing. The accused has pled guilty to one of the most serious
17 crimes known to mankind, and the suffering, the pain, and the loss caused
18 by these crimes are immense. More than 230 Croats and other non-Serbs
19 were murdered, and thousands of others were subjected to discriminatory
20 measures, detained in inhumane conditions, driven from their homes, or had
21 their personal, religious, or cultural property destroyed. The
22 destruction from these crimes is still felt acutely to this day and will
23 be continued to be felt for years and years to come.
24 On the issue of the gravity of the crimes, the Prosecution during
25 this hearing will offer into evidence both written and oral evidence. With
1 respect to the written evidence, the Prosecution will offer as exhibits
2 the statements of five victims who give evidence about the crimes
3 committed and how they affected -- how these crimes affected them and
4 their families. These statements have already been provided to the Court
5 as attachments to our sentencing brief and have been provided to the
6 Defence. I will briefly described what is stated in these statements, but
7 before I do, I would like to situate the crimes at issue on a map that we
8 will also tender into evidence.
9 I will ask the case manager to put the map on the ELMO. This was
10 a map provided to the Prosecution by this accused. It is a map from the
11 Republika Srpska from 1993. However, it is possible to see on this map
12 the SAO Krajina where the crimes occurred in 1991.
13 It's hard -- this map is so big it's hard to capture. If the case
14 manager could show the portion that's marked A, which is just moving it a
15 little bit over and get the -- there we go. And then maybe if we -- is it
16 possible to back out to get -- to get more -- okay.
17 The area on the map that is marked as A, and if the case manager
18 could just point to the -- that area, that -- there -- that area that's
19 marked A with that boundary is the area which was the SAO Krajina in 1991.
20 With this map is also a translation of the text that is on the map, but
21 for the present purposes, it's the map itself which is useful.
22 So the area that is marked A is the SAO Krajina from 1991. The
23 area which is next to that marked B is Western Slavonia, and the area that
24 is marked C is Eastern Slavonia. The areas B and C are not at issue in
25 this case. It is area A which is at issue and the area that is was the
1 SAO Krajina and the area of which this accused was the president during
2 the crimes in question.
3 Now, I would like to indicate on this map in the area A where the
4 crimes were committed. If the case manager could point to the villages
5 there in the north-eastern part of the SAO Krajina are the villages of
6 Bacin, Dubica, and Cerovljani which are referenced in paragraph 15A (i) of
7 the indictment the first group of crimes committed in those villages. In
8 the middle of the SAO Krajina are the villages of Saborsko - the case
9 manager's pointing to them now - Saborsko, Poljanak, and Lipovaca which
10 are referenced in paragraph 15(a)(ii) of the indictment. And finally just
11 to the west of Knin -- you have to push the map up a little bit there. In
12 the southern part of the region of the SAO Krajina are the villages just
13 to the west of Knin are the villages of Skabrnja and Nadin and Bruska, and
14 these villages are the site of crimes which are described in paragraphs
15 15(a)(iii) and (iv) of the indictment. And then Knin is there evident on
16 the map and the relationship to these villages.
17 Thank you.
18 Now if I could briefly describe to Your Honours the content of the
19 five victims' statements which will be tendered into evidence by the
21 One witness from Dubica describes how many Croats fled this
22 village, the village of Dubica, during the conflict, and that on the
23 20th of October, 1991, 53 civilians who remained including many elderly
24 and women were rounded up by the Krajina militia and taken to the local
25 fire station where they were guarded by local Serbs and the JNA. The
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 witness himself was released, but he later learned that remaining
2 detainees, along with other detainees from the surrounding villages, were
3 massacred and buried in a mass grave, and in fact, many of these victims
4 were later found in a mass grave after the war.
5 When the witness returned to his village in 1995, he discovered
6 that 13 houses, including his own, and the Catholic church in his village
7 were levelled to the ground.
8 A second witness provides evidence about the attack by Serb forces
9 on Skabrnja on the 18th November 1991. This witness tells how Serb
10 soldiers including JNA soldiers and SAO Krajina soldiers intentionally,
11 deliberately executed civilians during the attack, including elderly and
13 A third witness describes how the Krajina militia came to her
14 village of Bruska on the 21st of December, 1991, and massacred ten
15 civilians, nine Croats, and one Serb who happened to be visiting with the
16 Croats and was himself also killed, and also seriously injured the witness
17 herself. When the witness returned to her village after the war, she
18 found her house looted.
19 Another witness provides evidence about attacks on the village of
20 Poljanak and how civilians were literally lined up and executed.
21 Finally, a witness provides evidence about his arrest by Martic's
22 militia and his detention in the old hospital in Knin. The witness was
23 detained with approximately 120 other Croats and provides evidence in his
24 statement about the severe mistreatment and abuse that occurred at that
1 I have just briefly described what these witnesses say, but the
2 full details of the horrors that they experienced are -- have been -- will
3 be provided into evidence for the consideration of the Trial Chamber.
4 In addition, the Prosecution will offer into evidence as an
5 exhibit the report of Colonel Ivan Grujic, the head of the Croatian office
6 for detainees and missing persons, which provides comprehensive data about
7 civilians who were killed, who went missing during the war, and about
8 those who were detain. This data and report and information, including
9 detailed information about exhumations, will provide the Court with a
10 basis to assess the scale of the crimes to which this accused has pled
12 Finally, the Prosecution and the Defence as a joint witness will
13 call Dr. Mladen Loncar, who as I've said will be led by Ms. Sabine Bauer.
14 Mr. Loncar is a psychiatrist with expertise in dealing with victims of war
15 or war crimes and he will testify about the effects on the victims of the
16 crimes in Croatia that occurred in this case. In conjunction with this
17 testimony, the Prosecution will offer into evidence the report and the CV
18 of Mr. Loncar.
19 In addition to the gravity of the offence, the Trial Chamber will
20 have to consider that the accused's role in these crimes was significant.
21 It is accepted that the accused was not the architect of the plan and was
22 far from being the most important actor in the joint criminal enterprise.
23 However, during the times of the crimes, the accused as president of the
24 so-called SAO Krajina held the highest political office in the region.
25 Starting in August of 1991, this accused knew that other members of the
1 joint criminal enterprise were forcibly resettling the Croat and other
2 non-Serb population from the targeted areas, and he was conscious that the
3 crimes of mistreatment and prisons, deportations, forcible transfers, and
4 destruction of property were being committed. He also knew that killings
5 were a likely outcome of the pursuit of the joint criminal enterprise.
6 Yet this accused retained his office during this time, participated in the
7 arming of the Serbs and in the creation of the staffing of political and
8 military structures for a Serb entity in Croatia and in obtaining
9 financing for these military structures. At no time did the accused have
10 control over the military or Krajina police force that committed the
11 crimes however. In addition the Trial Chamber will have to consider the
12 conduct of the accused since the crimes in question, and on this issue the
13 Prosecution will offer into evidence the testimony of
14 Ambassador Peter Galbraith, who was the American ambassador to Croatia
15 from 1993 to 1998, from the Milosevic case.
16 So first and foremost, the Trial Chamber will have to consider the
17 gravity of the offence and the accused's role in the crimes. On the other
18 side of the equation, however, it must be recognised that this accused
19 initiated contact with the Prosecution before he was charged, cooperated
20 extensively with the Prosecution, testified in the case against
21 Slobodan Milosevic, has agreed to testify in other cases before this
22 Tribunal, and has pled guilty and accepted responsibility for the charges
23 that were brought against him.
24 Some might say that a man who has committed a crime against
25 humanity should at a minimum take these steps and that he should get no
1 credit for these actions. However, in fact, it is the rare accused who
2 does so, and the beneficiaries of the accused's guilty plea and
3 cooperation are this Tribunal, the process of the search for truth, the
4 citizens of the former Yugoslavia, the goal of reconciliation, and most
5 importantly perhaps, the victims of the crimes themselves. The accused's
6 guilty plea and testimony send the message that these crimes did happen.
7 It is not just the Tribunal that says so. It is not just the Prosecution
8 that says so. But one of the persons responsible for the crimes says so.
9 This does not erase the crimes that were committed. It does not excuse
10 them. But, rather, it acknowledges and affirms them on behalf of the
12 In this regard, it serves as an important step in the process of
13 reconciliation which is one of the critical goals of this institution.
14 Mr. Mladen Loncar will testify not only about the effects of the
15 crimes on the victims but also about the positive effects from the
16 accused's guilty plea and his acknowledgement of responsibility. In
17 addition, the Prosecution will offer into evidence a selection of
18 quotations from the accused, from his testimony and his interviews with
19 the Prosecution, which speak to his responsibility for the crimes in
21 Further, the accused's cooperation and testimony are a significant
22 step towards establishing the truth and towards bringing those responsible
23 for these crimes to account for their actions. As an indicator of the
24 significance of the accused's testimony of, the Prosecution will tender
25 into evidence a list of documents provided and authenticated by Mr. Babic
1 during his testimony. Those persons responsible for the crimes in which
2 the accused participated, and here we are referring in particular to those
3 at the very top, those with the most responsibility, often planned the
4 crimes and executed them with great secrecy, taking care to hide their
5 actions and ensuring that there would be few records of their misdeeds.
6 Further, they took significant steps to cover up their crimes and mislead
7 the international community while they were happening and after they
8 occurred. It is an uncomfortable reality in the search for truth that
9 only by hearing the testimony of those who were on the inside, those who
10 played a role in the crimes themselves that the full truth of what
11 happened and who was responsible will be known.
12 For these reasons, the steps that the accused has taken should be
13 encouraged by this Court. Others in his position should be encouraged and
14 should get the message that it is important and valuable and worthwhile to
15 step forward, take responsibility, and tell the truth.
16 Once the Trial Chamber has heard all the evidence and arguments at
17 this sentencing hearing, it will need to weigh within the framework of the
18 law and the jurisprudence of this Tribunal these two competing
19 considerations, on the one hand the gravity of the offence and the
20 accused's role in that offence; and on the other hand, the accused's plea
21 of guilty and his cooperation. At the end of the hearing on the evidence,
22 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff will address the Court and make arguments as to the
23 appropriate sentence on behalf of the Prosecution.
24 At this time, I would like with the Court's permission to tender
25 into evidence the exhibits that I've referenced on behalf of the
1 Prosecution. The first exhibit, and I believe they will be marked P --
2 PS -- PS1, is a statement of five -- of the five victims, crime based
3 witnesses, victim impact statements. These statements have been redacted
4 where appropriate to protect the identity of certain of the victims.
5 Exhibit PS2 is the map of the region I showed during the opening
6 statement which has been marked with different sections.
7 PS3 is the report of Colonel Ivan Grujic head of the Croatian
8 Office for Detainees and Missing Persons. The report is entitled "Missing
9 people, displaced people, and killed people in the Republic of Croatia
10 during the war years 1990 to 1992."
11 Exhibit PS4 is a selection of quotations from the accused, from
12 his testimony and interviews with the Prosecution.
13 Exhibit PS5 is the testimony of Ambassador Peter Galbraith, the US
14 ambassador to Croatia from 1993 to 1998, from the Milosevic case.
15 Exhibit PS6 is the list of documents either provided by Mr. Babic
16 or authenticated by Mr. Babic during his testimony in the Milosevic case.
17 And finally, Your Honours, Exhibit PS7 is the complete transcript
18 of Mr. Babic's testimony from the Milosevic case and his interviews with
19 the Prosecution. These are voluminous and the Prosecution hesitated about
20 whether to provide it to the Trial Chamber. However, it was finally
21 decided that because there may be references to various passages contained
22 within those, testimony or interviews, that it would be prudent for the
23 Trial Chamber to have those into evidence. So those are being provided as
24 well as PS -- Exhibit PS7.
25 As mentioned before these are all being tendered pursuant to Rules
1 89(F), 92 bis, and with the agreement of the Defence that they can be put
2 into evidence and considered by the Trial Chamber.
3 Thank you, Your Honours.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Whiting. From what I heard from
5 Mr. Whiting, I take it that there are no objections to admission into
6 evidence of the exhibits then.
7 MR. FOGELNEST: None, Your Honour.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm just checking, Mr. Whiting. I noticed that
9 in the material that had been provided to the Chamber prior to the
10 sentencing hearing there was some -- there are some differences in
11 numbering. Sometimes the B/C/S version has numbered paragraphs whereas
12 the translation into English has not, which of course doesn't make it very
13 easy to make references to specific parts of -- of those statements if we
14 need to refer to them in our judgement.
15 I'm not going to invite you to -- to submit them again because
16 that would be the third time and a lot of loss of paper, but the Chamber
17 will consider how to resolve this problem. But in general terms it's not
18 only in this case that this happens, if numbering -- paragraph numbering
19 is added in a document, it's preferred by the Chamber that's it's done in
20 all languages and not just in one or two of them.
21 MR. WHITING: Your Honours, I apologise for the inconvenience. We
22 will look this afternoon to see whether there is a way to solve that
24 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One of the possibilities would be that since we
25 have not taken any decision yet, that you would number them before we
1 finally decide to admit them into evidence, at least one copy, and then of
2 course in our personal copies it could be added at a later stage, but that
3 might be one of the solutions.
4 Then, Mr. Whiting, the --
5 I would like to address the Defence. Would you like to make a few
6 opening remarks?
7 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour. Then please do so,
8 Mr. Fogelnest. Please proceed.
9 MR. FOGELNEST: May I proceed, Your Honour?
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
11 MR. FOGELNEST: May it please the Trial Chamber, I think that
12 during the course of this hearing you will find very little if any
13 conflict between the positions of the Defence and the Prosecution with one
14 exception that I'll mention in a moment.
15 Consistent with the intention expressed by Mr. Babic from the time
16 he came forward over two years ago to volunteer to come before the
17 Tribunal, we on the Defence and the Prosecution's side have worked
18 together to try to bring the truth before this Trial Chamber and this
19 Tribunal and for the purposes of history, and rather than acting as
20 adversaries, there has been a remarkable degree of cooperation. The only
21 point where we may differ is a legal issue as lawyers sometimes do with
22 respect to the application of perhaps an aggravating circumstance in
23 connection with Mr. Babic's role as a civil/political leader, and that is
24 more of a legal argument rather than a factual one.
25 The goal of all parties, Mr. Babic, the members of the Prosecution
1 team, and the members of the Defence team has been to bring the truth
2 forward. All of us, our client included, believe that the way to make a
3 better world is to have the truth about what occurred at this period of
4 time in this part of the world be understood by the world so that we can
5 then go forward and understand what happened and perhaps find ways from
6 that understanding to prevent it from happening again. We view our role
7 as assisting this Tribunal in making those determinations. We have
8 provided a great deal of information before this hearing. Prosecution has
9 done a wonderful job in assisting and gathering that information, much of
10 it provided by Mr. Babic.
11 We will present few witnesses. There is no disagreement. We have
12 had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Loncar and endorse what he has to
13 say. They have had an opportunity to meet with our witness, and I believe
14 they will have no quarrel with anything he says. Again, and I can't
15 underscore this enough, it is the goal of all of us to help you determine
16 what the truth is and help you weigh and assess the appropriate factors so
17 that you can come to a just and fair verdict and sentence that will serve
18 the goals of this Tribunal and ultimately the community of the world and
19 perhaps in some small way putting a stop to the kinds of things that
20 happened. These crimes are occurring, as we speak, in other parts of the
21 world. The work done by this Tribunal is the beginning of what we hope to
22 be a better civilisation as human beings evolve and learn from what has
23 occurred in the past and look for solutions so that it doesn't occur in
24 the future.
25 Mr. Babic has come forward to attempt to help in this process.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 You will have to weigh the contribution he makes, the contribution he has
2 made, the courage it has taken for him to do that, which is not in
3 dispute, against the gravity of the crime, which cannot be overstated.
4 What has happened in the Balkans is horrendous. You will have to assess
5 his role and weigh that against the other factors and then do a
6 calculation to translate that into what you feel is an appropriate
7 sentence. We will assist you as best we can, and we thank you for the
8 opportunity of doing so.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Fogelnest.
10 Ms. Bauer, addressing you, how much time would you think the
11 examination of Mr. Loncar will take?
12 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, I estimate at the moment between one and
13 a half, maximum two hours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Maximum two hours. Let's then start with the
15 witness, and may I ask you one thing, you consider him an expert witness?
16 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
18 MS. BAUER: He has provided an expert report which we in due
19 course ask the Court to tender into evidence. And as far as we know, the
20 Defence does not object to that.
21 JUDGE ORIE: No. I'm asking it because -- because of the solemn
22 declaration I'll ask him to give to the Court, and that would be then the
23 solemn declaration of an expert rather than of a witness. He will not
24 testify on the specific facts relating to the case but rather on his
25 experience as an expert.
1 MS. BAUER: Correct.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I see Mr. Usher has already left the courtroom,
3 so I take it that the expert witness will enter the courtroom soon.
4 [The witness entered court]
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good morning. Good morning. I take it that you're
6 Mr. Loncar.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I am.
8 JUDGE ORIE: On request of both parties, you have been called to
9 provide the Court with the expertise you have, your professional
10 expertise, and before doing so, I'd like you to make a solemn declaration
11 as an expert. Since we haven't got them in writing in B/C/S, I'll read it
12 part by part. Will you please repeat it.
13 I solemnly declare.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare.
15 JUDGE ORIE: That I will do so faithfully, independently,
16 impartially, and with full respect for the duty of confidentiality.
17 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
18 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Loncar, please be seated. You will be
19 examined by counsel for the Prosecution, Ms. Bauer.
20 WITNESS: MLADEN LONCAR
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.
23 Questioned by Ms. Bauer:
24 Q. Dr. Loncar, please state your full name.
25 A. My name is Mladen Loncar.
1 Q. Dr. Loncar, you are a psychiatrist in Croatia?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And you specialised in traumatology?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And you assist victims of war in Croatia?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And to this extent, you managed two major national programmes in
8 Croatia, and I would like you to shortly describe to the Court which these
9 two programmes are.
10 A. I was the head of the Medical Centre for Human Rights from 1992.
11 I have worked on international programmes of socio- and psychological help
12 to victims of war which were sponsored by international organisations such
13 as the European Union, the World Health Organisation, some governments of
14 Western European countries, and the second project I worked on is a
15 national program of psychosocial and medical assistance to victims of war
16 in Croatia. I have been in co-ordination with four regional centres. The
17 centres are called the Regional Centres for Psychological Trauma in
18 Zagreb, Osijek, Split, and Rijeka.
19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncar, the Office of the Prosecutor has asked you
20 to prepare as report, an expert report which deals in principle with two
21 main areas, one is the impact of wartime traumas on the physical and
22 mental well-being of four different witness group, many of which -- all of
23 which were part of this indictment; correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And secondly, in this report you concentrated on the effect of
1 Mr. Babic's guilty plea on the victims' group as well as the perpetrator
2 group, including its contribution to reconciliation. Is this correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, at this point I'd like that -- I would
5 like to offer the expert report, including the curriculum vitae, of
6 Dr. Loncar to be marked as Prosecution sentencing Exhibit number 8.
7 As a small information which -- we have renumbered the B/C/S
8 version in order to correspond to the English version in terms of
9 pagination so Dr. Loncar and Mr. Babic can follow better the B/C/S version
10 of the report.
11 Q. Now, Dr. Loncar, before we talk about the main conclusions of your
12 report, I'd like shortly to digress and read you your educational
13 background, and if you concur with me if you can just confirm at the end.
14 In 1987, you received a graduate degree in medicine in Novi Sad.
15 You commenced subsequently a residence in neuropsychiatry which you had to
16 interrupt due to the war operations. You restarted that residence and
17 graduated in Zagreb in 1998. In 1999, you completed a post-graduate study
18 of social psychiatry at the medical school in Zagreb, which at the same
19 time qualified you as a court-appointed expert in this field. In 2003,
20 you completed another master's degree in social psychiatry at the medical
21 school in Zagreb. Is this correct?
22 A. Yes, everything is correct.
23 Q. Dr. Loncar, could you for the benefit of the court please shortly
24 explain what social psychiatry is.
25 A. Social psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry which deals with the
1 relationship between a community and a patient with a mental disorder and
2 the effect that a mental disorder has on a social community.
3 Q. In this context, Dr. Loncar, you participated in numerous
4 conferences, and you also have a huge list of publications on this issue
5 which Your Honours can see from the attached curriculum vitae which is
6 attached to the report.
7 Now, Dr. Loncar, could you explain the Court, please, what was
8 your personal experience during the war in 1991 which led you to focus
9 your work on treating victims of trauma which occurred during the war or
10 after war.
11 A. I must say to the Chamber that I spent two months in a camp in
12 Begejci and Vojvodina in Serbia, and this was my personal motive. When I
13 saw what was happening to other of my inmates, there were some 5 or 600 of
14 us, I decided to spend some professional time in work with war victims.
15 As a professional, as a doctor, as an humanitarian, I wanted to invest my
16 knowledge to help primarily victims, and within my work also I wanted to
17 work on the prevention of violations of human rights, because this is an
18 integral part of looking after human health.
19 Q. As a result of this experience, Doctor, did you found the medical
20 centre in 1991?
21 A. Yes. During the exchange that was mediated by the Red Cross, I
22 arrived in Zagreb. At the beginning of 1992, I gathered a team of doctors
23 who had empathy for psychological trauma. We established the Medical
24 Centre for the -- for Human Rights. The main goal of that centre was to
25 help victims of psycho-trauma. And when we analysed what we did, we
1 decided to present the results of our work both to foreign experts as well
2 as to the organisations that may have had some influence on the events in
3 the former Yugoslavia. I primarily refer to the World Health Organisation
4 and the organisation for protection of human rights.
5 Q. And on page 1 of your report, Dr. Loncar, you did outline actually
6 the different projects you were working on as a result; correct?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Dr. Loncar, how many victims did the centre as a whole deal with
9 since 1992?
10 A. Since that day until today, approximately 5.000 victims were
11 treated and went through our centre for human rights.
12 Q. And were this only victims of Croatia or did this extend beyond
14 A. These were mostly victims from Croatia, refugees from Bosnia and
15 Herzegovina as well. We have worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina too. And
16 following that, we started also working with the victims from Kosovo and
18 Q. And the employees of the centre that you employ, are they
19 multi-ethnic or ever a single ethnicity?
20 A. From 1992 until today, over 30 persons went through the centre of
21 different ethnic backgrounds including Serbs and Muslims.
22 Q. On page 223 of your report, Doctor, you outline the method of the
23 medical centre in assembling information through taking statements of
24 victims. Would you please tell the Court what the major value is of
25 taking such statements?
1 A. The method of taking statements is a kind of therapy which started
2 being used in the 1970s, in the last century. It was also used in Chile
3 during the military regime and it also proved to be useful in the area
4 affected by earthquake. The method is as follows: The victim together
5 with its counsellor puts in writing his or her experience and then works
6 over it with the counsellor. This is a document that has as a symbolic
7 value but also a legal one. So the primary therapeutic effect of this
8 method is that the victim while giving a statement goes from being a
9 victim to being a witness; therefore, changes his or her status. And this
10 acknowledges society-wise the experience of this victim and gives it a
11 value in society as is such.
12 Q. And, Doctor, what other more secondary purposes do those
13 statements serve?
14 A. As a result, after the statement was given, certain analyses and
15 studies were done, and the information collected in this manner was
16 presented to the public. When I say "to the public," I mean organisations
17 dealing with protection of human rights which could have certain impact in
18 the territory of the former Yugoslavia and could have had certain impact
19 on bringing the war to an end.
20 Q. Dr. Loncar, in your report you presented several factual
21 conclusions, and if we could please look at page 3, the penultimate
22 paragraph. Could you please tell the Court how you arrived at the number
23 of detainees?
24 A. The number of detainees in the Knin camps was arrived at after
25 working and taking statements from the victims. This figure pertains to
1 the period between 1991 and 1995, and this figure approximately coincides
2 with the figure given by the official commission for the same period.
3 Q. On page 9, if would you kindly look, you arrive at factual
4 conclusions as to the municipality Hrvatska Dubica, which was a part of
5 this indictment, in terms of destruction. How -- how did -- what was the
6 source of these figures?
7 A. The information listed on page 9 is the information that I
8 collected after having visited the area and after having had contacts with
9 the victims and returnees. This is how I gathered and collected the
10 information on destruction.
11 Q. And did you have contact with the victims?
12 A. I had contacts with the victims before, and as for this data here,
13 this is a result of contacts which began early this year and lasted until
14 a few days ago.
15 Q. On page 11, subsequent pages, you described people who witnessed
16 the killings of relatives. What was the source of this statement?
17 A. The source of this information and these statements is our work
18 with the displaced persons. After their family members were killed, the
19 families were displaced. They became refugee. We visited refugee
20 centres. We talked too people about the events in their regions, and then
21 after having taken statements, we arrived at these details, this
23 Q. Now, Doctor, could you please return to the first victim group,
24 and that's on page 3, the victims of incarceration. On page 4, you list
25 all the forms of mistreatment -- 3 and 4, all the forms of mistreatment
1 detainees suffered and divided it mainly by mental and physical abuse.
2 Could you please just very briefly list some of the mental abuse you
3 learned about after talking to former detainees.
4 A. Yes, and I will mention them individually. The most frequent
5 psychological abuse in prisons and camps ranged from confinement in dark,
6 cramped areas, in cells, and also exposing victims to extreme light,
7 deprivation of sleep, frequent awakenings during night, not allowing
8 prisoners to rest, forcing them to sing songs which were humiliating for
9 victims, threats or taking them to fake executions, forcing them to watch
10 or listen the beatings and torture of other prisoners. And these were the
11 most frequent forms of psychological torture.
12 Q. Now, what is the result in terms of mental disorders or effects
13 this can have on former detainees?
14 A. Mental disorders, which are found in former detainees, are three
15 disorders. One is the post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder,
16 and affective disorders or disorders of the mood.
17 Q. Would you shortly, please, explain what a post-traumatic stress
18 disorder is and which symptoms this disorder exhibits?
19 A. Post-traumatic stress disorder has several features. The first
20 one or criterion A in order to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder is
21 an experience which is outside of normal human experiences, which means
22 that a patient was exposed to threats or came close to being killed and
23 was exposed to a deadly fear. As a result of that, three kinds of
24 symptoms develop. These symptoms are linked with this traumatic
25 experience, and the second group of symptoms are insomnia, attention
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 disorder, occasional anger outbursts and so on, and the third group of
2 symptoms are those that have to do with alienating the victim from the
3 society or community, tendency to spend time alone and lack of will to
4 participate in normal human activities.
5 Q. And is there a development of such an acute post-traumatic stress
6 disorder to a more severe disorder of that person?
7 A. It is possible. Post-traumatic stress disorder normally appears
8 within the first three to six months. This is when it starts developing
9 usually. Some people who develop this disorder, PTSD, after at least of
10 two years of symptoms listed within this disorder develop another disorder
11 which is classified in the psychiatric literature, and it is called
12 permanent personality disorder. It is listed under the code 62.
13 Q. And what is the effect of a permanent personality disorder on the
15 A. What is typical for permanent personality disorder is an affective
16 change. The patients normally describe this change as feeling different
17 than they used to feel before. So this is a kind of an emotional
18 bluntness. The patient is unable to experience any pleasure, and they
19 become indifferent to life in general. They lose any interest in social
20 contacts and usual day-to-day activities.
21 Q. And that leads me to the next question, what the impact is of such
22 a disorder on the person's ability to manage everyday life and to function
23 in society.
24 A. What is typical for both of these disorders, PTSD and permanent
25 personality disorder, is that the patients have a weakened ability to
1 function socially on a day-to-day basis, which makes them lose their
2 ability to work, and this depends on the intensity of their disorder.
3 Q. Now, Doctor, is there a specific starting date for such a
4 post-traumatic stress disorder?
5 A. If you mean the time period, if that's what you're referring to,
6 then I can tell you that it develops within three to six months after the
7 traumatic experience.
8 Q. Is there any time that it can develop at a later stage?
9 A. Yes, it is. The medical literature and also practice are aware of
10 where this develops after several years. This is a so-called delayed
11 PTSD, and the symptoms that I have described appear several years after
12 the traumatic experience.
13 Q. And what would trigger this delayed start?
14 A. That could be either a banal, repeated trauma or a decompensation
15 due to new life experiences which can remind the victim of the original
16 traumatic experience. Usually we call this secondary traumatisation.
17 Q. Now, Doctor, how many camp detainees did you have did talk
18 suffered from such a post-traumatic stress disorder?
19 A. In the research done by our medical centre, we found that
20 approximately 80 per cent of former detainees suffers from PTSD, obviously
21 in various intensity, from mild ones to grave cases.
22 Q. And is there any recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder?
23 A. When this comes to recovery, let us go back to criterion A, which
24 is the traumatic experience that the patient suffered. This cannot be
25 erased. This is recorded permanently in the patient's memory, all of
1 these traumatic events and experiences. However we can treat symptoms or
2 consequences of this psycho-trauma. Our experience has shown that a
3 patient can be brought to a remission stage where he can function socially
4 both within the community as a whole and within his or her family.
5 Q. And my concluding question before possibly the break is: You
6 listed in the beginning to other disorders that frequently occur in former
7 camp detainees which is the anxiety and an affective disorder. Could you
8 just shortly explain what an affective disorder is?
9 A. Affective disorders or disorders of the mood is a disorder which
10 frequently comes as a result of a psychological trauma, and it can range
11 from a mild depression to a severe one. What is typical for this disorder
12 is a loss of ability to experience pleasure, a permanent fatigue, also bad
13 mood, which is experienced by the patient's lack of interest in day-to-day
14 activities, difficulty in concentrating, difficulty in focussing, and it
15 is usually accompanied by depressive emotions, and by this I am referring
16 to outbursts of crying and sorrow.
17 Patients who experience extreme symptoms can also develop certain
18 morbid features and suicidal ideas. Such patients usually see no solution
19 for their situation, and these kinds of people have a higher suicide rate
20 when compared to people who have not experienced any traumatic events.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bower, I wouldn't mind if you would continue
22 until 10.30 and then have the break then.
23 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. Dr. Loncar, in your report on pages 3 and 4, you also list the
25 most frequent physical, long-term effects of abuse both physically and
1 mentally, as well as -- and the prolonged detention on detainees, and you
2 divided it in so-called direct and indirect consequences, physical
3 consequences. Could you just briefly address the direct and indirect
5 A. Whether it comes to physical torture that the inmates have been
6 through we are talking about the direct consequences, the direct physical
7 consequences which are injuries that they sustain most often by blunt
8 objects such as a baseball bat, a rifle butt, a boot and so on and so
9 forth. This leads to the injuries to the soft tissues. At the beginning
10 these about haematomas all over the inmates' bodies. And when it comes to
11 the motoric system, that's bones and muscles, there were frequent injuries
12 of the head and rib fractures due to beatings.
13 When it comes to indirect consequences of physical abuse, we are
14 talking about the conditions of life in such spaces where inmates were
15 exposed to starvation, and as a result of that, we saw a sudden loss of
16 weight and weakened immunity system. Very often we saw infectious
17 diseases among the inmates and various other diseases of that sort.
18 Q. And from your research, could you see an effect of such abuse on
19 the mortality rate of former camp detainees?
20 A. According to the -- our data, the risk group both for the mobility
21 bit as well as the mortality suffered from more frequent disease than the
22 general population.
23 On the other hand, we have also noticed that the mortality rate
24 among that group is higher than in the general population which was not
25 exposed to any traumatic experience.
1 Q. Starting at page 6 of your report, Doctor, you deal with a second
2 victims' group, namely the victims of displacement and deportation.
3 Doctor, what are the most common traumatic experiences that displaced
4 people suffer which connects them to the other two groups, namely people
5 that are missing a relative or a close person as well as people that have
6 witnessed or learned about the killing of a close person?
7 A. What is typical of all of these groups that we list in our report
8 is the following: Usually these people suffered from a compounded trauma.
9 For example, in the group of expelled, we find former detainees, people
10 who had lost their home or a close member of their family or within their
11 family they have a person missing. What is typical of all of these groups
12 as I've already said, is that very often that they will suffer from PTSD,
13 the mood disorder, and what is also typical of this group is the fact that
14 they suffer from the so-called dislocation stress. This is one of the
15 major stress situations that can happen to a person during their life.
16 I'm talking about the -- the fact that they had to abandon their home and
17 they had to lose the security that a familiar milieu offers.
18 Q. And, Doctor, what are sort of the typical types of illnesses that
19 people developed, physical illnesses since you mentioned the mental
21 A. What is typical of these cases due to intense accumulative stress
22 situations, in this population we have seen hypertension, diabetes,
23 cardiovascular diseases, that is impairments in the functioning and work
24 of their heart, arrythmias, and other heart conditions.
25 Q. And is there a specific age group which is specifically affected
1 by the stress of dislocation?
2 A. There are two age groups which are at more risk than others.
3 Those are children and elderly. Children, because they have not developed
4 their adaptation capabilities and the little security that they had before
5 they had to move, they lose by moving. And on the other hand we have the
6 elderly who have already lost their adjustment abilities suffer more from
7 the dislocation stress. Mostly people who were expelled from rural areas
8 would mostly arrive at urban areas, and at the beginning they would be
9 accommodated at collective accommodation centres.
10 Q. Now, on pages 6 and 7 of your report, Doctor, you mention the
11 stress-building factors on displaced people, and I'm just summarising the
12 headings which would be the arrival in a strange place, living in
13 overcrowded spaces, and a certain conclusion in a social and family
14 environment. Would you like to point out a specific group which
15 suffers -- is this -- is this a compound stress or is this sort of an
16 individual stress or is this a development phase of the stress factors
17 that you are mentioning in this report?
18 A. We're talking about a cumulative stress, a stress that has
19 accumulated over a period of time from beginning of traumatic events. And
20 this traumatic experience is also the refugee status. The -- how much a
21 person is going to be able to cope with that will primarily depend on the
22 age and the vulnerability of the person. The person at more risk than
23 others are children and the elderly.
24 Also, the level of stress will also depend on the pre-war stress
25 status of each individual and also of their pre-morbidity status. That is
1 how prone they were to illness before the stress event. Also, it will
2 depend on the previous experience that the person had and whether they
3 were able to cope with traumatic experience in the past and how they coped
4 with those, and also it will depend on the expectations of other people
5 and the frustration that these people experience. All this will lead to
6 the final cumulative effect.
7 Q. And finally before the break, you mentioned in this group a
8 specific disorder called accommodation disorder. Could you just in one
9 sentence describe what an accommodation disorder is? It's on page 9 of
10 your report.
11 A. Yes. This is a disorder which is called in the official
12 classification the adjustment disorder. The clinical features are
13 emotional disorder, the changed behaviour as a response to the well-known
14 psycho-social stress. These people are not able to adapt to newly arisen
15 situations. There is a press -- a presence of disturbed social contacts
16 and inability to function at their workplace.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MS. BAUER: Your Honours.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Ms. Bauer. I think it's a proper time to have a
20 break. We'll have a break until ten minutes to eleven.
21 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
22 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bauer, you may proceed.
24 MS. BAUER:
25 Q. Dr. Loncar, before we move on to the next victim group, I have one
1 last question in terms of the impact of the accumulated stress that
2 displaced people experience. In your research, did you detect an increase
3 in the mortality rate of such people as opposed to people -- population
4 that doesn't go through such stress factors?
5 A. Based on our data and also based on the contact with doctors who
6 used to work in the villages before the war, we can see that there
7 definitely is an increase in mortality rate. Certain villages were looked
8 at in order to see how many cases of death, natural death, they had
9 yearly. This information was later compiled with information gathered
10 from those same doctors who worked with their former patients who now
11 became refugees. And to compare, let me give you figures. If before a
12 village had five to ten cases of death a year, then after its residents
13 became refugees, this figure rose up to 15 cases a year.
14 Q. Than you, Doctor. Coming to --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Ms. Bauer, could I ask one additional question.
16 I do understand that the mortality rate went up, but did you
17 establish the causal relationship with either the removal or different
18 housing circumstances after having become a refugee? I mean, what could
19 you say about the causes of this higher mortality?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Our explanation for the increase in
21 mortality rate is as follows: As we are dealing with accumulated stress
22 to which various groups of refugees were exposed, unlike to conditions
23 that existed before the war where there was no stress, these people, after
24 becoming refugees, developed certain illnesses such as cardiac illnesses,
25 diabetes, hypertension, and so on. So at an earlier stage in life, these
1 illnesses appeared among refugees and led to a decrease in expected life,
2 and this led to a decrease in life expectancy and at the same time is an
3 explanation of the increase in mortality rate.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, but this doesn't fully answer my question. I
5 fully appreciate that the new conditions, especially stress conditions,
6 could contribute to such developments, but there would be numerous other
7 circumstances that had been changed as well. Let's just say housing, the
8 heating of the houses which might cause other situations as far as food is
9 concerned, other situations as far as employment is concerned. I mean,
10 for refugees, a lot of circumstances do change, which I can imagine could
11 also contribute to a higher rate of -- of diseases and even mortality.
12 My question is: How could you establish that it were mainly those
13 causes you concentrated on in your research rather than perhaps other
14 causes which were, well, less in your field of expertise that could have
15 contributed to a higher rate of diseases and mortality?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you will allow me, Your Honours,
17 I would like to explain. When I mentioned cumulative stress or cumulative
18 trauma, this is the fact that the traumatic experience among the refugees
19 did not stop when they managed to leave the war-affected areas.
20 Unfortunately, among these people, just likes said, the stress continued.
21 The stress situation continued with their collective accommodation once
22 they left their homes, and this is especially true of the elderly who were
23 used to a certain pace of life. All of a sudden they were in cramped
24 conditions with other people, different food served collectively. They
25 were restricted to a certain area having been accommodated in sports
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 halls, hotels where their movement was restricted with regard to what they
2 had before the war.
3 These people experienced constant yearning for home, mourning for
4 the life that they had before. All this contributed to what we believe
5 has made this group of people a risk group, and that's why they started
6 developing some conditions much earlier in their life. They developed
7 such conditions which are expected to appear at a later stage in life, and
8 that is why these people, or a certain percentage of these people died
9 before the expected time, because they didn't have the adjustment
10 capabilities. They were too exhausted by then time in order to adjust
11 themselves to the new conditions of life.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for your clarification.
13 Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.
14 MS. BAUER:
15 Q. Dr. Loncar, on pages 10 to 14 of your report you deal with the
16 impact of the traumatic experience of people that miss -- of people who
17 either witnessed the killing of a relative or learned subsequently that a
18 relative experienced a violent death. What is the most common trauma
19 these people develop?
20 A. What we have been able to notice in our work and which corresponds
21 with the description found in professional medical journals is as follows:
22 When somebody experiences a loss in their family, the mourning starts when
23 the death is expected or the individual or the family is prepared for such
24 an event. Since these deaths occurred before that time, and that those
25 were the result of a trauma, we noticed among this population a specific
1 reaction which we describe and which has already been described in
2 professional literature as a pathological mourning. What is typical of
3 these families whose members were killed, together with all the other
4 things that I have already mentioned, since this group also belongs to the
5 group that has experienced cumulative stress, there were members of
6 families who were detainees, who were expelled, members of their family
7 were killed, those people developed a specific disorder which we call a
8 pathological mourning. What is typical of this disorder is the fact that
9 it is accompanied by mood swings or sadness. The expected natural
10 mourning and sadness as a result of a loss in family is about six months.
11 In our population, this period is prolonged and becomes a disorder
12 which we called a pathological mourning. The characteristics of this are
13 as follows: There is an intense feeling of guilt that the surviving
14 member of family did not do enough to save the killed person, and they
15 feel somehow responsible for the death of the member of the family who was
16 killed. These people blame themselves for not reacting in time, for not
17 going and for not seeing the person who could have saved the dead person.
18 All this leads to the development of this feeling of guilt for the death
19 of a member -- of the member of family who was killed.
20 Q. And as a result, what mental disabilities or disorders could
21 develop as a result of this pathological grieving?
22 A. This pathological grieving usually becomes a medical entity which
23 we refer to as the depressive disorder with all the characteristics of
24 depression ranging from the pre-morbidity to the development of fully
25 blown depression which is characterised by mood swings, the loss of
1 satisfaction in everyday activities, loss of concentration, fatigue,
2 insomnia, the disorder of diet, loss of appetite. And it goes to very
3 extreme situations of the development of suicidal thoughts and ideas.
4 Q. And, Doctor, in your report you already mentioned guilt. Is there
5 a specific term for the guilt people that witness or that have survived
6 maybe an attempted execution experience?
7 A. If we're talking about guilt, in this case when I'm talking about
8 the feeling of guilt, not the legal guilt but the psychological feeling of
9 guilt which is a rationale, because the individual could not have had any
10 impact on the outcome of this situation. However, this does develop as a
11 disorder which accompanies the rest of the stress syndrome.
12 Q. And, Doctor, did you mention in your report on page 11 that this
13 guilt is also referred to as survivor's guilt?
14 A. Yes. It may appear in the survivors as well. Very often this
15 feeling of guilt may turn into the survivor blaming themselves for
16 surviving, wishing to be dead.
17 Q. Now, Doctor, is there -- could you detect a difference of the
18 grieving process between people who had lost a person and knew that that
19 person was killed as opposed to those relatives who only -- whose
20 relatives weren't just missing and having no body or anything has been
22 A. Yes. This group of victims whose family member is missing shared
23 cumulative traumatic experience but have their own typical characteristics
24 which are the following: The person whose family member is missing,
25 unlike the person whose family member is dead, the dead person was buried
1 and there is a precise beginning of the grieving period. Depending on the
2 structure of the personality, this person experienced the following
3 phenomenon: The act of violence has ended and the grieving period has
4 started. On the other hand, if there is a missing person in the family,
5 the family develops very specific reactions within the process of
6 searching for the missing person. From the very beginning, there is a
7 belief and there is a denial that that person is indeed dead or was indeed
8 killed. This period lasted up to the year 1995, where there were a number
9 of families with a missing member of the family, and they could not come
10 to terms with the fact that this person may be dead.
11 This period ended in 1995, and then the second stage sets in. Then
12 these families started believing that their family members were still
13 detained in Serbia. These people developed fantasies that their family
14 members were in war camps, that they were not allowed to contact them.
15 This all lasted until the fall of Milosevic's regime when these illusions
16 finally disappeared, because it was already too late and the whole area of
17 the former Yugoslavia was accessible and to various organisation, and all
18 of a sudden this was clear is that these persons were not there, and this
19 gave rise to the third stage which was the acceptance of the possibility
20 that the person may be dead.
21 In that group, there is always an ambivalent wish and fantasy that
22 the person may still be alive. There is a psychological battle with the
23 reality of the fact and the reality is that this person is certainly dead.
24 This leads to anxieties and feelings of anxiety which lead to fantasies in
25 order to overcome the everyday activity and pondering upon the lot of
1 their family members.
2 Q. And on page 16 of your report, Doctor, you deal with the problem
3 if still despite today neither the body of a victim was found nor the
4 circumstances of the death could be credibly established. What impact
5 does that have on that person?
6 A. When it comes to the current time period when there is a flow of
7 information among the Croats, among the families whose relatives have gone
8 missing, a certain feeling of anger develops, an anger towards the other
9 ethnic group. In this case we are talking about the Serbs. And there is
10 a certain feeling of anger towards Serbs who they believe to be
11 withholding information on their missing family members, and this leads to
12 a further delay in resolution.
13 Q. So what the consequence, in one word, is for reconciliation
14 purposes amongst those two ethnic groups -- sorry, what is the
15 consequences, in a few words.
16 A. We are here dealing with frustration on one side and development
17 of various negative emotions towards the other group.
18 Q. Now, Doctor, as the second big part of your study you looked into
19 the effects of Mr. Babic's admission of guilt and what effect that had on,
20 first, the victim side, the Croat side. If you could kindly summarise
21 that position.
22 A. Yes. Following the admission of guilt of Mr. Babic, we can say
23 that its impact on Croat victims could be described as follows: The
24 perpetrator finally was given a first and a last name, so the guilt has
25 been individualised, so to say. Therefore, negative emotions which are
1 experienced towards the other ethnic group is diminished and finally can
2 disappear altogether. The victims have received a certain satisfaction
3 upon hearing that crimes have been committed, which is to say that their
4 status of victims was officially acknowledged. And this is a process
5 which has positive impact on Croatian victims.
6 Q. Now, Dr. Loncar, do you know if --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Would you allow me to ask. Did you do some
8 systematic study to the effect of the admission of guilt, or is it an
9 impression based on what I would say incidental seeing patients?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, please allow me to
11 revert to the first part of my evidence when I said that the areas listed
12 in my report as those which I toured personally from early 2004 until
13 recently and where I spoke personally with the victims is something where
14 official research has not been done, and this is true, but now we are
15 talking about victims and the fact that majority of victims are accepting
16 this as a positive sign, a positive movement.
17 Based on my work with victims before, I can say that this -- that
18 these negative feelings towards the other ethnic group, meaning Serbs, are
19 becoming less acute.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you for your clarification.
21 Please proceed, Ms. Bauer.
22 MS. BAUER: Thank you, Your Honours.
23 Q. Dr. Loncar, do you recall that a proverb in Croatia that
24 basically -- that summarises in a sentence what you just attempted to
25 explain to the Court?
1 A. Yes. In Croatia, we have a proverb which is frequently used, and
2 it goes that what is admitted is half redressed, which means that this
3 acknowledges the effect that an admission of guilt has upon victims.
4 Q. Doctor, you have also in your report addressed what impact of an
5 admission of guilt has on the perpetrating side, and in order to establish
6 whether you talked -- did you talk to any Croatian Serbs on the admission
7 of guilt?
8 A. Yes. I've talked mostly to Serbs from urban areas, but I also had
9 contacts with Serbs who have returned to their homes. This work was done
10 in mixed villages, mostly in Banovina area. I went to those villages. I
11 talked to people of Serb ethnicity there.
12 What I can say, and let me repeat once again that no official
13 statistics was done. There was no official record-taking or research, so
14 this is all a result of the exchanges in these interviews, but what I can
15 say is that I have not met any Serbs who had a negative attitude towards
16 the admission of guilt of Mr. Babic. What I also noticed among Serbs in
17 Croatia is that there was a certain feeling of relief among them. The
18 admission of guilt of Mr. Babic and the message that it sent was that we
19 should focus on universal human emotions and treat it as such. This led
20 to the fact that the Serbs do not feel a collective guilt now but, rather,
21 this guilt has been individualised and attributed to a person.
22 Q. Now, what is your view on the --
23 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
24 MS. BAUER: Apologies.
25 Q. What's the result of the negation of any perpetrator that in -- in
1 respect to the reconciliation between two ethnic groups?
2 A. I will give a brief introduction and describe what happens when
3 there is a denial of crimes committed. Psychological experiences of the
4 peoples in the former Yugoslavia is that they normally do not believe that
5 justice will be done. This is a result of the fact that the legal system
6 was always somehow oppressed by ideology or some other factors.
7 Now to go back to the psychological dimension, let me say that
8 there is a certain suspicion always present among the population, even
9 when somebody is convicted for a crime, the population tends to believe
10 that the courts are not independent, that they are under certain political
11 or any other pressure. So they tend to question all of that.
12 Now as to the admission of guilt and the area of which I'm
13 speaking now, among a certain number of people the fact that there was an
14 admission of guilt will lead to them losing all of their suspicions,
15 because now the perpetrator himself has admitted and has shown remorse
16 with respect to the acts committed by him.
17 Q. And will this -- will this have an effect on both populations, the
18 Croat population as well as the Serb population?
19 A. I, as a doctor, am absolutely convinced that it will. There will
20 be a positive impact, and let me try to explain. This admission was not
21 only an admission of guilt, but Mr. Babic also now addressed himself both
22 to Serbs and to Croats, and in showing his remorse he has sent a universal
23 message that - and I'm now quoting his words - "What is most important in
24 admission is to acknowledge that all of us belong to the same human race."
25 Had it not been for that, the situation that reigned up to now
1 where people lined up with their ethnic groups is what led to hatred, and
2 then the hatred led to all the atrocities. And this act of Mr. Babic is
3 something completely new. It has shed new light and it has sent a new
4 message to peoples in that area.
5 Q. Doctor, and finally, what would you say takes a man like Mr.
6 Babic, who some people will say was a moderate man and -- with no racial
7 biases, who had Croat relatives and allegedly Croat friends throughout the
8 war, become a nationalist who took part in ethnic cleansing?
9 A. I will try to explain that to the Trial Chamber through a
10 situation which is known in psychiatry and psychology. If you want to
11 change positions, views of a young man, then you have to do three things,
12 and I think that all three things or methods did exist in the territory of
13 the former Yugoslavia.
14 The first method is to separate the people from one another, which
15 means to separate people from their neighbours, in this case Croats. Then
16 following the separation, there should be isolation. You should isolate
17 people so that there is no flow of information, so that the flow of
18 information is reduced, that there is as little communication as possible.
19 And then the third stage or the third method is propaganda, Milosevic's
20 propaganda which had an incredible impact, and it indoctrinated people.
21 "You should tell the worst about people's neighbours and you should instil
22 fear in them." And in that case if you do all those three things, this
23 can lead to somebody completely changing their views, their attitudes, and
24 becoming an extremist.
25 Q. Thank you, Dr. Loncar.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MS. BAUER: Your Honours, that concludes my questions of this
3 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Bauer. Are there -- is there any need
4 to cross-examine Dr. Loncar?
5 MR. MUELLER: No, Mr. President. There are no questions from the
6 Defence side.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Judge El Mahdi has one more question for you.
8 JUDGE EL MAHDI: Thank you, Mr. President.
9 Questioned by the Court:
10 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Doctor, I would like to ask you
11 the following. Could you tell us a bit more about the topic which I find
12 very interesting. If I understood you well, you said that the fact that
13 Mr. Babic has admitted his guilt has an effect on the Serbs who found an
14 expression of their own guilt in that.
15 Firstly, I would like to be sure that I understood you well, and
16 secondly, I have a question. This individualisation of guilt, does it
17 mean that in a certain way a scapegoat is found for all that happened, for
18 all the crimes that took place, and that this person who has admitted his
19 guilt in a certain way transferred this guilt and this guilt is now
20 ascribed to just one person, the person who owns up to collective
22 First of all, tell me whether I have understood you well, and
23 secondly, would it be useful at the psychological level to carry out this
24 transfer of guilt or whether the case is just the opposite? Does this in
25 a certain way minimise the individual psychology?
1 A. If you will allow me, Your Honour, I will try and answer your
2 question. Firstly, I adhere to what I have said, and I believe that the
3 admission of guilt has had a positive effect on the Serbian population.
4 I'll try and elaborate on this.
5 The reason is the following: So far, the principle of action in
6 the area was based on a nationalism which always accompanies
7 homogenisation, and this is an obstacle for any kind of co-existence. Even
8 if there hadn't been a war, it would have been detrimental for the Serbian
10 In this part, in addition to his admission of guilt, Mr. Babic
11 conveys a message. We should turn to the universality of the human race
12 and the values of the civilised world.
13 Let me try and answer your second question, Your Honour. When it
14 comes to the individualisation of guilt, personally I'm deeply convinced
15 that this doesn't mean finding a scapegoat and that this is not the fact
16 that one person will be blamed and all will be forgotten. I believe that
17 the individualisation of guilt is somewhat broader. In psychological
18 terms, I can't offer you any other interpretation. In psychological
19 terms, it means the separation between the perpetrator of Serbian origin.
20 It means that behind every crime there is the name of the person who is
21 responsible for a crime.
22 Within that context, I said that the individualisation of guilt is
23 very important. It is up to the Trial Chamber, to those who administer
24 justice, to -- to do justice and that everybody should be taken to account
25 for their individual crimes.
1 When I'm talking about collective responsibility, I'm not talking
2 about the collective or a group of people who committed crimes but
3 collective as a nation, that there should be a distinction between the
4 collective perpetrator of crime and the collective as the nation that the
5 perpetrators of crime belong to.
6 JUDGE EL MAHDI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Doctor.
7 JUDGE ORIE: I've got a few questions for you as well. The first
8 is you are -- in your report, you are describing the use of a statement as
9 an instrument both for therapeutic reasons and also to be used for
10 research. Is there in literature -- has this method been validated in any
11 publications or -- and would you give us the -- perhaps not immediately,
12 but could you give us the articles in professional publications where the
13 method as such is validated. Yes.
14 A. If you will allow me, Your Honours, I would like to answer your
15 question. This method was introduced in the 1970s, of the last century,
16 in Chile. This method has been used in crisis situations in South
17 America. In Croatia we have adopted this method. I was the first one to
18 introduce it. There are scientific papers about this method. A book has
19 been published about taking of statements as a therapeutic method. The
20 author is Mr. Jensen from Denmark. He is a member of the World Health
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If it would be possible for you to write down
23 the titles and then later on give them to us so we could try to have a
24 look at them.
25 I've got another question. This is a question, although it's
1 related to page 9 of your report, it has a more general tendency, that is
2 a question about how you used your sources and what exactly your sources
4 If I take you to page 9 of your report, you write: "During the
5 aggression more than 1.005 houses were destroyed by fire, explosives, and
6 shelling in Hrvastka Dubica municipality. All the houses were looted
7 before the devastation." I'd like to just use this as an example and to
8 better understand what sources you used and how you used them.
9 The number of 1.005, could you explain to us why you've taken
10 1.005 and, for example, why you didn't say more than 1.000, because 1.005
11 is very specific.
12 A. Allow me, Your Honours, to try and answer your question again.
13 Over the past few months I've had meetings with returnees to that area,
14 and this is the figure that I received from the returnees that I spoke to.
15 The returnees themselves made a list. The village is now being
16 reconstructed by the state, and for that reason they were aware of the
17 very specific data, to the last number literally.
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Nevertheless you are right. There were more
19 than 1.005. What makes you believe that this list is not a complete one.
21 A. Some of them, families, have not returned and have not been put on
22 the list for refurbishment. For that reason, there is a likelihood that
23 the figure may be somewhat greater. Some of the families or their members
24 were killed or are still missing, and the people have already dealt with
25 the issue of their accommodation elsewhere in Croatia. So even if they
1 return to that area, they would not be entitled to have their houses
2 reconstructed by the government. That's why some of the families have not
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So the number is related to lists which are
5 relevant for financial support for refurbishing. Is that a correct
6 understanding of your answer?
7 A. Yes. Yes, that's correct.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And you do not know exactly who counted the
9 1.005, but you know that they appear on a list.
10 A. I know who counted them, the returnees, the victims who have
11 returned to their destroyed houses have applied for refurbishment. They
12 have applied to the government to help them refurbish their houses because
13 they wanted to return and live in those houses.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And now, you also write that all the houses
15 were looted before the devastation. What's the exact source of that
17 A. The source again are the victims themselves. Most of the people
18 fled at the very beginning of the war. However, a certain number of the
19 elderly remained in the village and could testify as to what had happened
20 after a certain village was occupied. They are the main source for this
22 JUDGE ORIE: And did they give this information in the framework
23 of your psychiatric -- psychiatric-oriented research, or were -- was this
24 information given to other authorities that then passed the information to
1 A. They have been contacted by our medical centre, by our employees
2 as survivors. Whether they gave their statements to some other
3 institutions or bodies, I wouldn't be able to say.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Does that mean that you systematically interviewed
5 them on the question whether the houses were looted before the devastation
6 or that they were just devastated?
7 A. Within the procedure of taking statements as a therapeutical
8 method, they described the entire trauma. They described the sequence of
9 events from the moments the troops entered the village up to the moment of
10 their traumatic experience. And within these descriptions of these events
11 they also described how houses were looted.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I have a final question. You told us what
13 was needed to make someone change into a person with different views. You
14 said you should separate them from others. You should bar information to
15 come to that person, and if you used propaganda, that would be the way of
16 changing someone other's mind in respect of the issues we're talking
17 about. Are there -- is there the possibility that someone changes their
18 mind without these influences? I mean, I've changed on certain subjects
19 my view during my life where I was not separated, where information was
20 not barred and where no propaganda was exercised on me. So would you
21 accept that also without this, I would say external forces, someone could
22 come to a different opinion?
23 A. Your Honour, I agree with you that opinions may change over time
24 as we acquire more knowledge and more information. During the processing
25 of this information, we correct our opinions. This is what is considered
2 In this specific case when I was talking about the three stages, I
3 was talking about an extreme change of mindset. My description referred
4 to the most extreme case.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Did you investigate by whatever means whether
6 the change of Mr. Babic in a -- well, let's say in a more nationalist
7 person, was the consequence of this exterior force or exterior influence
8 exercised upon him? I mean, did you -- did you just give us a general
9 answer on what could bring about such changes, or do you have any
10 knowledge specifically on Mr. Babic's situation in this respect?
11 A. Your Honour, I was talking about two things of the one was
12 general. The general part was an extreme change of a human's mindset. And
13 as for Mr. Mr. Babic, I knew very little of him before the war, and as far
14 as I know, he was not very prominent in politics and was not easily
15 recognisable. However, there were a number of such examples of people
16 changing their mindset during the war and becoming extremist in the way
17 they acted and the way they thought.
18 Let me go back to Mr. Babic. I don't have enough information
19 about Mr. Babic in order to say this is what was present in his case.
20 However, all of my professional knowledge leads me to believe that this is
21 precisely what happened to Mr. Babic.
22 JUDGE ORIE: On the one hand, sir, as you say, "I haven't got
23 sufficient information on Mr. Babic," and then you say, "Nevertheless, I
24 believe this is what happened." If I would put it in this way would you
25 agree with this or not, to say that all the circumstances were there to
1 explain the change of state of mind by these factors, although you do not
2 know whether that actually happened in respect of Mr. Babic? Would that
3 be a correct statement or would it not be correct?
4 A. I would agree with you, sir. I -- I did not act as an expert on
5 Mr. Babic, so I cannot give you a firm opinion about his mindset and what
6 about the change in it. However, I believe that circumstances at the time
7 may have led to the change.
8 JUDGE ORIE: That's clear to me. No further questions by the
9 parties triggered by the questions of the Bench? We're used to giving an
10 opportunity whenever the questions of the Bench trigger new issues to give
11 an opportunity to the parties to ask additional questions but exclusively
12 in that area.
13 MR. FOGELNEST: Judge Orie, if I may, sir, I'd like to follow up
14 on something you just asked.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
16 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest:
17 Q. Doctor, I think it's important that we understand this fully. As
18 an expert I'd like to pose a hypothetical to you: Assume for the sake of
19 the hypothetical that there is no evidence prior to the war that an
20 individual was ethnocentric, a hyperextreme nationalist, a bigot, assume
21 further that that individual had family members and social contacts with
22 people of another ethnic group. Assume further that at the onset of the
23 war great fear was existing among individuals and that later this
24 particular individual came to express extreme nationalist views, would
25 that be consistent with what you described in terms of how these views
1 came to exist?
2 A. Yes, that would be consistent.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, could you at the us where the witness
4 said where these views came to exist? It's my recollection that the
5 witness said what circumstances could bring about a certain change of
6 views. And he also told us that change of views could be caused by other
7 reasons, newly acquired knowledge. So could you please tell us where
8 exactly he said that, how these views came to exist as you expressed it?
9 MR. FOGELNEST: I don't have the ability to scroll back in the
10 transcript, but I will point to what the doctor said, with respect --
11 where he told the Tribunal that I believe this is exactly what happened
12 with Mr. Babic, that -- I believe he used the word "precisely." That in
13 his view this is precisely what happened with Dr. Babic. That is to what
14 I refer, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then I asked an additional question to him
16 in which he nuanced his position, where he said, "I know that -- I have no
17 knowledge on whether this really happened with Mr. Babic but that all the
18 circumstances there that could have created this. So --
19 MR. FOGELNEST: Indeed. And what I did now as consistent with
20 his, what I understand to be appropriate with expert witnesses, I've
21 tendered a hypothetical to him to include the relevant facts and asked him
22 merely whether that was consistent with how these things develop.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Your question was wholly hypothetical apart
24 from the last part, and that's exactly what I responded to, where you said
25 of how these views came to exist. If you had said these views might have
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 come to exist, then it would have been hypothetical.
2 MR. FOGELNEST: That indeed seems to be the point where the Court
3 and I have a small problem. So let me see if I can refine it --
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, if you please.
5 MR. FOGELNEST: -- to satisfy Your Honour.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Let me just try to see whether I can put a question
7 in such a way that -- I think Mr. Fogelnest is interested to know that if
8 you see someone making such a big move from non-ethnocentric, et cetera,
9 to what he described as very ethnocentric, whether that would be
10 consistent with the -- with the mechanisms you described as suitable
11 sources to bring about such a change? Is that, Mr. Fogelnest,
12 approximately what you're trying to --
13 MR. FOGELNEST: If the operative term is "approximately," the
14 answer is yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please give your view on it. You may have
16 noticed now what Mr. Fogelnest would like to know.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, precisely what you
18 said stands. So there is a great likelihood, great possibility for that
19 to take place and to lead to a change in the mindset and in the
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any further questions, Mr. Fogelnest?
22 MR. FOGELNEST: If I may, Your Honour --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
24 MR. FOGELNEST: -- put a fine point on it.
25 Q. Given the hypothetical that I posed to you, Doctor, can you posit
1 any other reasons why that individual might have such an extreme change in
2 views other than the three factors that you spoke of?
3 A. Theoretically speaking, some other extreme reasons can lead to
4 extreme changes in behaviour. However, that falls within the sphere of
5 mental health, psychiatry, and as far as I know, this is not the topic of
6 our discussion here.
7 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Dr. Loncar, this concludes your testimony in this
9 court. I'd like to thank you for having come and having finally responded
10 to questions of both parties and of the Bench. Thank you again for
11 coming, and you'll be escorted out of the courtroom by the usher.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Looking at the clock, I think we would continue for
15 another half an hour, then we'll have a break from -- up to a quarter to
16 one and then continue until quarter to two. How much time the Defence
17 would need to examine the witness it will call?
18 MR. MUELLER: Your Honour, I would like to --
19 MR. FOGELNEST: I'm sorry. You've heard this --
20 MR. MUELLER: His answer.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Sharing -- sharing your time doesn't agree
22 with --
23 MR. MUELLER: I would like to defer the answer to my colleague
24 because he is asking the witness.
25 MR. FOGELNEST: Which is why I stood up in the first place.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. FOGELNEST: I can only make a rough estimate, Your Honour, but
3 that rough estimate would be, and I would invite Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff to
4 assist me if she thinks I misspeak, one hour. Is that -- she's familiar
5 with the questions that need to be answered.
6 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, but I'm not familiar with your style, so
7 I have to say, but I would say one hour would probably be it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: All right. Let's then start and see how far we come.
9 Mr. Usher left already the courtroom, so I take it that he will
10 bring the witness in the courtroom, and that witness --
11 MR. FOGELNEST: What is the Court's preference? Do you prefer
12 that I stay here or move to a lectern there?
13 JUDGE ORIE: I think it's, I think, the advantage of staying
14 there, but it's your --
15 MR. FOGELNEST: That's fine with me.
16 JUDGE ORIE: -- that you have a better view on the witness rather
17 than to be in one line with him, but that's your professional skill rather
18 than preference of the Court.
19 MR. FOGELNEST: Or perhaps my lack of professional skill. Thank
20 you, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, your next witness will be?
22 MR. FOGELNEST: Drago Kovacevic.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Kovacevic.
24 [The witness entered court]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Good day. Do you hear me in a language you
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning. Yes, I can hear you
4 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that you are Mr. Kovacevic. I was
5 hesitating to say good morning or good afternoon but it's exactly 12.00, I
6 don't know what to choose; therefore, I said good day to you.
7 Mr. Kovacevic, you are called to give evidence in this court and before
8 giving that testimony the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to
9 make a solemn declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth,
10 and nothing but the truth. The usher will now hand out the text of that
11 solemn declaration to you, and may I invite you to make it.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much. Mr. Kovacevic, please be
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 WITNESS: DRAGO KOVACEVIC
18 [Witness answered through interpreter]
19 JUDGE ORIE: You will examined by counsel for the Defence.
20 Mr. Fogelnest, please proceed.
21 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour.
22 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest.
23 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, we met for the first time and spoke for the first
24 time on Tuesday, is that not correct? Did you not hear me?
25 A. Yes, that's right, on Tuesday; that's correct.
1 Q. And at that meeting when we spoke about what your testimony would
2 be, the -- questions were asked of you; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. And present at that meeting was Mr. Mueller, who is standing on my
5 right; correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And do you recognise Mrs. Uertz-Retzlaff, who is on your right,
8 who was also present?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, would you please be so kind as to tell the members of the
11 Trial Chamber who you are and what you do for a living?
12 A. My name is Drago Kovacevic. I was born in 1953 in Knin, Republic
13 of Croatia. I'm a citizen of two states, Republic of Croatia and Serbia
14 and Montenegro. I am a social worker by profession, currently living in
15 Belgrade, where I work in an NGO called Serbian Democratic Forum
16 headquartered in Belgrade, which also has its offices in Croatia and in
17 Bosnia-Herzegovina. I also am a publisher, and I have -- I am a columnist
18 and my column is called "The Real Answer". We provide answers to refugees
19 from the area.
20 Q. Thank you. Have you written any books?
21 A. Yes. In 2003, I published a book which I wrote earlier, most of
22 it. As I said, it was published in 2003, and its real title is "Cage:
23 Krajina in an Agreed War."
24 Q. Now, you knew Mr. Babic from before the war. Is that not correct?
25 A. Yes. I met Mr. Babic in 1982, I believe, but it was just a brief
1 encounter at the time. We met each other through our wives who knew each
2 other better. We lived at a distance of some 30 kilometres. I lived in
3 Knin. He lived in Vrlica, and there wasn't much opportunity for us to
4 socialise. The jobs we had --
5 Q. May I interrupt you for a moment?
6 A. -- absolutely.
7 Q. You said that Mr. Babic lived in Vrlica?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. What kind of a village was that?
10 A. It's a place which lies between Knin and Split or, rather, Sinj,
11 30 kilometres from Knin. It's place with about 2 to 3.000 residents of
12 mixed ethnicity with a majority of Croatian residents.
13 Q. And did you know whether or not Mr. And Mrs. Babic socialised with
14 people with Croatian ethnicity at that time?
15 A. Well, at the time people socialised regardless of their ethnic
16 background. I know that they did. That's absolutely true.
17 Q. Do you know if Mr. Babic has any members of his family that are of
18 Croatian ethnicity?
19 A. I assume that he does. I think that he does. I can't tell you
20 who exactly, but based on some of our conversations, I think that he does
22 Q. Did he and his neighbours share the same language, the same
23 culture except for perhaps the religion?
24 A. Yes. That's absolutely true. Same language and same culture and
25 same values. The religion was different, and they probably declared
1 themselves differently when it came to a census.
2 Q. Now, did there come a time in approximately 1990 where both you
3 and Mr. Babic became active in politics?
4 A. Yes. I became active in politics in 1990. At the time, the first
5 multi-party elections were taking place in Croatia, and Mr. Babic was also
6 politically active then.
7 Q. Were you in the same party?
8 A. No. No, we were not members of the same party. I belonged to a
9 small political party called Socialist Party of Croatia, and Mr. Babic
10 belonged to the Serbian Democratic Party.
11 Q. Now, the Serbian Democratic Party, I assume, was people who were
12 Serbian ethnicity; correct?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. How --
15 A. The name speaks for itself.
16 Q. How about your party? What was the ethnicity make-up of the
17 people in your party?
18 A. I belonged to a small political party, the members of which were
19 of both ethnicities. There were Serbs and there were Croats. Since we
20 lived in Knin, the party had more Serb members than Croatian. However,
21 it -- that did have Croatian members as well.
22 Q. Now, does that mean that you were a political opponent of
23 Mr. Babic?
24 A. Well, yes, I was. I was a political opponent of Mr. Babic at the
25 time. Once we became delegates in the local parliament, Mr. Babic had a
1 significant majority, whereas my party had a very small number of seats so
2 we were a party in opposition, in opposition to Mr. Babic.
3 Q. Now, as a member of a party in opposition to Mr. Babic, amongst
4 the community in which you lived, what was his reputation for being a man
5 of integrity, a honest man, a good man? From the point of view of his
6 political opponents?
7 A. I can say that Mr. Babic did enjoy a reputation as a young and
8 educated man, as a man who came from a very respected family. He enjoyed
9 a reputation as a man who never entered any conflicts, and he could easily
10 be talked to. He showed signs of a person who -- with whom you could
11 cooperate, and he enjoyed quite a good reputation in the midst where he
13 Q. Now, the party of which he became a member, that was a nationalist
14 party, was it not? It had nationalist views?
15 A. That party was a nationalist party, an ethnically based party, and
16 some of its positions could be termed as nationalist positions.
17 Q. Now, do you know if before Mr. Babic became involved with this
18 party he had ever been in any sort of nationalist movements?
19 A. I don't think so. I actually know that he wasn't. Throughout the
20 1980s in the Republic of Croatia, some movements were indeed formed, and
21 up until the year 1990, Mr. Babic never participated in those movements,
22 or at least I don't know that he did.
23 Q. Did you ever learn why he became involved in these nationalist
25 A. It's a very complex question. I do have my opinion which I can
1 share with you. In 1990, the situation in the former Yugoslavia and in
2 the Republic of Croatia was rather complex, and the relationship among
3 people was impaired. A lot of people adopted nationalistic tendencies. A
4 mono-party system was turned into a multi-party system in a society which
5 did not have very long democratic traditions. My opinion is that
6 Mr. Babic was invited to join the party as a respectable person, as a
7 diligent person who was very serious about anything that he did. And
8 before the very foundation of the party, he received the invitation to
9 join the party.
10 Q. Do you know if anyone influenced him?
11 A. I can't say. I can't say that he was influenced. I believe that
12 he was approached by the -- some sort of a committee that was in charge of
13 founding this party and that the invitation came. However, it was the
14 general atmosphere that may have had some sort of an impact. The
15 situation was very complex. There was a state of confusion. There was a
16 feeling of political conflicts in the air. And maybe it was this general
17 atmosphere, atmosphere that influenced him.
18 Q. At this time was there a media campaign being waged?
19 A. Absolutely. Already a year or a year and a half before that the
20 media were absolutely under the control of the hard-line nationalist
21 tendencies, and this very slowly and gradually but surely transformed into
22 the language of hatred. All of these circumstances, all of these facts
23 inspired and instilled a fear among the people, and this fear could easily
24 be seen, almost read on the people's faces. There was a feeling of
25 insecurity, the feeling of insecurity about the crisis and how this would
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 be resolved.
2 The situation with the media and the propaganda which came from
3 all directions, from Belgrade, Zagreb, from various political centres and
4 centres of power was something that could clearly be discerned. The
5 entire atmosphere had a huge bearing on the relationships which became
6 worse by the day.
7 Q. And as this campaign was going on, did you see Mr. Babic change
8 from a moderate man into a nationalist or what he has described as an
9 ethno-egoist? Did you see this evolution?
10 A. In the parliament which was presided over by Mr. Babic, he was the
11 president of the Knin municipality. I was a member of the opposition, a
12 member of the minority. In that parliament, we criticised political
13 positions. This was a local parliament, and the issues dealt with were of
14 local concern. Mr. Babic has had a vast majority in that parliament, and
15 as the president of this parliament, he acted in a very civilised manner.
16 Truth be told, he followed the guidelines of his political parties, and I
17 believe that he also participated in the creation of these policies as a
18 very important person.
19 However, when it comes to his attitude towards the other members
20 of this parliament and the employees of the parliament, I believe that he
21 was very correct. I did not see any changes in his behaviour. I'm sure
22 that there were none. I can also say something else.
23 Q. How about his views on nationalism. There is no question but at
24 some point Milan Babic became an extreme Serbian nationalist, and I think
25 the question that the Trial Chamber needs to have answered was: Was he
1 always like that, or did that change from the time you knew him in 1982 in
2 the little village to when Yugoslavia began to disintegrate and the media
3 campaign came forth, was there a change that you saw?
4 A. When we talk about this time, about the year 1990, after the year
5 1982 and later on, I never perceived Mr. Babic as a nationalist, and he
6 indeed wasn't a nationalist. In 1990, things happened very quickly. The
7 crisis escalated. I must say that in the area of Knin, some things were
8 happening in the political life that perpetuated each other.
9 Mr. Babic, at that time, had a fairly, very responsible job. He
10 was the president of the Knin municipality, and at that time Knin was a
11 symbol which was created by the Belgrade and Zagreb media. And Knin was
12 portrayed as the symbol of Serbs in Croatia. Mr. Babic was a member of
13 the party which had its platform, and he also had certain organisational
14 and other capabilities.
15 At one point in time, probably --
16 Q. You're going way beyond the question I asked you, sir. May I
17 interrupt you and ask you another and ask you to address your answers to
18 the questions that are being asked, because we want to try to conserve the
19 time of the Trial Chamber.
20 When the violence started in the summer of 1991, what did you do?
21 A. In the summer of 1991, I was no longer in the political life. My
22 party had stopped to exist, and all the things that had happened made its
23 existence impossible, and I was no longer active in the political life in
25 Q. You withdrew from politics in -- before 1991; correct? Or i Or
2 A. In 1991.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Babic continued in politics in 1991. Did you ever ask
4 him why he continued in politics? Did you know why?
5 A. Yes. I believe that I asked him, and I know why. I believe I
6 know why.
7 Q. Would you please tell the Trial Chamber what you know.
8 A. I believe that he felt responsibility for all what had already
9 happened, and it was very difficult for him to retract, to go back. And
10 in 1991 -- actually, already throughout the year 1990, but especially in
11 1991, things had escalated to such an extent that any form of withdrawal
12 would have been considered as a very dangerous act that he could have
13 considered -- been considered as a betrayal.
14 Secondly, Mr. Babic was attacked by the media. The Zagreb media
15 satanised him to a huge extent. At the beginning the Belgrade media
16 promoted him and hailed him; however, that changed later on. In such a
17 situation, I believe that there was no room for him to withdraw, to
18 retract. This was my opinion.
19 Q. Did you ever ask him if he sanctioned what had gone on in 1990 and
20 the atrocities that occurred? Did you ever speak with him about that,
21 learn what his feelings were?
22 A. I spoke to him quite a lot of times, but I knew like everybody
23 else who lived in the area at the time, and that was that Mr. Babic was
24 not in control of any agencies of repression. He was not in control of
25 either the police or the army. The old Yugoslavia still existed, and it
1 was the old Yugoslavia that controlled the army.
2 As for the police, not for a single moment did Mr. Babic control
3 the police. It is a well-known fact. Sometime in May or June --
4 Q. I haven't asked you about his control of the police, sir. I asked
5 you if you spoke to him about whether or not he approved of these things,
6 if he sanctioned these things. And it would be oh, so helpful if you
7 would answer my question, please, sir.
8 A. I spoke to him about that on several occasions, and I can share
9 with you a very characteristic moment that happened in January 1995, when
10 we were returning from a wedding. He heard that in another part of
11 Krajina, in Banja, around Kostajnica, there were crimes committed over
12 civilians. We were in the car, and he told me with quite a lot of
13 resignation, "See what happened." And how would it have been possible to
14 conduct any kind of policy in a situation like that? So this would be a
15 very characteristic moment that we shared, the two of us.
16 Q. In 1990, there were barricades constructed in Knin. Did Mr. Babic
17 participate in discussions with the Croat authorities to try and calm this
18 situation down?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Can you tell the Tribunal about that? Tell the Trial Chamber,
21 please, what you know.
22 A. Yes. I know that his first activities along these lines were
23 conversations that he had with the president of Sinj municipality. His
24 name was Jerko Vukas, and he was also a high official in the ruling party
25 in Croatia, the HDZ. I believe that their conversations that I didn't
1 attend, however, I saw Mr. Vukas on one occasion in the corridor. I
2 believe that these conversations helped to resolve the situation at the
3 beginning. However, it didn't last long. That's one thing.
4 However, I also remember something that I attended because
5 Mr. Babic didn't want to be the only one to talk to the representatives of
6 the Croatian government. He invited some other people from the political
7 life of Knin. I was amongst those as well as some other people who were
8 not members of Mr. Babic's party.
9 On that occasion, some Ministers of the Croatian government came
10 to Knin. Mr. Boljkovac who was the minister of the interior, and Mr. Pero
11 Kriste who was the Minister of Defence.
12 Q. Could you just speak a little more slowly, please. I'm having
13 trouble following the speed at which the translator is being forced to
14 work. So if I might ask you just to slow down, it will be easier on -- at
15 least on me if not everyone else.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Perhaps we would first have a break and then you
17 could try to concentrate on slowing down a little bit.
18 Mr. Fogelnest, may I ask you to try to get a better grip on facts
19 and conclusions as far as the witness is concerned.
20 MR. FOGELNEST: Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: It's also a matter of how you put your questions to
22 the witness, and that will keep it a bit --
23 MR. FOGELNEST: I recognise the problem, and I'll try to correct
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We will have a break until ten minutes to one.
1 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 12.54 a.m.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, you may proceed.
4 MR. FOGELNEST: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Mr. Kovacevic, it's very important to us that the members of the
6 Trial Chamber understand what you're saying, so I'm going to do a couple
7 of things. First I'm going to remind you and ask you to speak more
8 slowly, and I think if you speak at a pace that you feel is too slow, then
9 that will actually be more accurate and be easier for us to understand the
10 translator and make it easier on the translator.
11 The second thing I'm going to do is I'm going to ask you
12 questions, many to the best of my ability that will simply call for a yes
13 or no, and if you can simply answer yes or no, then I'll ask you to
14 explain some of those answers, and I will ask you to do that briefly.
16 A. Yes, it is.
17 Q. Thank you. Was there a so-called national resistance council
18 active in Knin?
19 A. Yes. It was called the council.
20 Q. The answer to that could have been simply yes. Okay. When was
21 that active?
22 A. It was active from the time the barricades were set up, which was
23 in August of 1990, and up until the end of December 1990.
24 Q. Thank you, sir. Who was behind this national resistance council?
25 A. Well, it was nominally under the control of Milan Martic.
1 However, there were other various members in it.
2 Q. Can you name some of them for us, please?
3 A. Well, I think I can. Mr. Vitas was a member. I know that he
4 described himself as a member of that council.
5 Q. Do any other names come to mind at this moment?
6 A. It's difficult to focus on that right now because --
7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... What position did the national
8 resistance council take regarding Mr. Babic's efforts to solve the crisis
9 through negotiations?
10 A. The national resistance council mostly obstructed those attempts.
11 The council exerted pressure with respect to the attempt to resolve the
12 conflict through negotiation, which was advocated by Mr. Babic.
13 Q. Thank you. I want to now invite your attention to the time of the
14 actual conflict. During the conflict, did Mr. Babic have control over the
15 forces involved?
16 A. No, he didn't.
17 Q. Did he have clashes with Milan Martic or Captain Dragan?
18 A. This is how it was: I think that Mr. Babic attempted --
19 Q. Is your answer yes?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. Thank you. Now, please explain to us how it was.
22 A. Mr. Babic attempted, in order to be in charge of politics that
23 would lead somewhere, to take over the Ministry of the Interior or,
24 rather, the police. However, his first steps already proved to be
25 unsuccessful, even though he had done certain formal activities. However,
1 he never managed to take over control. Therefore, the Ministry of the
2 Interior, the police, remained under the control of Martic. Martic
3 remained in charge.
4 As for Captain Dragan, as far as I know there was a conflict with
5 him which emerged sometime in late June of 1991. At that time,
6 Captain Dragan accused Milan Babic of wanting to exercise control over
7 forces trained by Captain Dragan in a camp.
8 The matter ended in such a way that these forces remained under
9 the control of those persons who exercised control over them before, and
10 Mr. Babic had absolutely no influence over those forces.
11 Q. Now, I want to ask you about the attack on the village of Kijevo
12 in August of 1991. There was such an attack, was there not?
13 A. Yes. In August of 1991, Kijevo was attacked, yes.
14 Q. Now, Mr. Babic got involved in that situation, did he not?
15 A. Yes. In a way, yes.
16 Q. Well, can you explain in what way to the members of the Trial
17 Chamber, please?
18 A. At one point in time, I think it was in the second half of August,
19 Milan Martic, through the media, requested the civilian population in the
20 village of Kijevo to leave the territory of the village because there
21 would be an operation against Croatian police which was stationed in that
22 village. I don't remember exactly the date. However, he made this
23 announcement several days before the attack.
24 On the following day, Mr. Babic already intervened, and he did so
25 publicly, and he called that an inappropriate behaviour which leads to
1 trouble. And this was the extent of his involvement. He protested
2 against this request to have the civilian population leave the village of
4 Q. In the month following the incidents at Kijevo, did Mr. Babic have
5 contact with the Croats?
6 A. I don't think he had contacts after the Kijevo incident. However,
7 there was a tragedy in his family shortly after that. Namely in the
8 village of Vrlika, which is the village of Mr. Babic, his father-in-law
9 Bozo Skrbic was killed, and his house was set on fire. The house was in
10 the other part of the village, Mr. Babic's house, and his father-in-law's
11 house was also set on fire. His mother managed to flee, as did the mother
12 of his wife, who would probably come to the same end had she not left the
14 Q. What happened to his father-in-law?
15 A. The father-in-law was killed in the house, in his own house in the
16 village of Vrlika.
17 Q. How was he killed?
18 A. He was killed by soldiers of the Croatian army or the Croatian
20 Q. Now, moving on to another topic, did Milan Babic ever privately
21 discuss with you the suffering of the Croat people?
22 A. Yes, he did.
23 Q. Will you tell the members of the Trial Chamber what he expressed
24 to you, please.
25 A. Especially at the time when we had active political cooperation,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 which is in 1993, 1994, 1995, and a part of 1992, Milan Babic very
2 frequently used to say that the war cannot end in a favourable way unless
3 a normal solution is found due to all the suffering on both sides, the
4 Croatian side and the Serbian side that the people have experienced.
5 He used to say that in order to find any kind of a solution, the
6 main obstacle to finding any solution were operations in which civilians
7 were killed and in which there was a lot of destruction, houses,
8 facilities, and so on. He used to condemn that. Therefore, his position
9 was very clear.
10 Q. Did you discuss with him why he failed to say such things in the
11 public forum?
12 A. You see --
13 Q. Did you discuss it? It's a yes or no question first.
14 A. Yes, I did discuss it.
15 Q. Well, then please tell us what he said to you and what you
16 understood the reasons for him not making the public statements that he
17 made to you privately.
18 A. Perhaps that is not the precise way in which I put those questions
19 to him. However, we definitely discussed these matters. There were
20 several reasons that I could give you now that explain why at the time he
21 did not discuss this publicly, although his reaction to the Kijevo
22 incident was a public one. The first reason for that was that it was
23 extremely dangerous. The second reason was that in view of the situation
24 in Krajina at the time where many people were killed in Krajina as well,
25 there was a lack of understanding and it could lead to political damage
1 because the situation was not a normal one.
2 The third reason is that - I'm now referring to 1993, 1994, and
3 1995 - Milan Babic had an ambition, namely he wanted to help find a
4 solution so that people from Krajina would not find themselves in a very
5 negative state of affairs, which is exactly what happened in 1995.
6 Therefore, he tried through political negotiations, through insisting with
7 international community, through insisting within the Serbian community in
8 Krajina to find or to help find a political solution which would enable
9 these people to remain in their homes rather than become refugees.
10 Q. When you say "dangerous," were you away of any times when
11 Mr. Babic was attacked or if attempts were made on his life?
12 A. Yes, I am aware of that. There were a number of such situations.
13 I can also give you some examples, and quite a lot of them. Let us begin
14 from his apartment.
15 As early as 1991, there was a serious attempt made on the life of
16 Milan Babic. His apartment in the town of Knin was broken into by two
17 armed men in uniforms, and they tried to kill him. The hall in his living
18 room where I sat more than hundred times. So the hole in the ceiling was
19 still there when we were leaving Knin in 1995.
20 Then there was another serious in Benkovac --
21 Q. Before you move on, what kind of uniforms were these men wearing?
22 JUDGE ORIE: Before asking this, could you please lay your
23 foundation for the knowledge of the witness in that respect.
24 MR. FOGELNEST: Surely.
25 Q. How do you know this?
1 A. It was a widely known fact. It was in the media as well. We
2 heard it from Mr. Babic, and I heard it from him and from at least 20
3 people who were in the immediate vicinity. Either they lived in the
4 building where Mr. Babic resided, or that's how we know it.
5 Q. And do you know what kind of uniforms the men were wearing?
6 A. Based on what was said at the time, these people wore the uniforms
7 of the then-Yugoslav People's Army, although I think that the army,
8 following the incident, stated that these people were not mobilised by the
10 Q. And you say there was a hole --
11 JUDGE ORIE: We're really entering the realm of speculation.
12 MR. FOGELNEST: I'll move on, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE ORIE: What was the uniforms according to the press is not
14 really something that -- I mean, this witness has testified that he heard
15 from others, including Mr. Babic, that Mr. Babic was attacked in his
16 apartment, and I do not think that on the basis of his knowledge, unless
17 there is a good foundation for it, we could hear any further evidence in
18 that respect. Please proceed.
19 MR. FOGELNEST: Yes, sir.
20 Q. Did you ever speak with Mr. Babic about the reasons why he
21 continued in his political functions and ultimately cooperated with the
22 JNA, with Martic, with Milosevic?
23 A. At the time when Mr. Babic and I cooperated closely politically,
24 we mostly discussed things that we were facing at the time, namely we
25 tried to see how we could improve the situation and try to get Krajina out
1 of the war as painlessly as possible.
2 These matters that you refer to in your question, I can say the
3 following about them: I think that there were two factors there. One was
4 that at one point in time Mr. Babic probably believed that the policy
5 which existed in 1990 could potentially lead to an improvement of the
6 situation of the Serbian community in Croatia. I think that that was the
7 first factor. And later on, he just continued it by inertia. I think
8 this would be a brief conclusion that I made based on those conversations.
9 Q. In 1992, you joined the SDS party and supported Mr. Babic in his
10 politics; is that correct?
11 A. Yes. Yes.
12 Q. Why did you do this?
13 A. At the time, it was completely clear to me that Mr. Babic had cut
14 all his ties to Mr. Milosevic and that Mr. Babic was politically
15 reasonable and was a charismatic politician and that this could lead to
16 finding a rational resolution to the crisis so that we can preserve the
17 status of the people in the community so that we can find a peaceful
18 resolution and integrate the Serbian community back.
19 At the time, it became clear that there would be no change of
20 borders and, therefore, we wanted to find the most favourable way to
21 reintegrate the Serbian community in Croatian society.
22 JUDGE ORIE: May I ask you one additional question in that
23 respect, Mr. Kovacevic. When in 1992 you join the SDS?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Following the attack on Mr. Babic in
25 Benkovac when he was gravely injured. So sometime in the second half of
1 1992, let's say in September, after Mr. Babic had left the hospital.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you.
3 Please proceed, Mr. Fogelnest.
4 MR. FOGELNEST:
5 Q. Did you visit him in the hospital?
6 A. No. No, I did not visit him in the hospital.
7 Q. Did you see him shortly after he came out of the hospital?
8 A. I did see him after he left the hospital. He had serious injuries
9 on his head.
10 Q. Can you describe those injuries to the Judges, please?
11 A. The area was swollen, this part around his jaw. I can't give you
12 any medical description, but it looked pretty bad.
13 Q. Were you told how he obtained those injuries?
14 A. He did.
15 Q. Can you tell the Court about how he obtained those injuries?
16 A. He received these injuries in Benkovac, in the house of Lezajic
17 while meeting with party members. While they were meeting, the house was
18 surrounded by the police, the then-police of Krajina. The policemen
19 entered the house, started breaking things in the house. The attack was
20 aimed directly on Mr. Babic, and everybody who was present was under the
21 impression that the attackers wanted to kill him. They shouted insults at
22 him. They especially used the word prefect when addressing him. They
23 beat him all over his body. They beat him on the head.
24 After the attack, they took him out in front of the house --
25 JUDGE ORIE: May I interrupt again. We get a detailed description
1 of the attack without even knowing whether this witness was present during
2 the attack.
3 Were you there when it all happened in that house?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, what words were exactly used by the
6 attackers if the witness has not been there, of course, is hearsay. I'm
7 not saying hearsay is not admissible in the Tribunal, but going into such
8 details, I think it would have been sufficient to say that he was directly
9 attacked, being insulted, et cetera, according to what this witness heard.
10 I mean, that's the basic --
11 MR. FOGELNEST: I was trying to limit it, Your Honour. It's a bit
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
14 MR. FOGELNEST:
15 Q. This word "prefect," is that --
16 MR. FOGELNEST: And respectfully, Your Honour I believe that may
17 not be the best translation.
18 Q. Did Mr. Babic acquire a nickname that was commonly used?
19 A. This word, "prefect," --
20 Q. The word -- the word --
21 A. Was used as a derogatory word to Mr. Babic. He didn't have any
22 other nickname.
23 INTERPRETER: The word in B/C/S is "Zupan".
24 MR. FOGELNEST:
25 Q. Zupan. Does it also have a meaning in this context that means
2 A. Yes, especially in that context.
3 Q. Is it your understanding that's how that word was used, Zupan?
4 A. Yes, absolutely yes. It's a word with a certain indication.
5 Q. There's --
6 A. May I explain, please.
7 Q. There is no question pending. Did you ever -- were you ever
8 present when Mr. Babic was called Zupan?
9 A. Yes. I heard that on two occasions in direct conversations, yes.
10 The first time it happened in the year 1990 when he sent a proposal.
11 Actually, it was his initiative when the constitution was being amended
12 and when the people from the national defence council referred to him as
13 Zupan, prefect.
14 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Kovacevic, please just
15 answer my question yes or no and wait for the next question. Can we do
17 Is the answer to my question, "Yes, I heard him called that"?
18 A. Yes, I heard him being called that.
19 Q. All you need to say is "yes." Now, who did you hear call him
20 that, "traitor"?
21 A. What I can remember best is what happened in 1994. It was in
23 Q. I didn't ask you when it was. I just asked you who. Please
24 answer my question.
25 A. Biljana Plavsic. I attended that incident when she approached
1 him, and she told him, "Goodbye, Zupan," meaning the same thing that we
2 spoke about.
3 Q. Who else did you hear call Mr. Babic "traitor"? Just give us a
4 name if you can.
5 A. For example, I heard people from the national committee, more
6 specifically Mr. Vitas, that we have already mentioned.
7 Q. Thank you. Now, later did Mr. Babic engage in negotiations with
8 the Croatian authority to try to find a peaceful solution? That's a yes
9 or no.
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. Were you present when the Z-4 plan was discussed between Mr. Babic
12 and Ambassador Galbraith?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Was Mr. Babic in favour of the peaceful reintegration of the
15 Krajina into the Croatian republic?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. That did not happen, did it?
18 A. Unfortunately, no.
19 Q. Do you know why?
20 A. I do.
21 Q. Will you please tell us?
22 A. I believe that the main reason was that this was not allowed by
23 Slobodan Milosevic. His instructions to Martic were for him not to accept
24 that plan, to reject it completely.
25 Q. Were you with Mr. Babic in -- excuse me one moment. I need help
1 with pronunciation.
2 Were you with Mr. Babic in Kostajnica in 1995?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And did you learn that Croats had been murdered there in
5 Kostajnica; in 1991, that the murders had occurred in 1991?
6 A. Yes, but not in Kostajnica but in some villages in the vicinity of
8 Q. But you were with Mr. Babic in 1995 in Kostajnica and you had
9 learned that Croats had been killed in nearby villages in 1991. Am I
11 A. Correct.
12 Q. Yes. Would you please tell the Judges of the Trial Chamber how
13 Mr. Babic reacted to gaining that knowledge?
14 A. He showed signs of resignation with the situation. He was very
15 angry. He told me in the car, "How can anybody possibly conduct any kind
16 of politics if things like that had happened?"
17 Q. Did he appear to you to have knowledge of that before you two
18 learned of it in 1995?
19 A. It seemed to me that he didn't know of this before that, that he
20 heard it for the first time there and then.
21 Q. Did Milan Babic ever express to you that he felt responsible for
22 what happened in the Krajina in 1991 and 1992?
23 A. Not in so many words. However, he did mention his responsibility.
24 He mentioned his political responsibility during that period of 1991 and
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Did he discuss with you an intention to contact this Tribunal and
2 come forward and give them the information he had?
3 A. Yes. He told me about that. He expressed his willingness to do
4 that, and it was in 2001 that he clearly indicated to me that he would
5 appear before the Tribunal.
6 Q. After you left the Krajina in your capacity as a social worker,
7 did you work with refugees in Serbia?
8 A. Yes. I've worked with them all this time.
9 Q. And can you explain in just a bit more detail the nature of your
11 A. First I started with the humanitarian programmes for a Japanese
12 humanitarian organisation, the name of which is YEN. I was involved in
13 classical humanitarian work from the distribution of food to psychological
14 and sociological help. As from the year 2002, I've worked in the Serbian
15 Democratic Forum, which is involved in a certain type of development and
16 social programmes and also on the return of the refugees from Serbia to
18 Q. Now with respect to the people you work with now, the Serbian
19 refugees, has Mr. Babic expressed to you any views about whether or not
20 these people should return to Croatia?
21 A. Absolutely. He was very interested in people returning to
22 Croatia. He believed that this would be the most normal and the only
23 solution for them.
24 Q. And did Mr. Babic express to you his own personal sense of
25 responsibility as to whether he could and should do something about this?
1 A. Yes. He expressed feelings about his political responsibility.
2 That's what we talked about. He also told me that he would like to see as
3 many people as possible return, that they should be encouraged to return.
4 Those are the situations that he described.
5 Q. Did he tell you how he could -- thought that perhaps to effect
6 that return?
7 A. Yes. He told me that people should be engaged in discussions
8 about that topic, that they should be encouraged to return to their homes,
9 because that is the only possible solution to the whole situation and that
10 everybody should be aware of the fact that not all the people would
11 return. But his view was that it would be best for people to return, as
12 many of them as possible.
13 Q. Is it fair to say that Milan Babic expressed to you that the
14 Croats and the Serbs should be able to live together in the same area and
15 that he was in favour of that?
16 A. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, yes.
17 Q. Thank you, sir?
18 MR. FOGELNEST: Your Honours, I have no further questions of this
19 witness at this time, and I thank you for your patience.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Fogelnest.
21 Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff, I understood you have some questions for this
23 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes, very few.
24 JUDGE ORIE: Very few. We have to stop at a quarter to two. Do
25 you think you could manage until then -- yes. Please proceed.
1 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Yes.
2 Questioned by Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff:
3 Q. Yes. Mr. Kovacevic, as we have only very little time, please be
4 very precise in your answers, and very brief. Mr. Babic, we know, was a
5 dentist. Did he practice, to your knowledge, did he practice throughout
6 the Knin region going to villages or was he just stationed in Knin?
7 A. He did work in other surgeries, not only in Knin. There were
8 surgeries all over the Knin area. For example, in Djevrske village,
9 that's where he would go to practice.
10 Q. Is the Knin region or was the Knin region before the war a
11 developed region or rather poor?
12 A. It was a very poor area.
13 Q. When Mr. Babic started to engage in politics, was this
14 underdevelopment of the Knin region, was this the focus of his policy, to
15 change that?
16 A. Yes. However, there was very little time to do anything about
17 that during the period of time while he was actively engaged in politics.
18 Q. That would mean, I have to say, just simply yes. Based on
19 observation of Mr. Babic even then further through the months and years,
20 was his focus always the Knin region, the people of Knin?
21 A. Yes, he focused on people in Knin.
22 Q. You expressed in your testimony the insecurity that all the people
23 felt in the region in 1990. That applies to Serbs and Croats?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Were you afraid of the future, you personally?
1 A. Absolutely. I am still afraid.
2 Q. Do you know or did Mr. Babic express that he also was afraid and
3 felt insecure at that time?
4 A. Not in so many words. However, I personally could feel that in
6 Q. In 1990, the association of municipality was formed, and your
7 party, did it oppose this?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And when the SAO Krajina was formed with its governments, did your
10 party again oppose it?
11 A. My party had already left the political scene by then.
12 Q. Why did you and your party oppose the association of
13 municipalities, these formations of certain Serbian bodies? Why did you
14 do that?
15 A. There were several reasons for that. Firstly, it was against the
16 platform of my party. We advocated the preservation of the former state
17 in one form or another. Secondly, we wanted to preserve a good
18 relationship between various ethnic communities in Croatia, and we also
19 wanted to preserve a certain social and democratic programme. All that
20 was happening did not provide any guarantees for the good relationships
21 amongst ethnic groups, and it was against my party's platform.
22 Q. Was it indeed increase -- these moves, did they increase the
23 tension between the nations?
24 A. Unfortunately the majority of people were involved in that
25 movement. They covered the entire ethnic area. They gained the majority
1 of votes in the election. So what we tried was tried but such an
2 insignificant minority that we couldn't find a serious place for ourselves
3 on the political scene.
4 Q. This didn't really answer my question. I asked you whether those
5 moves added to the tension between the ethnic groups. Is that a yes?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You mentioned that at some point in time Mr. Babic actually went
8 into opposition to Milosevic. When was that?
9 A. At the moment when it became clear was the 6th of January, 1992,
10 when he became an open opposition, because at that moment all the media
11 published a letter by Mr. Milosevic in which he addressed the people in
12 Krajina directly and in which he said, "From now on you will only get our
13 help when you overthrow Milan Babic."
14 Q. And as a consequence of this, of his opposition to Milosevic, did
15 he indeed then lose his political position?
16 A. Yes. It was impossible to keep a political position in Krajina if
17 you came under such an attack.
18 Q. And you mentioned that Mrs. Plavsic, in 1994, called Mr. Babic a
19 traitor. Why was that? What was the reason for her to do that?
20 A. This happened with regard to the negotiations with the
21 international community. The Assembly of Krajina was supposed to adopt
22 the principles regarding the economic agreement between Krajina and
23 Croatia that had to do with the waterworks, the railroad, and other
24 infrastructure and communications. This assembly session was scheduled
25 for the 25th of November 1994, and the then-president of the assembly
1 which belonged to a radical party invited the leadership from Bosnia and
2 Herzegovina, from Republika Srpska, to come to Knin. The intention was to
3 put pressure on the MPs to reject such plans. What happened then was --
4 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Mr. Kovacevic, not too many
5 details. Did she call him a traitor because he was in favour of
6 negotiations and settlement with the Croats? Was that the point?
7 A. Yes, absolutely. She called me Zupan in front of me. We -- I was
8 standing in front of them and she referred to him as Zupan when his
9 initiative fell through.
10 Q. You said that when the violence started in 1991, it was difficult
11 for Mr. Babic to retract because this would be considered betrayal. Who
12 would consider him to be a traitor then?
13 A. He did not have the place to turn to. The Serbs would consider
14 him a traitor. In Croatia he was demonised to such an extent that he
15 couldn't find the place there. So he was between a rock and a hard place
16 at that moment.
17 Q. And you also said speaking up against what was going on in the
18 Krajina during the war would lead to political damage. Does that mean he
19 would lose his political position had he done so?
20 A. It was not so much about the position as it was about the
21 intention to exert influence and to seek a normal solution. One had to
22 have some sort of influence in the public, because no matter what Krajina
23 was at the time, it did have a general public which did play a certain
24 role, and it did have some sort of an influence.
25 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honours, these are the questions.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Ms. Uertz-Retzlaff.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE ORIE: If the interpreters would allow me to continue for
4 five more minutes, I would have a few questions for you, Mr. Kovacevic.
5 The same, of course, is true for the technicians.
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Kovacevic, you told us that Mr. Babic expressed
8 to you that one of the main obstacles to peace were the operations in
9 which civilians were killed. Do you remember at what occasion he told you
11 A. It was in 1995, sometime in September.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Were you yourself aware of people being killed
13 in the early days of the conflict?
14 A. One could hear about that, but I didn't have any confirmation. I
15 lived in Knin where these things did not happen.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. You heard it from whom or ...
17 A. In 1995, you mean? I heard it from people from Kostajnica.
18 JUDGE ORIE: No. I mean in the early stages.
19 A. There were rumours. One could hear among people. There were
20 rumours. And it was also brought by -- broadcast by the media. We could
21 also see some incidents on the Croatian media. We were aware of the
22 Serbian victims. We knew about those incidents that involved Serbian
24 JUDGE ORIE: Croatian media were reporting on Serbian victims or
25 were they reporting on Croatian victims?
1 A. Croatian victims.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you receive the Croatian media without
3 technical difficulties?
4 A. The Croatian media could be followed. There were some technical
5 difficulties. I'm talking about the electronic media. We didn't have any
6 printed media.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And do you still remember how often in these
8 early days of the conflict, so I'm not talking about 1995 but 1992, how
9 often would they report on the killing of Croatians in the area where you
10 lived, in the Krajina area?
11 A. We're talking about 1991. In 1992, there was no war in Krajina.
12 They would report as the incidents occurred. Later on, subsequently when
13 I learned about these events because I was interested in that, the
14 coverage was rather realistic when it comes to the casualties and victims.
15 Refugees came from certain areas. They spoke in front of cameras. They
16 spoke about victims and so on and so forth. If this had been recorded,
17 maybe some conclusions may have been drawn. Later on, it turned out that
18 this was not just propaganda but that things really did happen.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When you spoke with other people in 1991, did
20 you experience that they had followed the same reports on Croatian
22 A. People followed these reports. I couldn't talk to everybody.
23 However, I believe that these reports were followed. There was a feeling
24 of fear among the people. You have to know that. And everybody believed
25 that if that -- if in a battle his place would have been occupied by the
1 enemy, that they would lose everything. Those were psychotic feelings
2 which exclude any humanitarian feelings. People react based on instincts.
3 They just think about their own survival.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. One question totally apart from the previous
5 ones. You told us about the attack on Kijevo and you said it was in
6 August 1991. In this statement what has been presented to the Chamber
7 earlier, it appears that you situated this attack in time in January 1991.
8 A. It was in August 1991. In January there were no conflicts. There
9 was no war. I believe that this is due to a technical mistake.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Then you were very -- yes.
11 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your Honour, just confirmation. We actually
12 have a document that this ultimatum of Milan Martic is indeed from the
13 18th of August, 1991.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Just noticed the inconsistency.
15 Then, finally, you're very precise on one date, that it was the
16 date of the publication of the letter by Mr. Milosevic in which he said
17 that there was no further support for the Serbs in Krajina if the -- well,
18 you remember that? You said that was in --
19 A. It was on the 6th of January, 1992.
20 JUDGE ORIE: You're quite sure about that date?
21 A. It was a very important moment for Krajina.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand. If I tell you that the
23 Chamber has been presented with a copy of a newspaper article with this
24 letter apparently in it on the 9th of January, that would not make you
1 A. You have now confused me. Maybe if an article appeared in the
2 newspapers it could have been delayed, but it seems to me it was on the
3 6th of January, really.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Of course. It was not my intention to confuse you,
5 Mr. Kovacevic.
6 I have no further questions.
7 MR. FOGELNEST: May I inquire briefly Your Honour?
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But we have limited time, so if you --
9 MR. FOGELNEST: Very quickly.
10 Questioned by Mr. Fogelnest:
11 Q. Do you think you might be confused on the dates?
12 A. I believe that I am familiar with the chronology, that I'm very
13 good at chronology. I allow that I may be mistaken in that respect. I
14 will allow that I may have made a mistake.
15 Q. Now, with respect to receiving the Croatian broadcast, were you
16 aware that the TV antennas around Knin were disconnected at a period of
18 A. They were disconnected, yes.
19 Q. Can you tell us the period of time that the TV antennas were
21 A. They were disconnected during the presidential elections in
23 Q. When was that?
24 A. 1993.
25 Q. And to your knowledge, they weren't disconnected before that?
1 A. Do you mean the relays of Croatian TV and radio, or do you believe
2 those that belong to the local media? I mean the TV antennas, the large
3 antennas that dealt both with the telephone lines and the ability to
4 receive TB -- TV broadcasts from Croatia were disconnected so that the
5 media was controlled out of Belgrade. Were you aware of that?
6 A. Yes, absolutely. I am aware of that.
7 Q. [Previous translation continues]... Now --
8 A. That happened already in 1991.
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... When did it happen?
10 A. I think in 1991.
11 Q. Well, then, if it happened in 1991, how is it you were able to --
12 did you have some sort of special device to get Croatian TV if the
13 antennas wouldn't bring it in?
14 A. Yes --
15 Q. Well --
16 A. -- but you the signals came from -- they came with difficulties,
17 but they still came through.
18 Q. From Belgrade?
19 A. We could follow -- receive signals from Croatian relays. There
20 was a relay for Split, but it was close enough to Knin to bring in the
21 transmission to Knin, and the picture wasn't as clear, but --
22 Q. The relay from Split was later, wasn't it?
23 A. Yes. It was there the entire time. There was quite a developed
24 set of relays in the area so --
25 Q. That was later, was it not? You're not -- let me ask you this:
1 You're not any more sure about the times when there were the disconnected
2 antennas than you are about the date of the letter that you testified to,
3 are you, sir?
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Fogelnest, is this your witness or you are
5 examining him as --
6 MR. FOGELNEST: I'm examining him --
7 JUDGE ORIE: -- as in cross-examination.
8 MR. FOGELNEST: Well, based upon Your Honour's questions. I mean,
9 clearly there's an issue that's arisen here.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Wouldn't it be proper to ask permission to do that,
11 to change your position.
12 MR. FOGELNEST: Indeed.
13 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like the witness to come back tomorrow morning at
14 9.00. May I instruct you, Mr. Kovacevic, not to have any contacts and not
15 to speak with anyone about the testimony you have given or who are still
16 about to give in this court. I do not know whether we have any further
17 questions for you tomorrow morning, but I nevertheless would like you to
18 be present at 9.00 in the courtroom in case we might have additional
20 MR. FOGELNEST: Your Honour, may I do this?
21 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
22 MR. FOGELNEST: I think that I can abandon this line of
23 questioning. We need not inconvenience this witness. We need not burden
24 the Court. We will just -- I'll end it here. I have no further
25 questions. Of course, if the Court wants to question him --
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, that's the issue I'd like to think over.
2 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: Your --
3 JUDGE ORIE: If there would be a situation that -- I don't know
4 whether any travel arrangements have been made for Mr. Kovacevic yet.
5 MS. UERTZ-RETZLAFF: No, Your Honour. And actually I must say, I
6 have a question.
7 JUDGE ORIE: You have a question as well. So let's then -- Mr.
8 Kovacevic, could you please come back tomorrow morning at 9.00 and not
9 discuss with anyone your testimony.
10 We will then adjourn until tomorrow morning, 9.00.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.58 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Friday, the 2nd day of April,
13 2004, at 9.00 a.m.